Help with planning Sentry 2.0 Dream Build?

Discussion in 'General' started by The_MisFitz, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    Hello! First time poster here and brand new to SFF builds (haven’t ever done one). I’ve been out of the computer-building loop for a couple of years so I’m somewhat rusty and don’t really know what’s best out there in terms of hardware.
    I’ve been following the Sentry case and with its upcoming 2.0 release, I’m planning on buying one and finally building my dream gaming/HTPC system. With that being said, I laid out a general build skeleton a while ago when I first heard about the Sentry and I’m pretty sure it’s not the optimal build I can make. I’m hoping to get some help to piece together a build plan! Budget-wise, I’m looking at $2,000 but I buy pretty much every part used (as I always have) so I tend to get parts for cheaper than what I’d get them online at MSRP. I’m not in any rush either so I’m willing to wait for the correct parts to pop up on Craigslist/eBay.

    Here is my current build plan that I made based on the first revision of the Sentry. I haven’t been able to comb through the specs of the new one and adjust this one yet but I plan to when I get home from work.

    Any help is greatly appreciated! I’m excited to finally join the SFF club coming from a CoolerMaster Storm Trooper!!
     
  2. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    Hey, welcome to the club. I'm not too familiar with the Sentry specifically so my thoughts will need to be double-checked. You can probably swing over to the Sentry 2.0 thread to search for more info, and if it doesn't exist, ask additional questions. From what I can tell, there's also a video card compatibility spreadsheet. Got it from the Sentry website. Compare your components to the info for yourself to be sure but based on my basic knowledge, I can offer some thoughts:
    - i5-8400 should be a perfectly good chip from performance/price/cooling considerations. However, it looks like the Shuriken Rev B is too tall by about 10mm. I think the Cryorig C7 is about the tallest cooler that will fit.
    - Similarly, I believe that the FTW3 card is too tall for the Sentry. Compare the specs to confirm this (and with any card that pops up on the market). The closer you can get to reference sized PCBs and coolers, the better. Also, running the case in the horizontal orientation will be challenging from a cooling perspective. Blower card seems to be the recommendation for that orientation. Also, you'll be riiiight at the border for PSU efficiency with the Corsair 450W. If you do something like try to get an overclockable CPU and then overclock both of them, you'll start running at the ragged edge of what your PSU can push (from what I understand).
    - I'm not too sure where you are intending to install those 120mm fans because there's really nowhere to install them in the Sentry.
    - Look at some example builds with various motherboards. Cable management will be tricky so it will really help to have a solid plan, especially with stock cables. I learned that the hard way on my first build in the Silverstone RVZ02. USB 3.0 header placement prevented use of a wider cooler since it was butted right up against the keep-out zone. It may even help to sketch things out using Dr. Zabers mockups/renderings. A little planning goes a long way. Check out builds in other Sentry cases or in similar cases. Since you're planning on picking up used components wherever you can, you will run into disappointments with a really good deal popping up that is ultimately not compatible. Your patience will go a long way.
     
  3. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    #3 The_MisFitz, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
    Okay so I think I need to go back through the entire build and re-configure it. Couple of (hopefully general) questions though.

    1) I don’t have much experience in cooking since I’m used to large open cases. Can I go with a better or higher-performing CPU in this system without surely overheating my computer? If so, is there a specific intel CPU you’d suggest?

    2) Reference/blower cards are stock cards that tend to be stock and have one fan, right? If that’s the case, wouldn’t that be the last card I’d want to use from a cooling perspective? Surely more fans = cooler temps. Also, don’t these cards tend to have a lower clock speed?

    3) Do short cable kits make SFF builds significantly easier or efficient? Do they tend to benefit temps? Are there any well-reputed sources for these kits?

    Thanks so much for the help! I know a lot of this pertains to the case itself but I believe the questions above result from my complete lack of the SFF fundamentals.
     
  4. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    #4 annasoh323, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
    "Overheating" is kind of relative. Some would say that as long as you're not hitting Tjunc then you're good. Others panic at the sight of anything over 70C. My undervolted and overclocked (4.5GHz non-AVX) hits around 75C while rendering out a video in Davinci Resolve and that's fine with me. Blower-cooler 1080 hits high 80s gaming in something like Mass Effect Andromeda or Assassin's Creed which I tolerate (killing my hearing with loud headphones in the process). It really comes down to personal tolerance for certain temps and noise. I personally think the i5-8400 is a fine choice for a build like this. People do put higher power chips in similar builds. Some will undervolt and tweak power levels, auto overclocking features on motherboards and the like, others leave it at stock, and a brave few will try overclocking and deal with the noise or have special cooling setups. You'll see examples of each as you explore and receive advice from different points of view. Again, for a no-worries, hassle-free gaming build, I think the 8400 is a great choice. Certainly not the only one, but definitely a good one.

    It's true that blower cards tend to have certain limitations but SFF cases also can have limitations that blower cards help mitigate. In a small case, hot air from an open cooler can get recycled into the cooler. Sometimes, while the video card will have plenty of breathing room, the CPU cooler will ingest that hot air and CPU temps take a hit. In the Sentry specifically, they have adequate ventilation above the video card in a vertical orientation so an open card should work fine. CPU cooler also shouldn't be affected. It's been said before, but take things on a "case by case" basis (shameless pun is shameless).

    SFX PSUs tend to come with shortened cables out of the box. I'm rocking stock cables so I can't comment on the best places for custom cables but folks around here know of people. You may even be able to order cables from people here. I told myself that if I ever went to custom cables, I'd do it myself. What will likely happen is I'll spend a bunch of money on cable supplies, sit on it for a while, give up, and then buy some.

    Edit to add: sorry for the long responses. I'm also hoping people will chime in, especially with different opinions. I don't think you'll need to rework too many aspects of your build. Change the cooler, eliminate the fans, pick a few video cards from the compatibility list you'd be okay with and start shopping. You've got a lot of freedom as a used parts shopper.
     
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  5. masteraleph

    masteraleph Trash Compacter

    You can watch some of the video reviews for the Sentry 2.0 in that thread- all but one are using air cooling. In general, you'd want to go with the Noctua l9i (lower performing but quieter because the fan isn't adjacent to the side of the case) or the Cryorig C7 or C7cu (higher performing but louder because it is right up against the side). A number of people have reported that creating a duct for the l9i, either by putting foam weatherstripping around it (stuck to the case but surrounding the cooler) or by 3d printing a duct significantly increases its performance because that way it will not recycle hot air from the inside. I think that all of the reviews are using those two coolers, so you should be able to get a good idea from them.

    As annasoh mentioned, blower cards are preferable on the Sentry when it's horizontal to prevent the recycling of air. That's not an issue in vertical orientation.

    They can, but much of the time you'd need them custom- e.g. from Cablemod, and those can be quite expensive. They also vary based on motherboard, because the location of the various power connections can vary wildly.

    I will note that the Corsair cables in particular are notoriously stiff, in addition to being long. A lot of people, as a compromise option, have gone with this cable kit, which doesn't necessarily solve the length problem but does solve the stiffness problem.
     
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  6. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    If I switch between horizontal and vertical, would a blower card be better? Is there any downside to having a blower in vertical position aside from not having 3 fans like other cards?

    Can you shorten your own PSU cables safely? And if so, is there any way to test them before hooking them up to make sure they don’t fry your hardware?
     
  7. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    The only way to shorten cables (that I can think of) is to cut and re-connectorize them. If you're going that far already, you may as well order custom cables. That is, unless you're already experienced with custom cables and have the requisite tools. Best testing I would think of is to perform cold electrical checks on the cables to verify pinout is as-expected. Update: I suppose, instead of redoing the connectors, you could cut off sections and use in-line splices but I'd recommend redoing connectors, by far. Connector crimps are a necessary evil; in-line crimp or solder joints are an unnecessary evil.

    I believe your statement about blower cards is correct: there's no inherent disadvantage due to the vertical orientation. Just need to accept the overall pros/cons associated with blower shroud cooler/open cooler. With finding video cards, also keep in mind the PCIe connector height. A card may seem like it will fit just by the raw specs but it might have its power plug way up at the top where the top of the PCIe power will interfere. Some cards have the plug recessed compared to the cooler shroud (i.e. the cooler shroud goes past the PCB) and some have it flush (i.e. PCB is taller than reference and takes the power plug with it). It's possible you could have a card that is taller on paper but has better compatibility.
     
  8. Solo

    Solo Master of Cramming
    Silver Supporter

    Uh, use whatever you want as long as it fits and isn't hot as hell. Make your own cables. That's the advice I have for Sentry builds.
     
  9. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter


    Okay, all really good information. I’ve shortened and terminated Ethernet cords before but I think doing power cables might be more trouble than it’s worth for now.

    Also, thanks for the tip on the graphics card. I had an issue with that in a friends computer but never really put any thought to it.

    I think I’m going to head over to r/buildapc to get some advice on what parts I should go with based on performance and then update my pcpartpicker list then come back here for advice on whether or not the parts would work from a space & cooling perspective.
     
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  10. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    Alrighty! How about this build?

    I have a lead on a new i7-8700k and EVGA RTX 2080 Black for a lot cheaper than retail. I plan to do a delid+liquid metal job on the processor (or have it done) and cool it with the Cryorig C7. Is this realistic for such a small case? If not, I figured I’d go for an i5-9600k. Just need to know what the better option would be.
     
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  11. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    It certainly seems realistic to me. Some testing shows the Cryorig C7 Cu is slightly more effective but that's a cost/performance/looks judgment call on your end. I'm pretty sure the 2080 is fine but do double check with the support specs/spreadsheet. Otherwise, and as long as you have realistic expectations of temps and noise, you should be good to build!
     
  12. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    The C7 Cu is the cooler I really desperately want but I can’t find it anywhere.

    According to the compatibility sheet for the case, this card would work.

    I’ve never done a SFF build so I have no idea what temps to expect, but I don’t mind noise or temps as long as they don’t venture into being harmful to the components.
     
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  13. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    WIth an 8700K, some might recommend a bit of undervolting to get the most out of your power/efficiency curve but I don't think the CPU will be able to protect itself. Just keep an eye on your BIOS settings (e.g. whatever automatic performance enhancement it might try to do) and you'll be alright. (in my opinion/experience)
     
  14. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    What do you mean by “protect itself?”

    Also, an 8700k will be the higher-performing choice over the i5-9600k even if undervolted, correct?
     
  15. annasoh323

    annasoh323 Airflow Optimizer

    i.e. throttle when approaching dangerous temps. There are guides about how to get the most efficient performance out of our processors (BIOS settings, clock/voltage settings, etc.). I'm not expert here; I just happen to have things set up in a way that I'm satisfied with and that's good enough for me.
    I think performance will depend on application. It's hypothetically possible that the 9600K could clock higher than the 8700K because of its lack of HyperThreading and (ostensibly) updated node. In that case, clock-speed dependent apps may run better. And, with your limited thermal dissipation overall, you may be pinching for degrees C and MHz here and there. But, in broad strokes, the 8700K will be the better performer. A lot of factors will make a difference here.
     
  16. The_MisFitz

    The_MisFitz Cable Smoosher
    Thread Starter

    I guess that makes sense. I guess I haven’t really considered performance for specific tasks. Regardless, I think I’ll go with the 8700k for now and if it causes problems, I can always switch it out with some work.

    Thanks for all the guidance!
     
  17. masteraleph

    masteraleph Trash Compacter

    The 8700k should be ok. The easiest way to make sure that it doesn't cook itself is to set a power limit in the BIOS (since auto-overclocking can add 50%+ power usage to the listed 95W without one).
     
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  18. rfarmer

    rfarmer King of Cable Management
    Silver Supporter

    @The_MisFitz I have a delidded 8700k in my Ghost S1 being cooled with a Scythe Big Shuriken 2. Running motherboard defaults which is 4.3 - 4.6 GHz I get 75C max running Prime95 and like 65C while gaming. The BS2 is a better cooler than the Cryorig but I can't imagine your temps being anymore than 10C higher.
     
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