Advice on a suitable case

Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
Hi. I am new to computer building but am dedicated and have done quite a bit of research. I need some help.

I was recently given an old Haswell i7 4790 from a friend. This is the heart of my new build.

It just so happended that the only readily available LGA1150 mobo that I could find is thin mini ITX. The Asus Q87T which I have purchased.

My brother threw me 8Gb of old DDR3L 1600 that he had lying around.

Intended use is an all round HTPC (small and quiet) attached to my network where I can surf, stream - basically do all my computing from the couch with my TV as a monitor. The issue of course will be that being quiet and cooling an 84w TDP CPU in a small case are not very compatible.

I have not been into gaming in the past but now I have kids that have started to show an interest. Was thinking of starting with the iGPU but would be nice to have the option to add a dedicated GPU later - not a deal breaker though. I can always look at larger cases then. I would like 2 x USB 3.0 on the front as a minimum (audio I/O would be nice too). I would also like to put a good Wifi/BT card in it. I was looking at a Broadcom 3x3 which would require 3 antennas of some kind. If the case was alluminium then will require some modification I think.

I started looking into cases that are small but none seem to be the right fit. The motherboard has a DC jack at the back and I have an old Dell Power brick from a laptop which will suit (130w) but again would need another solution for down the track if adding a GPU.

Silverstone PT13B. Reasonably priced and very small. Will have cooling issues and all low profile fans that are small enough to fit inside this case do not seem to be quiet.

HD Plex H1.S V2. Pricey but nice. Sceptical that I will not have heat issues.

Streacom FC8 alpha. As above. Also same price as HDPlex for me (which seems like a better built case with better cooling) as getting the SH8 pipes required for my motherboard are an extra significant cost.

InWin Chopin. Reasonably priced. Still has limitations on cooling fans which rule out some of the decent ones (Noctua etc).

M350 - USB on front seems to be behind a door. Are they 3.0? Better fan clearance. Maybe.

Just going round in circles at this point really.

Can anyone give some advice?
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
312
187
If you'll be doing any gaming about the most card you'll be able to use is something like an MSI 1030 OC GDDR5 30W passive on an x4 PCIE although it appears the Asus Q87T has a closed end connector so not viable without some modding,

If you're looking compact USB3 up front take a look at this one in link below, I have a 3770K in one with a noctua L9i cooler, but I turn off the turbo. There's also the Morex 557, a bunch smaller but only USB2 up front, but better looking I think, have a fanless build in one of those. I'm using a Realan K3 at present may even want to take a look at that, link in my sig I believe USB3 available now.

Amazon product
The one issue for cooling you'll have is the SSD mounts are typically over the motherboard blocking airflow, what I did was use a SATA to SATA M.2 PCIE adapter to use a SATA M.2 SSD the card only uses the slot for power, also required a low profile Silvertone SATA right angle connector to fit height wise links below (you can't boot from an NVME SSD in the PCIE slot until the 97 chipset so must use SATA drive something I found out putting mine together) The SATA adapter has aslots cut for X1,X4, X8 so no issue with the mobo

SATA adapter
Low profile SATA connector

 
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Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
Would it be possible to use a flexible adaptor riser x4 to x16 and a larger external 19v (Dell 330w laptop brick) to power it? I.e. does the PCIe x4 deliver the 12v power required for the card. I have read that some motherboards are only rated to 25w for this slot but I emailed ASUS and they told me that there is no power limit on the slot in the Q87T board, just to make sure the power supply was sufficient. If I went down this path, I would need a case with an adequate expansion slot for a short low profile card that can keep cool and in a position that will allow me to use the flexible riser. I am going to need at least 1 additional 2.5" SSD even if I go for an mSATA for my boot drive which I can do. Would these cases mentioned allow for this?
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
312
187
Yes you could use a flex or hard riser to convert the PCIE x4 to x16, someone else on this forum has powered a 30W GPU this way with no issue. None of the cases mentioned would work for that really unless you found a decent single width card), otherwise the problem is now you'll likely need a case that has a back-to-back(e.g. Dan A4) or folded-out(e.g. NFC S4) layout to fit the riser unless you get a case with multiple PCIE slots mATX style like a silverstone ML04 (but that has STX supply, mentioned just for reference). At that point might be cheaper to get an AM4 mobo and a 2400G with some decent RAM (which is better than a GT1030) and a cheap small case.

Here's a passive build version of what you want probably the only good way to do it.
https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/mini-passive-build.11072/#post-153526
 
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Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
Thanks for this, it helps a lot. I see now that I have gone down the wrong path in an attempt to utilise the gifted CPU. A 2400g would expand the usefulness of my htpc to gaming without a dedicated gpu and with a lower tdp. With that setup I could more confidently use a passive case. But with a cheap small case as previously described + a decent fan I could achieve a capable, small, quiet, more modern build without the complications of a graphics card.

For now I think I will proceed without a gpu and use a Noctua L9i with either the mx500 or a Chopin case and upgrade later. I already have the CPU, mobo, ram and external power supply and RAM so it is a bit late to bail on it.
The cooling issue regarding a 2.5" drive blocking air flow does concern me a bit with the higher tdp of the i7.
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
312
187
Thanks for this, it helps a lot. I see now that I have gone down the wrong path in an attempt to utilise the gifted CPU. A 2400g would expand the usefulness of my htpc to gaming without a dedicated gpu and with a lower tdp. With that setup I could more confidently use a passive case. But with a cheap small case as previously described + a decent fan I could achieve a capable, small, quiet, more modern build without the complications of a graphics card.

For now I think I will proceed without a gpu and use a Noctua L9i with either the mx500 or a Chopin case and upgrade later. I already have the CPU, mobo, ram and external power supply and RAM so it is a bit late to bail on it.
The cooling issue regarding a 2.5" drive blocking air flow does concern me a bit with the higher tdp of the i7.
The Chopin already has a supply and the SSDs mount on other side of mobo tray so that's a big plus.
 

Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
The Chopin already has a supply and the SSDs mount on other side of mobo tray so that's a big plus.
Can this supply connect to the 2 pin plug on the Q87T though? The power connector is described in the manual as "ATX power connector (2-pin ATX19V)". I'm guessing the PSU is 12v. If I can't use it then I feel like I am wasting space and money on a PSU that I can't use (until a later upgrade maybe) with this case. The product description from In win is a bit misleading as it states compatible with all mini itx boards. Space wise perhaps but PSU maybe not with thin minis.
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
312
187
Can this supply connect to the 2 pin plug on the Q87T though? The power connector is described in the manual as "ATX power connector (2-pin ATX19V)". I'm guessing the PSU is 12v. If I can't use it then I feel like I am wasting space and money on a PSU that I can't use (until a later upgrade maybe) with this case. The product description from In win is a bit misleading as it states compatible with all mini itx boards. Space wise perhaps but PSU maybe not with thin minis.
Wasn't sure if it would do 12v internal I think some of the newer thin-ITX are. InWin is probably just talking regular ITX and not thin-ITX as the thin-ITX always have a DC connector. Could replace the InWin supply with https://www.hdplex.com/hdplex-internal-200w-ac-dc-adapter-with-active-pfc-and-19vdc-output.html has the 2-pin Molex
 

Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
That looks like a nice solution. Out of stock though by the looks of it. I already have a Dell brick which I don't mind using for now. Can tuck it behind the TV with all of the other crap for now. Will probably go either Chopin or mx500. Mx500 has 3 antenna punch outs which is a nice touch. Was thinking of adding a mini PCIe Broadcom 3x3 card with some little 2dbi antennas. Most cases only have provision for 1 or 2. Obviously could do some kind of mod though. If you reckon airflow is better on the Chopin that might be the clincher. K3 looks ok too. Don't know about all of those Com ports though - kinda looks a bit weird. My first thought was geckos getting in there!
 

Stevo_

Airflow Optimizer
Jul 2, 2015
312
187
The MX500 might have room on the antenna side for a ACDC like the HDPlex it was setup for by the standoffs for a longish style 120W 12V DCDC. K3 only exposes half the fan, it really needs another row of vents in the top plate like they have on the side, agree on the serial ports but it is an industrial case. For SSD + cooler InWin probably best bet.

I've switched to using these 1dbi antennas on my 2 boxes, haven't noticed any drop-off in signal level compared to the 5dbi I was using

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-1dbi-2-Angle-2-4GHz-5GHz-Dual-Band-WiFi-Antenna-RP-SMA-Linksys-D-Link/371542279568?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649
 

Gilera

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 27, 2019
8
0
The MX500 might have room on the antenna side for a ACDC like the HDPlex it was setup for by the standoffs for a longish style 120W 12V DCDC. K3 only exposes half the fan, it really needs another row of vents in the top plate like they have on the side, agree on the serial ports but it is an industrial case. For SSD + cooler InWin probably best bet.

I've switched to using these 1dbi antennas on my 2 boxes, haven't noticed any drop-off in signal level compared to the 5dbi I was using

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-1dbi-2-Angle-2-4GHz-5GHz-Dual-Band-WiFi-Antenna-RP-SMA-Linksys-D-Link/371542279568?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649
Thanks for that. Your advice has been really helpful. One small thing I noticed is that the Chopin has the USB/audio on the side meaning that if put flat in a cabinet, devices such a USB drives with stick up on top. No big deal as long as it still fits.