God I suck at build titles, though this is my first ever PC build so yeah. Also, it took me five months to pull my finger out and actually log this build. Aiyah...
Anyway, I built this thing for the sole purpose of making my father (and now my mother) excited about computing. For five years our family PC was a Dell Inspiron 531s and in the months before this build went ahead, it was really showing its age. It took anywhere from 3-10 minutes to boot, only one Internet Explorer tab could be open at any given time, CPU and memory usage was always pegged to the max, it was bad.
So last year, with Christmas rolling around I figured I'd give my parents a hell of a present.
The centrepiece of the build hands down is the case, an Inwin H-Frame Mini. This thing is crazy small, but I decided it would be a perfect display piece on top of the computer desk. I knew from the onset this PC would only be used for web browsing and nothing more, so despite its initially high price it was quite worth every penny.
A big part of that 'value' is the build quality, which is second to none. It is pretty polarising in the looks department but wow does it feel solid and well made. Every single aluminium panel feels The open air construction would make it seem highly susceptible to dust, however with my mother being the clean freak she is, I haven't seen a speck of dust on it in five months of steady use.
Truth be told, for a first ever build it wasn't exactly the easiest and the most conventional. But the end results were more than worth the tricky fiddling and cable management,
The overall power consumption of the PC is right in the ballpark of the case's integrated 180 W 80+ Bronze power supply. And I know, I read all the warnings about buying cases with power supplies, but I felt confident this wasn't some sketchy piece of junk powering all the parts.
For the CPU I had chosen the Pentium G3240. But then, when I go to pick up the parts from the store, it turned out they hadn't been prepared in advance. So, I got a slight CPU upgrade to the G3420 for no extra cost. No complaints here, other than the truly shocking service. The CPU is plenty powerful enough, usage hovers below 10% under normal use.
The CPU cooler was actually the first thing I bought for this build. It was on a whim and it gave me a chance to scope out the store I would be sourcing my parts from. Never buying from there again. I had originally wanted a Noctua NH-L9i; it was small, quiet, perfect for this build. Unfortunately, at the time it was out of stock almost everywhere, so when I spotted this alternative I jumped at the chance.
Motherboard was an easy choice. The pre-wired cables in the case could only reach so far, and this was the only motherboard where all the cables could reach. The 4-pin CPU power cable was the toughest part of the build, getting the plug into the socket was a twenty minute battle. Then within a week I got an extension to relieve the stress from the cable being pulled completely taut. Also, the black I/O shield is a cool aesthetic bonus.
All I needed for RAM was enough to have two, maybe three tabs open at once, something that before this rig was an impossibility. Single stick of Kingston Fury 4GB in colour-coordinated blue does the trick. Now my father can happily multi-tab browse Reddit and all his other sites, whilst not even using nearly half of the memory capacity.
Since the case can only support 2.5" storage drives, an SSD was another easy choice. Cheapest 120 GB SSD that wasn't a hunk of junk. Good, moving along...
Keyboard and mouse was nothing special, cheapest combo I could find. For the monitor we kept the only thing still working from the old system. Once I plugged in the DVI cable it was as good as new.
So yeah, it's been running smooth and quiet for the past 5 months. There are only two moving parts in the entire system, the loudest being the CPU cooler fan, and even then it's nothing more than a gentle hum. The look on my father's face when I booted it up in front of him for the first time said it all; he was shocked it booted up in mere seconds. And now my mother has started learning how to computer, which is so long overdue.
This build succeeded in ways I couldn't have imagined. Both my parents are now enjoying their computing experience, rather than sitting in frustration. And as for myself, it was a most interesting foray into the world of PC building, all of which has me truly salivating for when I am able to finally build a rig of my own.
Note: The monitor in the pictures is actually the TV in my room where I built the computer. I used it to POST for the first time, which ran flawlessly.