Description

Why building this?

For quite a long time, I wanted to try new stuff (neat build with leds, all-in-one water-cooling), my last build was assembled 8 years ago and things have changed since then. I had to sell the previous one because I was moving countries on a regular basis, moving with a desktop isn't really practical and I already had my homemade 20TB NAS to bring with me…

On top of that, I have been wrestling with Lightroom on my Surface Pro 4 and despite having the highest specs (Core i7 / 16GB RAM), the performances have severely degraded over the last year thanks to Adobe. They have done a sh__ job with their software (have a look to the forums to make your own mind on this particular topic).

CPU

The AMD Threadripper was temping (especially for productivity usage) but I decided to stay with Intel, the brand that I have always been using for my builds. Even with the nerf due to Spectre and Meltdown, it is still insanely fast. I started thinking about this build back in November 2018 and that time, I would have purchased the Core i7 8086K. As I ordered early January, I picked up something a bit more high-end with the Core i7 9700K. Later in January 2019, I discovered that I could ship it back to Amazon in order to get the Core i9 9900K. I user Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut while replacing the CPU. Done deal ;-)

CPU Cooler

The Kraken series from NZXT are simply gorgeous with their customisable infinity mirror. I chose the biggest that could fit into the case. I had never used any water-cooling before and I thought that starting with an AIO was probably a safer bet. Installing the water-block has been a real pain in the a__! It was not fitting horizontally because of the motherboard layout (RAM modules are too close from the CPU). It had to be setup vertically instead. Installing the various wires (USB, pump, fans, power) requires patience and methodology (which comes first, etc.). Later on, I have replaced it with the X62 version (280mm) and despite what NZXT says, it does fit in the case. I gained 6 degrees on the CPU with a push/half pull configuration.

Sleeving Kit

I saw the CableMod kit used in several builds and it looks fantastic. The installation is far from being easy. In my case, the sleeves tend to be too short (5/7mm) and when you move the water-cooler pipes around, the sleeves will get out of the connectors at the end. The end of the sleeves aren't cut properly as well, which doesn't help during the setup. The hack I found was to use a tiny bit of white cellar tape at each end. As it's under the black connectors, you won't see it.

Motherboard

Same as for the CPU, I wanted to stay into know territories by picking an MSI motherboard. Having a 9th generation processor, the idea was to get the best in class chipset for it (Z390 based motherboard). I chose the ITX format to match the case. One perk of the Z390I is that it has native USB 3.1 support. Coupled with my Samsung T5 1TB for external storage, I would be then able to carry around my photos and lightroom files by directly working on the external drive.

Memory

Corsair was one of the only manufacturer to sell some white covered RAM modules. I chose some decent ones in term of performance with Corsair RGB Pro DDR4 3000Mhz CL15 to try overclocking a bit later on. I have max'ed out the memory to make sure Adobe applications would not be limited by that. The Corsair software is a bliss compared to the NZXT one, quite intuitive and stable.

Storage

I did not have particular requirements there, just wanted something fast. I picked a Samsung 970 PRO to install the systems and games. My data would go on OneDrive, external drive and NAS via various backup/sync configurations. I had to try several different setup between those 3 sources to find the right balance. I almost wiped all of my OneDrive data while testing. I managed to recover the deleted files and I will definitely be more careful next time.

Heatsink This is something that I haven't foreseen: the Samsung 970 PRO is simply frying in a Mini ITX case. I got some insanely high temperatures: 57°c for the M.2 core temperature and 85°c for the memory modules. This was clearly too high and after looking a few minutes on Internet, I found the EK M.2 NVMe Heatsink in black. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't fit the MSI MPG Z390I because it has "the base" of an M.2 heatsink but not "the end" (half-baked motherboard). After having installed the toy, I'm now down to 51°c for the core and 63°c for the memory modules.

Video Card

Lightroom doesn’t require much but I had in mind some "retro" gaming as well, old titles like Diablo III and StarCraft II. I have the Xbox One X on a 4K 58" TV for the rest of the gaming. One thing though, it had to fit the style of the build. I have look for white graphic card and I found the Asus one. Initially, I wanted a GTX 1050 with 3GB of RAM but I changed my mind for GTX 1060 with 6GB. I might connect a second 4K monitor soon, better be ready for that.

GPU Backplate

This was another tiny detail that I wanted to fix. By default, the GTX 1060 Dual from Asus doesn't have a backplate and you can see all the circuits and chips, not nice. Browsing online, I found this company "ColdZero" who's manufacturing personalised backplates. I could have chosen a led one but I thought that it would be too much light in the end. They shipped my stuff from Portugal and in a few days, I had it in hands. Trivial to install.

Case

I wanted a compact build so I went for the NZXT H200i one, a stunning level of finishing touches and details. I debated quite a while about the colour as I chose red/black initially. After a bit of thinking, I realised that the purpose of the leds in a case is mainly to be able to change the colours. This doesn't work well if you already have a bright colour in the case. Black and white would be a better call because the white would follow the chosen colours of the leds.

Power Supply

Once again, I will stick to what I know with a Corsair. I chose a 600W thinking that I might upgrade the graphic card to something better later on. The format is extremely important, SFX is for me mandatory as you do not want to fit an ATX PSU in there… I also bought some white cables to replace the black ones provided with the PSU. Apparently, some of the original ones are too small to fit without an extender. I did not have any problems with the additional kit I purchased from Corsair.

Internal Hub

ITX motherboards do not provide many USB header connectors. On the MSI Z390I, there is only a single USB2 and USB3. The USB3 is used for the front panel USB plugs and the other one would be used for the rest. With the NZXT Internal USB hub, I was able to connect all the stuff I had: Kraken AIO cooler, NZXT Smart Device, NZXT Hue+ Device and GeekPi 5" screen.

Extension Kit

As it's written already in various posts, NZXT has seriously messed up with their Smart Device. It can only handle led strips OR RGB fans, not both (only one single Led channel). If you want both, you will have to buy another device like the Hue+ one for instance to manage your RGB fans. This means more cables, another USB2 header required, etc. I used the two additional led strips to light the side of the case. At the beginning, I tried to see if the RGB port on the MSI motherboard would be of any help here and it did not (NZXT leds are 5V ones, RGB port is 12V).

RGB Fans Kit

For the reason explained above, having the Hue+ device is mandatory if you want to use both led strips and RGB fans. I managed to find a reconditioned package for the NZXT Hue+ kit. Job done but there is some serious mess with cables at the back. I cannot even imagine people who are putting 3 or 4 hard drives in there on top of what I have assembled.

Internal Screen

I have seen this GeekPi 5" display in various builds on PCPartPicker website. It's reasonably priced and driver less. I had to purchase some specific cables with angle connectors to ease the integration in the case and hide them (HDMI slim cable + HDMI 90 degrees connector, mini USB angled short cable). Two challenges with this part: the HDMI cable needs to go out of the case (I have cut a bit the ATX to SFX plate to let the cable through) and the casing for the screen itself.

Screen Frame

This was the most fun part of the build: now you have the screen, how to fit it nicely into the case? I found schema for 3D printers where you could basically print an encasing for the screen. I don't like the aspect of such thing, it's rough around the edges and not neat enough for my taste. Instead, I got some plastic angled plate and I started cutting in it. Taking precise measurements, re-cutting sides from the back to avoid having something sloppy and I managed to get the pieces right. With the help of the glue gun and the wife, the frame was ready ;-)

External Speakers

After a few days of use, I realised that it was extremely annoying to wear my headset all the time while at home. Don't get me wrong, I like this headset (Bose QC35 II) but it's not practical at home (limited overall noise despite having a cat, the wife attempting to communicate with you, etc.). I wanted to get some "design" speakers to match my build and after a bit of reading, I found my gem: Edifier Luna Eclipse 25HD in white. It matches perfectly the NZXT case.

Comments

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build, the subtle choices really make for a polished end product.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you ;-) It was nice to pick some pieces that would go well altogether and the DIY part with the frame for the 5" screen was fun to make.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I have the same case and i'm looking at the NZXT Kraken - I want the 280mm but i don't think it will fit. Why did you opt for the 240mm? Great build thanks!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks zrouse! The 280mm won't fit in there, only the 240mm will.

It's one of the drawbacks of this case. The price to pay for such a compact system in the end. This case is amazing, totally worth every penny!

EDIT: This video explains it if I remember well => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbDtYkmFzzU

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Dulcow, first of all your build is super inspiring. I love the white theme and am tempted to do a build where I steal some of your ideas. I have a similar "Black and White" theme at my desk. The desk and monitors are dark, but I have Audio Engine A5+'s and a white Amazon Echo Dot, along with a white Xbox controller. The current case is on the floor, but I can just imagine how awesome your build would fit on my desk and my scheme!

On the 280mm, it seems to be a tradeoff. From my research it can fit, but you have to be willing to tinker A LOT. There are three things you have to be willing to live with:

  1. The fans have to attach to the front of the case, which looks like its a real pain to tinker with (some folks may sacrifice some RGB).
  2. You'll only get 2 screws per fan, since the front mounting plate is designed for 240, not all of the holes will match.
  3. The decorative horizontal white metal bar may press the AIO cables down a few mm.

https://youtu.be/3w93WZH1vLU?t=398

Personally, I am with you. I want something that just fits, but others may want to take the risk.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi nuticles,

Thank you so much for your comment and what a timing! I was about to order one X62 Kraken AIO and try to replace it but after what you shared... I will change my mind and stick to my current setup.

Do not hesitate to shoot any questions if you have some. I tried to detail my setup as much as I can but things might be missing. More than happy to help ;-)

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks a ton, and I'm glad I helped you! I didn't expect that. I was just trying to help the H200i cause along.

I've never done a SFF build for my primary rig, however now that I'm finally convinced that SLI is officially dead, I think its time. I've never been too "showy" with my cases, but I just can't get over the look of your build. Its very elegant. Crazy RGB and glass all over the place is cool, but its too much for me.

One question I do have, is with the glass is it hard to keep the case clean? The nice thing about the box under the desk is if I forget to clean it no one knows. However with it "on display" I figured it may show dust inside the case easily.

Thanks again for sharing. If I decide to do the build I'll let you know.

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm still considering to try the X62 in order to be able to overclock a bit more... And to keep this little project going on ;-) I'm also wondering if having 2x140mm would help to create a positive pressure in the case with 2x120mm extracting.

Regarding to the glass window, you just need to avoid fingerprints. Dust isn't really an issue, it's not like Plexiglas that will be loaded with static electricity. I manipulating the window with some microfiber clothes and sweep around the screws once I'm done.

Once it's settled, it doesn't really get dirty... Except when you have a cat that licks it. Don't ask me why :-/

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

280mm don't fit

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

It actually seems to fit but it requires some patience and dedication apparently.

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/9j7WGX

Even in this video, they managed to squeeze it in

https://youtu.be/3w93WZH1vLU?t=398

I have an X62 received this week, I think that I will try ;-)

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey pcpartpicker states that the PSU and case are incompatible, is that something to worry about?

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Not at all ;-) I have no idea why PCPartPicker is mentioning that. The NZXT H200i case is compatible SFX PSU.

I will ping them about that. Thanks for asking this question!

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Did you need to NZXT USB hub for the Aio because I heard that some mini itx motherboards don't have enough to ports for the AIO and front panel connectors

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeap, it's mandatory because you will have **** loads of stuff to connect.

In my case, it's connected this way in my case

  • White USB Header - Incoming USB header from the motherboard
  • Black USB Header - NZXT Kraken AIO
  • Black USB Header - NZXT Smart Device
  • Black USB Header - NZXT Hue+ Device
  • USB-A Female - GeeekPi 5" Screen
  • USB-A Female - Free for now

Make sure to connect the motherboard one on the white one... Otherwise nothing will be detected.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Dulcow, which software do you use on the raspberry pi screen to let you see the status of the parts that you used?

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Unfortunately, the "famous" NZXT CAM software... I was trying to find something a bit more neat and customisable but I haven't found so far. With HWInfo64 for instance, you have a tons of metrics that you can use but there is no easy to customise the interface. For now, I will stick to that but it's not ideal (no full-screen mode, cannot remove/add gauges, etc.).

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Can you also show images or videos on the raspberry pi?

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

What do you want to see exactly?

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Photo's or YouTube video's, that kind of stuff.

I am also wondering if this build will look clean if I will use a Nvidia 2080 rtx founders edition video card

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I will shoot a video in the coming days and I will share it.

There are several builds with RTX 2080 in this site. I'm considering one actually (MSI Sea Hawk X) ;-)

  • 7 months ago
  • 2 points

Is it like your GPU not bottlenecking OR van you easy use a 1060 6G with a i9-9900K

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't really need a more powerful card than GTX1060 because this computer is mainly used for Photoshop/Lightroom. I'm playing on my Xbox One X most of the time.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Where did you get the plastic angled plate? It looks clean, I would like to do the same with my screen.

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