It all started when a friends Laptop got fried by a back EMF when the local substation blew and I had to recover her MSc thesis. The laptop was basically toast with only the HD,DVD and Samsung RAM in working order. The cost of repair was greater than getting a new one. So I got the bits as payment for recovering 6months worth of college notes.
I have always wanted to build an ITX system so now I had some of the parts already. So as a rule all the parts had to cost less than $50 US Dollars, so it also turned into a scavenger hunt.
First thing I picked up was an AOpen Mini ITX Motherboard. Build quality is better than a “Budget” maker but not up to the same standard as Asus or Gigabyte. The overall layout is fine with only an ill placed capacitor by the sata ports that make it difficult to use spring clips on the sata connecting cables. The ones I have would be impossible to remove as you could not press the clip in to remove as the tall capacitor is in the way.
But for $48 USD and it used the type of Memory I had what more could I ask for in an ITX MoBo . I purchased a E2140 from a member of this forum and it was shipped all the way Rhode Island to Shanghai.
So I few weeks go by and I pick up a second 2GB stick of Samsung DDR2 800, so I now have 4GB of matching RAM. Cost of around $21 US Dollars.
This is where I got my fingers burnt and I decided to purchase a CHEAP iTX case and PSU, lets just say it was a PoS. The PSU turned the whole case into a toaster oven and the computer turned its self off to avoid overheating. So I went for a good one this time and broke my $50 rule and purchased a Lian Li Q09FB. The build quality on this case is faultless and so it should be for the price. But you get what you pay for in life.
The case is small 265x120x200mm (WxHxD), to give you some idea of the small size the footprint is smaller than an A4 piece of paper.
WARNING this case is only designed to fit one 2.5inch drive, so if you want more find another case. It also will not allow for a graphic card to be fitted, so again think about what you need before you buy.
This model came with a 150W FLEX PSU. As you would expect the case comes with all the screws and cables you need to complete the build. The Slim SATA cable for the DVD drive has an extra long cable to fit the installation under the mobo.
This would almost be the perfect iTX case if it would allow two 2.5 inch drives to be fitted and the possibility of fitting a slim low profile AGP card like the HIS 5450.
The top and bottom plate are held in place by 6 screws and the HD and DVD fit under the MoBo and you access by removing the bottom. Very easy fit for the HD on rubber mounts into the holder and the DVD fits into the try provided. The sata cables and power can go up the side of the case either way. I have fitted an extra molex splitter as I have fitted a second HD.
The mother board fits nicely into the top and then it’s a question of folding cables in the right place. Warning as there is nowhere to tie cables too inside the case. The use of plastic cable tidies that are self-adhesive is a good suggestion.
There is a 2cm gap or so between the PSU exhaust fan and the ventilation holes in the case, make sure you keep the cables clear of this to allow hot air to escape.