S4 MINI Classic (S4M-C)

CubanLegend

Steely-Eyed NVFlash Man
Dec 23, 2016
812
972
smallformfactor.net
I picked up an i7-8700K and a Strix Z370-I and ran some thermal tests in an S4 Mini. Here's what you can expect to see with two of the more popular coolers, a Noctua NH-L9i and a Thermolab LP53 (using the Noctua fan):



Details:
Test Configs:
The CPU was stressed with Prime95 26.6 (no AVX) with 8K in-place FFTs. All testing was done in an S4 Mini. The following images show how the coolers were mounted:

BIOS/UEFI Settings:
The latest BIOS update is supposed to disable multicore enhancement by default but it still reverts to overclocking focused "Auto" settings once you enable XMP for your memory. As a result, the CPU will draw about 120W at 4.3GHz before power limiting and throttling to 95W at 3.9-4.0GHz. When properly tuned, the CPU power drops to 86-88W and maintains 4.3GHz under all-core load. The "Tuned" settings listed below simply force the processor back to stock behavior. The VCCIO/VCCSA voltages work fine for typical DDR4-3200 and can be adjusted for higher speed kits.

VRM Heatsinks:
Removing one or more of the VRM heatsinks improves airflow and reduces CPU temperature at the expense of warmer MOSFETs. Since no one will be overclocking much, or at all, in the S4 Mini, the MOSFETs should stay reasonably cool. You can buy some small heatsinks if you want more peace of mind. Here are some thermal images of the bare VRM under Prime95 load:

Delidding:
Just like the 7700K, delidding is helpful and pretty easy to do. I used the Rockit 88 kit and liquid metal. There's no tiny resistors to worry about on this chip.

Thermal Paste:
I used Noctua NT-H1 for every test except the last. Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut reduced core temperature by 2-3°C but there's nothing wrong with the stuff Noctua includes with their coolers and it's easier to apply.

Conclusion:
Managing the 8700K in the S4 Mini is a lot like the 7700K and 6700K before it. Expect to spend some time getting temperatures under control by delidding, tuning, or modding. My guess is that the i7-8700 will also be difficult to cool, despite the claimed 65W TDP. Strongly consider the i5-8400 or Ryzen 5 1600 for an easier time. For cooling, like @Josh | NFC has mentioned before, Noctua is still the best overall when considering mounting, compatibility, and price.
This is amazing! @ceski, this is truly a mainline review-site comprehensive-style review, Thank you!

Although I wont plan to upgrade my 7700k/z270i anytime soon since I'm sitting on a delidded CPU with a stable -.055v undervolt w/all cores at 4.5GHz and XMP at 4000, so far with that I'm satisfied and my 1080 mini's OC should hold my performance numbers up into the long haul of my build for future 4K gaming.

BUT: I'm convinced this guide of yours should be stickied to the OP, and it will certainly help those who are looking to build a new system in the S4 Mini and maximize performance! a 6-core 12 thread, 1080Ti are truly the new top-performance benchmark for this chassis, and it's a miracle of cooling that we can get and maintain manageable temperatures on these chips with such a small coolers and fans.

AND: I learned something new: where you said "when you disable multicore enhancement by default but it still reverts to overclocking focused "Auto" settings once you enable XMP for your memory. As a result, the CPU will draw ... more power and throttle." I didn't know this. So you TUNED the UEFI settings to kind of force the processor back to stock behavior... My question is: How would I figure out what MY 7700k's stock "VCCIO/VCCSA voltages" are, considering I have a DDR4 kit at 4000MHz XMP stable (you said it might have to be adjusted for higher OC'ed kits)? And what should I set my IA AC, & IA DC Load Line's to? I'd basically like to see if I can squeeze even LOWER temps out of my 7700k if possible, since all I've got is a simple undervolt & all-core OC.

Also, I didn't know you had used NT-H1 on the delidded 8700k! WOW! I didn't know it was THAT good! :) And the Kryonaut Liquid Metal only dropped temps by another 2-3°C, Noctua truly are thermal dissipation gods! :D

And its great to see that the MOSFET heatsinks being removed is working to lower temperatures, I feel SO VINDICATED by all this conclusive research, I still don't get why ASUS sells these tiny Mini-ITX boards with such tall heatsinks when all they do is hurt CPU temps, and the MOSFETs run cool enough without them anyway.

Oh and seeing the LP53 on top again as the thermal KING of the S4 mini, truly is a validating metric! whenever I look back at my build, I always consider the waiting, and zipties, and the figuring out the fitment, totally worth it in the end. I know now that we figured out how to mount it into a Z270i and Z370i with MINIMAL RAM interference with the fins in the right orientation, but us having this knowledge is not as important as sharing it, to let all know that better cooling and lower CPU temps ARE possible on a Top Intel "K" CPU in the S4 Mini. We can truly have a "no-compromise" 7700k/1080 or 8700k/1080Ti build, and not worry about throttling! :D

EDIT: Question: How did you know what the latest BIOS update for your Z370i contained? On the site it just states "stability & bug fixes", how can i find out exactly what was changes on my z270i's BIOS upgrades? I'd certainly like to know this. :D
 
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DocH

G4G
Apr 2, 2017
311
305
I'm sure this has been asked, but what is the consensus on the Gigabyte 1070 Mini vs. MSI 1070 Aero ITX? The MSI has a larger fan and looks better... Does it also perform better?
hmm i don't think anyone has tested both those cards maybe josh has. Performance largely depends on heatsink and fan correlation. Small heatsink and large fan has terrible cooling as it has been proven with the MSI GTX 1080 ti Armor.

Do note larger fans have better sound profiles. If the msi has the larger heatsink and fan it should perform better however if some of that heatsink was sacrifice for fan then it could cool the same. I think you will be fine with either as they usually pull fresh air straight from outside the case so go with what aesthetics pleases you more. just read the reviews on each and it should tell you how they perform.
 

fpark12

Efficiency Noob
Sep 18, 2017
5
8
With the Dynatron heatsink and the fan from the s4 mini recommended noctua cooler I have successfully hooked up everything for my x299 build, everything boots up with no problems but I haven’t had a chance to stress test.

I can confirm that the new Asrock x299e-itx/ac fits in S4 mini nicely and leaves enough room for the hdplex 400w as well as cables. The only minor issue is the cables might block some of the sata ports and make 2-4 of them harder to access. Still because the mobo has 6 ports and I only need 2 it is not a problem. I definitely see myself modding the cables because I simply cannot force them in for how much vertical space this special mobo takes. I am using an i9 7900 as well as zotac 1080ti mini, and I have a wooden 3D bezel + deep power switch. Boot wattage is around 80-90W, and the voodoo 350W power brick is able to handle the initial spikes. So far so good!
 
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|||

King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
758
Tidied the wiring on my build

You may want to rotate the heatsink so it doesn't exhaust directly on the first memory module. Josh has seen significant deterioration and failure of memory with that.

And the Kryonaut Liquid Metal only dropped temps by another 2-3°C, Noctua truly are thermal dissipation gods! :D

Everyone still abides by the laws of thermodynamics...Kryonaut is not a liquid metal TIM. Thermal Grizzly's liquid metal is Conductonaut and their Kryonaut is just a standard silicone-based thermal paste.
 

Reldey

Master of Cramming
Feb 14, 2017
387
405
I did many builds with the Gigabyte 1070 last year (this year its almost exclusively been the 1080 and 1080ti from Zotac) and having the Scythe push air over the back of the Gigabyte cards was a great boon.
Have you done much work on this with the Zotac 1080 Mini? I have a feeling the backplate doesn't do the card any good, and might just be blocking possible airflow from my scythe fan.
 

Reldey

Master of Cramming
Feb 14, 2017
387
405
The backplate on my 1080 Ti Mini literally does nothing and I'm guessing the 1080 Mini is the same way. There's no thermal pads to transfer heat and it is covered in a protective plastic film that actually insulates heat. I removed mine to fit a scythe fan behind it. This requires removing the heatsink first, so keep that in mind.
Yeah, I am definitely going to do this then. My cooling will be maximum!
 

ECHO

Trash Compacter
Dec 3, 2016
36
31
A friend of mine is coming to measure up my empty (still.waiting.for.a.system) S4. He's planning on an overclocked R7 1700, with a 980ti Mini. Cooling will be a remote (hidden) QDC cooling loop, to be powered separately.

He's unsure of his options, re powering the CPU/mobo and GPU, and I'm not sure if a HDPlex 400 would have enough headroom... Any advice?

Edit: He was thinking about a remote PSU too...but surely there's a nicer way XD
 
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slimjim

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jul 5, 2017
198
130
He's unsure of his options, re powering the CPU/mobo and GPU, and I'm not sure if a HDPlex 400 would have enough headroom... Any advice?

Edit: He was thinking about a remote PSU too...but surely there's a nicer way XD


Sell the 980ti mini and grab a 1060 mini
 
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Creep

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Mar 2, 2017
91
83
The backplate on my 1080 Ti Mini literally does nothing and I'm guessing the 1080 Mini is the same way. There's no thermal pads to transfer heat and it is covered in a protective plastic film that actually insulates heat. I removed mine to fit a scythe fan behind it. This requires removing the heatsink first, so keep that in mind.

I think I'm going to do this too tomorrow.

Josh or anyone else that may know,
Where can I get the little flat torx/hex screws for the case like in this photo NFC_S4_Mini_Powdercoat+(14+of+14).jpg?

I'd like to know this, as well.
 
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SpringerTheNerd

Cable-Tie Ninja
Sep 7, 2017
169
182
Anyone else ever find themselves checking shipping status over and over again even though it's still days away? I literally have everything for my build except for my HDPLEX. I even have the power brick. It's supposed to arrive Thursday afternoon but I ordered it last Friday and it wait is killing me!
 
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Creep

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Mar 2, 2017
91
83
Dude that build looks great! I wonder why it's sticking out, isnt that one of the new 3D bezels? Ah i see its the 2D vented bezel... is it an older 5mm one like mine? or a thicker 7mm one like the 3D bezels that can fit the entire 1080 /1080Ti mini?

What I would do if I were you is remove the fan shroud on the 1080 mini. It should all fit inside the S4 mini front bezel then, and then you can put your vent cover back on. :D

BUT if you want to keep the shroud, you could remove it and dremel off the tips that are hanging outside the front bezel, its what Josh did to my 1080 in his 1080 mini video here at 6:23. :) Hope that helps!

I must have missed this, appreciate the advice. Sounds like a good idea.