Cooling is EVERYTHING ! (Gigabyte Brix i7 5775R NUC fix !)

Linuxguy123

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 7, 2019
11
11
Hi people.

I have a Gigabyte Brix i7 5775R NUC type computer. It is decently fast for its vintage (Geekbench 4 4,886/16,089) and generally works really well for what I need - CAD, compiling, simulation, etc. EXCEPT the cooling on it is TERRIBLE. It idles at 65 to 85 C. It has a hair dryer (centrifugal) type fan that is always whistling. Under load it jumps to 85 C instantly, fan screaming. It has frequently reached 105 C running jobs. I've grown to hate it. But it is very portable and until recently wasn't too far behind the latest and greatest processors.

For the longest time I used it with a Dell U3011 monitor @ 2560x1600. However, I recently purchased an LG 43UD70 monitor that runs at 4K (3840 x 2180). The Brix handled the 3011 OK, but the extra graphics demand of the 43UD79 pushed it to its absolute limits. The fan was always screaming and recently the video signal started disappearing intermittently. I suspect this was due to overheating.

It got so bad that I had to do something. I've been watching the Ryzen story unfold for many months. I'd love to build a SFF 3900X machine, but the parts won't be available for a while.

Out of sheer desperation I decided to take matters into my own hands. I considered many options, including water cooling and swapping the stock fan for a Noctua 80mm x 14mm unit as this guy did. However, he experienced cooling issues even after the fan was replaced. In fact, before fan profile adjustments, his cooling was worse.
https://noctua.at/en/nf-a8-pwm

FWIW, the stock fan is rated at 10.3 CFM at a full speed of 5,000 RPM, drawing 6 watts. It has a static pressure rating of 16.88 mm H2O.

In the end I removed the case cover and rubber fan isolators and placed an Arctic Cooling F8 80mm x 25mm thick case fan on the heat sink. It has a rating of 31 CFM at 2,000 RPM. I was worried about how it would work given that the manufacturer did not specify a max static pressure.

The difference is unbelievable, both noise wise and temps wise.

It now idles at 34 to 37C. It used to idle at 65C at least. I've never seen the cores go above 60C, even when I'm playing multiple Youtube videos simultaneously. And the video signal no longer disappears.

Sound wise, it is silent. I can't hear it, ever. The fastest I've ever seen the fan run is 900 RPM.

I'm not sure when the i7 4775R starts throttling back, but I am pretty certain that it runs faster now. Everything seems snappier, especially under really heavy loads.

My NUC now sits as a bare chassis. I'll probably try to integrate the fan into the case in the near future.

Cooling is everything.
 

SFF EOL

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 9, 2018
155
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Wonder if a 3D print replacement cover would work for this? The NUC isn't massive so that should be doable at not massive cost? I've never owned a NUC but if/when I do I doubt it will be a top end CPU. However with SBC I've modified cases using the same HAT/boots principle- SBC are a bit different I know, mainly because of the GIPO making top and bottom extensions quite easy to do off the one 40 pin GIPO with the SBC sandwiched.
 
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Linuxguy123

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 7, 2019
11
11
Wonder if a 3D print replacement cover would work for this? The NUC isn't massive so that should be doable at not massive cost? I've never owned a NUC but if/when I do I doubt it will be a top end CPU. However with SBC I've modified cases using the same HAT/boots principle- SBC are a bit different I know, mainly because of the GIPO making top and bottom extensions quite easy to do off the one 40 pin GIPO with the SBC sandwiched.

Sure you could print something up. The stock cover is a plastic box about 110mm x 112mm x 60mm placed overtop of a steel skeleton. The steel skeleton isn't really needed, unless for EMI suppression ?

I've got pictures, but I don't have anywhere to upload them to the web. Imgur, maybe ?

I'm really surprised that Gigabyte didn't do a better job of cooling on this device. Every review you read of it says the same thing... stylish, compact, powerful, reasonably priced and LOUD. The stock fan is 15mm thick. The fan I'm using is 25mm thick. Add 10mm to the enclosure, change the fan and make the product twice as appealing to the customer. Seems they really missed an opportunity.

I don't understand why these devices aren't more popular. I used to buy high end laptops to do this sort of work. They never had enough processing power. And they were (very) expensive. And they ran hot and the fans were loud. My Brix is perfect now that it is quiet. It is way more portable than a laptop. I need a big screen and have a keyboard and mouse wherever I need to work, so I only need to transport the Brix itself.
 
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Linuxguy123

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Original poster
Jun 7, 2019
11
11
I've been working with the Brix for a few hours now and I can't describe how great it is not having to listen to a friggin fan howl ! It's so peaceful now. I've listened to that stupid fan for 3 years. If only I had looked at it closer before now.

Another benefit is that the video hasn't cut out once ! That must have been heat related.

re:"I've never seen the cores go above 60C, even when I'm playing multiple Youtube videos simultaneously."

Turns out I didn't drive the processor hard enough. If I get enough processes going, I can get the processor to 80C. The reason I didn't find this out before is that I wasn't used to running it hard enough. In Top, I used to think I had the CPU fully loaded if the first %CPU process was approaching 100%. Because the fan was howling. The i7 5775R has 4 cores. Turns out I can have several processes at or over 100% now... a fully utilized CPU has 400% cpu availability because it has 4 cores. Proper cooling has allowed me to essentially double or more the amount of work I do now that the CPU isn't overheating and throttling. I am very, very suprised that Gigabtye didn't catch this in testing.

My Brix is an entirely different machine with proper cooling. I am very happy with it.
 
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SFF EOL

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Dec 9, 2018
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I have an old (like maybe 2012/13 if I’m lucky I think) Zotac SFF. Similar thing but some AMD portable chip, probably a Turion. I only use it as a Linux box, so it does light duties mainly to do with SBC and marginal stuff. Faster to code/play with Linux. Anyway, despite stripping it and cleaning, I mean I cleaned it followed instructions in manual found online via my tablet. Then I get real problems with the EUFi and switching to legacy boot. It cost £60 which was cheap but a fair price. I was missing out on NUC except for low powered J1900 and this was an i3 but need an SSD and more memory, but I had SSD and plenty of DDR So Dimm. Really stressed me, it was after my cancer diagnosis and I’m not in a good place and not being able to solve this simple task was killing me mentally. The week before we had a big power spike that had taken out my main PC as well, so I literally built a PC out of spares to cover me and I have a good tablet. Anyway, main PC got fixed under warranty and I bought a USP, that should cover once in a generation power spike.

And I fixed the box, but I still don’t know how or why. What I believe is there was something wrong with the UEFI because the fan profile was all wrong, all very wrong, and the fam itself was a blower more usually seen with a PCIe. I swapped that out as a bit of a ‘tidy bodge’ so cable ties but done tidy as we say in Wales, done well. I can’t say beyond that and it was not Noctua I fitted (it was Artic not No Name product of China Best Dragon Factory). Then I have this Dremel tool that will cut a circle through say 2mm Aluminium,0.3mm mild steel, and about 4mm plastic- it works on a compass principal with the spike and the Dremel uses a special drill bit to cut through the metal. A not very effective CNC sort of thing that really can only do a circle. But circle in cases are popular. That aided air flow. I even had some stainless-steel mesh- probably started to look a little mad max so I went madder max to suggest that was my plan all along.

I’ve tried updating BIOS and everything, so I just did a hard reset ready to bin it. But whatever I did worked. The fan noise was at least 30% quieter off the bat probably down to the new fan that now vented straight up in a pull through mad max grill. I was able to make some bodged tidy holes in the bottom of the plastic case using what I will call knurled, threaded, brass ‘nuts. What I use them for is to allow for motherboard standoff to be screwed into certain difficult materials when I am making a case, so plastics, woods, and some metals. The metals when I’m not getting good enough results with a tap and die. The results were really good- probably because we were now seeing more metal rather than plastic but also the central holes are letting air into the case that is only about 1.” Inches thick. But it also really looked a lot better than it should of. I’ll use the idea again, easier and better than trying to drill holes, I just heated the ‘bolt’ and it went through the plastic and it was easy to clean up afterwards.

No problems with i3 16GB system now and it is my go to for experimental stuff because it causes me no problems- even though I really should be VM ing on my main machine- and it cost £60 with 4GB of memory so I added the 2*8GB myself and a 120Gb SSD. Never really had a cooling problem cause problem early in, it would be slow to go through the boot process (although obviously I had fast boot off\0 then fail at the last point. Tried installing BSD, Windows a few different flavours of Linux and even a x86 Android thing (which I later tried and found it surprisingly good. I hate mysteries like this it really makes me feel noob and a failure and my stress level just grind me up and I didn’t get the reward of solving it because I’m really none the wiser what I did if anything.
 
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Valantar

SFF Guru
Jan 20, 2018
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Nice job! I'd love to see some pics - Imgur works perfectly. OEMs do seem to have a weird love affair with radial/"blower" fans for some reason, despite them only having a single strength (of rather dubious value) compared to axial fans. Yes, they have amazing static pressure, which makes sense if you're blowing crosswise through a very dense heatsink, but that is very rarely the case in consumer applications. Other than that, they can be thin and allow for small/slim air intakes (and they're the only real option in a laptop), but that's partly due to their terrible airflow in the first place - don't need much of an opening if you have low airflow and high static pressure. I think it's mostly about aesthetics - blower fans allow for smooth, closed-off cases with few vents (but terrible airflow and cooling nonetheless!). I applaud your effort in fixing this, and hope you get around to making an expanded case to enclose the fan for easier transportation :)
 

Linuxguy123

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 7, 2019
11
11
Time for an update... been using this thing for the last week+ and it has been awesome. It now runs quiet. It is never noisy. And I don't think it has ever throttled the CPU either. The only time I heard the fan throttle up was when I was accidentally running 4 instances of Geekbench4 at the same time. :)

The video hasn't cut out once since I changed the fan. I'm pretty sure it would have failed by now if I hadn't changed the cooling.

Gigabyte... you really blew it with this product. Sure you kept the same aspect ratio as the other Brix products in the line. But you would have sold 55x more of these if you made the cover about 8mm higher and changed the fan.

Proper cooling has made the Brix i7-5775R a totally different computer. I should probably 3D print a new cover for this thing as it would make a fantastic portable computer like this. In fact, I'm thinking of buying another one. The hardest part about that project would be relocating the reset switch or button. Would make a great project though.

I wonder if the heat sink would cool properly if I cut a big hole in the cover and mounted the fan on top of the cover instead of inside it ? The fan would be about 15mm from the heat sink. Right now the fan pushes air directly onto the heat sink.

I could also fashion a duct to to between the external fan and the heat sink. A round duct ID would need to be 87mm or 3.425 inches. I could also make a square one too. Maybe from tape ? Would be pretty easy to drill a round hole in the chassis using a hole saw and place a duct between the external fan and the heat sink.

I don't mind the way the Brix looks right now. Aesthetics wise, it is fine. What I don't like is that it isn't portable anymore. And one stray metal object striking it will probably end its life.

Having said that, I might wait for the Zen2 version of AMD's APUs and see what I can build from one of them. Surely they'll release 7nm versions shortly ? In the mean time, changing the fan on my Brix gets my by.

Here is the cover, not mounted on the chassis.


Here is the heat sink, by itself. The stock fan sits on top of the heat sink, within the cover.


Here is the fan sitting on the heatsink, on the chassis, without the cover. The fan will fit into the cover, but it is too tall, by 10mm.
 
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Linuxguy123

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Jun 7, 2019
11
11
Correction.

"In the end I removed the case cover and rubber fan isolators and placed an Arctic Cooling F8 80mm x 25mm thick case fan on the heat sink. It has a rating of 31 CFM at 2,000 RPM."

It turns out that I am using an Arctic Cooling F9 92mm fan, rated at 43 CFM at 1800 RPM. Both fans are 25mm thick. It would be easier to mount an 80mm fan on top of the case without disturbing the reset button.

The Noctua 80mm fan is only 15mm thick, so it will fit into the case. However, I think it also has a much lower pressure rating because of its thinness.
 

SFF EOL

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 9, 2018
155
36
It’s funny you should mention moving the fan, I looked for some photos of mine but couldn’t find any and I have since moved the fan to the outside as you describe. To be honest it is half finished with zip ties as it works and I don’t have to look at it. I used an old CPU cooler so you can argue I just replaced the CPU cooler- it was like those coolers that used to vent through a PCIe slot on the back of a case- so rubbish, before. But I had to make a hole in the plastic case.



I used this Dremel kit for that, it works. Line & Circular Cutter Attachment


THe As-Rock A300 isn't that big, if you are happy with the 2400G/3400G CPU.
 

dbdbdb

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
Oct 16, 2020
4
2
Hi LinuxGuy123 - thank you for your post (I know it's been over a year), but I have 2 GB Brix (4th gen i5, passively cooled by design), and a 5th gen 5775R like you I believe. For a while, the unit was decent, but as it aged, the fan grew louder and louder. I would have to play music to drown it out - which is fine, I like music. The 4th gen i5, I use as a HTPC for the family room and it's perfect! The i7 5775R, I use as a secondary desktop to avoid turning on my BEAST of a machine (for gaming) when I only surf the internet or play old games like Starcraft or Diablo, Diablo II, GOG (old) games, etc - no reason to power up and waste electricity on the big machine. When I work, I have my person machine on along side of me for checking email, FB, text messages (Google Messages), or just to look something up to add a third screen to my work's two screens.

I had seen your post earlier this year, but was shy/timid about messing with this box, but recently picked up an Asrock X300W and mated it with a 3400G which improves on the cooling and performance over the 5775R, and so now, I have the guts to mess with the 5775R and if I ruin it, meh, okay. I was lucky to get it from Frys during a sale for $222 while on vacation at Disneyland. Wife thought I was crazy driving 20 miles to the store that had it while on vacation, but she lives with it. Normally the unit retails for as low as $325, so $100 off, 33% was a great deal, and perfect for what I wanted back then.

Anyways, back to the story.

So, like you, I removed the unit from the case. I actually did several tests with a few different fans, Noctua 3000 RPM 120mm fan, 120mm static, 92mm, and 80mm fans, and a (air flow) Cooler Master Jet flo. Obviously, the 120mm and 92mm fans had to be tested outside of the case. I also 3D printed a shroud to take a 120mm mounted fan above the top, and funnel it down into a 60mm hole cut in the top of the Brix case. The hole in the case and the 'shroud' as I called it, was not perfect. I think my design was slightly flawed in that the shroud 60mm hole was bigger than the ~60mm hole I cut in the top of the Brix which I think probably caused enough interference that it may have affected air flow by retarding the flow of air, and causing it to buffet against the stream that was trying to get to the hole - I should have taken more care, BUT, I also noticed that unless I caulked/sealed the fan to the shroud, I was losing air volume through the shroud inbetween where the fan frame was mounted (the jetflo especially had this issue since its corners are raised higher that the frame).

In any case, here's what I ended up with, test wise (top 5 and worst 5 results due to table limit - top 5 first):


FAN TESTEDHow configuredSustained Temp at 100% usage (C°)# of tests it took to stabilizeimmediate temp drop after test (°C)idle temps (in °C)PKG PWR (watts) (rounded)Comments
Noctua Static 3000RPM 120mmDirect on heat sink, blowing down onto heat sink84240~3746

Noctua Static 3000RPM 120mm
Direct on heat sink, via shroud, pushing down towards Brix88334~3946
Noctua 92mm (static/airflow model)Direct on heat sink, pushing down onto heat sink94234~4150It actually didn't jump right away to the high temps, it just slowly crept up
Noctua 80mm (static/airflow model)Direct on heat sink, blowing down on the heat sink96335~4551Had to rotate the fan 45* (Diamond) to fit flish on the heat sink
Noctua 120mm (Static pressure) AND the stock blower installed120mm mounted on shroud, stock blower installed as normal96131~5551This was rather pointless since it did not abate the fan noise and only slightly improve temps
Stock Blowerstock install98132~6050
CM Jetflo 120mm (airflow) AND the stock blower installedmounted on shroud with stock blower installed98231~5950Same as earlier test - rather pointless as temp savings was minimal compared to blower fan noise
Noctua (Static) 120mmdirect on heatsink, blowing down onto heat sink105after 1st test, didn't bother with second due to 105 temp34~4051Since this hit 105, this was not a successful solution
Noctua (Static) 120mmmounted on shroud, pushing down onto heat sink105after 1st test, didn't bother with second due to 105 temp36~4047Since this hit 105, this was not a successful solution
[repaste] Noctua (Static) 120mmmounted on shroud, pushing down onto heat sink105after 1st test, didn't bother with second due to 105 temp38~4052Since this hit 105, this was not a successful solution

What I found out was that that even at idle, without ANY fan running, it maintained idle temps of about 40 to 45*C, so the ~60 idle temp from the test above using Throttle Stop must have had something still going on that I missed, so except for the 3000RPM Noctuas which were vacuum cleaner loud, no fan solution really affects idle temps.

I ended up choosing to keep the Brix case and modify it as LinuxGuy123 did. However, since spending $75 on test fans and circular drill bits, $550 on a X300W, processor, 1TB NVMe, 16GB of 3200 mem, Noctua L9 cooler, and accessories (because I'm replacing the Brix, but not letting go of it), didn't think wife would be happy if I also went out and bought a Dremel. Since I already drilled a hole in the Brix, I ended up making due with my Jigsaw. I made small cuts, and checked. For the power button, I used a black marker to outline where it sits, and cut around that a little piece at a time so I wouldn't go over and affect the operation of the power button (didn't want to solder a replacement solution - lazy).

I then moved to the fan - I used the jigsaw to cut away one corner of the fan (just one side of the corner). On the opposite corner, I did the same, but flipped the fan over onto the opposite side (so I could test push/pull configuration on the heat sink and maintain as much of the frame as I could). To do this, I used a small laminate piece of shelf so that I wouldn't be cutting both sides of that corner (to keep the blade from going all the way down to both side of the corner).

I then continue to cut away at the case top using the fan as a guide until it would fit through. I had to plan it/observe the stand off screw mounts, the power button, and to maintain a minimal distance on the case itself to keep the remaining case as viable as possible (it gets a little thin towards the back of the case, and you need to keep as much as you can since your back I/O plate cover goes back on there). So, same as LinuxGuy123, I had to mount the fan at a slight offset.

In the end, I improved sound MASSIVELY over the blower, however, at full RPMs, the 80mm fan in a test using Minecraft, 1.16.3, and traversing to an area I had yet to explore moving in the same direction, at top character speed in the air (creative mode), forcing massive rendering of the chunks, after about 3-4 minutes of rendering, I ended up hitting 105* C, with normal temps around 100*C until I stopped moving/rendering new areas. So the stock blower managed that with horrible sound, the new fan does not. I honestly did not notice improved temps with the 80mm fan solution, only improved sound.

So my next test was to 3D print a new case - like a wind tunnel: FAN > BRIX (outside of its case) > FAN

I modeled up a cardboard testbed first, and used 2x Jetflo 120mm (airflow) for some testing and 2x CM 120mm (static from EVO 212 dual). I spent several hours testing different scenarios:
1) tested with airflow fans and the 80mm Noctua cpu fan attached to and blowing down on the heatsink
2) tested with static fans and the 80mm Noctua cpu fan attached to and blowing down on the heatsink
3) tested variations unplugging one fan or another or all to see how it peformed.
4) I undervolted the CPU (using Intel Extreme Tuning Utility) (CPU, CPU cache, and GPU)
5) I used Throttle Stop, Furmark, Intel XTU, Prime95, and Hardware Info 64 (HWInfo) to test and monitor

I was able to undervolt to -0.070 volts on the CPU before it crashed. It was stably when testing at -0.060 volts. When I loaded the results into Throttle stop, under volt was set to -59.6 (0.0596). Again, still testing stable. I then did a Furmark GPU stress test for 5 mins, temps got up pretty high into the 90s, I then quit and immediately started up Minecraft. The high usage, drop to idle, and ramp back up the usage caused the Brix to hang. So I went back in and lowered the under volt to -54.7, and retested, same test scenario. It past the Minecraft loading screen, but ended up hanging in the game. Rebooted and dropped it to -45.7. It is now stable in testing and when going from idle > load > idle > load without hanging. I took the TDP of 65W for CPU/GPU down to about 57-60W while under volted. In the Furmark tests, even when down to -0.070, I never saw artifacts and FPS on the test was always 25 (with a once in a while spike to 26). So no degredation in GPU performance from the under volt.

I did several tests between Prime95 (with AVX2, AVX, and variations without one or the other). With AVX2, I could reach 102* C. Without AVX2, I was hitting maybe 98*C. And without either AVX or AVX2 test in the mix, 93/94*C. In Furmark, I was also getting pretty high temps, but not likely I'd be doing anything that would stress the CPU/GPU that way.

After under volting and deciding on 120mm static pressure fans, I ran final gaming test. Minecraft, where as before in the Brix case with the 80mm Noctua, and hitting areas that forced a lot of chunk rendering all at once, I hit about 88*C - which is about 8-10* C cooler than just the Noctua CPU fan alone. Idle temps dropped into the high 30's, and demanding operations, while pulling up the CPU temp, did so slowly enough that any high demand task that takes less than 3 minutes won't be able to ramp up the temps fast enough to sustain high temps.

With all of that, I came to the final conclusion/idea:
1) I will (actually my 15 year old son will) deisgn and 3D print a Windtunnel case design for the Brix, allow for the 2.5" SSD to be mounted under the motherboard, as it is today in the Brix case
2) I will have standoffs and shelf support to raise and support the Brix motherboard up slightly (above the SSD) - least amount of 3D material support as possible to facilitate air flow/cooling
3) the 80mm Noctua fan will remain on the CPU, blowing down onto the heat sink
4) just a reminder note - I already repasted with MX-4 a couple of days ago - I went light, and I tested with heavier amounts of past - no difference in temps. What I always noticed is that the core 0 is highest temp by 4-6* C, and core 3 (4th physical core) is the coolest - usually each core is 1* cooler than the previous. This is why I repasted a couple of times. My conclusion is that the heatsink finishing method must have left it uneven in some way to account for the variance.
5) I will use Noctua Static pressure 120mm PWM fans (not sure if I can/will run all 3 off of the motherboard, or out of a USB 2.0 port/hub) Probably since I'd be pulling around 1.4amps it might be too much for the motherboard header, so might externally power it
6) I have not thought about how to manage the power button - might try to 3D print something

Will update when I have something to report

thank LinuxGuy123 for the post and pics. Sadly, I'm a noob here and can't figure out how to add pics since I really have no other site (Instagram/Youtube) to store anything I can link to at this time.
 
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dbdbdb

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Oct 16, 2020
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Sorry, the table formatted headers didn't quite come out, the columns, 1 - 8, were supposed to be:

|| FAN TESTED || How configured || Sustained Temp at 100% usage (C*) || # of tests it took to stabilize || immediate temp drop after test (*C) || idle temps (in *C) || PKG PWR (watts) (rounded) || and Comments ||
 

Phuncz

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Thanks for your research and work ! I edited the table to correct the headers.
 
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dbdbdb

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Oct 16, 2020
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Thanks for your research and work ! I edited the table to correct the headers.
Thanks for that, much appreciated. How can I add my own photos and edit my entries...

Oh, I forgot. For the CPU fan, if you are good with soldering, look for a 1.25 pitch JST connector cable, 4 pin, which you can solder onto your 4 pin fan. To not destroy your blower fan (in case you ever want to return to it for some reason), and to not destroy your 80mm fan, in case you want to repurpose it (or in case you mess up the solder attempt), use a 4 pin fan extension cable and solder that onto the 1.25 pitch JST connector cable (any 4 pin extension cable should work). Here's what I used from Amazon:
Amazon product
Yes, I know there's more more than 1 qty, but not worth buying just 1, and if you mess up an attempt or two, you have spares 😁

Think I figured out the pics - can use my drop box and link to the pics that way... The pics so far (sorry no Wind Tunnel cardboard model pix, I destroyed it by accident trying to remove the power cable)

this first one:
You can see the inside of the top of the Brix case where I cut out for the 80mm fan. At the bottom right, you can see how I cut up to the stand-off/post - and along the bottom how the remaining case is thin, so be careful you only cut off what you need to keep that area as much intact as possible or your back I/O plate of the Brix case won't fit or install. The small hole at the top above the cutout was where I was attaching the shroud (one of two screw points). I also drilled additional holes in the case for additional venting of air - the blower directed air out the back (the I/O cover). The Noctua blowing down causes air to go every-which-way, so the extra holes were an attempt to facilitate air egress. As you can also see, I had to remove the wifi antennas/circuit boards that were mounted on the bottom left/right of the picture (in the case). I will be replacing those anyways with actual antennas - these below to be specific (and it comes with the washer/nut to screw them on - I will figure out how (later) to mount them on the wind tunnel case.
Amazon product
This next one is a shot of the top of the Brix case:
I did a single layer of blue masking (painters) tape to try and protect the plastic of the case - I didn't do such a good job, but then this will sit out of site however I end up finishing the project so I didn't mind.

This one:
Is a shot of the shroud. 120mm to 60mm approx, 3D printed. Shroud itself was fine, I just didn't calculate for a good cut on the Brix case which is what made this useless (my fault)

This one:
Shot of the Brix with the 80mm fan attached. I used 2x small tie straps to secure it - it's actually loose and can jiggle, but not once I put it back in the GB case.

This one:
The pencil is pointing to where I cut off only one side of the fan/corner. This would have been the side that would have fit through the GB Brix case if I switched the fan to a pull configuration.

This one:
this is the side of the fan that does fit through the case. Using the 80mm fan and cutting the fan this way allows it to fit through the Brix case in the push configuration AND allows the continued use of the stock power button. The fan screw is NOT screwing into anything. It just is used as a brace to keep the tie strap from slipping off. It does not stick out on the other side.

This final shot is the fan installed:
You can see I have the fan wire sticking out - I have not yet soldered the 4 pin to 1.25JST connector yet - that will come when I am done tinkering with the final product and this allows me to test scenarios where I disconnect power to the 80mm fan to test heat sink performance without a direct fan connected easier than removing it from the board each time.

Some additional notes:
1) When you don't have a fan plugged into the 4 pin 1.25JST header on the motherboard, the BIOS will stop at boot and warn you about the fan and ask you to press F1 to skip or F2 to go into BIOS. Need to press F1 to continue booting. This is normal

2) !!! MOST IMPORTANT !!! Do this at your own risk. I'm not telling you to do this - I'm telling you what I did.

3) when NOT using the fan header on the motherboard, make sure you use some sort of temperature monitoring solution (software) that records at least the package temperature (that would be the temp of the processor, not just the cores or the GPU). The cores and GPU have separate temps. When I was doing the furmark tests, the CPU core temps were in the 60s/70s, but the GPU and thus package temp were in the 90s. So if you were using something like RealTemp, which I do like for just testing cores, you won't see GPU or package temps. I like Throttle Stop by Tech Power up for this purpose (and because I can use it to undervolt).

4) To fit the fan through the case, and keep the hole as close as possible to the fan, you will have to wiggle, push, and lightly force it. Just be aware of that.

5) If Noctua or its color is not your thing - it's not my color choice, believe me - take care to choose a fan that has a good amount of pressure and decent CFMs. There are some fans out there that look cool, but imo, that's all they can do - is look cool (no pun intended), but perform below par for air flow and pressure.

6) to test the single cpu fan, I used a 4 pin to USB adapter and powered it right off the USB 2.0 port on the Brix. When testing the 3 fans (2x 120's and CPU 80mm) in the wind tunnel model/config, I used an external hard drive to molex adapter and then molex to 4 pin fan to 3x fan connectors (a splitter) to power all 3. This was just for testing. For the final solution, might use a powered USB 2.0/3.0 hub to power the fans. Make sure whatever you use has enough power for 3 fans (watts and amps). Normal fans use just under .5 amps, so something 1.5 amps capable should be sufficient for 3 fans. I did power the 3 off of the USB port on the Brix, but they suffered slightly from lack of power. Moving them to the external option gave them full speed

7) keep in mind, if testing the fans on external power, the fans will run at 100% speeds/RPMs. If you run the CPU fan off of the motherboard header, it will run according to the fan curves setup by Gigabyte for that fan. On my blower fan (stock fan), the fan speeds didn't start ramping up until the CPU hit 80 degrees. This may affect temps on the CPU/heatsink and how fast it reaches higher temps. I am considering, maybe, running a single wire off of the motherboard header to the CPU fan for RPM readings, but the PWM and power off of an external power source. This will keep me from having to worry about the F1/F2 key press at boot (warning about CPU fan RPM) and allow it to automatically boot.

8) ...which reminds me... I forgot to mention that sometimes, if using a HDMI KVM or HDMI switch, if you didn't set it to the Brix input before you turned it on, you may get a black screen at boot - this is because it (for lack of better words) did not initialize the HDMI connection. If you are setup like me, using HDMI/KVM switches and you frequently forget to set focus to the Brix input, then after you boot, wait 10 seconds and press F1 (even though the screen is blank). Then be patient as it loads into Windows (or Linux), depending on if you are using a SSD, or HDD, and if your computer had updates to perform, RAID rebuilding (software) etc, but normally, you should see a screen for boot up in about 10-20 seconds.
 
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Phuncz

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I don't recommend Dropbox for linking images, it doesn't seem to be able to just show images. Generally people use IMGUR.com which allows direct links so you can insert images straight into a post.
 
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Valantar

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Yeah, Imgur is what I use - quick, easy, even generates the BBcode for you to directly embed your photos into forum posts rather than linking to them. (Though admittedly adding [img ] [/img ] (without the spaces) around the picture URL isn't the most difficult thing to do manually.)
 
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dbdbdb

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Thanks, reposting images with IMGUR photos <fingers crossed>
this first one:
You can see the inside of the top of the Brix case where I cut out for the 80mm fan. At the bottom right, you can see how I cut up to the stand-off/post - and along the bottom how the remaining case is thin, so be careful you only cut off what you need to keep that area as much intact as possible or your back I/O plate of the Brix case won't fit or install. The small hole at the top above the cutout was where I was attaching the shroud (one of two screw points). I also drilled additional holes in the case for additional venting of air - the blower directed air out the back (the I/O cover). The Noctua blowing down causes air to go every-which-way, so the extra holes were an attempt to facilitate air egress. As you can also see, I had to remove the wifi antennas/circuit boards that were mounted on the bottom left/right of the picture (in the case). I will be replacing those anyways with actual antennas

This next one is a shot of the top of the Brix case:
I did a single layer of blue masking (painters) tape to try and protect the plastic of the case - I didn't do such a good job, but then this will sit out of site however I end up finishing the project so I didn't mind.

This one:
Is a shot of the shroud. 120mm to 60mm approx, 3D printed. Shroud itself was fine, I just didn't calculate for a good cut on the Brix case which is what made this useless (my fault)

This one:
Shot of the Brix with the 80mm fan attached. I used 2x small tie straps to secure it - it's actually loose and can jiggle, but not once I put it back in the GB case.

This one:
The pencil is pointing to where I cut off only one side of the fan/corner. This would have been the side that would have fit through the GB Brix case if I switched the fan to a pull configuration.

This one:
this is the side of the fan that does fit through the case. Using the 80mm fan and cutting the fan this way allows it to fit through the Brix case in the push configuration AND allows the continued use of the stock power button. The fan screw is NOT screwing into anything. It just is used as a brace to keep the tie strap from slipping off. It does not stick out on the other side.

This final shot is the fan installed:
You can see I have the fan wire sticking out - I have not yet soldered the 4 pin to 1.25JST connector yet - that will come when I am done tinkering with the final product and this allows me to test scenarios where I disconnect power to the 80mm fan to test heat sink performance without a direct fan connected easier than removing it from the board each time.
 
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