[OT] Custom computers

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Dec 3 13:51:44 EST 2010

I've done both - barebones and build from scratch.  The issue with barebones
is to make sure it is a standard form factor main board.  A couple of Asus
machines have been fine, but are impossible to upgrade or to replace the
main board if anything goes wrong.  Shuttle has the same problem.  I would
not go with either one for that reason.  If you want a Shuttle form factor,
Silverstone has a very nice sff in aluminum or in (cheaper) steel.

The last two I made were definitely more cost effective than buying brand
names.  One of them was a barebones i5 in a highish end Antec gaming case
because that is what it came with from our chosen supplier.  We got a 
decent graphics card for it, the case is way over the top for a business
application, but the huge fans make it very quiet and the cooling is superb. 
This is going to last.  The guy wanted not to have to change out his machine
for as long as he could get away with, and then to do the minimum, and this
was the best i could do at the budget.   The blue LEDs look a bit odd in a
business environment, but its built for function, and he has not asked to
have them turned off.

The second one was from scratch.  This one the user wanted silence.  So I
got a silent psu, silent fans, and a speed reducer control for even those
fans.  The case is a silverstone sff, which takes a standard matx board.  It
really is just about silent, with three slow fans moving plenty of air
through.  Its an i3 with a stock cooler, which I had expected to have to
swap out, but you can hardly hear it so we will stay with it.  Cooling is
superb, and quiet too.  The trick is to get bigger fans and run them slower.

No, don't get AMD.  Get the i series from Intel.  The power consumption,
hence the heat, is lower, and the performance way up.  Read the processor
test reports.  At this point there is really no reason to go with AMD.

The next one I am getting ready to do is a real sff machine for someone who
wants small.  We are going to do a compucase very small case, with external
psu, and an i3.   i3 is nice because its low power, low heat, very quiet.  I
like to get the main board memory and psu all bundled together and installed
and tested, it makes life easier.  Once again we will add silent fans to
this, and will use an external dvd for the optical.

Do it.  You get exactly what you want, and its usually, for what you are
getting, very cost effective.  Of course, you have to know what you want.
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