MODZERO JUICE - NFC SYSTEMS S4 MINI #80

MODZERO

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 9, 2016
82
332
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UPDATE 0

I've been looking forward to this one for a while now. Unlike some of my previous builds this one should be pretty much stress free (fingers crossed). It's not a competition entry with a deadline, it's not a buddy build, nor a personal rig upgrade leaving me living off a test bench until complete. This one is a goody, a new LAN rig, in a chassis I'm super excited to build in. With no end date *cough* i60 LAN in April *cough*, so come along and enjoy the journey.

This is a sponsored project, for which I'm hugely grateful! Massive thanks go out to NFC Systems for their support, E22 for once again showing their faith in my work and indeed Gigabyte for taking the risk and hooking me up. :thumb:


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SPECS:
  • INTEL CORE i5 - 6600K CPU
  • HYPERX FURY DDR4 2400MHZ 16GB (2X8GB) RAM
  • GIGABYTE GA-Z170N GAMING 5 MOBO
  • GIGABYTE GTX 1060 ITX OC 6G GPU
  • SAMSUNG 960 EVO M.2-2280 250GB NVMe SSD
  • HDPLEX Hi-Fi 250W DC-ATX PSU
  • NOCTUA NH-L9i COOLER
  • 2X SCYTHE KAZE JYUNI SLIM 2000RPM
  • NFC SYSTEMS S4 MINI CUSTOM CHASSIS

After my beloved Parvum Veer (MODZERO FOUR) took a savage thieving (of it's mod cubes) in order to complete my Thermaltake UK modders trophy 2016 entry I was left without my LAN buddy. That was back in late April. I'm pretty sure I'd seen the NFC PURIEL build someplace and went in search of more information. That took me to YouTube and there I met the S4 Mini.

Once MODZERO OCTO was finished I kept coming back to that S4 Mini I'd seen. That ultimately led me to these forums, which have quickly become my favorite forum hang out. With the ITX 1060 cards being a confirmed fit It was time to get cracking.

I'd contacted Josh about sending me the S4 Mini with the panels bare (I've got some phone camera shots I'll upload at some point). At the time, very day I was driving past a BMW garage and had found a liking for some of their blues. A BME M4 in ESTORIL BLUE to be exact. The more I saw of it the more I liked it. From the chromed trim accents to the deep red of the rear light housing, I liked how the black of the grill contrast against the blue metallic paint work. The actual paint work was done by B-Negative (Top UK modder) and he nailed it! Thanks buddy! I left the panels to truly harden then went about giving it a cut and polish. I had the color I wanted, so that was it, I'd base my S4 Mini around the aspects of the BMW M4 I liked.

THE NFC SYSTEMS S4 MINI

I've loads of photos of the case, but I'll restrain from flooding my first log post with them. I love this chassis! Everyone here is familiar with it already and I'm sure you'll agree.


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This way up?


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Or this way?

I think I'm leaning toward the second, there are vents under the Alu wrap-around and as we know, heat rises. With the GPU being that end of the case, I think I may see some performance gains in this rotation?


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You can just about make out the vents under the Alu panel (..and see where I may need to get some 2400 grit paper or a better buffing compound).



As the build progresses I'll dive inside the chassis and show some of that, I may take a second pass at the cut and polish as I think there are areas for improvement.

Outside of the custom paint work and sleeved cables I plan to make some modifications to how both the CPU & GPU are cooled and try my hand with some other materials to help make some of the internals really pop.

Thanks for check it out, hope you stick around and enjoy the log.

J.

 

TheWhiteWolves

Caliper Novice
Jul 28, 2016
25
14
That paint is amazing, I really love blue on the S4, its why I got the Skyreach Blue version of the S4.

Can't wait to see more from the build log, its going to be a few months before I can start building mine so i'm really interesting in getting as much detail about the process as possible :D
 

MODZERO

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 9, 2016
82
332
www.instagram.com
That paint job looks amazing! Look forward to seeing more updates.

It turned out pretty good, I found my buffing compound this morning, so I'm gonna give it another pass then work it back up to a shine again.

That paint is amazing, I really love blue on the S4, its why I got the Skyreach Blue version of the S4.

Can't wait to see more from the build log, its going to be a few months before I can start building mine so i'm really interesting in getting as much detail about the process as possible :D

The Skyreach Blue is so nice! I'm aiming to have this pretty much finished by the end of Jan. Just waiting on some American White Oak... yup.. wood.

That black on blue combination looks stunning!
I will be watching this build with anticipation, keep up the good work!

Thanks, I've got a couple updates lined up but the real fun can't start until the last of the hardware turns up. I ordered the M2 960 EVO from Amazon UK (direct from Samsung) but it was out of stock. No idea when that'll turn up. I'm also waiting on my Dell ADP-330AB B power adapter (but only because I've not ordered it yet.. haha). Once those bits are in, I can get it up and running on my test bench, get a better understanding of max temps with the 6500K under a NH-L9i and the cooler on the GTX1060 ITX OC plus things like power draw and the like..

This is the best. Someone who isn't me and has way more talent than me modding my case. I can feel proud without doing any work! XD

Thanks buddy, you must be drunk if you think I'm more talented then you! but I sure do appreciate the vote of confidence. It's a great case, I attend multiple large LAN parties every year and can't wait to turn up with a backpack and a monitor like 'BOOM' done.. time for a beer... :p

Cant wait to get my hands dirty with this one.. I'm a little worried about being able to fit the 18AWG sleeved cables I'll be making.. I'd not picked up on the HDPLEX making use of thinner (what is it? 22/26AWG) wire.

It's a journey, I enjoy the bumps along the way.

Can't wait to see the finished version of this one. Hopefully you don't keep us waiting too long!

Me too! End of Jan (fingers crossed), as I'll be starting my HEX GEAR R40 sequel shortly after *cough* RYZEN *cough*.


Thanks for all the kind support chaps. I'll keep things moving, hope you don't mind images... I go a little photo heavy! :p

J.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,380
5,917
Just as a suggestion, this case is a perfect match for taking your S4 with you. Reckon you're gonna want to protect your build with all the effort you're putting into it. I've been using it for a while so I don't scratch my S4 anymore getting it to and from my office.



https://www.nanuk.com/nanuk-935-2/
 

Josh | NFC

Not From Concentrate
NFC Systems
Silver Supporter
Jun 12, 2015
1,866
4,433
www.nfc-systems.com
Just as a suggestion, this case is a perfect match for taking your S4 with you. Reckon you're gonna want to protect your build with all the effort you're putting into it. I've been using it for a while so I don't scratch my S4 anymore getting it to and from my office.



https://www.nanuk.com/nanuk-935-2/

I LOVE NANUK cases too! The 925 is exactly the right size for a MINI with a power brick, if you want something smaller. The 935 is great for my camera gear (or if you need ALOT of padding for the airplanes).
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,380
5,917
The only reason I went for the 935 is it is airline carry-on friendly if you're travelling that way as well as the roller wheels are a nice feature. The other one I'd consider is the 940. The primary benefit to that one being you should be able to fit a 23" monitor in the lid with an adapter bracket or simply pressed into the top foam.
 
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Ceros_X

King of Cable Management
Mar 8, 2016
746
655
Eh, seems a bit oversized to me - couldn't you easily fit one in a Pelican 1490 briefcase-sized cased?
 

MODZERO

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 9, 2016
82
332
www.instagram.com


UPDATE 1.0

Well, now Christmas and New Years is out the way things are coming together nicely. Pre-Christmas I was still two key components shy of a POST. The M2 drive and a power adapter. I'll share my tale of the 960 EVO another time, as for the power brick, well that made for quite the odd Christmas morning gift unwrap. Turned out, my other half had being sending cheeky emails to KustomPCs. Knowing what I needed, they sent the power adapter inside a Corsair VS450 box. She then wraps the VS PSU box and come Christmas morning I fain adulation as she watches me remove the wrapping paper with an expression of 'erm...this isn't right', just as I then get over excited at the sight of the Dell ADP-330AB B Power Adapter inside.. She* is a keeper. I'd no idea she'd hooked that up, much impressed.
*the power adapter


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I've had the Gigabyte goodies out ready for a box bench test. The plan being, I'll test all hardware stock (as we all do... ) outside the chassis first. Then run some stress benches with all the hardware test fitted in the S4 Mini before I start working on the cables. I'm running a 95W CPU and a GTX1060 + M2 SSD off a 250W PSU, I wanna be certain I'm not pushing my luck.


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It's a cracking little board, logical placement for SATA (yeah Impact... whats that all about!) and the 8PIN/24PIN are both where they should be.. surprising how many ITX boards are still getting this wrong.


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GIGABYTE GEFORCE GTX1060 ITX OC 6G - When they teased this and it's big brother the 1070 ITX OC a few months back I got really excited. I'd already been eyeing up the S4 Mini but none of the GPU offering at the time (under 8") were doing it for me.. back then it was a toss up between the Asus GTX970 ITX or AMD FURY NANO. Having just moved from the 980 to the 1070, the thought of buying a 970 gave me no pleasure. I'd have loved a FURY NANO but that 175 TDP wouldn't have left me much headroom.


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It's a chunky little monster with a beefy heatsink. It absolutely fills the S4 mini GPU space but seeing as the 1060 PCB is a little less tall then the its big 1070 brother I'm hoping I'll be able to mount the power socket without any further mods.


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I'm using the Noctua NH-L9i, I may or may not swap out the fan.. with such a small chassis, cooling is key. But I'm a sucker for aesthetics. Don't get me wrong, I like the signature Noctua fan color, however I prefer the nickel heatsink under it. Same with the GPU, so I'll at least try swapping out both 92mm fans for these Sythe 12mm 2000RPM 120mm beauts.


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The S4 Mini has those two 120mm mounting points, one over the CPU, with the other above the GPU. I'll run a suite of benches with the stock cooling options then repeat with the slims. See how we get on.

I'm working on a custom backplate for the 1060 with a matching plate for the chipset. Exploring a few different approaches with that. Once I have the designs I'll see what you guys think.

J.​
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,956
4,725
Great looking pics!

It's a cracking little board, logical placement for SATA (yeah Impact... whats that all about!)

Right-angle SATA on ITX isn't a very good idea because there are plenty of cases where they'd be difficult to plug in.

I'm working on a custom backplate for the 1060 with a matching plate for the chipset.

Oooh, I'm looking forward to that.
 

MODZERO

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 9, 2016
82
332
www.instagram.com
Right-angle SATA on ITX isn't a very good idea because there are plenty of cases where they'd be difficult to plug in.

True, but it still looks better then having them between the CPU and DIMM slots. Unless I use those Silverstone slim SATA cables, the SATA ports when fitted the the HDPLEX are almost useless.

J.
 

MODZERO

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 9, 2016
82
332
www.instagram.com


UPDATE 2.0

Over the last few days things have moved along nicely. These are simple phone shots and for some silly reason when resizing (I thought they looked cool at the time), I made them B&W. Won't be going that again..


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I'm really enjoying the S4 Mini chassis, it's the first independently produced small production run case I've bought. Josh NFC, clearly loves what he's doing. His enthusiasm comes through in everything he puts his hands too. Already a world class modder and scratch builder (just check these out) he's also producing great content for his YouTube channel. With the S4 Mini chassis clearly being a passionate project for him.

This is how the chassis looked when It turned up at my door. Before I sen it south to the mighty B NEG and his spray-gun of justice... (Not that you can really tell.. cos I made the bloody images B&W!! haha).


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I loaded up all the hardware and got windows installed onto the M2 drive.. I was expecting that to be a headache but everything worked as it should, happy days! (first time using M2) As I'm replacing all the cables for the HDPLEX with custom made 18AWG wire based replacements I didn't bother installing the PSU and ran it as seen above.

The HDPLEX really is a great bit of kit! years of using overly power equipped PSUs left me worried a 250W DC-ATX PSU wouldn't get the job done. On a side note they've just replaced this a 300W model (yeah... :wallbash:) with a different layout for the connections ( better suited for the S4 Mini). However this one is going a great job, If I were to swap out the 1060 for say the 1070 then maybe I'll look at buying the 300W.


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My original intention had been to sleeve all the cables, but after I'd test fit the PSU.. and it left me with this...


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I quickly became skeptical. I'm sure I've read on here users pushing the HDPLEX had benefited from the larger gauge wire (stock being something like 19AWG)? So that's the current plan. It's gonna be tight with just the larger diameter wire let alone trying to sleeve 24 cables in 4mm Teleios sleeve. I'll look at sleeving the accents maybe. Fan wires, switch, the power connector cables, maybe I'll sleeve a couple from the GPU/CPU, see how is looks.


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I have a couple Parvum switches so thought I had this covered... turned out the S4 MINI uses a 16mm switch, oops. Not to worry, KUSTOM PC to the rescue. Again, room is super tight with the 24PIN mobo connection sitting right up in-front of the switch.


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This is the first project since moving house.. I've turned my office into a right state trying to find all my 'bits and bobs'. I'd convinced myself I had a stash of terminals, but could I find them... no. I'd convinced myself I had extra 22AWG fan wire, but could I find it... no. Luckily E22 hooked me up with a rapid resupply, thanks guys.



With everything loaded up stock the system pulled just shy of 245W from the wall. looping the Unigine Valley Benchmark the Noctua NH-L9i kept my 95W i5 6600K under 40'c and silent whilst the stock cooler on the Gigabyte GTX1060 ITX OC maxed out at 62'c with the fan at 40%. Granted it's winter, I live in North Wales (it's cold) and without the HDPLEX fitted in place both components see better airflow. I was surprised all the same. Even so, I wanted to try removing the 92mm fan/shroud on the GPU and mounting a 120/12mm fan over the GPU instead.


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I think that looks ace! a pair of thick copper heat pipes, with the heat sink making contact on the RAM and VRMs (nice work Gigabyte).


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With the slim 120mm Scythe fan in place, the GPU fit perfectly (lucky!). I'm a huge fan of SpeedFan I've used it for years, long before PWM became the norm and manufacturers included half decent fan control software with their motherboards. So the plan was simple enough. Install SpeedFan, control the RPM of the 3PIN chassis fan based on the GPU temp. Only for some unknown reason SpeedFan was unable to see fans (thought it did detect the correct controller). A quick search found others with Gigabyte Z170 based boards experiencing the same. When it's all done, I'll come back to it.. I'm sure I'll find a fix. For now I used another little app to do the same (arhh, I can't remember what is was called).

I ran the same loop of Valley and found the performance to be around the same. With one large difference. Whilst both solutions kept the GPU around 60'c, it took the Scythe running at 60% to pull it off. A touch too loud for my liking.

The Gigabyte Z170N Gaming 5 only has two fan headers too, and I'd intended to make use of some Dazmod ridged LED strips powered from a fan header (makes for simple dimming control). By using the chassis fan, I wont be able to do that.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading. What do you think, stick with the stock cooler or tweak the slim RPMs to reduce the noise and roll with it?

J.​
 

|||

King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
758
This looks great! I'm curious...what are the spacings between the slim fan and the GPU radiator like? (There will be two with the multiple heights of the radiator)

While I like the aesthetics of the slim fan a lot more, if the performance isn't there, I'm not sure I would keep it.
 
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Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
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May 9, 2015
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Considering the size of the casefan, I don't think performance will (EDIT) should be down. Most GPUs use slim fans too and this one seems to be atleast a few sizes larger.
 
Last edited:
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