Intel i5 6500, GTX 1060 Custom PC Build Log

 

This is my second build. After realizing that I might be travelling often, I decided to sell some parts of my first desktop (kept the internals for a build for my parents) and build a smaller, easy-to-travel-with build for myself in the Fractal Node 202.

The parts were assembled in the summer of 2015. When prices for SSDs were high, but the mining craze hadn't hit yet so GPUs were reasonable.

 

Here is the parts list. I have provided the product links for you to see the product yourself. The prices mentioned are from when I purchased the parts, so your view may vary. 

 

My main requirement for this system was gaming at 1080p/144fps and medium work with a budget of around $1000, excluding peripherals. 

For the CPU, I chose the i5 6500. It is a locked processor clocked at 3.2Ghz. With 4 cores and 4 threads, and turbo at 3.6Ghz, the chip is perfect for the tasks I intend to run.

Since I was building in a slim case like the Node 202, the maximum height for the CPU cooler was restricted to 56mm. The Noctua NH-L9i is a perfect cooler for mini itx systems such as this and it also cools the CPU very well.

For the motherboard, I chose the Gigabyte GA-H170N Wifi Mini ITX board. A mini itx board was important because of the small form factor requirement. It comes with an m.2 slot and wifi, which reduces cables. Any other itx board would also work, it's just that Fry's had a decent deal on this board+cpu combo at the time. 

I opted for 16GB of DDR4 memory for. 8GB would have been enough, but I multitask a lot and don't want to have to worry about running out of ram. 

Since the case of choice, Fractal Design Node 202, had no room for a 3.5" drive, I opted to utilize the m.2 slot for OS and important programs, and an extra 480GB 2.5" SSD for headroom. The Samsung 950 Pro is of NVMe standard, which is faster than the standard SATA. You can even opt for a SATA m.2 drive, which will be cheaper than the NVMe drive.

Coming to the star of the show, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is the Zotac GTX 1060 6GB mini. This card hits the sweet spot for 1080p gaming and with 6GB of GDDR5, it leaves room to run games at higher settings. With a single 6 pin connection and a power requirement of 120W, this beast of a card is an ideal contender for a mini itx system. 

At the time I was debating between an AMD RX 480 and the NVIDIA GTX 1060, I went for the 1060 since the 480s were out of stock.

Coming to the power supply, an SFX power supply was a requirement since the case could not fit larger ones. The Corsair 600 W 80+ Gold certified power supply is also modular, which helps reduce cable clutter. 

On to the case. I had narrowed it down to the Fractal Design Node 202 and the Silverstone Raven RVZ01. I chose the Node 202 since it had a sleek and calm look to it. The quality of this case is top notch, although I will say that this case is a pain to build in. I have large hands, so it was even more difficult. You need to plan your steps if you want to be successful. 

After this beast was built, I got an Acer XF240H 144 Hz monitor to run my games and a cheap secondary display because I prefer to work with 2 monitors.

 

For my keyboard I went with the CoolerMaster Masterkeys Pro L with Cherry MX Brown switches. Build quality is brilliant. Feels like a tank. It is a bit complicated to record macros and change led controls via the keyboard but once you get used to it, all is good. After having used mechanical keyboards, I cannot go back to rubber dome switches. They don't work for me anymore.

 

The Mionix NAOS 7000 was my mouse of choice for being the most ergonomically comfortable mouse for me. I have fairly large hands and like to rest ring and pinky fingers. This is perfect for that. Also it has an amazing sensor, ADNS 3310, so its a bonus. 

 

The Hyper X Cloud II was my headset of choice. With a half decent microphone included, the ear cups are large enough for them to be comfortable and the sound quality is good. 

 

Remarks

 

All in all I was very satisfied with this build. It ran everything I threw at it and did it silently. Played all e-sports and most modern games at 144fps on high presets. Idle temps are 31-35 CPU and 36-40 GPU. Load at 48-54 CPU and 75-80 GPU. It's really quiet and with the highest temp being 82 in Battlefield 3 on the ultra preset. 

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get synthetic benchmarks since I had to sell the entire system due to frequent travelling. How ironic. 

Plan everything beforehand and be patient with your cable management. It is not easy, as expected in a tiny case.

Also it was really difficult to remove the bottom half of the case as the clips are really stiff. You will need to apply a lot of force.

Read the manual. After installing everything, turn on your system and check multiple times if everything is working fine, before you close the panels. Since it is a pain to access the insides of the case every time.