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Before I start, I actually posted this build a few weeks back, but my old account (Radox) was accidently deleted while removing bots, not me being naughty I promise :D. Needless to say there have been plenty with the MSI competition, but the fantastic as usual staff have worked hard to keep on top of things. Alas love the community so much, I rebuilt my profile and just reposting this completed build, if only to keep track of what builds I have done :)
White Fusion my second personal build build that has been in progress for a number of months really. As odd as its sounds I have had no urge as such to complete it, but recently after upgrading my Aurora build to X99, I felt high time to get this build complete. I initially expected to move the 4790k into the build, but held on to 4790k in my main build for longer than planned so grabbed the 4690k, a good chip in its own right for use in this build and an eventual swap which I did not do in the end.
White Fusion primary use is as a HTPC / Console replacement in the living room and as such will not be the main gaming PC, thus in some areas there may seem to be compromises. The build itself is planned around the case itself, the Lian-Li PC-05S with other plans having to fit in place around this.
The custom loop part dropped into place after I got rid of my Fury X and opted for a custom loop. The custom loop works out very well for a HTPC because at idle and for low intensive tasks, the PC is absolutely silent, more so combined with the SFX PSU which does not spin its fan. This makes it really ideal for a living room HTPC when watching movies and what not, combined with the lighting which will dim automatically in the case for such uses.
Anyway on to the longggggggggggggggggggggggg part selection
CPU - 4690k
The 4690k is a solid 4 core offering. In reality it leans slightly towards overkill, but in all I have not had any issues to date. I was contemplating putting my 4790k into the build after moving Aurora to X99, but I seem to have got reasonably lucky with this chip and it can maintain a nice 4.7 Ghz at a reasonable temperature under load and could not simply be bothered to perform the chip and got a good price for my 4690k.
While the power draw and TDP for this chip would not make it ideal for most HTPC builds, the addition of a custom loop does work wonders and at idle it maintains a nice 26-30 degrees and under load for an hour, about 50 degrees max.
Motherboard - ASUS ROG Maximus Impact / Memory - Kingston HyperX Fury
The Maximus Impact, a lovely and feature rich motherboard with plenty of features and function that's you won’t miss anything as such from a larger ATX board. Asus put a lot of effort in and created multiple daughterboards which explains the add on-cards and various power phases and VRM’s near the top. Essentially where they lost space horizontally, they added vertically.
The primary reason for actually choosing it was two fold, I wanted to purchase a full cover motherboard block. In the Mini ITX area, this is the only board for which Bitspower and EK produce full cover motherboard blocks. This works great as it actively watercools the motherboard components but more generally looks awesome i think.
Second the Motherboard seems to be very solid and to date has had no issue with ram running at 2400 Mhz or the CPU overclocking to 4.7 Ghz. no issue.
The ram sticks were picked for their nice clean look. They were actually reasonably priced and although their frequency is not massive, they seem to do the job fine. For this build I went ahead and purchased a pair of 8 GB sticks and for most purposes 16Gb is overkill for the use of this build, but means I should not need to worry about anything going forward.
Storage - Samsung 850 Evo
For storage it was kept pretty straightforward, a pair of 500 GB Samsung 850 Evo drives. The primary reason for purchasing all SSD’s is a lack of space in the case in general, more so with the addition of the custom loop which took over the HDD area, and secondly to keep the build as silent as possible.
In terms of performance both are lightning quick as expected. Although capacity is somewhat on the low side, it's not a major issue as this build and Aurora will eventually be supplemented by a NAS from which media can be streamed if needed.
Case - Lian Li PC-O5S
Probably one of my most favourite parts about this builds. Made of all aluminium and finished off with a thick sheet of tempered glass the case looks pretty awesome. It screams quality and although pricey for a small case is quite unique. Of course the layout does double as a unique aspect but looking at the case on your desk lit up is an awesome sight. The finish is extremely smooth and well polished and you can see the faint aluminium lines which in person look great.
There are some quirks and sacrifices. First of all it's quite tall for a mini ITX case, it's not small as typical of most ITX cases, but that's expected given the layout not being the most space effective. Additionally there are some limitations in radiator support and power supply choice, but the radiator support aspect can be forgiven and the case works fine with most 240mm AIO’s. Finally the material is very soft, you need to really treat it carefully as it can be scratched. Thankfully I only scratched it on inside rear cable management side, but something to be wary off.
GPU - AMD R9 Nano
For the GPU I went for the AMD R9 Nano. Amusingly I actually bought the AMD R9 Fury x first, but got rid of this for the normal R9 Fury when I elected to go for a watercooled build. About 3 weeks after I got my second Fury (first one made a lot of coil whine) the Nano was released so sent the Fury back for the Nano. Amusingly this has allowed me to note and compare the performance of all 3 members of the family.
The Fury and Nano cards are great in that the PCB is very short on them, more so on the Nano which is why I opted for it. The nano itself comes armed with the Full Fiji core, binned cores at that so the best samples go into the Nano thanks to the better thermal and voltage. The reason for this is because the stock cooler is put to work very hard, infact the card with the stock fan profile will actually thermal throttle very slightly reducing its performance to GTX980 sort of levels. However notch up the fans from the stock profile and the Nano will outperform the normal Fury card. Sadly most reviews don’t do this and what they do not make clean is that 99% of the time, during testing their card will be thermal throttling. Infact I went as far as pushing my Fury to the max it can go and the Nano to the max in terms of overclock and even with a 60Mhz lead the Fury was beaten by the Nano, thanks to said full Fiji core vs stripped down core.
Under water however it's a whole different beast. Not only can it maintain its 1000 Mhz clock constantly but mine (gone through 2) can overclock to 1125 Mhz on the core and 550 on the Memory, at these speeds it surpasses both the stock Fury X, and gets close to lowly clocked 980Ti’s in terms of performance let alone a normal Fury. In part this is thanks to less power being required to drive the fan on the Nano which is already somewhat power starved.
It's not all roses with the R9 Fury lineup of the 5 cards I have used from the family only 1 did not coil severely (the Second Fury) and only this Nano is at acceptable levels.
PSU - Silverstone SFX-L 500G
PSU was a fairly easy choice. The Silverstone SFX-L 500G was chosen a SFX PSU is only compatible and secondly this slightly longer SFX format PSU uses a larger 120mm fan vs other smaller SFX PSU’s which means it runs cooler and quiet no issue. In fact the fan turns off at low loads which is a nice feature. The 500 Watt capacity is more than sufficient really to power this PC so not having an issue as such.
Cooling - Custom Loop
The Custom loop was a fun, if not daunting experience in this case. While it looks like there is not a lot of loop, some parts were brought and then sold on soon after, in part thanks to me being a fool and buying parts really early and leaving them laying around for a while.
In all however aesthetic and temperature wise I love it. The Full cover waterblock on the motherboard looks pretty awesome I think and the waterblock on the nano thanks to the riser card looks pretty great when looking at the build from a normal angle. The tubing itself is 14/12 mm tube with Black Barrow compression fittings which are exactly the same as Bitspower, for ½ the price. A nice saving when 1 rotary fitting in my aurora build for example cost £20 each!
The radiator is the EK SE 240mm radiator. Admittedly not my first choice as I went for the slightly thicker XSPC rad but with fans on came to 61.5 cm thick while this case has a 60cm limitation (and that's a real limitation!) so swapped to this slimmer EK 25 mm rad.
For fans there is a pair of EK Vardar F4-120ER fans with a RPM range of 350 - 2200 RPM which ensures at low loads the PC is silent as, and if needed heat can be exhausted out at a very rapid rate. Finally on the rear is a BeQuiet 140 mm fan that draws cold air in. The location is perfect as it actually draws this air in and blasts it over the read of the motherboard which acts to cool the CPU / motherboard rea from behind.
So in terms of temperatures at idle, the GPU idles at around 28 degrees, the CPU at about 26-30 degrees, the motherboard at 28 degrees and the VRM at 33 degrees. Under stress testing and load for a couple of hours and fans at 60% the CPU hovers around 55 degrees while the GPU reaches about 40-45 degrees with both overclocked.
To finish the loop off I opted for a white pastel coloured coolant which contrasts nicely with the black fittings and case. This also works well with the next lighting section where I can choose any color without clashing with a set theme.
The lighting system in this build is actually quite extensive. After opting for a custom loop, I installed the Aquacomputer Farbwerk lighting kit which will change based on the temperature of the water. For this there are 4 individually controlled channels with one under the frosted base Acrylic, 1 on each side and one in the roof. In addition to this there is 4 additional Darkside White LED strips in the same area.
The reason for going for quite an over the top lighting kit is the fact the PC will be a HTPC. Having software automatically adjust the lighting based on temperatures works well with the use. For example at low loads when the water in the loop is cool, only the basement light will be on and producing a soft white glow at that, basically not-distracting for HTPC use. As I start to game on the machine and the water gets warmer, the side lighting will come on then finally the top lighting will come on last. At the same time the lighting will go through the spectrum of colors or white, blue, green, yellow and finally red after some intensive tasks.
It seems so simple on the surface! The cable part actually worked out far more expensive than I expected. The material costs and numerous changes all added up. I actually planned to go for red and black theme, so sleeved cables were produced for this. After changing my mind however to a white and black theme, the cables had to be redone, each time costing a pretty penny. Sadly extensions were out of the question as you can see the PSU itself in this build and it would drive me nuts seeing the stock cable leaving the PSU.
To top it off all of the other cables in the build such as fan headers, USB 2.0, Front IO shield, Sata cables and what not were brought in sleeved white texture.
My one issue I did have with this build was the fan extension card on the motherboard set on fire :O. Essentially one of the naked LED strips touched the metal case while on and sent a shock to the fan daughterboard setting it on fire. Extremely worrying and scary, but thankfully on the Maximus impact, the fan card is removable. It did burn out and stopped working but thankfully the rest of the motherboard was fine and a replacement solved the issue.
In all pretty happy with the build. It actually performs a bit better than I expected given the use case I will be using it for but happy none the less. It will be hooked up to my 1080p OLED TV so for that reason when i do choose the game, the combination of parts should have no issue maxing things out in pretty much everything while staying cool and quiet.
There are few things I would have maybe done different such as the custom loop’s route but given the case constraints and limitations it's turned out okay.
If you got this far, thanks for reading!