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

Valantar

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
2,189
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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.
Neither of the slots will share lanes with the GPU, but the M2P_SB is conected through the chipset/southbridge, and will thus share bandwidth with anything else connected to the southbridge. In an ITX build like this, that is likely to be essentially nothing, so the difference will be negligible in that regard. A chipset-connected slot will still never be as fast as a direct CPU connection, but again that's negligible - you'll see it in benchmarks, but you'll never notice in the real world. Unless the boards has some weird BIOS config issues or chipset driver issues, I doubt you'd notice the difference between the two configurations if you tested them side-by-side.

Speaking of cooler mounting: are you sure you won't be able to mount it beforehand? I get that it would be annoying with pre-attached cabling and everything, but it's a pretty straight shot into the case, so it might be doable. If not, then the SecuFirm mounting should still be relatively easily reachable through the cooler - that's how it's designed to be screwed down, including cutouts in the fin stack. You'll need a sufficiently long and thin screw driver to get through the fins and fan blades, but it should be doable.

Btw, if you want to free up even more space in the front, try to find some black plastic somewhere (packaging for something else, whatever) and tape/glue it in inside of the I/O holes instead of the non-functional PCB.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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Thanks very much for your (much appreciated comments) regarding the (M2A_CPU vs M2P_SB) M2 slots.

As to the cooler mounting (which has shipped and I will get it today or tomorrow); Yes, I am sure that I cannot mount it beforehand. Below is a picture of the motherboard atop the SKTC A09 case. Look at the overlap on the right of the RAM slots. Even without a cooler attached, I have to wiggle the right side into the case first and then lower the left side/backplate into the case.

It's a really tight fit. I'm not even sure that I can put the RAM sticks on beforehand, much less the cooler.



ETA: Here's another picture showing the tight fit. Look to the right of the RAM sticks where the ATX 24-pin power supply connector is right next to the right-side/front-side of the case. Not much spare room there (less than 10mm). ETA: Yep; also verified that I even have to remove the RAM sticks before I can wiggle the motherboard into the case. The RAM sticks bump-up against that no-longer-functional USB and Audio green PCB. As suggested, I could remove that no-longer-functional PCB, but no worries, I will just snap the RAM sticks in later, after I have wiggled the mobo into the case.

 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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My Noctua NH-L12 Ghost-S1 CPU cooler doesn't fit??? I moved the fan all the way over towards the 4 heat pipes. But somehow, that is not far enough. When I take the fan completely off, then the cooler fins and pipes fit easily without the fan.

If I may relate the problem using this picture below; The fan butts up against the M2-heatsink on the left. Therein lies the problem. The entire heatsink needs to move a little more to the left. But it can't. The fan is slightly too big...

 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Oh, maybe I was being a bit too cautious. If I squeeze it down with a little pressure it does settle down to make contact with the CPU. I have to wiggle down one side and then the other little-by-little until it snugs flat against the CPU. Now I have to wait on the LGA1700 kit from Noctua. The square bracket is bigger (holes further apart) for LGA1700.
 

Valantar

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
2,189
2,190
Looks like production variance to me - likely slight variations in the bend of the heatpipes resulting in slightly different fit. You can adjust that entirely safely just by pushing firmly but carefully on the cooler in the desired directions. Heatpipes are fragile in their own way, but you're not going to puncture or collapse them by adjusting their bends slightly. Just think about the bend geometry and what you want to achieve beforehand. Shouldn't take much in this case.
 
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PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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Thanks for that. I appreciate the support. Yep, that works! It easily seats against the CPU now. One slight wiggle (with hardly any pressure at all) and the cooler plate correctly seats against the CPU and it remains seated.

I got a response from Noctua (see image below); However, the "Free" nm-i17xx-mp78 mounting kits for LGA1700 are not yet available direct from Noctua (see this Noctua LGA1700 support link). I think their website ordering portal needs more work, so I ordered a kit from Amz for less than $10.



Here's the LGA1700 mounting Kit;

 
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Valantar

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
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Btw, have you considered getting one of those new socket frames for your cpu? I have no idea if your board has bowing issues, but they reportedly have the potential to lower thermals quite noticeably - which is obviously beneficial for a compact build like this.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

Average Stuffer
Nov 18, 2021
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Btw, have you considered getting one of those new socket frames for your cpu? I have no idea if your board has bowing issues, but they reportedly have the potential to lower thermals quite noticeably - which is obviously beneficial for a compact build like this.
Another option would be replacing the backplate with a different one, which supposedly "un"bends the socket - there is eg. one (or maybe two) made by Alphacool called Alphacool Apex Backplate XPX/Eisbaer LGA 1700, made from steel.
AFAIK the "Alphacool Core Backplate XPX/Eisbaer LGA115x/1200/1700" is also part of this series, as its made from steel, too (and was linked somewhere in the numerous "how to fix the situation with the 1700 socket" videos on YT).

They were created when igorsLab revealed that issue in a video, and I kinda remember that he mentioned they were working together with alphacool to remedy the issue.

cu, w0lf.
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 12, 2020
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Very interesting! I just cancelled my Amazon order for a Noctua mounting Kit to give me time to research this.
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
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Okay, I get it now; At 1-minute/43-seconds into this video it says that the stock motherboard/mobo gadget that clamps your CPU to the mobo can bend the new LGA1700 Intel 12th-Gen CPUs because the CPUs are long and rectangular which makes them prone to bending when you clamp the CPU to the motherboard.

The fix is to replace the standard motherboard clamping mechanism with a simple rectangular frame.

When you screw the rectangular frame over the CPU it clamps the CPU to the mobo without bending the CPU.


Well what to do?? Better safe than sorry. I will be replacing the standard motherboard clamp mechanism.
 

Valantar

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
2,189
2,190
I would go with the Der8auer one, for the simple reason of it having some way of knowing how much torque you're putting into the socket. Without that, it's very easy for the system to fail to boot, or for things (RAM channels, PCIe lanes) to not work. Of course a torque screwdriver will do the same, if you've got one of those.
 

rfarmer

Shrink Ray Wielder
Jul 7, 2017
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Check out this video from Gamer's Nexus, he talks about why the contact frame is needed and at 15:20 goes into proper installation. They are using a Thermal Grizzly contact frame but it's the same thing as the Thermalright.
 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Okay, snug down the rectangular CPU frame with 4-screws one-at-a-time in a cross pattern, and then tighten an extra 90 degrees also in a cross pattern. I think I can handle that.

Oh btw, I cancelled my Noctua NM-i17xx-MP78, Cooler Mounting Kit order from AMz. Again!! Yep, I understand that cooler mounting is completely separate from clamping the CPU into the socket. But the FREE Noctua portal (Noctua LGA1700 support link) has opened for business, so I ordered a free kit from Noctua. Noctua makes you jump through hoops providing invoices and such. But it was fairly easy.

Here's a couple more images of the Noctua NH-L12 Ghost-S1 CPU-cooler sitting on the motherboard, (GIGABYTE Z690I AORUS ULTRA LITE DDR4). Note that the cooler is not yet mounted. I will need to complete the cooler mounting after the motherboard is in the case. For the fan cable routing I positioned the fan cable far away from the mobo CPU-Fan pins so as not to have excess cable that I would need to store. Also note that I plan to zip-tie the fan cable to the fan-wire-clip to snug it tightly against the fan and away from the four heat pipes.



 

PVC

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 12, 2020
169
82
Still waiting on the Noctua NM-i17xx-MP78 LGA1700 mounting-Kit.

Heavy-Sigh, see below how I learned from Noctua that it will take forever-and-a-day before they even ship, so I also ordered the kit again-again from Amazon;

Greetings from Noctua, Don't worry, this is our normal procedure of processing mounting kit requests. Your mounting kit will be shipped shortly. Shipping usually takes around 3-8 business days within most parts of Europe and 10-16 business days overseas. You'll receive a confirmation e-mail containing a tracking number (when available) once it's shipped.
 

axtran

Average Stuffer
Feb 13, 2017
66
60
Love this dialogue and journey. I went silent for my 12th gen build but it's not brickless.