New PC Build - Questions From a Beginner

vvolf-27

Prominent
Jul 16, 2018
4
0
510
I’m currently putting together a list of components for my next computer build and some help would be greatly appreciated as I'm not the most experienced.

For starters, the PC I want to build isn't going to be anything over the top. I’m looking to put together a decently powerful mini ITX computer to save space on my desk and not draw too much attention to itself. I’ll be using this for light photo editing and gaming. I'm a traditional artist so I'll only be using photoshop sometimes to touch up photos here and there for prints, website images, or projects for a client. I also like to game quite a bit, however I'm thinking of leaving out a GPU at the beginning and putting off heavy gaming until I can afford a higher end card in the future.

With that out of the way, the beginnings of my current list of parts are as follows:

CPU:
https://www.amazon.com/Intel-8th-Core-i5-8400-Processor/dp/B0759FGJ3Q/ref=pd_bxgy_147_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0759FGJ3Q&pd_rd_r=0f46189b-87e6-11e8-9cc3-e978e9b0c892&pd_rd_w=DVOP3&pd_rd_wg=aHu4u&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=3914568618330124508&pf_rd_r=2V6B9Q4R6BSAK9WC3Z59&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=2V6B9Q4R6BSAK9WC3Z59

MOTHERBOARD:
https://www.amazon.com/GIGABYTE-H370N-WIFI-LGA1151-Motherboard/dp/B07BQCZNKB/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531636855&sr=1-1&keywords=GIGABYTE+H370N+wifi

(I went with the h370 motherboard and a locked processor because I'm not interested in overclocking my CPU or anything. Maybe in a future build, but for this one I want to make a simple, clean system I know will work. If there is a different ITX motherboard you would suggest let me know but this one seems to have all the features I need and fits nicely within my budget. )

RAM:
https://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Vengeance-PC4-21300-Ryzen-Intel/dp/B06XRDVY76/ref=sr_1_7?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531636907&sr=1-7&keywords=corsair+vengeance+16gb+ddr4

or
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D8U2B8W/ref=twister_B07CTR53KF?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

(I just now noticed that both of these say they're tested for Intel's 200 and 100 series motherboards however the CPU and motherboard I’ve selected are the 300 series. Will this cause problems? If anyone has some better suggestions for ram that’d be great.)

CASE:
https://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Computer-Chassis-Interchangeable-CA-1B8-00S1WN-00/dp/B00M2UKGSM/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531688576&sr=1-3&keywords=mini+ITX+case

(I just like this little ITX case. It’s nothing flashy and is pretty affordable.)

It should also be noted I’ll be reusing a couple parts from my current rig including a 650w fully modular PSU from EVGA and a Noctua CPU heatsink for cooling.

In terms of storage, I'm leaning towards a 250gb SSD for a boot drive and programs, and a 500gb SSD for additional storage.
The SSD's I'm looking at are these:

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-250GB-Internal-MZ-76E250B-AM/dp/B07864WMK8/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531719243&sr=1-3&keywords=250gb+ssd

The Samsung SSD's seem to be a generally good choice but, like any of these components, if there is a different option you would suggest, feel free to let me know.

So is this generally a pretty decent starting point for my next build? Would you change anything in particular?

Thanks for any help!
 
Solution
My main reason for suggesting 3-pin fans was based on assuming that you would use the 200 mm unit supplied with the case, plus they are marginally cheaper. However, I fully support your plan to buy three Noctua 4-pin units as above. They are great fans for performance, low noise and long life. I think the 4-pin system is technically superior. Each of those fans consumes at most only 0.08 A, so two or three of them can be used on a single header using a splitter. You can even get a 3-output splitter, although you don't need to since you have two SYS_FAN headers. Do be sure it's a 4-pin Splitter, though.

Both those fans come with an accessory - a little module that can be inserted into a fan connection called a "Low Noise Adapter". This...
Jul 11, 2018
32
0
40
Mobo; You can get cheaper B360

RAM: DDR4 2666 or higher. amazon seems expensive. You can get DDR4 3000 for $160

Storage, why do you need SSD for storage? standard HDD a lot cheaper.
BTW, i would go for m.2 SSD

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($178.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI - B360I GAMING PRO AC Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($97.16 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($159.99 @ Best Buy)
Storage: MyDigitalSSD - BPX 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($43.90 @ OutletPC)
Case: Thermaltake - Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($47.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $607.91
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-07-16 07:45 EDT-0400


 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
Just some things to note about case cooling fans. I'm going to assume that you would like all your fans to be controlled automatically by the mobo fan headers so that their speeds are adjusted to keep up with changing heat generation due to workload.

There are two basic types of fans currently. The older 3-pin design is slightly cheaper, but can be controlled only if the header uses the older Voltage Control Mode (aka DC Mode). If you have more than one fan you can combine two or more 3-pin fans using a SPLITTER to connect them to a single mobo header provided their total current draw is 1.0 A max. Most case fans are between 0.1 and 0.25 A, so not a problem for a modest number of fans. A SPLITTER is a simple device that merely connects all its fans to the header power source in parallel, so that all fan power must come from that header and the load is subject to that current limit. A SPLITTER has only two types of arms. ONE arm ends in a female (with holes) connector that plugs into the mobo header. Two or more are are for output to fans, and each ends in a male connector. Be careful, because websites often misuse (on my opinion) the terms Splitter and Hub (next para).

The newer design is 4-pin fans, and they should be controlled by a header using the new PWM Mode, although they will operate well if connected to a Voltage Control Mode set of signals. Not surprisingly, their connectors have one more pin. To connect more than one of these to a single header you can use a SPLITTER, also, as long as the total current meets that 1.0 A limit. But another option is to use a different device, a HUB. This device gets all the power for its fans directly from the PSU, and uses the PWM control signals from the mobo header to control the fans. Thus it avoids that 1.0 A limit, and this can be handy if you have lots of fans. What distinguishes a HUB from a SPLITTER is that the Hub has those first two types of "arms", but also a third arm type that plugs into a power output connector (either 4-pin Molex (aka Peripheral) or SATA) from the PSU. Both Hubs and Splitters can appear to be simply groups of wires, or small bare printed circuit boards, or closed boxes with ports along the side. But the presence (or absence) of that third "arm" to the PSU is the difference between the two device types. Both have on characteristic you should note, although it has no effect on performance. A mobo fan header can only accept the speed signal coming to it from ONE fan, so any device that lets you connect more than one to a header will only send the host header a single fan's speed and ignore the others connected to it.

The mobo you have chosen has three fan headers in total. One is the CPU_FAN and always should be used for the cooler on the CPU chip. The other two are identical functionally and are called SYS_FAN1 and 2. ALL of them can be configured to use either Voltage Mode or PWM Mode, so you will have no problem adapting to whatever fan type(s) you get. On at least the two SYS_FAN headers you also can make a choice about which temperature sensor should be used to guide the automatic fan control system. For the case fans, these should be set to use a general mobo temperature sensor, and NOT the one inside the CPU chip.

That case you have chosen comes with a single 200 mm fan pre-mounted in front. Digging into the website shows it is a 3-pin fan type. The case has space at the rear for two additional 80 mm fans, and Thermaltake will sell you fans for those positions optionally, or you can get your own elsewhere. I suggest you buy 3-pin fans types for there also, and set both SYS_FAN headers to use the older Voltage Control Mode. Plug the big front fan into one header. For the two rear fans, get a Splitter like this

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812423168&cm_re=coboc_fan_splitter-_-12-423-168-_-Product

or this

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812423161&cm_re=coboc_fan_splitter-_-12-423-161-_-Product

One of those is 3-pin and the other 4-pin designs, but either will work perfectly for you with 3-pin fans. Use it to connect the two rear fans to the second SYS_FAN header - I'm sure they will not use over the 1.0 A limit.
 

vvolf-27

Prominent
Jul 16, 2018
4
0
510
[quotemsg=21145742,0,2756299]Mobo; You can get cheaper B360

RAM: DDR4 2666 or higher. amazon seems expensive. You can get DDR4 3000 for $160

Storage, why do you need SSD for storage? standard HDD a lot cheaper.
BTW, i would go for m.2 SSD

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor ($178.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: MSI - B360I GAMING PRO AC Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard ($97.16 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($159.99 @ Best Buy)
Storage: MyDigitalSSD - BPX 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital - Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($43.90 @ OutletPC)
Case: Thermaltake - Core V21 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($47.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $607.91
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-07-16 07:45 EDT-0400


[/quotemsg]

Thanks for the response!

Again, while I've built a PC before, I'm still very much a beginner, so bear with me if some of my questions are silly or obvious.

The reason I was looking at grabbing an additional SSD is because it would be faster (for load times in games and general stuff) and quieter than a standard HDD like you suggested. I have an HDD in my current system and it can be a bit annoying at times when I hear it speed up.

Also I see that DDR4 3000 ram is cheaper, but if the max my motherboard supports (as well as the one you suggested) is 2666 wouldn't that be overkill?

Speaking of the motherboard, could you explain the differences between the two? From what I've read online, the differences between the z370 and h370 seem to be features like the ability to overclock the cpu and ram. So are B300 series motherboards a further step down from the H300's? Would I be loosing anything else besides some ports on the back?

Finally, is there any benefit to going with the m.2 SSD? From what I can tell, the m.2 SSD (besides the NVMe stuff which I'm a bit lost on) is basically the same as a regular SSD but with the benefit of using no cables since it plugs directly into the motherboard. Would setting it up as my boot drive be essentially the same as it would with a regular SSD?
 

vvolf-27

Prominent
Jul 16, 2018
4
0
510
[quotemsg=21146340,0,109091]Just some things to note about case cooling fans. I'm going to assume that you would like all your fans to be controlled automatically by the mobo fan headers so that their speeds are adjusted to keep up with changing heat generation due to workload.

There are two basic types of fans currently. The older 3-pin design is slightly cheaper, but can be controlled only if the header uses the older Voltage Control Mode (aka DC Mode). If you have more than one fan you can combine two or more 3-pin fans using a SPLITTER to connect them to a single mobo header provided their total current draw is 1.0 A max. Most case fans are between 0.1 and 0.25 A, so not a problem for a modest number of fans. A SPLITTER is a simple device that merely connects all its fans to the header power source in parallel, so that all fan power must come from that header and the load is subject to that current limit. A SPLITTER has only two types of arms. ONE arm ends in a female (with holes) connector that plugs into the mobo header. Two or more are are for output to fans, and each ends in a male connector. Be careful, because websites often misuse (on my opinion) the terms Splitter and Hub (next para).

The newer design is 4-pin fans, and they should be controlled by a header using the new PWM Mode, although they will operate well if connected to a Voltage Control Mode set of signals. Not surprisingly, their connectors have one more pin. To connect more than one of these to a single header you can use a SPLITTER, also, as long as the total current meets that 1.0 A limit. But another option is to use a different device, a HUB. This device gets all the power for its fans directly from the PSU, and uses the PWM control signals from the mobo header to control the fans. Thus it avoids that 1.0 A limit, and this can be handy if you have lots of fans. What distinguishes a HUB from a SPLITTER is that the Hub has those first two types of "arms", but also a third arm type that plugs into a power output connector (either 4-pin Molex (aka Peripheral) or SATA) from the PSU. Both Hubs and Splitters can appear to be simply groups of wires, or small bare printed circuit boards, or closed boxes with ports along the side. But the presence (or absence) of that third "arm" to the PSU is the difference between the two device types. Both have on characteristic you should note, although it has no effect on performance. A mobo fan header can only accept the speed signal coming to it from ONE fan, so any device that lets you connect more than one to a header will only send the host header a single fan's speed and ignore the others connected to it.

The mobo you have chosen has three fan headers in total. One is the CPU_FAN and always should be used for the cooler on the CPU chip. The other two are identical functionally and are called SYS_FAN1 and 2. ALL of them can be configured to use either Voltage Mode or PWM Mode, so you will have no problem adapting to whatever fan type(s) you get. On at least the two SYS_FAN headers you also can make a choice about which temperature sensor should be used to guide the automatic fan control system. For the case fans, these should be set to use a general mobo temperature sensor, and NOT the one inside the CPU chip.

That case you have chosen comes with a single 200 mm fan pre-mounted in front. Digging into the website shows it is a 3-pin fan type. The case has space at the rear for two additional 80 mm fans, and Thermaltake will sell you fans for those positions optionally, or you can get your own elsewhere. I suggest you buy 3-pin fans types for there also, and set both SYS_FAN headers to use the older Voltage Control Mode. Plug the big front fan into one header. For the two rear fans, get a Splitter like this

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812423168&cm_re=coboc_fan_splitter-_-12-423-168-_-Product

or this

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812423161&cm_re=coboc_fan_splitter-_-12-423-161-_-Product

One of those is 3-pin and the other 4-pin designs, but either will work perfectly for you with 3-pin fans. Use it to connect the two rear fans to the second SYS_FAN header - I'm sure they will not use over the 1.0 A limit.[/quotemsg]

Appreciate the response!

I didn't include this in the original post because it was getting pretty long but I was planning to grabbing some quiet Noctua fans to replace both the 200mm in the front as well as occupy the 80mm mounts in the back. (I realize people hate the coloration Noctua goes with but honestly they've sort of grown on me)

I also realize for fans they are a bit expensive, so these are subject to change depending on what I'm able to afford when I get past the planning stage.

These are what I was originally looking at picking up:
https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NF-A20-PWM-premium-quality-quiet/dp/B071SLFBNY/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1531767173&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=200mm+noctua&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/noctua-NF-A8-PWM-Premium-Computer/dp/B00NEMG62M/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531767261&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=80mm+noctua&psc=1

both of these are 4-pin PWM fans, however there seem to be 3-pin versions as well:

https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NF-A20-FLX-premium-quality-quiet/dp/B071PFLMFT/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531767577&sr=1-4&keywords=200mm+noctua

https://www.amazon.com/noctua-NF-A8-FLX-Premium-Computer/dp/B00NEMG9K6/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531767447&sr=1-3&keywords=NF-A8+noctua

You said in your post I should go with 3-pin fans instead of 4-pin PWM and use the older Voltage Control Mode. Was that mainly because, on average, they are slightly cheaper? Or is there another reason? Also, the fan on my cpu cooler is a 4-pin fan. If I go with the 3-pin fans for the rest of the case will this cause problems? I know you said the headers can be configured for PWM or the Voltage Control Mode, but I wasn't sure if you meant all at once or individually.

I'm also assuming, changing the headers to use the older Voltage Control Mode is done through the BIOS at some point?

Thanks again for the post!
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
My main reason for suggesting 3-pin fans was based on assuming that you would use the 200 mm unit supplied with the case, plus they are marginally cheaper. However, I fully support your plan to buy three Noctua 4-pin units as above. They are great fans for performance, low noise and long life. I think the 4-pin system is technically superior. Each of those fans consumes at most only 0.08 A, so two or three of them can be used on a single header using a splitter. You can even get a 3-output splitter, although you don't need to since you have two SYS_FAN headers. Do be sure it's a 4-pin Splitter, though.

Both those fans come with an accessory - a little module that can be inserted into a fan connection called a "Low Noise Adapter". This is simply a resistor that reduces the voltage to the fan, and hence its speed and noise. BUT that means it reduces its AIR FLOW!. These accessories are useful if you connect the fan directly to a PSU output that gives you no speed control. But when connecting them to a mobo header to use automatic speed control, DO NOT USE THEM. Their only impact will be to limit the cooling you can get from those fans when your workload increases. They will NOT reduce fan noise for you.
 
Solution