Mini ITX + GPU Build: brutal honest feedback/help wanted.

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
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Hi, I’m new to the forum and pc building. I have a pretty cool first build planned I’d like your honest feedback on it. I’m so inexecperienced I’m learning more than one new thing every time I open a thread. I just bought most of the parts for my build but now I think I may have messed up the compatibility of parts or I didn’t do enough research or didn’t think it through correctly. Please take a look and give me straight criticism or tips.

This is heavily influenced by the @CroyAlore Pluto build. I’m not a gamer and will be using this PC for Solidworks 3D design and some basic 4K edits. I went with a Solidworks supported gpu and intel for its superior Solidworks benchmarks.

Mobo: ? I need a recommendation please
Case: iStarUSA S-21
CPU: I7 - 7700k for $357.49 from Outlet PC
Cooler: Cryorig C7 for $32.99 from Amazon and NoctuaNF-A9x14 fan for $15.99 from Amazon
GPU: PNY Quadro P1000 for $305.00 from from B&H
GPU fans: Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX A-Series (x3) for $13.95 from Amazon
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB for $149.99 from B&H
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16g (2x8g) DDR4 288 pin for $114.99 from Newegg
PSU: HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX - unsourced
Case fan: Noctua NF-A4x10 FLX $13.95 from Amazon
PSU fan: SoundOriginal Blower Fam - unsourced
Riser: Fractal Design Flex VRC-25 PCIE x16 - unsourced

I’m planning to mod the case similarly to the Chopin in the build referenced above, opening up the case for air flow and some fun paint on the case and maybe components. I have access to a water jet so I may use it to design a cool pattern or just make a big cut for a large mesh side panel.

Link to case: iStarUSA Group Mini-ITX Box Fit 1U Flex (S-21) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077CRF6Q/?tag=theminutiae-20

Thanks for looking and your help!
 

rosinbole

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Jan 18, 2018
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I think 160w is a little conservative on the power delivery side even with a 7700k alone. A 7700t would be a better bet in that situation I think. I don't see any issued with the rest of the build at all! :)

With the motherboard it TOTALLY depends on how much you're gonna spend... and the CPU you're choosing. With the 7700K you'd defenately want a motherboard with a z series chipset. I've personally had an Asus z270-i which I was very happy with. Can recommend :)
 
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zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
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I have a comparable GPU from PNY I must say be ready for some noise on the GPU side.
Is there a reason to go with an older model of CPU SKU (oldest version)?
You don't have the need for a k series processor in a workstation reason being that you usually don't overclock workstations for stability reasons.
PSU seems close to power limit I would go with something beefier.
Typically for workstations you can use any chipset you want but the most correct one is the Q series, if you go for a K series processor use a Z chipset series motherboard.
 
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NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
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I think 160w is a little conservative on the power delivery side even with a 7700k alone. A 7700t would be a better bet in that situation I think. I don't see any issued with the rest of the build at all! :)

With the motherboard it TOTALLY depends on how much you're gonna spend... and the CPU you're choosing. With the 7700K you'd defenately want a motherboard with a z series chipset. I've personally had an Asus z270-i which I was very happy with. Can recommend :)

That z270-i looks like nice kit! I didn’t know the mobo and cpu should be matched other than the socket. Which is what got me worried: the 7700k uses the LGA-1151, but when I searched for mobos with that socket they said 8th and 9th gen only. Still can’t figure that one!?

For the PSU I’m going to add up all the TDP numbers and multiply them by 1.25 to get a PSU minimum rating. Hopefully I can find something with a higher rating in the same form factor.

I definitely won’t be over clocking in this tiny case. As far as 7700k vs 7700t, it looks like the base clock speed is 4.2 GHz vs 3.8 GHz. Solidworks is mostly a single threaded operation so the fasted clockspeed is what I was trying to achieve. Did I think that through correctly?
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
I have a comparable GPU from PNY I must say be ready for some noise on the GPU side.
Is there a reason to go with an older model of CPU SKU (oldest version)?
You don't have the need for a k series processor in a workstation reason being that you usually don't overclock workstations for stability reasons.
PSU seems close to power limit I would go with something beefier.
Typically for workstations you can use any chipset you want but the most correct one is the Q series, if you go for a K series processor use a Z chipset series motherboard.
I was told to go for an older chipset for cost as I likely won’t notice the upgrade to the new stuff. But the 7700k wasn’t cheap. I could still look for something else. As I mentioned above I’d like as fast a clock speed as I can get, less worried about thread count. I know I won’t be overclocking, may have misinterpreted the 7700k specs but it looks like the base rate is a very fast 4.2 GHz.

Was the GPU noise you experienced from the board or fans? I’m planning to cool it with three tiny and quiet Noctuas.

Thanks!
 

zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
22
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I was told to go for an older chipset for cost as I likely won’t notice the upgrade to the new stuff. But the 7700k wasn’t cheap. I could still look for something else. As I mentioned above I’d like as fast a clock speed as I can get, less worried about thread count. I know I won’t be overclocking, may have misinterpreted the 7700k specs but it looks like the base rate is a very fast 4.2 GHz.

Was the GPU noise you experienced from the board or fans? I’m planning to cool it with three tiny and quiet Noctuas.

Thanks!
Yes the noise is from the tiny miserable fan that collects alot of dust.
TDP is very different from power consumption you can lookup online from measurements for example:
CPU: 140 W (Max) https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-kaby-lake-core-i7-7700k-i7-7700-i5-7600k-i5-7600,4870-8.html
GPU: 47 W https://www.pny.com/nvidia-quadro-p1000

You can get older CPU SKUs cheaper but usually used not new. For that price you can buy newer generation.
 
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neyurt

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jul 26, 2018
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A lot of people build SFF PC without thinking about the noise factor. And to me that's hugely understated.

Most people see a compact built and admire it mainly only how small it is but they never get a chance to "hear" it under full load.

Seeing most people build small PC to be placed on desks or small spaces, more often then not is very closer to the user. So noise level is important.

My advise is to use thicker larger fan when possible. 3x A4x10 can sounds very loud because they're small and to move any meaningful amount of air it'll need to spin at higher RPM and that directly correlate to how loud your system is. So pick cases that allow for bigger fan.

For PSU, replace the stock fan, you can keep the original heatsink. I've triedrep my gpu's fan before work noctua 120mm fan, (25 or 14mm) and it's a huge improvement in both sound and temp.

But I suppose none of these things matter if you're one of that that use headphones exclusively at the desk.
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
Thanks friends you really helped me figure a few things out. @zhnu got me searching for used cpus, after I read they rarely fail. Since this is an ambitious first build that may be undercooled and powered I am afraid of cooking the cpu. A cost effective used chip would be nice but like @GuilleAcoustic said the used market is quite expensive. So a new chip it is. Pushing me to research cooling solutions more. You guys helped me search for temp benchmarks and I found the new 9700k runs more than 10 degrees cooler than the 8700 (non-k)! Apparently they switched back to solder from paste under the lid. I won’t be overclocking this build but I bought the 9700k cause the non-k won’t be released for awhile and I’ll be able to put it in another case in a few years for OC when it shows its age. I paired it with an Asus z370 (that’s good right?). The 9700k was only $35 more than the 7700k. I’ll be posting build pics soon. Thanks again.
 

zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
22
14
Thanks friends you really helped me figure a few things out. @zhnu got me searching for used cpus, after I read they rarely fail. Since this is an ambitious first build that may be undercooled and powered I am afraid of cooking the cpu. A cost effective used chip would be nice but like @GuilleAcoustic said the used market is quite expensive. So a new chip it is. Pushing me to research cooling solutions more. You guys helped me search for temp benchmarks and I found the new 9700k runs more than 10 degrees cooler than the 8700 (non-k)! Apparently they switched back to solder from paste under the lid. I won’t be overclocking this build but I bought the 9700k cause the non-k won’t be released for awhile and I’ll be able to put it in another case in a few years for OC when it shows its age. I paired it with an Asus z370 (that’s good right?). The 9700k was only $35 more than the 7700k. I’ll be posting build pics soon. Thanks again.

Yeah just a few tips for that mobo:
Careful flashing newer versions of bios I got a similar one bricked because of power failure it doesn't seem to have dual bios.
If you install an m.2 device use the connector on the back of the motherboard usually it runs cooler than under the shroud.
And for the psu:
If you really don't want to use an flex atx psu, you can use kmpkt dynamo psu you have 200w plus the possibility to expand with the dynamo 360
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
Yeah just a few tips for that mobo:
Careful flashing newer versions of bios I got a similar one bricked because of power failure it doesn't seem to have dual bios.
If you install an m.2 device use the connector on the back of the motherboard usually it runs cooler than under the shroud.
And for the psu:
If you really don't want to use an flex atx psu, you can use kmpkt dynamo psu you have 200w plus the possibility to expand with the dynamo 360
Thanks for the tips! I ended up getting talked into the ASROCK Z390 PHANTOM GAMING ITX A for better cooling reasons. I’m sure your flashing warning applies to it as well. I never considered M.2 storage, cause I didn’t know what they were, but did a little reading and they seem like a no brainer in a sff case. Are there any limitations vs a sata drive? If I go with just one m.2 PCIe drive can I boot from it without any issues?
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
@zhnu thanks for the PSU tip also. The Dynamo looks awesome and the extra power is really nice peace of mind! Unfortunately, it won’t arrive till mid January. I just have to wait till then to finish this project.
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
Things just got really interesting! I finally got the istar s-21 case. It’s awesome! The istar is an open design so you have just the one compartement to use. The Chopin uses a dual layout, so the build I copied doesn’t apply so much. The istar S-21 inner dimensions on its side are:
217 mm tall
208 mm deep
86 mm wide
It has room for:
68mm cpu cooler w/ fan clearance
Dual 80mm gpu fans
80 mm front intake fan (w/ bracket stock), possibly two with mods

I need a cooler recomendation. I have room for an L9x65. I bought the c7 and a9x14 fan. While I found a test or two that showed the L9x65 to run a few degrees or more cooler than the stock c7; the c7 is rated at 100 TDP vs 84 TDP for the L9x65. Plus the a9 fan should be a little better than the stock c7 fan. Which would be better for cooling max turbo on the 9700k?

I got creative when I was visiting my dad at his cabinet shop. I build a bed frame with some sapele mahogany and decided to build a semi-permanent stand from scrap for this build that will house a flex ATX psu. I went with the 350 watt gold rated Silverstone tech fx350. The stand will act as the missing dual layout feature for cable management. This build will probably take me a couple more weeks to finish but it should be very cool. I’m having a ton of fun learning about all these components and fabbing up this case. It’s worth it cuz it’ll be for my main machine for the next five years or more.
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14


So maybe I missed the point of an ITX build by adding the stand, but I can always shrink it back down with an sff psu. The sand adds 40 mm to the width and 80 mm to the height. I’ve got plans to use a router to make room for the psu and wiring one I receive it. I’m also waiting on the gpu to modify the case to fit it with dual 80mm fans. I’m really leaning into the polarizing Noctua color scheme with the dark wood and planning to take it up a notch with an off white case paint job after it’s mods are done.
 

zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
22
14
I don't think you have clearance to install a gpu with that cpu cooler on that case or even with the L9x65 and the gpu venting holes don't seem to be usable if something is plugged to the pci-e slot.
You're not missing the point of an itx build the main thing is to have fun.
 

NastyNick

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Dec 20, 2018
19
14
Thanks! This is fun. I wish parts were available locally at estore prices. This would go a lot faster. I think you’ll like my final results.

The gpu will be fitted, flipped upside down in the psu slot. This is the general layout:



I’m hoping to run the riser cable behind the mobo and use dual 80mm gpu intake fans on on the bottom of the case. I’ll open up the case a lot for air flow. I should have room for two 80mm case fans in the front and one 40mm exhaust case fan on top. I may partition the case so the gpu is isolated. Then use the lower front fan as a gpu exhaust, that way the gpu isn’t heating up the cpu cooler. Speaking of cpu coolers: what’s the better choice C7 w/ A9x14 fan or L9x65 cooler assembly?
 

zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
22
14
Thanks! This is fun. I wish parts were available locally at estore prices. This would go a lot faster. I think you’ll like my final results.

The gpu will be fitted, flipped upside down in the psu slot. This is the general layout:



I’m hoping to run the riser cable behind the mobo and use dual 80mm gpu intake fans on on the bottom of the case. I’ll open up the case a lot for air flow. I should have room for two 80mm case fans in the front and one 40mm exhaust case fan on top. I may partition the case so the gpu is isolated. Then use the lower front fan as a gpu exhaust, that way the gpu isn’t heating up the cpu cooler. Speaking of cpu coolers: what’s the better choice C7 w/ A9x14 fan or L9x65 cooler assembly?

I would go for the noctua L9x65 just because the cooler as a more mass, but they are both comparable in terms of performance so if you already have the c7 use it, for fan I would go for nf-a9 pwm it's taller but it can push alot more air and your case is tall enough for the cooler with the fan using either of the coolers
 

zhnu

Caliper Novice
Dec 31, 2017
22
14
If you're looking just for performance from fans for the 80mm ones and you don't care about noise you can have a look at sunon usually is what you find inside servers but they're usually very loud