Description

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.

Comments

  • 56 months ago
  • 3 points

This is a nice build! I'm certain your parents are grateful for your service to build them a better browsing PC. Good parts, looks great, and good work with the cable management! :)

  • 56 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks mate. Before this my mother had absolutely no interest in technology but now she's gotten a new phone and is learning how to computer really well and enjoying it.

Yeah, that cable management was rather finicky but that was due to me actually undoing a majority of the pre-management so I could fit and connect everything.

  • 56 months ago
  • 3 points

It's good to see builds like this a bit outside the "norm".

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Indeed it is, I could have just as easily built this in a shoebox like the Cooler Master 110 or a Thermaltake Core V1 but I wanted to break the mould and show my parents that there's more to computers than a grey or black box. Thanks for checking it out!

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for a nice tiny build! If the cpu fan is too loud for your tastes, you could always replace it with a quieter fan - you should be able to fit any 120mm fan on there.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Cheers mate. My parents use headphones whenever they use the computer so they don't notice it at all. In fact, compared to the constant whine of the single fan in the Dell that ran at max speed all the time, it is literally nothing.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

First off, case looks great and fantastic! By the way, 4Gigs of ram is more than enough to open 30tabs ;) +1

I would like to talk about your CPU and Cpu cooler choices. Did you consider getting the Pentium G3258? It's the same price as your current processor and also unlocked. This means that you can overclock it to boost performance when it slows down in the future.

An aftermarket cpu cooler is completely unnecessary when using stock settings on the processor. People only get an aftermarket cpu cooler when they plan on overclocking, as that will increase temperatures. The stock cooler is good enough when not OC'ing.

Unfortunately you did get an aftermarket cooler but a LOCKED CPU? A pentium g3258 would have been a far better choice in this situation. If you wanted to get a g3420, an aftermarket cooler is pointless.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

Cheers, yeah I realised it was a bit on the stupid side getting an aftermarket CPU cooler for a locked Pentium. I bought it for the reasons mentioned above, but also cause it looked good, well a damn sight better than the stock cooler anyway, and quieter too. Also this was built in the Aussie summer heat, so I figured it won't harm it in any way, why not help keep it as cool as possible? But yeah, looks were a big drawcard here.

I didn't want to venture into the dark magic of overclocking at that time just yet, this was my first ever build and I just didn't have the confidence in myself and/or the power supply. There is enough juice to run at stock no problem, but I doubt there's little overclocking headroom. I'll save the overclocking for my eventual personal rig.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, makes a lot more sense now. Tbh my overclocking experience wasn't as enjoyable as people make it seem; it was more of a pain in the *** imo.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Really? Mine was quick and easy, what happened?

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Well since you asked, why not?

It was a midsummer morning and wide-eyed me was planning to overclock my Pentium G3258 with a Hyper Tx3 Evo.

Once installed, and running a stress test; my temps were higher than using the stock cooler. So I unplugged everything, getting the cooler out was hard, I cut myself. While cleaning the processor I spilled isopropyl alcohol all over my table, leaving my table with a horrid look . Luckily it didn't touch my cooler/cpu. Installation was not easy because it was hard plugging in the cooler header.

I was planning to OC it to 4/4.2Ghz but I couldn't go higher than 3.8ghz@1.15V. It would bluescreen at 3.9Ghz@1.35V. And I had to endure all those hours of stress-testing and checking my temps because I was afraid I didn't install it correctly.

It was combination of bad luck and impatience; but I REALLY,REALLY don't plan on OC'ing anything in the future. It currently peaks at 73 degrees during Prime95.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm thinking that you're mobo isn't that great of an overclocker then, because it wouldn't give those problems if it was, unless it was just a poopy cpu.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! And for a FIRST build you certainly went with an uncommon setup. All your future build should be like a piece of cake.

PSU: I wouldn't be worried with your case+psu, it's a brand I would trust. I've seen many inwin psu's that would outlast all components from old computers. And with a such unique case it'd be hard to find the perfect match trying to buy them serately.

note: a bad psu can outlast all components by sending bad voltage and frying all the parts. But I meant that after years and years of duty they would still work reliably (and not kill all other parts repeatedly).

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't count it as a build, but when my friend upgraded his case I was the one that put it all together and cable managed it. It was much more straightforward and conventional I have to say. XD

Interesting points on the PSU and the PSU general knowledge, thanks for that. There is a replacement available but it is neither black, nor sleeved and only 160W. But with what you've said, I've got nothing to worry about, so yay!

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I so agree with you on the value of quality parts. A good case, an SSD, the cooler - they'll either last for many years on their own, or help the other components to function perfectly for many more years. You've got so much to work with, too. Left as is, it'll fulfill their needs. If someday mom and dad want to start their own WoW guild or play GTA V, you've got a real easy road to build the system up. So many people just blow money on straight, gratutious, and often mismatched horsepower, then neglect the rest and wonder why their rig is unstable or breaking down.

+1 and high five

  • 56 months ago
  • 4 points

When I first proposed the idea of building a new PC to my father he said the F-word: Futureproof. Truth be told there is no such thing, but for the foreseeable future, this more than meets their needs. Though you do bring up a good point with easily upgrading should it come to that. Thanks for checking it out, and high five received.

  • 56 months ago
  • 2 points

"Futureproof" is certainly a concept and word oft bandied about a bit recklessly, but it's easy to paint yourself into a corner by slumming it in the wrong areas and being pound-foolish in the wrong ones when piecing together a PC. Knowing what you actually need, defining a use target, and executing to that standard tactfully and implementing quality components throughout necessarily lends itself toward successful future revision by the virtue of the fact that said components are versatile and reliable across a set of high standards. Whether or not upgrading ever happens or needs to happen, the fact that a small system can theoretically so readily be adapted speaks to an elevated degree of engineering and forethought.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow good build.+1 from me. Future upgrades possibly a couple of gtx titans.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice! I love the look of the H-Frame and I'm happy to see someone put it to good use.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks mate, glad you think I did a good job.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. :) I am considering building with this case as well; it is pricey though.

As with the power supply, the unit in this case is of good quality. Your setup doesn't draw near the peak of the PSU, so you're safe there as well (I've seen people with AMD 7800k and 7850 in these without issues).

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

I do have one quick question regarding the case, can it be laid down flat just as easily without scratching or thermal issues?

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Apologies for the lengthy delay between responses, as far as I know it can be laid sideways no problem, though it rests only on the four nuts that hold the side panels on, so take that into account.

  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, and yeah this case is a bit on the pricey side. I'm glad I got it when I did though because all the retailers in my country don't sell it anymore, and the only one left in stock is the green one for $269 AUD.

Glad to hear from another person that I'm good on the PSU front. :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

How long ago roughly did you buy the case for this build? I came across it while looking for a wicked case for my Steambox build. However, there's no pricing on the site. Do they still sell it and how would I be able to find it?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I bought this case back in November 2014. Unfortunately it looks like it's been long discontinued and isn't available to buy anywhere.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 56 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks mate, and now that you mention it it does have some PS2 undertones to it, like that 'grille' pattern around the front. Ahh memories... :)

[comment deleted]