Besides wanting a new Laptop, I've craved for a new Desktop PC. Particulary a Mac Pro, but in all honestly, a Mac Pro is too impractical for me... Budget primarly, but also I just don't need that kind of hardware. I do however love the design, the handles for one, but also the Hard Drive managment. And just how damn quiet they are too.
In the last month, I have been dabbling with an Upgrade my Desktop PC... I was running:
2.4 ghz Core 2 Quad Q6600
X48 Chipset P5E-Deluxe MB.
8 GB DDR2 800
3, 500 GB Seagate Drives in a RAID 5 Array
Saphire 6850 Pro (The graphics card wall about the only thing I'd really upgraded in the last few years.)
All of which were housed in a ThermalTake Mozart VE1000SWA which is a Refridgerator of Case.
I recently purchased a SuperMicro MicroATX Server Board that ran Dual 2.5 GHZ (Socket 771) Quad Core Xeon CPUs (non-hyperthreading), I also purchased 16GB ECC DDR2.
I ran into several problems with board, for starters, despite it being the size of MicroATX Board, no case was was really designed for it to be be mounted inside (CPUs are one the right edge of the board where RAM is typically located on a MicroATX Board), only about 4 of the mounting screws would even line up. Also, while the board did have a 16x PCI-X slot, it lacked on board sound, luckily the board had one legacy PCI slot and I had an old Sound Blaster X-fi lying around.
This would have all been fine and dandy, except when I finally got around to mounting it all into my ThermalTake Mozart 1000 Case, I ran into problems. (I have mounted the Board and components into another Chasis previously to test it all out, and didn't run into any problems, but once in the Mozart everything changed. The machine would take incredibly long to post (like 3 minutes) Also it wouldn't use
my 6850 Graphics card, it kept using the onboard VGA controller. After several reboots, I noticed the CMOS kept reseting, and all of the BIOS configs kept going to default.
At this point, I cut my losses, I decided I should this server board as a server, and not a new Desktop. So I moved the board into a rack mount Chasis and am planing on building a new ESXi server once I have some spare Hard Drives.
Well, I had already purchased a 120GB Kingston HyperX SATA 6 SSD and a Hitachi 1TB HD for this new Desktop, but I didn't have a Desktop for them to go in. For a while now I'd been following Bitfenix's launch of a New ITX Case called Prodgiy. The case while relatively small, was really designed with the gamer/enthusiat in mind, while sporting numerous HD bays and several fan/water cooling mounts. It also has a little design theivery from the Mac Pro in the Handles on both top and bottom of the case.
I've loved the ITX movement for a while, I've built several ITX boxes as well as Shuttle XPCs which use similar boards. Infact before going to the gigantic Thermaltake Mozart Case I used a Shuttle SK43G AMD PC as my primary Desktop.
I have been planing on buying the Bit Fenix case for a while, just to be a side project I would build, as I had time. Well my failures with the Xeon Supermicro Board, prompted me to speed up that project and build this PC:
This is my Prodigy PC. Here are Specs:
ASRock H77M-ITX MotherBoard
Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz CPU
And parts I salvaged from the old Mozart PC:
CoolerMaster 700W Powersupply
Here are the Windows Experience Ratings in Windows 7:
Not too shabby! I'm posting this on the new machine and I'm really impressed with the size of the case, and the Power of the IVY-Bridge CPU. I'm also looking forward to giving USB 3.0 a whirl. Only thing I'm not crazy about is that the MB is a little tight to work on (yeah I know, it's ITX) but I also didn't like the lack of Case Fan Power Taps on the mainboard, which prompted me to plug in the intake Fan to a a legacy HD connector, which it turn prompted to plug a legacy Power cable into the modular PSU.
Also ATX Motherboard Power cables are just too stiff to get really good cable routing in a PC this small. That said, the air flow is still amazing, and the PC is very quiet. Maybe not a silent killer like a Mac Mini or Mac Pro, but on Par with any Shuttle.
This might be true of the Black version of the Prodigy case, and it's front panel is a grated vent like the Mac Pro. I opted for the white to cut down on the dust on the front panel as it's a solid peice of plastic rather than a grate.