Sliger SM550 - Compact & Quiet Gaming HTPC

MarcParis

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Hi all,

As some of you already know, I decided to move to Sliger SM550 on my gaming HTPC.
In order to build this gaming HTPC I mostly recycled my former components coming from my previous main gaming RIG.

Here is the list :
  • CPU : Intel Core i7 4770K (not delidded, undervolt 0.95v, 3.7Ghz all cores) (back to 2013)
  • RAM : G.Skill 8Go Trident X 2400Mhz (back to 2013)
  • MB : Asrock Z97 e-ITX/AC (2015...as my original 2013 MB was killed by watercooling leak)
  • SSD 1 : Samsung 840 pro 240Go (2013)
  • SSD 2 : MX500 1To M.2 in startech box (2017)
  • PSU : Corsair SF450 Gold (2016, was originally SF600 Gold...but WAY too noisy)
  • Fans : Fractal design Venturi HP-12 PWMx1

I originally put all those components in an node 202 (after long hesitations with Dan A4, 1st version), back to end of 2016.
Here is picture of latest Node 202 setup, using Noctua NH-L9x65 cpu cooler.
Link to setup : https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...erberus-x-complete-build-log.2007/post-164209


However this setup suffered of quite many flaws :
  • SSD (near GPU) temperature reaching 84°C as hot air from GPU has no where to exit
  • GPU noise & temperature : on demanding games, as there is no exit for gpu hot air, node 202 becomes pretty noisy
  • CPU throttle or noisy : despite undervolt, my core i7 4770K keeps power of around 70W...making either CPU throtting or noisy (even nh-L9x65 at full rpm of 2500rpm has high tone, very distracting)
  • PSU : as hot accumulates, Corsair PSU tends to scream after long gaming session

Target of case change was mainly driven by noise & thermals.

Following available space in my living room I had the choice between Dan A4 (v4) and Sliger SM550 (Loque was too short to fit my GPU (requires M Top Hat that I found ugly..;)), Ncase M1 was too large).
As Sliger (@KSliger) products were, at last, available in EU without expensive shipping & customs clearance cost (thanks density.sk and @shadowfear ) and SM550 is accepting 2.5 Slots GPU I decided to choose it!

As it will be a long story (hey it's me...Cerberus-X case topic is still most viewed build topic on this forum..:)) I'll split my adventure in several episodes..:)

As trailer here is a small & nice picture :


Links to different messages..:D

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CPU Cooler choice (4th december 2019)
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Assembly #1 : Following handling manual (6th December 2019)
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Assembly #2 : Fitting properly Asetek 645LT (9th December 2019)
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Sliger SM550 Thermals & Noise : Trial by Fire! (10th December 2019)
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Fitting MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X in SM550 (15th December 2019)
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Asetek 645LT Noise & Thermals review (15th December 2019)
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SM550+ : Showcase (21st December 2019)
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SM550+ : Switching to Ryzen 7 1700X & CPU Air Cooler (IS-60) (29th December 2019)
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SM550+ is meeting ID Cooling IS-60 with great success (entering in silent world..:))!





Cats are still hard to convince to move away from Cerberus-X :


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SM550+ : Moving to perfection : SX-800LTI (and riser update) (3rd January 2020)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's not today I will stop complaining about Corsair SF PSU, with their fake fanless mode (unable to sustain fanless as they always become warm, even with reasonable load), poor fan noise & control.
Thus I decided to move my SX-800LTI (SFX-L 130mm long, 800W, Titanium) from Cerberus-X to SM550+.



Like Asetek 645LT assembly it is mandatory to put grid on bottom fan (or move to 15mm thick fan).
Cable management is pretty ok as flat cable from Silverstone are "way" smoother than Corsair SF. I also appreciated that 24pins cable is split in 3, helping cable management.

What about results?
No parasite noise, fan stopping as soon as load is away (true fanless mode).
My SM550+ is now a complete beast : silent on idle, very quiet on gaming, a pure delight!

Small word about riser change.
For me, PCIe riser is riveted on a small piece of steel as you can see below.

However this piece of steel is easily replaced, as it fixed by 2 philips screws :


I hope @KSliger or @shadowfear could confirm me this point.


Imgur Post #1 :
 
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MarcParis

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Apr 1, 2016
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CPU Cooler choice
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Like any other SFF case, a lot of preparation is required in order to choose properlly components.
However in my personal I need to recycle my former gaming setup, sometimes since 2013.

My processor, Intel core i7 4770K, is especially difficult to cool. In my first setup with it, it was cooled with a customed watercooling loop...Even with it, it was never a great overclocker (only stayed at 4Ghz maximum..not great at all).
Back to 2016, when I moved my setup from bitfenix Phenom (customed loop) to Node 202 I used ID Cooling IS-VC45 that was quite effective on my 6700K (NFC S4 mini setup). However, my ID cooling IS-VC45 showed very poor cooling capabilities on my 4770K, with temperature over 90°C under load, even undervolted.
I even suspect that my IS-VC45 has lost its gaz in vapor chambor.


My hope about 4770K came back when I discovered that noctua NH-L9x65 was fitting node 202. After trials, it was able to cool in a better way (reaching 80°C, but its fan needed to turn at 2500rpm and it was a bit noisy).


While studying my setup transfer to SM550 I reviewed Sliger CPU cooler compatibility sheet. I noticed 3 main solutions :
  • Compact Cpu air cooler (92mm) : example Cyrorig C7
  • Larger Cpu air cooler (120mm) : active (like Alpenfohn black ridge) or passive (Noctua nh L12)
  • 92 mm AIO watercooling : Asetek 645LT
Knowing my dear 4770K (and anticipating also my next move to AMD AM4 platform) and following Cryorig C7 reviews, I wanted to avoid them as they would be capable to cool cpu but noise level was a bit too high.

I didn't want to go for larger air cooler as it was a bit too restrictive on RAM and MB choice. However I did decide to test "'passive" Noctua nh L9x65, even if I was almost sure it would be unsuccesful...:D

I decided to choose Asetek AIO 645LT as it's compatible with almost all actual cpu socket and simply it represents best cpu cooler for SM550 case size.
However I didn't realize yet other compromises related to Asetek 645LT integration in SM550..;)


But that would be for the next episode : assembly..:D
 
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MarcParis

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Slight update of images in cpu cooler section...just figured out i put same pciture twice..:D
 

MarcParis

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Assembly
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Like any building in new case, there is learning curve for SM550. Hopefully there is a nice SM550 handling manual to illustrates main building steps.
Globally I found assembly process pretty clear and straight forward (Asetek 645LT is adding some complexity, but nothing too crasy).

Let's start with dual SSD bracket : (love its symetrical shape)

Beware that you can only use flat connector (power & sata) while using 2 disks.
Thus I used flat power extensions to power my SSDs.

Front panel is well crowded then. Hopefully I have chosen not to have front i/o to ease cable management (and also I'm not using front i/o in general)

Now let's focus on case bottom.
As previously stated I first tried a setup with fanless Noctua NH L9x65, relying the whole cooling to bottom fans...it could have worked, especially as cpu is pretty close to top of MB (ie close to bottom fan in SM550)...however it failed miserably..

Only MANDATORY point : make sure fan below your PSU has a grid on top.
For info I decided to place all my bottom fans as exhaust.

Asetek 645LT assembly is OK. Specific Sliger plate and its manual are pretty useful.
Please note it's not mandatory to have Sliger plate to fit Asetek 645LT in SM550, but it's the easiest and offer maximum cooling
A quick switch back to Asetek 645LT and assembly is almost finished at one detail...



Back to serious business : cable management...
Main difficulty of assembly in SM550 is truly cable management...in fact PSU cables management..;)

Good news is that customed length wires are far from being mandatory to build in SM550, even with my pretty rigid corsair SF600/SF450 Gold wires.

Hopefully, no issue to immobilize properlly fan cables.

Now I understand why side panels are sturdy and well plugged in frame...they hold PSU cable in place, with no problem!


Now let's move to GPU chamber.
Here, main difficulty is proximity between Asetek 645LT tubing and GPU it self.
With my GPU : MSI GTX1070 Gaming X, it's a tight fit thanks to its angled shape. I doubt if it will fit with square angle on GPU cover (like RTX Founder's Edition).
@KSliger, please could you confirm if asetek 645LT is compatible with RTX FE card please?
Please note Asetek 645LT will fit with RTX FE card if not using Sliger AIO plate, but you will lose a little bit of cpu cooling capability.
Here is example of @3lfk1ng https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/12-cores-in-under-10-liters-3900x-sliger-sm550.11150/






What about 2.5 slots GPU?
Well it fits with no big deal, except if you are using Asetek 645LT...:D
Basically it's impossible to fit 2.5 Slot GPU in SM550 while using Asetek 645LT.
I tried hard to find a position (with or without sliger plate), but I found none.
Anyway here are some pictures of my almost "allmighty" MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X in SM550.

From top : yes, SM550 accepts 2.5 slot GPU

From side : you can see nice contact between GPU and Asetek 645LT. Note offset on PCIe slot.

I even tried to use PCIe extension (from node 202) but card was now blocked by rear i/o.

PS : note I didn't give up to use my MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X inside my SM550..:D


Nothing to say on top of the case : easy wire routing, easy to close and screw...perfect!

Here is final "badass" result :




Next episode will be about thermals & noise (Spoiler alert : don't read that : https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...erberus-x-complete-build-log.2007/post-175895)
 
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MarcParis

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Regarding Asetek 645LT positionning I need to investigate if I'm able to replicate this build :





My main concern will be PSU cable contact AIO tubing...as area is pretty restrictive already.

Let’s see!
 
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MarcParis

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And here it is :
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Assembly #2 : Fitting properlly Asetek 645LT
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Last trial was the good one! I was finally able to put Asetek 645LT in SM550 without removing space on GPU compartment. Key is tubing orientation on cpu socket.

I'll try to describe assembly process, step by step. (based on my mistakes, followed by insomnia..;))

Step 1 : Mount Sliger Asetek 645LT plate on radiator.
Do not mount yet fan&grid

Plate should be screwed on SM550 on middle holes. (do not screw yet)


Step 2 : Put Radiator in Case. Untwist tubing (if needed) to match this routing.
If you want, you can screw radiator and/or cpu block..but it will be only temporary as PSU assembly will require maximum freedom.


Step 3 : Put SFX PSU in place
By far this is hardest part of assembly, so proceed with calm and patience
Make sure you connect everything to PSU (optimise meanwhile psu cable routing)
Make sure radiator and cpu block are not screwed
Make sure radiator fan & grid are not on present
Flip radiator to exterior (CPU side) with maximum angle (outlet touching case frame, gently)
Insert PSU with angle gently
Flip back radiator gently
Secure radiator and then CPU block

Once PSU in place and secured, slide from GPU side fan & grid over the radiator.
2 screws on CPU side can be turned/secured by hand or Z shaped screwdriver
2 screws on GPU side can be secured easily

And TADA!!




From there, finishing the build is rather straight forward...and I finally put my MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X inside SM550!


Unfortunately GPU was 1-2 mm too thick (fan were partially blocked by side panel)...but it was perfect opportunity to test Sliger SM550 thermals & noise with a 300W GPU..:D
I will assume that GPU maximum width/thickness should be around 48mm.
I ran extended testing with this setup and I will share pretty interesting data! (comparing SM550 with Cerberus-X)


PS #1 : To @KSliger : PSU assembly could be way easier if PSU bracket was not riveted but screwed (like Cerberus-X). This will allow PSU vertical slide top/down.

Is it something possible to switch from rivet to screw on SFX PSU?

PS #2 : To @KSliger : What will your advice to create an 1-2mm offset on GPU side panel please? Does longer pins exist?
No I can't use SM560 instead (too wide for my location)



PS #3 : To @Skliger : Could we replace PCIe Bracket/extension easily please? I'm already thinking to my next upgrade.
 
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MarcParis

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thermals & Noise : Trial by Fire!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In order to compare/analyse GPU Thermals & Noise of Sliger SM550 I had 2 choices :
  1. Either compare Node 202 vs SM550 while using MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X (Maw power : 190W)
  2. Either compare Cerberus-X vs SM550 while using MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X (Maw power : 330W)
Well in case #1, it was such an easy win for Sliger SM550 (runs cool & quiet even on demanding games for long gaming session). I don't want to shoot down Node 202 but it does not compete in same category at all.

Now in case #2, Sliger SM550 will compete vs my sweet Cerberus-X, using same GPU, MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X, with exactly same overcloking/overvolting parameters (this GPU setup can use up to 330W with specific workload) :


This is a trial by fire!

As benchmark I used Gears 5 in 4K ultra, framerate uncapped, as it was one of the most demanding game I lately played.

Without any delay here are results, with Youtube video (4K60) captured on Sliger SM550, using shadowplay at 100mbps :

And here is direct comparison on Gears 5 benchmark tool between SM550 and Cerberus-X :

  • Sliger SM550 with Intel Core i7 4770K (3.7Ghz all cores at 0.95v, from 2013)

  • Cerberus-X with AMD Ryzen 3800X (4.3Ghz all cores at 1.3125v, from 2019)


On CPU Side, I'm using Asetek 645LT setup at 9v only.
Radiator Fan curve is setup to cool undervolted, not delidded, core i7 4770K (76w max) at 2000rpm, keeping noise down :

It's a difficult comparison vs Cerberus-X (Ryzen 7 3800X + Noctua C14S). Obviously Cerberus-X has more CPU power, but I don't know what will be results of cooling Ryzen 7 3800x with Asetek 645LT. Even my overclocked one is only reaching 95W of power consumption.



Conclusion time ?
  • Pure performance :
    • On Gears 5 benchmark tool, we can noticed slower pace of core i7 4770K on pure cpu rendering....BUT with no consequence on gameplay itself as reached values are 170fps minimum! Ryzen 3800X is 45% faster than Intel core i7 4770K on rendering. In both case MSI GTX 1080 ti Gaming X is pushed to its limits (>99%)
    • During true gameplay phase, I noticed no noticeable gaps between Cerberus-X and SM550
    • Conclusion : Ryzen 7 3800X has more "absolute" power however Core i7 4770K is still suitable to unleash all power from GTX 1080Ti
  • Thermals & noise :
    • Both Sliger SM550 and Corsair SF450 are impressive. For SM550, as you can see during gameplay video, thermals (around 70°C) & fans speed (around 1500rpm) remain on top while GPU power is reaching 300W. On top of that, Corsair SF450 is taking the load (350W) and gpu current peak without screaming at all.
    • Conclusion : Sliger SM550 (9.7L, SF450) is matching Thermals & Noise level of Cerberus-X (21L, SX-800LTI)...very impressive for SM550!
 
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MarcParis

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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fitting MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X in SM550
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you could imagine, I was frustrated to not be able to completely fit my "sweet" MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X inside SM550.
Thus during this week-end, I tried again.

This time, my previous experience on Cerberus-X was pretty useful as SM550 is using almost identical ball stud/blind nut system.
Here is blind nut :

(left, Cerberus-X; right, SM550 panel)

Here is stud :


They are easily removed with proper and small pliers.

In terms of specifications :
https://www.pencomsf.com/product/ba...d-clips/bs11-female-thread-ball-studs-metric/
Thread : M3.5
Length : 12,2mm (approx)

As you might already guessed, goal was to create an offset (of 1-2mm) on side panel..:D

My first trial was using small 4mm diameter nut :

It was almost a perfect hit, however it was not keeping enough thread/fillet. One of the blind nut stayed in holding system..:D

I decided to opt for 3 stacked washers (diameter 4mm) instead :



And it was a perfect hit! I tried to put/remove side panel with no issue.
Please handle them with care anyway as you are using less fillet as planned.

However, it was not totally enough to fit my MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X inside SM550. After years in vertical stand in Cerberus-X, my GPU caught some "sag".
Thus I was forced to find a solution to keep GPU in position, using tie provided with cable :

It was 100% functional, however i need to better thermal resistant insulation as it's clearly smoothen during GPU load benchmark..;)

And here is final result : (sorry I was against the light)
MSI GTX 1080ti Gaming X fitting in SM550 with absolutely no issues!



Here are better pictures (but with GTX 1070), but to show offset on the panel :




Definitely I will apply same offset on CPU panel for best looking (could be useful to 57mm of cpu cooler height?.:D could be useful for @weezedog who needs 58mm...we are almost there)..;) (sorry I was out of stock of washers...just took 20 of them)

In terms of performance it was exactly like during my benchmark...no cooling capacity lost with side panel on!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Asetek 645LT Noise & Thermals review
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As you may know I'm studying hard to know if I will replace my belowed Cerberus-X with SM560 (or SM550 as it fits my MSI GTX 1080ti..;)).

One of the key issues was Asetek 645LT noise on idle/low load.

In my living room, at 3m distance, with fish tank in same room, Asetek 645LT @9v is inaudible, covered by ambiant noises.
However on my desk, located at less than 1m, in quiet room, Asetek 645LT @9v is clearly audible.

Thus I wanted to noise if there is anyway to tame this small beast, using my Corsair Commander mini.
Here is summary of Asetek 645LT :
  • At 12V :
    • RPM : 5600 approx
    • Noise : Noisy, however Noctua NF-A09-14 at 2500rpm is louder
    • Performance : Pretty good. At full speed on fan/pump, my Intel Core i7 4770K is only reachin 70°C (71°C on peak) on Intel Burn Test 2.54 (High) vs 80°C with 9v+customed fan curve
  • At 9V :
    • RPM : 3600 approx
    • Noise : Clearly audible from 1m. Covered as soon other fan starts (GPU) on medium/high load
    • Performance : Good (80°C approx on IBT 2.54 with customed fan curve)
  • At 5V (corsair commander mini, minimum voltage)
    • RPM : 2700 approx
    • Noise : Barely audible from 1m. Could be acceptable on idle/low load
    • Performance : OK (completely fine on idle/low load)
  • Below 5V (corsair commander mini, minimum voltage+9v reductor on top)
    • RPM : 1800 approx (could reach 1200, but performance is becoming terrible). Corsair Commander mini struggle to keep it stable
    • Noise : Inaudible (however pump keep turn on/off...not recommended on long period of time)
    • Performance : just fine on idle. Mediocre on load
    • Performance with fan curse

Asetek 645LT is best performer/cpu cooler (hands down) for Small Form Factor Case like Sliger SM550/560 (or Dan A4, Loque Ghost without hat).
Good news is that it can be tamed with either Motherboard that handles both DC/PWM fan (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, not Asrock) or external box (Corsair commander series) that could fit front panel of SM550/560..:D
 
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rfarmer

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Very cool, glad you were able to get your 1080 Ti fitting properly. You are right about the added 3mm for CPU side panel, that would work well for Big Shuriken 2.
 
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MarcParis

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Very cool, glad you were able to get your 1080 Ti fitting properly. You are right about the added 3mm for CPU side panel, that would work well for Big Shuriken 2.
Yes this offset is opening new option as cpu coolers..:)
Even for 645lt this is giving more room for tubing..:)
 
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MarcParis

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Just reworked first message to keep only links to different parts of my review.

This should help loading and clarity..;)
 
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Scottland

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Dec 14, 2019
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Good looking build, my SM560 should be coming soon from Density. (How long did yours take?)

I was thinking of the 645LT, I am concerned about noise though - I'm not sure if the fan speed from an air cooler would be more bearable than the pump speed of the Asetek at idle.
 

MarcParis

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Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
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Good looking build, my SM560 should be coming soon from Density. (How long did yours take?)

I was thinking of the 645LT, I am concerned about noise though - I'm not sure if the fan speed from an air cooler would be more bearable than the pump speed of the Asetek at idle.
Thanks!
It took around 4-5 weeks with density...but Sliger will be late as they have tons of orders to complete..:)

For Asetek 645lt, key is pump speed management. Make sure you have a motherboard able to handle dc fan or you have an additional box like Corsair. At idle aim for 2500rpm approx...not silent but not distracting.
 

Scottland

Chassis Packer
Dec 14, 2019
14
2
Thanks!
It took around 4-5 weeks with density...but Sliger will be late as they have tons of orders to complete..:)

For Asetek 645lt, key is pump speed management. Make sure you have a motherboard able to handle dc fan or you have an additional box like Corsair. At idle aim for 2500rpm approx...not silent but not distracting.
Thanks - unfortunately I don't think my Asrock board will allow DC adjustment of the pump (I was a little forced to go for the Asrock as it was the only one with Optical out). I'm thinking 9v might be sufficient on the pump as I sit about 2/3 meters away - so I might get away with it. I do have an Aquaero LT I might be able to use however.

If I recall, I think Asetek said the pump speed is doubled on some motherboards. 5600 @ 12v = 2800rpm. I run my current maching with a D5 pump at 1900rpm and it's 'ok', so I'm hoping 9v will be somewhat similar...