I had never put together a computer from parts before, so I decided to build one for my daughter for her seventh birthday. I liked the look of the Raijintek Metis cases. She wanted the red one.
Because she would mainly be using it to watch Youtube videos about Kinder eggs, I decided to see how cheap I could go. But I also wanted it to run quiet and cool. I obsessed on the combination of components for many weeks and if you're bored enough, you can read my rationale for each choice below.
I couldn't have done this without pcpartpicker.com because I really don't even understand how computers work. So thanks to all you people out there who post your builds and comments.
Some things were learned by me in this process. You can't boot from an ISO file (it has to be extracted duh).
Also, more light is good. If I ever put together another computer, I am going to have a strong work light over the table. That would have helped my pictures, too.
This case was a tight squeeze but I wanted a small one, so I can't complain.
The monitor is one I had. The system (Linux Mint) is on the Kingston SSD, and I stuck a spare HDD in there too and filled it with family pictures.
This is my first time using Mint (with the Cinnamon desktop). I have a little experience with Linux Debian, and Mint is easier. No problems there.
The keyboard is also one I already had, a Unicomp Model M. Unicomp is a Kentucky company. They are still making these keyboards with the buckling spring mechanism that was used in the IBM Selectric typewriters. The keyboard is heavy, solid, and loud, a pleasure to use--well worth the $84 plus shipping to order from them online.
It's inexpensive, I did not need a separate graphics card, and it's powerful enough for Netflix. The stock fan seems a little dinky. It is probably sufficient but I might look into an aftermarket fan later.
There were not a lot of choices among mini-ITX motherboards, and this was the only one with a USB 3.0 header. The manual told me what I needed to know.
This took a long time to arrive from Amazon. It works.
I like this case a lot. Waiting for it to become available in the US was my biggest holdup. The Metis Plus has a vent in the top, which the original Metis did not have, so I wanted this one. It's small, but all the sides and the top can be removed simply. I got a deal on this one (even at the full price of $60 or so it is cheap), but the quality is good. Some have noted that when you install the side panels, you are screwing into aluminum, so you have to be careful not to strip the threads. But those are just the side panels, and the frame inside is steel, so you're able to tighten the main screws down pretty well.
It's dumb, but I admired the box this came in. It has detailed drawings of the case on the outside.
I had an idea that the power supply was not a good component to skimp on. I also wanted it to be efficient and quiet, so I sprung for the Gold Certified one. It's bulky and solid as a brick. Glad I went with the semi-modular power supply, too--there would have been no place to hide extra cables.
This was also nicely packaged. The extra cables were in a drawstring bag, like a Crown Royal bag only not velvet.