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Lil' Bro - Mini ITX Rig for Emulation/HTPC Projection

by fundando



Date Published

Jan. 23, 2016

Date Built

Jan. 21, 2016

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

36.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

46.0° C


My son came up with the name. See my full sized rig here https://pcpartpicker.com/b/LHsJ7P

Before building this baby I was trying to come up with a solution to play videos and some basic games in the bedroom with my projection setup. I tried Apple TV (previous model) and Chromecast but was not happy with either. Chromecast was slow and apple tv felt limited. I then tried building a Raspberry Pi Version 2, but it could not even handle some of my favorite SNES games without lagging. I the bought an Asus Vivo Mini UN42-M023M and I was actually pretty happy. I spent hours getting it setup and was rocking all my favorite MAME and snes games with no problem. Then next day I came home to use it unfortunately the tiny msata drive had actuall completely failed to the point where it was not even visible in the bios on the mini pc or on any other computer using a usb adaptor.

At this point it was decided that if it was going to be done right I had to do it myself. I initially put this together in a different configuration using the trays that drop into the top, but when I decided I wanted to put in a bigger cooler the game plan changed. I mounted both the SSD and HDD to the side of the case, upgraded the power supply and got myself a nice heatsink combo.

Part Reviews


Price to performance ratio is all there. I picked this because I wanted something with very solid on board graphics. CPU OC'd to 3.6 and GPU is OC'd at 940mhz. I haven't actually tried to push it more than that. I am overall pleased with the performance and I can even run modern games like Project Cars and MGSV at lower setting getting good framerates.

CPU Cooler

Fantastic cooler! My cpu does not go over 46C at full load. 4 heat pipes, big enough heatsink and pwm control. It comes with clips to add a second fan for push/pull configuration. Some people say they had issues installing this, but mine went on easy as pie.


For the price you get quite a bit. I am a big fan of MSI boards because they really give you a lot for your money. 4k support, plenty of usb ports, dvi, hdmi, displayport, bluetooth, wireless ac, m.2. If I would have been more patient, I probably would have spent the extra money for the A88XI Version of this, but I wanted to buy all the parts and build in the same day. I Only wish the M.2 port was not in use so that I may put a nice PCIE drive in eventually.


This is my third set of this ram. Load up the XMP profile in the BIOS and it'll immediately clock itself to 2400. Great ram and it always works.


Nothing too special about this drive. It is not the fastest, but the price was right. 526.1 read 376.5 write.


What a good budget storage drive should be. I was initially thrown off by the low profile. 206.0 read 196.4 write


I love the layout of this case and the fact that I will be able to upgrade to a full sized graphic card sooner. Point is taken off for fit and finish. Sometimes putting the lid on this correctly can be a pain. No filters anywhere.

Power Supply

It's an Antec. It works beautifully like it should and I have more than enough power for anything I could ever fit in this case.

Comments Sorted by:

Karl0508 1 Build 3 points 29 months ago

Love it

What's the case like to build in?

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

It is actually quite easy to work in. My biggest concern was cable management, but with some prior planning I was able to make it fairly clean.

Gmoney364 2 points 27 months ago

Is the m.2 slot on mobo taken by the wireless card?

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 27 months ago

That is correct.

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

+1 for build. Nearly -1 for Razer headphones.

Valiant_ 3 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

I bought a pair of Steelseries Wireless H headphones....i wouldn't trade them for the world. Not even sennheisers like my friend has.

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

Those are still better than Razer. Much better in fact, I liked them a lot when I tried it.

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Haha. My son actually got this for Christmas in 2014. He likes them and I honestly have not found 1 Razor product that I like. I normally never wear headphones unless I am producing or mixing music in which case I use BeyerDynamic DT770 pro's.

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

How do you like them? I thinking about getting a pair of BeyerDynamic DT990 Pro's, I can get the 250 ohm version for only $129.

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

I love my 770's. I have had them for 5 years with no issues. The reproduced sound is clean and natural and they are very comfortable. I have not tried the 990's but I trust they would be amazing, They are still being made in Germany which is a plus.

kostasaggel5 1 point 29 months ago

what graphics card did u use?

fundando submitter 3 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

For the moment I am using the processor's onboard r7 graphics which can handle just about every emulator and even modern games at lower settings. I also use in home- streaming from my main rig which is a I5/GTX970 rig and it works quite well for more demanding games or large games that I just haven't downloaded yet. I do plan to put a discrete graphics card yet, but I have not made up my mind on what card exactly.

bloodroses75 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

For your emulators, are you using a front end for them at all? I was using Emulation Station at one point and have switched to Launchbox. Definitely worth checking out. ;)

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

I'll check, em out. At the moment I have everything in my steam library under a seperate category called emulators. This allows me to launch any game right from steam.

GamerMan101 1 point 28 months ago

Is the Amd processor an good choice for heavy gamers like me? btw like the build!

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 27 months ago

If you are a really heavy gamer I would recommend Intel I5 to get started. This machine is killer but is my secondary.

Bombadilo 1 point 26 months ago

Hello, that looks great, but:

does a future graphic card fit in the pcie slot without touching the cpu cooler?

fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 25 months ago

Yes, I was able to git an R9 380, but ventilation was not the best for it.

Victor_O 1 point 23 months ago

+1 for nice pics :)

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fundando submitter 3 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Nope that is a Logitech unifying receiver for keyboards and mice. THe bluetooth is built into the the wifi/bluetooth wireless card that comes seated in the M.2 slot on the board.

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