Description

Building a work/office PC for my wife and went overboard, ending up making more of my own mini-gaming PC than anything else :)

Requirements: small footprint, low noise for normal browsing/office work, can play modern games @1080p

Most of the parts are no-frills whatever-is-the-cheapest at the time. i3-8100 launched late 2017 and gives superb value. Ryzen chips are competitive but once priced in with the motherboard, Intel gave best bang-for-the-buck at the time. Two mail-in rebates were available for the ASRock H310M, with built-in AC which was needed, and the RX 580 at $20 a piece.

The RX580 Phantom Gaming X is loud at stock fan profiles, but performs well. Undervolted the CPU and GPU right off the bat and created custom fan curves for CPU, chassis, GPU to keep it near silent when not gaming. The Core V1, which I got in Snow (white), only supports 2x80mm exhaust fans in the back, so I slapped some PWM Noctuas there to keep it quiet. Airflow was still lacking, and a good advantage of the case is the ability to swap panel covers. Switched the window panel from the top to the right and screwed in a 120mm fan right above the video card/CPU cooler --- no modifications were necessary as the grill on the panel was perfect for screws. Since the case includes a 240mm intake in the front, you will need to buy a PWN splitter to power the two fans in the back, and another if you want the extra 120mm. CPU/GPU sees ~48/72C under full load while at ~50% chip/~40% chassis fan speeds to keep noise down.

The MX500 is extremely quick, full shutdown and cold start almost as fast as standby.

Went with a semi-modular EVGA BQ power supply, quiet and works, but ended up only leaving a single peripheral cable unplugged as the i71C cooler's LED controller required a molex 4-pin, so a non-modular PS would've done just as well. The cooler is surprisingly great value, giving much better temperatures than stock with 7-color RGB control.

Problems and Lessons: Initially ordered a G.Skill Ripjaws V, but one stick was DOA (this is the second time this series has arrived this way, will not be ordering again). Also the height of the heatsink of the Ripjaws meant the i71C's pressed against the sticks (although it still fit), so something to consider there when building on a mini-ITX.

A pin on the CPU socket was bent, causing the motherboard to not boot when both RAM sticks were inserted, carefully inspected each pin and found the culprit. Bent it back with a tiny screwdriver and all was well.

The ASRock RX580 is a budget card with a very loud cooler. Removed it (which is secured with a "void-if-removed" screw) and repasted the GPU, dropped temperatures by 10C under load. With the added 120mm fan on top of the case, temps are very good at a modest and tolerable fan speed. There was also coil whine on the card for the first few days that disappeared with use.

Part Reviews

CPU

Great value at ~$100 on sale. Gives previous gen i5 performance at bottom-of-the-barrel prices. What's not to love?

Motherboard

Basic. Good voltage/fan controls. Good interface. Built-in wireless. RAM slots very close to CPU socket so watch your coolers. Can't create custom XMP profiles.

Video Card

Very loud with stock fan profile. Recommend repasting the GPU with some better thermal paste. Removing the cooler does mean you have to go through a "Void if removed" screw though, but I believe it's meaningless in the US, user beware anyway. Tweak the fan curve and adjust down the core voltages, there's still room to boost the speed a little bit and have good temperatures at just ~50-60% fan speed making the noise manageable.

Case

Nice looking little case. All panels are removable so access is very easy. Only two 80mm fans in the back so with your GPU and the large 240mm in the front sucking in air, recommend screwing another 120mm onto the grill of the remaining side panel. Hard drive brackets are difficult to work with. Since I only have a single 2.5" SSD, I just attached it with a 3M Velcro, the ones you use to hang pictures. The 240mm fan that comes with it is ~$20 alone, so great value as well. Wish the panel buttons are in the front instead of the side.

Case Fan

Not audible up to 45% or so. Anything higher and your GPU/CPU/larger chassis fans would be drowning it out anyway. Great for a quiet build.

Case Fan

Works well, sacrifices air flow for low noise. Inaudible under 40%.

Custom

Immense value @ sub-$20. Performs much better than stock and gives RGB control via an in-line controller. Needs a 4-pin molex power supply. A little wide so watch your motherboard clearance.

Comments

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

nice build. psu is not the greatest but oh well. Also want to let you know g skill doesn't make the ram. even the ram in the same series may be different, g.skill and the rest of the vendors just throw a fancy heatsink onto the ram. the ram is made by hynix, micron, and samsung.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Like it, I built something similar for my nephew last year, yours is spec wise better though. Like the White case. If memory serves me right, the side of the case has a couple of brackets for 3.5" HDD's, you can get a 3.5-2.5" converter to mount your SSD. In fact you can get one that slots two SSD's.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Needs more photos. Love the white Core V1, I used to have one. The drive brackets have a less-than-ideal attachment mechanism (it scratches the white paint when securing the bracket), and the thumbscrews are cheap. But for the price it's a fantastic case. When I had mine, I bought some good quality metallic-blue thumbscrews which looked great.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Added some more, also so you can see the extra 120mm fan I jammed in there. I pried off the Thermaltake logo as I thought it was tacky, will replace with something whenever I get to it. Agree with the brackets, ended up going the velcro route to avoid messing around with that; no heavy HDD so it works very well. Also removed the second bracket to have some room to keep cables out of the way

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

More pics?

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

so u can have a boot drive as m.2 and still have built in wifi? is the wifi card removable?

i want to build a mini hackintosh and need to replace the wifi card with a broadcom card manufactured for apple. i want an m.2 slot for my boot drive so i can keep the form factor to a minimum (think mac mini). the rest of the motherboard and stuff is perfect for my use case.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

The WiFi is built into the motherboard, there is no physical card to remove, there are two antennas you attach in the rear that sits with the rest of the motherboard external ports, the M.2 slot is fully available

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that a typo or did you actually get an RX580 for $20?

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Price is $169.99 in the part list. It was confusing wording in the review, I was referring to the $20 mail-in rebate