Please, help with A4-SFX build...

ladyalchemist

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Nov 29, 2018
10
1
Hello to all SFF and A4-SFX enthustiasts :) I need your help ;) (I'm sorry for so much text, I will make my questions bold...)

I want to build a powerful SFF PC with RTX 2080. It wil be my first PC build ever (now I have a laptop). I would like to use a silver Dan A4-SFX v3 because I need the lightest (and smallest) computer possible, and this case weights only 1,2 kg and is the lightest as I know.

I need it for VR - Pimax 5k+/8k in the future :) playing and developing (so it would be my gaming rig and workstation). Now I have Samsung Odyssey+. So I will need lots of fps for vr. For playing "flat" games I'm going to buy 4k tv oled 120hz (I know that I will not achieve both 4k and 120fps with these components)
and maybe 1440p 120-144hz ips monitor. But first I'll probably buy a portable monitor (1080p 60hz).

I will probably change the GPU (2080) in about 2,5 year (next gen).

I've chosen pc components initially, but I have some doubts and questions.

I will move this computer (in a backpack/suitcase or from room to room with my hands <and I'm a woman so about 6 kg PC is a maximum for me to carry comfortable>) so I will rather not use water cooling.

I will not delid the cpu also.

So probably it would be difficult to cool Intel i7 9700k or i7 8700k in my case, am I correct?

Several people advised me to choose i7 8700 (non k) or Ryzen 2700 (non x).

It was hard for me to decide, but now I want the Ryzen 2700 because it has more cores, it's cheaper and will be better for multitasking. AMD confirmed that AM4 motherboards will be supported until 2020, so if they release great cpus in April, I could switch to it.

This is my shopping list ;) at this moment:

Psu: Corsair SF600
Cpu: AMD Ryzen 2700
Cooler: Noctua NH-L9a ? /Black Ridge/ Cryorig C7/C7 Cu
Mobo: Asus Strix x470-I Gaming
GPU: Gigabyte gtx 2080 Windforce OC ? (I don't like blowers)
RAM: 2x 16 gb Gskill Trident Z RGB 3200 MHz CL15
Storage: ssd M2 Samsung 970 Evo 500 gb (for OS, programs and work), 2,5" ssd Samsung 860 Evo 1TB (for games) and maybe one more, HDD for files and backup.

As I counted, the entire computer (components+ a4-sfx case) should weigh about 4,2 kg + about 0,8 kg of portable monitor + keyboard+ mouse + VR O+ set about 1 kg.

I have some questions:
1. What do you think about this build, components?
2. I heard that Ryzen 2700 guarantees the socket for next gen cpu (April 2019?), has better cooler than i7 8700, but doesn't give a boost above 60 degrees (some kind of throttling?), however, apparently the i7 8700 deals with it to 100 degrees. Is it true?
3. Will Black Ridge cooler fit into Asus Strix x470-I Gaming and will not block any RAM slot?
4. Which cooler will be the best in my case? Noctua NH-L9a?
5. What do you think about this mod:


Would this mix fit into a4-sfx? Would it be easy for me to do?

6. Probably I can't use stock Wraith Spire cooler from Ryzen 2700? Can I use it as a case cooler?
7. Asus Strix x470-I Gaming has two M2 slots, one on the back. I heard that m2 disk on the back would be fried in A4, is it true?
8. Could you please help me to choose the correct/good length of the custom cables?



I need to build this PC as soon as possible (in the coming days), so I would be grateful for your answers. Please help. Thank you very much in advice for your time :)
 

Cheng

Caliper Novice
Sep 29, 2018
22
3
1. B450i is probably enough for 2700
2. I am running 2600, cpu idle temp is 47c°, when gaming it is 65 c°. Since 2700 is also TDP 65, you can expect similar result
3. I am using Noctua L9i for cooling (L9a is for intel cpu, L9i is for amd). After reading many posts here, I think you can improve the temperature by:
1. Using Cryorig's C7 or C7 cu (people have complained about the fan noise of C7 so you can replace it with a noctua A9)
2. If you stick with L9i, try a fan duct mod like this. The problem with L9i is that it is above 10mm away from the side panel, thus it cannot suck in fresh air effectively. A duct would alleviate this issue.

4. The first batch of black ridge is defective which is unfortunate. You can check out Dan's post here. If you can wait for the fix then it is a marginally better choice than L9i according to some of the posts in the aforementioned link. Since the manufacturer is in europe, shipping fees are likely to be higher if you are not in the region.

5. If you want to use black ridge, your trident memory won't fit because they are too tall. According to black ridge's spec page:
  • RAM compatibility for modules with a maximum height of 33mm
I use Corsair's vengeance lxp memory which is 34mm and it may work I don't know. But yours definitely won't (any rgb ram is probably too tall for the black ridge to fit)

6. The best cable solution I have seen is this. There is no information about the length though. You can order the same cable config from here.

7. I don't know if the spire fan would mount onto the case as case fan, but I don't think a bottom fan is necessary. Try the fan duct mod or get a c7.

8. I didn't bother to try to mount a m.2 onto the back of the mobo. There is simply no airflow there, the case is too tight. A front mount ssd + front m.2 is definitely a better choice.

I don't know much about the other points you mentioned so I won't try to answer them here.
 
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ladyalchemist

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Nov 29, 2018
10
1
1. B450i is probably enough for 2700
2. I am running 2600, cpu idle temp is 47c°, when gaming it is 65 c°. Since 2700 is also TDP 65, you can expect similar result
3. I am using Noctua L9i for cooling (L9a is for intel cpu, L9i is for amd). After reading many posts here, I think you can improve the temperature by:
1. Using Cryorig's C7 or C7 cu (people have complained about the fan noise of C7 so you can replace it with a noctua A9)
2. If you stick with L9i, try a fan duct mod like this. The problem with L9i is that it is above 10mm away from the side panel, thus it cannot suck in fresh air effectively. A duct would alleviate this issue.

4. The first batch of black ridge is defective which is unfortunate. You can check out Dan's post here. If you can wait for the fix then it is a marginally better choice than L9i according to some of the posts in the aforementioned link. Since the manufacturer is in europe, shipping fees are likely to be higher if you are not in the region.

5. If you want to use black ridge, your trident memory won't fit because they are too tall. According to black ridge's spec page:
  • RAM compatibility for modules with a maximum height of 33mm
I use Corsair's vengeance lxp memory which is 34mm and it may work I don't know. But yours definitely won't (any rgb ram is probably too tall for the black ridge to fit)

6. The best cable solution I have seen is this. There is no information about the length though. You can order the same cable config from here.

7. I don't know if the spire fan would mount onto the case as case fan, but I don't think a bottom fan is necessary. Try the fan duct mod or get a c7.

8. I didn't bother to try to mount a m.2 onto the back of the mobo. There is simply no airflow there, the case is too tight. A front mount ssd + front m.2 is definitely a better choice.

I don't know much about the other points you mentioned so I won't try to answer them here.


Thanks for reply :)

Indeed, you're right, good point. B450i would be good enough. They are similar, x470-i is more expensive, rather for overclocking and multi-gpu sli support. But there is a small price difference, so maybe I will choose x470-i "just for the future". I will think about it.

As dondan wrote, L9a is for AMD ;)

I heard that Cryorig C7 fan is too closer to the side panel and maybe for that reason it is louder... But It also sounds strange sometimes outside the case, so... I have read this post about defective Black Ridge, but maybe the next production series will be ok.


But thanks about this information about Black Ridge and RAM slots. I would like to have this RGB RAM, so probably I will buy Noctua L9a.

Fan duct tape sounds interesting, but I don't know how to make/where to buy it. Your link doesn't work, but I found this one :

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/acrylig-fan-duct-for-noctua-nf-a-9.9279/#post-117339

And your last link - this website is in Chinese, I don't speak Chinese (maybe I should learn ;) ) and even Google Translate doesn't help, because most of the text is on the pictures ;P

Maybe I will build the PC first with the standard cables and then buy custom cables.
 
Last edited:

Cheng

Caliper Novice
Sep 29, 2018
22
3
Thanks for reply :)

Indeed, you're right, good point. B450i would be good enough. They are similar, x470-i is more expensive, rather for overclocking and multi-gpu sli support. But there is a small price difference, so maybe I will choose x470-i "just for the future". I will think about it.

As dondan wrote, L9a is for AMD ;)

I heard that Cryorig C7 fan is too closer to the side panel and maybe for that reason it is louder... But It also sounds strange sometimes outside the case, so... I have read this post about defective Black Ridge, but maybe the next production series will be ok.


But thanks about this information about Black Ridge and RAM slots. I would like to have this RGB RAM, so probably I will buy Noctua L9a.

Fan duct tape sounds interesting, but I don't know how to make/where to buy it. Your link doesn't work, but I found this one :

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/acrylig-fan-duct-for-noctua-nf-a-9.9279/#post-117339

And your last link - this website is in Chinese, I don't speak Chinese (maybe I should learn ;) ) and even Google Translate doesn't help, because most of the text is on the pictures ;P

Maybe I will build the PC first with the standard cables and then buy custom cables.

Here is the link to the fan duct post: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/cryorig-c7-vs-noctua-l9i-with-and-without-fan-duct.8209/

It might look difficult to make but as long as you can find a local acrylic supplier, it is actually quite easy to make this mod. If your heatsink+fan is taller than the ram, then you only need one piece acrylic instead of two. All you need to measure is the position of the screws on the block. (The width and length of the block are much easier to measure) There are four long screws that come with L9a, you can use those with the fan duct.

Definitely get some custom cables for this case, it's worth it. You can check out this website for more info: https://www.pslatecustoms.com/collections/dan-a4-sfx
 
Last edited:

Cheng

Caliper Novice
Sep 29, 2018
22
3
Here are my recommended PC build lists. I update these list everytime new hardware will be released:

High-End: https://geizhals.at/?cat=WL-677321
Intel-Performance: https://geizhals.at/?cat=WL-678542
AMD-Performance: https://geizhals.at/?cat=WL-890263
Pricebreaker: https://geizhals.at/?cat=WL-678544

Thanks Dan! I hope you can include these links on your dan case official website and on SFF's website as a recommended reference build. It would be very helpful for people who are don't know about the performance and thermal limit of the case.

P.S. Just curious why you picked Gigabytes itx mobo over strix b450i.
 

ladyalchemist

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Nov 29, 2018
10
1
Cheng, thank you for instructions :) I will try to find local acrylic supplier then. And thanks for the custom cables website :)

Thanks Dan! I hope you can include these links on your dan case official website and on SFF's website as a recommended reference build. It would be very helpful for people who are don't know about the performance and thermal limit of the case.

P.S. Just curious why you picked Gigabytes itx mobo over strix b450i.


I agree with Cheng :)

Thank you Dan :)

I will consider Gigabyte mobo because of the price.

And I am curious why you picked Ryzen 2700X over 2700 (non X)?.

Some owners of such build complained about 2700X. And in this “High-End” list there is 2700X (TDP 105) with Black Ridge (max. 95 TDP ?).

I would like to ask about i7 9700k/8700k also.

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/dan-a4-sfx-v3-9700k-rtx-2080-ti.9740/

Dhommi has nice build. First I wanted i7 9700k, but I heard about high temps of this CPU. Several people advised me to choose i7 8700 (non k) or Ryzen 2700 (non x) and I decided to go with 2700.

But when I saw his build… Hmm…

Dhomii is happy with this build, but he writes that “the sound is currently like a jet engine when in-game. “ So I don’t know if it's a good option for me, and how it would be with Ryzen 2700 (or 2700x).


Dondan, what do you think about i7 9700k (TDP 95) in A4-SFX (and without water cooling)? And would there be a big difference when using Black Ridge vs Noctual L9i?

For games and for work (Unity 3d, multitasking etc.).



And I also see a problem with Black Ridge.

in some German shop (I'm not sure if I can write names on the forum) DAN A4-SFX together with Black Ridge in the set is available (BR is cheaper in the set) for purchase, but the status is “We ordered this item but there is no confirmed delivery date yet.” And in this shop the Black Ridge itself has a status “Unknown”. So I don’t know how quickly the second production series will be delivered and I don’t know if it is worth waiting. And I can buy a case without the Black Ridge right now... I would like to have my new computer before 15th December… :/ And with the Black Ridge I cannot use RGB RAMs… But on the other hand, they are expensive… ;P Heh... But probably I would like to have it…



Hm… any advice what to do? Will 2700 + Noctua be good enough? Or i7+ Noctua/Black Ridge? Wait or not to wait (for A4-SFX+BR set), etc.?
 
Last edited:

Cheng

Caliper Novice
Sep 29, 2018
22
3
Just my 2 cents here, for gaming, you don't need the latest and greatest cpu, it is all about what GPU you are getting. I play overwatch at 1440p @ 130 FPS with high setting. My GPU usage is 85%+ and CPU usage is 30%+. You see where I am going.
 

dondan

SFF Guru
DAN Cases
Feb 23, 2015
1,506
5,957
For me the Intel i7 8xxx and i7 9xxx series is overpriced and not well thought product. AMD offers better temperatures (without the need of setup "Long Power Duration Limit s.o." and more CPU power for the money. Yes you are right I changed the CPU to 2700 none X.
 
Last edited:

dondan

SFF Guru
DAN Cases
Feb 23, 2015
1,506
5,957
I like to know why you pick this CPU instead of a Ryzen one? What application do you use? On what resolution do you play?
 

Aux

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 5, 2018
179
153
the i7 8086 is an anniversary chip . . . . its why I bought it . ..

absolutely irresistable . . . a marketing ploy but it got me . . .

relatively for single threaded stuff, intel is better, though costlier. for multi threaded then amd is equivalent and cheaper.
for gaming, the graphics card is the critical path ... .

amd wins for us all with price forcing Intel to compete . . . on price
heres hoping for some competition in the graphics card market ..
 

dondan

SFF Guru
DAN Cases
Feb 23, 2015
1,506
5,957
Fun fact: If you run the Intel with the same clockspeed as the Ryzen 2x00 for example 4Ghz the AMD is faster. So the single thread performance is only better because of higher clock.
 

Aux

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 5, 2018
179
153
yes, i have heard that . . .
but I am still on the fence re buying amd . . . . maybe the next pc build I do I will try one .. . maybe .. .. .
 

ladyalchemist

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Nov 29, 2018
10
1
Just my 2 cents here, for gaming, you don't need the latest and greatest cpu, it is all about what GPU you are getting. I play overwatch at 1440p @ 130 FPS with high setting. My GPU usage is 85%+ and CPU usage is 30%+. You see where I am going.

For me the Intel i7 8xxx and i7 9xxx series is overpriced and not well thought product. AMD offers better temperatures (without the need of setup "Long Power Duration Limit s.o." and more CPU power for the money. Yes you are right I changed the CPU to 2700 none X.


Thank you Cheng and Dan.

So I'll take Ryzen 7 2700. And I don't want to wait so long for new Black Ridge - I'll buy A4-SFX with Noctua L9a. And maybe I will try to make this acrylic fan duct. With the Black Ridge I could have a problem with fitting it on the motherboard, not to mention rgb RAM.

And now, when the specification of new Zen 2 AMD processors leaked, I am more confident in choosing Ryzen 2700. With this AM4 socket, after some time, I can sell my Zen+ CPU and exchange it for Zen 2 or Zen 3.

And yes, I know that GPU is more important (especially on 1440p and above) but I would like to avoid the bottleneck, choose a good cpu and I will use my PC also for work and multitasking (in this case Ryzen should be better because of more cores). In two years I will probably change the 2080 card for the next generation.
 

Sldr

Trash Compacter
Feb 7, 2017
51
94
I like to know why you pick this CPU instead of a Ryzen one? What application do you use? On what resolution do you play?

Intel - or better: Intel's motherboard chipsets - have never let me down. I can't forget my own personal 1st hand experience with "bad" AMD motherboards in the past. And yes, obviously I know very well that that's all in the past, and AMD has come a very long way, but that's just how my mind works.

I game at 3440x1440 100Hz, mostly FPS games...
 

Aux

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 5, 2018
179
153
same,
I have intel pcs going back to 97 that still work. . .not the same hard drives but . ..
my last amd failure was 2008, but I keep being reminded about it . . . .