A quick and easy HTPC build focusing on small form factor, low power, and performance.
AMD Ryzen 5 3400G Quad Core
Noctua NH-L9i Chromax.black CPU Cooler
ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming AM4
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2x 8GB DDR4 3200
Inland Premium 1TB NVMe PICe M.2 SSD
InWin Chopin + IP-AD150A7-2 150W PSU
Things I loved about the build:
- Let me be honest here… This entire build was based around the blacked out NH-L9i. My current HTPC is massive amounts of overkill, so I’m going to sell it and stick with something small and simple. This cooler was the catalyst for that change because I don’t think one needs a 2700X + Radeon VII to watch streaming content. Originally I ran some VMs and did some gaming, but I’ve since moved those VMs and don’t game much on a TV.
- The least complicated ITX build ever. Normally, you’re making all kinds of compromises when it comes to ITX. There are component mounting challenges and cable management challenges. Not here. This build was basically cheating. The PSU was already installed and the cables already in the general areas they needed to be. The key here was plugging everything in BEFORE installing the board The only sacrifice I made here was foregoing the front panel audio connector. I literally never use those and there was no clean way to run it with this board. An extremely easy sacrifice to make.
- Price. This is probably my cheapest build to date. Even my NUC was more than this to put together. With Microcenter’s insane CPU combo pricing, the wallet didn’t hurt after this one!
- My own patience. Microcenter was out of stock on the ASRock Fatal1ty ITX board when I went. I wanted to get everything for this (outside of the cooler which I got from Amazon) in one shot. I grabbed the ASUS ROG Strix B450-I Gaming AM4 which lacks Displayport (not that important) and USB-C (Important). I get that product segmentation is a thing, but I do not feel that USB-C should in any way be optional. That’s not how you get something to become a standard.
- Stripped screw. I was very surprised by this. Noctua stuff has never lost with me in terms of quality. When I was replacing the stock mounting hardware with the AM4 kit, the final screw was completely stripped out with one turn by hand. I’m guessing it was just a bad screw in the batch. It was simple work with a screw extractor to remove the screw, but then I had to go and find a replacement for it. The AM4 kit didn’t come with any replacements. I actually found it a bit frustrating that an AM4 adapter kit was necessary in the first place. I understand the original L9i not including it since it came out before AM4, but this is a brand new product.
It was funny seeing such a low power draw from this thing compared to all of my other systems. Even under full load it only tops out at about 100 watts. My 2950X rig idles at like 170 in power saver mode. Playing video was flawless on this rig (as I expected it to be) and overall, it’s really snappy doing just about anything I did on the 2700X rig it’s replacing.