Post DAN A4 Build Best Practices

gamecrusader

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
12
5
Hello all,

late in 2020 I built my first PC in 15+ years! I went right into a SFF build with the DAN A4.1 and couldn't be happier that I did!

As I've been running it for a few months now, I don't have any real complaints. It does get a little loud when playing something intense like Control, but in most other instances it is respectively quiet. I would say that even under load it appears to run (feel) cool.

This all said, as I’ve been out of the PC builders game for some time and I am not familiar with a lot of things like under volting/clocking the CPU/GPU. I have two questions for the community:
  1. Are there any best practices or general guidance around CPU or GPU under volting/clocking with a DAN A4 build that I should be considering?
  2. Are there any testing apps I should run to give me real data on any changes I should be making to my system?
For reference, I followed the $1600 build that Optimum Tech did on YouTube. Here is the full specs:
CPU: Intel i5-10600K
CPU Cooler: Alpenfohn Black Ridge Cooler
CPU Fan: NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap positioned as intake [Replaced Alpenfohn stock fan]
Motherboard: ASRock Z490M-ITX
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz
SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB NVM.e
Video Card: ZOTAC NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge OC
PSU: Corsair SF600 Platinum
Case Fan: NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap installed under PSU and set as exhaust

I am grateful there is a community like this! It’s fun to be back in the PC building game!

Cheers!
 
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nightshift

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 23, 2020
131
69
I don't know about undervolting that much, especially Intel cpu's, but I know I set my Ryzen 3300x to 1,25v (instead of the unusually high stock 1.45v) and it was deemed stable in Cinebench with the L9a+ 3d printed fan duct from Dan's website. Undervolting my gpu is something I should still do to optimize temps better I suppose despite not really playing gpu intensive games. Still set some slight modification up, but I'm sure I could do better if I devote more time and attention to the topic.

It is a good idea to set up the fan curves of your gpu in MSI Afterburner and the cpu + case fans in the BIOS. Btw, you can take your A9x14 fan from under the psu and replace it with a thicker NF-A9 too. Then use your A9x14 under the motherboard (connect the two with a dual fan splitter). These are general stuff I can recommend.

Also, this might be unnecessary, but I screwed the riser cable down and bent that 180° outside the case as sudden as possible, then routed it between the plastic sheet and the metal plate on the gpu side. Since my mobo does not have a full backplate, I wanted to eliminate the riser touching the backside of the mobo completely. I have a good couple of future plans of grandeur for further improvements, but maybe it's better to only mention them after execution.
 
Last edited:

Shaytanya

Trash Compacter
May 5, 2020
35
14
Hello all,

late in 2020 I built my first PC in 15+ years! I went right into a SFF build with the DAN A4.1 and couldn't be happier that I did!

As I've been running it for a few months now, I don't have any real complaints. It does get a little loud when playing something intense like Control, but in most other instances it is respectively quiet. I would say that even under load it appears to run (feel) cool.

This all said, as I’ve been out of the PC builders game for some time and I am not familiar with a lot of things like under volting/clocking the CPU/GPU. I have two questions for the community:
  1. Are there any best practices or general guidance around CPU or GPU under volting/clocking with a DAN A4 build that I should be considering?
  2. Are there any testing apps I should run to give me real data on any changes I should be making to my system?
For reference, I followed the $1600 build that Optimum Tech did on YouTube. Here is the full specs:
CPU: Intel i5-10600K
CPU Cooler: Alpenfohn Black Ridge Cooler
CPU Fan: NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap positioned as intake [Replaced Alpenfohn stock fan]
Motherboard: ASRock Z490M-ITX
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz
SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB NVM.e
Video Card: ZOTAC NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Twin Edge OC
PSU: Corsair SF600 Platinum
Case Fan: NF-A9x14 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap installed under PSU and set as exhaust

I am grateful there is a community like this! It’s fun to be back in the PC building game!

Cheers!
Agree with the above - MSI Aferburner is what I used to do the bulk of the GPU undervolt - which lowered GPU temps approx by 9 degrees. I have also removed the plastic sheet to help with airflow but I note that I am using the 3080FE with the silly fans.
If you have any circulation issues behing the GPU, one option is to rotate the PSU 180 degrees, which does help a lot. Sadly, I have custom cables (I use the AIO) and I couldnt bring myself to switch mine. Instead I have installed a couple of the Noctua 40mm 5000RPM fans around the case to help with airflow - both GPU side and over the M.2 drives.
 

gamecrusader

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2020
12
5
Thank you both for your replies.

Funny you should mention to put an additional exhaust fan under the motherboard. I initially tried that but it wouldn't fit. The fan is like 1mm to tall, so I opted for just one fan under the PSU = \ I suppose I could have used a NF-A9.
See pic: Motherboard/Fan

I am not sure flipping the PSU would be good with my model GPU; it would be exhausting right into the back of it. I could see how that might be useful in a Founder Edition card.

I was going back and forth on removing the plastic shielding. I ended up leaving it and I do like the idea of running the riser cable between the plastic and motherboard plate (but I'm not sure I want to tear it all apart in order to do this).

As for the CPU and GPU under volting, is there any tools/apps I should be running/testing to see what would be tolerable? Would Cinebench give me any of this feedback?

Likewise for the fan curve. I can install MSI Afterburner but is there a way to know what to set these values at? I'm assuming it's sort of a trial and error approach?

Dan A4 Pictures
 

Shaytanya

Trash Compacter
May 5, 2020
35
14
I followed this video

obviously its for the FE, but it would give you a starting point. I ran the benchmarks with Heaven Benchmark 4.0. Although I note, I got to a stable undervolt on Heaven, but sometimes crashed on Watch Dogs Legion - I editied the undervolt very minorly on MSI and then it has worked like a dream - including on CP 2077 at full spec.