Mobile Desktop

I'm looking to build a new computer (for c. $1000-$1200) and as my lifestyle may be becoming slightly more mobile, I'm wondering about the feasibility and availability of building a smaller more portable desktop (like a LAN box, as we used to call them back in 2006) for A) Mid to high level Gaming and B) Music Recording/Editing. Basically I was thinking of a reasonably powerful computer that's light and fits in a smallish case (with a handle, or strap, or something).

I built a computer about seven years ago with assistance from friends, but I haven't really been keeping up on hardware and the like since. A bit of research has shown me that it CAN be done, but maybe not by total amateurs such as myself. Is this a possibility? If so, can anyone direct me to appropriate cases/motherboards to start out with? For all intents and purposes, treat me as an amateur who has no idea what he's doing. Thanks in advance for your no-doubt brilliant input!


Hamlet will be Hamlet
An ineffable tragedy of the human spirit that still resonates, even today.

Posts

  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Are there any hardware requirements specific to your music work? That is, a particular software suite that demands certain performance characteristics (for example: fast memory, or large amounts of memory). Will you need space for expansion cards other than the video card (like a sound card, or a capture card or the like)?

    Knowing that let's me know precisely how small the system can be, basically.

  • iusehappymodiusehappymod Registered User regular
    Not too sure about speed, but most people I know who do similar work have at minimum 8GB of RAM, and I'd like the option of expanding to 16 should it be needed. I'd have an External Audio Interface plugging into the box itself via USB, so there wouldn't need to be anything other than onboard sound on the MOBO.


    Hamlet will be Hamlet
    An ineffable tragedy of the human spirit that still resonates, even today.
  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
  • iusehappymodiusehappymod Registered User regular
    Thanks so much! That's an awesome machine.

    Tragically, that case is sold out on Newegg, but it made me look around a bit at other things. Have you guys heard good things about the SilverStone Sugo line? This one is comparable in price but seems a tiny bit smaller. No handle, but that's hardly a game breaker. Is this case still compatible the aforementioned hardware?

    Also, is treating this as my "first build" a bit foolish? It seems like cable management is going to be a bit of a nightmare in a smaller case, but is it something only a a seasoned professional should dare attempt?


    Hamlet will be Hamlet
    An ineffable tragedy of the human spirit that still resonates, even today.
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    That case should work fine. As for building it, you should be fine. Be careful, work slowly, and you'll be fine. It will be tougher than building in a mid-tower, no doubt, but not beyond a beginner's skills.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    I used to like small cases, particularly HTPC ones.
    What I've since found out is that too small is a pain in the butt.
    Small cases are jigsaw puzzles.
    If you want to change something, like adding a new SSD, or adding more memory, you end up taking apart half the computer.
    Because things fit only when assembled in a particular order.

    Here's another Lian Li case, which really looks identical, except twice as wide. That extra width makes a big difference in ease of build.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112348

    iTNdmYl.png
  • iusehappymodiusehappymod Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Whew! You guys are amazing!

    I'm gonna do some number crunching and see what the absolute HIGHEST I can go is... right now (with pcpartpicker) I'm sitting at $1214 (including a new copy of Windows 7) which is pretty much my top end, and I don't think this includes tax.

    Another thing, after doing some reading up on that Graphics Card, it looks like some folks have had a hard time fitting it into smaller cases due to a couple of minor design flaws. Then again, some folks didn't, but it made me a bit nervous. It doesn't look like I have TOO many options in terms of Graphics Cards, but I'll keep looking.

    Am I correct in assuming that I wont need to purchase any additional cooling with the Sugo S10? Does that include a CPU cooler? One other point of confusion for me: The S10 comes with a 300w Power Supply. Am I just... removing that?

    ALSO: I'm sure you guys know this, but you guys are being supremely helpful. I don't have a ton of excess cash flow, so I'd like to do this right the first time (hence all the possibly stupid questions) and it's really great to be getting such help. I'd pay you all if I could.

    iusehappymod on

    Hamlet will be Hamlet
    An ineffable tragedy of the human spirit that still resonates, even today.
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    In general, if a small case comes with its own power supply, it means that the power supply is a non-standard size, one that's smaller than normal. You need to go onto manufacture's website to check the specs, before you can tell if it's replaceable.

    iTNdmYl.png
  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    SFX is technically a standardized PSU size, it's just not as common as standard ATX. In general, I like the Silverstone cases, they're obviously cramped (so it's not ideal if you're a tinkerer) but it's tough to beat them for portability, if you're talking about full-fledged gaming desktops.

    For Silverstone cases, this is the one you want. It comes without the PSU, so you can get one that fits your needs. I like the 450W full modular unit, but there is a cheaper one you can grab that's non-modular at the same wattage. If you're not willing to risk the small 670 not fitting, go with essentially any standard-sized GTX 760. It'll be a bit cheaper, and it will fit. The CPU cooler that comes standard with the proc will fit fine, and so long as you don't intend to OC, you shouldn't have to worry about adding anything to the case or components to enhance cooling performance.

    @hsu is right, in that Lian Li makes a bigger, but still excellent, ITX desktop case. I don't know that many of them really fit the bill for portability, and they're generally quite expensive, but they are nice cases, and they're built exceptionally well.

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