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.
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."
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.