It's been about a dozen years since I last built a PC. I was on a long hiatus as a Mac user. The most demanding app I use is Adobe Lightroom, which eventually became unbearable on my 7 year-old iMac, so it was time for an upgrade. My specific needs were: small size, quiet, a decently fast CPU, reasonable storage options, and plenty of upgrade potential.
I chose to do a mini-ITX build because I wanted a nice, small, quiet machine. And I picked the Lian-Li PC-Q01 case because of how sleek and minimalistic it looks. Cable management was a bit of a chore, but the Seasonic modular PSU really helped a lot. I was able to route the SATA cables underneath the hard drives, and I ordered a couple of custom-length SATA power cables from modDIY.com. Given the tight space, I think I was able to do about as good as anyone can at managing the cables and reducing the clutter.
My storage setup is as follows:
- Samsung 850 EVO m.2 500 GB: Windows 10, current year Lightroom catalog
- Western Digital Black 1 TB: Photos archive, documents, movies, iTunes library
- Western Digital Blue 1 TB: Backups, File history
All things considered, this new PC is a huge leap forward from my old iMac, and I still have plenty of runway for future upgrades. Adobe Lightroom is screaming fast now, which was priority number one. I couldn't be happier with it.
Future Upgrade Ideas
My 850 EVO is already super fast, but I'm pretty sure I'll upgrade to a 1 TB 960 EVO in a year or so, as well as a larger backup drive. I'd also like to upgrade to a 4K monitor and a decent GPU at some point. I'm not a gamer, so I don't need anything particularly high end. I just need to edit RAW photos in Lightroom at 4K, so I'm thinking a low-profile 1050 Ti should suit me just fine. And I can see an i7-7700 in my future as well.