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Quiet, Poweful, Classy Looking ITX Build

by dhybiak


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

Jan. 31, 2017

Date Built

Jan. 28, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

4.2 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

75.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

2.05 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

10 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

60.0° C


UPDATE 3-01-17

So I'm shifting things around already...

GPU CHANGE - NO MORE HYBRID I've decided to stick with an air cooler GPU. The Hybrid kept making an intermittent whirring sound, and the radiator would actually sometimes vibrate the chassis. Combined with my ability to actually test a 1080FTW card and realize that it's actually REALLY quiet, and more importantly, the noise it does make under load isn't as obtrusive as the sound made by the pump (especially factoring in low vibrations the pump made).

FAN CHANGE - GOODBYE NOCTUA iPPC I love Noctua, but their iPPC fans DEFINITELY have an audible clicking noise to them when running (and it's especially noticeable when you're running them at low RPMs like I am to keep the build silent).

This isn't an issue with my hardware (tested this on a couple of other PWM equipped motherboard and confirmed the settings were correct in BIOS, same issue), and this isn't an issue with a particular unit because they ALL do it, even the 140mm ones. The worst part is that this clicking is VERY audible, and I actually attributed it to the pump in the hybrid card initially. Its just a very ugly noise.

So I'm back on my quest to find the best components. For fans, I've narrowed my options down to either the Corsair ML series or the SilentWings BeQuiet 3. I could also go with beige Noctua fans (which sound MUCH better than the iPPC variants, even at matching RPMs), but at this point I'm frankly a bit pissed off at Noctua for their inability to provide their user base with a fan that isn't an eyesore. It's like it's not enough that everybody buys their products, they want their signature color scheme to market their product for them, and the black model they DO make and advertise is of lower acoustic quality. Seriously, they need to step it up.


This is the result of 2-3 months of research and testing to create a very quiet, very powerful, classy looking ITX build. My goal was a machine that didn't compromise performance for silence, or vice versa, and I think this is the magic combination. The U12S is excellent, and matched with the upgraded Noctua iPPC fans with white chromax vibration pads: the result is good looking, easy to install, performs excellently, and incredibly quiet (RPM set to 35% of max at idle, which I cannot hear).

I tested a few different AIO (Kraken X61 and X62, both intake and exhaust config, top and front mounted, using stock rad fans and a few other reputable fan combos), but the results were always the same: cools fine but with annoying fan or pump noise. Plus it's not even necessary, the CPU never got hot enough to warrant losing internal airflow and gaining the increased noise. And the whole RGB LED movement feels just so unnecessary and overdone nowadays, I ultimately settled on an air cooler. And few companies do air coolers like Noctua.

I am using the FTW 1080 Hybrid for now, (in fact I'm waiting for a replacement from Amazon due to a strange intermittent whirring noise from the pump that isn't normal for those Asetek units in my experience). That strange noise aside, I think it's a great compromise: while the idle isn't DEAD silent, it's pretty close, and most impressively, the load noise is INCREDIBLY quiet. I use the second Noctua iPPC fan attached to the fan extension card and set the fan curves manually in bios to ramp with the CPU temps. I've gotten it to be effectively SILENT under load, while hovering around 60 degrees GPU temp after extended Unigen Heaven testing (45 minutes and temp didn't budge after 15 minute mark, with Ultra settings, everything maxed). It's so strange to play something at Ultra settings, speakers turned low, and be able to hear myself think. :)

Still debating on swapping the RAM for GSkill Trident Z modules (black and white color scheme) but not sure about clearance with the heatsink fan and whether, frankly, it would be overkill , with the black/white look. I think it looks fantastic as is, so we'll see.

***EDIT (2-5-2017): I got in the black/white Trident Z, but wasn't a fan of the look surprisingly. Not only was one of the modules partially obscured by the fan which looked awkward, the white/black RAM looked overkill inside when placed between the white/black fan and the white/black cables/cable-bar combo. Returned them and decided to stick with the Corsair LPX.

Also, the HDD is mounted behind the SSD mounting area, which initially caused vibrations, but I used rubber o-rings to provide vibration damping, which worked perfectly. I don't hear the HDD anymore (used to subtly vibrate the entire case).

I seriously tried so many different combinations of hardware that I'm surprised everything came together so nicely. Even the size of the U12S is perfect, as it allows me to detach the radiator+fan combo of the hybrid GPU from the case without having to remove anything. Seriously, if that heat sink was even 3mm thicker it wouldn't fit.

Goals: - I would love to find out how to get Speedfan to recognize the radiator fan I attached to the Asus Fan Extension Card so I can map that fan speed to the GPU temp. If anybody knows how, would love to find out. (SOLVED, SEE BELOW)

  • going to swap in the replacement 1080 FTW Hybrid to see if that pump noise is better. I'm VERY picky and it's REALLY good, but that intermittent whirring certainly isn't normal. Hopefully and easy fix.

Hope you enjoy. It's not nearly as blinged out as many other builds, but I think this combination has a nice balance to it, and even better the components took priority to give the desired performance/silence while still being aesthetically pleasing. Thanks!

***EDIT (2-5-2017): I've installed two 140mm Noctua A14 iPPC 2000RPM PWM fans in the front as intake. Paired them again with the Noctua Chromax White anti-vibration pads, and mounted them with the Noctua SAV2 Black Anti-Vibration mounts. Results are very good: they move more air with less noise and make the entire interior look a bit more cohesive. Additionally, I solved my SpeedFan issue: I decided to run the front intakes through the Asus Fan Extension card (since I just prefer to set a flat fan curve at 43% for these regardless of thermals), and am running the rear F12 radiator fan from the chassis header on the motherboard. So now I gain both fan speed ramp delays to avoid annoying fluctuating fan speeds, and I can see the fan in SpeedFan so I can create a curve off of GPU temps later on. All good!

I will post pics of the updated rig later.

Comments Sorted by:

ATeensTwoCents 1 point 24 months ago

Really nice job! I only wish that the CPU cooler would show at least a tiny bit of the motherboard... But that's not really your fault.

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Blessing and a curse situation: the motherboard is largely black and red, so by the heatsink covering it, it doesn't lock me into having red as the accent color,

ATeensTwoCents 1 point 24 months ago

Ah, I see. I'm so used to seeing red/black builds that I assumed yours would be another, haha!

NitroOG 1 point 24 months ago

Really nice. How is gaming on the Acer Predator x34 with one gtx 1080?

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Fantastic. I didn't think I would care about ultra wide. Now I get why people have them :D I also think the 100Hz refresh is probably ideal, as I dont realistically think we'll have a single GPU option that could do 144+ FPS for new games on ultra settings for a bit, while 100 FPS is doable.

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Couple questions: So I think I'm going to add a couple of matching 140nm Noctua A14's (iPPC 2000RPM with white corners, of course) to front for intake. Good idea? Larger/better fans should allow for better airflow at lower RPMs?

And if so, should I move the stock fans up to the top as intake? Given already low fan curve that will be set to have silent running 2000RPM front intakes, the stock fans will be VERY quiet at a very low RPM. Should I bother with this, and if so, intake or exhaust?

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Do it, I just replaced my front 2 fans with those in my nano s. Those fans are beasts when you want them to be. Are your stock fans pwm?

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Already done! About to update the post with the new pics and details.

The stock fans were 3 pin DC, but I shifted around the connections so now my A14 front intake chassis fans are powered through the Asus Fan Extension card, and the exhaust (i.e. the F12 GPU Rad fan) is now powered by the motherboard chassis header (which allows me to both set delays on ramping up speed to avoid random fan fluctuation, AND I can control it through Speedfan if I choose and base speeds off GPU temps...WIN/WIN).

I've currently got the A14 intakes set to about 800RPM and I can barely hear them. The airflow seems better as well compared to the stock, need to do more testing. And as a bonus, they REALLY complete the look of the build. =)

Wolf88 4 Builds 2 points 24 months ago

Right on. I have my front two on a y splitter and my rear f12 on its own header. My front 2 are set to "silent mode" and spin at 800rpm too. Super quiet, with better performance and then even more performance when ya need it. I think its the best fan out right now.

I need to update my pics too. Your build looks great +1.

jfat 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Nice build, I just got some A2+ speakers the other day, thinking of probably pairing a sub with them.. but theyre really impressive for the size!

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I like them a lot. I use Equalizer APO and played around with a nice EQ curve I found online that really cleared up the sound for me, and paired them with an old MK sub I wasn't using anymore to handle the low end. Together, I'm legitimately surprised how good they sound given their price.

Fetters 1 point 22 months ago

I am looking to use a manta for my next case but was hoping to fit a 8mm taller cpu cooler in it, is there much room between your cooler and the panel?

dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

I think it should fit, so long as the total height is under 163mm.

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dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Thank you! Yea, I'm not gonna lie, I saw the case online and liked the look, and a friend who saw the picture said "You just want to build GLaDOS don't you?", lol. Then I remembered I had the turret plush, and it was clear I needed to use this case. ;)

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dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Good thought, and I actually had tried that exact config. While it makes sense to get fresh air running over the GPU, there were a few unique issues with that arrangement.

From a pure "build planning" standpoint, I would have to replace the front intake fans with matching fans with a higher static pressure (which, combined with the fact that they are closer to my ears now, comes with a slight noise sacrifice). When I had tried that config, the VRM temps were higher since it was basically sucking in all the hot air from the radiator placed at the lower intake, which I wasn't too comfortable with. I also figured that at that point, if I'm already going to be recirculating the air inside the case and my goal was silence and performance, an AIB air cooled card would do effectively the same job, with the added bonus of having a 0 db fan mode when idle. In fact, main concern with AIB air in this case would be fan noise from the GPU: there isn't much space between the card and the shroud, and the space below the shroud is a PSU and a nest of cables. Any other silent freak Manta owners able to chime in on GPU fan noise? :) if this pump whirring doesn't go away with the replacement, I might be forced to go with an air option for the GPU...but I hate noise so I really don't know of that would be a good move.

As for temps (tested with Unigen Heaven) the GPU (with an equally quiet radiator fan RPM config) was only about 5-7 degrees cooler, which is good, but at my current measurement of 60 degrees under load I still have 20 degrees of headroom before hitting the 80 degree throttling point the 1080s have, so it doesn't make a huge difference. Also, CPU temps aren't typically that crazy compared to GPU.

And for CPU temps, I don't have any data for that since at the time I was still testing a Kraken X62 (top pull exhaust setup). But due to hot air rising, I would think that it might actually raise CPU temps?

I figure: heat has gotta go somewhere, so I tried to balance it with cold in, warmer temps as it passes, and then hottest point at exit? Always open to optimizing if community consensus is to switch things around through. :)

jfat 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

those hybrid aio's say specifically to not mount it lower than the card itself, atleast mine did :P I think its to make sure there is always a good supply of liquid for the pump to push and not air bubbles.

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dhybiak submitter 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

Air bubbles are the primary concern, by mounting the radiator higher the bubbles are (allegedly) less likely to keep passing through the pump because they stay around the radiator.