One of my co-workers recently commissioned me to help him set up his young son a gaming computer. (A mATX budget mid end rig.) Well after seeing it his wife wanted to get one for her work office. Except a small challenge... she wanted one smaller than her sons and also have a window with some rgb so it looks 'pretty' like her sons. Also so she could put her vinyl logo on it at some point. So it had to be a mITX build basically. Fun Ive been wanting to do one for a while! Well as most of us know most mITX don’t have window options since there’s not really room to look good. It took me a while source the right case but eventually discovered the A30 was the perfect answer. And there was only one left in stock at this time. I low key wanted to just buy the case for myself instead for a future project down the road. But it was the right fit for the job so we went ahead and got it for her.(After buying it website quickly showed it as being sold out) Score. The company also provides the option for a custom modular flex PSU with full colored cables with a fan upgrade option which we took advantage of. Not having to use all the cables plus avoiding ketchup and mustard cables and having a quieter 40mm Noctua fan on a flex PSUis a complete win in such a small package. - Note PSU did not come with the outlet power cord had to buy that separate.
His wife works in real estate as a independent agent in a communal office so she wanted something that didn’t take up space but also look pretty enough to be a conversation piece in its own way.
The second challenge I found was looking for the right cooler. The 3200g comes with a pretty low profile stock cooler but we needed something more aesthetic and preferably smaller. Noctua has a great low profile cooler but with a ugly fan. This was out of the question since it was a window build. There was a few less than savory choices at first. However before finalizing and purchasing all the parts Noctua released their chromax line of all black coated CPU coolers including the low profile version. This was quickly added to be purchased. This version has to have a separate AM4 mounting kit that Noctua will provide for free with proof of purchase but we did not want to wait or deal with that and the kit was just $8 so we opted to buy it right out.
Next up was the RAM. I have a personal fondness for the G. Skill Trident Z RGB Ram, even after overpaying for them when Ram was super expensive early last year. I’ve always been super impressed with these performance and aesthetically for all my builds since then so of course these were a no brainer. Plus the clocking on these would compliment the choice of CPU. - Now at the time I knew we were going to vinyl wrap some parts but I didnt know what kind of vinyl it was going to be. If I could go back I think the Trident Royals would have complimented the vinyl wrap better.
Since this is a productivity build for her work we really don’t need a GPU. (Even though this amazing case allows for a 210mm size GPU with a riser cable.) So a processor with a robust on-board graphics was the way to go. I wanted to go Intel but I was blown away by the specs of the Ryzen 3200G for its price. Haven’t touched AMD in a long time plus benchmarks shows it perfect for productivity over gaming vs it’s direct Intel counterpart. But mostly the on-board graphics was why I chose it.
The mobo was a difficult buy because the only way to get a mobo to work with the 3000 series is to have a 2000 series CPU to boot with, to update the bios for support. Or buy an expensive x570 board. Didn’t want to do that nor did I want to deal with the loaner CPU process AMD has. But luckily Newegg was selling a ASRock x470 board with updated bios for 3000 series support. So for for not much more than a x450 was able to find the right board with less hassle. Kind of weird to having a gaming mobo in a non gaming pc I guess but it was convenient.
Even though there is space for a SSD or 2, we couldn’t pass up the extremely low cost for a 1TB NVME m.2 drive by Sabrent. Used one on his sons build and was impressed by it and for her use it’s more than enough plus some amazing speeds all at a $110 price point. These things are a steal currently.
So while the case is absolutely amazing one thing that stood out a bit was the GEEEK logo on the PSU shroud. She really didn't want the word geek being front and center when looking at it, plus the silver PSU peeking out the engraving was unwanted. We opted to vinyl warp the shroud and a few other acrylic pieces of the case. She wanted to use black glitter wrap. Honestly I wasn't so sure about the choice of black glitter, but it grows on you and It actually turned out really well - looks better in person, and I'm enjoying the newfound aesthetic it gave the case. So since there is no GPU in this build and the back panel is clear all it shows off is the cables. Not really ideal so we opted to wrap this in the same vinyl as the interior to help accent it. It looks much better with this side being a solid color. It also allowed me to attach some mesh so the holes weren't fully exposed. I did the same thing by adding a mesh to the top of the case under the fan grill. Lastly and it was a last minute decision I grabbed some cable combs to tidy up the mobo and CPU cables and it made a world of difference to the look.
Keep in mind no GPU, but CPU thermals are fantastic at 30C idle and hitting around 50C on very heavy loads. NVME sits close to the top fans so any hot air is immediately pulled away from it. For sake of ease and management I used a fan splitter for both fans. Though its not necessary. That said I did overlook the lack of PWM on the 80mm fans but its no big noise level is still pretty low.
Overall this was probably one of my favorite builds ive done to date. The case comes shipped disassembled so like an adult LEGO or IKEA item you gotta build it. Honestly I absolutely loved getting to do this even if some parts were frustrating like peeling the protective layer of plastic of the acrylic. Definitely a unique experience. I love how custom tailored it feels too. In the end for about $700 his wife has the fastest and most stylish PC in her office with quality internals to last her a few years.
-If it wasn’t for wanting a specific type of case with a window and some rgb this build could have easily been done in another cheaper and smaller super small form case with a pico psu, stock fan, and vengeance LPX for about $500 easily.
--Coke bottle for scale
--- The mesh I used was something I had laying around its not micro mesh but its still provides some layer of protection against larger particulates.
---- It fits perfectly in a backpack! I had done most of the work on it at home, but took it to work with me to finish up and polish details in a small unused back office during downtime (excuse the mess in the backgrounds of the images its not my desk.)
Performance to dollar this little guy is fantastic. Good thermals and provides excellent display for a build without a GPU
Love the low profile, and that its all black. Thanks noctua for putting something thats not brown and tan out.
Overall good. But a lot of the pins were labeled to small or not at all. Placement of the HD Audio pins is in an annoying spot.
Favorite RAM to date. I use it on all my builds at this point. Bright colors on the RGB low minimal profile with a stylish design.
a 1TB nvme at $100 do I say more?