Description

Update 12/19/15 The Raven has received a major upgrade in the graphics department. There is now a Gigabyte Windforce 980ti inside!

Also swapped the Corsair H55 cooler for the Cooler Master Geminii M4. Sadly doesn't cool as well as the H55 but in order to fit the 980ti, had to swap coolers. As a result, I've had to return to stock speeds for now. But at least it's not a blow dryer like the stock cooler is.

Update 4/18/2015: while my stress test program and other cpu intensive programs (Handbrake) worked fine for several hours at a time with an Overclock of 4.5 GHz, one of my games (minecraft) did not respond well to it.

Thus I've downclocked the cpu a notch to 4.4 Ghz which everything stable.

Also edit the main decripsion just a little bit to make it easier to find the hardware in it. Still getting used to PCpartpicker why of formatting things.


As someone that on the go for a fair bit, needs more power the a laptop cpu could provide but still be portable, and would be upgrade-able down the road, I knew this case would be the perfect fit for my lifestyle.

First time i've build a SSF PC and I will say it certainly different from working inside regular mATX and ATX cases. You really do have to do your homework and also expect some roadblocks that you'll need to go around.

For anyone interested in getting this case (or a similar silverstone case), I would highly recommend going to overclocker.net thread on these cases to see what they recommend.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1466816/silverstone-raven-rvz01-rvz02-ml07-ml08-ftz01-owners-club

Anyways i mainly built this pc to replace my old but trusty lenovo 3000 n200 laptop for my on the go needs. It had served me well and while it wasn't designed for many things i did on it, like Autocad, rendering, Folding@home, and some gaming (on intel IGPU.. oh the lag.... the horror!),and it still chugged way at all of it. I always like trying new things and being on the go, I sometime cant try these new things on my core i7 920 desktop at home.

So with that sad background out of the way, onto the build itself. lol

Note: If you have a microcenter near you, USE IT! Both AMD and Intel cpu's are cheaper there than anywhere else and for the past few month been taking $40 off motherboard with select cpu's.

CPU: AMD A10-7850k APU. Originally, i was going opt for a Core i7 4790k with a dedicated gpu right off the bat but alas, other things popped up and the budget of what i could build was majorly hindered. Gpu was out of the question and so I needed a IGPU for my needs. Well AMD APU series fit the bill for this purpose.

Decent cpu performance and according to some benchmarks, it's about the same performance as the old core i7 920 so i knew performance would be satisfactory for me and the igpu is the best you can get right now.

I do have it overclocked to 4.5GHz with a vcore of 1.404 with the gpu overclocked to 1028MHz stable. With a thermal margin of 37C.

Complaint about the apu: Why AMD why..... Why did you change the way cpu tempature is read? For those that dont know, normal temp monitoring programs like coretemp or hwmontior doesn't work well on APU's. That would be due to AMD changing the sensor to output a thermal margin (where your seeing how much room you have left till you hit the max operating temperature) instead of just saying the current temperature.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WIFI Mini ITX FM2+. So far rockstable and it was certainly good in price as well. Normally $94.99 @ microcenter alone but with the cpu combo, it was $54.99.

Only thing I have to complain about it is that the cpu socket is very close to the ram and PCI-E slots. Inside this case, I dont think big air coolers would work due to it placement. AIO coolers and air coolers are the only thing that I can see working.

Even with the AIO cooler, if your mounting the cooler on the side panel, you will probably have to point the tubing towards your ram slots to fit the AIO cooling into the case and the angled connector on my h55 does touch the ram, so have your ram placed in first to the motherboard before the pump and be sure your getting ram that has a heat sink on it to shield it from the cooler.

Other complain is that there only 2 fan headers on the board so you'll have to plan accordingly. Using some old Antec 3 speed molex fans that I had laying around to swap out the case provide slim fans that needed those headers. Using the 2 headers for the pump and provided fan for the cooler.

Also, last thing, this is the only FM2+ motherboard at microcenter at the time of posting. So if you go the microcenter route, you been warned.

Cooler: Corsair H55. I wanted something that can cool real well and it didn't block access to stuff on the motherboard that a big air cooler would do. It cetainly keeping my APU overclock undercontrol and according to the thermal margin, could overclock a bit higher if i wanted to.

Complaint: Stock fan is a bit noisy for my liking due to it constantly running 1500+ rpm because of being a 3pin fan and it's also too thick for the side panel with the radiator where I'd would like it to go. for now it's mounted in the gpu area till i can get a slim fan the can push or pull air though the radiator at a decent capacity, silverstone slim fans that came with the raven just didn't seem to have the power to get the air though the radiator.

Ram/SSD: for both of these, there fast, stable, cheap, and have had no issue or complaints thus far. Just like any other ddr3 and Sata III ssd these days.

PSU:* Now this and the case I bought around christmas time (before the 500w SFX-L came around) as I wanted to get these now and plan around it. Yeah, could of gone for the 450w version of this PSU but I wanted long term use out of it and it's probably going to be used in a few builds throughout it's life-span and being that hardware can change over time (from power hungry parts to power effecent parts back to power hungry). I wanted to be ready for anything in the up coming future.

Now I have a V1.0 PSU and so far haven't had any issues with the PSU or fan in it that some have reported like fan "chirping" or Coil wine noise. Of course this build uses so little power that unless I'm stress testing both the IGPU and CPU at the same time, the fan wont even turn on so maybe when I put a dedicated gpu when the time comes it may show. Who knows.

Complaint: certainly more expensive than there equivalent wattage ATX counterpart

Case: the Star of the show, Silverstone RVZ01. It was certainly a blast to work in. Small but not so small that you cant fit just about any hardware into it. 13in long Gpu cards? check. 600w PSU capabilities, check (certainly dont need more than that in a case this small). Powerful cpu's? Well asrock just announce the first commercial ITX X99 motherboard so if a 8 Core i7 cpu's if powerful enough for your compact needs then you may want to look at something else.....

Downsides: You'll need a more expensive SFX PSU unless your one of those people that will shoehorn in a ATX power supply (has been done but not worth it in my opinion).

Other downside: It doesn't make my breakfast in the morning. :(

OS:Currently running Tech Preview 10 (build 10041 as of posting this) and it been amazingly stable for this build and I didn't even have to install any drivers that the MB would of used as it already had it built it. (not windows drivers but the manufacture driver for these devices.)

On top of that, Installing windows 10 over a usb 3.0 hard drive to a fast SSD took only 4 to 8 mins from no OS to browsing the web.

I will "probably" be updating this later when I've added more stuff to this like gpu, hard drive(s), ect. Until then, here are some pics of the system with more coming later.

" sorry for the blurry completed pic, did not have normal camera on hand and wont be able to take pic of this system till later in the week. Cell phone camera not a good substitute."

Part Reviews

CPU

Overall, great little APU. It's no performance king vs it's AM3+ bothers or intels cpu's but it will allow you to play your games and work on other productivity task at need.

Pros: 1. It's overall fast for most needs with 4 cores for your needs. (It matches my stock Core i7 920 in most tasks.)

  1. Fast integrated graphics. This will allow you to play your games at low settings to medium settings depending on resolution.

This APU also allows you to build a compact system without a gpu or allows you to have some graphics in your system for now and to be able to save your money for a dedicated gpu down the road.

  1. Adjustable TDP target. If you dont the high performance of this APU and/or trying to keep have a extremely quite system, you can adjust the TDP target between 95w (or disabled on my motherboard), 65, and 35w's.

Also useful for keeping temps under control if your using a cooler that cant perform under the cpu's full load.

  1. Really good overclocker. On my Motherboard, I was able to get a 4.4Ghz clock with a gpu clock of around 1000Mhz.

And I think this Apu could go farther if it was on a better motherboard but im limited to ITX motherboards in my case.

Although I do have a con about the overclocking.

Cons:

  1. This thing runs hot! Having a decent iGPU and 4 cpu cores (or 2 modules as AMD calls it) generates a lot of heat.

Unless you adjust the TDP target or have a good cpu cooler, be prepared for the stock cooler to be running like a jet when you have any load on it.

  1. GPU overclocking and CPU overclocking. While i was able to get those said clocks above, there is a catch. Whether it's power delivery from the motherboard or a TPD target (95w), My APU will not run both at full speed no matter what.

If you have both gpu and cpu sides of the apu @ 100% loaded, the cpu will downclock itself (i've seen it go as low as 3GHz). This issue only disappears when the gpu is not loaded.

  1. Tempature monitoring. Unlike other AMD products and intel products, you can NOT use normal temp monitoring programs like coretemp, HWmonitor, etc, as AMD is using a different method of reporting temp.

They report the temperature in Thermal Margin. As in, How much overhead you have till you hit the max temp. So big numbers like 70c is really good. Small numbers like 5 or 10c is really bad.

To monitor temps, You'll need to use AMD overdrive software.

Comments

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build!

  • 49 months ago
  • 2 points

Have you noticed any Bottlenecks?

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I havent been on in the last year to reply... lol. Been busy and decided to check on this website again and seen your question.

Anyways for bottlenecks, There is one i've notice but it's not a serious one.

Any time I've taken this system somewhere and connected to a low res monitor (720) i seem to hit a frame limit of around 80~90 FPS instead of higher. That'll be due to the cpu limiting my 980ti but I dont normally play at that resolution.

1080p is where im normally at with seeing the same FPS as above (had the TV before the system and havent bothered getting a 1440p monitor).

  • 48 months ago
  • 2 points

This gets the award for unbalanced hardware in favour of graphics.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

So have you installed basic things like Origin, Steam, LoL, or anything of the sort ? Curious because I would like to run the Windows 10 Preview as my main Software

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Beyond minecraft, world of tanks, and civilization 4, I haven't done anything else on them and I haven't really used any of the online gaming services (have a steam account but that poor old laptop struggeld to do minecraft as the lowest settings, so i haven't been gaming all the much for a little while.)

World of tanks, I seem to have some crashing issue playing after 5/10 mins but still haven't found the source of the problem yet. Could be drivers, could be windows 10, could be the game doesn't like my setup combination in general. (And no it isn't the overclock. I've ran stock settings with the same issue.) But that's why I like running previews because then I can report problems for others.

Minecraft: had a few crashes when I did to many things at once (like massive TNT explosions) but that was due to my overclock and thus I've had to turn it down a notch to 4.4GHz.

Funny how both stress testing and running Handbrake (to compress video's that I'd had) for 10 plus hours didn't show any errors but run minecraft and a server for a hour showed the problem.

Civ 4: no problems to report.

I'll see about trying a few other games but I dont have a big collection of modern games due to my laptop and just been traveling a bit lately.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

what games are you running and how do they run?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

nice

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

another great use for it is to run SteamOS and convert it into a Console/HYPC shot fired

great to see a Raven build that is AMD powered

I wonder if you are able to squeeze a slim air cooler instead of the H55 if you are not planning a GPU?

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Could you use a slim air cooler? Yes.

At the time building, I didn't think you could use a really good air cooler in here but it looks like the Cooler Master Gemini II M4 would work with both ram and pci-e cards being in use. (different chassis but same motherboard and it alsohas ram and gpu in it. https://pcpartpicker.com/b/jFhqqs)

At the time though, I somehow was overlooking this cooler and from what I could tell of the other air coolers that I "was" thinking about getting if i didn't want to go though the AIO route would not fit in here.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Since your not using the pci-e riser card at the moment can you not just have put the rad on the dual fan intake instead of the removable side panel, if you get any chance to get some plastic cable tie mounts it'll help with the tubing and cable clutter since there's a lot of free space in your rig, i would have personally gone with air cooling with this one the H55 small rad is not worth the price,would have been better off with a low profile air cooler and using a more efficient fan but that's just an opinion.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I did similar in my RVZ01B with what you suggested about putting the radiator on one of the dual intake fans because my video card was short enough. He should do similar since when I did that, I had over a 10 degree Celsius drop due to being able to use a larger fan.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

ah so it does work,I can see that..pretty tight build, good of you to fit a mini gpu as well nice built well done +1

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep, it's a good looking build :)

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually did do that and did make a comment in the description about that, I do actually need to update the pics with that change. Maybe later today i'll do that. Although it's really the only change that I've done since those pics...... so maybe not. XD

As for the air coolers, when I was looking at doing a Core i7 build, I was filp-flopping between AIO's and air coolers. (mainly because I wasn't sure about having a cooler blocking my ram and sata ports for when I do eventually change hardware.

Although because of budget constraints, I went the AMD route and this was the the only AMD FM2+ ITX motherboard at microcenter, (the other AMD ITX motherboards were AM1 sockets).

At the time of building, because I saw how close the CPU socket is to the RAM and PCI-E slots (vs the intel motherboards I was looking) I wasn't certain about my options at all other than Noctua NH-L9a and similar coolers to that.

Of course as of typing this, I've some how forgot to check out Cooler Master GeminII M4 to see if this will work and it looks like it will. https://pcpartpicker.com/b/jFhqqs https://pcpartpicker.com/b/mwgLrH

So I guess people do have an alternative on this board. :)

Also don't remind me about the cable clutter... lol. I did have some cables tide down to the side of the case (like audio, front panel, and usb) but some of them are not long or short enough to route them in a hidden fashion. (some of them are hidden when the gpu bracket is on like the CPU 4/8 pin cable running right beside the board there. )

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Nah don't bother its just an opinion on the pic's you've posted, not alot of mini-itx mobo for amd which is sad,it is a challenge to build in a SFF case but that's the fun of it choosing the right parts to work with make's a ton of difference, as for low profile air cooling i can say there are loads of them out there but some like the usual always out perform the other and by price difference, the noctua NH-L9a is a good example but i'd go and try a different one killing the hype..there's this one which is very impressive i'll be buying one later this month: http://www.idcooling.com/Product/detail/id/44/name/IS-VC45 and the one i'm currently using http://www.scythe-eu.com/en/products/cpu-cooler/big-shuriken-2-rev-b.html which is pretty descent but its up to you if you ever did go a different route.

changing components on a low profile air cooling build that would just be your heat-sink fan and ram it wouldn't be that difficult i'm sure, either way good luck and thanks for posting!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I tried using windows 10 as well but i coudn't get the drivers working nice build!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. You say you travel with the rig, have you flown with it? Is the watercooler cool with TSA?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

No flying here XD. My travel isn't that far to warrant flying but it is enough no to be home all the time.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

ahh, i used a Lian Li tu100b for my case since it has a carry handle. working pretty well

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, man, that's a really cool portable PC. I used to travel a lot as well and I hated having to spend a good chunk of money every 2-3 years just to be able to play your basic favourite games in the lowest settings.

The only thing that worries me is the liquid cooler in a travel build. They tend to leak once in a blue moon in a stationary build(probably once every 10 000), but on a rig that is being carried around... I would really avoid a liquid AIO at all cost as I know that they are more likely to leak if you have vibration or other kinds of movement, etc.

Anyway, let us know how airport security reacts to it. I'd really love to know. Do you fly outside the US? If so, where to? I live in Europe, but I'm guessing if they don't let that through in the US, they won't let me through either.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I mainly travel around by car inside the US so I'm not sure if or when I'll have a need to be though an air port. :)

Although the main reason for having the AIO is due to the placement of the CPU socket. The only air coolers I believe that could fit in that space is coolers like Noctua NH-L9a and while better than stock, it's not up to the same performance as the H55.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I guess if you're the only one handling it, it should be better. It's true that no air cooler can both match the performance of the h55 and fit in that case.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build man

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build sir!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I used the same mobo and APU. Now I understand why the temp readings for the APU never made any sense. Are there any apps out there that will give you the actual temperature rather than the margin?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

To my knowledge, no. Wish there was such a program.

All I know was, when I first fired up Core temp, I saw temps reading in the negative and was like "WTF?".

But alas, the programs I know of and looked around, I have not seen program like it.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

I didn't get any negative temps, AFAIK, but some where too high - to the point where I disassembled and re-pasted the APU and AIO cooler. My GPU (R7 250) also outputs it's rpm as over 7 million or something, but that's likely unrelated.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice work, especially with the pictures detailing things other people overlook - how the PSU is set up, what the BIOS looks like, etc. I was tempted to do a mini build as well. Had enough trouble in a well designed mid tower, lmao.

What sort of PPD do you get on F@H? And after OC?

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Sadly haven't had time to run F@H yet. I'll try sometime today/tomorrow but cant be certain I will have time for that.

  • 57 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I like showing how some thing look when there more a unique to that piece of hardware such as the case and PSU as those aren't normal hardware when your building a computer. :)

To bad I didn't show pics of the building process though. Once I got the MB and APU, i just jumped right in and started building. Pics were an after-thought.... lol.

Oh well. At least im not a professional builder or a tech Youtuber like linustechips, pauls hardware, ect. Then that might of been a problem. lol