August 1st 2011 12:51 pm

final rating

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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Speed and features Even at a year and a half old, the i5-2500 & GTX560ti run pretty much anything I throw at them without a hiccup. great!
  • Design and form factor I've got a LIAN LI PC-Q08B mini-ITX case. So, as desktops go, it's pretty small and slick. For my next build though, I'll probably stick with a Shuttle box. good
  • Expandability My case will fit an 11.8" video card, 5 HDD bays, and a full ATX power supply. Not bad for mini-ITX. I just wish Intel would stop changing their sockets. great!
  • Noise It's not the loudest system I've had, but when the video card fan kicks in you definitely hear it. good
  • Size and weight Again, it's mini-ITX, so it's definitely better than a standard mid-tower machine, but it's still bigger than an all-in-one like the iMac. good
  • Power consumption GTX 560ti definitely drinks the juice. poor
Detailed review
This is the second custom built machine I've done for myself (though I've done several others for friends and relatives). Full specs are as follows:
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500
  • Motherboard: ASRock H67M-ITX
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 1333mhz
  • Video Card: GTX 560 Ti (1GB)
  • SSD: 128GB Crucial RealSSD C300
  • HDD: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint
  • Case: Lian Li PC-Q08B
  • Power Supply: Corsair 650W modular PSU

I built it primarily with gaming in mind, and on that measure it has definitely delivered. Even a year and half later it runs just about everything I throw at it at max settings.

I also wanted a somewhat smaller system than my previous mid-Tower. The Lian Li case fits a ton of standard sized parts in a small space. My only issue with it has been that things get pretty cramped. Now that Shuttle is putting 500W power supplies in their barebones systems, I'll probably go that route for my next build.

That's still a ways away though since this machine has far from reached its limits. Obviously the best thing about building your own machine is the upgrade path. Sometime in the next year, I'll probably put in a new video card and put a bigger SSD for the OS (currently I'm just using it for games). That should keep me playing games a high settings for at least a few more years before I feel the need to fully replace this machine.