Description

Hi guys. This is my new computer after a decade of only playing consoles and using a problematic Toshiba laptop. It did last nearly 10 years, so I shouldn't complain too much. Disclaimer for those thinking I'll abandon consoles: never! Just bought a PS4 Pro to replace my normal one and FFXV is beckoning.

Onto the build itself then. I consider it a powerful mid-range mini-ITX that will serve gaming and hackintoshing purposes. I've never tried the latter before and I'm typing this on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but this computer represents my definite cut off from Microsoft, a company I never liked. Call it a pet hate if you want, but I'm not looking back. I shall be one of those weird computer gaming types that only do it on restricted platforms like Linux/Mac. But hey, variety is the spice of life, right? ;D My gaming life did start on PCs - I'm 34 years old - with gems such as the original Civilization, a game series I still play today, and Commander Keen, to name a couple of examples.

Sorry if you were expecting numbers and stress loading, but I have yet to install macOS Sierra on it and only finished building it the day before yesterday, while also having to go to work. Might update it in the future if anything is unexpected, but I did a good bit of research before choosing the components so I'm expecting a great performing computer for many years to come. Hope you've enjoyed reading this and that you find the build cool. Cheers! :)

Part Reviews

CPU

Haven't stress loaded it yet, but it seems to be lightning fast. I intend to overclock it a bit in the future.

CPU Cooler

This thing is pretty awesome. Cheap, easy to install and handle, runs silently and keeps the CPU at around 30 degrees Celsius in normal load. Very impressed.

Motherboard

Excellent build quality, integrated WiFi, easy to handle, breathing LEDs, high quality feel, lots of inputs. The only thing missing is a Type C USB, but nothing's perfect. a 4th connector for fans would have been great too, but probably asking too much of a mini-ITX motherboard.

Memory

I seem to be having some trouble with Asus' bios to get it running at 2400 instead of the default 2133 it runs on at the moment, but the DIMMs themselves look awesome and were a breeze to install.

Storage

Lightning fast, what else is there to say? Capacity is low but for now I won't need more. I refuse to use HDDs anymore and when the prices of SSDs come down to HDD prices I'll get a large capacity one.

Video Card

What a card! Haven't stress loaded it yet, but it feels high quality, is easy to install and it's smaller than some other RX 480s made by other brands like MSI which wouldn't fit in my case. It comes pre-overclocked, has 8GB and is an excellent mid range card like reviews show, capable of running everything at 1080p 60fps and also future proof'd due to Vulkan capabilities. Fingers crossed!

Case

Look at it. Just look at it! I'm in love! Ahahah Paired with the front 200mm fan with blue LED lights that I got, it gives off an "ice cube/Lich King Arthas/Hackintosh Not Quite a Mac" feel. I'm so glad I went with white in the end, even though I was skeptical at first wondering if black/red would have been more aesthetically pleasing. Nope. I'm very pleased with it. Everything is easy to install, it looks great and there's lots of extra screws, ties and space for cable management. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a mini-ITX configuration.

Power Supply

Wow, this feels premium quality. The cables, the materials covering them, the extra stuff included in the box like separate bags for carrying everything around... And whoever does with power supplies? Cables are very good to work with, fully modular and there's plenty to install everything if one needs, plus more. Very impressed and would also recommend to anyone.

Case Fan

Thermaltake Pure 20 Blue LED 200mm - The looks are incredible and go amazingly well with my Snow Edition case, but boy is it noisy! It's a 3 pin connector that I had to connect directly into the power supply so it's always at full whack. Not even sure if it would work in PWM mode if I got a 3 to 4 pin adaptor and connected it to the mother board. Another problem is that I connected the two 80mm back-of-case fans plus the CPU cooler fan to the motherboard and the latter only has 3 connections for fans, all 4 pin ones. Might replace it at some point if I find an alternative that looks as good but is more silent. It'll probably drive me nuts soon!

Case Fan

Arctic F8 PWM 80mm - These things are lovely. They feel solidly built, easy to install and run silently in PWM mode under normal stress. Also were quite cheap and do their job well.

Monitor

Mine has a darker area on the lower left corner that is clearly different from the rest of the monitor even under different brightness settings. It's always there and darker than the rest of the image. It's not quite the light bleed these monitors seem to suffer from commonly. Already asked for a replacement from Amazon and will send this one back once that arrives. Other than that it's a good size, looks great and I love the bezel-less design. The buttons underneath are indeed too sensitive, so that needs a revision from Asus. All in all, I think for an ASUS monitor and for the price I was expecting better. The buttons and the faulty panel have disappointed me. despite the good looks.

Speakers

They're good enough. I have a 5.1 system for my consoles, so this isn't as good as that obviously, but still miles better from the speakers on my retiring laptop. Happy with the purchase as they also look wicked.

Custom

A mechanical keyboard that doesn't break the bank from this chinese company. I quite like the sound the keys make when typing, but it is a bit loud. Pleasingly so though. It's a full keyboard which I also like, but they have a more compact version. This is the US version of it even though I bought it from Amazon UK and am actually Portuguese living in the UK. My retiring laptop has a Portuguese keyboard. No matter, as it's easy to adjust to the different configurations. It's meant to emit blue LED lights too for each key, but only if its software is installed, which is only available for Windows. Never going to see those then! Ahahah

Custom

Has a good weight to it, buttons and wheel are satisfying to use and the standard DPI emits a blue LED light, how convenient for my build! ;) Different DPIs have different LED lights. Was cheap and while it doesn't look high quality, seems solid. Happy with the purchase.

Custom

Love it! It's smooth as butter on the side where you lie your keyboard and use your mouse, making it slide easily and comfortably, but also has some weight to it, like slightly heavy fabric, to make sure it stays in place at all times. The stitched all around edge in blue also goes along great with my build's colour theme. Very happy!

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Comments

  • 38 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for Ubuntu

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Let me know if you get that rx 480 above or at 1400 mhz on the core. Other than that great build enjoy!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

I will man, thanks! Really happy with it :)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey it's great to see some builds that are hand-picked to run Linux/Mac operating systems! How compatible is it with GNU/Linux? Like does everything display properly, sound working, some gaming?

I know your going purely for a Hackintosh and that's the purpose of this build. But I would appreciate some Linux stress testing/numbers etc.

I too am dropping Windows, as soon as 7 looses support I'm jumping ship.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Satuim. I have yet to hackintosh it as I need access to a Mac computer for a couple of the steps of the process, but on Ubuntu everything works brilliantly. No problems at all whatsoever. Only had to search for AMD's GPU PRO graphics card drivers. I've even managed to get World of WarCraft to work using Wine and PlayOnLinux. Blizzard should really invest in Linux versions of their games. So yeah, if you're thinking of diving in, I heartily recommend it. :)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, You have everything working good on that board with Ubuntu 16.04 want to build one to but I worry I will select a motherboard that wont work out of the box

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Chewy. As I said to Satuim, everything works well, no problems at all with any of the hardware components and this specific motherboard is a great piece of kit. You should definitely buy it. ;)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, I got the same case wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl and leds!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I had seen yours during my research phase of the build. Clearly we are people with good taste in computers. ;)

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Solid build! I am thinking of doing a similar one, but I am undecided on which RX480 variant I want.

PCPartPicker said that I would have to remove a drive enclosure for a card @ 280mm, but it looks like the enclosures are opposite where the GPU slots in. Can you comment on this by chance? Worst case, I just go with the Sapphire, which seems like a very well reviewed card.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey there! Thanks for your comment. I think the Sapphire 480 Nitro+ is only 230mm or 240mm so it would definitely fit in a 280mm enclosure. Mine fits in the miniITX case I got without much fussing around, so I don't think you'd have any problems. And it a great card, feels solid and high quality. Sapphire really is a good brand.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'm worried about thermals in the case. Are you getting good temps? I'm tempted to try to fit a MSI or XFX GTR in there, sacrificing speed for cooling and pontetially noise levels.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

To be honest this thing runs cool as a cucumber! Even with the heating on when it's cold. ARCTIC is a cheap yet very efficient brand for air cooling solutions, I've found. Swiss made too I discovered once I got the items. If you choose items similar to mine I see no reason to compromise speed. Temps are around 30 Celsius on no load and lower than 60 on moderate load. Have yet to test heavy load, but there's never hot air coming out from the back. Hope that helps!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

EXTREMELY helpful. Cheers!

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi I am looking at building a hackintosh with the same motherboard but was worried about if the wifi card on the motherboard would be compatible with macOS. Did you have any problems with the wifi card that comes with the motherboard, of have to change it?

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi man. Sorry I haven't been on to reply. I ended up not going for the Hackintosh. Linux wore me down and ended up installing Win10 after that. Convenience won out in the end I guess. Did you have any luck with it?

[comment deleted]
  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Happy to respond to any questions :) Linux is free yes. There are many distributions, the most commonly used one is Ubuntu, which is the one I'm using as well. I've never tried any others and even Ubuntu, usually regarded as the most polished one for the masses, is not entirely hassle free. Still worth a check out if you want to try it. It will indeed allow you to dual boot, that's one of the options when you start the installer: it allows you to install it in dual boot mode, completely replace your current OS or just give it a spin from the USB/cd-rom without having to install anything. I installed it on my 9 year old Toshiba laptop and it runs decently, so I don't forsee any problems should you install it on yours.

Can't speak for the possibility of installation on an Arduino or Raspberry Pi though as I don't have either of those, but go to Ubuntu's official site or search the web for answers and I'm sure you'll find some pointers. Google is your friend ;)