Description

A bit of introduction

Why a mini-ITX

This build comes out from the necessity of renewing my old (2011) gaming PC keeping it small enough to place it along my LG TV not ruining the overall appeal of the living room. Choosing Mini-ITX as a form factor was then a no-brainer decision.

Sources of thoughts

I'm quite used to get my hands dirty with part substitution of PCs (GPU, RAM, PSU) and stuff like that, but this was actually my very first from-scratch build.
Being also a mini-ITX build, planning on which parts actually buy to fit in the tiny case was a bit of a pain. I also scratched my head a lot in order to reduce the budget. Here in Europe we are not so lucky as you US folks are and electronic stuff is a little bit expensive, even with Amazon.

Thanks

I would say a big huge thank to Carey Holzman which is a continuous source of inspirations and whose videos gave me the last final push to decide to build this PC on my own. I would recommend watching this video even if you are confident about your PC building abilities. Which, by the way, I'm not.
Douglas Hewitt also deserve a mention for his How to build a PC with RVZ02 Mini ITX case YouTube video playlist. These videos are a decent source of directions for this particular build, even if some tricky parts are not covered perfectly.

Mobo

ASRock Z170M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard

Choosing the mobo

This is a mini-ITX build, so I choose a Z170 chipset Mini-ITX model from ASRock. Supports DDR4, which I planned to stuff inside and has a 1151 socket, suitable for the i5-6500 CPU.

Build experience

Connecting the front panel wires was not so simple, giving the smallness of the mobo. Further, at one point during the OS installation I made a mistake in the UEFI BIOS configuration that forced me to perform a CMOS reset. Moving the jumper was quite a nightmare but I managed to do this, so this is not impossible.
Regarding the Wi-Fi antennas and their chip, well, this is just an impression, but they does not seems to be very robust. Maybe it's just me. Further, keep in consideration that there are only two RAM sockets instead of the classical four of an ATX mobo.

Graphics Card

MSI GeForce GTX 960 4GB Video Card

Choosing the GPU

Great debate here. Main decision driver were the price. I was a little low on budget so I went for the GTX 960 over the GTX 970, which allows me to save more or less 100 euros. I choose MSI as builder just because I read a lot here and there and they seems to be a good brand.
When I unboxed it I suddenly realize how sexy it is. I really mean it.

Build experience

The particular case I choose requires a PCIe extension (provided) to mount the GPU in a room separated from the one where CPU and PSU lives. Installation was pretty straightforward, nothing to mention.

Processor

Intel Core i5-6500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor

Choosing the CPU

I've always been an Intel fan, even though my last PC mounted an AMD. Intel i5 has a great performance/price balance, IMHO. Intel i7 was a little bit overkill for this build, I think.

Build experience

This was the part I was more concerned about. People (including me) are way over concerned about mounting a CPU. Just drop it in place and push the retention bracket. That's it.

Memory

Kingston HyperX Fury Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory

Choosing the RAM

For sure I wanted DDR4 memories, then I was in a struggle deciding over Kingston HyperX and G.Skill. I know the latter are quite better, but again, budget went into play and I decided for HyperX. 8GB seems enough to me, I could switch to 16GB later on.

Build experience

Well, this is the easiest part to be mounted, as you may know. The only consideration is about the mobo RAM socket, which does not have both the plastic tabs openable but only one. This is not a big deal but I was not expecting it and it surprises me a bit.

Storage

Samsung 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive

Choosing the Storage

Samsung 250GB SSD. I bought and installed it last year inside my previous gaming PC. No brainer decision to recycle and use it.
By the way, it works great, nothing to add.

Build experience

The Raven RVZ02B has a great couple of SSD slot that allows you to put them in place without using any screws. This is very convenient, but I would suggest to mount the SSD as the last part, otherwise the SATA wires and the power supply cables will be in your way to mount some other parts, like the PCIe extension.

Power Supply

Silverstone 500W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply

Choosing the PSU

I needed a SFX PSU, so I bought this directly from Silverstone, in order to be sure that I could put it in their case. 500W I think is enough for my build. And 600W version was way more expensive.

Build experience

Well, cables are quite stiff and hard to bend, so routing the cables where a little bit difficult, as you may notice from the images. Also, the Raven RVZ02B is not quite benevolent regarding cables routing.

Case

Silverstone RVZ02B HTPC Case

Choosing the Case

This part was the more debating after the one about the GPU. Mini-ITX was the choice, for space and eye reasons, as I mentioned previously.
At first I was very excited about the Bitfenix Prodigy M. Then some unenthusiastic reviews on newegg made me change my opinion and choose the Raven RV02. A little bit more expensive but smaller.

Build experience

As I mentioned, this was my first from-scratch build. The Raven RV02 was a great challenge, especially for the cable routing, the smallness, and the uncertainty on how to drop some things in places.
Besides, reinstalling side panels in place after the build was completed was not so easy. Beware of that if you plan to start working on this late in the evening (as I did) and you could land to this stage around 2AM.
Anyway perseverance and calm (?!?) where my best allies.

Wrapping everything up

First things first, this build has been a great challenge, I knew it would have been, but I really enjoyed taking it to the end.
Overall I'm quite satisfied of my work, but I think that cables could have been managed in a better way. I do not know which one though.
I've not yet monitored under-load temperatures, I will and add them accordingly as soon as I can.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading this build description as much as I enjoyed writing and (of course) building it.

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

That Raven case or ML08 is quite the choice when choosing console mini itx case. Corsair started selling SF series which is compatible to that case and is a lot better than silverstone PSU(talking about passing ripple test, fan noise) anyways +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Thanks!
Took inspiration from this build guide which was citing the RVZ02 and was like love at the first sight.
BTW didn't really like the ML08 handle nor the front panel, which seems to me a little unesthetic. Moreover the orange light of the RV02 is really sexy.
Speaking of PSU, didn't know about the Corsair PSU compatible with Silverstone mini-ITX cases, I'll give it a look.
Thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

yes right now SF 450 and SF 600 are pre order here in australia. From the ripple test benchmarks SFX L and SFX both suffer from ripple test failure and some consistent reviews also says they hear noises at a certain load.

Those temp were taken in open bench yes? How are the temps of the gpu when the case is close? Is it preferable to have a blower type GPU which will move hot air outside the case rather than heat building up inside?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

H!! Temps stated in the details and also in the images where taken with the case closed, actually. System was not stressed at all, though, just idle.
The MSI models of the GTX 900 series should be designed to have the fans start spinning only over a certain temperature, which I think is 60°, but I'm not sure about the exact degree and I can't find a reference on the specs page.

I'm not a great expert of air flowing but in this particular case the GPU is in a separate upper room from the CPU/mobo. This should lowers the heating of all the system. Further if you choose a vertical stand-up position for the case (as I do), considering that hotter air goes up and the GPU generally produce the more heat for the system everything should be ok. At least I hope, LOL!

BTW I still have to stress test al the system to check under load temps. Let everyone knows with a little edit as soon as I can. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! just from the description, you get a +1. so many people don't take the time to right a good description for their long dreamed dream machine and you took the time to write out a clear, easy to read, intro. Well Done!!!

The parts look great too! do the skylakes come with a heatsink now? I thought Intel gimped out on a $5 fan haha.

+1/+1

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

do the skylakes come with a heatsink now? I thought Intel gimped out on a $5 fan haha.

I know Skylake's non-K processors comes with a stockfan. Their K versions, no idea. I know PCPP confuses me here but every time I tried to create a part-list with an i5-6600K or the i7-6700K, it alerts that I need a CPU cooler. I should have asked someone by now with those Skylake K processors but it's not my top priority to ask about. Because I forget... I literally wrote a sticky note about it and I still forget. :)
  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

you might be right Eltech! I think the Ks come in the thinner boxes cause they probably assume people will get aftermarket coolers anyways. and fans come for the non-K cause you can't OC :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi! Thanks! I really appreciate!
I put a lot of effort choosing the right parts, documenting myself on how to properly put everything together and all. Writing a long passionate description that gives meaning to my journey was a real pleasure. Further, PcPartPicker is simply awesome, as it is its community and I thought a proper description was deserved!! :)
Speaking of the CPU, yes, it arrives with its own fan and thermal paste already applied. I think it is ok if one does not plan to overclock it, as I am. At least I've read so. :)
Thanks!

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points
A lovely build you have here. Thank you for taking the time to make a lovely description as well. Great work and enjoy your computer! +1
  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, I hope I will!

Regarding the description I'm still trying to figure out if I enjoyed the most writing that or building the system. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build mate, great job on the part selection. I have a different preference on an ITX case, but that's just taste. The build looks good and, like was mentioned above, the description here is great and gives a lot of insight into the build process. Thanks for sharing, and congrats. +1 from a fellow ITX fan.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Thanks!

I'm just a new acquisition for the ITX fans family :)

Which is your preferred case? Is there somewhere in the internet some sort of online community?