Description

Overview/drives

I built this computer for two reasons: 1) I just started computer gaming again and needed an upgrade from the Phenom x6 1055T with no real graphics to speak of and 2) I wanted to be able to bring it to a coworker/friends place to play some co-op games. I collected parts over a few months for the build while completing and selling other computers that I had parts for to offset and spread out costs (not shown in pricing obviously). I was also supposed to get a 9900k from an Intel employee friend of mine for $250, but they have yet to have access to them, and I've finally lost my patience (Yes, I know my cooler won't allow it to spread its legs, but it'll still be able to run faster than the 9600k. Maybe I'll change the case to something like the Geeek Case A60 for 240 AIO support later). I'll still buy it and sell the 9600k on Ebay most likely. Only reason I ended up with a 2.5" SSD instead of an M.2 NVMe is because I bought it for one of the computers I was selling and sold it before it arrived. Didn't want to waste the money to return it so I'll stick with it until prices fall a bit more on NVMe drives.

Case

After doing a lot of research, I chose the RVZ01B case for its size, cooling fan acceptance and 3.5" drive support. I believe 3.5" will always be the cheapest mass storage, so I wanted to keep my options for cheap expansion later on. I really had no problems with the case at all (except the first one I received came slightly damaged, probably in shipping, but it was replaced by B&H no hassle). As others say, you do need to plan the build, but that's just small ITX cases in general from what I can tell. I did add some heat shrink tubing on a couple of the front panel connectors at least where it's not covered in the GPU bay to make it a little cleaner. With trying to hide some of the PSU cables in the GPU bay, I also ran into the GPU bulging toward the fans which is part of the reason I added the grills to avoid any issues. The 2.5" game storage drive that I bought was used where the slim optical drive is intended to mount to at least get one of the mechanical drives out of sight (the one in the picture was a dead SSD I used as a placeholder for mach-up purposes).

CPU

My friend at Intel is really the only reason I went team blue on the CPU, otherwise I would have ended up with a 2700X build (and it would have been finished quicker). Research led me to the Phantom Gaming-ITX by ASRock based on specs, but after seeing reviews for best Z390 ITX they were unanimous with this selection which just confirmed my thoughts. One of the sites got a stable 5.1GHz overclock on the 9900k even.

CPU Cooler

The CPU cooler I wanted to use changed multiple times, but I finally landed on the Shadow Rock LP, but I probably should have gone with the NH-L12 instead. Any other motherboard, I wouldn't say that, but the VRM heatsink interferes with the Shadow Rock LP because of its offset. Granted it would fit the other direction sitting over the RAM and 24-pin power, but you wouldn't be able to have the USB3 connector plugged in. So instead of losing front I/O or returning it, I took a Dremel sanding wheel to it. Now I have possibilities for any size RAM I want if I decide to upgrade to 32GB in the future. Pricing note: It was on sale on Newegg around black Friday time for $8 cheaper, but I added the $8 for the return I had to make with the Amazon one I already bought.

GPU/Monitor

I didn't have a real particular attachment to red or green team, I mostly went with the best deal on the used market I could find. I bought and sold five or so GPUs including R9 390X, RX 580, GTX 1070 and the lesser ones that were in the existing computers I had. I ended up paying $100 for the R9 390X and trading that plus $240 for the Vega 64 in early October '18 when they were still $500+ when you could find a new one on the market. I got a Freesync monitor to go with it, so I'll probably stick with AMD for a while. The Monitor is great so far, and the sale for about $330 was a steal (I added the 5 year protection plan just in case since I'm not super familiar with the brand, thus the $364).

PSU

For the Vega 64 and likely change to 9900k, I figured I'd have to have at least 650W. The SeaSonic is one of the smaller SFX-L models available, plus it actually ended up being on a site-wide sale on Superbiiz making it the cheapest one as well at $105. It came with a bag for both the cables and the PSU which is awesome, and to top it off, the PSU also had a $25 Steam gift card offer if you review and send them the order/review info. It was a bit of a weird process having to add SeaSonic as a friend on Steam, but I'm not going to complain about getting $25 that I didn't expect which makes it more like I bought the PSU for $80. I've never seen a higher power SFX model for that cheap...

OS

If you can find a good one, the Ebay sellers of Windows licenses are a huge saver! I bought a $27 physical USB thumb drive from one seller to install on one of the other computers I was selling, and I've since bought 3 licenses for $4.99ish each with no issues. The first one with the thumb drive, I did have to contact them because the key didn't activate, but they responded quickly with a new one.

Other Thoughts

I've left everything stock so far. May do some undervolting on the GPU and possibly some overclocking on the CPU later. The system is audible, but whisper quiet when idle. The GPU is the only thing that ramps up the sound as graphics are being pushed while the CPU cooler and the intake fans are basically silent. Just a note: the 25mm fan on the GPU side is a hyperborea Rosewill ROCF-11004. CPU temperatures idle around mid to upper 30s with below 600RPM fan speed, and I saw a maximum of 61 (1100RPM fan speed) while running Fire Strike and Time Spy benchmarks. Scores in those were 18436 and 6910 respectively. I neglected to look at the GPU during these tests, but I did screenshot the HWiNFO if anyone wants me to find those numbers, but I do know when I was doing those tests with this GPU previously (on Phenom 1055T and FX 8350 tests) it got pretty high between 80 and 90 when on the graphics tests.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

I don't tend to agree with their website's notation of this being compatible with the ASRock Phantom Gaming-ITX based on not allowing the USB3 header to be plugged in or requiring modification to fit over the VRM heatsink (half star off for lack of notations). Not sure if maybe the 9000 series Intel chips are thicker across the board which caused the issue, but I had to pre-bend the mounting pieces to get the screws into both sides (half star off for installation issues). Other than that, it does a good job of keeping a 9600k cool and it stays silent.

Case

A bit difficult to get the motherboard in with the PSU in, and all around a bit tricky to do cable management, but that should be expected in a small case. It's compact, has decent airflow options with magnetic dust filters and I couldn't be happier with the final product. I'm not a big fan of RGB and I wanted something subtle, so lack of windows was preferred for this build.

Power Supply

No deep insight, but this is a great unit so far. It's smaller than most SFX-L units which helps bridge the gap between small and powerful. Plus, they gave a $25 Steam gift card for reviewing on the purchased website.

Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice small build, I hope it treats you well.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Looking to buy the same Mobo you have here, & am concerned about the cpu cooler. Do you think I’d be okay if went w/ Noctua NH-L9i, or L12s. Was originally looking at the Be Quiet Shadow Rock LP, until I read your build review(thx for that). Know can make this work, but I’d rather have a cooler that don’t need to mod right outta the box. Cheers on the build✌