Log Finally found a case/SKTC A09 3.8L for my Mini-ITX APU-Builds/no graphics card!

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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My previous two Mini-ITX builds APU-Builds (listed below) had wasted case space. Just to be clear; APU-Builds have no graphics card. I am not interested in the latest/greatest Frames per second GPU's therefore, the built-in Graphics on the CPU chip works just fine for my web browsing, pictures, videos, older games, and such.

In the past; I ended up having wasted/empty case space on the graphics card side, and limited CPU fan Height problems on the other side of the case. This case (Whoops this Case no longer manufactured - switch to A09 case) eliminates the graphics card space entirely, and therefore provides sorely needed extra CPU fan Height of 84mm on the other side. That's a lot of CPU fan clearance height for a Mini-ITX build!

Secondly, this is a Brickless build. That is, no external power-brick is needed to supply power. Last time I was building my second APU-Build, everyone was obsessed with pico-power supplies, or external bricks, or expensive power supply units that required a larger case. Fuggedaboutit, I just picked up a used Delta DPS-350AB-12 server power supply, lopped off the extra cables except for the two that were needed (24-pin ATX power, and 8-pin EPS motherboard power). Voila, that's my power supply, and it fits nicely inside a case designed for a FLEX Power supply. For this build, a used, high-quality Delta DPS-350AB-12 power supply will cost only $12 bucks!

Here are links for my two previous APU-Builds for reference;
I don't use case fans for these APU-Builds. The CPU Cooler fan Plus the Power supply fan is sufficient for my workload. Now, with those two options explained, maybe I could use some advice on the rest of my build. Maybe DDR5 memory is not ready for prime time so I plan on using DDR4 memory.

I am switching back to Intel with this Alder Lake LGA1700 socket build. I am tryna use the latest NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 2280 sticks (one 500 GB for Win OS only, and another 1TB stick for files). I use Windows native image backup and restore to quickly swap to/from a previous version of Windows.

I am not married to a specific motherboard yet and may need to do more research in this area??

Components:
APU-Build/Brickless (without a discrete GPU/PCIe Graphics card, without external power brick)
$260 Core i5-12600K 3.70/4.90 GHz, 10/16 cores/threads, DDR4-3200, 125W TDP
$045 Case A09 Mini ITX Desktop HTPC Computer Case USB 3.0 (High CPU case fan Height 75mm)
$012 (server/Flex-ATX PSU), Delta DPS-350AB-12A/Intel FHJT350HEPS 350W Power Supply
$150 GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4 (rev. 1.0)
$088 Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), (Height 70mm, Brown), 35mm clearance underneath for RAM sticks
$125 Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2X16GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4-25600) C16 1.35V Desktop Memory - Black - 31mm height
$104 SK hynix Platinum P41 500GB PCIe NVMe Gen4 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
$149 SK hynix Platinum P41 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen4 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
$900

Comments welcome!!
 
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msystems

Master of Cramming
Apr 28, 2017
553
956
I don't know what your performance requirements are but if you don't specifically need the power of "K" series chip with with 150~+ peak tdp you could look at going to a Deskmini "hotrod", this would allow you to drop a few liters size and could be at around 120w peak tdp (Non-K) after tuning with "Hotrod" style cooler and custom psu/brick if you want to push it more. (Stock brick only supplies 120w at the wall but the VRM phase is good for 150w at the wall). It has gen 4/5 nvme M.2 x2. Total volume with a NH-L9x65 = 2.35 liters (Bounding box) + brick. Some modding required



I love your build idea though, looks great. Could really put a monster CPU in there with that board and power solution, maybe like an i7 or i9.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Thanks for your input. I had always built Intel until my last two builds (Ryzen5-4650G and Ryzen5 3400G). Also, a while back I had the Intel NUC Skull Canyon (similar to the DeskMINI and probably smaller too). At this point those don't appeal to me. For some odd reason, I like doing the entire build from scratch. 😉 And, I am going back to Intel builds now that they have shown success with the Alder Lake processors.

Also, I don't think I would benefit much from the monster CPUs. No gaming, and no demanding Apps except for Photo Editting with RawTherapee.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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Switching away from the Noctua NH-L9x65 CPU cooler. Instead, will be using the bigger Noctua NH-L12S.

The Noctua NH-L9x65 (95x95mm small-footprint) cpu cooler (which I see in many Core i5-12600K builds) fits inside the RAM sticks and inside the PCIe heatsinks. Thus, there are no clearance issues to worry about. But the NH-L9x65's (95x95mm small-footprint) sacrifices some cooling capacity.

I am sooooo glad that I found this case made for APU-Builds!! This case gives me extra room on the motherboard side of the case. Enough CPU fan Height clearance (84mm) for switching to the Noctua NH-L12S (Height 70mm) in order to provide better cooling, and with 14mm fan height room to spare.

The Noctua NH-L12S is a larger footprint (128x146mm) and it sits high enough to clear my RAM sticks and PCIe heatsinks. Even in the Low-profile mode with the fan underneath the fin-stack, I have 35mm clearance for my RAM sticks which are 31mm height. Also, if it clears the RAM sticks I'm guessing it will clear the PCIe heatsinks.


Here's a link to a review that compares the Noctua NH-L9x65 vs the larger Noctua NH-L12S;
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Bummer! It looks like I have not found a Tall CPU clearance case after all. Aliexpress seller says;

"hi, friend this chassic D19H has been updated with some changes in size and structure, please check the pictures below, thank you."

 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
I need the PSU/Power supply on the bottom in order to get a Tall CPU height.
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Okay back to the drawing board. I found another similar case. It doesn't eliminate the GPU slot entirely. But it's a single slot and also the motherboard is mounted all the way on the other side of the case. therefore, without mounting a GPU card I can get 75mm clearance for CPU Fan Height (enough to fit the Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), (Height 70mm fan height)! Yay!

A link to the A09 Case.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
169
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Ordered the parts today; Ordering/Buying is different from Pricing:

$012 EBay (server/Flex-ATX PSU), Delta DPS-350AB-12A/Intel FHJT350HEPS 350W Power Supply
$060 Newegg Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), (Height 70mm, Brown), 35mm clearance underneath for RAM sticks
$150 Newegg GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4 (rev. 1.0) Gen4 for M2/Gen3 for expansion slot
$280 Amazon Core i5-12600K 3.70/4.90 GHz, 10/16 cores/threads, DDR4-3200, 125W TDP
$054 Amazon Case A09 Mini ITX Desktop HTPC Computer Case USB 3.0 (High CPU case fan Height 75mm)
$058 Amazon Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2X8GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4-25600) CL16 1.35V Desktop Memory - Black
$104 Amazon SAMSUNG 980 PRO 500GB PCIe NVMe Gen4
$128 Amazon Crucial P5 Plus 1TB PCIe 4.0 3D NAND NVMe M.2
--------------------------------------
+Tax&some Shipping=$852 (12+235+605) order totals
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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Yikes! My case purchase from Amazon (Amazon Case A09 Mini ITX) is being shipped from China!!

I already have all of my parts except for the case. The case at Amazon was a little more expensive than Aliexpress. But I was expecting quick delivery from Amazon. Not so! It is being shipped by slow boat from China. It won't get here until then end of the month. Not this month. Next month!!
 
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rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jul 7, 2017
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Yikes! My case purchase from Amazon (Amazon Case A09 Mini ITX) is being shipped from China!!

I already have all of my parts except for the case. The case at Amazon was a little more expensive than Aliexpress. But I was expecting quick delivery from Amazon. Not so! It is being shipped by slow boat from China. It won't get here until then end of the month. Not this month. Next month!!
That happened to me before. I ordered an ID Cooling IS-60 from the ID Cooling store on Amazon and it shipped from China, slowly.
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
169
82
A few more parts failure. The A09 3.8 Liter mini-ITX case cannot fit the Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), Height = 70mm CPU cooler.

The specs for SKTC A09 3.8L Mini ITX Case said "CPU fan Height 75mm". Well No! That can't be right, unless I don't know how to read these specs. I put a straight edge on the side of the A09 case and used digital calipers to measure the distance to the CPU. It was 67mm. Not Bad. But not enough to fit the Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), Height = 70mm CPU cooler.

So I returned the Noctua NH-L12S (free return, that was nice).
 

rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jul 7, 2017
2,346
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A few more parts failure. The A09 3.8 Liter mini-ITX case cannot fit the Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), Height = 70mm CPU cooler.

The specs for SKTC A09 3.8L Mini ITX Case said "CPU fan Height 75mm". Well No! That can't be right, unless I don't know how to read these specs. I put a straight edge on the side of the A09 case and used digital calipers to measure the distance to the CPU. It was 67mm. Not Bad. But not enough to fit the Noctua NH-L12S (128x146mm), Height = 70mm CPU cooler.

So I returned the Noctua NH-L12S (free return, that was nice).
You could use the NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition, it is 66mm and will have nearly the same cooling.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Now I am going for the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition (Height w/fan 66mm) CPU cooler. I have seen it mounted on this/my motherboard (GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4). See pics below from r98farmer. But I am being cautious and asking these questions of Noctua;

Two questions;
1) If I buy Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 from Amazon today does it come with LGA1700 mounting hardware?
2) Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 is too big to mount first and then squeeze into my tiny case. Can install the bracket on back of my motherboard first, and then insert the motherboard into the case. After the motherboard is secured inside the case, complete the installation of Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1? ...and also complete the installation without removing the fan?




 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Some Case Mods and Power Supply Mods follow:

First I look for a case that will fit a Flex ATX Power Supply. Not that I intend to actually use a Flex ATX Power Supply. But if the case fits a Flex ATX Power Supply than it will fit a used/server Power Supply which are a dime a dozen on EBay. I got this DELTA 350AB-12 A on EBay for $12 (including shipping). That's like free! I like the look of quality inside. These server power supplies have a powerful fan which starts with a howl, but settles down after limited power draw. I think it will be quiet for this build too because it's an APU build (no graphics card).

It has a bunch of cables but I only need two. The 24-pin motherboard power and the 8-pin motherboard CPU power. So I lop off the other cables and terminate the ends with crimped-caps or shrink tubing on the tiny wires.

Here's some pictures with a matchbook for size comparison;









The Power Supply doesn't fit flat on the floor of the case so I put a couple of feet on the bottom to relieve the stress of the power supply just hanging in the air like that. ETA: One set of Gripper pads was not enough as the Power Supply was still sagging. I stacked on a second set and that seems to work.



There is the tinniest amount of extra case space between the memory sticks and the front of the case. It has room for cable routing, or for the USB and HD-Audio plugins. But not both! Besides, the front panel USB cables are stiff, hard to bend, and too long. So I removed the front panel USB and HD-Audio plugins. All that remains on the front of the case now, is the power switch.



I will tidy up the cable terminations with some black electrical tape. I also purchased an 8" 8-pin 12V Power Extension Cable (Male to Female) to route-and-extend (see red arrows indicating path) 8-pin cable to the other side of the motherboard.

 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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While I am waiting to know if I can install the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost-S1 CPU cooler with the motherboard already in the case, I finished-up the cable management.

Here's a picture of Tidying up the 24-pin cables with electrical tape.




Here's the part you may not like. I cut the cables off of the front-panel (USB ports and Audio) and ground them on a bench grinder to make it as thin as possible. Then I reattached the non-functioning front-panel (USB ports and Audio) back onto the case. The front-panel (USB ports and Audio) will never be functional. But they look better than empty holes in the case, and now i have adequate space for cable management. Still to-do is add a couple of zip-ties to make the cables rest tightly against the front of the case.



Now the 24-pin cables are up and off of the RAM Sticks. Yay!



And now the front of the case no longer has holes. It has non-functional USB and Audio. But it's prettier than holes.

 
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rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jul 7, 2017
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Now I am going for the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 Edition (Height w/fan 66mm) CPU cooler. I have seen it mounted on this/my motherboard (GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4). See pics below from r98farmer. But I am being cautious and asking these questions of Noctua;

Two questions;
1) If I buy Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 from Amazon today does it come with LGA1700 mounting hardware?
2) Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1 is too big to mount first and then squeeze into my tiny case. Can install the bracket on back of my motherboard first, and then insert the motherboard into the case. After the motherboard is secured inside the case, complete the installation of Noctua NH-L12 Ghost S1? ...and also complete the installation without removing the fan?




Not sure about the first question, I already had my NH-L12 GE when Alder Lake released. As far as the second question goes the Noctua backplate has 4 studs that stick up through the motherboard, you have spacers on top and then curved brackets that the cooler mounts to. You can securely mount all but the cooler outside the case and then mount the cooler once your motherboard is installed.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Mounting two PCIe NVMe Gen4 M.2 2280 Internal SSD drives on this motherboard (GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4) turned out to be more of a chore than I anticipated.

I will have a C: work-horse drive and a lesser used D: drive for file storage. So I was wanting to mount my workhorse drive to the fastest M2 slot. Ah, But which slot is faster? The motherboard manual does not say which slot which is faster;
  • M2A_CPU - lower slot towards bottom/backside of motherboard
  • M2P_SB - upper slot covered by the Big Heatsink
What I gleaned from reading is that (in general) the M2A_CPU is faster because it does not share PCIe lanes with the graphics card. However, because this is an APU build (no graphics card) it is hard to say if the CPU controlled slot is any faster than the other chipset/PCIe (M2P_SB) slot?

So I chose the M2A_CPU (lower slot towards backside of the motherboard) for my workhorse drive, thinking that even though it could be the same speed, it cannot be a slower speed.