CCD MI-6 Case Build Log & Quick Review

ignsvn

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Hi all!

So as you all know, I have received my Firewolfy's MI-6 a few days ago, so I'm gonna do a build log now! (And since I'm down with stomach problem, this will a progressive WIP in multiple parts). I'm following the build order provided (included in the package), so hopefully I won't get any nasty surprise.

This is my first case which is a community project, also my 2nd SFF case (the previous one is Silverstone SG08). So yes, this is actually more of transferring old hardware into new case :)

Processor: Intel i5-4670 non K
Motherboard: Asus H87i-Plus
RAM: Kingston Value RAM 8GB (and super low profile)
SSD: Samsung Evo 850 500 GB 2.5" SSD
HDD: Western Digital Black 500 GB 7200 RPM
GPU: Zotac GTX 950
PSU: Corsair SF450

You can see from the pics that the version I order is the one with front IOs. I also order the tool-less HDD bracket.

I'm not going through the technical specs.. You guys can see it here:
- https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/ccd-mi-6-case-performance-in-less-than-7l.1091/
- https://www.casebycasedesign.com/


What's in the box



The case, MI-6 badge, extra anti-friction tape, cap for rear outlets, extra screws, cable ties (not in the picture: instruction card and invoice). Simple zip bag packaging & clearly labeled. No-frills & just works. I like it.

The case itself:


Let's get started!


CPU + Motherboard


I started by removing the cover (side & top, duh). Next, install the motherboard. Mine's not the best in terms of layout. I purchased that knowing that the CPU socket location would accommodate the NH-L12i. BUT I had never thought that they put the USB 3.0 header so close to the CPU socket (I had to purchase a flat USB 3.0 header cable from modDIY in the end). I didn't remove/re-paste the NH-L12i, I just removed the top fan so it can fit (I hope.. fingers crossed).


Looking good so far:


Hint: leaving the GPU riser unattached gives you more room to work with. Attach it later AFTER you're done attaching all cables onto your motherboard. Also, some of you may have ATX header at the bottom part of the mobo, nearby the PSU.. that'll be a bit tricky but CAN be done.



PSU


Next, I installed the power supply. Man, this SFX psu is small & lightweight. On the right, as a comparison, is my previous ATX PSU.


Hint: I found out that I had too many cables dangling into the PSU area, so I put the case upside down instead. Thank God for gravity. It helped Newton, now it helped me.


And it sits nicely there:


All went well so far!
 
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ignsvn

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Before proceeding, I decided to do a dry-run to see if it POST.





Storage Drives


After that, came what - in my opinion - is the hardest part of the build: mounting the storage drives.

I used 2 x 7.5mm drives. I purchased the tool-less drive holder. At that time, I didn't actually know how I would mount those drives. I just thought "better safe than sorry". After many, many times re-positioning those drives (and plugging and unplugging the SATA cables), I decided that the best approach was the back-to-back configuration / staggered. Still, it was frustrating.. Corsair SF450 cables are d*arn long and not really flexible.

Knowing that @firewofly also used Corsair SF450, I PM-ed him for some suggestion, and below he showed me how he did it:


I noticed that his SATA power cable orientation (the one attached to the drive closer to the motherboard) was not how it's supposed to be. Turned out he "reversed" the cable orientation - another fine trick by @firewolfy. Might be useful for others too.


I didn't exactly follow this trick, but still, I was able to mount them.



GPU


Next was the GPU. This one was easier..


Or so I thought, until I encountered a little tolerance problem. Somehow I couldn't install the GPU (Zotac GTX 950) straight away. The riser's lock did not slide far enough to accommodate the PCIe's locking notch. (Or perhaps I was doing something wrong).


I decided to try unscrewing the riser's PCB attachment, and insert the GPU's PCIe notch in it while it's not attached to the case. I then slowly put the card back in.



It required a bit of pushing here & there, but it worked! (I hope I didn't break anything tho)

 
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ignsvn

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Top & Side Covers

And now the last pieces of the puzzle: top & side plates. At this moment I added Cooler Master 80mm slim case fan, and removed that plastic plug on the top-rear of the case. Extra vent is always appreciated :)




Thermals


The build steps above were.. well, simplified. In truth, I did a lot of trial & error on the drives, cabling, as well as CPU & case fan orientation, in order to find the best possible solution. Afterward, I decided to do a quick thermal test, with result as below:



The Cooler Master 80mm case fan was relatively silent, at least until 1300 RPM.

In my opinion, both the case and the CPU cooler fulfilled their potential. My rather high temp was perhaps caused by the sheer size of the CPU cooler. It blocked hot air from moving out quickly, and as a result, re-circulated inside the case for far too long.


Conclusion


I learned a lot of things while building in this case. Overall, building in MI-6 is a new experience. Below are the pros & cons, in my opinion:

Pros:
- Hard to see it in the picture, but this thing looks good.
- No frame / internal chassis bars, making building & reaching corners easier.
- The aluminum frame & cover are pretty solid.

Room for improvement:
- Tolerance issue in the GPU riser PCB slot
- Frame-less design make the side cover top flex a bit if you press it.

Isn't she beautiful.

 
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rfarmer

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Looks great @ignsvn, looking forward to your finished build. My Mi-6 is sitting at my local Post Office so I will be getting it today and I can't wait. Thanks for the tips on building. :thumb:
 
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ignsvn

By Toutatis!
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Done, added into previous posts. Happy reading all!

Feel free to ask me anything, & thanks a bunch to @firewolfy for his helps throughout the installation process.
 

firewolfy

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ignsvn,
Nice build thread and nice work putting it together!

On your temp test, I agree that maybe the 92mm CPU fan is undersized for that massive hs, too much recirculation.
Oh, and I had another idea: maybe verify what version of Prime95 you used. I use v26.6 for every benchmark comparisons. My understanding from a discussion in Tom's Hardware here is that version makes a difference.

Sorry about the PCI-E connector hoops you had to jump through. Both the PCI-E location and the cover flex are fixed on the next batch.

EDIT -- With your ambient room temp at 29-30, your facing a bit of an uphill batlle too.
 
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ignsvn

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ignsvn,
Nice build thread and nice work putting it together!

On your temp test, I agree that maybe the 92mm CPU fan is undersized for that massive hs, too much recirculation.
Oh, and I had another idea: maybe verify what version of Prime95 you used. I use v26.6 for every benchmark comparisons. My understanding from a discussion in Tom's Hardware here is that version makes a difference.

Sorry about the PCI-E connector hoops you had to jump through. Both the PCI-E location and the cover flex are fixed on the next batch.

EDIT -- With your ambient room temp at 29-30, your facing a bit of an uphill batlle too.

Last night, I suddenly remembered somebody mentioned about Intel's Turbo Boost in MI-6 main thread. So I tried running Prime95 again, this time with Turbo Boost off (My processor is i5-4670, default top speed is 3.4Ghz. Turbo Boost will bring that to 3.8Ghz).

The result is awesome - with Turbo Boost off, I got 8 C decrease in my CPU temperature.

I've read about different Prime95 versions.. Will check & tinker again later after work, and update as required.

Yeah the PCI-E is my main concern now. Did you have that problem when you build yours (if I recall correctly, you used Gigabyte 1070?)
 

firewolfy

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Last night, I suddenly remembered somebody mentioned about Intel's Turbo Boost in MI-6 main thread. So I tried running Prime95 again, this time with Turbo Boost off (My processor is i5-4670, default top speed is 3.4Ghz. Turbo Boost will bring that to 3.8Ghz).

The result is awesome - with Turbo Boost off, I got 8 C decrease in my CPU temperature.

I've read about different Prime95 versions.. Will check & tinker again later after work, and update as required.

Yeah the PCI-E is my main concern now. Did you have that problem when you build yours (if I recall correctly, you used Gigabyte 1070?)
Mine had a Giga 1070 and also a EGVA 1060 in it, and I had no problems, but it is a pre-production case. The production batch seemed to have the 2 holes for the PCIE riser shifted toward the back about a mm. You can take a round file or dremel and elongate the holes in the riser PCB toward the back 1mm.
 

ignsvn

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Mine had a Giga 1070 and also a EGVA 1060 in it, and I had no problems, but it is a pre-production case. The production batch seemed to have the 2 holes for the PCIE riser shifted toward the back about a mm. You can take a round file or dremel and elongate the holes in the riser PCB toward the back 1mm.

Thanks, that's a possible solution. Btw I wonder if other reviewers have this problem as well?
 

rfarmer

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My MSI 1070 slid right in, I did have issues with the Gigabyte 970 that I was using originally but that is because of the odd outputs on the Gigabyte. It has 2 DVI connector, one top and one bottom. The one at the top hit on the top of the GPU opening in the case before you could insert into the PCI riser. I just took out the screws, inserted the card, screwed it back in and it was fine. I don't think this would be a problem with any other card, I think the Gigabyte 970 was the only one with this particular output arrangement.

 
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ignsvn

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So.. just like what @firewolfy suggested, yesterday night I checked my Prime95 version; it's the latest, I think v29.x.

I set Intel Turbo Boost off.

Ran v29 for about 15 mins, and I got, say, 83C.

I tried downloading previous Prime95 version - v26.x, and ran it..

Same setting, same duration, same ambient temp (let's say 28C).

Surprise, surprise. I got 74C.

Can anyone else help to confirm this?
 

rfarmer

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I am curious what your max temps are when gaming @ignsvn? If you are running low 60s at max when gaming I would say that 74C in Prime95 is right in line. I have read there are certain version of Prime95 that are not recommended because they are so extreme and way beyond any realistic load your CPU will ever see.
 

ignsvn

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I am curious what your max temps are when gaming @ignsvn? If you are running low 60s at max when gaming I would say that 74C in Prime95 is right in line. I have read there are certain version of Prime95 that are not recommended because they are so extreme and way beyond any realistic load your CPU will ever see.

If memory serves me right, the max gaming temp should be around there. I'll do more test to confirm after office hours.
 

theGryphon

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Why don't you use rather stationary methods for stress testing? IBT AVX, AIDA64, OCCT... If you ask around nobody would (should) recommend Prime95 for stress testing.
 

ignsvn

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Why don't you use rather stationary methods for stress testing? IBT AVX, AIDA64, OCCT... If you ask around nobody would (should) recommend Prime95 for stress testing.

If you ask me, Prime95 has been around for quite some time, and, apart from this different version fiasco, they work well IMO. That's why Prime95 is what usually comes to my mind when I think about stress testing, so yeah..

Perhaps you can explain a bit why IBT, AIDA & OCCT are better?

Edit: and what do you mean with "Stationary methods" for stress testing?
 
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rfarmer

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I actually prefer IBT, I find the results are closer to what I actually see when using my computer. Prime95 seem to be well beyond any usage I actually put it to.
 
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firewolfy

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Why don't you use rather stationary methods for stress testing? IBT AVX, AIDA64, OCCT... If you ask around nobody would (should) recommend Prime95 for stress testing.
I checked out aida64 and there was a statement not to compare benchmarks from different versions, so similar to prime95 in that respect, in that version matters.
 
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ignsvn

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Thermal updated. Much better this time.

So in my case, to lower the temp:
- Use the prev version of Prime95
- Disable turbo boost

At least using Prime95 v26.6 gives me a point of comparison with @firewolfy's test data.
 
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rfarmer

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I think you are probably fine, just a aggressive version of Prime95. If you are getting decent temps during your normal usage I wouldn't worry about it.
 
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