Parts were purchased locally in Singapore ($921 SGD net) and converted to USD
TOASTBOX is my second personal build, it's a down-size-upgrade from my previous, and relatively mammoth sized, Fractal Design R4 i5-4760k build. The project was brought on by the need for a portable desktop that can be carried onto an airplane. This build uses a few parts from my previous build; the GPU, storage, and various peripherals.
The size had to go down, but computing power had to go up, yet I wasn't prepared to spend too much. Ryzen ITX motherboards were fresh out of QC labs and the choice was really a no brainer. I'd really wanted to go for some of the higher end SFF cases like the S4 mini or the Sentry but their high prices and low availability put me off. This left other mainstream cases like the SG13 I ultimately went with, Node 202, and the RVZ02. I have to confess that I'm a data hoarder, so a case like the Node 202 wasn't really optimal. I ended up going with the SG13 over the RVZ02 because I'd have to buy another video card, and now's really not a good time to buy one, to fit the RVZ02. While PCPP told me that the GTX760 I had wouldn't fit (it also told me the stock Wraith Spire cooler wouldn't fit), I was convinced it would, with some help. And the rest of the parts just fit around the case like most SFF builds.
Note: Ambient temperatures are around 30+ Celsius here
It's pretty much common sense at this point that Ryzen parts offers a better performance/dollar ratio than Intel parts, albeit at a FPS disadvantage in 1080p gaming. AMD's Ryzen 1600 was lauded by many reviewers across the internet as the best price/performance part on the market. Its stock Wraith Spire cooler would probably fit if a SFX PSU was installed, and provide sufficient cooling (which it does). I hardly play 3D games nowadays so this doesn't really bother me, it's also the reason why I didn't get a new video card. I have to praise the stock cooler despite it's relatively high idle temperatures, it's surprisingly quiet even at full speed and it does it's job fairly well despite the confined space. The Wraith Spire shroud, the piece of plastic that has the AMD logo, is a fairly useful thing, allowing you to actually unclip and route its fan cable underneath it, and even rotate it to your mother board's orientation. Unfortunately mine made an annoying rattling sound when the fan spun up so I took it out later.
The only Ryzen ITX motherboard I could find on the local market at the time of purchase, and hardly any Ryzen ITX motherboards were in stock on online markets. There have been reviews criticizing the placement of headers on this Gigabyte board, but in a cube case like the SG13, it doesn't really matter. The particular unit I received came with a BIOS version of F3, released a mere half a month before I got it. I expected great things out of a freshly minted BIOS, and great things I did not get. Visual bugs aside, the interface is quite simply horrible, I expected better coming from my previous Z87 Gigabyte motherboard. One vital thing to note when changing some settings from the default Auto, the BIOS requires you to key in the numbers without ever showing you any visual cue to do so. The default value is still there and is really quite misleading, they could've at least left you with a blank field to notify you that you're supposed to fill it up.
Only on Ryzen Systems :tm: will you feel justified to pick up higher clocked memory! But oh boy did this one give me problems. It was at a pretty good price despite the overall memory market. 16GB is the bare minimum I will go as I use Photoshop frequently. Furthermore, if I were to go any higher I'd end up spending more money on memory than the CPU and that'd just be weird... Back to my problem, the system just refused to boot with the XMP-3200 profile. Usually manually dialing in the voltages and timings isn't too hard, but in this case the BIOS interface gave me hell. See the above paragraph. After a bit of tinkering I settled down on the following values: 3200mhz, 1.35v, 1T, 16-16-18-36, TRC at 56 clocks, Gear Down Mode enabled.
I really didn't want to cheap out on this, many hot, power hungry components in a small box rely on this little black box, while doing double duty as an exhaust fan. I went with an SFX PSU to relieve some of the space constraints inside the case, also for easier cable management as they already come with shorter cables. Picked the Silverstone model instead of the similarly spec'd Corsair SF600 because this came with a SFX to ATX mounting bracket.
Wait a minute, you didn't buy a new video card! That's right, but I'm still going to write about how this long thing of mine, ahem, fit into such a small case, not without some mistakes and quite a bit of fiddling I might add. If you went through the pictures you might've guessed what went wrong. Too much fun was had hacksawing the end of the card's shroud off, and the wires connecting the fan to the card was caught in the middle of it.
It was all actually my dad's fault, he came in wanting to help out while I was in the middle of it and got too excited. But hey, if it's one thing I learned in the army, it's that black tape fixes everything.
What was seemingly an easy down-size-upgrade turned into quite the long story, I apologize. Whilst wrangling the cables in a small enclosure, fixing a graphics card which had its fan's wires cut, and fighting memory that refused to overclock itself, it was a load of fun.
Thanks for reading, and I wish you luck in your own builds!