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Build

Light gaming ITX build

by noblemes

22
15 Comments

Details

Date Published

Feb. 4, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

3.2GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.59GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.11GHz

Description

Hy all (and SFMBE)!

This guide is intended to show some possible compatibility issues for people who are going to work with this case, GPU and CPU cooler mainly.

So... This is a personal build, mainly for browsing and watching movies, some work (AutoCAD and others) and I hope there'll be some gaming 1080p.

I hope you'll like this build! But ultimately it really doesn't matter.


THE HISTORY

Half of my part list is from my "older" (like 1-1,5YO) build, which was in a Raijintek Metis case. Is't a very small form factor case, almost half the size of the Thermatake (~13,5 vs ~23 l), but i didn't have so many parts in it (1-1 HDD, SSD), and I didn't plan to have a dedicated GPU. That's why I chose the semi-modular CM G550M, although now I'd choose otherwise. A year passed and I got tired of the fan noise in the Metis (case and PSU). It had a terrible airflow, tiny openings and so on. I probably could have done it better, but decided to move on.


THE CONFIG

The MB, CPU, PSU, RAM, 120GB SSD is from my old build above. The new parts were: the case, the CPU cooler, the GPU, all the fans, and I switched my 1TB HDD to a 250GB SSD. The things worth mentioning, in addition to the "Part Reviews" section:

  • Fans and CPU cooler: I have the PC on the desk, like 83,577cm from my ears (~32 inch in ****** unit), so I figured why not build a silent PC. And by silent I mean quiet... When idling... And relatively cheap... So I've bought 3 PureWings2 PWM case fans (in really good price) and a CPU cooler with another PW2 fan. They all operate from the CPU fan header, with an Arctic PST cable. Later I'll configure it (probably with speedfan) to work according to the GPU temps. The Noiseblocker one replaced the PSU fan (with a 3pin->2pin adapter) and I am really satisfied with the overall outcome. From ~30cm the whole config is barely audible, from my chair it's virtually silent. Even my desk lamp is louder than the PC. Maybe I'll have to put a Be Quiet fan on it, too.

  • HDD->SSD: I've switched them, because now the HDD was the loudest component in the rig. I have a small home NAS in raid 1 for family stuff, so probably I'll be alright. I install one game at a time, plus some minimal torrenting, that's all. The routine stays the same: watch a movie, then delete it. The SSD is a Samsung 750 Evo 250GB. I didn't want to spend more, because torrenting is not necessarily good for SSDs (but I clearly don't care).


THE BUILDING ITSELF

(Apart from the "actual building itself", because it's not a tutorial...)

  • I got some matte black foil from a stationery shop and taped over the visible bequiet logos on the fans.

  • All 3 case fans and the PSU fan were mounted with Akasa rubber pins, which I can't praise enough.

  • Strangely the 750Evo wobbled a bit on the tray (the 850Evo did not), so I taped underneath that, too.

  • I got so good using this foil, I taped over that big cutout between the lower and upper chamber. I got no cables running through it. Unfortunately there's no pictures yet, sorry.

  • I wanted to place the case on the side, so I can glaze upon my glorious collection of bequiet fans, so I bought 4 rubber feet, instead of swapping the side panels accordingly. That's the plain and simple solution, but then the cutout would cover ~1/4 of the PSU's mesh.

  • The RAM vs CPU cooler was a close call, but I was lucky. I have a solid mm between the fins and the modules, so pay attention when selecting modules with heatsink on it.

  • I don't have pictures about the PSU fan replacement, but it's easy. I'll write it down, but don't do it, you'll get elecrocuted. First, search for pictures/reviews of your PSU, so you can check the fan connection type. If it's a 2pin header like mine, buy a 3pin ->2pin adapter. Second, void the warranty of your PSU by getting the cover down. Third, be suprised that your adapter doesn't fit on the header. It's because you bought the wrong one, there is 2,54 and 2 version of this 2pin molex connector (but I don't remember and im not an expert). What I did was switching the two 2pin connectors, by removing them from the cables, using staples (there are YT videos, check custom fan cables). Of course the connectors are not identical, therefore the pins are different as well, but it's possible to stuff it in anyway. I was gonna use a DeepCool rubber buffer as well, but it would only fit with a slim fan.

  • The 1060 is also a close call. First, it barely fits, the only way to feed it to the case is through the opening on the front. Next problem is the 8pin connector. As you can see on the pictures, it is barely accessible. Maybe a different 8pin cable would've solved the problem, but with this one, the stress on the connector would keep the motherboard under constant pressure. I didn't want to buy new parts, cables, etc so with a little tweaking I got it work. I used a metal file...

  • Thermaltake wants us to mount our drives upwards, with the sata cables all visible and hanging around. Turning the SSDs around requires another bit of fine tuning, but after rasping the case, a little bend doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. I hope it's visible on the picture, the SATA power cable didn't have enough space.

  • I don't like fixing cables "permanently" with cable ties, but I got myself on cabletying cabletied cables to each other...

  • Cable management took like 2 hours minimum, partly because I had the CPU cooler mounted already (I had the config runnung without GPU and LED for a month). For a new beginning and tidy cables I've guted the case complitely. First I had to place the MB/PSU/GPU inside, just to route the cables broadly in head, take the MB out and connect the pwr/reset/hdd led cables on the MB, connect everything together while the MB is still outside the case to make a test power on. Then put inside everything one-by-one again and do the actual cable routing.

  • The RGB LED inside is from a lighting shop. Cheap. I used ~50cm strip, ~75cm extension cable, a wireless remote and controller. The controller was capable to accept both traditional 12V power input (that roundy one) and by 2 wires. So I bought a (short) molex extender, connected it to the PSU's molex connector, cut the other end down and screwed the wires in. If you only have weak red light, but otherwise it's working, you connected the 5V instead of the 12V. Like I did.

Have fun with your build! Cheers!

Part Reviews

CPU

I'm quite pleased with the Intel 4460, working on it (CAD programs) is perfect, also light gaming. It wasn't a bad choice, had a good enough price/performence ratio.

CPU Cooler

I committed myself to Be Quiet when I bought CPU cooler and fans for my PC, and I don't regret that a tiny bit. My mITX rig is on the desk, so I definitely wanted to be as quiet as possible (and relatively cheap...). The Shadow Rock is a tad overkill for a i5-4460, considering the 84W vs 130W TDP values. It does it's job very well.

Motherboard

I was in a hard time finding a (cheapo) ITX 1150 MB back then, the prices were striking. All the H81 were out of stock for quite long, so I bought this one. Setting the fan speeds using only BIOS+MSI software is a major pain in the ... . Other than the neutral color scheme, this motherboard is hard to love.

Memory

For my rig, probably 8GB would have been fine, but this way I can work flowlessly, while having 654351631514 chrome tabs open. Only other thing worth mentioning is the color, it matches nicely the MSI Gaming GPU.

Storage

This SSD was (at the time of purchase) the best/fastest, yet affordable 2,5" SSD, period. Now for a system drive I'd probably choose the 250GB version, but then it was too expensive. I don't mind running games from another drive.

Storage

It has a convincing price/performance ratio. This 750 Evo is next to a 850 Evo system drive. Since I have a small home NAS, I could eliminate the hard drives, resulting a more quiet PC. It handles my (small) game library well, plus some work I'm doing on it. I didn't want to spend more (850Evo), because it't wouldn't have made a noticeable difference.

Video Card

It's pretty powerful, running cool and looks nice. I don't regret going for a lower tier, but more expensive card, instead the other way around. I've bought a 1060, because for casual 1080p gaming it will be enough for a while. I've bought the 3GB version, because when the 1060's juice will begin to run out, I'll have to lower the settings anyway. I've bought MSI, because it has a superb heat transfer, it fits in the case, and I managed to buy it in the price of a G1 Gaming. NVIDIA vs AMD: it's inside an mITX case, so the lower TDP is a plus, but I'll never have a GSync monitor, while Freesync is affordable. I don't/can't play as much though. The only thing that bothered me was the LED. The logo's backlight was terrible, no full color spectrum, even the R B G colors were faded/tinted. The problem was with the MSI Gaming App.

Case

Small, windowed, cheap (in it's category), good ventilation. This was my 5th build, first with a window, but I felt like it's time now. It was the smallest windowed case on the market, therefore perfect for me. All the other (windowed) cases were bigger or way more expensive. Or had some shortcomings, like the Raijintek Metis: 1fan GPU, no airflow. The quality of the case is good(ish), but I don't like the plexi side panel. Now I would only buy a case with tempered glass window, maybe next time. The drive bays are pretty bad, but the overall layout of the case makes up for it.

Power Supply

This power supply is great, after reading the techpowerup review (especially the bang for buck and noise rating sections), I was sold. But still, at some point it was the loudest part in my PC, so eventually I've replaced it's fan.

Case Fan

My mITX rig is on the desk, so I definitely wanted to be as quiet as possible (and relatively cheap...). At one point my PSU (Cooler Master G550M) was the noisiest component, so this Noiseblocker fan replaced the PSU's original fan (with a 3pin->2pin adapter) and I am really satisfied with the overall outcome. The max. airflow is less than before, but apparently it doesn't matter, the fan is never ramping up (although it's first summer is yet to come). The fan on it's starting voltage is basically inaudible from ~50cm.

Case Fan

My mITX rig is on the desk, so I definitely wanted to be as quiet as possible (and relatively cheap...). So I've bought 3 PureWings2 PWM case fans: 1x140 and 2x80mm (in really good price here in Europe, compared to the PCP price). All 3 fans and the CPU cooler are running from the CPU PWM header with an Arctic PST cable, configured with speedfan to work according to the GPU temps. I'm absolutely satisfied with them, highly recommended.

Comments Sorted by:

WillieNelson16 2 points 9 months ago

Put your last picture as your first and this will be featured my friend.

Looks great +1

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks for the tip!

texasmayne 4 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

glad to hear that the build is silent. I also just built my first silent build, with 2 noctua ppc 3000 pwm fans that are on silent mode, and was amazed by how quiet it was. Very nice build sir. And good job on making room for the GPU.

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Thank you! Found a picture, where the GPU problem is kinda visible, in haynesmp's completed build. It bends the MB a little. But theres a chance that its just a trick of eyesight in his rig and the problem is with my PSU's connectors. Also, those noctuas sure are some nice fans.

esojsounds 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Hey great build! One quick question: can this fit 2x 3.5 HDD's and 1x 2.5 SSD?

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Hi, sorry, didnt got a notification. To make it up, I try to answer as detailed as possible :)

As for the drives, yes, they can fit. There are two removable bays, each can mount 1x3,5"+1x2,5" or 2x2,5". On the front you can mount either a 2,5 or a 3,5 with no problem. On the back of the bays you can only mount 2,5s. There are two small clamps that holds the drive in place on one side, and you can only fix them with two screws from the other side. Mind that a 2,5" HDD is thicker than an SSD, so they won't fit under the clamps. Also when I tried to mount my two SDDs onto one bay I found that the clamps and the overall space for the drive on the back is somewhat undersized. (It's because otherwise the HDDs vibration would shake the SSD as well). But it did scratch the painting off of the SSD, so that's a bummer. The other thing why I went with two separate bays is just aesthetic, purely for the peace of mind: the mounted SSD on the back is skew (if thats the right word). The clamps are holding the drive tight on the bay, however the mounting points (with screws) are a bit elevated. Perhaps I should have flip the drive, but I already got angry at that little ****** clamp, so...

But there are builds proving that the short answer to your question is definitely yes.

izlud 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Gorgeous !

I have one question for you, do you think with this case the rgb of this PSU will show ? http://www.thermaltake.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00002785

noblemes submitter 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

Thanks! Unfortunately putting an RGB PSU in this case is not a bright idea ( <- hehe). These little things add up: - the mesh cutout is smaller than the riing fan's diameter and the mesh on the PSU. Its only about 95x95mm - the light of the fan is too weak (as i saw on a review), which is an issue itself - in front of the mesh there is a dust filter, which you should use, regardless the case orientation and placement Either way (PSU facing down or sideways), it'll be too weak to light the opposing surface, and direct visibility is not advised (theres the cutout for the front fans, the legs, etc). However it would be a good idea to use led stripe(s) on the bottom of the case instead of the rgb psu, to get an underglow effect. The front panel cutout is ideal to run through as many cables as you want.

izlud 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Thank you very much for the reply and answers :) I think I will go with the seasonic PSU and add some led strips !

dronell19 3 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

Absolutely love it! Beautiful rig!

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Thanks! I've already replaced the windowed side panel to a 2mm thick piece of glass and covered up that big "cable management cutout", so it looks way cleaner now. I don't have the time to shoot it though...

Bubi 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

love the colour match! +1

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

TY! I'd start on a little bit different road today, but... there goes my budget.

kutsaratinidor 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

Nice build! I have the same case for my upcoming build. And I might be getting a Gigabyte board that has a similar layout to yours with regards to the 24pin power connector, SATA ports and USB3.0 header. I want to know your thoughts on how to work around that placement issue. Aside from the orientation of the hard drives, is there enough space on that side of the case to properly route the front panel USB3.0 header and 24 pin connector without additional effort?

Thank you.

noblemes submitter 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

Thanks! There's enough place in the lower chamber to tuck away all the cables you want (even with a non-modular ATX PSU), and route all your cables as you wish. The I/O cables have proper lenght to it. Although the additional effort that you mentioned WILL get to the picture if you want to stick with a similar motherboard AND hide all the cables you can. As you can see, the space is there on the side, it's just harder to stuff the 24pin/sata/usb behind the HDDs, than going front of them. Personally I kinda enjoyed the time I killed with it. Going with a PSU that has flat cables would surely help though. The traditional placement/routing on the big opening looks a bit messy IMO. Good luck with your build!