How to Build: All-in-One

How to Build: All-in-One

How to Build: All-in-One


Build your own all-in-one PC!

This One machine Expected to be one of the hottest PC form factors in the next few years. That’s great for the Joe 12-Pack, but for audiophiles, the AiO is about as monolithic as you can get. Sure, you might be able to add RAM or swap in an HDD, but that’s usually in the range of the average upgrade capability of an AiO.

Enter Intel’s new push for DIY AiO, the first serious attempt to establish a standard around the practice. All-in-one basic kits may have been available before, but Intel’s support formalized it into a true DIY category. The biggest change is the Thin MiniITX, which specifies a slimmer motherboard profile than the regular Mini ITX and fixes a spot where the CPU can be installed. Fixed CPU placement makes standard heatpipe cooling solutions an option, while Mini ITX allows vendors to place the CPU anywhere on the board.

To get our feet wet, we decided to build a well-equipped AiO and see how it would compare to its pre-built counterparts in terms of specs. result? You’ll have to read to the end, but we’ll joke that DIY AiO might just be the way to go.

choose hardware

The first step in building an all-in-one is finding the case. Since Intel has been the main driver behind the standard, here is a good place to start. DIY websites offer a lot of resources for builders. We recommend that you start with the Design Component Catalog along with the Compatibility Matrix. Keep in mind that standards are constantly evolving and we haven’t reached 98% hardware-compatible desktops. For example, some AiO models use proprietary coolers, while others can use standard Intel parts. All-in-one PCs that do not use standard Intel heat pipes should come with them. Also keep in mind the thermal limitations of AiO before buying parts.

Our build started with the Loop L5 LP-2150 chassis. The case features a 21.5-inch panel, usually without a cooler and power brick, and sells for about $265. We did find some sites that offered it packaged with an Intel cooler and power brick, but that would save a little money. The motherboard we use is an Intel DH61AG. It supports external power bricks and desktop processors up to 65W TDP. For our build, we used a quad-core 3.1GHz Core i5-3570S chip, which is nearly identical to the Core i7-3770S except for hyperthreading. For storage, the board supports Mini PCIe SSDs and standard 2.5-inch drives. For our build, we chose an Intel 240GB 335 series SSD. In the end, we settled on a pair of Patriot 4GB SO-DIMMs.


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Wilbert Wood
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