Playing MMOs on a console is not the preferred platform for most people and my wife is a huge fan of FFXIV, which we play together regularly. She was envious of my own PC build that I'll post later this week after shoving more upgrades in it, but today I'm posting her rig we designed and built together.
I wanted to build her a small PC that could set on her desk as opposed to the floor of her studio, and she liked the idea as well, so I set about looking at mATX cases. The case is a Raidmax Hyperion, and while Raidmax catches its share of flak for its PSUs, the case is actually a well reviewed piece of hardware, and rightfully so; it was chosen due to the numerous cooling options, spacious interior, and very forgiving cable management. It's also one of the few MATX cases that retains a 5.25" bay, that will probably end up housing a fan controller at some point.
The motherboard is the ONLY 970 chipset motherboard I could find in an mATX formfactor, the AsRock 970m Pro. I don't really have anything bad to say about it except that the VRM is pretty small and AsRock wants you to use a top-down blower for a CPU cooler when you pair it with a 125w CPU, I suspect to keep the VRM cool. The USB 3 header is in a really lame place near the IO panel and the cabling from the case's top ports won't reach it without an extension, but otherwise, it's been a fine little board with enough bells and whistles and I expect it to do its job fine.
The Zalman CNPS 8900 Quiet cooler is the huge copper monstrosity you see there. It was selected as the widest cooler I could buy; I was aiming at getting it to overhang the VRM, which it does nicely. It also block off ram slot #4, but oh well, it does a good job at keeping the system cool and quiet.
You can't see it, but cooling is also aided by a giant 200mm intake fan that mounts behind the frontpanel. You can, however, see the cool blue footprint is leaves.
The build came in just under $700 including OS and the wife has been very pleased with it thus far. It pushes 80ish FPS in FFXIV on max settings. I'm not planning on overclocking this one due to the 4+1 vrm on the board. My rig on the other hand.....well, I'll post it later this week.
The picture below is before I changed some cooling options around, at my workstation installing the OS. Changing the exhaust fan to a blue LED fan made all the difference in lighting up the case just the right amount.
|Cooler||Zalman CNPS 8900 Quiet|
|Motherboard||AsRock 970m Pro|
|Memory||8GB Avexir DDR3|
|Disc Drive 1||250 GB SSD|
|Disc Drive 2|
|Disc Drive 3|