MASSTA's 1st SSF Build: NCASE M1

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
Hello SSF Forum,

I'm a VJ looking for a SSF to bring to gigs like this:
Besides speed, I'm interested is size (that's why I'm here on SSF), stability (I won't OC unless I have to), staying cool and quiet.

I used to own Shuttle PCs until I finally bought a laptop, but now I'm looking for something more powerful and still transportable.

REDACTED caught my eye and I've been down the SSF hole for months now. Because I can't wait for the case and have money to burn, I've decided on the NCASE M1 V3. It will be in my hands on Nov. 1st and I'm trying to pick the remaining parts. This is what I have so far:

  • Asus ROG MAXIMUS VIII Impact LGA 1151 Intel Z170 Intel Mini ITX

I'm trying to future proof this build so Skylake is the way to go plus mobo has other nice features like U.2, DDR4, 32GB RAM, HD Audio (not that I need it), built in WiFi and Bluetooth save me ports, Asus Bios and extras.

  • Intel Core i7-6700k 8M Skylake Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1151 95W CPU


More cores would be nice for rendering but Quad will do. Its still a major jump in speed over my laptop.

  • Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-pin DDR4 2400 RAM

Just going with Corsair because I've never had an issue with them. G.Skill is a little faster but just a couple bucks but, eh?
  • Noctua NH-D9L 92mm SSO2 Low-profile CPU Cooler w/NF-A9


  • Intel 750 Series 2.5" 400GB PCIe w/free U.2 connector


  • Windows 10
  • Silverstone SFX Series SX600-G 600W PSU
  • 2T WD Black Hard Drive
Now, here is where it gets fun. After reading a ton of reviews, I think this is the best card for the money, keeping it cool and quiet:
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Hybrid "no hassle water cooling"


I would want at least a 4GB gpu so for the extra $$ I'm getting another 2GB and water cooling, which should help the overall air in the case. Plus this card is rear exhaust.

------

Where do I need help? Besides confirming my parts, I'm confused about fans. Types: Noctua, EK Vardar, Corsair, Scythe Typhoon. They all seem great so it's hard to pick. I'm also not sure which fans push/pull.
  • add another fan to the CPU heatsink, probably a Noctua NF-A9 92mm
  • swap out the GPU heatsink fan with a quieter
  • place two fans on the bottom of case
  • single fan on side of case next to GPU heatsink fan
Hoping to place 2TB hard drive on inside of front plate and Intel SSD on outside of front panel (where cd drive can go).
This is the closest build I could find (same cpu cooler and gpu):
http://pcpartpicker.com/b/LRPscf
Only issue with this build: maybe switch the positions of GPU heatsink with it's fan. So fan would be on the inside to make more room. I don't see this being a huge issue.

I greatly appreciate any help. Will use this thread for the build then finally upload to pcpartpicker.com once it's done.
I'm still going to support REDACTED campaign, then I can do it all over again!
~Shawn
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,476
4,734
It seems you have basically configured a very high-end gaming mITX PC for home use. If stability, performance, robustness (transport) and size are important, I personally would have chosen for an mATX socket 2011-3 workstation board (Asus X99-M WS), an 8-core Xeon E5-2630 v3 CPU, four DDR4 8GB DIMMs with ECC, only SSD as storage, like the Samsung 850 Pro and a GPU with 3 reasonably sized fans.

Why ?
Platform: X99 is more towards workstation-class operability with features like ECC and a generally more mature platform.
CPU: 4-core vs 8-core, although the single thread performance of the i7-6700K is hard to beat.
RAM: ECC allows for a more stable system. Highly debated, but servers use these for good reason. Considering it's for professional use (so it seems), it seems worth considering.
Storage: all SSDs because you don't want vibrations (sound and movement) and shock (during transport) from ruining your storage. I'd go as far as recommending three 1TB SATA SSDs in RAID5
GPU: water cooling isn't a good choice for your use-case because of two things: transportation and stability. The first one is never going to happen most likely, but if your pump fails, the block or connector sealing fails or a hose breaks (slightly), it's over. You'd much rather have a good air-cooled GPU with two or three large fans.
CPU cooler: I'd recommend the same: redundancy. So a small Noctua tower cooler with two fans like the NH-U9S with an extra NF-A9 fan would be a good idea.
Case cooling: a few 120mm Noctua coolers should suffice, like the NF-S12A PWM.
Case: this would all fit inside the Kimera Nova and finding a good carrying case is very important too.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: LooseNeutral

MJVR1

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jun 10, 2015
92
55
If you don't overclock, this should be one quiet and efficient system. It's VERY similar to this
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Quiet_Mini-ITX_Gaming_Build_Guide_2
Though if you want to do some hardcore rendering, a 6 core cpu at stock speeds would be recommended. In fact, going with a six core isn't that much more expensive. The 6700K is actually around the same price of the 5820k and the Maximus Viii impact is also around the same price. You'll need to change out the cooler but the L9x65 Should be a viable replacement. You'll lose some gaming performance due to different clock speeds but while editing it will be MUCH FASTER. Anyways, I recommend you check out that build guide. It should help you lower the temps and acoustics. It has some great tips for the ncase m1.
 

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
Great advice Phuncz, that's why I'm here. Micro ATX would be great but I've already decided on the M1 because of it's SSF. A single SSD will do for most performances. I use Touch Designer software www.derivative.ca, that runs in realtime much like games (fast GPU helps). I also use Resolume Arena which plays back large movie files in realtime (effects, transitions, etc). Lots of GPU RAM helps and a fast SSD to load new movies. This is why I've chosen these components. Yes, water cooled could destroy components and possibly blow a circuit bringing down the lights down with it, ha. I not going on tour or anything. The most travelling I'd do would be short drives and I have a padded Pelican case for that. But, sometimes I'm on top of speakers with heavy vibrations and with 90 degrees plus environments. Watercooled GPU might fail in those scenarios, point well taken.
 

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
Thanks MJVR1. you make a great point on the #of rendering cores. 6 is a 50% increase over 4. That would effectively shave off 25% render times. The Intel Core i7 5820k 6-core 3.3GHz is only $20 more than the 4-core 4.0GHz Skylake. The faster clock speed might earn back about 17% render times. Another factor is power. The 6-core requirements says 145W, Skylake has it at 95W. Less power = less heat? Back to future proof, I wonder if there will be a 6 or 8 core Skylake out in a year or two?
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,476
4,734
If it needs to be mITX, ASRock also has a X99E-ITX/ac board, although it has a narrow ILM requiring specific coolers. But it's doable.
It depends if you can benefit from the extra cores ofcourse, but you mentioned you could use more cores. If need be, you could even use the 18-core (yes :D) Xeon on that board ! Priced insanely ofcourse.

EDIT: Skylake won't have 8-core CPUs, but Kaby Lake (2016) or Cannonlake (2017) might. Although I would not expect these to be twice as fast as the current crop of quad-cores, most likely these would have decreased clocks like the Haswell-E (socket 2011-3 CPUs like the 5820K) have.

The Haswell-E are considered to be running cooler than the (back then) i7-4790K, so I wouldn't immediately dismiss them for that.
 
Last edited:

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
18-cores? haha. I was rendering 4960x1024 resolution and it was taking 35hrs for 8min animation on a 16-core mac tower running windows. I'm still happy with mobo and cpu picks. But I'm second guessing the gpu. I was thinking a rear exhaust air cooled model would be best:
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,476
4,734
Something you could also consider is the setup I'm very happy with is the following:



It's an Arctic Accelero Extreme IV (if III is available, get that one) with two Noctua NF-F12 fans oriented as exhaust. I also needed to add a VRM heatsink kit because it wasn't included.
But because of this setup I'm able to run games on the R9 290X without much noise (quiet at low-med loads) and well below 70°C. Because the fans exhaust, the warm air isn't ventilating inside the case but outside, leaving my CPU equally cool and quiet, along with the PSU and storage.
 

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
I was wondering what those were. so you need to take housing off new card to fit this cooler. I like it. This is a great post-build option if I'm running into high temp issues. I couldn't find one for the 980, but I'm sure there will be more soon. Thanks!
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,243
2,357
freilite.com
Yeah I agree with Phuncz, watercooling is not the best idea for portability. I really like his build as well, it will also allow the GPU to be supported by the fans so you run less risk of breaking it if your case falls down or something like that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LooseNeutral

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
Build has started, all posts are in. went with different RAM and non-watercooled GPU. I'll have a complete list soon but I wanted your opinion on this Fan Extension Board that came with the Impact mobo. I purchased the of these:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001Q6RUVO/?tag=theminutiae-20
Two for bottom of case and thirdu for the side (next to a drive).


Wondering if I should use the fan expansion card. It would save using a couple of splitter cables plus there seems to better/closer dedicated power. And more control over each fan?


(Hope these images show up, doing this from my phone).
Would just need to find a spot to mount this expansion card. Oh, would the fans get better suction with out rubber grommets? I know they are for vibrations and my case might get serious vibrations out in the field. Thanks, this is a fun build.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Aibohphobia

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,962
4,757
I edited your post so the pics will show up. To embed Dropbox pics you have to change the www.dropbox to dl.dropbox

The fan extension card would be best. The manual isn't completely clear to me on if you can control all the fans plugged into it individually but you could put the two bottom fans on the card and the side fan on the second motherboard header, leaving the CPU header for your heatsink fan.
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,476
4,734
Wondering if I should use the fan expansion card. It would save using a couple of splitter cables plus there seems to better/closer dedicated power. And more control over each fan?
I prefer using a cable from the GPU splitting into two PWM headers for three reasons:
- it allows seperate fan control without the need for the expansion card
- the fans are driven by the GPU's firmware
- the fans are driven by the GPU's load

In your case I'd be worried for scenarios that might involve high GPU load but low CPU load, causing your GPU to overheat.
And this way you don't need to attach the expansion card anywhere inside the case. From what I've seen there is no explicit way to mount it easily, correct ?

Would just need to find a spot to mount this expansion card. Oh, would the fans get better suction with out rubber grommets? I know they are for vibrations and my case might get serious vibrations out in the field.
Those grommets are supposed to dampen vibrations caused by the fan but as you said you are more likely to be having external vibrations. I have mine screwed in and can't say I feel the need for the rubber grommets. In your case I'd advise not to use them as those rubber grommets aren't very secure in regards to traveling. It might never happen but it could, so I'd use screws.
 

Aibohphobia

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,962
4,757
I prefer using a cable from the GPU splitting into two PWM headers for three reasons:

He's using Gentle Typhoons so he can't control them using PWM.

In your case I'd be worried for scenarios that might involve high GPU load but low CPU load, causing your GPU to overheat.

I think he'll have to source it separately, but the fan extension card has a header for a thermocouple that can be used as the input for the fan curve. So stick the thermocouple to the GPU somewhere and the fans can respond to GPU temp.
 

Shawn Faherty

Caliper Novice
Original poster
Sep 19, 2015
26
5
A newegg comment about the Impact mobo:

"The fan extension card is great and compatible with the ASUS fan monitoring program; having 5 individually PWM-controlled fans makes for a silent build."

I'm guessing this is the Thermocoupler (below). There is no documentation on the Fan Extension Card but each of the three fan outputs (4-pin) has a small 2-pin output next to it (see blurry pic in my last post)


The CPU went in smooth using the assisted CPU Tool. There is a plastic shield on top that you remove after. Is stays to remove after installing the CPU but I took it out first and here is why. First I watched a ROG video of a Skylake install using the CPU Tool and there is no mention of the plastic shield. From what I can see if I left it on when clamping down the CPU bracket arm, is the plastic shield would pop off. On the bottom is a dual plastic ramp that would apply pressure to the top third of the CPU and eventually pop off (which you would have to do anyway to install heat-sink).

I was also surprised to find the mobo mounts to be fine threaded and the only screws I could find that matched where case bracket screws. But I had some silver screws lying around that I used. You can see one in the top right (above photo). They don't have that built in washer like the screws I was thinking of using but they do look they are touching those little contacts. Not sure if that is supposed to happen for grounding or not. The top two mobo screws hold the capacitor row bracket.

The rear ROG Shield (above photo) is nice but it bulges in two spots, at BIOS flash button and above the audio jacks which the later is from the audio card sticking out the back a little too much in my opinion. This isn't a total fail. I suspect the padding on the back to relax more and adjust to it's non-uniformity. I've tested all the connections and everything plugs in/out nicely.

Thanks for the replies on how to route the fans. I'm thinking I'll use the Fan Extension Card on the two bottom fans and one side fan (rear case fan can use the Chassis Fan plug), just not sure where to plug in the temp sensor.

I'm also going to skip on the rubber mounts and go with gaskets like these:

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/r..._120mm_Radiator_Gasket_-_5mm_38285-Page1.html
They should be soft enough to handle some vibrations and might do so better since it covers the entire base. This also makes the airflow pull entirely from outside the case; so seepage from spacing. If I use 5mm gaskets on the bottom of case, the fans will only leave about 1-2mm of spacing below the GPU. One option is to get 3mm gaskets for more space between bottom fans and GPU. I'm thinking some spacing is good but having the fans help support the GPU is also good. If I go with the 3mm gaskets, then I can add some type of support spacer on my own (maybe some thick left over gasket).
 

Aibohphobia

Jessica. Wayward SFF.n Founder
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,962
4,757
From reading the manual, it doesn't matter which header you plug it into on the card, you can pick which one is the source for the fans in the BIOS.

You can try pushing the IO shield around a bit, on my Impact VI the issue was it got caught on the CLR CMOS button housing and wasn't sitting all the way down.
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,476
4,734
He's got AP-15s, I don't think those can be modified.
Ah if that's the case than PWM fan adapters won't work yes, my bad.

I see they still haven't ditched the thick I/O shield. Ridiculous "feature".