Desperate quest of ultimate mini ITX case for twin frozr VI (or non blower GPU)

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Well, my problem is quite simple. I own a slight modded bitfenix Phenom (with front mesh panel and side panel with vents for gpu) that is damn good at cooling, both in watercooling or aircooling, but it's a bit big (28l with feets, 26l without) with a raw/rubbish style : (here is picture with plexiglas side panel)


In order to prepare AMD vega release, I've looked at many cases that could offer such cooling performance, but with nicer looking...however this search became a kind of saint graal quest as I've found nothing currently.

Specifications searched :
  • cpu cooling : Noctua U9S, dual fan or AIO
  • GPU compatibility : Twin frozr VI card, with 360° exhaust vents/fan (horizontal fins on GPU) or GPU AIO (like fury X). 3 slots gpu will be more than welcomed

Let's revise what I've already reviewed :
  • Fractal Design nano S : non blower GPU type fans are 30%/100% (in case of R9 Nano) blocked by PSU. Final size of FD Nano S of 26l is very similar to current phenom
  • Phanteks Evolv ITX : Aircooled GPU are blocked by PSU cage, and it's too big. However, Black/red version is gorgeous
  • Nzxt Manta : as Nano S and Evolv ITX, GPU is blocked by PSU...it's pretty good at watercooling, but far too big for aircooling
  • Lian li PC-Q22 : presented @computex 2016, this revision of PC-Q17 (without ROG logo, but with true 2x120mm top fan and SF power supply is interesting. However non blower gpu could struggle due to missing exhaust in front
  • Ncase M1 : 3 slots gpu is a very good feature, either to have bigger gpu (like gainward phoenix or gigabyte extreme). GPU compatibility could bit tricky (not sure twin frozr VI enters ncase M1). In case of dual slot gpu, ventilation is good as fan could be added at the bottom. Otherwise this case is wonderful, gorgeous and compact. My only remark is on gpu compatibility.
  • Thermaltake Core X1 : it has everything requested...but it's, by very far, too big..:)
  • Thermaltake core V1 : GPU compatibility is too small
  • Thermaltake core V21 : micro ATX, but too big, despite good cooling potential
  • Silverstonetek sugo SG05/06/13 : GPU compatibility is too small
  • Silverstonetek sugo SG07/08 : I already own one sugo 07, and it doesn't really like non blower gpu (moreover gpu exhaust air already killed one SSD and one psu..:()
  • Lz7 : Too small for big gpu, but features very nice 360° gpu exhaust vents. And it's gorgeous..;) (nice job @K888D )
  • LzX : Bigger brother of lz7. Could match a lot of criteria, but it's still under development, as lz7 has priority..:)
  • Node 202 : ugly and features low cpu cooling potential
  • Sentry : really nice but I'm skeptical about cooling efficiency with GPU I'm planning to use
  • Dan A4 case : kick ass case but global cooling efficiency won't fit my requirements
  • Silverstonetek rvz01/02 : Not enough cooling capacity for what I'm planning to build
  • NFC S4 mini : @Josh | NFC Kick ass case, but pico psu has its limit..:) I love this case, and I will definitely used it as htpc/living room gaming pc. (like lz7, too small gpu compatibility)
  • Antec isk 600 : Nothing added vs Phenom
  • Thermaltake core G3 : nice looking, good exposure of internal component. However, with first review, gpu cooling is not great
  • Bitfenix prodigy/phenom (with front mesh and vented side panel) : pinnacle internal layout, huge airflow, huge compatibility but special style and a bit big
  • Parvum systems X2.0 ITX/VEER 1.0 : 19l case, using acrylic and 3d printing, and nice customization possible. Like Phenom, reverse cooling is possible and effective. Potential customization possible
Clearly my wish will be a bitfenix prodigy/Phenom internal layout with space optimization using SFX power supplies only, and good looking..:)
In my personal quest, I consider mainly Ncase M1, Parvum systems, LzX or Bitfenix Phenom..:D

What would be your advice or guidance, please?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phuncz and K888D

fminus

Cable-Tie Ninja
May 14, 2016
225
123
It's a bit hard to make a suggestion when you don't know the hardware you will be using. For example, you mentioned the Node 202 features low CPU cooling potential. That is dependent on the CPU you are using. 6700k...maybe....non k version...works fine. If you look at the thread I posted, you can pimp out the 202 and make it all pretty. Plus adding the fans dropped my temps 20C.

Also, since Vega hardware is yet unreleased, it makes it increasingly difficult to pick something out for you. Maybe you want an i3 and the Vega TDP is around 100W...Then you can throw a PicoPsu in there and that expands your options even more.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
ahah, sorry for precision about my setup, cpu will be definitely core i7 6700K with OC..:)
Target is to get no compromise on cpu and gpu choice on mini ITX, with quiet & effective active cooling

For Vega 10 gpu, sure it's hard to anticipate..but I'm betting of same msi twin frozr or Asus Strix coolers, or same aio as fury X (even if it seems no longer needed as Vega 10 TDP should be close to 225W)

At this game, my bitfenix phenom is the safer choice...but Ncase M1 is truly amazing considering its ratio cooling/size..:)
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
SG05-13, I've studied them closely.(part of the first list)
SG05 is offering too short GPU compatibility and also too low cpu cooling
SG13 is at lower limit on gpu compatibility (Linus demonstrates that one GTX980 ti throttles in it), and cpu cooling is too low for me, as I want aircooling (except 120mm aio)

SG010 (SG09 is ugly..:)) is another story...I like them, even if they are micro atx. They are a bit smaller than my bitfenix Phenom. But there is little, either no clear advantage to switch from my phenom to SG10...but I'll have another look at them.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Yes modding my phenom is clearly one option...my issue is : I don't have the skills to do it, and I don't know people who can support me lol..:)
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Here is some photos of my current Phenom :
  • With acrylic panel, nice looking, but higher temp/noise

  • With vented panel & cat..:) :

  • Global view of desktop (and cat..:))...I still found Phenom a bit fat (S4 mini was more gorgeous)

I've just installed and tested Noctua U9S with Dual fan...just experience its cooling super-mega power... (my underclocked core i7 6700K at 53°C under prime test 95@8 threads...in silence..:))

So what do you prefer plain/vented panel or acrylic panel?..:)

I'm guessing of one plan to switch to Ncase M1, but with a lot of "IF" :
  • IF Ncase M1 is compatible for next Vega 10 cards (at least the one I want lol)
  • IF Ncase M1 can accept Noctua U9S+dual fan with good airflow (could depend on GPU..:))
  • IF Ncase M1 has not so complicated cable management
  • IF Ncase M1 is not loud (both idle and load)

that simply means : wait for Vega 10, and I will see...:):)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: K888D and Phuncz

Saltvann

Trash Compacter
Aug 26, 2016
40
11
Nice. I have the Noctua U9S in my Ncase and i think I have tried all fan orientation. Dual fan is not a problem, but if you want to use the exhaust fan you probably want to go with a slim fan in this position. Also I have a gtx 1060 fitted with and accelero Twin Turbo III with the bottom fans exhausting the air. Quite unconventional but seems to work good.

There so many possibilities with this case I am always moving things around. I am very happy with this case, of course moving down in size will all ways make noise and cooling more of an challenge. Previous I have owned the Bitfenix Prodigy and the size difference is quite large. Moved to the Node 304 but still was not happy.

I would go with the Ncase m1 but I may be a bit biased. The biggest challenge with the ncase is gpu cooling. For a very power hungry card quiet operation might be difficult.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Very true and ncase is well gifted with quite good active cooling.
Issue is that currently most gpu are coming with horizontal fins that exhauts part of heat in front of gpu ( like msi gaming x/z)
In ncase gpu hot air exhaust towards front panel...that will be heated also...i don't know heat diffusion on ncase, but on my s4 mini, all the case frame was heated by my r9 nano...decreasing greatly passive cooling. (That's part of the reason I've cancelled my order on dan a4 case.)

However on ncase you still have a lot of active cooling...so i'm not too worried..:)

Is there any forecasted vented windowed panel on ncase m1..:)
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Yes I had the same reaction when i noticed it's 42 liters volum haha, that's purely a joke..:)


Otherwise I may have found another candidate, that I've refused on first analysis...fractal design nano s....but with using sfx psu with silverstone pp08 bracket.

The vents on this bracket will allow to provide fresh air on aircooled gpu, especially short like r9 nano...I'll investigate on this setup
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,494
2,536
Test Fractal Design Nano S withAMD R9 Nano
In this test, R9 Nano is going up to 83°C in load (3h)...knowing very well this GPU I can tell it's the same temperature that I'm having with acrylic panel (60% fan speed)...with vented panel R9 nano is at 77°C with 47% fan speed.

that's simply mean that Fractal Design Nano S is well designed natively for aircooled gpu, with fan intake jusy above psu. Using SFX psu and vented bracket will help definitely...but it's not a clear go, especially as Nano S is as big as my Phenom..:)