Return to Level1Techs.com

Hoping someone can give some advice on an ITX build

I’ve never really done an ITX build, but my partner really would like a small form factor machine.

Its main use case will be along the lines of ‘engineering’ and studying Cybersecurity, so a lot of VMs, containers and some coding.

There will be occasional gaming, things like SIMS, the odd RPG and if possible PCVR via Quest 2 using Link cable.

I’ve come up with something that I think works well and keeps under the £1,500 budget:

Original: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/FwYGgt
New: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/QMFRxc
New 2: https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/KHRrQD

You can save big by using a 3400G: only 4c8t, but you save about 100 quid on the CPU and another 500 or so for not having to buy a GPU (as the 3400G is an APU, with Vega11 GPU onboard). This APU/GPU suffices for your workload and even light/medium gaming. And once GPU’s are better affordable, an upgrade is very simple.

Having said that, you may want to go the other way: I did spot an 5600X for not a lot more (or even less!) then the 3600 in your list, from a (reputable) Aliexpress seller.

HTH!

That build looks solid.

I think that if the use case is going to be vms and containers, you definitely want 32gb of ram, and I would seriously consider getting a 1tb ssd. I bought a 2tb and am wishing I bought 4 right about now… The nvidia gpu will be nice for cuda tasks that you might run into, and based on the gaming tasks, I think the 2060 will be an acceptable choice, though I worry about vr.

I have no extensive knowledge of the case, but it feels slightly under spec for what I’m seeing, and same with the cpu. For a VM heavy workload, I would probably consider an 8 or 12 core cpu.


I wouldn’t trust aliexpress sellers for cpus if I were in your shoes, but that’s just me.

1 Like

The TU150 is a good case, lots of CPU air cooling compatibility (incl. NH-D15) if you want to scale up your CPU. The handle on top also looks nice for a mobile workstation.

Main recommendation is getting a Platinum SF series PSU instead of Gold–the Gold series have much louder fan curves, some people have reported them being annoying (I think the SF600 Plat is only 20USD more than Gold and also includes sleeved cables).

Turing or newer is good for PCVR via Quest 2 due to the updated NVENC. The GPU might be slightly underpowered for the Q2 120hz but certainly not bad.

2 Likes

That’s kinda where I’m sitting with the gpu, but you’re right. It’ll probably be fine.

My concern is that inconsistent frame times can cause big nausea.

1 Like

just want to add , be sure 14" or 375 mm is what you consider small form factor,
cause thats about the size of a matx tower.

i dont
know what happened over the years but for some reason itx case blew up to crazy dimensions.

2 Likes

What about a 3700x instead of a 5600x? It’s a bit cheaper and I think 2 more cores and 4 more threads might help with VMs and containers.
Also I don’t think it’s gonna be a bottleneck for a 2060.
I think it needs more storage aswell. 500GB is not a lot if you’re gonna run multiple VMs so maybe getting a SATA SSD to store all of that might be a good investment to get up to 1500£.
Make sure to check if the RAM is in the QVL of the motherboard, else you’re gonna be in a world of hurt (metaphorically) trying to get the system to be stable.

Besides these minor adjustments I think you’ve done well with this build!

1 Like

I’ve got a 3900x that doesn’t boost well and it won’t bottleneck my 6900xt.

1 Like

Guess I got lucky then, bought an APU March 1 from this exact vendor, got it in exactly 10 days, after a BIOS update I’d forgotten, works like a charm. Admittedly, that APU was priced just 15% of the 5600X listed price as it’s pre-Zen so for Western standards fairly cheap, in China, it’s quite a bit of strong Western coin in their pockets! (well, not exactly, but you get the drift :stuck_out_tongue: )

if your running vms for labs the more cores and the more ram you have the better.
but understand unless you have 2 gpu’s at the moment you wont be able to use gpu accelerated hashing.

there are options though, a dedicated o.s on a separate disk. (easiest to maintain).
which you can use to practice on live sites like try hack me or hack the box.
and set up the vm’s side of things on your main o.s where you can practice on your home labs.
so if you can afford it throw in a cheap 250gig sata(more than enough for a kali or parrot install) ssd along side your nvme.

Thanks for the replies. Haven’t had a chance to look over them yet (UK time, plus work hours). I’ll have a look over some consideration this evening.

Cheers

1 Like

Ah, you’re correct I think I’ll amend the Ryzen 5 5600X for a Ryzen 7 5800X. The additional cores will work out better for not much more cost.

I have a 2TB WD Red HDD that will be added to the machine, so I’m not too worried about storage. I also have 2x Dell R710 with Proxmox and plenty of TB for any larger / more permanent instances. The 500GB should suit fine for local experimentation.

1 Like

Yip, I’ve bumped up to the Platinum SF 600W. Worked out cheaper actually lol.

Yeah I’m somewhat concerned about the GPU, but she doesn’t play games much. And most Quest gaming is done on the headset itself. I’m hoping the GPU might be fine for the occasional PCVR she would do. Particularly given the large jump in price to anything slighter, right now.

I’ve updated the list now with a better CPU and PSU.
If I can find a slightly better GPU somewhere on a deal for the same price, I’ll jump on it but for now the budget is squeezed.

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/QMFRxc

1 Like

Looking good! Just need to find a good compatible cpu cooler…oh wait should come with one. Neverminded. Unless the cooler for that CPU wont fit in the case.

Lol, I’ve literally just checked and it doesn’t come with one.

Instead I’ve had a change of mind and gone for the 3700X with Wraith. That still provides the higher cores, but keeps within the budget and comes with a cooler.

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/KHRrQD

2 Likes

OK, something I thought was missing. Glad it helped you double check :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice, I’ve pulled the trigger on the last list of parts.

The 3700x seems like it’s a better buy right now anyways.