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Build

Midnight Coffee

by ssaulsbu

87
49 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

Oct. 25, 2017

Date Built

Oct. 24, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

2.8GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

31.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

54.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.53GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.01GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

46.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

63.0° C

Description

I'm a huge fan of small form factor and ITX builds. A couple of years ago I built a Node 202 gaming PC but still thought there was too much wasted space. After selling the Node build, I tried to simplify my setup by adding a video card to my unRAID NAS and going virtualized (think Linus Tech Tips 2-gamers-1-PC) but I never felt the virtual performance matched a bare metal setup. Then I found the S4 Mini from Not From Concentrate!

The S4 Mini is a well-thought out unique design, allowing enough space for a powerful, small-footprint ITX gaming rig. For components, you can fit an ITX board, ITX graphics card, DC-to-DC converter, and optional two 2.5" drives. Straight away, assembling everything into the case felt like a three dimensional silicon and aluminum puzzle as there was a strict order of assembly. At the end, it became apparent how much power was densely packed into this little aircraft-grade aluminum chassis the size of a ream of paper.

When deciding whether to go with Skylake or something newer, I managed to pick up the Coffee Lake Intel i5-8400 on Newegg while it was in stock for approximately 15 minutes. Glad I did because 6 cores in a 65w package is killer. The S4 Mini was developed for a 65w CPU, as is the Noctua L9i. Overall, this build is super quiet, as there are only two fans: the CPU and GPU (which turns off at idle!) and the entire thing is easily powered by a chunky 330W Dell AC adapter.

The S4 Mini originally came with a wenge wood 3D front bezel that has a cutout for longer graphics cards. After deciding to powder coat the side panels midnight blue wrinkle from Prismatic Powders, I ordered a wraparound silver brushed aluminum front bezel. I also sourced some awesome torx screws to hold the size panels on. Overall, I'm extremely happy with how everything turned out and it's now uniquely mine!

I built this strictly to play games and be a portable beast. Forza 7, Wolfenstein 2, and Star Wars Battlefront II are the 2017 games this rig will handle at 1440p.

Firestrike: 15,138
Time Spy: 5,780
Passmark CPU Score: 12,864

Part Reviews

CPU

Seriously fast and efficient! Hovers around 31C while idle and has 6 cores to kick ***. Passmark CPU score yielded 12,864.

CPU Cooler

A premium, low-noise cooler with a low price tag. Much quieter than the stock Intel HSF. I've owned this same cooler across multiple LGA-115x builds, so I've really gotten my money's worth on this kit! Currently cooling an i5-8400 to 31C idle in a super compact ITX case.

Motherboard

I always go for ASRock motherboards as they always seem to cater to my needs. Great board, but at the time of writing (11/2/2017) the Z-series boards are the only option for a Coffee Lake ITX build with no specs or release dates for the cheaper B and H series boards. Nice amenities here though! 2xLAN, Wifi/Bluetooth, 6x SATA, M.2 PCIe for super fast storage.

Memory

It's low profile, it's fast, and it's white. That's what I wanted. While I can't utilize the full DDR4-3200 speed with my i5-8400, this RAM should carry me through a couple future builds.

Storage

Easy to install and incredible speed. Don't forget to install the proper drivers to get the full speed out of the drive!

Video Card

How'd they stuff a 1070 in an ITX form factor?! Who cares, it's compact and fast. It fit like a glove in an NFC S4 Mini ITX case. I had a full size 1070 before this and there is no noticeable performance difference.

Monitor

It's a fine 1440p IPS 60hz 4ms thin-bezel monitor. Bought refurbished with zero blemishes on fleabay for $179 from Acer. No height adjustability, lack of VESA, and a really crappy OSD menu prevents me from giving this 5 stars. Input switching is terrible; it cycles through every input before deciding to find a working one or going into power save mode. There's no ability to select an input manually!

Comments Sorted by:

enewtabie 4 Builds 4 points 8 months ago

Super clean and very tidy,which is always an issue with Itx cases.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 4 points 8 months ago

Putting it together was truly like a puzzle. Each part had to be installed in a certain order or it wouldn’t fit! Really goes to show how much space is wasted in most cases.

Ferraat 4 points 8 months ago

Beautiful

Selicos 3 points 8 months ago

I got myself an L9i this week to compare to the C7's I already have. So far I like it but need to stress it some more.

annasoh323 2 Builds 3 points 2 months ago

Ah, an S4 build! Since discovering him on YouTube, I've admired Josh's style, thoughtfulness in design, and innovation. By the time I'd found him, I'd already gone too far down the "normal" component rabbit hole to consider backtracking to the S4 Mini (i.e. PSU, GPU, CPU cooler). And so, I look on with a hint of envious green in my eye, at you folks that can actually fit their powerhouse PCs into a backpack (power brick notwithstanding). On top of that, I also have myself a bit of fist-shaking at Intel for creating 6-core i5's when I just bought my 4-core <shrug>. All that said, I truly wish you the frame-crunching, 1440P best!

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

Thank you! I've been enjoying it! I have yet to lug it around in my backpack though.

kennyboy12 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

This is such a sexy build inside and out! I'm lovin that case.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Thanks! I’ll add more pictures when I find a place for it on my desk at home!

SmartWolf 2 points 8 months ago

Badang! I like it!

Wolf88 4 Builds 2 points 8 months ago

Did you cut the wood yourself ? I like your take on this case. The stock noctua color will actually look good with this look. +1

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Josh at NFC Systems (who designed the case) also cut the wood bezels himself! Check out his YouTube channel for more info. He really puts a lot of time into the case.

Wolf88 4 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

Right on, yeah I’ve seen these cases before. Post pics when you install the cooler !

Mrchoclo90 8 Builds 2 points 8 months ago

What unique and original PC you have friend, congratulations. The i5 8400 is perhaps one of the price-performance CPUs worth buying from Intel's 8th generation. Of course, with a motherboard with the chipset H370 or B360.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

If I had any semblance of patience, I would have waited for a proper motherboard. The Z series is definitely overkill for my build!

Mrchoclo90 8 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

And if by the subject of the same cost, but you would already have mother for Cannon Lake

anord419 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

This is a stupid question. How.. do you power it?

Eltech 19 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

You can see it on photo numbers 3 and 6-7, the HDPLEX 400W Hi-Fi DC-ATX Power Supply. That is how it's powering on, so to speak.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Yes, that’s part of it. There’s also a giant Dell 330w power adapter (like one for a gaming laptop) that powers the HDPlex. The HDPlex converts the DC power into the proper headers for ATX, CPU, and PCIe connectors.

Eltech 19 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

Indeed. I remember seeing that particular "part" on your part-list. I don't think I see it on your photographs (or I must be blind), but yes the second part is a DC adapter power. I've never done an HDPlex, but I have used a 90w and 160w PicoPSU. It's pretty awesome to see a different Power Supply. It looks cool and helpful to have in slim cases. :)

frostmaster468 2 points 8 months ago

wheres the PSU?

Great job, this is awesome.

Eltech 19 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

The HDPLEX 400W Hi-Fi DC-ATX Power Supply is on photo number 3, and photo numbers 6-7.

frostmaster468 2 points 8 months ago

WOO... that is small!. +1 for space saving> a true work of art.

Eltech 19 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

I agree.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Yes, the HDPlex is tiny but the 330w Dell power brick is almost as big as the case!

frostmaster468 1 point 8 months ago

lol

shadrack97 2 Builds 2 points 8 months ago

THIS IS BEAUTIFUL

AnimeGamer 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

Where did you get the case from ?

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

NFC-systems.com They’re limited run systems designed by a fella called Josh in Mississippi.

Jerome54 2 points 8 months ago

Very nice build! Well done!!
That cable management is on point!! +1!

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 2 points 7 months ago

Merci beaucoup!

ACEPCPARTPICKER 2 points 7 months ago

Nice build very small clean cable management. Nice job.

Bernardo138 2 points 7 months ago

Holy **** that´s small, awesome pc, props.

Social_Elitist 2 points 7 months ago

Dat case dough :O

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 2 points 7 months ago

I think you've got the perfect balance here. I like that the processor is locked to a 4ghz where you get loads of fps but not very hot. You also have a quiet Mini 1070 that can run off the 400w Hdflex. I think a 1080/ti is not worth it in this case.

+1!

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks! I thought about a GTX 1080 mini but the 3D wraparound bezel would not have fit. I couldn’t ask for better temperatures. Really a nice balance for not having any case fans!

Fraglepuss 2 Builds 1 point 7 months ago

Agreed, I think this way worked out better. Also you'd probably struggle to power a 1080 with the dell power brick.

I've heard great things about the Aero 1070. I think it's the best card for this case imo. And I'm glad the temps are good

joshlap 2 points 3 months ago

omg this is the sexiest itx build I've ever seen

DaMysteryMan 1 Build 2 points 2 months ago

This build is so small I might have to use a microscope to see it!

ChopperTom 2 points 29 days ago

I am very envious of this case. I didn't realize how small this case was until I seen the keyboard next to it. I'm now having buyer's remorse after having spent money to buy a Cooler Master case. I've never seen a case like this, its pretty cool. it's got me thinking about doing my own case mods or rather building one from scratch. Nice build two thumbs up.

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 25 days ago

Thank you so much! It was fun to build and the compactness makes it super portable.

GuniGuGu 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

Does the motherboard have a USB Type C port?

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

No, unfortunately not!

DOGALD 1 Build 1 point 7 months ago

+1 for that great case!

Obelisk. 1 point 6 months ago

Commenting for later, +10 if I could!

antonjetpack 1 point 6 months ago

Would you recommend this CPU or the core i3-8100?

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Highly recommend the CPU. I have an i3-8100 in my NAS and it's pretty good. The i5-8400 just handles everything like a champ with wiggle room.

M-ITX4LIF3 1 point 2 months ago

I am very interested in buying this case, but what do you do for the power supply?

ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 2 months ago

There's a DC-to-DC converter inside the case, which allows me to power the rig with a Dell 330w "laptop" power adapter.

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ssaulsbu submitter 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

Thanks! If you loved building in the Node 202, you’d really love the S4 Mini.