This unit is to be used in a living room with TV as main display. Used as general purpose PC, a bit of photo and music editing with occasional gaming. Can be used as HTPC even though it is not the main purpose in my case. No overclocking planned.
- Price range around 800€/900$/100KJPY
- Stylish, sober and compact design to fit in a living room
- Have comfortable specs with tight budget and low power consumption
- Acoustic noise must be as low as possible
- Run Doom
One of the most important point is the design of the case. Actually I used the Golden Field N-2S which seems to be some rebranding of the Kolink Salelitte plus for its external brushed aluminium design, compacity and reasonable price (64$). There is plenty of room for a Mini-ITX build which is good for thermal considerations and ease of build.
For a general purpose mid range configuration on a budget the Core i5 8400 is a good value for money. I do not plan to do overclocking so I don't need an unlocked CPU.
Had to be Mini ITX form factor. Hesitated between Z370, H370 and B360 chipset. Finally chose H370 thinking that RAID can come in handy in the future. and got a good bargain on a second hand board. If you're in a tighter budget and don't need RAID the B360 might be a good alternative.
Recommanded configuration is DDR4 2666MHz in a dual channel configuration. 2x8GB seemed enough for my usage. Ordered second hand memory stick but recieved 2x16GB@2133MHz instead (according to motherboard auto setting) ! I kept these units and overclocked them to reach 2666MHz. No stability issue, good enough. Just don't know what to do with all that extra capacity !
Gaming is not the main purpose of this unit but I did not want to rely only on integrated graphics on occasional gaming sessions. Pretty happy with Asus manufactured video cards quality so far. I chose a 1050ti over a 970 for power consumption considerations and cost as the 970 is more power hungry and might require a more performant and so more expensive power supply.
M.2 NVMe SSD is the way to go here to achieve optimal performance. I used the ADATA X8200 pro 512GB which has good performance for the price. It is a good alternative to the Samsung 970 Evo Plus if you're on a budget. I don't really use software that require huge amount of space so it's fine for the OS and some games. I might get higher capacity HDD later for bulk storage of my files if the SSD is not enough.
Good thermal performance and low acoustic noise was an important requirement therefore I did not hesitated to put money on silent CPU cooler and case fan. The Noctua fans have very good build quality and are damn silent as well. The huge CPU radiator is does pretty much all the job in keeping the CPU temperature low. Therefore to evacuate the heat, minimal air flow is needed > lower fan speed > lower acoustic noise. The case fan is a PWM version so the speed can be adjusted as needed. The Noctua fans (case + CPU cooler) come with a low noise extension cable to reduce fan speed even more (which I suspect is just a simple resistor). I used these as this unit was built for reasonable power consumption and therefore should not get to much hot.
NVIDIA recommends 300W minimum power supply for the GTX-1050ti (Max power for GPU is 75W). The CPU should be around 50W and there is no power hungry peripheral. Therefore a 400W PSU should do the job and have plenty of headroom to run cooler and have some ressource for possible upgrades. The case can accomodate a full size ATX PSU but a SFX unit should give more room to have a clean assembly. The Corsair SF450 has excellent efficiency, reliability and is pretty much. Actually, it is fully passive cooled for loads < 90W and then uses a fan profile speed depending on the load. When I benchmarked this unit, even with CPU and GPU at full load I can not manage to start the PSU fan since power consumption is still too low.
Final price list
CPU : 26,150 JPY (235.23$) Intel Core i5-8400 2.8 GHz 6-Core
CPU COOLER : 5,680 JPY (51.10$) Noctua NH-U12S 55 CFM
MOTHERBOARD : 9,980 JPY (89.78$) (Used) ASRock H370M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151
MEMORY : 10,480 JPY (94.27$) (Used) Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-2133
STORAGE : 11,780 JPY (105.97$) ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512 GB M.2-2280 SSD
VIDEO CARD : 13,932 JPY (125.33$) Asus GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB Phoenix
CASE : 64$ Golden Field N-2S
POWER SUPPLY : 11,480 JPY (103.27$) Corsair SF 450 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular SFX
OPERATING SYSTEM : 10,70€ (12.03$) Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit
CASE FAN : 2,120 JPY (19.07$) Noctua NF-F12 PWM 54.97 CFM 120mm
TOTAL : 800.79€ / 900.05$ / 100,054 JPY