NFC S4 Mini #193 - "Acrylic Ant-Man" (7700k/1080mini)

CubanLegend

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Dec 23, 2016
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So I got my S4 Mini yesterday. It's #193! Code-named "Antman" by @Josh | NFC

Early pic of the build sent to me by Josh, click it to see Josh's imgur of my S4-mini/1080mini:

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PCPartPicker part list & Price Breakdown:
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PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz Quad-Core Processor (Purchased For $350.00)
CPU Cooler: Thermolab LP53 (Purchased for $56.00)
Motherboard: Asus ROG STRIX Z270i GAMING - Mini ITX LGA1151 (Purchased For $180.00)
Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-4000 (Purchased For $193.00)
Storage: Intel 600p Series 256GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive (Purchased For $92.00)
Storage: Seagate BarraCuda 5TB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive (Purchased For $179.00)
Storage: Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 2TB 2.5" Internal Hard Drive (Purchased For $114.99)
Video Card:Zotac GTX 1080 MINI 8GB (ZT-P10800H-10P) (Purchased For $720.00)
Case:NFC S4 Mini Chassis (Purchased For $155.00)
Case: NFC S4 Mini Flat Frosted Acrylic Front-Bezel w/Dinox Vent Plate & Logo (Purchased For $72)
Case: Aluminum Vandal Switch (Sleeved, Black, Non-LED) (Purchased For $20.00)
Case: Aluminum Vandal Switch (Sleeved, Black, white LED) (Purchased For $20.00)
Case: NFC-SYSTEM HDPLEX Wire Mod (Black) (Purchased For $75.00)
Power Supply: [/B]Dell 330W DA330PM111 AC Adapter charger (Purchased For $104.00)
Power Brick: HDPLEX 300W Hi-Fi DC-ATX Power Supply (Purchased For $85.00)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit (Purchased For $25.00)

Delid Parts:
De-Lid Kit: Rockit 88 - Intel CPU Delid Tool (Purchased For $30.00)
Re-Lid Kit: Re-Lid Kit for the Rockit 88 Delid Tool - 1150 Version (Purchased For $16.00)
CPU Delid TIM: Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra 0.15g Thermal Paste (Purchased For $13.00)
CPU Delid Cleaner: ARCTIC SILVER CAN-60ML ARCTICLEAN 1 & 2 60ML SET (Purchased For $6.00)
CPU Delid Sealant: Permatex 81158 Black Silicone Adhesive Sealant, 3 oz. Tube (Purchased For $6.00)

Extra Parts/Accessories (unused in final build):
2nd CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS2X CPU Cooler (Purchased For $26.00)
3rd CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L9i 33.8 CFM CPU Cooler (Purchased For $39.95)
2nd CPU Case Fan: Noctua SSO Bearing Fan Retail Cooling NF-B9 redux-1600 PWM (Purchased for $15.00)
Thermal Compound: Noctua NT-H1 3.5g Thermal Paste (Purchased For $6.00)
CPU Cooler Fan : SY1012SL12H-PWM (Purchased For $10.00)
Case Fan (GPU bracket): SY1212SL12H-PWM (Purchased For $10.00)
Extra Case Fan: Rosewill RASF-141213 54.5 CFM 120mm Fan (Purchased For $13.00)
Extra Case Fan: Rosewill RASF-141213 54.5 CFM 120mm Fan (Purchased For $13.00)
GPU Fan Adapter: Gelid CA-PWM-02 PWM Fan Adapter Sleeved Cable Cord for VGA Cards Cooler Fan (Purchased For $7.00)
GPU Fan Adapter: 4-Pin Mini GPU Connector Extension Cable (10cm) (Purchased For $14.00)
Case GPU Hole Cover: CaseLabs Flex-Bay Cover, Single Bay, Ventilated, Black (Purchased For $18.00)

Assembly Parts:
USB 3.0 Internal Header cable:
RAYSUN Dual 2 Port USB 3.0 A Type Female to 20 Pin Box Header Cable (Purchased for $10.00)
Tape: Duck Brand 299006 3/4-Inch by 60 Feet Utility Vinyl Electrical Tape with Single Roll, Black (Purchased For $4.50)
Tape: LCDGlue - 12mm Clear Double Sided Adhesive PET Tape - Red Backing - Very High Bond (Purchased For $12.00)
Tape: Gaffer Tape (Premium Grade - Black) - 2 Inch X 30 Yards (Purchased For $17.00)
Black Vinyl Spray: VHT SP942 Vinyl Dye Black Satin Can - 11 oz. (Purchased For $13.00)

Total: $2749.37
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2017-02-06 20:32 EST-0500
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Build Intro, Goals & Challenges
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Build Intro: I've had the same Gaming PC based on an ASUS Crosshair Mobo from 2006, & an aging CPU/GPU, this Full-ATX PC lasted me 10 years, but no longer runs modern games at 1080p60fps or even 30fps. So, I recently came into some money & decided I was due for an upgrade... to an i7-7700k and a GTX 1080!!, but then, I watched a video @Tek Everything where I discovered Josh's "NFC S4 Mini Chassis", and I fell in love, and it became the catalyst for making this 7700k and 1080 mini fit into this SFF build.

Goal/Use of my build: On top of using this PC at home and taking it to friend's houses for game/movie nights. I also take this build to work everyday and game during my lunch breaks, so I required: A no-compromise PORTABLE 4K gaming/4K media PC (w/ 4K UHD Bluray drive support). I wanted this build to use "the fastest performing parts, be quiet, be portable, and be wrapped in luxury" to paraphrase Josh's description of this build. I use this build for all my 1080p gaming on my Optoma GT1080 projector, while I wait for 4K projectors to become more affordable... so I can then use this PC for 4K gaming. I also plan to hook up an external UHD/4K Bluray player once they're available, to enjoy my 4K Bluray Collection on from my PC on my 4K TV!

Challenges: At first, NO GTX 1080 could fit inside the S4 mini until the ZOTAC 1080 mini was released, but even then no one had tried to fit it into the S4 mini yet (with the front panel in place)... ;) So I volunteered & sent Josh my 1080mini so he could test fit & mod it to fit into my S4 mini. He ended up having to shave a bit off the card's plastic shroud and he cut me a custom Acrylic Front Bezel (2D/non-wrap around) that he frosted beautifully for extra GPU fan clearance, so that we wouldn't have to mod the stock fans/heatsink on the 1080 mini. AND IT WORKED! :D
So although my 1080mini was modded to fit inside the S4-mini with a custom 5mmAcrylic Bezel: Going forward, all future S4 Mini customers will be able to purchase an alternate Front Bezel from Josh's site/shop... (slightly thicker 7mm 2D/Flat Acrylic front bezel) that will allow fitment of the ZOTAC 1080 mini in the S4 Mini without ANY modding of the GPU. :D
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MEDIA:
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Below are Josh's Twitter 1080mini video preview , S4 Mini & 1080mini Fitment Project video & his imgur photo album of the Project to fit my 1080mini into the S4 mini chassis:

Here's Josh's preview video of the ZOTAC 1080mini:
And here's Josh's longer video on how he fitted my 1080mini into my S4 mini (completed sucessfully with some creative cutting of the 1080's plastic shroud and using a new, custom, front-bezel made out of Frosted Acrylic!): Josh's 1080mini & S4 Mini Glamour Shots Imgur Album:
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Build Progress - Detailed Pics & Notes (all pics below are in this larger flickr album here)
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STAGE1: Pre-S4-Mini "Open Test-Bench Testing":
STAGE2: S4-Mini Chassis "Build/Fitment" Progress, Final Pics:
STAGE3: Pre&Post CPU Delid Temp Testing
STAGE4: Post Build Mods & Additions:
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Performance RESULTS
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Temperature Results:
CPU Cooling used: Thermolab LP53 & NF-A9-14xPWM
CPU: 4.5GHz, 35/36c idle, 70-78c +/- while gaming
GPU: +200 Core (~2080MHz w/GPUBoost3) & +1GHZ Memory (11GHz effective) 120% power target, 35c idle, max 72c gaming
Performance Benchmarks Setup:
i7-7700k stock we/Turboboost @ 4.5GHz & XMP 2x8GB DDR4-4000Mhz
ZOTAC 1080mini (if OC'ed: 120% power target, +200MHz Core & 11GBps Memory) average 2080Mhz Core w/GPUboost3
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Conclusion:
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All in all, all the parts and accessories I ended up buying & the price premiums I paid on a few parts for buying them early-on, added up to a little bit more than I expected to pay originally (originally aimed at $2300 total using a GTX1070)... but for a build that I plan to keep for 10 years... Let's hope it's enough with a 1080!

Thank you!: Thank you, to this SFF Community (and everyone in the S4 Mini thread) for helping me with finding custom parts and gathering ideas for this build, and Thank you @Josh | NFC for your creativity, hard work, dedication, and skills with building and modding custom SFF Computer Cases that double as works of art in my book! Josh's communication during the process of this custom build was very quick and he was very upfront and thorough regarding all aspects of my build throughout the entire process, he was a pleasure to deal with in answering all my questions while offering practical options & solutions. :D

Go check out Josh's site nfc-systems.com for more pics and S4 Mini & accessories details/prices. Feel free to contact him via his site's contact page if you're interested or have questions for him.
 
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CubanLegend

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A heads-up for UHD content: Even though Nvidia said that Pascal supports PlayReady 3.0 for UHD content, apparently it looks like their drivers do not.
Thanks for the heads up. I remember keeping an eye on that, but since Kaby-Lake released it's not bad since the Integrated graphics on Kaby Lake has added h.265 4K processing improvements and will support the future DRM of UHD Bluray PC drives (once they start hitting retail later this year). So for now, if I want to watch any Playready 3.0 DRM UHD (4K) content like Netflix, supposedly all I have to do it swap my HDMI cable from my 1080 to my motherboard's integrated HDMI, and use the microsoft Edge Browser, that is until NVIDIA's drivers finally support Playready 3.0 DRM for 4K content. :) Plus the z270i STRIX also has an integrated displayport, do I have a nice set of options if I choose integrated graphics for 4K.
 

rokabeka

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Jul 9, 2016
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Pre-S4-MINI Parts Testing Pics/Notes: (Coming Soon!)

S4-MINI Build Progress Pics/Notes: (Coming Soon!)

Final Pics/Notes: (Coming Soon!)
let's define 'soon' :)
I love this color and really interested in the outcome!
 

CubanLegend

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Dec 23, 2016
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let's define 'soon' :)
I love this color and really interested in the outcome!
Soon as in RIGHT NOW! :D

Pre-S4-MINI Parts Testing Pics/Notes
These are pics of me receiving/modding and testing my parts outside of the S4 mini (which is recommended by Josh before putting anything into the chassis):
Rosewill 15x120 vs Scythe 12x120mm slim fans:



Here's those two 120mm fans next to the scythe 12x100mm PWM slim fan too:

NOTE: The two Scythe fans had to be ordered from Scythe directly via email. they were $10 each, $20 total, shipped.



The caselabs cover i WAS going to use (didn't end up using it) to protect the 1080mini if i were to run the S4 without a front bezel and not mod the 1080mini and just let it hang outside the GPU cutout on the front panel of the case.


The ASUS STRIX z270i GAMING mobo:




i7-7700K (don't know if it's a golden batch # but it's a decent chip, lol):



Intel 600p 250GB M.2 SSD (size comparison next to the 7700K):

here's the M.2 heatsink removed to install the 600p in the top m.2 slot:


NH-L9i and the stock fan it comes with the NF-A9x14PWM, the best performing slim 92mm fan (albeit it's a bit ugly with the beige and brown, IMO)

Extra note: Make sure you keep the dense neoprene stuff inside the box of the NH-L9i! it's SUPER USEFUL and it came in handy later when I was propping my 1080mini in place so the big GPU fan wouldn't hit the front bezel of the S4 mini.


Here's my Corsair DDR4-4000 kit (wasnt available in black so i decided to plastidip them black:








RAM/CPU/M.2 all set and ready for the NH-L9i!



Here's the NH-L9i orientation I used for best airflow and CPU cooling potential:


The scythe 12x100mm slim fan BARELY fit on top of the NHL9i, it pushed my RAM stick over a little bit... and it was WAY too loud and didn't cool as well as the stock NH-L9i's beige fan, so i didn't end up using it :( Kinda sucks because I custom ordered it directly from scythe and its a great fan. :(


Putting it all together to test outside the S4 Mini to install windows onto the M.2, but my HDPLEX was being modded by Josh so i had to improvise... I borrowed the 24-pin power and 8-pin CPU power cables from my old PC and used sturdy cardboard to place my z270i in a "floating" position over the side panel of my old PC's Full-ATX case.


It worked! and i was able to install windows and run some CPU benchmarks. THEN i tested the "reinforced PCi-Ex slot" that ASUS marketed and it surprisingly worked, the ASUS GTX 770 I put on top didnt bend sideways at all. :)

For the open air testbench I was idling at about 36/37c at stock clocks, and at about 38/39 C with a 4.8Ghz OC w/XMP, that NH-L9i is a great little cooler if it has plenty of breathing room. :D


Performance tests of the 7700K in that open-air test-bench went smoothly and performance was AMAZING even using my super-old GTX770 2GB card:


So the CPU was great at 4.8GHz 1.28vcore, and RAM was stable with the XMP @ 4000 MHz. BUT I was going to be waiting a while for the S4 chassis, 1080mini and HDPLEX to arrive... so i took some time to copy all my games and media over from my 3.5in drives of my old Full-tower to the new 2 2.5inch laptop drives I was going to install in the S4-mini SSD bracket.

I was able to boot into windows at 4.9/5.0 and 5.1GHz in the open-air testbench at 1.35vcore, but benchmarks all thermally throttled past 90c... So I'd have to wait for my delid to push this CPU past my stable 4.8GHz OC reliably, no problem... I can wait! >=)

So to copy everything I prepared to copy all my games from my current 2TB 3.5in drive to my 2TB 2.5in SSHD (7mm height), and I transferred all my media from my 5TB 3.5in drive to my new 5TB 2.5in drive (15mm height) using the following Dell 850W Server PSU testbench, and a USB 3.0 HDD dock to connect the bigger 3.5in drives to the tech-bench system:


Everything copied over great, I moved all my save files, steam libraries, and Origin and Uplay games over without too many problems. It was a hassle in some cases where i HAD TO redownload parts of the games from Origin or uplay but I didnt have to redownload all of them. :)
My next post will detail my actual BUILDING of the S4 mini once all the parts arrived. STAY TUNED!
 
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rokabeka

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Jul 9, 2016
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niiiiiiice!
I tried the same mod to use the scythe 10cm fan but had worse temperatures. looks like the scythe does not have enough pressure for a dense heatsink.
 
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CubanLegend

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niiiiiiice!
I tried the same mod to use the scythe 10cm fan but had worse temperatures. looks like the scythe does not have enough pressure for a dense heatsink.
Thanks, yeah the scythe 100mm fan looked great but wasn't powerful enough to cool the NH-L9i sadly. :(

WOOPS, I forgot to post pics of what I did when I received the HDPLEX300 and the ZOTAC 1080mini (before I sent them both off to Josh to mod and fit into the S4 mini.) So here's that story:
HDPLEX-300 DC-DC PSU:
Came VERY WELL PACKAGED and safe inside an anti-electrostatic bag.

BUT as you look below, Note how the 24-pin cable is SUPER long and threaded in multi colors EW...So I opted to send the HDPLEX to Josh so he could cut the wires to perfect length for use in the S4 mini and make them all black, and he would even cut a CUSTOM 2-inch 24-pin power cable in ALL BLACK. My S4 build post coming up will show how awesome and perfectly it fits in the S4, so I HIGHLY recommend you opt in to Josh's HDPLEX wire mod.

But for now lets look at the rest of the HDPLEX-300... notice how the DC-DC jack cable has some yellow wires, I want all my cables to be black so I took some of the Black vinyl dye i purchased, and wrapped the connectors of the DC-DC jack and painted it black. Protip: WEAR GLOVES XD



Here's me dying the yellow DC-Dc wires with black vinyl dye:


And the result. with minimal overspray, it matches the other stock black wires nicely:





ZOTAC 1080mini:

I only had 1 hour with the card before I had to pack it and the HDPLEX to ship to Josh so i did a quick picture/size comparison and plugged it into my old Full-ATX build to make sure it wasnt DOA.

So on top of the pictures below I also did a brief unboxing video. and a brief look at the END of the 1080mini so Josh and others would get an idea as to how things looked on it, up close and from all angles. :)


here it is next to my Fuill-ATX build's ASUS GTX 770 and a 3.5in HDD.


Here's a close up of the rear of the card


And a shot of the card powered up in my Full-ZTX system to test it, all lit up w/ a nice white LED.


Then I quickly uninstalled the 1080mini, packaged it back into it's box and I jammed the HDPLEX-300 and all its wires into the 1080 mini's box and sent it off to Josh. :D
OKAY so for real this time, My NEXT POST will detail me receiving the S4/HDPLEX/1080mini back from Josh and putting it all together. :)
 
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CubanLegend

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S4-Mini Chassis Build Progress, Pics/Notes [PART 1 - "Building the PC"]:

So I received my S4 mini last wednesday. I sadly have no pictures of it's packaging sooo, I'll just write about it below: It was an a large box, the S4 mini was suspended nicely with styrofoam in the center of the box. The S4 mini was very carefully wrapped in super heavy seran-wrap style clear plastic wrap, very sturdy. :) And on top of the centered mini was a small cardboard box fitted into the styrofoam which contained My HDPLEX and modded cables, and the S4's Riser, my alternate power button and the 120mm fan bracket. All well packaged and safely stored. :) (Josh held onto my case's original black 5mm aluminum wrap-around bezel for later... when he has time to maybe cut over the front panel GPU vent and put a Dinoc vented cover on it to fit my 1080mini.) :)
So Here's everything laid out on a table, and a closeup of both sides of the table (note the 7700k, the Intel 600p M.2 and the NH-L9i and my RAM were already installed on the motherboard, so the boxes for those components are displayed only for posterity):


My second power button (white LED) next to the S4 mini modded cables that Josh made, and the screws included:


Fitting the 2TB 7mmm SSHD on the left, and the 5TB 15mm HHD on the right of the dual 2.5inch SSD bracket opposite my ZOTAC 1080mini against it's backplate:


The 2 HDDs sorta fit, so it's obvious I'll need to support the card better with some Neoprene from the NH-L9i's box so it worn't sag and so the big fan wont hit the front panel of the S4 when it spins:


My black non-LED power button and my white LED power button. The non-LED one's button is shorter than the LED one, probably because it has no light wiring. But in the end I ended up using the white LED button. So I vinyl dyed it black:


And here is the White LED (with cabling dyed black) power button installed in the S4 on my z270i's power and power light pins. In retrospect I should have installed my HDPLEX300 onto my motherboard first, because the power button DID NOT make it possible to install the HDPLEX300 the "normal way".


Here's the New S4 Mini PCiEx riser installed. It was stored already pre-bent, so installation wasn't too hard. Method of installation was interesting: I plugged the dual-male plastic connector into the mobo end of the riser then I anchored the mobo end over the mobo connector as I forced the GPU end into the GPU, then I just pushed and straightened the mobo end into the mobo:



HDPLEX-300 installation... so here's a doozy. So I had to detach the mobo from the case and I connected all the cables into the HDPLEX and the 24-pin onto the mobo, THEN. I pushed the mobo into place against the rear I/O as far as i could, and using the space left between the mobo and the front panel (which was VERY limited and i did have to squeeze the HDPLEX) I carefully, with some moderate pressure and cramming required, pushed the HDPLEX down and it wedged itself into the case against the front panel. I had put 2 strips of LCD glue on the back of the HDPLEX's back plate to mate it to the inner chassis of the front panel...in case I was going to mount it permanently. But i didnt need to stick it to the front panel at all, the cable mod that @Josh | NFC made for the HDPLEX was so perfect and snug that it sits perfectly against the front panel without any mounting. It's impossible to move it with all the cables plugged in. :D

So here's the HDPLEX300 after being plugged in, before I slid the mobo in and then crammed the HDPLEX into place:


And here is the HDPLEX300 wedged into place, it is super stylish and impossible to move, so I'm not worried about it at all.


Here's the 2 SATA connectors I used for the HDDs, they were so snug but I was able to access and push the SATA cables in with the tip of an XACTO knife (also note the Power button's Power Switch and LED pins, pictured to the left SATA cables):

The farthest HDD had a short cable so i got a longer one from the z270i's box and used it to hide it for better cable management and looks. :)



Also a NOTE: once the Mobo and HDPLEX were in place I only needed to screw the 2 mobo screws by the Rear I/O, the other 2 were inacessable to me due to the cabling of the HDPLEX (and because I dont have a magnetic screw driver, lol)


So here's a size comparison of the Dell 330W power brick, my ASUS GTX 770, the S4 mini, and my old Coolermaster CM Stacker 830 Full-ATX build:



Here it is powered up and running next to my OLD build... goodbye old friend. :,)
 
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CubanLegend

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EDIT for the post above. I had mistakenly displayed the wrong images where the HDPLEX300 was plugged in before cramming, and of the S4 mini size comparison. The pictures that have been fixed now have text in RED before them, sorry for the mistake. :)

So my next post will cover the 2nd part of the Build process. After that I will post some of the final build pics. And then After that I will post a little more about my temperature discoveries from working outside on an open-test bench to now working inside the S4 mini, both stock and OCed. :)
 

CubanLegend

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S4-Mini Chassis Build Progress, Pics/Notes [PART 2 - "Build Fitment"]:

So once I got everything in the build. I realized my 1080's big fan would graze against the S4 mini's inner chassis front bezel if my case was sitting horizontally, and would not graze it when sitting vertically. Hmmm... This was a problem, as I wanted to ensure no fan impact or fitment issues in either orientation. So I ran a test: when I removed the 15mm 2.5in HDD from the SSD bracket, this was resolved and the card didn't graze the inner chassis. BUT I really wanted to be able to have that 5TB drive in my system at all times without it causing problems. :(

So basically I had NO MORE ROOM inside the S4 and had to figure out what to do, I had to make some minor and creative fitment adjustments to get the GPU fan to not graze the case even with the FAT 15mm 2.5in 5TB HDD that was sitting on 1080's backplate, pushing the card OUT and causing the fan problem.

SO I REMEMBERED SOMETHING from Josh's "Teeny Tiny 1080 Build" Video @ 10:25 about some Neoprene that he used to secure the GPU from being pushed OUT like this. And I realized that I remember REMOVING that Neoprene peice earlier, thinking it was an extra, or loose peice... XD So I re-cut another piece of Neoprene from my NH-L9i's packaging and I wedged it back into place where Josh mentioned in his video. It sits in-between the GPU's 6-pin power adapter and the inner chassis frame, pushing the GPU IN towards the case/SSD bracket, so it's level with the case, and prevents the 1080's larger GPU fan from impacting or grazing the inner chassis front panel.

Here's what this perfectly functional peice of Neoprene looked like in it's mounting position (courtesy of Josh's 1080 video):


So the case was able to sit sideways without the GPU fan impacting the edge of the front panel's GPU hole:


Notice how TINY my space between the fan and the front panel's GPU hole, about 2mm! this is more than enough room for other 1080 mini's:


SUCESS, I DID IT! I was able to fit a 15mm SSD in the SSD bracket of the S4 mini, with a GTX 1080 mini all squeezed together. You're probably wondering why I didn't just remove the backplate on the 1080 so I wouldn't have to use Neoprene at all... Well, the backplate created a nice airgap for venting hot air on the back of the GPU between the 1080mini and the SSD bracket mounted HDDs, and because of that the backplate also kept the HDD's cool, and protected from getting cooked by the 1080mini's load temps at the low/mid 70c range. The HDDs only ever reached a maximum temp of 43c when the 1080 was humming away at 75c at it hottest, after hours of gaming.

You can further see the fitment of the SSD bracket on the backplate of the card here, notice how the SSD bracket is kind of bent outwards towards the side-panel from the HDD's flush fitment against the 1080's backplate:


Another fitment note, remember to make sure the HDPLEX cable's clips are pushed down properly, as they could interfere with side-panel fitment if they aren't all set in place (for example, notice my 24-pin power clip is pushed UP here, where the rest are pushed down):


Time to cover the pins on the S4 MINI's PCiEx riser, with some Gaffer's Tape, Looks much better! :
So my fitment was complete! The only sacrifice I had to make was a peice of Neoprene to push the 1080 mini IN towards the case's SSD bracket, so it wouldn't graze the inner chassis when the case was laying horizontally.

My next post will detail the Final layout of the S4-mini build once all was in place and working. :)
 
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CubanLegend

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Final Pics: Final S4-Mini Build Pics

So after it was all said and done and I was able to cram everything I wanted into a tiny 4.3L S4-Mini Chassis... I present to you, S4-Mini #193! Codenamed, "Ant-Man"!
PC Off, On, & On in the Dark:




Here's what the build looked like from both sides:


Truly, portable!
Remember that the RGB on the ASUS Motherboard can be controlled, tweaked and even turned OFF completely, great for movie nights when the LEDs can be a distraction.
 
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CubanLegend

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Wall of text ahead! This post was originally posted in the S4-Mini thread, but it's also part of my build's progress, so I've reformatted it and reposted it in this thread. Pictures included sparingly, for more pictures of my actions below: see the album of all i did here.

CPU Alt. HSF Temp Testing [Pre-Delid, PART1] (Zalman CNPS2X w/ Scythe 12x120 & Rosewill 15x120mm vs Noctua NH-L9i w/ NF-a9x14PWM & NF-B9 Redux PWM)

Storytime: Okay, my Noctua NF-B9 Redux 1600 PWM came in & now that I had the NF-B9 I decided to test a combo of 4 cooling solutions...I tested the NH-L9i stock, with the NF-B9 fan against the Zalman CNPS2X w/Scythe's 12x120mm slim fan and with Rosewill's 15x120mm fan.
Here's the Scythe and the Rosewill isntalled in the 120mm fan bracket included with the S4 Mini, with the Zalman CNPS2X below them:

Ease of installation VS CNPS2X Note: The NH-L9i was way easier to install, the CNPS2X had this great backplate that is highly compatible, but was a pain to line up properly with the motherboard holes to get it to mount correctly. I had to fiddle so much with the backplate trying to fit it properly to the back of the mobo even though it DID fit and didnt bulge the S4's side panel. But here's the most annoying and time consuming part (after you go through and build the HSF/backplate using the instructions): after applying the Thermal Grease (NT-H1), placing the actual CNPS2X HSF onto the CPU... the real pain in the neck was trying to align the HSF mounting holes to the mobo and screw together the HSF with the backplate ALL WHILE holding the backplate up against the mobo simultaneously, as it wanted to pull away from the mobo's backside unless you held it in place before mounting the HSF to it. >_> The NH-L9i has the CNPS2X beat in the ease-of-installation department, hands down, by a landslide.



After all that mounting ordeal, and after testing... I think I came to an already known conclusion with the temps, results were similar to Josh's results in his Mini-ITX cooler video.
Fitting the NF-B9 Redux in the S4-Mini Chassis: Okay so I went to work on the NF-B9 because I didn't' want to give up on it just yet! And I found some household items to help!

So here's my Nf-B9 Redux Fitment project detailed below:

After the NF-B9 came in and I test fitted it I had bad news...

Sadly it didn't come with the proper mounting screws for the NH-L9i, but I used the alternate set of 25mm-fan compatible screw that came with the NH-L9i and it mounted just fine.

ONE HUGE PROBLEM THOUGH: The 25mm-fan compatible NH-L9i screws you have to use to mount it, have bulgy heads and push the S4-mini's side panel out and leaves a clearly visible bulge on the side panel that I personally was NOT confortable having on a permanent basis.


We'd need to countersink/file down the bulgy heads of the screws and drill a little into the NF-B9's screw holes to make them sit flush. Without screws though, the NF-B9 seems to sit nice anf flush and squeezes up against the S4mini's side panel, leaving no side panel bulge, BUT... I dont think this is ideal though since you'd normally want at least 1 or 2mm of room between the fan and the side panel to mitigate turbulence, and properly deliver airflow to the fan, correct?

I filed down the 25mm mounting screw heads with a little kitchen knife sharpener/file thingy, then I bored out the mounting holes on the top of the NF-B9 with an electric drill slowly until the new flatter screws could just barely sit flush with the top of the fan surface.

And it worked, they were flush!! I DID IT!


It fit inside the S4 mini... but with ZERO space between the side panel and the fan itself since it was all flush now without that bulge from before, it looked way better than the stock NH-L9i fan, YAY!!!...

BUT...after testing it this time with a flush panel the temps actually went up by 4-5 degrees from 52/53c idle to 57/58c idle... DANG IT!!! I think the NF-B9 (or any cpu case-fan for that matter) needs some space between it and the side panel to function optimally... so i took off the side panel and literally in a matter of 3-5 minutes the temps DROPPED down to 50/51c idle!!! Which is actually inline with the performance of the NH-L9i's stock fan (with the side panel ON)

So while I had the side panel off still, I powered down and swapped out the NF-B9 with the stock NH-L9i beige fan and my temps went down AGAIN to 46/47c! :D (and i verified my thermal NT-H1 applications on all tests)...


So according to my testing...the NF-B9 is sadly 4c hotter than the stock NH-L9i fan overall. :( So after all that I put my side panel back on and my idle temps were back to the 50/51c i noted above with the stock beige fan. OH ALSO, if i drop my 4.8GHz OC and go back to the 4.2GHz stock and set my BIOS to auto with Speedstep enabled (so the chip will Turboboost itself to 4.5 when it can) its stock vcore is 1.22v and it sits turbo'ed at 4.5 all the time and the temps drop to 46/47C with the side panel ON. :D So that's a nice temp for you guys out there looking to plop a i7-7700K/NH-L9i/HDPLEX-300 into an S4 mini, without delidding. ;)

NF-B9 Final Thoughts:
Oh well, so all in all the NF-B9 was a BUST even though it's stylish and I tried my best to get it to fit as an alt to that stock/ugly beige fan of the NH-L9i. I'm a temp whore soooo... yeah, I'll live with the ugly beige fan sitting on my Noctua NH-L9i, peeking through the holes of my side-panel, in the name of LOW IDLE TEMPS! :D AND IF ANYONE KNOWS OF A BETTER PERFORMING HEATSINK FOR AN S4-MINI that can mount the beige NH-L9i fan or any other 90/92mm fan, please... speak up! I'd like to have the best one to have all my idle and load temps as low as possible, because Once I pop out my 7700k and delid it next Wednesday with CLU, there's no turning back to get pre-delid temp readings for science/for others' consideration. :)
Temp/Sound Testing Methodology, Results, and Part 1 Conclusion:
Temp Test Methodology:
All done in a room at 72f/22c ambient. I tested the following configs last night WITH MY S4 mini IN THE VERTICAL POSITION, with the S4 standing on it's non-vented side (just like Josh had it setup during his last 2 temp tests @ 4m:19s into his Mini-ITX Cooler Video here). ALL TESTS WERE DONE WITH the 7700K @ 4.8GHz stable at 1.25 vcore, with XMP on (2x8GB DDR4-4000), Speedstep/CPU C-states/Asus Core Enhancement OFF & LLC at Level 4. Fan curves were all using the ASUS' "Q-fan" PWM asjustment tool in the UEFI bios with fan curve preset of "Turbo" (which is a touch more aggressive than "default/standard") and leans more towards a ~20% stronger/louder fan curve than default).

Sound Level Methodology: I just sat the S4 mini 2 feet away from me at eye level on my desk, in a quiet home with ceiling/tower fans and Cenrtral A/C turned off for the quietest "i can hear a pin drop" setting.

Neat Discovery: Cool thing I found in the ASUS z270i's manual is that both the CPU_FAN/CHA_FAN's fan curves are tweak-able and controllable inside the UEFI bios! :D (it doesn't seem like the "AIO_PUMP_FAN" header has as much fan curve tweaking available in the UEFI as the other two headers)

Results: (listed in order of loudest to most quiet)
[Quietness(lol) 1.0-5.0 "loudest-to-quietest"]-(hottest core temp "usually core #3" @ idle/desktop) - Fan config
[1.0]-(58c)-Noctua NH-L9i with ONLY a Scythe 12x120mm PWM in the 120mm bracket plugged into CPU-Fan header (for fun)
[1.5]-(49c)-Zalman CNPS2X w/Scythe 12x120mm PWM in the 120mm bracket plugged into the CHASSIS-FAN header
[2.0]-(49/50c)-Zalman CNPS2X w/Rosewill 15x120 PWM in the 120mm bracked plugged into the CHASSIS-FAN header
[4.5]-(50/51c)-Noctua NH-L9i with stock fan
[5.0]-(52/53c)-Noctua NH-L9i with NF-B9 Redux 1600-PWM (looks great but by default. screws dont sit flush w/case & side panel has bulge)

S4 Mini CPS2X & NF-B9 Temp Test Conclusion: So both at idle AND under a custom x264 load test, the Zalman CNPS2X & Scythe 12x120PWM/Rosewill 15x120PWM beat out the NH-L9i by 1-2 degrees INSIDE the S4-mini, which is nice (and we already knew that thanks to Josh's video, lol) ... BUT Sadly those 2 120mm slim fans were WAY louder than the Noctua w/it's stock fan, and the Noctua with the NF-B9 1600PWM was even quieter than the NH-L9i w/it's fan, at the cost of a minor temp increase (and it's mounting screws leaving a bulge in the side panel since it barely fit). The Scythe 12x120PWM is the one that is SUPER LOUD when it spins up, and it would be audibly/loudly spinning up just by opening up chrome or desktop apps, before I even loaded up a game. :( the Rosewill would spin up as often as the Scythe but its noise level was a little better.

So which setup will I stick with? Which do I recommend?? That's a tough question. If I gamed with headphones or in a louder environment and didn't mind the fan noise, I'd stick with the CNPS2X and the Rosewill 15x120mm. But since my S4 will be sitting 2-3 feet from me at eye level I need it to be as QUIET AS POSSIBLE when web browsing, running light desktop apps, or watching media. At full LOAD in a game, the NH-L9i setups were comparably about as loud as the CNPS2X combos were was at idle at the desktop... So ideally I'd LIKE to have the NH-L9i for my particular use case. And although i would PREFER the GREY color of the NF-B9 redux's 25x92mm fan since it blends in with the S4 mini and it seemed to run the quietest... it sadly wont fit without modding of the mounting screws and screw holes (kinda like the flush-mounted countersunk screws on the S4 mini's chassis).
Sneak Peak at PART 2 of my upcoming Temp Testing Post: I will include the Thermolabs/Cooltech LP53 HSF, and ALL-COPPER HSF, and pit it against the NH-L9i! I will be using the stock NF-A9x14-PWM fan from the Noctua NH-L9i, and as a thread on [H]ardOCP has noted... with this HSF configuration, the LP53 is between 8-10c COOLER than the NH-L9i!
  • Could I get the LP53 to fit inside my S4 mini?
  • Will it fit on my z270i STRIX mobo, w/proper heatpipe/fin orientation? (fins parallel to RAM)
  • Will it outperform the NH-L9i, inside the S4-Mini, and with the S4-mini's side-panel closed?
I'm so excited to find out, so Stay tuned!
 
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CubanLegend

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So I have yet to receive my LP53 cooler yet... but in the meantime did 4 things to my S4 build!

1. I installed a dual USB 3.0 Internal header adapter and used some creative cabling and empty space inside the S4 to plug in some USB adapters to minimize exterior USB plug use.
2. I was able to fit the z270i STRIX's wifi antenna inside the S4 Mini, while allowing the antenna wires to be plugged in to the rear I/O plugs. (no pics of that, but I fished the wires from the gap between the rear I/O and the interior of the case) I was able to fit the wifi adapter next to the CPU 8-pin power plug on the botherboard, where there was some empty space.
3. I swapped my boot drive (the intel 600p M.2 250GB SSD) from the top M.2 port to the rear M.2 port, I was able to install it into the rear M.2 WITHOUT having to remove the motherboard from the S4-mini! :D
4. Oh and I also received my order of 3/4 inch Sorbothane Rubber feet so I could sit my S4 Mini horizontally!

Here's the dual-USB 3.0 header, for my Steam Controller wifi adapter and for my future Logitech wireless keyboard adapter. I wanted these two adapters to use the internal USB header ports to minimize having to worry about plugging and unplugging them when travelling. (which I do with this S4 mini every day to work) :)


Here's the moved M.2 port, it was awesome not having to remove the motherboard, i just slid it in and screwed it down! :D


Here's my 1/2 inch squishy Sorbothane rubber feet! They kinda squished down from the weight of the S4 because they are squishy, I REALLY wish they were a hard and didn't get squished down, so the S4 could float a little higher than that.




Here's 2 pics of the case and how the Acrylics catches the RGB lighting of the z270i (sorry for iPhone 6 quality pics):
 
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CubanLegend

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It's funny--you ordered a LP53 to replace your NHl9i, and I just Prime overnighted a NHl9i to replace my LP53. XD
I take it your extended testing of the LP53 didn't turn out positively? :( It's only replacing my NH-L9i if the LP53 can outperform it, ;) And thats IF I can get it to fit on my z270i STRIX with the fins parallel to the RAM (which might require removing the VRM heatsinks or a RAM stick).
 

Runamok81

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This is probably the BEST build on SFF at the moment. It is hand's down amazing.


Basically, this is the most powerful and energy efficient build I have ever seen wrapped in a luxurious chassis. On top of that, it's demonstrative of the collaborative spirit of the SFF Forum members. Pooled inspiration, amazing outcome. Bravo to @Josh | NFC for helping make this both a reality, and offering the mod up to customers. @CubanLegend - Looking forward to see what other enhancements you can pour onto this build.
 

CubanLegend

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CPU Temp Testing [Pre-Delid, PART2] (Thermolabs/Cooltech LP53 vs NH-L9i):

My Thermolab LP53 came in yesterday afternoon.
And I started work on temp benchmarking my current NHL9i this afternoon...

Here's a preview of what I tested with my NT-H1 thermal compound on my 7700K at 4.5GHz turboboost @ stock vcore 1.24v:
  • IDLE temp
  • LOAD temp (after 10 minutes) or LOAD temp once I hit 99c/thermal throttle with a time-stamp
  • AMBIENT temp.
I'll be testing the following software:
  • Prime95 26.6 (custom, run FFTs in place, & max FFT size of 8kb)
  • ASUS ROG Realbench v2.43 Stresstest (set to use 8GB of RAM)
  • a custom x264 load/stability test, on all 8 threads (custom test from the Overclockers.net Kaby Lake OC'ing thread)
I'm testing both coolers with the fins parallel to the RAM in the following configurations (with the S4 Mini side panels CLOSED):
  • NHL9i +NF-A9x14 - STOCK (with motherboard VRM heatsinks ON)
  • NHL9i +NF-A9x14 - without mobo VRM heatsinks
  • LP53 +NF-A9x14 - without mobo VRM heatsinks
Right now, as I've just completed the benchmarks and am typing up the results.... the results are IMPRESSIVE. 1st, after removing the VRM heatsinks, I came across a decent temp drop that I will share in the results. 2nd The LP53, it WAS INDEED worth the 1 month wait after purchase to arrive, for sure, it has replaced my NHL9i going forward into my delid to occur tomorrow.

... okay I typed up the results before posting, so I merged them into this post. :D

NHL9i vs LP53 S4 Mini RESULTS (AMBIENT TEMP was 74F or 23C at all times):

Prime95_v26.6____IDLE__________LOAD
NHL9i [email protected]
NHL9i no VRMs___39c____________97c
LP53 no VRMs____36c____________92c

Realbench Stress__IDLE__________LOAD
NHL9i [email protected]
NHL9i no VRMs___39c____________94c
LP53 no VRMs____36c____________90c

x264 Custom Load_IDLE__________LOAD
NHL9i Stock______39c__________99c @ 2min
NHL9i no VRMs___39c________([email protected]) 97c
LP53 no VRMs____36c________([email protected]) 95c

RESULTS ANALYSIS:
Removing the VRM heatsinks gave me anywhere from a 2-4c improvement in load temps when using the NHL9i. this also allowed my load temps not to fail before the 10 minutes, where they were hitting 99c otherwise. :D
The LP53 beat the NHL9i in the same configuration without the VRM heatsinks, it dropped my idle temps by 3c, and my load temps dropped between 2-5c.

So here's the kicker! I went from... using the NHL9i with the VRM heatsinks (which I was using all this time), to the LP53 without the VRM heatstinks. This resulted in my CPU no longer throttling and failing my load tests, while dropping my load temps from reaching 99c in 2 & 5 minutes, to maintaining my load temps at a steady 90/92c after the full 10 minutes! That's an average of -9c on my load temps! on air! inside the S4 mini! :D :D :D

Pics and LP53 fitment story "1 Small compromise, for a no-compromise All-copper CPU cooling solution!" :
First step was removing the VRM heatsinks after I tested the NHL9i with them ON... the 2 screws for one of the VRM heatsinks was easy to access from the bottom of the mobo, the other two were hidden behind the S4 mini sidepanel, requiring I pull out the HDPLEX, disconnect SATA from the mobo, disconnect my PCI-Ex riser, to slide the mobo over to access the other two screws:

Screws:


how much I had to slide over the motherboard to reach the last 2 screws:


VRMs off with my screw pointing at the VRMs (little black squares)


VRM heatsinks off (I'll have mini heatsinks coming this Friday for all the exposed MOSFETS/VRMs, will install with Pics at that time)


My thermal paste application of NTH1 had great coverage (amount was the size of 1 uncooked rice grain):


LP53's ALL COPPER mounting plate/surface and fins :cool::


LP53 vs NHL9i + NF-A9x14 size comparison NOTE, the LP53 actually overhangs the mounting screws more on the pointy end of the heatpipes, as the LP53 is offset a bit, so that the bent ends of the heatpipes actually protrude LESS than the other end:


Top: NHL9i mounting hardware, bottom: LP523 mounting hardware... truly amazing how minimalistic it is!


CPU cleaned and ready for LP53 mounting fitments tests:


LP53 mounting tests, without having to remove anything (and I even refitted the VRM heatsinks just to verify, although not pictured) you dont have to remove RAM or VRM heatsinks to fit the LP53 with the heatpipes over the M.2 slot, BUT this sadly forces the Heatsink's fins to be perpendicular to the RAM, limiting cooling potential:


But with the fins parallel to the RAM, the LP53 protrudes OVER the first RAM slot on my ASUS STRIX z270i motherboard. Forcing me to pray that it will fit with the heatpipe bends facing the RAM instead, so I don't have to sacrifice RAM...


Here you can see that the LP53 is offset from the motherboard mounting holes by quite a bit when pushed up against the first RAM stick, if trying to fit it with the fins parallel to the RAM...


AAAAND! IT FITS! But see if you spot the small sacrifice I made:


I removed the first RAM slots outer heatspreader, as it was BARELY making contact with the LP53's heatpipe bends... and I was NOT comfortable with that. So you may not even have to do this, if you don't mind the heatpipes touching your RAM. :)


So now comes the hard part, figuring out how to mount the NHL9i's fan onto the LP53!

I used black & thin plastic zip ties, I looped them over the pointy ends of the heatpipes snugly, but I had to loop them under the start of the bendy end of the other side of the heatpipe. The first pic is showing how much I had to slowly, notch by notch, tighten and refit the the zip-ties until they kept the fan SNUG against the LP53:


PROTIP: do the pointy ends first, at they can be lifted off and retightened easily, once you do the bendy ends, you cant move the fan off the heatsink to have enough room to loop the remaining zip-ties easily:
[


Then just cut your ends off:


Reinstall the side panel, and you'll have 5mm of space between the fan and the side panel, where the NHL9i had 9.5mm of space. Your fan might have a slightly more pronounces WOOSH sound, or hum at higher loads, but its not very noticeable to me. My S4 sits 3 feet away at ear level on my desk in a quiet room. :)
If there's any other temp tests you think I should do before my CPU delid, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. :D

Also, any feedback or questions, feel free to share them. :)
 
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CubanLegend

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Wowzer. How does the HDPLEX unit handle all that power??
A 7700K and a 1080 don't really pull as much power as you think they do.

If you check the MEDIA section of the first post in this thread, I embedded some stuff you might want to see in that regard:

At the end of the Twitter video I posted you can see Josh benchmarking the build and it's pulling 235W. And neat the end of the 1080mini Youtube video I embedded right below that Tweet, at 2:21 Josh goes into how efficient the 1080mini was with a 7700k... it hovered at 235-240W in benchmarks and peaked at 265W I think? If I run FurMark and Prime95 at the same time tho... Josh says i could pull 310W or more, which is still within the 330W of the Dell Power Brick, and no one would EVER pull near 330 in normal gaming or even productivity applications, so yeah.
 
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