I've been planning to do a very small build for some time. Decided to go with Skylake mainly for future upgrades with socket 1151 and because the new Intel gpus are better on low priced CPUs (at least according to futuremark since proper reviews are rare). The HD 510 in the G4400 is almost equivalent to HD 4600 which comes in Haswell CPUs that are twice the price. I considered AMD too (e.g. A8-7670K) but the price/performance was not that great. CPU power is of no significance in such a small system. Any modern CPU will be able to easily handle all tasks this PC will perform, so graphics is the defining factor.
I started this build and immediately ran into some problems. The M350 case is small, simple and works well. I like the 2x USB 2.0 ports behind the front cover.
BUT the H110i motherboard has the processor positioned almost in the middle, so the drive tray with the drive mounted does not go in (see pics). A very low profile cpu cooler would do the job but I wanted to have a go with the stock intel cooler. Actually, the drive tray would not even go in even without an SSD. The cooler fan frame supports are in the way. Solution: cut the fan support that is in the way and strip down the SSD to use only the board inside.
Everything worked nicely. The SSD is in place with 2-3mm room for the CPU fan to spin. The SSD board was mounted using 3M double sided adhesive tape which is a gel type and leaves no residue when removed.
The cables for the front USBs, PW SW and PW LED are just the right length so no excess cables inside the tiny case. The SATA cables that came with the motherboard are too long though. They fit inside the case but I'll probably get a 20cm one to clean up things.
The stock Skylake cooler sits flush with the drive tray and the case just closes with no room to spare (see pic with ruler).
I powered up the system with an external PSU (still waiting for the picoPSU and 12V power brick) and everything runs fine. The CPU fan is actually very quiet at low speeds. I added a 40mm fan to push air straight on the picoPSU. Will see temps when all parts are in place and decide if it's needed.
The kingston 8G stick is really nice. It is so low profile that it barely sticks out of the DDR3 slot.
Will update once all parts are in place and I install OS and get some real life benchmarks.
picoPSU arrived. First time I get my hands on one of these and it's surprisingly small. Did not have the 12V brick so I soldered a couple of wires on it to power it from my server 12V PSUs.
Installed windows and ran some benchmarks. The system is very responsive. General use and browsing, office work (libre) you cannot tell the difference from much more powerful systems.
You can see Cinebench R15 results in pix. CPU performance is about half of my i5-4690 and GPU numbers are low as expected. I ran Heaven 4.0 which gave 5.5fps and 139 score at 1080p/high, and 15.2fps and 382 score at 720p/medium.
Some simulator games I play run at 60fps without any problem so I'm good.
One great thing is temps. No matter how many benchmarks I ran back-to-back CPU-GPU temps did no go higher than 46C!! PicoPSU temp was around 33-34C. Never expected that. I thought things would get hot when CPU and GPU were loaded.
Another great thing is consumption. I could not believe the CPU Package numbers from HWinfo64 (max 19W) so I connected an AMP logger at the picoPSU input which showed a max system consumption of 32W when benchmarking!! When playing 1080p content on Kodi it goes down to 12W. This explains the low temps too.
Really good stuff for the tiny system!!