Looking for advice. Building my first SFF PC. Goal: an office PC starting from recycled pieces.

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
Lately this year I'll upgrade my beloved i7 2600K (this CPU has a fun story of its own(*)), which served me greatly in a Coolermaster Mastercase Maker 5 with a MasterLiquid Pro 240 with a daily overclock of 4.5 GHz, paired with 2x8 GB 1866 MHz G.Skill Ares and a SLI of Asus 970 Strix OC, among other things.
This intrroduction to state that I DO love my 2600K and I don't have the heart to toss it away.
So I thought it deserves a second life and what a better use than to replace my old Acer Aspire 6930G with Core 2 Duo T9400, GeForce 9600m GT, upgraded RAM to 2x4 GB and a Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB as primary drive, with Windows 10 Home as OS, that I use as my working PC?
I work at an accountant's office so my work is mainly remotely connect to the server for data entry, web browsing, paperwork, pdf, excel, word and the likes. I do tend to stress my laptop leaving multiple tabs opened in Chrome and/or multitasking with my daily softwares. Plus, at the end of the day, I bring it home where I use it for light tasks, using my aforementioned rig mostly for gaming/when I need a more confortable monitor/keyboard/mouse (I'm quite a feticist of these ones, I tried a lot of them before stabilizing on current ones).
Now, when the time comes, I'd like to build a SFF office PC around my 2600K. I already ordered an Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe from eBay, it will be delivered next week according to tracking. My 2 banks of G.Skill Ares are low profile, so they'll add perfectly to the goal. What I'm wondering about is the case.
I looked to a lot of cases and I'm more confused than ever. Right now I'm inclined to a couple of solution.
The first one is an HTPC type, the kind of SilverStone ML06-E or the (smaller and quieter) Streacom FC8 Alpha/Evo.
The other one is a cubic type, the likes of Lian-Li PC-Q10WX or Thermaltake Core V1.
What I'm looking for:

Mandatory
- a sober look. This will be primarily an office PC, I don't need/want flashy LEDs, fans or designs.
- smallest case possible. Again, being mainly my office PC, it will sit on my desk so, the smaller, the better.

Strongly seeked
- Optical Disk Drive. At work we still use them (sigh ?) plus, it could eventually become an HTPC at home. A slot-in ODD seems the perfect way to go.

Nice addiction
- Support for a GPU. Even a low profile one. Or a single slot. Or both. Eventually, the HD3000 won't be enough anymore, even for basic usage/HTPC'ing. Plus, I won't mind being able to connect it to my 1080p TV at home and play some not-so-freshly-released games. The ideal would be something like the MSI 1050 TI LP, or a 1650 TI, should someone product a LP/single slot one. This is actually more than a "Nice addiction" but less than a "Strongly seeked".
- Room for a decent CPU cooling for mild OC'ing. Right now I'm looking at Cryorig C7 CU, the copper one.

As maybe you could have guessed from my post, I won't mind spending a few extra bucks into this project so, until it's in a reasonable range, price isn't a major concern. Availability is though, considering I live in Europe, and in Italy, specifically.

(*) Ask me about the fun story! ?
 
Last edited:

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
A quick update.
This
https://pcpartpicker.com/list/LqQNdX
is what this project will look like, mostly.

Parts I already own
- CPU
- Motherboard (on transit, actually)
- RAM
- SSD
- Monitor
- Keyboard
- Mouse

Parts I have to buy
- CPU cooler
- GPU
- PSU
- ODD
- OS (?)

These are the parts I've already decided.
As you can see, what I left apart is the case, I'm not sure what I should get.
This is where I ask for advice to all of you.
I'm more and more attracted by cubic cases, the likes of the Cooler Master Elite series or Cougar QBX. I'm specifically looking for something with a vertical slim ODD to save some depth space.
Any ideas?
I can/will adjust what I still have to buy accordingly to the case, may it be a bigger CPU cooler or a smaller GPU. I can sacrifice them if I can get a slot (vertical) ODD.
My alternative is the SilverStone ML06-E but I'd so much prefer a cubic case.
 

Valantar

Shrink Way Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
1,974
1,918
How do you feel about external power bricks? If you're willing to go that route, you could fit an LP GPU like a 1050ti into a very small and sleek Lazer3D HT5 (the Stealth version is certainly subtle and ought to be work-friendly) along with one of @guryhwa's G-Unique DC-DC power boards and modified Dell power bricks. With a board-powered GPU you could probably get away with just getting the DC-DC board from Gury and getting the stock 220W 12V Dell N112H brick off Ebay though, where it's plentiful and cheap.
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
How do you feel about external power bricks? If you're willing to go that route, you could fit an LP GPU like a 1050ti into a very small and sleek Lazer3D HT5 (the Stealth version is certainly subtle and ought to be work-friendly) along with one of @guryhwa's G-Unique DC-DC power boards and modified Dell power bricks. With a board-powered GPU you could probably get away with just getting the DC-DC board from Gury and getting the stock 220W 12V Dell N112H brick off Ebay though, where it's plentiful and cheap.
I'm actually inclined to external power bricks. They'd allow to shrink the case a bit.
Two concerns I have though.
- According to this online PSU calculator I'll need around 250W without ODD and GPU, and up to 480W~500W with BD ODD and depending on which GPU I'd put in. I'm not sure how reliable that page is (in fact, if anyone use a more reliable site, please share) but, according to what I've read around, it's hard to find DC-DC powerboard with such wattage. Same goes for external power bricks.
- As far as I understand the HT5 doesn't support internal ODD, right? As well as the LZ7, which I'd fell in love with otherwise, so beautiful.
 

Valantar

Shrink Way Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
1,974
1,918
I'm actually inclined to external power bricks. They'd allow to shrink the case a bit.
Two concerns I have though.
- According to this online PSU calculator I'll need around 250W without ODD and GPU, and up to 480W~500W with BD ODD and depending on which GPU I'd put in. I'm not sure how reliable that page is (in fact, if anyone use a more reliable site, please share) but, according to what I've read around, it's hard to find DC-DC powerboard with such wattage. Same goes for external power bricks.
- As far as I understand the HT5 doesn't support internal ODD, right? As well as the LZ7, which I'd fell in love with otherwise, so beautiful.
Damn, I forgot about your ODD requirement. That might be a challenge, even if there are cases out there (I can't remember any, sadly, but I bet others here can). Personally, I'd go for an external ODD - and likely leave it at work as you're unlikely to want it anywhere else. Gives you a lot more choice in terms of the case, and it's a more flexible solution overall. Heck, you could even get separate ODDs for home and work. You're unlikely to need a Blu-Ray drive at work, and external DVD drives are <$30. Or you could just reuse the ODD from your laptop, get a case from AliExpress (check if your laptop drive is SATA or IDE and adjust accordingly), and have a work ODD for less than $10. I did that for my living room Blu-Ray drive (lucky dumpster diving find), and it works perfectly.


PSU calculators are garbage and not to be trusted. Go by the TDP of your part and read reviews that list actual power consumption (but note if it's software-based (can be inaccurate) or measured at the wall (full system draw, and includes PSU losses)). The 2600K is a 95W TDP CPU and predates modern boost algorithms that dramatically exceed TDP during short-term boost. In other words it's unlikely to exceed 95W sustained power draw. AnandTech's review of the 2600K listed it at 128W full system draw at stock clocks with an ATX motherboard at the wall, and 86W for the CPU alone at stock (111W at 4.4GHz). A 220W power brick is plenty for this and some peripherals (power bricks are rated for sustained power output, not peak). A slim ODD might draw 5W, 10 at the very worst, and the motherboard, RAM, an SSD, and various other bits and bobs will likely add up to less than 30W. Adding a 75W GPU on top of that will put you very close to the limits of a 220W brick, but Gury's modded bricks go far beyond that if needed. Besides, gaming loads are nowhere near "all the TDPs in the PC added up". My i5-2400+RX 570 build (a modded Dell Optiplex) maxes out around 260W at the wall while gaming, and that's with a terrible ~65% efficiency PSU, meaning the actual internal power draw is well below 200W. And that's with a 150W TDP GPU. I'm cutting it very close, but I'm planning on replacing that PSU as soon as I can. Your proposed GPU has half the power draw of mine, so you'll be fine.
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
Before ruling out external power bricks, I was looking at Streacom mini-itx cases.
There's quite a few really nice, like the F7C Alpha, in black. Really stilysh, it has room for a slim slot odd and a low profile GPU (single slot from what I can understand).
Or else, I could opt for a SilverStone ML06-E, which I'll probably end up doing. It's a bigger, horizontal case, and I was more and more accustomed to a cubic(~ish) case but it seems that a case for all my needs doesn't exist.
Maybe one day, I'll build one of my own. ?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Valantar

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
I think I might have found what I was looking for.
The SilverStone Sugo Series.
Either the SG05, the SG06 or the SG13.
Which one would you find better suited as an office PC?
 

Smanci

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 21, 2017
126
160
To me this sounds exactly like (old) Lian Li cases such as PC-Q21 / Q20 / Q03 / Q02 / Q07.
 
Last edited:

GuilleAcoustic

Chief Procrastination Officer
Moderator
LOSIAS
Jun 29, 2015
2,491
3,681
guilleacoustic.wordpress.com
I built a rig for my in-laws in an SG05, YEARS ago. It's a nice little chassis, but I recommend changing the front fan for something quieter.

Also, the CPU heatsink clearance is not huge and build quality is on par with the low price.

You must also note that you must remove the front to clean the fan filter.....
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
I built a rig for my in-laws in an SG05, YEARS ago. It's a nice little chassis, but I recommend changing the front fan for something quieter.

Also, the CPU heatsink clearance is not huge and build quality is on par with the low price.

You must also note that you must remove the front to clean the fan filter.....
I was more inclined towards the SG06, maybe modding it with some dust filters. I should add that it will sit on my desk so it will (hopefully) draw less dust.
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
Quick update.
My MoBo has been delivered. It's an unboxed one from ebay, tested and whatever.
It came with nothing. No box, no manual, no cd, no cables, no CMOS battery.
Now, this last one is something I can address.
I need two pieces of info though.

1) Is the battery size a 2032?
2) Does it need to be rechargeable?

I'm inclined to this Energizer one, mostly because it's avaiable on amazon.it, I'd like to be reassured it's the right one, can't find a definitive answer on Google.

Plus, the MoBo came with an Asus Q-Cable, a nice little cable to ease the case connection with the MoBo. I cannot find one over the net (if you do, or have one, please help me) but, worst case scenario, I could weld one. I'd need the proper male and female headers, even better with the usual writings on them (power led, hdd led, reset switch, power switch), anyone knows where I can find them? This is a slightly overpriced example of what we are talking about.
 

rfarmer

Shrink Way Wielder
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
2,245
2,288
Quick update.
My MoBo has been delivered. It's an unboxed one from ebay, tested and whatever.
It came with nothing. No box, no manual, no cd, no cables, no CMOS battery.
Now, this last one is something I can address.
I need two pieces of info though.

1) Is the battery size a 2032?
2) Does it need to be rechargeable?

I'm inclined to this Energizer one, mostly because it's avaiable on amazon.it, I'd like to be reassured it's the right one, can't find a definitive answer on Google.

Plus, the MoBo came with an Asus Q-Cable, a nice little cable to ease the case connection with the MoBo. I cannot find one over the net (if you do, or have one, please help me) but, worst case scenario, I could weld one. I'd need the proper male and female headers, even better with the usual writings on them (power led, hdd led, reset switch, power switch), anyone knows where I can find them? This is a slightly overpriced example of what we are talking about.

You don't actually need the Q cable, Asus includes it for convenience. The front panel connectors on the Asus are just like any other mother board, just plug in your case front panel connectors like normal.

Never replaced a CMOS battery but I found this site that lists parts for the Asus and lists the CMOS battery.
 
Last edited:

Valantar

Shrink Way Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
1,974
1,918
You don't actually need the Q cable, Asus includes it for convenience. The front panel connectors on the Asus are just like any other mother board, just plug in your case front panel connectors like normal.

Never replaced a CMOS battery but I found this site that lists parts for the Asus and lists the CMOS battery.
Yeah, the Q-cable is just for convenience. Skip it if it's missing.

The CMOS battery listed on that site is a bog-standard CR2032 non-rechargeable battery. In other words, OP, get a CR2032 from whereever is cheap and convenient, and don't look too hard for it. There's no reason to get it from a replacement part site or similar, that'll just drive up prices and waiting time for no reason.
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
You don't actually need the Q cable, Asus includes it for convenience. The front panel connectors on the Asus are just like any other mother board, just plug in your case front panel connectors like normal.
Yeah, the Q-cable is just for convenience. Skip it if it's missing.

Yep, che Q-Cable was mostly a vanity item, unless it's needed due to the length (or lack of) of the case's cables.

Never replaced a CMOS battery but I found this site that lists parts for the Asus and lists the CMOS battery.
The CMOS battery listed on that site is a bog-standard CR2032 non-rechargeable battery. In other words, OP, get a CR2032 from whereever is cheap and convenient, and don't look too hard for it. There's no reason to get it from a replacement part site or similar, that'll just drive up prices and waiting time for no reason.

I'm mostly worried (and curious) if the MoBo charges the battery when powered on (therefore I'd need a Li-Ion or otherwise rechargeable battery) or if it only drains the battery when powered off.
 

Valantar

Shrink Way Wielder
Jan 20, 2018
1,974
1,918
Yep, che Q-Cable was mostly a vanity item, unless it's needed due to the length (or lack of) of the case's cables.



I'm mostly worried (and curious) if the MoBo charges the battery when powered on (therefore I'd need a Li-Ion or otherwise rechargeable battery) or if it only drains the battery when powered off.
Pretty sure it's the latter, as a charging circuit would take up a decent amount of space for no real gain. The power draw to maintain the CMOS is extremely small, after all.
 

LeChuck81

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
May 6, 2019
94
14
I asked the MoBo's seller the same question and he replied
Hi there,
The CMOS Batter is KTS CR2032 3V.
Quick search, it's a lithium battery, the likes every major battery producer makes and you can buy at your local store.
Nice, I got a couple of them at home, no need to buy a specific battery. ?