Author Topic: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)  (Read 635 times)

Ari Altman

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TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« on: May 18, 2017, 08:45:26 AM »
Comments or questions regarding "The PC Builder's Guides: Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)". Post them here!


« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 09:18:50 PM by Ari Altman »

Dlaw1

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 12:58:52 PM »
Ari, I'm a little unclear how the sata cable attaches to the mobo.  Does it slide on from side, or does it snap on from top.  Sorry for question, but I don't want to screw up mobo.

I'm guessing it kind of snaps on, because of the little pull tab thing (I'm guessing for disassembly)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 01:02:04 PM by Dlaw1 »

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 04:02:34 PM »
Ari, I'm a little unclear how the sata cable attaches to the mobo.  Does it slide on from side, or does it snap on from top.  Sorry for question, but I don't want to screw up mobo.

I'm guessing it kind of snaps on, because of the little pull tab thing (I'm guessing for disassembly)

Yes, it snaps in from the top. A very unusual design unique to STX:


bensrichards

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 10:59:02 AM »
Two questions:

1. Do you anticipate a compatibility problem with using the newer Intel 8265ac m.2 wireless adapter instead of the 7265? The prices are so similar, I thought I'd use the 8265 just to pick up the most recent features. Amazon link to the 8265 here: https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Wireless-AC-8265-NGWMG-BlueTooth-Brown/dp/B01MZA1AB2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1502376760&sr=1-1&keywords=intel+8265

2. I'd like to use DDR4 2400 speed RAM, 16GB (2x8GB). The Kingston HyperX the guide links to doesn't offer a 2x8GB configuration, so I'm looking at G.SKILL instead, these SODIMMs particularly: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017UC3VOM/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1W7VJMCZRZBUQ I can't see any compatibility issues, but I'm also a noob. Do you see any pitfalls? And as a side note, are there any good resources on the web for comparing timings between RAM modules? Seems to be hit or miss on Amazon whether the timing info is included, and visitng each manufacturer's website individually is a time suck (and presupposes I am already aware of all the options I should be comparing).

Thanks in advance for your help! Really dig your site!

-Ben
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 11:07:40 AM by Ari Altman »

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 11:25:08 AM »
Two questions:

1. Do you anticipate a compatibility problem with using the newer Intel 8265ac m.2 wireless adapter instead of the 7265? The prices are so similar, I thought I'd use the 8265 just to pick up the most recent features. Amazon link to the 8265 here: https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Wireless-AC-8265-NGWMG-BlueTooth-Brown/dp/B01MZA1AB2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1502376760&sr=1-1&keywords=intel+8265

2. I'd like to use DDR4 2400 speed RAM, 16GB (2x8GB). The Kingston HyperX the guide links to doesn't offer a 2x8GB configuration, so I'm looking at G.SKILL instead, these SODIMMs particularly: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017UC3VOM/ref=crt_ewc_title_dp_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1W7VJMCZRZBUQ I can't see any compatibility issues, but I'm also a noob. Do you see any pitfalls? And as a side note, are there any good resources on the web for comparing timings between RAM modules? Seems to be hit or miss on Amazon whether the timing info is included, and visitng each manufacturer's website individually is a time suck (and presupposes I am already aware of all the options I should be comparing).

Thanks in advance for your help! Really dig your site!

-Ben

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Ben! Two good questions there!

First, on the issue of the Intel 8265 wireless adapter, the main advantage it has over the older 7265 is MU-MIMO. That will improve performance in multi-user settings if and only if the router you have offers MU-MIMO compatibility. Both are dual-stream 867Mbps cards. It costs about $9 extra right now, which would probably be a good investment provided you have, or will soon upgrade to, a high-end router. Being an M.2-based card, it is compatible with the STX motherboard.

Now, as for the memory, I'd actually suggest a slightly different option if you want 16GB of RAM. The G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-2400 C16 kit is overpriced. While the Pentium G4560 and G4600 do support up to DDR4-2400 RAM, many of these kits, including the G.Skill, have such slack timings that they often end up slower, despite costing more due to the "speed" rating. For more performance at a lower price, pick up the Patriot Viper DDR4-2400 C15 2x8GB Kit.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 11:35:16 AM by Ari Altman »

bensrichards

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2017, 11:16:06 AM »

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Ben! Two good questions there!

First, on the issue of the Intel 8265 wireless adapter, the main advantage it has over the older 7265 is MU-MIMO. That will improve performance in multi-user settings if and only if the router you have offers MU-MIMO compatibility. Both are dual-stream 867Mbps cards. It costs about $9 right now, which would probably be a good investment provided you have, or will soon upgrade to, a high-end router. Being an M.2-based card, it is compatible with the STX motherboard.

Now, as for the memory, I'd actually suggest a slightly different option if you want 16GB of RAM. The G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-2400 C16 kit is overpriced. While the Pentium G4560 and G4600 do support up to DDR4-2400 RAM, many of these kits, including the G.Skill, have such slack timings that they often end up slower, despite costing more due to the "speed" rating. For more performance at a lower price, pick up the Patriot Viper DDR4-2400 C15 2x8GB Kit.

Many thanks, Ari! With those questions settled, I went ahead and ordered all my parts. Should start seeing stuff show up in the mail tomorrow. I'm planning to replace an Asus Chromebox that I've been using essentially as a dedicated Citrix machine for working from home. I loved the small form factor, but ChromeOS was super finicky for anything but basic web browsing for me. I was going to go with a NUC for a Windows machine, but then came across your site, and really liked the idea of doing more of the building myself with an STX motherboard.

Is there anywhere on the forums that folks share build pics in progress? I know I saw one build log in a mini-ITX thread, but was wondering if there's a thread hiding somewhere dedicated to sharing builds.

-Ben

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 11:42:31 AM »

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Ben! Two good questions there!

First, on the issue of the Intel 8265 wireless adapter, the main advantage it has over the older 7265 is MU-MIMO. That will improve performance in multi-user settings if and only if the router you have offers MU-MIMO compatibility. Both are dual-stream 867Mbps cards. It costs about $9 right now, which would probably be a good investment provided you have, or will soon upgrade to, a high-end router. Being an M.2-based card, it is compatible with the STX motherboard.

Now, as for the memory, I'd actually suggest a slightly different option if you want 16GB of RAM. The G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-2400 C16 kit is overpriced. While the Pentium G4560 and G4600 do support up to DDR4-2400 RAM, many of these kits, including the G.Skill, have such slack timings that they often end up slower, despite costing more due to the "speed" rating. For more performance at a lower price, pick up the Patriot Viper DDR4-2400 C15 2x8GB Kit.

Many thanks, Ari! With those questions settled, I went ahead and ordered all my parts. Should start seeing stuff show up in the mail tomorrow. I'm planning to replace an Asus Chromebox that I've been using essentially as a dedicated Citrix machine for working from home. I loved the small form factor, but ChromeOS was super finicky for anything but basic web browsing for me. I was going to go with a NUC for a Windows machine, but then came across your site, and really liked the idea of doing more of the building myself with an STX motherboard.

Is there anywhere on the forums that folks share build pics in progress? I know I saw one build log in a mini-ITX thread, but was wondering if there's a thread hiding somewhere dedicated to sharing builds.

-Ben

Ben, glad I could help out! I hear you on the limits of ChromeOS. Some readers have asked whether I recommend that for specific tasks, and I think beyond basic web browsing, it's just a bit too limiting, and full of surprises that you might not be prepared for.

I think the STX route is a great option versus the NUC. The NUC is awesome, but it's expensive. And it also limits you a bit in how much you can custom-tailor your system. Going with the STX form factor is basically the best of all worlds, at the expense of a slightly-larger box. I think for most people it's well worth it, and you'll definitely have fun building it. In fact, I think anyone can build an STX system, which means it's a great starting point for a lot of people who want to get into PC building.

You can post your build progress in this thread, in the STX Buyer's Guide thread, or you can e-mail photos to me at theguru@techbuyersguru.com and I can create a new profile page in The Gallery for your system. Note that if you want to post images in the forum, you'll need a third-party host for the files, as they can't be hosted here. If you e-mail them to me for use in the Gallery, however, I can host them on the main website itself.

bensrichards

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 12:20:00 PM »
Just thought I'd share a couple more things I've learned about my little STX build in case it's useful to anyone else. While I built my system primarily to be a home office machine, I have been really curious about whether the integrated graphics on the i7-7700 could drive a few games too. I read a few articles before my build addressing this very question, but they all seemed geared toward answering the question from the perspective of a serious gamer, which I am not. In short, those articles amounted to this: event current gen (Intel HD 630) integrated graphics can't drive the latest games at high resolution and detail at 30+ frames per second. That's not exactly breaking news...

Far more interesting to me was whether Intel HD 630 graphics could drive a slightly older game, on a single 1080p monitor, and be playable/enjoyable to someone like me, who hasn't gamed on a PC since Warcraft 2: Tides of Darkness was all the rage. So, in the name of science (or plain old curiosity), I downloaded Steam and poked around the store a bit. So far I've only downloaded two games and a couple demos, but they've all been playable, and frankly, look great to me. Here are the games I've tried so far:

1. Fable Fortune (Preview): Listed Intel 4000HD as the minimum requirement, so I have that beat just on specs alone. Game worked fine for me at 1080p with all the detail and animations set to the default.

2. Tales of Beresia (Demo): Listed GeForce 9800 GTX as the minimum GPU requirement. Here I experienced massive slowdown trying to run the game at 1080p on both the high and medium quality presets. However, the low preset at 1080p ran just fine. At 720p everything ran much more smoothly at all detail presets, albeit there might have been a little bit of slowdown at the medium and high presets. Still, I would call this playable, particularly at low detail, or at 720p.

3. Disney Afternoon Collection: Listed GeForce 8800GT as the minimum GPU requirement... but that's absurd. This is a collection of NES 8-bit sidescrollers including Duck Tails and Rescue Rangers. This ran perfectly at 1080p.

4. Tales of Zestiria: Listed GeForce 8800GT as the minimum GPU requirement. I've only had a little bit of time to try this out, but so far it's run smoothly at 1080p with the default graphics settings. I'll update as I get a little bit more time on the game.

Anyway, for my purposes, the integrated graphics on the i7-7700 actually go pretty far in a casual gaming scenario. Supposedly some popular games like Overwatch can also run on integrated graphics, but I haven't tried it yet. I've always been an RPG guy, so that's where my attention went first.

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a Mini-STX PC (2017)
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 05:20:43 PM »
bensrichards,

What a timely post - your system profile just went live in the TBG Gallery. You'll find that I published your great writeup verbatim!

And indeed, Intel HD 630 graphics is going to be more than fast enough for most games that were released prior to 2010 or so, at least on low-quality settings. I think you'll get a lot of use out the system with vintage games.

Glad this PC is working out so well for you!