System Builder Marathon Q3 2015: AMD Mini PC

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
Status
Not open for further replies.

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
And that was my original idea with this, which I stated in my article.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator

The final budget allowed ~$55 for the PSU. Each of those models is $62 or greater as of right now. And none of them are modular. Cramming two or three more cables into that case would have seriously hampered the limited airflow and would have likely throttled the CPU back even further.

The original idea, without the ODD and with the extra $20 discount on the GPU, allowed the modular $75 SeaSonic M12II 520. After missing the GPU discount due to adding the ODD, that effectively put me $40 over budget. I was able to mitigate that a little by finding a great discount on the ODD, but the cheapest modular PSUs with the necessary 6+2-pin cable for the GPU were the CX and the ARC. Unless you count what Joe calls "PSU -shaped items" like Raidmax units.

Thank you much, my main goal was to make an interesting build to spark discussion.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
As I've said multiple times now, I see no point to spend extra money on aftermarket cooling for the 860K. If you get lucky you can find a cheap $20 cooler that might net you an extra 100 MHz or so. But where are you taking that $20 from? The CPU, storage, RAM, PSU, ODD, and OS are already as low as you can go. Pulling $20 from the GPU means you don't get the 970, meaning you lose more performance than you gain with the slight CPU bump. $20 away from the mboard means you get a piss-poor board for OCing, so the extra CPU cooling means nothing. $20 away from the case leaves you with a mediocre enclosure that has a single 80mm exhaust fan, which makes any CPU OC impossible.

The only way you're getting meaningful cooling to significantly improve the 860K OC in an ITX case is with a premium cooler of $50 or more, likely an AIO water cooler. If you're paying $75 for a CPU and $50 for a cooler, why not just get the i3-4170 for the same price? It won't have any problem with the stock cooler in an ITX case. If you're not constrained by ITX, an FX-6300 is the same price as an 860K + $30 cooler.

You might be able to make an argument for a liquid-cooled A10-7850K in ITX if your goal is a tiny "good enough" casual gaming box.
 

palladin9479

Distinguished
Moderator
Jul 26, 2008
3,240
0
20,860
45
I've used the ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ in all my APU based builds and it's a great board. Lots of value and options for what you get, can even remove the WIFI adapter and use that slot for a mSATA SSD.

Overall I think the system is valid for what it was designed around. I personally would never want to bring my i7 + dual 780 Hydro (soon to be 980TI) custom WC loop system to a friends house for some all night beer + gaming. Neither would I want to spend a high amount of money for what would essentially be a special purpose system, and so this build fits that niche perfectly. It's a build capable of 1080p portable gaming for pretty cheap.

And yeah the ODD is a hotly debated concept. Personally I rarely use ODD's anymore as I have a slim line USB DVD-RW that I keep handy for loading the OS. Windows 7, 8 and 10 all can be installed from a cheap USB stick. But if someone didn't have a way to get the install image into that stick and only had the DVD disk and parts on hand, then I could see the DVD being critical.
 


Oh i wasn't debating just my two cents, The 860 has been hitting 4.8Ghz in the wild, With a closed loop or scythe cooler suppose you could have shot for 4.5 but I do see your point. Budget wise it wasn't an option I guess, good article otherwise.

As for just getting the i3 that wasnt the point of the article as for the 6300 what motherboard would used? Im not seeing much in the way of AMD itx motherboards. And after looking that over Im not sure what kind of overclock you would have gotten from that itx board so I suppose testing your luck for 50 dollars as you mentioned could potentially be a big waste.

 

Cryio

Distinguished
Oct 6, 2010
881
0
19,160
52
"The GTX 970 was the obvious GPU after a little consideration. The 290X is too hot for an ITX case. "

This is something I cannot agree on. Newer 290Xs or even better 390s are generally COOLER than Nvidia counterparts nowadays, even though they use more power.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Disagree all you want, all that power gets converted to heat and all that heat gets dumped into the case. The card he chose blows its heat out of the case, and even if it didn't the "less watts" would mean less case heat. Meanwhile, Newegg doesn't even have any blower-style 290X's in stock.

His comment regarding case size and ventilation qualify his graphics comment as being purely correct without room for any error.
 

Baumy15

Reputable
May 12, 2014
1,008
0
5,660
112
Why would you not use a high airflow and high air pressure fan?
And what about running the CPU fan 100%? Yea it would be loud but might help with the temps
 

vertexx

Honorable
Apr 2, 2013
747
0
11,060
30


Ever hear of a $5 USB stick to install Windows? Or better yet, couldn't you just leave Windows installed on the HDD when it ships?

If this were a home office build, it's one thing, but for this LAN party build, forcing the ODD really detracts from the build.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the build and write-up. I'm even good with the CX PSU choice given the caveats. I myself had a CX600 running in what was supposed to be a temporary budget build. That CX600 ended up running a 125W CPU + R9 280X both overclocked in a Rosewill Line-M uATX case where the PSU exhausts hot air out of the case. This was with a $50 MSI motherboard that was also supposed to be trash. There I was 3 years later, and it was still running fine - paid $50 for that PSU. I just replaced it with a Seasonic 860 Platinum though - didn't want to push my luck too far - but the CX was still working just fine.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
And we're going to tell someone without a computer how to do all that without having a computer? These are how-to articles, even if the "experiments" are "how not to do".

 

cknobman

Distinguished
May 2, 2006
952
1
18,985
0
Hey lets build a rig with a kick arse GPU and a POS CPU, I wonder what will happen???

LOL, like we even needed to test this scenario. Logic tells you AMD cpu's bottleneck a good GPU, been this way for YEARS.

Then lets waste money on an optical drive, YAY!!!

Sorry, ditch the AMD CPU and the optical drive, buy something Intel and this rig kicks arse!
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Because buying an aftermarket case fan would take even more money away from an already maxed-out build. And the CPU fan was already set to max. Yeah, 5000rpm on that tiny thing was loud.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
By all means, please find me that CPU on Newegg right now. Better yet, please try to find an AM3 or AM3+ mboard in ITX on Newegg.
 

filippi

Distinguished
"Specifically we're looking for places where the $700 i3 system ties or beats the Munchkin (clear evidence of a CPU bottleneck) and where the Munchkin comes close to the $1300 i7 machine (evidence that the GTX 970 isn't held back).".

Right there. An already very good article suddenly became a great one.
 

Flying-Q

Distinguished
Feb 20, 2006
641
6
19,060
45
Bull feces. The reason not explained in this article for including the ODD was that the winner is receiving his system disassembled and unloaded with a Windows DVD. Done. We can drop the ODD when the DVD goes away. That will probably be when we do the Win 10 upgrade (and that will probably be Q1 2016).

I know I'm going to get down votes for telling things the way they are rather than telling people what they want to hear, but I'm OK with that :)
Crashman, I'm a little surprised at your tone, I would have expected better from you.

I have been using USB distros of Win8/8.1 in the shop for some time now and, as we know, Win10 is a USB or download distro. If these SBM machines were Win7 then I would heartily agree with you in the need for an ODD as that was, and still is, a DVD distro. However, they are not Win7, they are Win8.1. Just look at the SFF cases that are coming along now without 5.25" bays or even slimline bays (e.g. Node 304 3 years ago etc.), as well as so many laptops that lack an ODD. The industry already knows the DVD is a legacy device and it should go the way of the 3.5" floppy. I concede that an internal BD burner could be useful as a domestic backup device, but even there the cheapness of external HDDs makes that use narrow, especially as an external BD burner is a comparable cost with an internal one and blank discs form a significant ongoing cost.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Well now we know what happens. You get "kick arse" gaming at high resolutions and ultra details that rivals that of a machine that costs 50% more.

People like you love to throw that "bottleneck" term around, but I don't think you fully understand what it means. You have bottlenecks all over in modern machines, no matter how much money you throw at it. Storage limits, RAM limits, even PCIe and CPU limits. At some point nearly every piece of hardware is waiting on some other piece of hardware before it can move on. But you don't notice them most the time so you don't care about them.

Try revisiting those gaming graphs. Oh noes!!! I've got a bottleneck in Arma 3! I'm only getting 80fps instead of 100fps! I'm only getting 88fps in triple-screen BF4 instead of 94fps with the i7! So what? You're already 20fps faster than the typical 60Hz monitor the budget gamer will play on.

No, you're not. Don't lie.

And what happened to the multi-quote feature? Anyone else having trouble with it?
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
It's quite simple. You're in a shop. You have other computers at your disposal to first put that Windows install on the flash drive. People who buy drive-less laptops either have a desktop at home, or take their laptops into a store to have them worked on. The SBM also serves as a "how-to" series that shows people how to make their own computers like this. Whether someone wins the SBM or tries to emulate it to make their own system, we cannot guarantee they have the means to make an install USB for those machines.

Neither me, nor Crash, nor anyone at Tom's Hardware is saying every computer must have an ODD, the end. The ODD is simply a requirement for the SBM as of this time.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Thank you very much. I suppose my QA engineer and software testing experience is paying off.
 

Flying-Q

Distinguished
Feb 20, 2006
641
6
19,060
45

The USB media was not created by us in the shop but bought retail. A typical example: A customer brings in a totally dead Toshiba Win8.1 AIO. Diagnosis - dead drive. The customer has not created a USB backup of the OS as instructed in the 'Quick Start Guide' and these machines no longer come with a licence sticker on them, so we have to order a replacement OS from Toshiba for this model. Instead of sending us a Toshiba specific OS with specific drivers and 'value added' Toshiba software they send a vanilla, retail, Microsoft-branded Win 8.0 16GB USB stick and licence. We have had many other occurrences like this.
 

RedJaron

Splendid
Moderator
Ok, do you think Toshiba, HP, Dell, Lenovo, or any other OEM would send you a Windows USB drive for a system that was not their own?
 

chlamchowder

Reputable
Jan 6, 2015
14
0
4,510
0
And we're going to tell someone without a computer how to do all that without having a computer? These are how-to articles, even if the "experiments" are "how not to do".
I have a suggestion. Make the ODD optional, creating two options:
1. Go ODD + Windows on a DVD
2. Get Windows, product key only, and buy a flash drive ($2 off brand). Get the ISO off https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/home and "burn" it to the flash drive. Include the flash drive price in the final build price.

That way, the builder can pick depending on which is cheaper. The installation experience will be near identical.

Besides ODD installation, I don't see why ODDs are more important than other optional parts. Yes, some people need to transfer old music or want to use legacy software that only came on physical media (i.e. Office 97 or Wordperfect 9), but there are convincing arguments for other niche components as well (wifi card because ethernet cable routing can be hard, TPM because some businesses require them, 5.25 floppy drive because people have precious archives on those disks, etc.).
 

Flying-Q

Distinguished
Feb 20, 2006
641
6
19,060
45
Ok, do you think Toshiba, HP, Dell, Lenovo, or any other OEM would send you a Windows USB drive for a system that was not their own?
That is effectively what they did do as that USB stick could have been used in any machine as it came with a retail licence. The essence of my story is that Win8.0, Win8.1 and of course Win10 come on retail USB sticks which obviates any need for an ODD to install said OS, since the launch of Win8.0. This was Crashman's argument for an ODD in every SBM until tom's goes full Win10 in 2016Q1. Away from shop work, as a private individual I have bought Win8.1 retail on a USB for one of my sons' machines, built in an EVGA Hadron case without the separately-purchased, slot-load ODD.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY