I got sick of trying to carry my old CM cavalier case for the last 10 years, and was set on mini-itx. I wanted the ft03 mini, but cost got in the way, so i settled with the sg05. From there, I just wanted to keep it less than $600, while still being powerful enough for adobe lightroom, gaming, and some video editing, before living out it's retirement as a steam box when I finally can afford an imac. update after adding more ram, a new cpu cooler, and another ssd, i've added $100 to the total cost.
For the first time, most of the pc is new, rather than hand-me-down parts or holdovers from previous builds. I only kept the hard drive, so I wouldn't have to re-download 150GB of games.
Originally I was going to have 2 SSDs with the v300 being a cache drive for media work, but getting a second ssd just wasn't in the budget. That'll be v2. see update 4 So, i used this guide to make the v300 a boot drive with as much free space on it as possible for adobe cache files. Ever since 200GB hard drives came out, I never thought I'd be going back to using a boot drive. Although it turned out SSD prices dropped precipitously after i bought this drive.
The keyboard is a hand me down IBM Model M, with a manufacturing date of March 18, 1993. When they say, "they don't make them like they used to," they were talking about this keyboard.
The face plate on the sg05 was warped and doesn't fit flush with the case, but it isn't noticeable from where i sit. While the case is pretty sweet, the quality control leaves much to be desired. The power and disc activity lights are blinding, so i turned them off in the uefi, which, i must say, this is my first asrock and it has really impressed. The PSU fan is also a bit on the loud side. But it's not like there are any options outside of silverstone.
Speaking of Asrock, what can I say? 6gb/s sata support, 6 usb ports in the back, frontside usb 3, spdif out, relatively cheap for mini-itx. But most importantly, I can turn off those awful blue LEDs.
Amazon deal of the day, 3.4GHz that turbos up to 3.8GHz. But anytime I do anything more intensive than just typing, it turbos up, so for all intents and purposes it's a 3.8GHz processor. One of the cores failed immediately in the prime95 blend stress test, but works great on the other modes. Probably just a voltage issue.
Stock cooler sounds like a geiger counter. I think it's rubbing up against the heat sink. Will probably get a quieter one. see update 3
I planned on buying an ITX r9 270 for $150 and overclocking, but saw this used 270x on /r/buildapcsales for $99. It works fine, but the bearing on one of the fans is a bit iffy.
Other than a barely audible humming sound from that particular fan, so far so good. At worst it sounds like my hard drive. see update 2 Installing it was a complete pain. I had to remove the intake fan, ram module, and unplug the sata cables, just to wedge it in. There's very little clearance for it, but it looks sweet stretching from wall to wall. I'd recommend, for this case, that people get cards short enough to have clearance for airflow, because the case gets really warm where the gpu meets the front of the case. there's only like 5mm of space.
it's as cheap as 8GB gets. next. see update 3
Read some mixed thoughts on the fan that came with the case. Planned on picking up a noctua, but the Newegg rebate took 50% off the cougar. The rubber pins that came with the cougar fan broke during installation. Ended up using the screws. I was originally aiming for subtle, but the orange through the fan grill is kind of growing on me.
Upgrade Road Map
update 1 : price of banana added per request.
update 2 : XFX sent me a new gpu cooler. for a used card i bought off ebay, that's great service. Idle temp went up 3C though. I probably screwed up the thermal paste application. Never done it on a gpu before. But I run the fans at 20% so I guess it's gonna get warm either way. super quiet, can't hear them over the PSU and CPU.
update 3: took advantage of the $40 rebate on the pny xlr8... along with a $10 coupon and 10% cash back from Bank of America. that's another $21 off for the CPU Cooler. Now i'm up to 16GB ram. Don't know if I needed it, running lightroom on one screen while watching youtube/hulu on another only uses about 6GB of ram, but as they say, the more the merrier. CPU cooler isn't installed yet, I haven't had the time. But once I do I'll also take that opportunity to reapply thermal paste on the GPU and hopefully bring the temps down a bit. My GPU fan curve is whisper quiet for idle, but I would like to probably cut 200rpms and get it back under 40C while idle. New batch of temps and pics will follow after.
and the headphone jack broke. seriously the design is great, but quality control on the sg05 must be terrible.
update 4: silverstone sent me a replacement front panel module, so that's cool.
had a gift card for best buy and picked up a 240gb pny ssd. allows the 60gb kingston drive to be a cache drive for adobe and sony movie studio.
removed price of banana