The other day, I purchased an $11.74 Key Code from URcdkey for a Windows 10 Pro OEM license. It was for a test I was conducting, but my laptop wouldn’t allow me to install any version other than the Windows 10 Home that came with the laptop. OK…what to do with the new WIN10 Pro license? I had been considering building something small for some time now, and had leaned towards a Raspberry PitHiNgIe’ build, but those are so very small & limited (probably wouldn’t work with my new $11.74 WIN10 Pro license either) on what you can do with them. The price looked good, but not inviting enough to get me to move on it. Then I started looking into something a little bigger than Raspberry Pi, but wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and the prices looked incredibly high for such small computers. At some point, I came across an article in Phoronix, by their Michael Larabel, entitled – SilverStone Petit PT13 Mini-ITX Case, and it was “super small” 1.4 liters 7.12” X 7.32”x 1.65” for between $70-100. That seemed a tad small still, and besides, I was only in a searching stage, and finding little ‘tHiNgIeS’ that all fit together – *PLUS* – interchangeable CPU’s and memory and definitely LGA 1151 compatible stuff I could swap around with ‘Rose’ and ‘Antec’ Jr. – yes, I was planning without even knowing how extensive that planning already was.

Time went by, then blogger Orca (I am apparently her “frenemy”) mentioned frying her mini-computer, and she had a pic of what it had looked like before the frying pan ordeal (isn’t there a law against such cruelty?!). The ThinkCentre looked sorta like that Silverstone PT13 case … new ThinkCentre @ Amazon is $680 and a renewed one there is $157. Well, $680 is too much for something like that, but clearly, I ain’t going to be able to build something like that for $157.

Still early in the planning stage, but I have been looking closely at the InWin Mini-ITX cases, and Amazon has a slightly different model for $67…might be an older version, but that looks like a good price. Same 3.3 liters and same 3 x 8.9 x 7.6 in … stand and front panel may change that to 9.2” x 3.4” x 8.7” … the IN WIN Chopin Black Aluminium is 9.60″ x 3.30″ x 8.60″ @ $128 Newegg (twice the price of Amazon’s $67 BQ656T version). Have found some LGA 1151 Mini-ITX motherboards for less than $100 that are compatible with the Intel Celeron on ‘Rose’ – I may upgrade the CPU on ‘Rose’ – tho its G4900 Celeron has taken everything I have thrown at it over the past 7 months or so…most people underestimate the better Celerons like the G4900. Anyway, a small form like this is going to cost more than the roughly $250 I spent on ‘Rose’ – rough estimate for case, MB and 16GB memory is about $240 … then a Celeron G4900 @ $45 or maybe upgrade ‘Rose’ or ‘Antec’ Jr. to one of those $127-137 Intel’s. So, looking at roughly $285 to $380. Heck, that’s more than ‘Ace’ the Laptop just cost me, so definitely going with the Celeron G4900 (2 cores @ base 3.10 GHZ) … ‘Antec’ Jr. has an Intel i5-6600K (4 cores @ base 3.50 GHz) and 32GB memory, and it doesn’t seem much or any faster than ‘Rose’. Both are definitely fasten than the laptop tho. Could knock off about $40 by reducing memory to 8GB, but I’m a firm believer in more RAM! 16GB’s seems a perfect amount, IMHO. Anyone believing that Linux doesn’t use much or need much RAM needs to read – Yes, Linux Does Bad In Low RAM / Memory Pressure Situations On The Desktop:

“Once you hit a situation when opening a new tab requires more RAM than is currently available, the system will stall hard. You will barely be able to move the mouse pointer. Your disk LED will be flashing incessantly (I’m not entirely sure why). You will not be able to run new applications or close currently running ones. This little crisis may continue for minutes or even longer. I think that’s not how the system should behave in this situation. I believe something must be done about that to avoid this stall.”

He was using 4GB of memory. I can get 16GB of memory for less than $80, and depending on the MB compatibility, 16GB for $54 with free shipping … and open all the tabs and browsers that I want and/or need.

I can attach that InWin to the back of ‘Rose’s 23/24” monitor, and let’em share it by buying a $7 HDMI Splitter Switch Cable, which keeps costs below $300. Well, no rush, still in planning stage, but I do need to put that new $11.74 Windows 10 Pro somewhere!?!

Another question – how loud is that InWin’s 150 watt power supply? That SilverStone is apparently air-cooled with a minimum power supply – probably quieter, so that’s something else I need to ponder…



*UPDATE*: Some of these cases are difficult to find, i.e. a lot of ‘out of stock‘ or their price is $10-20+ more. Went ahead and bought the IN-WIN 150W Mini-ITX Slim Case, Black (BQ656T.AD150TB3) from Amazon, for $67, with total after taxes and free shipping coming in at $71.68. That price includes the 150W power supply – the ‘Rose’ build case was $20, then the power supply was $41 – case is 15″ x 14.5″ (H) x 7″ and power supply was 450W. ‘Bigger is Cheaper‘ priced – the InWin Chopin Mini-ITX model was $99 at Amazon, and saw it at about $130 elsewhere. If I see a good MB below $80 I may move on it also, especially if it’s compatible with the 16GB of memory (2×8) at $54 that I’m seeing – if not, I’ll keep looking. Thinking now is, I ‘may’ end up getting both cases, i.e. getting that SilverStone PT13 at a future date (6-12 months), and then using the same parts from this build I now have in the works to do another test build…so to speak. Here’s the new case:

InWin 1

Looks like I need to create a Page for these small form posts…OK, here – The Small Form Factor