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Versatile Family Build

Long time, no update. We didn’t die; we’ve just been really busy! To assuage my guilt and for your reading pleasure, here’s a system we did a few months ago.

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The customer has a family computer that had met its end of life–he wanted a replacement system that would prove reliable and versatile for many years to come. The new computer needed to be able to handle gaming, office software, media consumption, and basic web browsing. After some communication to pin down his current and future needs, we settled on a set of specs and components.

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The components:

It was our first time working with the BitFenix case, and we came away pretty impressed. Taking a look at the dimension will tell you it’s not the usual tiny mini-ITX case, but it offers features and flexibility that we appreciated. Notably, the case is a soft-touch matte finish, which looks really classy, especially since there are no external drive bays to ruin the beautiful curves of the case.

The top of the case includes a removable mesh panel.

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When removed, you can see the unusual orientation of the motherboard–instead of a perpendicular orientation to the ground, the BitFenix Phenom has opted for a parallel orientation. You can also see one of the many, many hard drive bays in the case. This particular bay is located directly under the mesh panel. You can remove it and install two case fans instead.

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The power supply is bottom mounted, which provides superior thermal results and allows simply and efficient cable management.

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Toward the front of the case is a modular, tool-less drive bay, which you leave in place or remove for installation of extremely long video cards. The drive bay is composed of two separate pieces, which allows a range of options, depending on your needs. We prewired two of the bays for easy installation of additional drives at a later date.

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The video card is installed directly above the power supply, perpendicular to the ground; this should provide less stress on your motherboard over time and is a design we really like.

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Behind the video card are the CPU and RAM. The neat thing about this case design is that it can accommodate a very tall cooler easily. We settled on the i3 processor to suit his family’s needs.  Since we weren’t overclocking, the stock heatsink/fan provided plenty of cooling.

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The customer’s current needs meant 8GB of RAM provided him plenty of headroom, but to allow easy future upgrades (this is a family machines that’ll stick around for years to come, after all), we chose a single stick instead of 2x4GB. Due to the design of the case, low-profile RAM wasn’t necessary–it’s worth nothing that depending on your aftermarket cooler, that may be something required of your build.

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The back of the case helps demonstrate the unusual motherboard installation. BitFenix continued the color palette around to the back of the case, which is a nice detail. You can also see the clever way the case secures peripheral cards.

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Upon delivery, we installed an extra storage drive the customer had on site and got everything up and running. We followed up a few days later and fixed a BIOS setting that was causing the CPU fan to max out, even in idle. The customer was very pleased with the final result, and we hope his family enjoys all the use they’ll get out of the machine.

Interested in what Rocket Custom Computers can do for you? Contact us at [email protected] today and upgrade that poor old family computer you’ve been tolerating for far too long.

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