Description

This build was made with the following criteria in mind : Compact/SFF and Quiet (It has to sit on my desk) Mid-range 1080p gaming capability * Budget around $600.

Parts just ordered (02/24/16). Parts received and the rig is built (03/08/2016)!

The config meets my expectations : quiet (47db on idle and same on load) and the temps are very good considering the size of the case :

  • CPU (idle/after 30min on prime95): 32°C/85°C
  • The CPU Cooler (Silverstone AR05) runs so quietly even on load : idle@1850RPM and load@2600RPM
  • GPU (idle/after 30min on Unigine Heaven): 36°C/70°C. On load: Core clock@1430MHz/ Mem. clock: 1650MHz
  • The GPU fans are off in idle (0RPM) and go up to 950RPM on load
  • The chassis fan (Noctua NF-F12 PWM) is also very quiet: idle and load@1050RPM
  • PSU is quiet as well and the semi-modularity was definitely needed to keep space for airflow between the front fan and the motherboard

For now the PSU is mounting with fan pointing upward and the CPU cooler pushing air on the CPU. I will reverse the reverse the PSU and the CPU cooler fan to see if I can get even better temps.

Edit 3/18/2016 : Here is another temps breakdown (load temp taken after a 1hr gaming session) with PSU fan facing the motherboard and cooler fan flipped:

  • CPU: idle@30°C / load@65°C. Slightly better temp on idle and load.
  • GPU: idle@32°C / load@70°C. Better temp at idle, same on load here.
  • Motherboard: idle@29°C / load@46°C
  • Build Quietness : 45dB average. This is 2dB average better here.

To sum up: a slightly cooler and quieter build with this configuration.

I might try to "overclock" the RAM via AsRock BIOS feature later.

Part Reviews

CPU

I wanted a budget and low tdp (for the small form factor SG13 case) that would allow me to game decently not so recent titles on 1080p and multitask fairly if needed. It has been running smoothly so far for everyday tasks as well as gaming. Great value CPU!

CPU Cooler

A topflow cpu cooler is mandatory if air cooling in SG13. I wanted a really low profile one to keep an optimum clearance with the PSU which be positionned above. Plus the fan on this cooler can be flipped to send the hot air right in the PSU (if reversed) allowing a configuration where the hot air would be exhausted by the PSU. Air cooling in SG13 is the challenge here and the AR05 meets the expectations, keeping my i3 6100 on very good temps but also very quietly! Perfect in my configuration.

Motherboard

I don't want to overclock and I don't need any additional mini-PCIe that could come with the H170 Asrock ITX equivalent. Works perfectly in my SG13 config. Had to turn off the Intel C-State feature on BIOS as it was producing some whiny noise with my i3 6100 but with no impact on CPU performance or rig stability. Edit: After a week of use and a BIOS update, no more coil whine with C-State on.

H110 could have been a better budget choice but out of question because less performance with DMI2 instead of DMI3.

Memory

B150 mobo in my build only accepts DDR4-2133. This one has a good latency (CAS14) and got it on a price. Runs smoothly. The heater might be handy if I decide to "OC" it with the Asrock mobo DDR4 OC feature inside the narrow SG13.

Storage

This one will host the OS, programs and some games. A very good surprise as my first A-DATA SSD : Read : 560MB/s Write:480MB/s on CrystalDiskMark. Runs beautifully.

The SP550 is a super price/performance choice here.

Only cons : the real storage capacity is 111Go

Storage

The successor of the caviar green which is blue now. Operate at low power and with no noise. This one is hosting all my data and the rest of my games that won't fit on the SSD.

Video Card

Fits my need : mid-range 1080p gaming + low TDP needed to optimize internal temp in the SFF case SG13! Fans are off on idle and are very quiet on load. Plus the card is slightly overcloaked which had some welcomed performance in gaming situation. Got it on a good deal + mail rebate at $130 : best price/performance in my case.

Case

I wanted a really small sober and budget ITX case to be able to stand on my desk. This is it. The internal design is challenging for air cooling (psu, cpu cooler, cable management) but that's also what appealed me to build in this one. I would give five stars if it came with dust filters on the sides and upper vents.

Power Supply

Meets the requirements for the i3/GTX950 combo in the SG13 : compact ATX size and (semi)modularity. 500W is the right amount so the psu will operate around 50% on full load, keeping the power efficiency, heat and noise at the best. Very quiet even on load.

Operating System

The cheapest I found online. Will upgrade it to 10 right after installation.

Case Fan

A trustworthy and efficient intake case fan was needed for my aircooled SG13. Stays quiet.. all the time.

Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I am doing a very similar build with an SG13 and an i3 6100. I was thinking about using this cooler. Is it good in your opinion and is it quiet?

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

The AR05 is cooling the i3 well enough (25-30°C on idle and 60-70°C on gaming load) and is operating surprisingly quietly despite the fan running at high RPM (1700RPM on idle and 2000RPM on load). Noise level with the SG13 is 45dB average on idle as well as on load.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

I am upgrading my cx600 on my main rig and going to use it in this case. Will there be enough room to stuff the cables if I do alot of cable management?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

If your psu is not semi or fully modular, cable management will be (very) tough. I think all the cables would fit, but if you plan on air cooling your system the airflow will be greatly impacted.

A viable option with a non modular PSU would be to remove the hdd tray located behind the PSU, so you will have extra space to manage your cables. But that would mean that you will be able to mount only one ssd and maybe stick another one wherever there is space left inside the case.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Could you fit a 140mm front fan with this VGA?

  • 44 months ago
  • 0 points

According to the case and GPU specs on manufacturers websites : if you go with a140mm front fan, the max length for the graphic card is 9.3". Here the graphic card is 10.1" long. So no, you cannot fit a 140mm front fan with this GPU.

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi,

I've been wondering about this motherboard for a while, and would love to hear some reviews on it from someone who has actually worked with it. I was specifically wondering about how easy to work with the bios is.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, this motherboard is doing a good job so far. It's solid, no flimsy ports and comes with a black PCB.

Regarding the BIOS, it is very easy to work with. All options, settings come with a description. The fan curves (for CPU and chassis fans) can be set very accurately.

The only cons I have with the mb is there still is a barely hearable light whine/grinding noise (fyi, the computer is standing on my desk, 2ft from me) when CPU is on a low load. I'm pretty sure it is due to Intel C-States technology which makes the CPU VCore fluctuates constantly. Deactivating all C-States in the BIOS will totally get rid of the whine but at the cost of higher CPU temp and more CPU fan noise when CPU is idle/light load. For me, deactivating C3 and C6 gives the best temp/noise balance (ΔT CPU=8-12°C , ΔT MB=7-9°C , Noise~42dbA) when CPU is idle/light load.