Purpose of the build
My last workstation was built around the much famous NZXT S340 case annnd it was taking a little too much space for my taste. (Here is the link : PcPartPicker link to the old build)
After researching multiple times different ideas to reduce the space the workstation takes (a.k.a spending time on pcpartpicker while I should be working...). I found this amazing minimalism case made of aluminium by Silverstone! Had to have it.
I did not change some parts, mostly because I found no reasons to upgrade... yet! Here are the parts I kept :
- Xeon E3-1241 V3, this quad-core cpu is still rock solid and just perfect for the kind of scientific work I do. I may upgrade to Ryzen 2 next year OR Coffee lake if the upgrade is worth it. We'll see I guess.
- Crucial 16GB RAM, to be honest, I don't need additional ram right now and investing in higher speed ram DDR3 is not really worth it since all major chipsets use DDR4.
- XFX R9 380, this one might change very soon because the size is on the maximal length that fits in this case, plus a blowing fan would probably help the temperatures.
For the other parts, I went for quality components from reputable brands instead of cheaping out because I might leave this build 24/7 some weeks. A NVME drive would have been a great addition, unfortunitly, the 87 chipset is not compatible and the choice of Mini-ITX was scarce in Canada for a new 97 Mini-ITX.
NOTICE : This case is difficult to buy at a reasonable price in Canada. To my knowledge, Silverstone does not produce it anymore and there are no other mainstream components companies that make similar looking cases. SO, if you want to make a build in the same case (because you think it is beautiful, I know I do think that) or are just generally interested in the pain I went through assembling it, this section is for you. Otherwise, skip it.
It took me a solid 8 hours to build start to finish that build... yeah. So fun moments and frustrating moments at some steps :
- 1 - Removing the panels is very easy since they use a clip system instead of screws. The same can we said for the bottom fan. [Easy, 5-10 minutes top]
- 2 - Place the motherboard (CPU and ram already installed previously) and the storage (one SSD in my case) first. Once this is done, swapping the bottom fan has to be done. I would advise to connect your SATA cords and case fan right now. [Easy, 30 minutes]
- 3 - Positionning the H60 is the most important step because it drives how many SSD or HDD you can install, so that took a while. Moreover, the AIO tubes can interfere with the PSU and the GPU later on... Once you figure it out, it takes less than 10 minutes to screw the radiator and the water block. [Medium, 40 minutes]
- 4 - Installing the PSU was a real pain. Don't get me wrong, the SF600 is very good, but the cables are so stiff and the space so constrained that it took a good 2 hours to figure out the best way to do it without touching the motherboard, the CPU radiator and leaving some space for the GPU. [Hard, > 1hour]
- 5 - Installing the GPU and closing up the case is fairly easy and took no more than 5 minutes. [Easy, 5-10 minutes]
If you are keeping track, the time doesn't not add up to 8 hours, yet! Upon closing up and pressing the power button, nothing ... So I had to open back the case, take out parts and diagnostic what is the problem while crossing my fingers that no components were damaged during the installation process. The mistake was innocent : the power connecter (not the power from the PSU, the power button cable from the case switch) of the case was inadequatly plugged into the motherboard. [4 hours...] Took me 2 hours to install Arch Linux adequatly after.
Using it and temps
This build is a breeze to use and looks much better than what the last did, in my opinion. Believe or not, but the temperatures are better in this case than in the S340 (see picture, ignore wrong readings of over 100*C on the mobo). The Noctua 140mm industrial fan is probably a major factor in keeping the temperature in the case at a reasonable level. I cannot recommend enough this case for mini-itx builds. The cylinder form of the case helps in pulling cold air at the bottom and exiting hot air at the top, the natural way air works.
Hope you like the build, do not hesite to ask questions, I'll try my best to respond adequately in a timely fashion.
Best price per gb in SSD over 1TB. Touted as a low-end by some, the truth is that the performance rivals the 850 of Samsung while being cheaper.
Highlight of my build. Small size + Quality + Minimalism = This case.
Does it even make noise? Very silent with a long warranty. Just perfect if you need a SFX PSU.
With a 4-Pin PWM, at idle it makes little sound while keeping everything cool. At full speed, this could be a jet engine.
It's the only fan in my Mini-ITX case and it also cools the H60 radiator. Temps on my GPU and CPU are better than the 212 EVO in mid tower. Those results speak for themselves.