EDIT: Huge thanks to everyone who has left comments about my build, I am so glad my work has been well received. I also wanted to say thank you to the PCPartPicker staff for featuring my build on the front page! (10/09/15)
10/19/15: I replaced the Silverstone AP141 case fan with the Noctua iPPC NF-A14 3000RPM fan. Man this thing moves a ton of air! I normally wouldn't go overkill on the fan but considering it's the only thing keeping my components cool, I opted to get the best and Noctua, without a doubt, makes great fans. I would've liked to have kept the Silverstone but the noise the bearing was making was really annoying.
11/29/15: I swapped out the Cryorig C1 for a C7...much better in terms of spacing. Temperatures are about the same at idle, which is to be expected since I haven't overclocked.
This is my first Hackintosh build. I just finished this a few days ago! I’ve been meaning to get it done but I’ve been holding off on it. I needed a portable back-up for Project-ARK and thus, why FROST was made. I wanted to minimize having to carry around Project-ARK to reduce wear and tear on the case, and due to the sheer size and weight of it. Plus, I wanted something I could bring to a friend’s house or even light photography work. This is one of my favorite builds to date! I learned so much from working with mITX, there are some serious challenges with good cable management and part selection. Building mITX is an art form. Why the name FROST? I wanted this computer to run on the cooler side considering the capacity and components, and the cold aluminum panels on the FT-03 Mini complete with the engraved snowflake! It looks cool too! (See what I did there? Ha…)
CPU: Well, it was either this, the 4690K or the 4790K for sure. I had originally bought a 4790K, but I thought, what a waste of money – even with the local Micro Center discount. It just didn’t make sense. For over 50% of the price, I’d get less than 10% performance increase on games. I have no use for a K series processor since I have no intention on overclocking to minimize heat output. The 4590 is plenty fast and I have no intentions of doing video editing work on it, so the 4 physical cores should work just great.
CPU Cooler: I didn’t like how any of the mITX coolers looked, except for this one. This one looked real good. I’m not overclocking at all so this was for mostly cosmetics, although it’s nice to have the extra cooling capacity for times when the CPU is under load. This thing doesn’t really fit too well with the GTX 960, so I am considering on changing this to the Cryorig C7 cooler in the future.
Motherboard: Alright alright, I know most of you are asking “Wait, WHY did you get a non-K CPU for a flagship ITX motherboard?!” This component is actually the reason why this build was able to be made…I got this board for free. My brother gave it to me because he was going to use it for his build but a pin was damaged on the motherboard, so the SupremeFX sound card no longer functions. Upon receiving the board, I knew I couldn’t just let it sit. So this was the reason why FROST is the machine it is. I ended up getting a Sabrent USB audio card for it, which works great. Sound quality is FAR from what the SupremeFX would’ve produced, but I’m not a super big audiophile anyways.
Memory: Only 8 gigs?! Yeah that’s a bare minimum nowadays. Funny, I remember when 2GB was super awesome back when I built my first computer with the Core 2 Duo. Anyways, 8GB is good enough for browsing and most of the games I play, I don’t really play anything super memory intensive. I do see that this could potentially bite me in the butt for photo-editing, but it’s a back-up rig, so it doesn’t need to be crazy. I can always upgrade with this board if needed. Plus, it’s Corsair. Can’t beat the lifetime warranty, and I’ve had no issues with the Vengeance series.
Storage: In order to maximize airflow and have neater cable management, I had make some sacrifices. This was one of them. I ditched the slim optical drive and 3.5” Storage Drive for a single 250GB SSD. I figured I can access my other hard drives via a dock if really needed. Once SSD prices drop even more, I may consider getting a larger one.
Video Card: Maxwell is extremely efficient, which was very important to me. The low TDP and awesome performance of Maxwell is what drew me in. I’m aware that an R9 280 or 390 would’ve been a faster card, but like I said, efficiency! Plus, I like Nvidia’s features better. Nothing wrong with AMD, just a preference. AMD’s cards have certainly given me less of a headache though. I know a blower style card is recommended for the FT-03 Mini, but I’ve had no temperature issues so far and I couldn’t pass up EVGA’s awesome customer service and support. ASUS was my other contender, but I’ve had a handful of bad experiences with ASUS and decided against it. I was barely able to fit this card in there! I didn’t get shortened card over this because I wanted to see if I could get the ACX cooler to fit. Plus, it looks better…
Case / Case Fan: I was either going to go with this, or the N-Case M1. I really liked the M1 but at the time the next production run was a bit far away and the more I looked at the FT-03 Mini, the more I liked it. I watched Linus’s video on it and I really liked the layout and clean look it offered. The anodized aluminum is GORGEOUS. The only issue I have with it is the fact that your fingerprint oils can get etched into it, and the panels are impossible to fix once scratched. I already scratched mine but I have a replacement panel coming. I’m hoping to make a custom bag to tote this around with. The airflow design is just like the Raven in ARK, it works really well actually. As for the fan, it came with the FT-03. It’s a nice fan and SilverStone’s air funneling technology does wonders, I just wish it had PWM and wasn’t as noisy. I may replace this fan with a Noctua in the future, not sure yet since the size on this fan is kind of special.
Power Supply: I really have to give it to Silverstone on this one. Shrinking the form factor of a power supply is extremely complex. The fact that it’s 80+ Gold for its size blows my mind. The power efficiency of this power supply paired with Maxwell and the Intel processor reduces the overall heat output and won’t make my room an oven. The cables did not come sleeved, I actually cut those cables down to length myself, and sleeved them. This power supply is definitely not the prettiest to sleeve, it’s far from a 1:1 pin-out. It does the job though, and still looks and performs great.
Operating System: WHOA. I know some of you are going to be like WHAT. WHY, of ALL THINGS, OSX?! Keep in mind, this is my back-up system. The games that I play nowadays are written for OSX, and the Adobe suite I used is also available. I’m familiar with Final Cut Pro since that’s what I use to edit at work, so OSX isn’t a problem for me. Honestly, the whole reason why I did it is because I had never done it before and I wanted to give it a try, especially with how challenging it can be. I had no intentions of keeping it originally, but I don’t have a problem with it staying. Besides, I had never used OSX before, why not learn something new? I enjoy some of the features on OSX, but Windows will always be my primary platform. I have intentions of dual booting with Windows at some point, just not right now since it took a fair amount of time to get El Capitan running in the first place.
If you guys have any questions, let me know! I’ll do my best to answer them. Thanks for visiting my page! Be sure to check out my other builds if you liked this one.