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Small Form Factor Gaming Rig - "The Midnight Storm"
by Coolaidstyle
Permalink:   (44 comments)
Description

This is the build I have been waiting to do for quite a while. I wanted to do a very small form factor gaming build that would also accept an SLI configuration and water cooling. I think it turned out fantastic and am loving having 3 monitors.

It works fantastically as a LAN rig and the lighting looks incredible (hard to tell from the pictures, I tried)

The build went great, and barring some faulty RAM it was up and running the same night.

The cabling is not stellar but due to the fact this case is mATX and almost 40% smaller than a BitFenix Prodigy, I think I did alright.

I am very satisfied with the H60. A lot of people advise to just get a CM 212 plus, but Water cooling makes more sense in such a small case airflow-wise and the cooler is virtually silent, allowing me to almost hit 5 gHz on a $85 motherboard with little effort. Not to mention newegg had a combo between the two.

If you are planning on doing a build like this, I would highly recommend checking out Linus Sebastian's video on how to build in this case, he released that today so while I didn't get to use it, its a great video on what is a complicated build. It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSOxvwbke9w

Going forward, I plan on adding an optical storage drive for mass storage (perhaps RAID two of them), swapping out the fans to silence the computer (it is somewhat loud during gaming as its 18" from my face) and definitely adding another 670 when I can afford it.

I already had already bought the mouse, keyboard and SSD for my laptop that I sold, and all the monitors I received through my work (yes I am 18, work from home, hold a management position) so this build cost just under $800 to build, detailed below.

i5-3570k: $189.99 H60: $49.99 MSI Z77MA: $84.99 Crucial RAM: $39.99 OCZ Vertex 4: $189.99 (already had) PNY GTX 670: $299.99 Silverstone SG09: $84.99 Corsair 600W: 39.99 NZXT lighting: $12.99 Asus wireless card: $19.99

Total: $783 W/ SSD: $973

I could not be happier with it! I welcome feedback as I am still relatively new when it comes to specialized gaming builds. If you guys want I can take it apart more and show the lower portion below the video card if you want, I cant do that while its on so I didn't do it initially.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.8GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle26.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load59.0° C
PNY GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.01Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.0GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle35.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load68.0° C
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Frostbyter 1 point 14 months ago

Dang dude, so beautiful!

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Thank you very much!

 
 
Frostbyter 1 point 14 months ago

How is that watercooler set up? is it like regular set up?

Im going for a similar build like this, and I would like to know :)

And again, overall, how was it like building this computer? was it smooth goings? or were there troubles? :)

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

I'm glad you are considering a similar system! I am extremely satisfied with the result and would reccomend it to anyone I know.

The CPU mount was fairly easy, although I had some trouble getting the backplate on, not the best design in my opinion but better than most.

As for the radiator you can see I mounted it with the tubes at the top, which is atypical for this kind of radiator and breaks the cardinal rule of water cooling of not crossing tubing, but it obstructed the first PCI slot otherwise and I need both 16x slots for future SLI.

Just make sure you have your 4/8 pin in first and you should have little issues.

As for the build, keeping in mind I am still fairly new to building high-end systems, here is how it went.

The instructions were fantastic and I had no issues installing the mobo, RAM, CPU, and power supply. The SSD on the back was a bit finicky to wire up because my mobo did not come with straight SATA cables but it was still straightforward. I already mentioned the cooler but it was not a huge deal due to the huge CPU cutout on the motherboard tray.

The 2 rocky parts were the PCI cards and the cabling. The 670 went in without a hitch but I had 2 other cards (the LED controller and the WiFi card) There are some capacitors in the way of the second 16x slot so my lighting controller wouldnt fit all the way, but the wifi card (which fits due to a cutout on it) wouldnt work in the 16x slot for whatever reason (maybe that was just a n00b mistake, I thought they were compatible) so what I ended up doing was installing the wifi card in the 1x slot and partially installing the LED controller in the 16x space. Its not screwed down all the way but it fits and wont move around as I move it or press the buttons.

The cabling wasnt necessarily hard, but I wanted to do it perfectly so I spent a lot of time. Mind you I am using a non-modular corsair PSU. As you can see from the picture of the back I have all the unused cables tied up next to the PSU and where SSD's #3 and 4 would go. The molex and PCI went into the front of the case for obvious reasons, with the CPU power going up around the fan to just barely fit. Had to take off the fan. I actually manages with this setup to not only not impede any of the fans but to allow for the 80mm fan to be installed in the back, if need be. Any build I have seen in this case they have filled that area with cables.

The lighting was pretty simple and fun, it was just figuring out what run I wanted to do to get the maximum light through the areas that had grills. I ended up going along the bottom of the case, touching the front, up around the power supply (the part facing the RAM), back behind through the cables and finishing up encircling the PSU fan on the front. I thought it turned out great!

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know or that I can help with.

 
 
Frostbyter 1 point 14 months ago

that cleared it up, thanks :)

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

My pleasure :)

 
 
vadimak17 [3 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

looks very beatifule . And i dont want to toach by mistake this ******* scary fan ;D

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Thanks a lot dude, Yeah that fan is quite the beast, a 180mm AP from Silverstone. Its completely silent too, which is surprising as its basically the size of the top of the case!

 
 
saw1833 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

Actually the larger the fan the more quiet it will likely be. A larger fan can move more air without spinning as fast as a smaller fan. (:

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

I guess that makes sense, thanks for the tip!

 
 
saw1833 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

No problem!

 
 
hdmiller610 [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

a 3570k and a 670 for $783 DAMN dude good work

 
 
SherwoodForest [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

Dude..kinda blown away man that's a BAMF build you got going there, really organized with the space contraints. My only thought would be maybe to switch to a modular PSU but if that works fine then I see no reason too. Also if that things smaller than The prodigy I'm in now then Idk how you did it man. Congrats truly a Dream Build and everybody secretly loves SFF Builds ;)

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 14 months ago

Thanks! I hear where you are coming from with the PSU. As you can see the cabling around the back is pretty jam packed, so a modular power supply would alleviate some of that and tidy it up further.

My thoughts are that when I go for SLI 670's, 600W probably won't be enough and it only has 2 8 pins anyways, so I will probably get a high-wattage modular PSU before I do that.

The reason I went with this to start is that I don't see my self SLI-ing for a while yet as there isn't anything I can't run maxed, and the Corsair was only $40 so its not a huge deal in the long run.

Great feedback!

EDIT: I didn't believe this so I did the math twice but this case is actually less than 2/3 the size of the prodigy.

The SG09 has a total volume of 1401.564 cubic centimeters. The Prodigy has a total volume of 2212.114 cubic centimeters.

That is a difference of almost 40%, and this can do SLI!

 
 
SherwoodForest [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

So jealous ;) I've got a 7950 in mine and it's pretty packed in there I can't imagine what you're dealing with xD. I'm shooting to get some Bitfenix Alchemy cables for my Seasonic X660 I like the quality of the cables that come with the PSU its just they're aren't flexible enough to really manage in the space :P

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

A fellow SG09 builder? Nice! The main problem of a 670 over a 7950 is that the power connectors are practically in the middle of the card which is a nightmare for tidy cabling :/

I am all for alternate cabling, as you can see its a VERY tight fit to get all the cables tied up behind the motherboard, as there are no cable tiedowns on the case.

If you wouldn't mind, post your build! I would love to see how you managed your cabling and such and maybe learn a thing or two :) Besides, like SherwoodForest said, people love SFF builds.

 
 
synestir 1 point 14 months ago

i was actually looking at this case for a new build, how do you like it? Do you mind giving me some temps on a load please? Looks great! Cable management mustve not been as hard as i would think

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Absolutely, here is my 2 cents about it.

The overall fit and finish is fantastic, some people naysay the plastic grill on the front but I love the look.

Installation can be a bit tricky, but if you follow Linus's video (linked in the build description) and the detailed manual, you should have little issue. With a non-modular power supply it was a bit of work to get all the cables tidied up behind the motherboard but cable ties do the trick, with a modular power supply I would imagine it being much easier.

Things I do not like as much is the unfiltered intake on the other side of the case, its probably where 90% of the dust in the case comes in, I will probably mod in a filter there. Also if you get a non-Silverstone branded power supply then you stand a risk of not having your fan centered on the front of the case. Not a huge deal but still something to consider. I believe Silverstone's upcoming SG10 addresses the front panel concerns of some people, but otherwise is identical.

As for some temperatures, here they are!

CPU idle: 26 degrees

CPU load: 59 degrees

MOBO idle: 24 degrees

MOBO load: 31 degrees

GPU idle: 35 degrees

GPU load: 68 degrees

Noise level assessment at ~18" (see in pics, my head is right next to it):

idle: inaudible

prime95: hear air moving through radiator, but still very quiet

furmark: some coil whine from GPU and PSU (rare), audible but not distracting

prime95 + furmark: audible and can hear in the background while gaming, but not distracting

Hope that helped, let me know if there is anything else you want to know!

 
 
synestir 1 point 14 months ago

wow, thank you that really covered everything i could possibly want. I am actually planning to copy your build with a few exceptions, thanks man! Also one more question, how is the G700, i have the G500, but im offered to trade it for a almost new G700

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Glad I could help! If you plan on doing a similar build, I spent some time detailing my time with the build higher up in the comments if you wanted to check that out, including some of my cable routes and detailed lighting runs. Look for the wall of text :)

You know, I have slightly mixed feelings about the G700. While I still maintain that it is hands down the best gaming mouse for a laptop (got it when I had my 11.6" Sager gaming notebook through most of 2012), its perhaps not the best mouse for desktop use. While having a mouse I can use wirelessly is fantastic, the thing practically EATS batteries. We are talking a 1.25 day battery life on a 4 month old Eneloop here. Also the higher-grade cable is harder to game with than a regular braided cable because it is thicker than normal cables, as it has to additionally charge the mouse.

I love the button placement and the feel is top-notch so I am perfectly happy with it, but if you don't see yourself needing a wireless mouse (its very handy for LAN's)then either stick with what you have or upgrade to a nicer wired mouse.

Just my 2 cents on that. I have recommended it to several friends (admittedly laptop gamers) and they all love them to bits.

I got my G700 refurbished for like $54 so they are not that expensive if you plan to go that route.

 
 
synestir 1 point 14 months ago

Thanks bro, you are truly an awesome person, just no other way to put it. I find less and less people like you everyday, im just glad that they are people like you still here, seriously appreciate it!

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

My pleasure! Taking a peek at your saved builds, are you thinking of building in a Elite 120 Advanced? That is an awesome case but if you have a slightly larger budget and want something more unique, I would recommend the Silverstone FT03 Mini. Its also an ITX case but it is literally the smallest computer case available that can fit a high-end graphics card. VERY cool looking case and the only reason I didn't go for that is that I wanted to eventually SLI.

That and make sure you get a Z77 board with an unlocked processor :)

I apologize for the unsolicited advice, I just really love SFF builds!

 
 
synestir 1 point 14 months ago

nah man i was just looking to see how cheap i could make a SFF build with it still having a lot of potential. I will probably go with something like your build with an i5 and a 670, this was just a build i could throw together thats a lot cheaper than what i was planning. If you look at my build now, thats what i was thinking

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

That's more like it!

If I may, Wouldn't it make some sense to go with an ASRock Z77 Professional-M (Fatal1ty) and a 3570k?

That is actually cheaper than a 2500k and G1.Sniper and if I am not mistaken the Fatal1ty is better reviewed and has more features.

Also unless you are going for something special, I would either get a full sized tower cooler or a water cooler in the SG09. It can fit any tower cooler (which are cheaper per performance than a SFF one like what you have selected) and the airflow is more efficient with either of those options.

I know everyone says it, but the Cooler Master 212 plus is a fantastic choice and I also love my H60. Just saying :)

 
 
synestir 1 point 14 months ago

Right, i was looking at the ASrock board, and picked it at first, but i chose the GIG board because i just have a very good rep for them. Plus i love that they have dual bios on the board and every board ive had from them overclocks like a champ. I picked the 3570k, because i dont like the ivy bridge processors, the 2500k is cooler and more stable for a better overclock, and id rather not take a chance "delidding" my CPU and screwing it up. As far as the cooler goes, i wasnt really sure what to choose (if you havnt figured out, this is my first SFF build), so i just went with a good SFF cooler. I have looked at Noctuas, phanteks, enermax, NZXT, and i have a couple of radiators that i could make a small loop out of (much like an H60). I was mainly looking at these: http://pcpartpicker.com/part/nzxt-cpu-cooler-havik140 http://pcpartpicker.com/part/phanteks-cpu-cooler-phtc14pebk http://pcpartpicker.com/part/noctua-cpu-cooler-nhd14 http://pcpartpicker.com/part/enermax-cpu-cooler-etst40tb

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Fair enough! Of all the coolers you listed I would highly recommend the Noctua NH-D14, as it is widely regarded as the best air cooler available. It is very expensive but if you are going to go for massive overclocks then that is a great choice.

A water cooler would be quieter but I doubt that there is enough room for a pump and reservoir in this tiny case. You would be better off with an AIO unit.

Just something to think about, don't write off the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus/EVO as its plenty good for hitting 5 GHz on a 2500k with lots of voltage. Not to mention it is almost a quarter of the cost of a NH-D14.

 
 
mecha37 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

if your psu has any available molex connectors you could get adapters(molex to 8 pin) for your next video card. My gigabyte 660ti came with those adapters.

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Great idea, I do have plenty to spare. I guess the question would then be if 600W 80+ Bronze is enough for 2x GTX 670 and 3570k @ 4.8 gHz?

I don't want to push it, but if that would be enough then you just saved me some money!

 
 
mecha37 [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

well your build according to this site only uses about 336W of power and your power supply is 600w i would recommend when u do eventually get the second gtx 670 try it out and if u experience any problems upgrade your psu also since your case is smaller iam a little concerned about how the temps will be when you eventually do sli

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

I guess it couldn't hurt to try, and I know what you mean with the temps thing, but I am actually not worried about that at all because if you take a look at the side panel you see that there is a 120mm AP120 fan there and room for 2 92mm fans that all blow directly over the GPU's.

With 1 reference card with a nice overclock I am still not hitting 70 degrees and I have not installed the 2 92mm fans yet.

Thanks for the feedback guys, it is all extremely helpful!

[comment deleted]
 
 
Javanode [1 Build] 1 point 14 months ago

what... PNY GTX 670 for $189.99 !

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Wouldnt that be great! No, the SSD was $189.99 and the 670 was $299.99. Still a great price for a 670 for sure though.

 
 
theoneofeight 1 point 14 months ago

Your list comes up to $1331.85 now. How you manage to get it down to $783 is beyond me. Assuming you bought different parts over time - how long did it took you to get all the parts on sale?

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

I actually bought all the parts over the course of a 3 day weekend. It must have been a perfect timing I guess, make sure you factor the SSD though, that narrows the gap to about $250. Still great though!

Make sure you are subscribed to newegg's newsletters, they have tons of great deals and thats how I got most of my newegg parts

 
 
gumbinator [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Have you given any thought to adding an optical drive? It seems like finding a slot-loaded drive to fit in the SG09 is hard to do for some reason.

I'm considering the case for a similar build, but I'm thinking I'll end up getting an external blu-ray instead of trying to find something reasonable that will fit.

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

I have an external drive if I need one but I've only ever needed it once. Most of my content is digital so the lack of internal drive works great for me!

 
 
heavyisaspy 1 point 13 months ago

How is the PNY card holding up for you? I've heard varying reports that it runs hot and loud. Do you find that this holds true with your build?

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

Honestly, its not the best. Its the only source of noise I can hear in the whole system. The coil whine is pretty constant and its kinda loud during games. It was dirt cheap though so I believe it was worth it. I just ordered an Arctic cooling kit for it as even with the $40 extra it'll still be better than any non reference 670. I'll update this with my experience when I have it installed. Hope that helps.

 
 
allchrispy 1 point 12 months ago

How do you like the graphics card? I am back and forth on getting that one.

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 12 months ago

Take a look at the above response. Its kinda loud but at the end of the day it was under $300 and I can (and did) buy an Arctic cooler for it.

 
 
JForce522 [1 Build] 0 points 14 months ago

It's hard to make any bad comments about all this for < $1,000. Great build. I would recommend more storage (a Seagate Barracuda, for example), but if you don't need it, then you might as well save some money :)

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 14 months ago

Thanks for the feedback, this means a lot to me as its basically my dream build and I put a lot of work into it.

Good suggestion, Barracuda's seem to be the best bang for buck at the moment, it would be incredible to do a RAID of two 2TB drives on the back but like you said it would be a bit of an investment.

Gosh I remember when 256 GB was massive! My first computer (a Compaq laptop) had a 1.8 GB hard drive, and couldnt fill it.

 
 
IamApropos [2 Builds] -1 points 14 months ago

(Builder Clap) Great build!! No sacraficing in performance to get parts that don't add to performance. You picked quality parts instead of picking budget brands for the same prices. I'm not a fan OCZ products because of their failure rate but this is probably the only product they have I'd ever recommend, I think they are really trying to get past the bad history they have had and I honestly hope they do. It looks like you did a great job on your homework, researching the parts and by doing so you got an amazing build for an equally outstanding price. Happy Gaming and thank you very much for sharing this build with us, I really enjoyed browsing the pictures. ~ IamApropos

 
 
Coolaidstyle [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 14 months ago

I really appreciate it dude! Hearing all the outstanding feedback I am getting on this makes me glad I made the leap and built my dream rig.