Often we come up with unusual needs for a computer. In my case, since I could not accomplish what I needed to with the use of VM’s, I decided that I needed to build a small PC to use for a single purpose, recording. I will spare you the details as to what forced the necessity to build this and focus on the results as the outcome exceeded my expectations. As the title implies, I wanted this PC to tuck away in my closet. I wanted something quiet, and something that did not generate allot of heat. I thought of using an Atom but since I had an extra CPU, RAM, and SSD sitting in my in closet, I thought I would be kind of cool to build up a mini ITX board using my spare I3-2100 as I had never built a mini ITX before other than an Atom. I wanted something that could possibly be repurposed later on as an HTPC as my needs changed. Computers at my house are always changing in some fashion as my needs change.
It may not come as a surprise but I selected the Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3 for this build. As I got it for on sale for $89, it was relatively low cost and had all the basic features I needed for now, and of course the needed connectors for possible use as an HTPC later on. The board has all the connectors of their full size boards except the DVI, PS2, and two USB ports, all of which was not an issue considering the size of the board and its application.
For a case, I selected the Silverstone SG05BB-450. This baby sports an efficient and quiet 450 watt supply just in case I needed it later on (I really doubt it though). I picked this because earlier in the year I had used the 300 watt version of the same case when building my untangle router and I absolutely loved the case. I could have easily got the another 300 watt version but In the event I added a full size GPU later on I wanted some room to spare.
The build would not be complete without the addition of the Intel Core I3-2100 and my favorite RAM, the G-skill Ripjaws X. As you can see from the pictures below, the board is quite small and once you add the 8 Gigs RAM and CPU, it looks even smaller.
The Final Build
With SSD mounted, the cables tied up, this is what the final product looked like. Despite its small size, there is still a ton of room left to mount more drives and still maintain great airflow.
The result is very quiet overall (although you might slow down the front fan a tad for HTPC use as the Silverstone fans are not as quiet as other MFG such as LIan-Li) and definitely runs very cool. The performance was what your would expect from an I3-2100 and easily handles all you can throw at it. The box is amazingly small (10.87″ x 6.93″ x 8.74) for the power and flexibility it offers. You can add a variety of drive configurations such as 3 x 2.5 (with adapter) and DVD, or 1 x 3.5, 1 DVD, and 1 x 2.5 so you can pack a descent amount of storage in this box. I have always liked roomy boxes but I must admit that this thing is pretty awesome. Whether you are tucking this in the closet, putting it in your living room as an HTPC, or putting it on your desk as your main PC, this box will not disappoint.