Description

Hi, this is my first time building a PC. I had a laptop before this with a HD 5650 gpu so it was definitely time for an upgrade!

My vision is to have the most powerful PC possible (I'm using an ITX case and motherboard), in the smallest case I could find, be quiet MAX 40dB and to cost less than £900. I have achieved most of that so far, but had its fair share of challenges, some of which still need to be sorted out - as I will discuss below.

I tried to find special offers and wait for parts to reduce in price before buying them. I would say doing this has saved me nearly £300 overall. well happy! It did take me about 3-4 weeks to get all the parts though.

CASE: I decided to go with the Silverstone case as it is tiny, can fit(I thought) all of my parts in and looks pretty smart too. I put a 500ml can of beer next to it for comparison. other cases I had in mind were the Corsair 250D and EVGA hadron. It was a pain to work with though as getting decent parts which fit was tough, but as you can see not impossible. fitting things in was tight too with not much space to work in, cable management was also a challenge but I think i did ok, let me know what you think...

CPU: I went with the i5 4670k as I wanted overclocking ability and speed to play the latest games and run applications. I was contemplating the i7 4770k but I couldn't justify the extra £50-60 for essentially little gains that I would notice. I think by the time multi-threading becomes essential it will be time for an upgrade anyway!

COOLER: This was a pain in the ***! It took me ages to find a cooler that was compact enough to fit in the case, but had significantly enough cooler power to invest over the Intel stock one. This hasn't disappointing- it is virtually silent even at max speed. I've not done thorough testing on temps when under load, but web browsing etc I'm getting temps of around 32C. One problem I had was fitting it on the motherboard as it overlapped the first stick on RAM - I found a solution to this problem though.. and it touches the back of my GPU too - got a 'fix' for that aswell!

MOTHERBOARD: Awesome motherboard, packed with features more expensive models have - supports 2400Mhz RAM, WIFI, bluetooth, WIDI etc. I found it to be a really good layout as well for connecting the components in a tidy way. Also has a fast boot mode, when used with the SSD i have I'm getting boot up times from 'OFF' in 10 seconds.

RAM: 8GB Bought this at a knock down price of £45 from Amazon, and its 2400Mhz so got a pretty good deal. One problem of these though is their height. The heatsink adds another 1cm and the first stick of RAM wouldn't fit with the cooler installed, so what i did was use a blowtorch to warm the glue and remove the heatsink. Naked RAM now fits like a charm!

STORAGE: 240GB SSD -so fast, going from my laptop to this, its amazing. No waiting for ANYTHING! 1TB of HDD is enough space for me- it was the loudest thing in the case, until I put in the graphics card!

GFX: Got this for a bargain on Ebay, the first part I bought. I was quite worried it wouldn't work as it was second hand, and i had no way of testing it until I'd got the rest of the parts. Luckily it works great. So far I can max out everygame game Ive tried- ULTRA settings all the way with every check box ticked, max AA etc, full distance. AWESOME card.

I got Geil icy coolers already installed on them and what I will say is that they are soo loud, really annoying as the rest of the system is whisper quiet.. something I will try and sort out by plugging the fan cable into a controllable connection(its plugged into the GFX card at the moment), but the motherboard only has 2 fan connectors...any ideas anyone?

Games I've tested the system are:

ARMA 3: fully maxed, full distance veiw 30 fps, I can reduce the draw distance by a 1/4 and get 60fps. This is in single player. I've not tried multi player yet.

Dirt 3: Fully maxed out, 143fps Average.

Planetside 2: Fully maxed 60+ fps

Metro 2033: Fully maxed, not seen the fps but it was smoooth.

PSU: Seasonic, great brand, silent fan and reliable. I made the mistake of buying the M series at forst, which didn't fit so had to wait for the S series to be delivered- 14cm in length. Does the job great, no problems here. I went with non modular as the way the GFX card is position I wouldn't have been able to fit the cable in. The cables are all on the right so they don't interfere with the back of the GFX card, but I had to deal with hiding about 6 wires I have no use for.

OS: Got my OS for free as I'm a computer science student - no complaints, works great.

CASE FAN: I went with the silverstone fan as it is the best one for the case. It's really good, forcing a directed stream of air onto the motherboard, I'd recommend it for any system- check out the videos on youtube to see how efficient it is. Also has a switch to control 3 speeds levels, all run quiet.

SILICON UNDERPANTS: The back of the GFX card would touch the metal fins of the cooler, so I looked for a material which was heat resistant and non conductive. I didn't want to spend a lot so found a muffin tray for a quid in the pound shop. Cut out a nice little pair of silicon underpants for my cooler to wear so it protects the back of the GFX card. Does the job well...so far!

That's it, if you've read all that...thanks, I think it was quite a lot. I know that when I was researching this build, every bit of info was useful, so hopefully you can find something that will be helpful to you!

I just remembered, the GFX cooler adds about 1cm to the width of the card so I can't close the case. I think I'll have to mod the case by cutting a hole in the side of it and letting the fans pop through then covering it with a filter, anyone with any experience or can point me in the right direction to do this would be great.

Please let me know what you think, and any question feel free to ask.

Comments

  • 67 months ago
  • 8 points

You paid too much for the muffin tray but then maybe you don't have a 99 Cent Store where you live. :) +1 for including it in your pictures and build.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

haha :)

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Creative idea with the muffin tray. Personally I would have gone electrical tape; even cheaper as I always have some around. :)

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

I was considering that,as I have some, but I thought when the gfx card or heatsink warms up it may cause the glue on the tape to melt off and cause a mess.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

true, always a possibility.

  • 66 months ago
  • 1 point

Smart move- this is the McGuyverest build I've seen here yet. Great work

  • 67 months ago
  • 6 points

+1 nice nice!!! maybe a modular PSU would have made your life simpler.

  • 64 months ago
  • 2 points

Your build looks awesome. Silicone underpants are innovative! I'm looking to build a beefy machine in the same case.

Maybe you can help me - I looking to squeeze a PowerColor R9 290 into this case. It's a fat card - nearly 2.5 slots. It measures 46 mm and probably 2-3 of that is the backplate. Think it will fit?

Are your GPU temps good in this cramped case? You're the only one with a R9 290 in this case I've seen yet.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the positive reply. I measured the back of my card to the edge of the case and the space allowed for GFX is 42mm, so technically no it won't fit. If your card has encased fans on the front then you might be able to squeeze the case over the card as its only 4mm excess and the case will bend around it, but that would obviously put pressure on the card.

My card also has the back-plate removed and custom fans installed so my card is shorter on the back but still only just squeezes in next to the cooler with the silicon underpants to protect the back circuitry.

My card is 50mm wide with the custom fans so I have never been able to close my case, I just leave the cover off. Im contemplating modding the case, or just buying a different case, but havent got round to it yet! If you look at the pictures you can see how much the card sticks out - yours is only 4mm shorter so will also stick out.

Temps

Ive not actually looked at my temps until now, using MSI afterburner I recorded the highest temp on the card was 94 degrees C! That was playing Battlefield 4 64 player multiplayer for about an hour with Ultra settings, it runs beautifully though, but is really hot- even with the custom fans and case off!

To answer your question, no the card wont fit, its too wide! :)

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

So I got antsy and ordered it before your reply - I sat with my fingers crossed until all my parts came. It fit! Just barely.

I posted a completed build. I'm working on my CPU and GPU OC still, but I'm super happy so far with the build. Thanks for your answer!

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad it fits ok, I'll check your's out! I do love the case - so small and smart looking.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Pretty good build you have here +1 from me. Also how come you went for a 4GB card?

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

Because there's no 2gb 290

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

yeah, just the 4GB version. I got it 'cheap' on eBay. Was also considering a GTX770 but glad i got this one.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice pc :)

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

You really should of gone with a fully modular PSU. Looks like a rats nest in there.

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

I definilty had to make compromises using this case. I managed to hide all the extra cables under the dvd tray, so they are pretty well hidden. Most of the pics were mid build so thats not how the final build is ;) I don't think a fully modular design would have worked as the back of the gfx card is close to the back of the PSU, so the wires would be sticking into it.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build :) you should've gone with at least a semi-modular PSU if your every building in a smaller case, in a full tower it's not as much of a problem. +1 from me though :) have fun waiting until dev's port their games over to linux :p

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

? In his partlist he got 8.1, and Linux can run windows games with Wine

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Well he said steambox so i thought he was running linux, and even with Wine it's such a big hastle, and if it's a steambox he'll be running the setam OS so he'll already have things set up, it's just wether the makers port it to linux or not

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

But still, its steam, so its probably easy.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

well yea, but it'll probably take a while to do so

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm just using steam on Windows for now, not enough games work on Linux for me to install that. I'll wait and see what Steam OS is like when that gets a full release. Windows 8.1 is fine, I have no problems with it.

I went with non modular PSU as all the cables are to the right, so will fit better with the way the GPU is so close to the back of the PSU. It was a compromise.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build, please don't cut up that beautiful case though. It may be possible depending on that cooler to shave off a few millimeters using some sand paper or other scrapey stuff. Anything but cutting up the case. That has huge potential to go wrong and it'd hurt to see it! ;-;

  • 67 months ago
  • 2 points

I'd recommend contacting an OEM manufacturer to see if you can get just the aftermarket cooler assembly (heatsink, fans) for the R9 290. Either that or a custom job. When you do contact the manufacturers, take note of the dimensions of their coolers. Some are smaller than others. Worse comes to worse, you might need a whole new case, one with a little more room for that added cooling.

Good job. +1

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't think shaving a few mm off will work - it sticks out about 1cm! and the fans are the furthest bit sticking out! I won't rush in how im gonna fix it, but I don't want to change the case. I'll update when I've worked something out.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

how fast does your on boot on the os

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

If you mean boot from the PC being 'off', it gets to the log in screen in about 10-15 seconds. It amazes me every time, my laptop would take over 45 seconds

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

I like the look of that cooler. Nice.

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, i do too, and its really quiet too

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

How quiet is the r9 290?

  • 67 months ago
  • 1 point

I have custom coolers on the one I have, so can't say what the normal fans are like.

The one I have isn't that quiet, its probably like 50 dbs I'd guess. Probably like the noise a fridge makes when you're standing right next to it. So not that loud really.

When I'm playing a game the sound from the game covers it up so its not noticable, but watching a film would be annoying.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, just saw your build. I'm building a new system myself.

I just bought the same graphics card as you and had a question. They note on the MSI website that a 750W PSU is recommended. But I see you got a 630W.

Any trouble running the card? I too plan to overclock my system as well.

  • 64 months ago
  • 1 point

Its 620W and i have no problem running the card along with the whole system, its more than enough, it will show you the power you need for your build on the part list page - Mine says 414watts needed for the total build. Depends on the other components you use, if you want to SLI then youd wanna go up to 750w. As long as you use a well known brand for your PSU then 620w is plenty. Its a powerful card btw, but can get warm so get good cooling ;)

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

Great pics of the mufifn tray "fix", was going to ask how you'd set that up as I'm looking for a cooler for my mitx work pc setup with the same board.

How has your muffin tray fix held up after 12 months?

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, sorry for the late reply as I've not been on here for ages. Anyway until I read your message I'd completely forgot I used a piece of silicon muffin tray to isolate the heatsink from the circuit board of the gfx card. Its done such a great job I forgot its even there, and my PC is running fine since I built it, with no problems at all.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the power supply holding up? I'm building my first gaming computer & I'm thinking about getting the same one but I hear people stress the importance of a high dollar power supply..

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Not been on here for a while so sorry for the delayed reply. Everything is holding up fine, no problems at all and the power supply is great, its perfectly suitable.

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