Description

Graphic oriented mini ITX desktop case with professional monitor. To be used with Adobe suite mainly. Ultra silent build, by far the best build I have ever done.

It was not my intention to build a color-themed / ultra moded PC but a small silent performer. Clean, simple and nice looking if possible. So, aesthetics was only taken into account for external parts, mainly the case.

I focused on performance and silence. That can be accomplished using air cooling with the more semi-fanless components the better. I did a mistake and ordered an Asus GTX970 OC Turbo (blower style), following some recommendations for small cases like this one, however, was too noisy. Avoid blower fan if you want absolute silence, I ended returning it back and purchasing a MSI GTX970 Gaming 4G which has a wonderful heatskin with plenty of copper pipes and 2 fans which operate in semi-fanless mode. Also the PSU is a Silverstone SX500-LG, semi-fanless as well, with better cooling due to its size and 120mm fan (when active).

The rest of the cooling is entirely Noctua:

  • U9S CPU cooler with 2x AF9 PWM fans attached, pushing air towards top (top exhaust), connected to 'CPU Fan' mobo socket through a low noise adapter and Y cable.

  • 1x AF9x14 PWM helping the CPU cooler and working as rear exhaust, connected via low noise adapter to 'Chasis Fan 2' channel in mobo.

  • 2x F12 PWM bottom intake fans, also with its corresponding low noise adapters and Y cable connected to 'Chasis 1' channel.

Although this case admits several cooling configurations, this setup is working like a charm so far. Having those 2 big 120mm noctuas placed in the bottom as intake, it creates a bit of possitive static pressure with filtered cold air from the base. In order to balance static pressure, rear and top exhausts cause a nice bottom-to-top air flow while dust is kept to minimum. Graphic card fans (probably the noisiest part) rarely enter in action thanks to the bottom noctuas pulling fresh air directly onto the heatskin. PSU, due to its position, is self-cooled with fresh air from one side that is exhausted towards top, not interfering with the rest of the components.

The last part is to profile a nice set of fan curves through BIOS and .... voilá ... silence is guaranteed.

  • The only downside I have encountered so far is the PSU fan (I guess it is, did not checked deeply). Although is disabled most of the time, it makes a very light rattling sound randomly when spinning at low rpms. This is a known issue from Silverstone in some units, or just maybe the way the fan works (not same quality at Noctua fans). Probably the noise is noticeable given the extremely silent noctuas not poluting your desktop at all. Luckily my unit rarely shows this issue.

  • Tip: Ncase M1 comes with plenty of accesories, among them, several silicone paddings to be used with 3,5" drives. In case you are not gonna use them, take 4 and insert them into the case feet (take a look at my picture of the base). They will serve as extra dampening to reduce vibrations on full load.

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Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Simple, clean, minimal. Nice case, cooler, and cable management. A very nice looking build! +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That is beautiful, well done sire. Makes me want to switch my matx rig to itx.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build. Excellent photos too.

Which way do you have those fans pushing air btw?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing build... Did you daisy chain the fans or go with a pwm fan hub?

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Clean and simple. Here, have my +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That depth of field warps through time. I like.

+1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Lovely build and lovely setup! <3 +1 TEAM NCASE

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

So much of nothing looks soo good

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks guys, it took me a few days but now I am more than delighted. Its my best build by far, never thought such a tiny case could be so well designed, so congratulations to Ncase team. I will extend a bit more the description with info about fans and setup.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I feel the urge to clean up my desk...

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a soft spot for minimalist builds. Love it!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

If your fans are PMW and you can control them through the BIOS what is the purpose of the low noise adaptors?

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

L.N.A. caps maximum speed when working under automatic PWM control. Eventhough you have curves in BIOS to profile how fans operate, they refer to temperature vs % fan load, not rpms. That is, you set a % fan load for a given temperature range, but you cannot directly control rpms as that will depend on fan model, brand, characteristics, etc. So, could you do the same without LNA only using PWM curves? Sure, but you will have to play a bit with curves while monitoring RPM read out from each fan. Another option to do that is using Asus Fan Xpert software, which handles wider customization and makes an automatic mapping of rpms vs %load of each fan through a calibration process. Unfortunately, Fan Xpert is not offered as a standalone app, but comes integrated into a complete Suite solution for OC and energy management that I found a bit faulty. So I uninstalled it and went back to BIOS.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I like the setup. but Im really doubting if you kept that table clean or not. LOL +1 thou

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Sure! :) I tried to keep it as in the picture ... I am that kind of minimalist freak :P

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

LOL nice.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build Javier. I'm looking to build something very similar using your system as a template.

Now that you've been up and running for a while would you change anything?

Also do you think a non-blower open style 980 Ti would be a bit too warm for the case?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks iaTa! I am really happy with the general performance so far, and even surprised by the low temps and silent operation. Ncase M1 is small in size but big in performance and Noctuas do their job flawlessly. Definitely, a non-blower style GTX will run much more quietly. I had to return an Asus blower GTX970 back only 2 days after purchasing it, noise was terrible. Swapped it for my current MSI Gaming 4G card, the large heatsink (Twin Frozr) and semi fanless mode keep it cool and quiet. Actually, it is the coolest part of the system in idle, the 2 bottom Noctuas keep it around 30°C and prevent the card fans from going active. The only tradeoff is getting a few degrees higher in the case under heavy load, but Noctuas can handle the situation with no problem.

I guess you will get a bit warmer inside your case with a 980 but probably nothing to worry about as long as you define more agressive fan operation curves in your BIOS in order to exhaust a higher volume of air.

However, bear in mind that my system is mainly focused to photo and video editing, no gaming so far so I cannot give you any feedback of this setup under a gaming scenario.

If I had to change something, that would be the PSU. It is not that I am unhappy, it is a robust and stable performer, but noise-wise, it isn't completely polished. Being semifanless is great on the paper, but in practice, unlike the MSI video card that works like a charm, I can notice a rattling noise whenever the fan start spinning at low rpms. But you know, I had to pick up one to complete my system and there were just 2 or 3 options available for SFX-L format, all of them virtual copies sharing the same internals, so I finally chose this one that at least comes from a reputated manufacturer.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the update!

Looks like I'll be going with the 1080 (non-founders edition) now rather than the 980 which looks as though runs a bit cooler. Regarding PSU I had decided on the Corsair SF600 but SilverStone have just started shipping their new platinum rated SX700-LPT so I might hold off for reviews. How tight are the cables against the GPU when using a SFX-L PSU?

Everything else is ready to go so I'll be building as soon as the M1 arrives in a couple of weeks.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow, you will have a little monster in there! Cables will be tight for sure with an sfx-l, I had to bend my Silverstone stock cables to relieve the card from pressure. Although tight, they can fit as long as your card backplate (if any) is not too thick. The reason to go for sfx-l is a bigger fan (120mm) that can exhaust more air, with theoretically less noise.

Take a look at this picture: https://hardforum.com/proxy/CKbSwA7n6N9xrek7xZZxd8%2Bm9JABIm047sp81CLU/image.png

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

So the build is complete (with a temporary 980 in place of the 1080) and it's awesome! Thanks again for posting your system, helped tremendously! The only down side are the SF600 cables which are so stiff and difficult to manage. The bonus is the PSU is completely silent most of the time (fan off).

One thing I did notice, I didn't use the LNAs on the fans and they seemed quite loud. The BIOS stated they were all running in PWM mode but the 3 chassis fans were actually running in DC mode even though it said otherwise. Selected DC and then back to PWM and all silent now :)

  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeahh! Its a small silent beast! Now its time to enjoy it and get all the juice out of it. Dont forget to post some pictures :)

  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

I'd love to see you build posted! Looking to do something very similar.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. I intend to put an open GPU in an Ncase M1, but am worried about airflow since this card blows hot air. I will try a setup similar to yours, but am worried that the intake fans on the bottom would create turbulence blowing in the opposite direction of the GPU fans in such close proximity. Also, I have an EVGA ACX 2.0 980ti GPU. How could I put my card on "semi-fanless mode" like you said? MSI afterburner or something?

  • 44 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi, well, semi-fanless mode is built into my MSI GTX970 hardware so that when a certain temperature threshold is achieved the fans start spinning. Once spinning, the fans modulate its speed acording to the temperature measured, so the higher temp the more rpms. This is done following a curve which is also built in the card hardware. I have played around with MSI software included, like MSI Gaming App, and you can lightly control the fans through pre-established settings like 'Game mode' or 'Silent mode'. These modes make the curve more moderate or steeper so the fans will respond to temperature more or less aggressively. Anyway, the software doesn't allow you much control so a leave it as default.

I wouldn't be that worried about bottom fans and card fans. They don't be blowing in opposite directions, both are intaking air, the bottom ones and the video card ones. The only thing is that airflow gets interrupted by the card itself once passed video card fans, and this remaining hot air must be exhausted through the top.

What I can comment is that my experience is reeeeeaaaally good so far, but have in mind that I do not use my rig to play games but to edit multimedia content. So I do not usually put my card to its limits.

Enjoy!

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I appreciate the answer, I'm gonna get everything over the next couple of weeks and your build has helped my decisions.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm running an open air Gigabyte 1080 G1 in my M1. I can't hear the fans when set on auto and it doesn't go over 72 degrees, even when overclocked to 2GHz.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice build. I was wondering how you were able to run 5 fans in your system. Did you use a fan splinter because I heard the z170I only has 4 fan headers.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Just 3 fan sockets actually, one for the CPU cooler and 2 for chassis fans. Yes, I used the splitters that came with Noctua fans.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, pretty sleek build! Awesome! Did you have any troubles booting and installing Windows 10 from the Samsung 950 PRO?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! None at all, everything went like a charm!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great. How was fit the on that SFX-L PSU? Would you suggest a SFX or SFX-L? I really want a 120mm fan over a 92 or 80.

I have a Silverstone 450W SFX PSU only a few years old with a fan that is already making noise while the PSU itself is fairly impressive--handing my i7 4790 and GTX 980 (without OC). Other than that damn 80mm fan, my rig is silent.

I'm about to put it all into my new NCase M1, so I'll be replacing the PSU. While every review says Silverstone is amazing, my experience and others reporting the fan issue is probably going to drive me away. Currently I'm looking at the new Lian Li 700W SFX-L (with a 120mm) or a Corsair SF600 (SFX with a 92mm).

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Thanks! Well, as long as you manage to get one copy with no fan issues, I would recommend an SFX-L PSU. 120mm fan makes a huge difference in terms of noise and heat evacuation, and also the semi fanless operation is great for those idle sessions at 0dB. Silverstone is a reputated brand with good components, and as you said, it will handle a powerful rig with no performance issues at all. To be fair, I am very happy with my Silverston SX500-LG in that regard, however, the fan issue is a bit frustrating and can ruin the whole silent experience. It is a random issue when working in idle or under light load, you may have luck or not, it depends on the day. When playing games or taking its full potential the rattling sound is pretty loud though. I hope Silverstone get this fan replaced in new revisions/models. In the meanwhile, you better check your PSU candidates in forums in case they have similar problems. I read some time ago models from Chieftek having the same flaw.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

How are the temps? and is the CPU running at stock clocks?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, CPU at stock clock, no need to OC so far. Temps are around 30-35 ºC in idle (ambient temp is hot here in summer) and 45-50ºC when gaming or under heavy load. GPU reaches 55ºC when gaming, but never seen CPU/GPU over 60ºC.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

With this set up is there a place to install a 3.5 mechanical drive somewhere?

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

I think you have room for 1 with this setup. Ncase M1 allows up to 3 x 3.5 drives, 1 in the bottom and 2 attached to a removable side bracket (although this depends on your CPU cooler and PSU dimensions). With a non-ATX PSU, like mine, I think you have room to install one 3.5 drive in front of it.

Take a look at this pictures:

https://66.media.tumblr.com/b390cd05a8430bae984f93b9102dd33f/tumblr_ngac9wZS5B1qm9irko1_1280.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Gs9Wp5P.jpg

https://hardforum.com/proxy/CKbSwA7n6N8yAtukKBardbe3Rflwc7uRvFPA7Q%3D%3D/image.png

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Aww man that is awesome! Thanks for the reply it was very helpful!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Gorgeous build and photography. Great job!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Really nice build! +1 btw I love cases with this aliminium lock

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks GREAT +1 for you

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for posting images of the Samsung 950, I've just ordered a Ncase M1 and was wondering about the fit of the Samsung 950 with his motherboard and case.

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

yellow

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you guys!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! Is this monitor good for gaming? It looks amazing!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, this Dell is just amazing. Period. But remember it was designed for color professional work with the highest standards, accuracy and an incredible true wide gamut capability. Those are its key and strongest points and it is aimed for color Pros, and thus, its price. That is what I mainly use it for, although I have also played ocassionally and my experience has been really good. However, a serious gamer will tell you there are better specced and cheaper options for true gaming. After all, this is a prrofessional tool not a gamers one.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Slick as hell, well done. I'm eventually gonna build a system in this case and i'm definitely modeling my cooling after yours. +1

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

My motherboard, ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I, only has 2 fan channels, and need more... What can I do?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Use a PWM splitter cable so you can attach more than one fan to a single channel. In my case I have 2xFans for intaking from the bottom in one channel, and 2xFans exhausting at the top & rear in the other channel. Plus the cpu cooler fan which is attached to its own channel.

If you manage to buy Noctua fans (which I highly recommend), you will get a splitter included in each fan for free.

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  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, a regular A9 fits in this setup. I had plans to set the CPU cooler with both fans attached to each side (left, right) instead of top-bottom as they are right now. For that setup, a slim fan as back exhaust was needed, that's the reason I went for the x14. I ended up setting the cooler as in the pictures though.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

why did you go with top-bottom orientation? I am thinking to do similar build but with right-left cpu cooler orientation

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually it is bottom to top. I set it that way to follow the flow of hot air, it seems more natural for me. Also, this case is very well vented in top and bottom sides, much more than front.