MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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Hi all,

Update (9th January 2017) : here is link for Black & White with Red touch
Update (28th January 2017) : Nano² Setup was sold and prepared to her new owner. Here is her last gallery. Now I will focus to build my next setup in a Kimera Industries Cerberus-X

Behind this title of Nano², I just wanted to highlight the combination of the famous "Nano" enthousiast components :
  • AMD R9 Nano
  • FRACTAL DESIGN Define Nano S
This build is here to replace my main gaming computer with several targets :
  • Better looking of my former customized Bitfenix Phenom, while remaining compact
  • Really good & quiet cooling potential, in both air and water (if ever I'm coming back to water one day)
  • Potentially support all GPU, even 3 slots ones
  • Easy and clean cable management and operations
  • Optional : to see internals of my computer
  • Optional : absorb some coil whining noise with sound dampening foam, or closed case
Globally Fractal Design Define Nano S won this context, but with the tweak/compromise of using SFX power supply. All sourcing process is here : https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...ase-for-twin-frozr-vi-or-non-blower-gpu.1034/
Please also note that this case with normal ATX psu is pretty limited with GPU selection, here is a very good video about :

Here is the BOM of this setup :
  • Intel Core i7 6700K undervolted @-0.10V (same as in NFC S4 mini)
  • Gigabyte Z170n Gaming 5
  • SFX PSU, Corsair SF600 with bitfenix black cable extension (24 pins and 8 pins cpu)
  • Storage : M.2 pci express, Samsung 950 Pro 512Go
  • CPU cooler : Noctua U9S + dual Noctua NF-A9 PWM
  • Case fan : 3x dusty Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP15 (1850rpm @12v) (I'm using some of them since 2009..:))
  • NZXT Grid+ V2 to control ALL fans of setup

So let's dive in details :
As you can notice, internals are just so clean...it's a shocking improvement compared to what I was used before.
You can also note the larger clearance between PSU and GPU.

Dislike many users of Nano S, I decided to keep the top cover, as it won't help cooling and will keep noise level acceptable.

I just LOVE those Gentle Typhoon fans...especially as their motor are really quiet AND their static pressure is huge!..:)

Static pressure is so needed just behind dust filter :

When I meant DUSTY Gentle Typhoon...I mean that some of these fans are used since 2009 setup..:)

Closer look at MB area, I like to low width of Noctua U9S...making assembly of the motherboard easier, while cpu cooler is in place. Even with a Noctua U12S, any action on motherboad will required to unmount cpu cooler

In terms of cable management, Fractal Design Define Nano S is just a KING! I managed to arrange all cables, extension, really nicely! Nzxt grid+ v2 is simply sitting on the bottom with no trouble. (ok, ok I'm fan of Noctua extensions..:))

I also like the bottom dust filter for potential 120mm extra fan on bottom and PSU. As it's large, you slide it from front of the case, very clever and easy to use..:)


Let's close the case : Sober, nice and clean!



And now the final comparison between previous and new setup (of course both cats remain..:))
Customized Bitfenix Phenom

And here is the final result with Fractal Design Define Nano S :


In terms of cooling management, I'm using the nxzt Grid+ v2 and CAM software. All fans (2xnoctua and 3 gentle typhoons) are linked to this box...I'm not using PWM, because the grid+ v2 allows to cut completely fan when not needed..:) Thus I'm have a passive cooling ability...very appreciated at idle/multimedia.
I'm not also using PWM management, as my 2 Noctua fans are subject to not have stable rpm. I mean, for example, on idle, fans are cruising @800rpm...but for 5 seconds they are reaching 1980rpm..for no apparent reasons (no cpu load, nothing). I tried grid+ after noticing this strange behaviour on PWM...and once again as fans are in 800rpm (below 40% on CAM software) they keep turning off and on, alternating low rpm and max rpm. I found the compromise to keep them spinning @1000rpm (40% grid/cam) and they remain really quiet at this speed...so fine!..:)
Here are the parameters :


In terms of performance :
  • CPU : between 50°C and 60°C on prime 95 (depending on the benchmark choice : #1 : 50°C, #2 : 60°C)
  • GPU : on armored warfare @1440p, ultra settings, SMAA
    • Stock : 45-47% fans speed, 76-78°C, coil whine mostly absorbed by case
    • OC : Power limit +50%, Core : 1080Mhz, 60-65% fan speed, 80-82°C, more coil whine (due to power limit increase) can be heared
  • M.2 SSD : From 50°C-59°C in normal/gaming usage, up to 76°C (on benchmark), active ventilation is working well finally as SSD is cooled very quickly while unused. No apparent throttle while benchmarking it.
  • Here is the Crystaldisk mark
  • 1st test

  • 2nd test
  • Temperature :

  • Compared to same drive in S4 mini (finally I suspect the drive trottle a little bit in S4 mini), there are improvements :

  • Noise :
    • Idle/multimedia : almost silent (case fans stopped), R9 Nano and cpu cooler fans are spinning very low, generating almost no noise, thanks to closed design of the case
    • Gaming : Fairly quiet. GPU is still the most audible component. In my future upgrade, choice of the quiestest gpu will be the main prority.

Globally I'm really pleased of this Fractal Design Define Nano S. With a SFX PSU, this case has no compromise on components choice, while offering great cooling (air & water) and great cable management.
For my point of view, it's the first (in terms of size) case that has no compromise. While you go smaller, you will have more and more compromise in exchange of size shrink..:)
Last point : I was delighted to be able to re-use my belowed Gentle Typhoon AP15..:):)
 
Last edited:
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MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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I was sure I would have this remark...obviously the case can be halved in size, really easily..:)
I must admit you are right...hopefully it's a temporary solution...more builds to come in the next coming months..:)
 

MarcParis

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Apr 1, 2016
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I've just performed additionnal testing on M.2 SSD as I was a bit worried about its cooling in Define S. Hopefully active cooling is pretty effective.

I've update first topic with this test :
  • M.2 SSD : From 52°C, up to 76°C (on benchmark), active ventilation is working well finally as SSD is cooled very quickly while unused. No apparent throttle while benchmarking it.
  • Here is the Crystaldisk mark

  • Compared to same drive in S4 mini (finally I suspect the drive trottle a little bit in S4 mini), there are improvements :
 
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MarcParis

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I've added a second trial on SSD on Crystaldisk mark + temperature monitor :
  • 2nd test
  • Temperature :
It's working really well!
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
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Hi all,

I've worked on last weeks on my NANO setup in order to improve its cooling capabilities (for better overclocking) and aesthetics.

The search was pretty long, but I managed to build a Black & White with Red touch NANO²..:D

BUILD

Compared to original setup, here are the changes on the BOM :
  • CPU cooler :
    • Was : Noctua U9S + dual NF-A9 PWM
    • Becomes : Phanteks PH-TC14S, a black, slim dual 140mm tower radiator
  • Thermal paste :
    • Was : Artic cooling MX-4
    • Becomes : Grizzly Kryonaut
  • Slim internal USB3 extension : MODDIY.COM version In order to keep USB3.0 front ports operational with larger cpu cooler
  • Case Cooling Fans :
    • Was : Old Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15
    • Becomes :
      • Front : 2xNoctua NF-A14 industrialPPC-2000 PWM with White Chromax NA-SAVP1
      • Rear : 1xNF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM with White Chromax NA-SAVP1
  • Fan Controller :
    • Was : NZXT vgrid+ v2 + CAM software
    • Becomes : Corsair Commander mini + Corsair link 4.0
  • Mouse Pad :
    • Was : Razer Kabuto
    • Becomes : Corsair RGB Polaris M800

Here is a small gallery of this beauty :



(Please note small ribbon of USB3.0 slim extension)








Now with all panels :



Now it's time to come back on the desktop :


(Define Nano S is definitely CAT's proof!....)

..even if CATs could be disturbing while playing...:):)


PERFORMANCES
Clearly Noctua InsdustrialPPC are far better case fan than my former Gentle Typhoon (these ones are are great on radiator, but their airflow are too angled to be a good case fan).

Main impact is on GPU cooling and M.2 SSD.
  • AMD R9 Nano is now about 76°C on same load (The witcher 3, 1440p), and same fan curve vs 79°C before
  • Samsung 950 pro M.2 512Go is cooler by 2-3°C, allowing to break my records on crystaldiskmark (especially on write that arrives at end of benchmark)

On CPU cooling, Noctua U9S is fine but it's not refreshing VRM that was my main source of troubles during overclocking the core i7 6700K. Indeed, I was exposed to very consequent thermal throttle due to VRM temperature @4,6Ghz : (you can notice temperature 5 reaching 99°C on this below screenshot...and CPU is throttling just after)


With the Phanteks PH-TC14S, apart its great look, I was able to overclock the core i7 6700K up to 4.7GHz @ around 70°C on cpu package(1,395mV vCore), that demonstrates to be stable on OCCT, prime 95, Gears of war 4, Ashes of singularity. I only notice some small throttles (I was unable to identify root cause as all temperatures or load line calibration were OK) For info, VRM temperature decreases by more 15°C compared to Noctua U9S.

@4.6GHz everything is stable :


However, CPU overcloking on mini ITX MB is not as easy as on bigger/larger Motherboard. Indeed, whereas everything is stable on benchmark @4,6Ghz, I'm experiencing some random 2 seconds lags in the witcher 3. They are occuring mainly when I entered in a new area (for example, crossing bridges on Novigrad, or exiting a grotto)...it's random...and this effect decreases a lot @4,5Ghz. I think my motherboard could have troubles to go above 1,3mV vCore, to be confirmed. Anyway it's not a big trouble, and I need to test on others games (I'm still in blood & wine DLC of witcher 3..:))

EDIT 13th Jan 2017 :
Well, I've finally finished my analysis, and I've understood reasons of random, small lags on the witcher 3 when I'm overclocking from 4,5GHz till 4.7GHz

Let's start with symptoms.

I was experiencing on the witcher 3, rare, random, lag on framerate. These lag occured when OC from 4.5GHz till 4.7GHz. At first, I thought it was linked to transition zone in the witcher 3...however from my studies during the last days, I'm now sure it's linked to slight throttle on cpu core and ring/uncore frequencies.

I've simply launched OCCT test, while monitoring minimum frequencies (using HWINFO 64) on all cores and uncore, and results were simple to analyse :
  • OC 4.7Ghz :
    • OCCT : clear throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some lags, longer, more often than below frequencies
  • OC 4.6Ghz :
    • OCCT : noticeable throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some lags, longer, less often than 4.7GHz
  • OC 4.5Ghz :
    • OCCT : tiny throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some minor lags,barely noticeable, but there are still there
  • OC 4.4Ghz :
    • OCCT : NO throttes on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : Lags disappear
Exact reason of this throttle is remaining unknown, but I've clearly identified root cause/related side effects. But I've the feeling it's linked to motherboard power delivery : 5 phases in total on my gigabyte z170n gaming 5. Mini ITX motherboards are far better than the first one back to early 2011 where I remembered my bad experience of core i5 2500K that was consistently throttling @ stock parameters on mini itx motherboards..:D


CONCLUSION
I must admit that this new setup is gorgeous and effective! Phanteks PH-TC14S is clearly on top of Aircooling for mini ITX motherboard. Noctua D15 or Scythe Fuma could match but their looks is far below Phanteks PH-TC14S..:D Motherboard remains quite accessible despite the cooler.
Corsair commander mini with noctua industrial PPC fan are, as expected, a kick ass cooling solution. Their PWM control allow precise rpm, and dead quiet/silent operation at idle.

I hope you will appreciate!
 
Last edited:

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,380
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You need to mod a system into that coffee machine dude.
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,165
847
It looks like you could chop that case to lose almost 150mm/6in in depth and still fit the system in there.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
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Hehe yes you are right there is a lot of free space in front of the case...:)

I might consider to ask help to @K888D for a specific case...but first i'm waiting for vega arrival..:)
 
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MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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Well, after further experimentations OC @4.7Ghz is working pretty well on the witcher 3 blood and wine. I guess the loading lag (in transition zone) are related to original game, like Novigrad.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
3,365
2,381
Well, I've finally finished my analysis, and I've understood reasons of random, small lags on the witcher 3 when I'm overclocking from 4,5GHz till 4.7GHz

Let's start with symptoms.

I was experiencing on the witcher 3, rare, random, lag on framerate. These lag occured when OC from 4.5GHz till 4.7GHz. At first, I thought it was linked to transition zone in the witcher 3...however from my studies during the last days, I'm now sure it's linked to slight throttle on cpu core and ring/uncore frequencies.

I've simply launched OCCT test, while monitoring minimum frequencies (using HWINFO 64) on all cores and uncore, and results were simple to analyse :
  • OC 4.7Ghz :
    • OCCT : clear throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some lags, longer, more often than below frequencies
  • OC 4.6Ghz :
    • OCCT : noticeable throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some lags, longer, less often than 4.7GHz
  • OC 4.5Ghz :
    • OCCT : tiny throttes occurs on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : some minor lags,barely noticeable, but there are still there
  • OC 4.4Ghz :
    • OCCT : NO throttes on cores/uncore
    • In the Witcher 3 : Lags disappear
Exact reason of this throttle is remaining unknown, but I've clearly identified root cause/related side effects. But I've the feeling it's linked to motherboard power delivery : 5 phases in total on my gigabyte z170n gaming 5. Mini ITX motherboards are far better than the first one back to early 2011 where I remembered my bad experience of core i5 2500K that was consistently throttling @ stock parameters on mini itx motherboards..:D

Now it's up to decide either to :
  • stay with core i7 6700K@4.4GHz
  • upgrade motherboard to a even better MB Z270 mini ITX (Asrock fatality in mind) with core i7 7700K
  • move back (after 5 years) to micro ATX platform...with potential move to Ryzen?
I guess I will have a lot of headaches pretty soon..:D
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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yes I noticed that also...some get easy 5.0-5.2GHz...whereas other stop @4.8GHz.

After based on experience, I'm taking OC results with "brackets", as stability/usage is something personal.:D
 

BaK

Master of Cramming
Bronze Supporter
May 17, 2016
549
497
But I've the feeling it's linked to motherboard power delivery

I had some power throttling with my Broadwell chip.
I managed to fix it by setting higher values on Turbo Boost Power Max (80W) and Turbo Boost Short Power Max (100W) (Asus Z97I-Plus BIOS).

You can check if there is such throttling with Intel XTU graph (enable display of power limit throttle) while OCCT is running.

If there is, you should give it a try and raise current and power limits wherever you see them in the BIOS.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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thanks for tip.
I tried it on bios directly putting everything to 120W.

I could try with xtu
 

MarcParis

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Apr 1, 2016
3,365
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Another news after this last release on Nano² setup.

When CPU is in idle/low charge, when all fan are just spinning at around 500rpm (very, very and very quiet), I'm hearing a new electrical noise that is pulsing beat (hard to describe)...and I guess it's coming from my SF600 PSU (while it's fan is stopped)..:D It's not a coil whining noise.

Is it some ripple noise as psu are chasing? I'm not an expert in that field..:D Any help will be welcome..:D
 
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MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
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Apr 1, 2016
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Hi all,

Here the last update of my Nano² setup, as I've prepared it to meet her new owner. I wish Nano² will serve him well..:) I sold Nano² to build an entirely new setup based on Kimera Cerberus-X (@Aibohphobia )

There is always something to learn. While preparing Nano I realized that Gigabyte Z170n Gaming 5 (Bios F21) is now able to control fan using PWM, but also DC..:D That's really useful for case fans! So Nano² will remain quiet (even silent on idle/low chage) and powerful!

Here is the last gallery of prepared Nano² (it's missing RAM and SSD) :




Farewell Nano²!
 

ricochet

SFF AFFLICTED
Oct 20, 2016
547
345
There is always something to learn. While preparing Nano I realized that Gigabyte Z170n Gaming 5 (Bios F21) is now able to control fan using PWM, but also DC..:D
What did you do exactly in your case? Did you access via the Bios on Boot-Up or via the Gigabyte App Center (SIV, Bios Setup)?