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Completed $35 Case? (Budget almost as tight as the case)

sswilson

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Had some leftover parts after a recent purchase on here (3900XT + motherboard in my sig) and couldn't decide if I wanted to sell them off or build another PC (either to keep or as an easier sell as a completed PC).

First came a sale on this super cheap AZZA 550W PSU... (Has a MIR, but I don't bother if it's going to cost me $2 to mail out for a small $10 return)


Then came a relatively cheap No-Name NVMe....


And finally topped it off with the smallest (non niche market) mATX case I could find (which also turned out the be the cheapest... :) ).


Not a ton of PCMR PRON here... but then again, not every build is chock full of enthusiast parts. :)
 
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sswilson

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Packages.jpg

Hardware that's going in...

- MSI B450M Bazooka "MAX" Wifi
- Ryzen 5 3600 (Cooling with a Wraith Prism)
- Trident Z RGB 2X8 3200
- Sunbow NVMe 256GB
- Seagate 7200 RPM 1TB (not shown)
- Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 (grabbed off of kijiji recently)
- Diamond Multimedia Xtreme Sound 7.1 (wanted my 192Khz optical out)
- Noctua Redux 120 & 80
 

sswilson

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First off.... let's get this out of the way and never speak of it again.... this case was a major PITA to work in! Not only was it small, but the 5 1/4 supporting column at the front extended over the motherboard which made working on the front panel connectors a major pain in the arse.

Noctua 120.jpg

Noctua 80.jpg


First things to go were the DC (3 pin) case fans that shipped with this. They're surprisingly "serviceable" for a $35 case, but with only a 120 intake and 80mm exhaust I wanted to improve my chances of getting some kind of decent airflow (even more so when I decided to shoehorn in the PCIe sound card). Gotta say, I'm a big fan of Noctua's Redux line's colours, the two tone grey is still unique, but I was never a fan of the tan.

Sound Card.jpg

SC cable over Vid card.jpg

Rear PCI slots.jpg

Here's that sound card I mentioned earlier... the fact that it's tight up against the bottom of the case isn't concerning, but the 3/4" gap between it and the vid card's intake most certainly is. The cable for the auxiliary panel (needed for the optical out) was pretty damn close to too tight as well, but it's in there and seems to be working fine.

With all of my concerns WRT a lack of airflow through the case I also decided to leave off the top PCIe slot cover as I figured it would give the excess air from the 120mm a chance to flow out towards the vid card's intake.

Completed case front.jpg

Completed case. The front intake for the 120mm is solely through a slot in the bottom front. If the airflow isn't up to the task I'm seriously considering drilling out some intake holes. :)

Completed case side powered on.jpg

There's the running bling shot.... you can see the 5 1/4 "column" I referred to earlier on the R/H side of the window. Overall, it's a nice compact little build, the grills on the side of the AZZA PSU even seem to match well with the design of the window.

Top/Right of the window you can just make out the edge of the spinning disk. This case has an ODD bay, but it doesn't have a dedicated HDD/SSD bay (they're screwed to the 5 1/4 bay column) so I printed off a 5 1/4 -> 3.5" adapter to move it up top out of the way of the 120mm's airflow.

Gym PC setup.jpg

That's the whole setup... main purpose is audio playback and visualizations while I'm on the exercise bike. The slight fly in the ointment is that I'm driving a 4K TV so I need an HDMI 2.0 (minimum) port which requires a relatively new vid card for a non-gaming setup.
 
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sswilson

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Spent the afternoon running thermals on this and was pleasantly surprised. Still have some work to do on the fan tuning (they're probably louder than they need to be), but 2 hrs + moderately high Valley benchmark (1440p 2X AA) paired up with an 80% CPU load maxed out @ 71C for the vid card, and 78C for the Processor. The internal temp sensor for the HDD topped out @ 43C so I know that hot air isn't being trapped at the top of the case.

Biggest concern is going to be the PSU. Not only is it a cheap PSU, but the case is top mount so it's drawing in "warm" case air. At least this PC is only in use while I'm staring directly at it so I'll be able to react when/if a fire starts.... :)

The Sunbow NVMe didn't disappoint. I was initially considering grabbing a cheap NVMe Sata, but looking at the specs of my motherboard, it appeared that the single slot was only NVMe compatible. $42 (no tax) got me 256GB that hit somewhere around 1800 in CrystalDiskMark.
 
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djbrad

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I like the mix of some "cheap" part and recycled ones. When I build a computer from extra / retired parts, I almost find it as exciting as building new. Getting the most performance out of it.
 

sswilson

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I like the mix of some "cheap" part and recycled ones. When I build a computer from extra / retired parts, I almost find it as exciting as building new. Getting the most performance out of it.

Heh... that was the process while my kids were still in the house. Hardware would move down to the next in line with the most likely "new" item being the case.
 

clshades

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Your shelf looks like my monstrosity before the computer desk I built. I have bought hundreds of dollars in stackable plastic bins from Canadian tire, every time they go on sale, to organize my storage
 

sswilson

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Your shelf looks like my monstrosity before the computer desk I built. I have bought hundreds of dollars in stackable plastic bins from Canadian tire, every time they go on sale, to organize my storage

Heh... I've got those sprinkled about the house as well... I'm just a packrat who doesn't throw anything out. Half the stuff on that shelf is stuff that probably belongs in the landfill..... ;)

On the positive side.... the basement is mostly my domain so I don't have to worry about what my better half thinks of the general day-to-day neatness of my mancave.
 

clshades

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Heh... I've got those sprinkled about the house as well... I'm just a packrat who doesn't throw anything out. Half the stuff on that shelf is stuff that probably belongs in the landfill..... ;)

On the positive side.... the basement is mostly my domain so I don't have to worry about what my better half thinks of the general day-to-day neatness of my mancave.
I miss having my basement domain
 

djbrad

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Heh... that was the process while my kids were still in the house. Hardware would move down to the next in line with the most likely "new" item being the case.
Now that my kid is out of the house, I must find other use for my aging hardware. Getting older is so hard :whistle:
 

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