So I got the upgrade bug once the new Nvidia cards were announced. This build is the result.
I live in a small apartment with my girlfriend, so I jumped at the chance to do an itx build. That informed most of my choices for parts. The Founders Edition GTX 1070 in particular is not something I probably would have chosen in a larger ATX build, but its blower style cooler works very well in a case like this.
This build is supposed to be minimalist; the idea is to have everything you would need for a decent gaming rig with nothing that would bloat the build beyond the constraints of the mini itx form factor or a modest budget. So there's nothing fancy in it other than what are hopefully high quality and high value core components.
This build had one major issue which kept it from being completed for over a week. Two different i5 6600k processors and two different Z170 Stingers would not POST with Crucial Ballistiz Sport RAM installed in the first RAM slot. Seeing that it would POST with either stick in the second slot, I assumed it was a motherboard issue and RMA'ed the Z170, but the second board acted exactly the same. I got some Corsair Vengeance RAM and the problem went away. Frustrating, but I'm glad the solution was fairly simple.
I will be adding more details and more pictures shortly.
My previous PC had an i5 3570k in it, and while the 6600k isn't a revolutionary advancement it does have some significant performance gains. I have it clocked to 4.4GHz on stock voltage and it runs stable and cool.
This thing is an excellent performer in terms of cooling and noise. It is very quiet and it keeps my CPU below a max of around 50 degrees Celsius under the heaviest loads. Most benchmarks and gaming see it around 40 degrees. Now that I've got it in, I realize that I have plenty of room in the Evolv itx for a much larger radiator. I could have gotten a larger model, but this one works very well.
I bought this because I just wanted something simple, yet powerful enough for a bit of overclocking headroom. Now that it's working it's exactly that, but it would not boot with any of my Crucial RAM sticks in the slot closest to the CPU. I changed out the Crucial for Corsair and it works fine, but I wasn't expecting that kind of weird compatibility issue from what's supposed to be a robust enthusiast product.
Add to that the fact that it doesn't have Wi-Fi, M.2 storage, or many of the other things that have become standard on other boards, and this board is hard to recommend at its MSRP. Fortunately I got mine on sale and it was pretty much the cheapest Z170 itx board I could find.
I plugged it in and it worked exactly as advertised, which is more than I can say for the Crucial Ballistix Sport I tired using at first.
This SSD is getting speeds just slightly higher than those of my HDD. I have it plugged into the correct SATA port and its firmware is up to date. I'm not sure what else to do about it other than call it a bad SSD.
Update: I used AS SSD to further investigate and the other benchmark must have been wrong. According to AS SSD this drive is getting better speeds than most Samsung EVO drives.
It's not fancy but there's a reason it shows up over and over, including in every build I've ever done. It works, it's not horribly slow, and it has a decent amount of storage for the price.
This thing is exactly what they said it would be. At my screen's resolution (2560x1080) it destroys everything without breaking a sweat. The blower fan in the reference design works excellently in my mini itx case and it keeps out all of the hot air from the GPU.
This is the best case I've ever built in. It was so, so easy. My previous build was in a NZXT S340, and while that case was also a nice value, I don't think this case can be beat for the price. It has an extremely intuitive and easy to build in design, and a very high quality for the price that you pay.
It is a pretty respectable size for a mini itx case, but it makes up for its larger footprint with a huge amount of space and airflow for this form factor. You can pretty much go to town in this thing with no worries. My 240mm radiator isn't even close to getting in the way of my RAM or anything else, and I could probably fit another radiator up front as well if I wanted to.
If you aren't keeping in mind the small confines of the mini itx form factor and the solid sides of this case, you might end up with something that gets pretty hot. With the H100i v2 and the blower fan GPU cooler it's not a large issue for me. I have, however, taken to running this case with the sides and front off because I think it looks great as an "open" test bed style rig, and in that configuration heat is not an issue in the slightest.
This is where I saved my money. It's nothing to be proud of but it had everything I needed and nothing more.