Hello everyone. I'm starting a new build soon, and the purpose of this one is mostly focused on smooth, fast photo editing and work. I'm going with a small system because I'd like to maintain as much desk space as possible, but not something as small as a NUC or embedded solution, as I still want the build to have some flair "under the hood." I also am not opting for a laptop as I currently have one. It's starting to show it's age in the sense of photo editing, but, I'd still rather use a desktop. The secondary useage of this PC will be just typical stuff, such as browsing the internet, streaming music/videos. I've considered the aspect of gaming, but sadly I don't have time anymore, so, I think I'm going to opt out of a dedicated GPU. Basically, all I need this machine to do is photowork in Lightroom and Photoshop (at 3,440 x 1,440) and stream music at the same time, while being somewhat quiet. That will likely be it's highest load. I'm looking for a few pointers on parts, so, I'll delve into it.
Case - Realan E-W80
This case is pretty interesting. I learned of it a few days ago and fell in love. I'm a big support of ITX, and it's hard to get much smaller than this case. It's a 200mm wide, 225mm deep, 80mm tall case. It does have support for two 2.5" drives or one 3.5" drive. It has two USB 2.0 ports, and a very clean exterior. A large portion of it's casing is ventilated to allow decent airflow and heat dissipation despite it's size. It uses an external power source with an internet DC power distributor. A big part of the reason I want this case is because it will blend in and stack perfectly well with my DAC/amplifier (Denon PMA-50). I would be able to place the case directly on top of it and it would be marginally smaller.
CPU - Intel Core i7-7700T
I'm not dead settled on this choice. I'm still considering just the regular i7-7700, or even the 7700K. The 7700T seems like a smart choice, given it's incredibly low TDP of only 35 watts. It's still a quad-core chip, with eight threads, and 8MB of cache, just like the other two. And though it should definitely run cooler, it's only clocked at 2.9GHz turbo to 3.8GHz. I think I'll be able to cool either a 7700 or 7700K (not overclocked) without much issue, but it might get a bit noisy. I like the idea of the 7700K simply for it's ability to overclock should I ever do so in the future.
Motherboard - ASUS STRIX Z270I
I'm very partial of ASUS motherboards. And I really like the design of this one. It features pretty much all the features I want/need, and will allow me to use higher frequency RAM. Plus the RGB LED's will work with the selected case in a manner than will act as an accent light to the power LED. The board features WAN, which I'll need, a plethora of USB ports, two M.2 storage ports, and plenty more features. I also appreciate the robustness/reliability of ASUS STRIX/ROG boards. I suppose I should consider the H270I and B250I, but I'm put off by the lack of +2,400 MHz RAM support and the missing VRM heatsink.
RAM - Corsair Dominator Platinum
This one also boiling down to aesthetics. They're a little bit pricey, but the heat spreader of the memory will match my case flawlessly. I'm debating between a 32GB or 16GB kit, both at 3,000 MHz and 15-17-17-35 timings. I'm leaning towards the 32GB kit so I don't have the urge to "upgrade" in the future. But I don't think with my photo editing I'll ever really use more than say 12GB or so. I've maxed out my laptop before, but it only has 8GB.
Storage - Samsung 960 Evo
I've chosen a 1TB Samsung 960 Evo as my go to choice. I already have a NAS at home with about 7TB of storage in it, so, I don't necessarily believe I need a lot of storage on the PC. Though my photos do add up quick, I can store or archive them on the NAS. At the same time, I'm wondering if it would just be better to go with a smaller capacity, faster drive then. Something like the 960 Pro. The 2TB and 1TB 960 Pro drives are a bit out of my price range. I won't be using any 2.5" drives or 3.5" drives inside the system, to help minimize heatsoak inside the case, as well as keep power draw lower, and allow more room for airflow.
Cooling - Noctua NH-L9i
I've picked out a Noctua NH-L9i for the build, as I have one on hand. I used it a few years back on an i5 CPU and it did a pretty good job. Noctua recommends the use of 91W or less on Kaby Lake CPU's, with proper ventilation. I'd say that's being a bit generous, as the cooler is better than the stock Intel cooler. I'll be upgrading the fan from the 92mm x 14mm on it, to a 92mm x 25mm Noctua Redux B9 fan. Partly for aesthetics, but also for better cooling potential.
Power Supply - ?
This is the part where I'm looking around for some serious recommendations. The case uses an external power supply, to deliver in 12V DC power. The company offers a few different distributor boards. One of them goes up to 250W. I know my system will likely only pull around 115-130W maximum, but, I'd like to have as much headroom as possible. I'll be purchasing their 250W distributor board, and I'd like to find an external power brick to match it. I'll also likely do some custom wiring as well. The stock wiring comes with what seems to be pretty low gauge conductors, and a lot of parallel runs. The Basically a SATA plug, 4-pin EPS, 4-pin MOLEX, and 4-pin Floppy all parallel off the 24-pin ATX cable. I'd like to copy the pin out, subtracting the connectors I don't need, and putting in thicker gauge wire with custom sleeving to make it look nicer on the inside as well. Part of this will be changing that 4-pin EPS connector to an 8-pin set, just to ensure the CPU gets all the juice it asks for.
So, that's pretty much all I've got for now. I'm considering some small touches too, like re-soldering the power LED from blue to a pure white one. I also like the idea of replacing the top panel that hides everything with a glass panel. Looking forward to some feedback.