Intended use: living room HTPC and sofa-office work. I was asked to provide a computer that could stream movies and run Excel. Piece of cake!
When it comes to old computer parts I'm an expert! This project started with an HP Slimline but the mobo died on me during the project. Very neat Zotac G43 with wifi and HDMI, perfect htpc. Anyways it died, so out the mini-itx and here comes the MicroATX. It's sad because the intented final user wanted the Slimline htpc case. But I ran out of motherboard sized with mini-itx, socket 775 and ddr2 memory slots.
This is a computer made from a mix of used, salvaged and new parts. All prices shown include S&H and taxes when applicable. Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 was installed but not activated, it's up to the final user to decide about that (hence the 0.00$ price listed).
Bluray drive was bought in 2010 for a previous project (HP Slimline htpc).
Graphic adapter bought in 2011 (77.54$): price shows average price for the 3 identical I bought in 2011 (from 68.69$ to 94.97$). I played BF2 and BF3 'till recently with it (upgraded to GTX750).
Case and power were bought new recently this year for this build. Would buy again on discount for cheap build if needed.
Hard drives, mobo, cpu (with stock cooler) and memory are all salvaged parts from various computers.
Ram listed as a kit for convenience but they aren't identical at all. At first I had 4x1gb at ddr2-800 but one day while installing stuff it started beeping after a reboot. Removing the 4x1 800 and replacing it with 2x2 667 solved it. Windows Experience index went down from 5.4 to 5.3
WiFi N card was added at the end because the original mini-itx project had wifi included. So I have included an unused wifi card with N speed even though I had a slower A/B/G lying around. I'm all wired here anyways so it wasn't much of a problem to see it go as my friend asked for the faster one.
Hard drives are in RAID 0+1 and I am very pleased with the results! I had a feeling SATA II would yield good results and it does. Old hdd can make a lot of noise but these were barely used in their previous life.
HDD noise level is higher in write mode but if you happen to write stuff while watching a movie the noise level is cancelled. Otherwise they perform quietly! All I see is a dim blue led light coming from the front fan. Speaking of the fan, I was worried it would get annoying but it's barely visible since it's placed inside the case.
Case: the downside is it has no cable management. Other than that I liked working with the Apex TX-606. I thought it would be way more flimsy! The included power supply (300w) will not be abused since I did my best to avoid going beyond 65% total load. I think I loaded around 70% at peak. Time will tell!
Cable management: the case has limited possibilities (ie none) for cable management so you have to be creative and skillful... and get that cable adapter listed in the parts. I was VERY pleased to find this one! I bought 2 because my own rig has a lot of hard drives and the cables are a MESS. So if you have 4 drives (hdd/ssd/optical) or more you should get that cable. Forget about molex 4 pin adapters to SATA power, this is the real thing you want!
Windows Experience Index score (1 to 7.9): CPU: 5.3 RAM: 5.4 AERO: 5.4 GAMING: 6.6 HDD: 5.9
I will edit later when the owner has some comments about the rig, he should get it over the weekend.
Edit: he is happy with the computer, likes it even though it is bigger than the HP Slimline I promised at first. He said "I had the tv and now I have the computer to go with it".