Advice First build: Node 202, i7-9700, Vega 56, W10 + W7

Tonkatsu

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Jul 18, 2020
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Hi All!

As stated in my presentation I have very little experience building PCs, this will be my second one ever, first SFF, and several parts are already in my hands, some on their way, others yet to purchase.
(so it is both a seeking advice and wip/log thread)

One oddity maybe is that it will run W7 (!)
- not forever just a few more years and it wont itself be connected to the internet -
After that period this PC will go back to being a 'normal use' one with W10 (or whatever future Windows revision)


EDIT: instead I've decided to put W10 on the primary drive (M.2), and dual boot W7 on a secondary (2.5")
With EasyBCD or something.


For that purpose I've bought the only Mini-ITX I could find that still offers full support for W7 64bit, an H310M (v2.0), with all* dedicated drivers available from the product's downloads page. *I hope.
I don't know much about PC hardware evolution, as I've never paid much attention to the market's news, but that motherboard along with the 9th Gen Intel I have seemed to be among the 'final' choices for that discontinued OS.

So here's what's in it;

Mobo: ASRock H310CM-ITX/ac (choice explained above)
CPU: i3-9350KF i7-9700
GPU: R9 380X RX Vega 56 (blower type)
CPU cooler: Silverstone AR06 ID-Cooling IS-60
Case: Node 202
SSD primary: EVO 960 860 M.2 2280 500GB (faster NVMe upgrade considered for later. W7 dualbooted will be on a separate 250GB SSD)
RAM: Vengeance LPX DDR4 2x8 3000Hz C15 (red) (set to 2666 in BIOS)
PSU: Corsair SF600 Platinum
Case fans: bunch of Noctua's

EDIT; updated. Haven't installed W7 on a side SSD yet, reading how to do that using EasyBCD.
 
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Tonkatsu

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Node 202 and Silverstone AR06 just arrived. Oh, yeah. It's all coming together. ?

Parts on the way;
Corsair SF600 Platinum - GPU power cable I own is 6 to 2x6 and only 20cm/8in, hope there's an extension in the Corsair's package (?)
Samsung 860 EVO M.2 2280 500GB - figured NVMe is possible on W7 but tricky and I don't really need such blazing speeds anyway
Vengeance LPX DDR4 2x8 3000MHz C15 (red) - was actually cheaper than 2666 C16
Arctic MX-4 2019
(can't edit-update opening post yet)

I plan to dual boot W7 & W10, but on separate disks, (one will be installed on the M.2 2280, the other on a 2.5")
And I'd like to add 2 more disks dedicated to storage, one for each OS, but there is room only for 2...

Can I just make 1 common disk for storage accessible to the two OSes ? or it is too messy-risky ?

Regarding thermal management, I have no idea if I need anything special yet, like case fans to add to the GPU bay or not, most Node 202 examples I've seen are more ambitious than mine here.

All I've acquired so far in that area is the AR06 cooler, for which I don't know yet if it is recommended to swap the stock fan for a Noctua or not (seems like the answer is always 'yes' regardless of the topic lol)
 

Tonkatsu

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Would an i7-9700F (65W TDP) run cooler than my i3-9350KF (91W TDP) ?

Assuming IS-60, not the AR06 which I already regret buying.
 

ParallaxStax

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Nov 24, 2019
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Would an i7-9700F (65W TDP) run cooler than my i3-9350KF (91W TDP)
Short answer: no.

Long answer: no way. See these graphs. TDP is a estimate made by the manufacturer (e.g. subject to marketing).

I would note that your motherboard is limited to a pcle x2 link for the m.2 drive. NVMe is much faster than sata and not much more expensive, but the top end drives will be bottlenecked by the x2 interface (most motherboards are x4).

The thermal paste brand doesn't really matter, just get one with good reviews.

16 gb of RAM should be fine, depending on the size of videos you are editing. Because itx boards only have two RAM slots, you would have to buy a new 32 gb set if you wanted to upgrade later (instead of buying another 16 gbs).
 
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Tonkatsu

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Ok I see, thanks for the graphs it's not so easy to find that information when I don't really know where to look. Search focus is always on the the unlocked versions btw, it's more difficult to find results for basic locked and 'F', maybe it's the google effect.

Elsewhere I've found that the i7-9700F can use up to 145W in full load, a bit too much.
Still searching for the i5-9600 (edit: 9400 and 9500 are 150~ish so nope)
I won't OC my i3 on this board so it will top around 120~, therefore at least on paper the IS-60 is designed to cover for it completely.

I don't know which other 9th Gen Intel would be considered a possible future upgrade compared to that i3. Upgrade is not for the day after tomorrow anyway but it's something I want to study now to track prices and availability of the alternatives.
I need the high turbo ceiling's (4.6/4.7GHz) strong single-thread performance, having more cores would be the icing on the cake, but I don't want to make that build warmer for that.
Maybe that i3 is already the best choice within the limits I've fixed...

I would note that your motherboard is limited to a pcle x2 link for the m.2 drive. NVMe is much faster than sata and not much more expensive, but the top end drives will be bottlenecked by the x2 interface (most motherboards are x4).
Actually it says 'PCIe Gen2 x4 up to 20Gb/s' whatever that means.

Welp. Even if it's limited to speeds lower than what NVMe can do I don't mind, I wanted to retain that W7 compatibility so I knew this mobo could have some limitations.
For now I have ordered a SATA SSD to populate that M.2 anyway, because even though NVMe can work on W7 I don't want to bother with the required tinkering, and I don't think I need extraordinary transfer speed (yet and afaik).

16 gb of RAM should be fine, depending on the size of videos you are editing
I will only edit some large pictures from time to time anyway (like full camera resolution panorama collages)

I took the 3000Hz version but I suppose it will automatically limit itself to 2666 or I can set that in the BIOS or somewhere else ?
 
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ParallaxStax

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Nov 24, 2019
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I took the 3000Hz version but I suppose it will automatically limit itself to 2666 or I can set that in the BIOS or somewhere else ?

The RAM speed on your motherboard is capped at 2666. I would buy the cheapest RAM that has a speed ≥ 2666.

My bad about the pcle speed (pcle comes in generations and number of lanes). Most motherboards are gen 3 x4 (Gen 3 with 4 lanes). Your motherboard is gen 2 with 4 lanes. See this chart:
 
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Tonkatsu

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Only grabbed the 3000Hz C15 because it was cheaper than 2666Hz C16, I though it would not be a problem and that RAM would have more value way later on a different board that supports 3000, and/or the day I'll resell it if I ever upgrade to 32GB (doubt it but still)

THANKS A LOT for that chart, lol not a single clear and clean explanation out there but that one.
So yeah some day if need be I can upgrade to NVMe even if not the highest I can still get much faster read/write speeds.
 
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Tonkatsu

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Inquiring for future GPU upgrade : Vega 56 blower style undervolted, good/bad idea ?

Heard models with a reference board design can greet various 3rd party coolers, if I ever find the noise too much.

It has to be AMD, and no newer than Vega, that's a build requirement*.
And so I was eyeing an RX 590, but Vega 56's are approx the same price when not cheaper around here, at least the blower types, they also hit the kind of performance I'd want for my build, ideally.

(*for reasons all too long to explain, and I can't go RX 5000 series yet)
 

ParallaxStax

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Nov 24, 2019
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Inquiring for future GPU upgrade : Vega 56 blower style undervolted, good/bad idea ?

A 2 slot vega 56 blower could work. I would recommend putting fans under the gpu, as that will make it quieter/have better temps. The fan thickness depends on the height of which gpu you choose:

(Basically, gpu thickness + fan thickness ≤ 60mm).
 

Tonkatsu

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Thank you I will keep that in mind!
Should I assume 25mm fans are always more efficient ?

I have been looking at the various Node 202 builds people assembled and what they did to fight the high temps in this poor airflow case. Some are quite inventive!

One thing I haven't seen - maybe its been done already dunno - but looking at the case closely it seems to me that it would benefit from having the two main compartments completely separate, making that middle wall as airtight as possible (like with some foamy material around the cables and tape to close small holes), then pierce an additional vent or two in those unused spaces around the GPU's exhaust;



I though of that because I am uncomfortable thinking of maybe half the hot air the GPU produces being pushed to the CPU/PSU side through that separation 'wall' full of holes.

Of course with a blower-type GPU it is a lesser concern, but the way I picture the flow, in any configuration I can't think of the two compartments sharing the same direct 'atmosphere' being a good thing.

And pushing air in the GPU side may be the right thing to do, but if it's a downdraft-type then IMO there aren't enough vents for all that hot air to escape fast enough.

Maybe I'm completely wrong ha ha, still I might try this after finishing the initial building.
 

ParallaxStax

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Nov 24, 2019
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Should I assume 25mm fans are always more efficient ?

If you can fit them, 25mm (as opposed to 15mm) fans would be quieter and more powerful.

To help with the problem of recycling warm air, you could create a fan duct for the cpu cooler like so:


I don't know what effect separating the case into two compartments would have, but I don't see how it could hurt.
 

Tonkatsu

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Yes I've seen several duct designs, even for the GPU with fancy 3D printed material. Some seemed to work pretty well, others not much if at all.
For now the cooling options I have chosen will likely hit the 56~58mm case ceiling though, so any duct design there would be the 'partial lid' type, I guess.

--

Regarding my future upgrade options on the CPU side, I was wondering where the reasonable limitations are considering both the consumption, and what the best coolers around (likely only 120mm-sized models) can handle.

You have pointed at actual consumption benchmarks under load of CPUs, but what about the cooler's ratings ?
I mean it seems in the 202 at best you can shove an IS-60 which is '130W TDP' but what does that mean about its actual efficiency ?

Does such a cooler cover well for a CPU that reaches 130W on full load, or does it cover for higher like 150W ?
Or is it that how efficient the cooler is, is solely temperature-dependent anyway and we can't really have nice charts for that just based on consumption ?

Benchmarks are lacking a bit in availability, and results vary wildly, also not every variant of 9th gen Intels has been tested.
I've seen the i5-9600K stock full load rated 119W, 145W, or 167W in different reviews (w/ Prime95)
And the i7-9700K reviews are even wilder for stock full load, going from like 120W to nearly double that near 240W.
Guess the more reviews I'll read the more confusing results will look!

Lesser variants i'm interested in were mostly ignored, but it seems reasonable to think the base i5-9600, i7-9700 and i7-9700F could all three be in the safer 140~145W ballpark.
For instance Notebookcheck rate the i7-9700 stock full load 144W (Prime95) 142W (Cinebench R15)


TL;DR reasoning summarized; for my build (no OC and limited to 8/9th Gen Intels), assuming a cooler like the ID-60 can handle them efficiently-enough, the i5-9600, i7-9700/F could be valid future upgrade candidates.
If the answer is actually NO for reasons I'm missing, and I am not contemplating more complex cooling solutions, then my i3-9350KF topping at ~120W on full load according to bit-tech, could really be the best choice I had then.
 

Tonkatsu

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While I am still waiting for the PSU and thermal paste *sigh* I've tried mounting the mobo on the Node 202, and ouch, already facing quality issues;

- Fitting the mobo's metal backplate in the I/O bay opening was really hard because the bay's very tight and apparently not all four sides perfectly straight/square. There's also two protuberances at the bottom of the case that really get in the way.
- 1 of the mobo's 4 screws won't lock, it turns infinitely on itself and won't stay in, the mobo's therefore not all firmly attached.
- 2 out of 3 of the riser card's screws also won't, and the card is not touching against the screw-hole-tubes anyway, there's a 1~2mm gap remaining which means even with 3 screws locking it will remain loose.

That much is not enough to make me return it, I will manage something, but this starting point being probably the most sensible part of the build, the heart, I wasn't expecting fitting and attaching problems there.
 

ParallaxStax

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Nov 24, 2019
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About the screws not locking: it sounds like either the screws or the threads holes have stripped. You could try getting new screws.

Also, the "130W TDP" for you cpu cooler is not a hard limit. TDP serves as a guide for what cooler to buy for what cpu. See this article.
 

Tonkatsu

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Indeed, I'm sure I'm not to blame since I always seek the 'start' of the thread every time, first turning counterclockwise carefully until it clicks. But I couldn't find it for these 3, my guess is flimsy drilling at the factory.

The problem with all-metal is that the slightest defect and...it is impossible to 'kinda force a new one' in the hole like you can with plastic.

I'll get new screws then, including 3 slightly longer + something like washers for the riser.

It's funny how this case comes with nice attentions from custom magnetic dust filters to tiny hose clips, but nothing is provided for situations like this where attaching the mobo and riser don't go very well.
 

Tonkatsu

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So finally got the PSU but the ridiculous thing is I am still waiting for...thermal paste !
Don't have a drop of it, can't find any in retail (rural area), ordered some from 2 different places quite a while ago and still waiting for painfully long ETAs. While I could get the CPU in like 2 days, how stupid is that.

Anyway. Until then here's another question I couldn't find an answer for anywhere, seriously the internet is like that; it answers the most obvious popular question 1 million times, but the smallest variant like 1 or 2 times if you're lucky.

I know my mobo can't overclock the CPU, I have no problem with that, but I was wondering if it's the same for the GPU ?
In short: can I under/overclock a GPU on a H310 ?
 

rfarmer

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Jul 7, 2017
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So finally got the PSU but the ridiculous thing is I am still waiting for...thermal paste !
Don't have a drop of it, can't find any in retail (rural area), ordered some from 2 different places quite a while ago and still waiting for painfully long ETAs. While I could get the CPU in like 2 days, how stupid is that.

Anyway. Until then here's another question I couldn't find an answer for anywhere, seriously the internet is like that; it answers the most obvious popular question 1 million times, but the smallest variant like 1 or 2 times if you're lucky.

I know my mobo can't overclock the CPU, I have no problem with that, but I was wondering if it's the same for the GPU ?
In short: can I under/overclock a GPU on a H310 ?
Motherboard has no bearing on weather or not you can overclock your GPU, yes you can.
 
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Tonkatsu

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*cough* Over 4 months later I haven't started assembling my build bwahaha. 😅

Thought the pandemic would just pause life like a long vacation, well it didn't...

Anyway I have all the parts, and although my build is a 'retro' one (intentionally using previous generation parts), yesterday I've witnessed that the i3-9350k + RX Vega 56 couple I'll be using isn't that obsolete, as it should be able to run even a ridiculously graphics intensive game like Cyberhype 2077 pretty decently, at mid, mid-high settings at 1080p. ☺

Not sure the i3 was a good choice though (technically nothing is in my build lol), I should maybe have gone for an i5-9600 or i7-9700f but I was scared by potentially higher thermals with those.
 

Tonkatsu

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i7-9700 is much cheaper now than it was a few months ago.

But will an ID Cooling IS-60v2 be enough to efficiently cool it in the Node 202 ?

I still wonder about that.

BTW it can get really hot where I live in summer, over 40°C the bad years (over 104°F)
 
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