Description

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.

---------------UPDATE--------------------

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!!

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 49 months ago
  • 2 points

Now that is tiny. Way to make it fit. I'm digging the modifications to get this to work. +1

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

This is disturbingly small, really nice job. I'm really interested to see how this performs.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Check out some benchmark numbers in the update. Very good performance for the size, cost and power consumption. I'm glad I didn't buy a NUC and decided to build a small system.

  • 49 months ago
  • 2 points

It is impressive!

One thing about the Cinebench, you screenshot a moment too early, right before it finished lol

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

That was on purpose! Wanted to show the max temps on the CPU while under 100% load!

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, that makes sense!

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

That is awesome!

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

I use to have one of these pico cases and I loved how small it was, defiantly the size an ITX case should shoot for. I was not a huge fan of the picoPSU but it got the job done. In this kind of build I would have gone with the A10, you will quickly notice the graphical limitations of a stand alone CPU. Still a very nice build. In my pico build I went with the G3258 (before skylake came out) and I loved the CPU but regretted putting it in that small of a build. I have since moved the G3258 to a larger case and tossed an old HD6770 on it and it works like a champ.

My pico build if you want to see it. https://pcpartpicker.com/b/ZpkTwP

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

The G3258 needs discrete graphics. The HD integrated is not enough. It was the right move to get it in a larger case where you can overclock too. The reason I did not go with AMD (A8 or A10) was price/performance/TDP. What did you replace the G3258 with?

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Nothing powerful, I just got a cheap R7-250 I found on sale. It is worlds better then the integrated graphics and does the basics just fine. AMD does really need to work on their TDP/Performance, heck they need to refresh their products I just hope Zen does not come out too late to matter. I am a team red player who is having to use team blue products since AMD's stuff just does not compete right now.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

Is this cpu great for an htpc build? like the igpu is it good? I wanna use kodi and play blu ray movies.

  • 49 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem with kodi or any type of video content. I got the G4400 very cheap on ebay. If I were to buy at retail I would go for the G4500 for around 65pounds which has the HD530 so you can play games too. Edit: I just saw the G4400 on amazon for 40pounds. That's great value for money.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I wish I had seen this a few days ago! Just pulled the trigger on parts for a HTPC using the M350 (http://pcpartpicker.com/user/iamstephen1128/saved/8jfXsY) and now I'm super worried about running into a similar issue with fitting the SSD. The socket on my mobo seems to be less in the center and the Cryorig is a smidge shorter than the Intel stock cooler, so fingers crossed!