Log Fairytale or achievable? (5950X, ITX, sub 5l case, eGPU, bifurcation)


Case Bender
Original poster
New User
Dec 6, 2020
Ok here me out. I know that I am pushing every boundary there is but you gotta dream right?

I am a software developer by day and a game enthousiast by night, and a tech geek overall! For the last years I always did my development on laptops like Dell XPS's and such. I hate laptops, I hate the lack of horsepower and the thermal-problems. I am not buying laptops anymore so I am thinking about going the SFF route! I want an absolute beast of a PC to get my development work done. But when I am done for work and go home, I would like to re-purpose that hardware for gaming. It would be a shame to have a 5950X-machine in your backpack and build a separate rig for gaming, right!?

So let me share the idea: I want a 5950X inside a very tiny case like the 'Inwin Chopin' or more reasonable ' NFC S4 Mini'. It has to be very portable because it will travel with me everyday on and off work. I want two NVME's so I can get a dual boot setup; one for work and the other one for gaming. At home I will build a GPU enclose for a 6800XT. My plan is to use a PCIE riser extension to connect both 'rig' and 'epgu' without any performance loss (like you get with Thunderbolt3).

I must also add that I don't want to plugin in a bunch of cables when I get home or at work. At work I just want to plug the power into my PSU and one Thunderbolt3/USB-C for my triple monitor / mouse / keyboard / etc. (I have a docking station at work). At home I also have to plug the power into the PSU, 1 USB for all the peripherals and the PCIE Riser for the eGPU.

Planned hardware:
MOTHERBOARD: ROG Strix X570 I Gaming
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
CPU-COOLER: Noctua NH-L12S (or Alpenföhn Black Ridge) with 120mm fan
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX CMK64GX4M2E3200C16 (64gb / 2 sticks)
CASE: NFC S4 Mini ?


A. Thermals are gonna be a thing. I know the NH-L12S can somewhat handle the 3950X. Maybe cram some cute 80mm fans in there to increase airflow? Although I am not that concerned about the thermals compared to following issues.

B. The 5950X has no integrated graphics which brings me into alot of trouble. It means I need to have a dedicated GPU in the system just to get it running at work. But I also need the possibility to use the eGPU at home. And ofcourse I don't want to swap GPU's all the time. As far as I know I have two solutions for this:

1. Go for micro-ATX instead of mini-ATX.
This would be the most easy solution. I would just add a very low profile GPU (tiny ZOTAC 1050?) for work. And also plug in a permanent riser-extension-cable (dangling on the outside the case) for the eGPU at home. However finding sub 5l cases for micro-ATX feels impossible. Especially because I don't want it too big. I want to use a flex PSU but most cases have large spaces for full-blown GPU's and normal PSU's. Maybe you guys have any suggestion about small micro-ATX cases?

2. Explore the realm of PCIE-bifurcation.
This sounds really cool. But I have my doubts about this solution. I would need a small PCIE 4.0 'splitter-card'. I would need an ITX motherboard with: X570, PCIE 4.0, 2 NVME slots ánd bifurcation enabled. That really limits the amount of boards; IF one exists at all... And how would it work with a dual boot setup? I would just enable one GPU and disable the other? How would it work with CPU lanes? Bifurcation would mean that x16 lane port would be splitted into 2x 8 lanes. Would 8 lanes of PCIE 4.0 bottleneck the 6800XT eGPU? As you can see alot of questions are raised when choosing the bifurcation path so I am a bit hesitant.

C. PCIE ports / risers aren't build to be plugged in and out daily. You can wear out the slots easily that way and I don't want to damage the eGPU board or motherboard. After seeing this video of linus where you can extend riser cables without performance loss I am convinced I could just add 2 riser cables to both systems (eGPU and PC). And just a third one to connect them both. In case I wear out the slots I would just mean 1 new riser cable instead of a new board.

D. In order to get a NH-L12S (or Black Ridge) to be efficient I need to a 120mm fan. But for both fans the RAM is in the way. I would need 64gb of VLP ram. And I don't really have knowledge about RAM, timings and efficiency. But I know the Ryzen CPU's depend heavily on fast RAM. Does 64gb VLP even exist or is this a fairytale aswell?

And most likely I am forgetting a ton of other problems which make this build highly unlikely. What do you guys think; should I be sent to a lunatic asylum?


SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 19, 2020
It's really not that wild a proposition.

Though have you considered the Asrock X570 Phantom? It has Thunderbolt 3 so would be the most 'plug and play' experience. You could pair it with an ADT-Link R43SG-TB3 for cost effective, near OG performance.

Another option would be to use one of the m.2 slots for your eGPU connection using the likes of the ADT-Link R43, R53 or R43SG. You'd have to run an m.2 extension to the edge of your case somewhere but shouldn't be too tricky.

As for VLP RAM, you can definitely get 32GB modules, like at This Taobao seller who is selling Micron 3200 MHz 32GB modules for ¥1050 each. The modules in the item photo bare the ICs of Micron b-die which has fairly limited reviews but from what I've seen they can clock high.

Why do you need so many cores for work? Bare in mind you'll have to put a leash on that CPU if using a low profile cooler. Is low frequency multi-core performance more important than high frequency single or 'low' (8) core performance?

As for your GPU at work, if you don't need much then just throw a 1050 ti/1060 in there and call it a day.


Noob Saibot
May 15, 2020
For Bifurcation on x570 ITX the Aorus appears to be the go to choice. here, i know the Strix X570i does not support, so probably stick ith the Gigabyte board if you need bifuctaion, otherwise, you will have to sacrifice your rear nvme slot for conversion to an additional PCI slot.
as for the rest of your proposed setup, i would look at the Long Industries L5 case it might open up some more avenues for you, it has the potential to allow for a short bifurcation riser with something like a GT1030 inside the case and then connects a larger gpu when at home via a riser on riser cable scenario that's got the slot potentially mounted on the outside of the case? dunno, your plan seems cool, but not sure about viability in practice.

Personally, I would do one of the following:

Build two machines, this assumes the 16cores is for work and a 100% requirement and where gpu acceleration is not really required.
you could buid a machine with a GT1030, or my personal fav single slot LP card the Quadro P1000 (or P620, P600s also options) into something like the L5 case.
the second machine could utilize any other gaming orientated cpu, say a 5600X and a 6800xt, for this you could use something like a ghost S1 (check gpu clearance) or a T1, or if you drop to a 2 slot 3080 or a 6800 non xt, go with a Dan A4 also becomes an option here, no issues cooling a 5600x in these cases.

Build one machine in something like the T1 case, sure its 9l but if you really need the kind of power you are talking about, you would be willing to get a larger backpack to fit one.
alternatively you can cool a 5950x in a Dan A4 at 7.2ltrs but i do not recommend it, i am cooling a 3950x in eco mode in a Dan a4 using a C7g cooler, for highly threaded workloads. with 64gb ram and dual NVME drives, however am upgrading to a T1 to get better cpu cooling to enable the full potential of the CPU, I do not take my desktop to work though, for that i have a Dell precision 5540 laptop, with i7 6c12t cpu 32gb ram and a quadrio T2000 gpu, which i find fine for my job (CAD/Design System Manager) If i really need more cores for a work task (can happen) I just do that task on one of my work from home days (twice a week) on my desktop.

The bottom line is, you kind of need to work out what is important to you for each tasks specifically and what you are willing to compromise and what you are not.
as another alternative is to build the one main system and keep it at home, and continue with an XPS laptop at work and Remote to your home machine from Work or similar, ive done this in the past also.

at previous employment I have used Amazons credit scaling AWS instances too which allow me for low cost run a machine building credits whilst not in use but pull down many cores all at once fro burst workloads once in a while, was also a pretty good option and rather cost-effective, especially as my employer paid for it.


Case Bender
Original poster
New User
Dec 6, 2020
Thanks both for your replies and in all fairness; I can't justify the need for a 5950X. I think I got a bit carried away by its awesomeness. I think I need to rethink my strategy to a more viable one. I do think as DrLeroy said it might be the better option to just go for two builds. But then again I find it a bit of a waste to do two builds with both lets say a 5600X. Maybe I'll just settle for a Zephyrus G14 for development, eventhough I don't need to RTX2060 it comes with. Unfortunately there are no other decent Ryzen laptops. As to my gaming build I think I will go for a bit larger build to avoid the thermal and compatibility issues, probably a Ncase M1.

Thanks lads!
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