The Allure of ITX

I finally got the chance to make use of the ITX form factor. It is one of the smallest form factors in desktop PCs. It is very cute and has a small footprint and is square shaped.

Back in 2019, I went to college in the city of Toronto and lived in the dorm. I shared an apartment with 3 other male students. We 4 guys shared a kitchen, dining area and living room. There were 2 bathrooms with a shower in each.

My room was pretty small. Here is a link to the floor plan (4 Bed/2 Bath).

It doesn’t list the square footage …

I built a ITX system consisting of the following parts:

  1. AMD Ryzen 5 1600 6/12 Thread CPU
  2. ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard
  3. 16GB of Corsair LPX 3200MHz CL16 RAM
  4. 1TB WD SN750 PCIe 3.0 NVME
  5. 500GB SATA 2.5 SATA Hard Drive
  6. Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 GAMING 4G GPU
  7. Corsair CX430M Semi-Modular ATX PSU
  8. CoolerMaster Elite 120 Advanced Case

I had a mini fridge I brought in and rested the mini PC on top of that. I hooked up a cheap LCD monitor with a basic keyboard and mouse.

I left it on all day to remote into it. I used TeamViewer at the time.

My laptop I brought to school was a used Dell Precision 3510 with a broken USB port I got for $220 Canadian. The specifications of that are:

  1. Intel 6300HQ 4 core CPU
  2. 12GB of DDR4 RAM
  3. AMD FirePro W5130M w/2GB GDDR5 Dedicated Graphics GPU
  4. 1TB WD SN750 PCIe 3.0 NVME
  5. 15.6” 1080p LCD

The laptop was slow with its 4 core CPU. But the battery life was excellent.

I would remote into the mini PC to view all my Chrome Tabs open (15 tabs) on my laptop or iPhone 8 Plus.

I could have remoted into my PC from my home but remoting into the dorm room PC was super fast. The dorm room had gigabit internet and the PC was plenty fast.

When I moved back home from the dorm, taking apart the mini PC was easy and light. During the time I was using the mini PC I never had issues.

Sometimes the power went out at the dorm so I could not remote in. Next time I will buy a UPS battery backup system.

Having an always-on PC that you can remote into is very convenient. You can access a full desktop environment, access files, use a full web browser with all your logins and tabs, and do banking.

Having a ITX based computer at the dorm helped with all this. You can use a full desktop but it feels odd to have that in a small room when that extra space can be devoted to a microwave, kettle or printer. 

I was only taking practical nursing during this time. I was not in school for computers so having a powerful system was not necessary.