NCase M1 x299 build with an i9-7920x

h2plus

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Oct 5, 2017
13
34
With the announcement of ASRock's x299 Mini-itx board, I decided if I could go small and powerful in my upgrade this year. My general goal was to have a reasonable video processing workstation in a form factor that can travel in a backpack. I have a few more things in mind for it, but I figured folks would like to see how an i9 fits into an Ncase and some very early and initial look at thermals, etc.

So, the parts list:
NCase M1 v5 case
Intel - Core i9-7920X 2.9GHz 12-Core Processor
ASRock - X299E-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA2066 Motherboard
Noctua - NH-U9S 46.4 CFM CPU Cooler
G.Skill - Ripjaws Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory
Silverstone - 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply
EVGA - GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB
Noctua - NF-A12x15 FLX 55.4 CFM 120mm Fan
Noctua - NF-A9 PWM 46.4 CFM 92mm Fan
Samsung - 840 EVO 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive

PC Parts Picker Link

The GPU and SSD drive I get to keep from the old build, but sadly nothing else could be reused.






Here is the motherboard and PSU fit. The 24 pin connector is so close - this would be potentially very slick with a super short custom cable. I'll have to make do with the ones that came with the PSU. Because of the NCase extension cable's orientation, I could not mount the PSU with the fan facing inward.


The Noctua U9S without fans. I mounted it with the heatsink closer to the rear of the case. The ASRock daughterboard that is towards the front of the case has SATA and USB 3 connectors that stick up, so mounting the heatsink this way made sense.

View from the top:




Here you can see clearance with RAM and fans installed. Both fans are set to send air left to right, out the rear of the case. The rear fan is raised slightly, and sits on top of the daughterboard there. But this still fits below the NCase fan bracket. Overall the heatsink seems to rise just above the little cage made by the daughterboards and the ram. Doesn't feel too stuffy in there.



I started some of the cabling before putting on the fans. This case and motherboard play well with each other. The PSU is a true SFX, not SFX-L. There is an 8 pin cable running up to the top of the case, along with the front panel light and power button headers. They seem to fit into a tiny space between the motherboard and the PSU bracket. I use the 24 pin cable to keep the vertical running cables contained.



There are 3 fan headers on the motherboard, perfect for the 3 fans I'm putting in this case. One header is on the top left, and the others are right under the SATA connectors. Those can be tricky to get to - for the 120mm front fan I ended up using the included extension cable just so I can have an easier time connecting and disconnecting the fan.

The biggest thing I was worried about was the USB 3 front header. It sticks straight up out of the daughterboard, and the cable and connector are very stiff. It ended up being mostly out of the way, but I'd love to find some sort of right angle or low profile connector. I will also be picking up some of Silverstone's low profile sata cables as there's really not a lot of room in there.

The GPU fit without any drama - it's a reference Titan X Maxwell from EVGA, blower style.


Here you can see the airflow orientation. The 120mm side fan draws cool air in, and the 92 mm cpu fans pass it over the heatsink and out the back of the case. In an ideal world, some carefully run custom PSU cables would really make this pretty, but as it stands there is plenty of room for the air to move.

You can see why the PSU won't fit the other direction - the angled extension plug was hitting the rear of the case. I could have crammed it in there if I really bent the cable, but it didn't feel comfortable. I think I'm happy having the power supply draw its own air from the other side of the case.



And here it is mostly back together!

I am not planning to do any overclocking. The cooler is rated for 140w TDP with no OC headroom, and I'm just fine with that. I'm already cramming 12 cores into a tiny case.

The CPU, GPU, memory, all benchmark to where they should, so I'm happy.

ASRock's fan curve utility actually works pretty well. I have not run a Prime95 or similar stress test, but I did put the computer decoding Red camera raw files for about 20 minutes with CPU showing 100% utilization. The fans went from silent to audible, but not maxed out, and the temperatures seemed to settle around 65 degrees Celsius with my fan curve. Lots more testing is needed but I feel somewhat safe that I'm clearing enough heat for a non overclocked build.

Next steps for this build will be adding some storage options, either through an SAS card, or building a mini 2.5 inch drive raid inside, or both. I really wish ASRock added thunderbolt to this machine. I would have easily taken less USB 3.0 headers, or less SATA in exchange for a TB3 slot. But for whatever even the big boards don't ship with an onboard thunderbolt connector, so it's not a surprising decision.

This was a blast to build and I'm really surprised at how much space there was in this little black box.
 

rfarmer

Shrink Way Wielder
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
2,223
2,272
Very nice build and I agree the Ncase is pretty amazing. I see that you got one of the new Silverstone SFX PSUs, what are your thoughts on it? I know there were a lot of complaints with the 80mm fan versions about noise, I am curious how the 92mm versions are.

The CPU cooler and fan arrangement seems to be one of the best for the Ncase. I am also using a reference GPU in my Ncase and regardless of what people say about noise and temps it works so much better exhausting the heat out of the back of the case rather than feeding it to the CPU.

Very nice build, hope you enjoy it.
 

h2plus

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Oct 5, 2017
13
34
Thanks! With the PSU, I have not had any issues so far, have not heard the fan either. I think the difference between 80 and 92mm is pretty substantial.

I definitely took a chance on it because there weren't any real reviews of it at time of purchase.
 

rfarmer

Shrink Way Wielder
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
2,223
2,272
I did the same thing with my Corsair SF600, bought it back in May of 2016 right after release with no reviews out yet. I have been very lucky with mine and it has worked very well, I do know there are some issues with fan noise with the SF600 but I got one that is really quiet.

Main reason I went with the Corsair because the only other SFX PSU out at that time where the Silverstone with 80mm fans. Read through a lot of reviews and saw way too many people complain about noise.

Glad to see you got a good unit and that Silverstone is back in the race. Competition is usually a good thing.
 

BillyBob

Caliper Novice
Dec 12, 2017
26
6
Where would you put the drive space you mention you might add? How would you fit the SAS card ? Which one do you have in mind.

I ask because I am interested in pretty much the same setup, except using a 14 core CPU.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
3,432
2,459
Really nice build!

I guess you will hear your psu screaming once you put load on both gpu + cpu..:D
 

h2plus

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Oct 5, 2017
13
34
Some updates!

The PSU fan started off perfectly silent, but has become slightly more audible after the first couple of months. It's still very well balanced and the noise is a pleasant white noise. It doesn't help that the PSU fan is about 3 feet away from my left ear, as the tower sits on my desk on the left.

I added 3 7mm 2.5" HDDs in a raid inside. Two on the inside front, one on the outside front of the NCase. My SSD went on the bottom under the GPU. It was definitely a challenge routing all those cables!

The SAS card I was thinking about was a bridge from Addonics that took 4 SATA ports to a MiniSAS connector that was compatible with their towers. I've decided against that for now. But the idea was, since it wasn't a PCIe card, it would be the easiest to mount in the case, with only SATA cables to route.

I think it would be theoretically possible to use one of the rear M.2 connectors together with another M2 to PCIE bridge to add another peripheral below the GPU, but it would require a much longer bridge cable, and it would require bending it back against itself to reverse direction, and all sorts of very careful twisting. If I ever try it, I'll report back, but those things are expensive!

All noise is trumped by the GPU winding up to full blast though, whenever I play any demanding game. That's to be expected from a high wattage blower card, but it basically means that worrying about things like the PSU noise under load are sort of moot. I added a slim 14x92mm Noctua fan under the PSU to help suck in some cool air, and I think it did help a bit with noise but it's mostly for peace of mind that nothing will melt.

Next wish-list item when budget and time will allow will be to get some custom length PSU cables to really cut down on internal clutter.

All that being said, I still can't get over how classy and nice this tiny black monolith looks sitting on the desk compared to pretty much any other system I've built/owned.
 
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Wahaha360

a.k.a W360
SFFLAB
NCASE
SSUPD
Feb 23, 2015
1,983
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working on a similar build now, good to know someone tried before buying the parts.
 

thefiend1

Trash Compacter
Oct 6, 2017
35
6
I started some of the cabling before putting on the fans. This case and motherboard play well with each other. The PSU is a true SFX, not SFX-L. There is an 8 pin cable running up to the top of the case, along with the front panel light and power button headers. They seem to fit into a tiny space between the motherboard and the PSU bracket. I use the 24 pin cable to keep the vertical running cables contained.

Hey H2Plus! Was just curious how everything is going to still with this build. Im waiting for the availability of the 9920x (the refresh of the 12 core 7920x) and im currently trying to decide how much wattage im going to need for the power supply. Originally I was going to go with the corsair 600 watt but I noticed Seasonic is releasing a 650 watt SFX-L (slightly smaller sfx-l by 5mm) so now im tossed up. GPU is the 2080ti. Also, did you figure out a solution for the USB 3 header cable?

Thanks!
 

Soules

Caliper Novice
Bronze Supporter
Feb 26, 2018
24
15
It was definitely a challenge routing all those cables!

Silverstone makes some very slim sata cables that are very flexible and save a lot of space compared to the regular sata cables. They are the SST-CP11. They really come in handy when mounting the drives on the stacked bracket that ncase provides.
 

Gehringerj

X299 Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Oct 1, 2018
18
4
Hello, why not to use one of the m.2 NVME ports on the rear side for a thunderbolt controller card?
Yes it is a helljob to get the wires in but i think it would be worth it for external drives, import, displays...
 

h2plus

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Oct 5, 2017
13
34
Silverstone makes some very slim sata cables that are very flexible and save a lot of space compared to the regular sata cables. They are the SST-CP11. They really come in handy when mounting the drives on the stacked bracket that ncase provides.

I'm actually using 2 of those in there right now, and they work really well! Routing around the sata power was much harder, since they're chained together.
 

h2plus

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Oct 5, 2017
13
34
Hello, why not to use one of the m.2 NVME ports on the rear side for a thunderbolt controller card?
Yes it is a helljob to get the wires in but i think it would be worth it for external drives, import, displays...

As far as I know any thunderbolt card still requires a motherboard header and explicit support which this asrock board unfortunately does not have.
 
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