Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Budget Small(ish) Web Browser Box

I wanted a small box to sit in the corner as basically nothing more than a web browser. Since mITX parts were so difficult to source locally, I went the smallest mATX case I could find.

Here is the parts list:
  • CPU: AMD A4-5300 $55
  • Mobo: Asus F2A55M-LK-Plus $49
  • RAM: 1x4GB 1600 (already had)
  • SSD: Plextor M5S 128GB $89
  • Case: Coolermaster RC361 $49
  • PSU: Corsair VS450 $49
  • KB/Mouse: USB combo (already had)

Total: $291 (would have been about $350 if I didn't have RAM/KB/mouse already).

Some happy snaps:

The motherboard, fresh out of the box. Notice how it captures the light...(because of my crappy photography)

The motherboard was fairly low end, but was a good price so I grabbed it. It doesn't have a USB 3 header of SATA 3, but since the build didn't need either, it filled the requirements.

CPU, pins pins pins

Motherboard with RAM, CPU and HSF mounted

Mounting the AMD HSF was straightforward: stick it on the CPU and clip it into place. Easier than Intel's "four pins" mechanism, which takes a little getting used to.

The empty case

The Coolermaster RC361 is about the smallest micro-ATX case I could source locally. It's a "sideways" mini tower, so can stand upright or on its side. For a case that cost less than $50, it's not too bad.

Case with the power supply (tucked away, unusually, in the front of the case)

Mounting the power supply was fairly tricky, and given its unusual location, there's no way to turn the PSU on or off without pulling the front of the case off (which, unlike some cases, came off easily). I don't think access to the PSU switch will prove too much of a problem for my uses. The case also has no place to mount an SSD. Since I didn't have a mounting kit, I just taped it to the bottom of the case. The RC361 does come with a comprehensive set of extra screws and cable ties.

The completed build. SSD isn't visible because it's taped to the bottom of the case

Installed Kubuntu 13.04, it worked really well. The AMD A4-5300 (with proprietary Catalyst drivers installed) will even play some games at a reasonable level (if with low settings).

1 comment:

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