Description

I do graphic design, Web development, and occasional gaming on my desktop. Looking to clear out some space in my office, get the CPU off the ground and away from small fingers, and upgrade my aging workstation, I decided to see what I could build to sit on my desk.

Choices:

Mini-ITX form factor came first. I wanted something that'd sit on my desk without being huge.

RVZ02B case seems to be the king of nice Mini-ITX cases at the moment. (Can't wait to see what they do with this design in the Fortress line. Literally can't wait, so I bought the RVZ02B :) Clean look, thin, reputedly easy-to-build. I like that it allows a 3.5" drive behind a short graphics card, and that it has room for an optical drive. The stock photos make the faceplate look really shiny, but In person it is actually understated and matte, imbuing some personality without going overboard. (For those of you old enough to get the reference, the whole case reminds me of the dark tower in "Stealth" for the C64/Atari, which is the first thing I ever saw a home computer do.)

i5-6500 is plenty fast for Adobe suite without breaking the bank.

Silverstone AR06 cooling barely fits inside the case (by design).

Gaming 5 mobo because the front panel headers are close to the front of the case, because of the possible PCIe M.2 expansion in the future, and because it comes with a USB-C port.

Seagate 4TB has the hybrid SSD feature. 3.5" drive fits in behind the GPU. Looking to see how this works as a Dropbox drive (since I can't put Dropbox files on my NAS). Decently big, decently fast, easy on the wallet.

This EVGA GTX 960 card has 4gb memory and is really short, under 7". This allows me to mount the Seagate 3.5" HDD.

Silverstone 500W SFX-L PSU is pretty much tailored for this setup.

Silverstone DVD/CD because it's $65 instead of $165 (!) for Blueray. Didn't want the hassle of trying to source a legit Panasonic since there seem to be a lot of fakes out there. This Silverstone unit comes with its own slimline SATA to normal SATA adapter in the box, so you DON'T have to buy the CP10 if you buy this. Another bonus is that the faceplate provided matches the color and finish of the case, so it's seamless. Definitely worth the premium imo.

The Bose are cheapish, smallish, classy, and have a simple volume knob and headphone port built into the right speaker. No subwoofer, no wired controller, less clutter. They sound decent. I would have put the control/headphone jack on the left speaker to keep the headphone cable out of the way for right-handed mice.

Keeping my Tex Beetle forever, because it is my favorite keyboard of all time.

Build Notes:

(Builder skill level: I don't build a computer often, just every 5 years or so. I started taking computers apart in the 80's, but I'm never up-to-date on the latest stuff.)

This came together beautifully. The RVZ02 case is a pleasure to build, even as my first Mini-ITX build. (The hardest part is shoving all the cables in at the end.) Despite not being an aluminum unibody case like their Fortress series, it's still mostly metal and the plastic front plate is very nicely rendered.

The GPU power cable routes through a hole just behind and above the front panel USB ports. (No mention of this in the manual. I have to laugh at the single, grainy, screenprinted black-and-white photo of black cables in a black case with no words but the subtitle "suggested optimal cable routing".) This GPU power cable is the first one I'd run in the whole thing.

The AR06 heat sink has some pipes hanging off the side. Make sure to orientate it so that these don't get in the way of any motherboard connectors. On this mobo, the pipes are oriented toward the side closest the case (see photo). Still, on this mobo the front panel USB connector comes in contact with a copper "stud" on the other side (see photo). This case cable is extremely thick--no doubt designed with this issue in mind--so I'm not worried about it. I mounted the mobo in the case first before attaching the heat sink since the AR06 attaches with hand-screws. The mobo is much easier to stand up when it's mounted. The brackets didn't 100% fit perfectly on the AR06 so the mounting screws were a little bit of a tight fit to the mobo--but it worked.

Mini-ITX is incredibly compact! It's easy for things to get in the way of each other. Install your front panel connectors before your RAM, because it's ridiculously tight (see photo). Run your SATA cables last since having them connected to the drives gets in the way of everything until you're done.

Weirdly, the PSU power connector is kinda backwards for this case, so the supplied extension cable has to be bent in an extreme right angle to fit (see photo). Hopefully that's not a problem over time. I left off the PSU bracket to give more room for cables. This turned out to be a very good idea when it came time to cram everything in. The PSU is pretty solidly mounted without the bracket, but if you transport yours a lot, it's probably worth adding the bracket. (If you install it, do it after installing the front panel cables--you can see in my photo of the RAM and front panel cables the two mounting holes where it would go.)

The GPU bracket is very useful though, that's a must imo. It's a slight pita because it screws in from the mobo side, so if you remove your GPU you have to remove both sides of the case... and you worked ever so hard to squish all those cables into the mobo side.

I wish the front plate came preattached to the optical drive, because the little hook by the button snapped right off when I tried attaching it. Luckily, this is the least-important hook on the whole thing. Start with the hooks on the right side (closest the button) and work your way left.

For all you other old people, DDR4 clips only have a hinge on one side--the other side is stationary.

One thing to note: CM Storm Spawn mouse is completely incompatible with Windows 10! In that it constantly crashes the computer and does really, really weird things during Windows install. My Windows install took a whole, frustrating day until I finally figured out it was the *** mouse. There is a Reddit thread about this mouse and Windows 10. Bought a G303 to replace it, nice fingertip/claw mouse.

Highly scientific performance test:

It is very quiet.

It is very fast.

The Seagate is really speedy--more and more clients use Dropbox to send me files so this is going to be a great drive for that. I thought I had purchased the 7200 rpm version, not the 5900 rpm version--but the speed is proof of concept for the hybrid design.

Metro Last Light runs really smoothly at 1960x1200 "Very High".

In Broforce, the explosions go twice as high.

Would build again! Without the CM mouse. Might go with an M.2 850 EVO rather than a 2.5" for the system drive since they're on-par pricewise. This would cut down on one more SATA data/power cable combo to cram into the case. But when I do upgrade the system drive in a couple years, the old 2.5" can become a Steam drive or a Photoshop scratch disk--an M.2 drive could not remain useful since there's only one M.2 slot on the mobo.

Part Reviews

Keyboard

Favorite keyboard of all time. (Mine has Cherry Browns, which I like. Mine is also the Rosewill branded RK-9000BR.)

1: fn + F is a left-handed delete key. So your right hand never has to leave the home row (or the mouse) just to hit delete ever, ever again. Until you use a different computer that doesn't have a Tex Beetle.

2: Stagger on Z row shifted .25 to the left makes for easier keying on that row for the left hand. No stretching for the B, no contortion for the Z.

3: Beautiful, simple, high-quality build.

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Comments

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

This motherboard has extra 4 SATA ports to the side. Will a SATA cable fits on the side?

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, I only used these ports and left alone the ones on top. Depending on how you route these cables, it might help to use ones with a 90 degree connector on the top two ports.

  • 43 months ago
  • 0 points

Great write up. I am eyeballing this case right now cause it will fit in my tv stand if I lay it horizontally. A little worried about airflow for the bottom side (I guess the cpu side down and gpu side up for best heat dissipation?). But if it comes down to it, I can always stand it vertically next to the stand, or cut an air hole in the shelf under where the case will sit giving it more access to air. THanks for your tips.