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Budget build: b450i 2400g 16g 250g

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
My laptop is slowly drifting away to the hopelessly outdated land. I travel with my family and two kids, and we always have our luggage maxed out.
I aimed for an ASUS Zephyrus G14 with a Ryzen 9/RTX 2080, but decided to cut the budget by 75% and build an SFF machine instead.

I don't do gaming, but my laptop is noticeably slow doing 1440p on my external monitor even on 60Hz, not to say 120Hz that the monitor is capable of.
The internal Vega 11 would surely outperform my mobile Intel HD 6000. Neither I plan to overclock.

Last time I had and assembled a desktop unit myself was back in 2000 with an ATX case, overclockable Celeron 333 and some low-end ATI graphics card.

Linux or BSD will be my primary OS, and I'll give a shot to running macOS with QEMU and a dedicated GPU.

I use an LG 27GL850, IPS 2560x1440 144Hz 1ms monitor. There's nothing better than it for in the same price range. 27GN950 will be out in summer, adding 4K, but I'm extremely satisfied with my current one.
Also dirt-cheap keyboard and mouse.
Not including this

Case
Needless to say, decent SFF cases would cost me an arm and a leg. With pandemic around delivery times are counting in months.
So I went with what was on the local market, a mATX Frisby FC s6020b with built-in 300W PSU. It's ~390x300x100mm, not too bulky.
There's space for a low-profile 1050Ti/GT 710/750Ti, however, I don't really want to run around looking for matching LP brackets, and would probably go for an RX 570 if I can find one cheap.
There's a 92mm fan in the top of the case, and there's an option to install yet another one in the bottom.
The case is not that bad at all for its price. Definitely larger than I need with its mATX and a full-sized DVD bay and plenty of space for 3.5" drives.
On the bright side, it's narrow, will spend most of its time under the desk somewhere. It also has standing support and a handle on the top.
$50

CPU
Even though I aim for an upgrade to something like 3600X or a comparable next-gen in the near future, I don't have a GPU, and I'm left with 3400g/2400g. 3400g was out of stock everywhere I looked.
2400g comes with Wraith Stealth cooler, so no additional cooling is needed.
By the way, Wraith Stealth seem to be the loudest in the orchestra of CPU/case/PSU fans.
It spins up immediately when you set RAM frequency above 2400, even after raising the temperature thresholds in BIOS.
$140

Mobo
So I went for an MSI B450i. They support both Ryzen 2000, 3000, and some say will still support 4000 with a BIOS upgrade.
Out of the box, B450 supports Ryzen 2000, so it was even good that I got a 2400g, since I don't have a programmator nor a spare Ryzen 2000 to update BIOS.
I don't think I'll ever need an SLI that X370/X470, neither PCIe 4.0 in the near future that comes with the newer B550/X570.
Even a B350 would do since B450 introduces some nifty disk RAID features I don't really need.
B350 was out of stock anyway and wouldn't probably be much cheaper.
$140

RAM
I went for a double Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8GB 3000MHz, even though it's an overkill for my current build and its future upgrades.
There's 8GB of RAM in my laptop, and this is pretty much sufficient for my daily tasks.
$95

SSD
My laptop has a 120GB drive and going for a Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe 250GB will immediately yield 130GB of disk space I don't have an idea how to occupy.
Again, this model is overkill for my build, but I'd love to keep at least this constant in my build.
$90

The build
I started my career assembling PCs in a local store. My record was something seven or eight minutes.
Not this time. I was extra careful, even bought rubberized gloves. 2h 20m wall clock time with two cig breaks.

Ready, steady, go!

I never expected such a trick that a stock CPU cooler won't fit with a high-profile RAM and some sail-styled Mobo radiator.
Had to cut a meaningless part of Wraith Stealth's decorative casing.
Sits pretty tight with all screws to the full stop and a minimal memory card gap.
I had an impression that one of the fan screws was a mil off from its hole, but the fan sits really good, so nevermind.

M.2 "base" screw resembles Pisa tower. Not a big deal, the drive sits tight when screwed to it.

Wired it.
Two culprits:
- the mobo doesn't have a header for SD card slot that the case has
- the CPU power connector has 8 pins on the motherboard and only 4 on the PSU cable
...also there's no GPU power connector coming out from the PSU. But there are some spare legacy 3.5"/5.25" power cables, I might have to revet them if I get a powered GPU

Mobo IO panel. There's clearly some geometry distortion in the backside of the case, especially noticeable when I tried to install the IO panel. Managed to push it anyway. I'm not afraid of applying force after cutting off a part of a stock cooler.

Done!
Pretty happy with it so far.
Quite odd that RAM frequency was 2400MHz by default in BIOS. So I've "overclocked" it to nominal 3000.
Total weight 4.1kg.

Near future plans
1. GTX 1050Ti Low-profile or an RX 570 that would stick out of the case dimension (trying to find one for cheap locally)
2. Ergotron Sit-Stand LX monitor arm (shipping). This is going to be a monster, as I've bought it as parts (for real cheap) and I'll need a 300mm d35 D40 tube to connect its halves.
3. GergoPlex 30% keyboard (2 months in shipment to the date). I'm a fan of those undersized keyboards, built mine a while ago.

Far future plans
1. Dancase A4. After a huge amount of research, there's nothing on the market that fits my needs better. I might prototype something even more compact while it's shipping. The current case is not that bad at all.
2. SF450 platinum. Power efficiency is getting better over time, so I'm in hopes that even mid-range next-gen Ryzen/Radeon/GeForce would fit in 450W.
3. Asetek AIO 92 945LT, it fits nicely in Dancase and beats most of 120mm competitors.
4. WiFi/BT antennas that don't stick, Lollipop 5.8G looks gorgeous.
... better CPU/GPU or even APU, there are rumours about an 8-core Ryzen 4000 APU. Let's see what will be announced in July/October. 4600G? 4700X? RTX 2770? I'd definitely go with a one with USB-C/VirtuaLink.
... spacemouse or a vertical trackball


As you may have noticed, the prices in my current location are above what you would normally pay.
What do you think, is quite good, what would you recommend to change in this $515 (~$430 in most countries) machine?
 

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
Corrections:
- Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 won't be supported on B450. I'll skip B550 and jump straight on B650/B750 and Zen 3/3+ in a couple of years. 2400g is a hair behind 3400g, so I'm on the top of the hill of B450 with it
- RX 570 is a better choice than any of the low-profile GPUs
- I guess a better case/AIO/PSU can wait as well if I don't break the sticking out RX 570 with my foot
 

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
Another round of corrections.
Up to Zen 3 Ryzen will be supported on my B450 mobo. Yay, AMD! This includes:
- next-gen Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 CPU
- next-gen Zen 2+ Ryzen 4000G APU
- quite unlikely next-next gen Zen 3 5000G series APU, it's still Zen 3, but probably not in AM4 socket anymore

Ordered an RX 470, an SFX-L power with GPU power, and a PCIe riser in hopes to fit it all into my current case.
 

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
Used Sapphire RX 470 4GB arrived! Managed to get it for quite cheap locally.
No wonder this 230x130x36mm monster it doesn't fit into a 100mm wide case, and I don't have a PCIe riser yet.

Also, I've bought an SFX PSU that has a 6-pin cable for GPU. My case's internal PSU didn't have any.
The RX 470 has an 8-pin header, but surprisingly it started up with no big problems.



Doesn't look like a computer?
Worry not, I have some plans how to fit this into an DIY SFF case.



Don't want to spoil too much before I really get something done.
 

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
Despite seller's promise to send the card out cleaned up and serviced:



Napkins, earbuds, toothbrush - get ready!



Z = X + Y:



Not a stock image, but a result of hard work:

 
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philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
I definitely aimed a Corsair SF450 for this build. But here in Turkey, the supply of SFX PSUs is limited to Frisby (Foem), High Power, FSP, and Dark.
None of them with modular cable design.

I already have a Frisby Foem 300W in my case, and it turns out it makes a half the price of the case.

There's one model of SeaSonic, 350 SFE 80+, but I couldn't find this model on their site.
It doesn't look similar to other SeaSonic designs, the fan is on the power plug/button side, which is awkward. Most probably fake. "SeaSonic SFE 350 80+"

I could find FSP on Amazon, but what they sell here isn't a Dagger model, just a regular 300W 80+ Bronze. Amazon reviews indicate a lot of faulty units.

The majority was capped at 300W, and the power consumption calculator showed 276W with a recommended PSU of 326W, so those wouldn't fit anyway.

Another problem was the lack of GPU 6/8-pin connectors on most of those PSUs.

So I've settled on a High Power 350W SFX 80+ Bronze for about $60. It feels heavy, and there are no strange sounds if you shake it.
Nothing special - doesn't deserve a dedicated photo shot. What I liked about it is the lack of power button - who needs it anyway for an SFF build?
 

philpirj

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
May 10, 2020
10
2
Forgot to mention that RX 470 cost me $110. It's a steal.

I could go for an RX 570 for a little more but wasn't convinced enough by a +10% performance boost.
Keeping in mind the higher power consumption of RX 570 and my 350W PSU, it would be risky.