I wanted to do an SFF build to save on real estate, and I thought the NCASE M1 was the best fit for what I wanted to do. I've been gathering parts for this build for several months. The CPU and case were the first things I got, and the motherboard was the last.
This build is mainly for software development work: building source code and running some VMs. It will also be used for gaming, but that is not the primary focus. I chose CPU power over GPU power.
This is a delidded part that I bought from SiliconLottery. They guarantee stability at 4.5GHz and 1.175V VCore, with AVX offsets of -3 and -5, and they don't lie. Using those settings and prime95, I got one core up to 85C, with a couple of others in the low 80s and some in the high 70s. Maximum power was about 225W. No problems whatsoever, rock solid.
At idle, all cores are sitting in the mid to high 20s.
Unfortunately I pulled the trigger on the CPU purchase way too early. I paid $680, and today you can get (slightly) higher spec'd processors for quite a bit less.
I waited for this motherboard. And waited, and then waited some more :) But it's finally ready!
All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, which is be small and fit all of the normal HEDT components. With the 2 M.2 slots on the back connected to the CPU, it uses 24 out of the 28 CPU lanes on my 7820X, and gives me quad-channel memory with the SO-DIMM slots.
A couple of minor things that I'm not sure are the fault of the board:
I can't get a 4-pin fan working correctly with the chassis fan header next to the WiFi card. A 3-pin fan seemed to work just fine. I tried a couple of different 4-pin fans, and I saw the same behavior: if I barely connect the fan to the connector, so that it's just touching, it seems to work. But if I try to push the fan connector onto the header it stops working. I had planned to have a 92mm exhaust fan on the back connected to this header. After testing, it doesn't seem like I really need it, so I just took it out.
I don't know for sure if the USB 2.0 header works. I had the H100i plugged into this header, and it didn't show up in Windows. I don't know if it's the cooler or the motherboard. I decided that I didn't need the cooler to show up in Windows and just disconnected it. I don't have anything else handy to try with the USB 2.0 header. I would also have to basically take the whole system apart to get access to this header, and I'd really rather not.
I would be interested in hearing what others have to say about this fan header and the USB 2.0 header on this board. Overall, I am very happy with the board.
This is a refurbished drive I got from newegg. It's supposed to be the OEM equivalent of the 960 EVO. For a 1TB NVMe SSD, the price can't be beat. And the drive really flies.
Another refurb, this time from EVGA B-Stock. I paid $146 with shipping. I sacrificed GPU power for CPU power, but this card does all right. I get between 30 and 60 FPS (around 40 most of the time) in GTAV, which is pretty acceptable I think.
I read lots of things about the SF600 being noisy, and the SF450 being a lot more quiet, so I tried to fit the power below 450W. After benchmarking, it looks like I fit everything pretty well. I think a with a more powerful CPU or GPU it would probably be safest to go to the 600W PSU.
The thing is dead quiet. I see the fan spinning, but I can't say that I've ever heard it.
Yet another refurb, you may be sensing a theme here. I paid $563 with tax. The monitor is very nice. I haven't noticed any dead pixels. There is some backlight bleed.