Description

From start to finish, this little beauty was the most difficult to piece together PC I've ever built. From the careful selection of which parts to put in first, to literally pulling apart every wire in the motherboard ATX power cable to make it fit around the psu, cpu fan, and memory. It was an ordeal, but I'm so glad I did it. Each fan in the entire system (PSU, GPU, Case fans, and CPU fan) is smart controlled by temp sensors so it's incredibly quiet 90% of the time. The side case wouldn't close until I ordered some custom 8-pin cables for the GPU. She runs around 45C at typical desktop function, 55-60C for low level gaming, and intense GPU hits around 70 - 75C, which I'm fine with. (Don't have a fan on the back to blow air out there, but I may install one yet. Put a splitter on my 2 bottom case fans to the MB, so they're smart controlled, but no more connections on this MB so it'd be directly wired to the PSU so I'm avoiding it.)

She's a beaut! Questions, comments, concerns please direct below. (Bushmills bottle for scale)

Case: The centerpiece of this mastery! I'm going with an N•Case M1 Version 5 because I'm planning on traveling outside the country, and will need the freedom to throw a desktop in a (albeit modified) backpack. This crowdfunded little beauty is magnificent and is perfect!

Motherboard: I've never thought a motherboard could look beautiful before, until now. Interior theme will be dark red and black, so this works perfect. And the functionality!! This board has so much going for it, and also has some excellent reviews out there. Isolated audio circuitry and built in dual headphone amp means for some sharp sound, it supports an M.2, USB 3.1 front pin headers, WiFi & Bluetooth (if I want my N•Case to look like a rabbit), and supports all the latest and greatest chipsets.

CPU: I went with an i7-6700. A lot of people have been getting the K's, but I didn't. There are reasons for that. Primarily, while the i7 6700K does hit 4.0GH stock, it also pulls around 90 watts average, and close to 133 watts peak! That's a heck of a difference between the 65 TDP of the 6700 (sans K). The 600MH it's lacking is nothing when compared to the heat differential I'll have to deal with. This is especially important in a small case that's already relying on blower style cooling.

CPU Cooler: After a ton of consideration and research, I decided on a CRYORIG C1, blower style air cooler. This was a big decision, but I ultimately chose non-water cooling because I don't ever want to have to worry about draining water before going to the airport. Also, with the specs I'm running and how hard I'll be pushing my machine, I doubt I'll have the desire to overclock anytime soon. This little beauty is just slick! Aside from the low form factor and the subdued grace of it, the noise and cooling efficiency is awesome!

NOTE: Had to bend one of the side pins to get it to fit past the power supply bracket. Barely bent it and it fit just fine. It was crazy because I installed it and realized I couldn't plug in any of my SATA connectors, so I took it off, cleaned the thermal paste and reattached it.

GPU: This beast... It's incredible how wide the range is between the 980 Ti's is! An analogy: If a marathon runner wins the race so close that it's practically nothing, but he's too big to fit in your car, so you get the guy who lost by 1"... is it really so bad? I REALLY wanted the ASUS STRIX, but it literally won't fit inside my case without alterations. This is second best. If you want to see how good this card is, or how wide the range of comparison is between the Ti's, look at THIS article. It also externally exhausts out the back, so that's a plus!

My only problem has been that NVidea drivers have a known propensity to be somewhat unstable with the 980 at times. Looking for a better driver that won't randomly crash my more graphics intensive games. :/

Memory: I went with these low profile (again, saving space) 2666MHz, dual 8GB's for a total of 16GB. I hear that all DDR4 memory defaults to 2133MHz straight from the box, but I'll see when it gets here. Probably just needs a tweak in BIOS to enable the 2666MHz it needs. The Motherboard will take up to 32GB, but 16 should be just fine for the moment. I mean, let's not go crazy... I already have 6GB purely devoted to my GPU. I think I'm good. ;)

Storage: I salvaged the 2TB drive from my old machine temporarily until I need bigger. Either way, I already have a 500GB SSD, and a SCREAMING 256GB M.2 PCIe card which is THE SIZE OF MY FINGER!!! Oh technology, how you amaze me... And these bad boys are usually 4x the R/W speed of typical drives. The M.2 is being used to run my OS. Getting around 18 second boot times from a cold start, and less than 10 seconds on reboots.

NOTE: Yes... it's ghetto'er than sin. I have heat shrink tubing wrapped around my M.2 and rubber bands holding it down. The MB said it would accommodate 80mm, but it looks like it lied... doesn't matter though, the socket fits fine and this solution works perfect. Rubber oxidizes so I'll have to check on it every year, but I'm a lot more comfortable with this method than the glue or tape others are using.

PSU: Small. Modular. 600 watts for future expansion flexibility. What more need I say? It also got some great reviews and is 80+ Gold Certified. Also doesn't appreciably add fan noise, either since it's temperature smart controlled.

Case Fan's: These little bad boys are mounted to the bottom of the case, giving additional airflow directed up into the GPU fan. Essentially, what I'm going for here is a vertical upward air flow which also naturally works with rising heat. Air will flow from the bottom of the case, through the GPU (some exhausted out the back), in from the side onto the CPU, some through the PSU and out the top, and the rest pushed by positive air pressure out the top vents of the case.

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Comments

  • 47 months ago
  • 7 points

NEVER BUILD ON CARPET. It creates a ton of static that can short out components. Also, the same thing applies to the outside of Anti-Static bags. The inside is Anti-Static but the outside of them attracts it. Pleeeease Dont make this mistake in the future.

That being said, I love your build. Im always a huge fan of the Ncase. I love the concept of as much power and performance into the smallest form factor you can.

  • 47 months ago
  • 3 points

True... I didn't really have many other options, but I will say I made absolutely sure to ground myself the whole time. It was definitely on my mind. Had no idea about the outside of anti-static bags, though! Thanks for that!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

alright glad you took precautions and knew before hand. glad i could help with the bag though :)

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you have any studies to back this statement? I'm just curious because I've seen a few people say this. It would be interesting to know how much static is required to damage the parts, and whether carpet type / depth would effect the results?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Microchips (like on Ram) and other components can be damaged with as little as 10 volts of static electricity. walking across a carpet of having components rub against static charged carpet produces around 11k-15k volts of static electricity (give or take a few grand). Really, it depends on the component and how much voltage it can take. But I have seen video cards and motherboards both being destroyed from static electricity. I would much rather my components fail from a bad overclock than something as pathetic as static electricity.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, keep in mind while the voltage being produced may be high, the actually wattage of said electricity is extremely low. It is in fact around .01 watts if I remember correctly.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info! What are the realistic chances? I think I shall build on my table now, does it count if my feet are touching said carpet??

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not exactly sure on the chances but better to be safe than down a few hundred dollars right? as for your feet touching carpet, you can still produce static that way so i would go ahead and try not to build on carpet, but you could get one of those grounding wristbands that grounds you out to the floor.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

I guess that is one way to secure the m.2 ssd...

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

lol yeah... better than tape though, right? :/

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

I can just see this by a TV in a living room with you seating on the couch staring at it. Every few seconds take a slow swig of that Bushmills. Lol Great build bet this will last. +1

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

You win for my favorite comment. +1 to you, sir.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

SNIFF SNIFF I smell a feature!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thuggin is right, never on the carpet.

Also, I get that you're trying to pull the heat from the cooler, but shouldn't the fan face the other way so that it can push air into the cooler to cool it down?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Which fan? The case fans pointing into the GPU or the CPU fan?

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Cryorig fan on the cpu.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

O.o I may have made an error. I thought that was the orientation to have the fan blow air onto the CPU through the cooler. I'll check it when I get home today.

EDIT: You're totally right. I'm an idiot, good grief! Comments like yours justify why I posted this in the first place.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

:D

I've noticed most fans have arrows on them showing the direction of airflow. Not all, but most.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Oldest trick in the book, air flows to the supports side. So wherever the supports (the plastic lines that hold the fan bearing in place and usually have the cable running in them) point, the air flows. Ever in doubt, unobstructed side pulls, obstructed pushes.

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Good choice of CPU. I don't understand why more people aren't using that non-K chip in their SFF builds, especially when you can still OC if you want via BCLK. The chipset/PCIe have their own clock domains in Skylake making non-K OC even easier. Good build man.

  • 47 months ago
  • 2 points

Not for much longer. Intel is forcing manufacturers to do away with the non-K OCs :(

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Intel is actually rolling out a BIOS soon that stops OC on non-K processors. Even if the motherboard manufacture has a BIOS that supports if for their board, it wont matter because of intel.

http://www.pcgamer.com/intel-puts-a-stop-to-overclocking-on-non-k-skylake-cpus/

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Intel's greed strikes again.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I was going to post the exact same article :)

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!! Put a lot of thought into that decision.

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Be careful with that SM951. Its an awesome part, but the problem with what you have setup is that it is not getting to dissipate any of its heat. It is a really hot running part if you don't have a fan on it. Just keep an eye on its temperatures, it can legitimately top 100C Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3GlInzvHr8 https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Product-Review-Samsung-SM951-M-2-Drive-703/

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Holy cow! For some reason I deluded myself into believing the heat output on a small SSD like this would be minimal, almost negligible. I was, obviously, mistaken. I'll slice up that thermal tubing. Really, it's only there to give some padding against the screws behind the drive. I just didn't want them scratching the circuitry when using the rubber bands to hold it down. Thanks! Very, very good catch!

EDIT: I actually may buy a heatsink for it after looking at that thermal image. Yikes...

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I'm currently running one in a Xeon desktop system and it puts off a lot of heat for a little guy. I've tried to do some things to keep it cool but the slot layout of my motherboard has made that a difficult task. Mine is currently sitting at 50c, with the hottest its reported today at 55c. Its safe and all, but I would like that number to be a lot lower.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a suggestion that you might want to take into account. If you are saying the drivers are failing, and you want better drivers, I have a solution. If you are using the drivers that came with the graphics card (the ones on the disc that came with it) then they might be outdated drivers, so what you wanna do is look up NVidia GeForce Experience, it is a program that keeps all your drivers up to date. I don't know if you already knew this, but if you did then I don't know how to help. Good Build!

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, thank you. I actually am using a piece of software from MSI for updating drivers. I may just go onto the MSI site and handpick the latest one for this particular card. I'm not trusting these automated driver tools so much these days.

  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

You buy a locked SKU and a unlocked board ? *Facepalm Also since Intel is shutting down the overclocking on a non K SKU (thankfully) your board is 100% pointless. Lastly the SM951 is slower and uglier than the 950 Pro M.2 SSD from Samsung....

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Smokejuice, I have a similar build, with the MSI 980Ti Golden Edition and an ncase v5.

Could you let me know where you found the low profile connectors ? as I am now stuck.

My PSU is the Corsair SF600 if it helps.

Thanks.

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  • 47 months ago
  • 1 point

If you mean the motherboard, I really like it. It hasn't given me any problems, the BIOS is very clean and allows for extensive customization if you'd like to overclock. I also really do like the wireless capabilities, isolated audio circuitry.

Only issue I've had so far is there are only 2 fan connectors on it, so from the board I can only control 2 case fans (with a splitter) and 1 CPU fan, because I'm unwilling to split the power coming from that port. Not the worst, because everything with a fan is smart controlled and I've had literally 0 problems with heat.

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