Description

It's been about a dozen years since I last built a PC. I was on a long hiatus as a Mac user. The most demanding app I use is Adobe Lightroom, which eventually became unbearable on my 7 year-old iMac, so it was time for an upgrade. My specific needs were: small size, quiet, a decently fast CPU, reasonable storage options, and plenty of upgrade potential.

I chose to do a mini-ITX build because I wanted a nice, small, quiet machine. And I picked the Lian-Li PC-Q01 case because of how sleek and minimalistic it looks. Cable management was a bit of a chore, but the Seasonic modular PSU really helped a lot. I was able to route the SATA cables underneath the hard drives, and I ordered a couple of custom-length SATA power cables from modDIY.com. Given the tight space, I think I was able to do about as good as anyone can at managing the cables and reducing the clutter.

My storage setup is as follows:

  • Samsung 850 EVO m.2 500 GB: Windows 10, current year Lightroom catalog
  • Western Digital Black 1 TB: Photos archive, documents, movies, iTunes library
  • Western Digital Blue 1 TB: Backups, File history

All things considered, this new PC is a huge leap forward from my old iMac, and I still have plenty of runway for future upgrades. Adobe Lightroom is screaming fast now, which was priority number one. I couldn't be happier with it.

Future Upgrade Ideas

My 850 EVO is already super fast, but I'm pretty sure I'll upgrade to a 1 TB 960 EVO in a year or so, as well as a larger backup drive. I'd also like to upgrade to a 4K monitor and a decent GPU at some point. I'm not a gamer, so I don't need anything particularly high end. I just need to edit RAW photos in Lightroom at 4K, so I'm thinking a low-profile 1050 Ti should suit me just fine. And I can see an i7-7700 in my future as well.

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Comments

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

That is some slick cable management. The polar opposite to my builds, which are always a mess. I'd love to see an update if you ever fill that GPU slot, because this is a cool little PC.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man. I figure if I go with a low-profile GPU, then that will help maintain airflow and not block that intake fan at the bottom.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

It would be awesome if you could find a powerful small GPU with a rear exhaust style cooler. That way it might actually be able to act as the whole case's rear exhaust, seeing as I didn't notice a rear exhaust case fan on the build. Alternatively you could use the case's vents in between the motherboard and the PSU to install a truly tiny rear exhaust fan, which would hopefully create an airflow system starting in the bottom fan and flowing through the whole case. The only problem is finding a small enough rear exhaust fan that is still as quiet as those Noctuas you have in there already.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, I though about trying to attach a 40 or 60mm fan back there, but I do worry about noise like you said. The PSU fan does come on from time to time, though, and I can feel it exhausting some air out the back, even when the case temp is pretty low.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, the only two noctua fans that would fit the bill have pretty low CFM ratings. They might help a bit, but there is a possibility that they would just be in the way. I'm sure results could be achieved by putting a small desktop or clip on fan directly behind the PC touching the vent holes , blowing outward.(if you wanted to try a different diy style that doesn't involve directly modifying anything)

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Love this build. You did a nice job with it

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Love all that Noctua cooling.+1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Me too. This is my first experience with Noctua and it won't be my last.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 Because it's very similar to my build :)

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, that is a very similar case.

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Ohh boi... Noctua!!! Love it

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 42 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build, welcome to the very small Q01 club on here!

When I built my case I drilled a hole for a top fan, fearing as you do the temps would get out of control once all the components are crammed inside. The temps in my case are similar to yours now, although my 6500 stays a bit below 58c. I imagine putting the graphics card inside will change things considerably down the road (I have yet to put one in mine).

I do however use a GTX 750 in another computer and the amount of load placed on them for photo editing is very small, heat won't be an issue there. But for games or video editing you may run into higher temps than desired.

All in all, keep working with the case!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I love this case.

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

I have been on looking for good, clear pictures of the NH-L9i in action and these are great photos.

Nice build

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Love those SATA Cables!

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!