Description

Named for plethora of "sweet" components in tiny space :

  • "Black Magic" - a variety box of quality UK chocolates and

  • "The Tardis" - time traveller Dr. Who's vehicle - famed for being internally larger than its outward appearance. (BBC-tv)

                      First build - for home-office, family videos & gaming.
    
  • Aim : To build an overclockable, quiet, cool, neat & compact, portable high-spec PC with customisable longevity and wide expandability.

  • Outcome : Modified in stages, it's become my "Dog's Bollocks in a Little Case" PC. (formerly named "DB in Little C"). Arguably portable (weighs like a lead brick), it's a functional joy to use ! Delivers 60FPS at 4K in games at consistently respectable temperature and noise levels.

  • Unique Features : Massively air-cooled overclocking of i7-8700K & 1080ti GPU in 18.5 litre ITX box with no impact on storage/drive/case-fan selection. Satisfactorily successful use of Optane. Only PCPP build using stunning full-featured (27",60Hz,IPS,G-Sync,4K) AOC AG271UG monitor, appreciably cheaper than its Asus/Acer equals.

Part Reviews

CPU

Delidded & overclocked (4.8GHz) multi-core 12-thread Coffee-Lake CPU - should last years.

CPU Cooler

6yr warranty. No fuss air on par with water coolers. Fits FD Core 500 & doesn't block RAM. Quiet (25dB) Keeps i7-8700K 4.8GHz cool (35C rest; 65C max).

Thermal Compound

Liquid metal TIM for delidded CPU. Having overclocked to 4.8GHz a CPU temp drop of -10C welcome in space-compromised ITX PC set-up.

Motherboard

Thunderbolt 3 (20Gb/s). Solid overclocking. Underboard m.2 sites Optane plus 5 usable SATA ports for mix of HDD's, SSD's and 5.25" Blu-ray.

Memory

Decent quality RAM. Advertised as Corsair but ASRock UEFI recognise as 2 x 8GB DDR4 G-Skill. Clock easily to stated 3200MHz.

Storage

Fast, quality inexpensive SSD

Storage

Fortuitous purchase of large capacity SSD, considered best in the marketplace, at its lowest ever price.

Storage

Paired to 32GB Optane caching module for formidable mix of quick boot/access/storage at low cost.

Video Card

Ideal for 18.5L case. Ejects hot air out of back for low temps (35C rest & 75C max 4K gaming). Noise tolerable (45dB max). Overclock max 1999.5MHz.

Case

Compact, affordable, holds lots of full-size gear. Filters vac with lid on. Front PSU for big CPU cooler & low temps. Rout "out of box" (pic5) for air space.

Power Supply

Silent. 10yr warranty. Overkill power for build upgrading.

Optical Drive

Effective and neat but occupies space in ITX build driving temps up 10C. NB: Disc players noisy in sector searches most noticeable during malware scans.

Case Fan

Replaced brown Noctua fan for "all black" look - runs dead quiet.

Case Fan

Replaced noisier 3-pin Fractal fan at rear of case. Gained 4-pin speed control and "all black" aesthetics.

Case Fan

Two top inputs, (one over CPU stack). Splitter cable to 4-pin pwm socket. Quiet yet shift more air than replaced Noctua. CPU rest temp low (35C) at 4.8GHz.

Monitor

Quality "affordable" 4K, IPS, 60Hz, G-Sync screen, partnered by 1080ti for games at 60FPS. No dead pixels.

Keyboard

Bargain price for a quality mechanical keyboard with alluring RGB while bristling with useable features.

Mouse

Cheap yet perfectly designed for gaming - RGB a bonus.

Speakers

Decent sound and power for PC speakers.

Custom

PC boots quickly. Crisply opens .exe and content files. Low cost storage paired to large HDD. Unexpectedly resilient.

Custom

Eliminates risk from de-lidding process.

Custom

"All-black" aesthetic enhancement without detriment to CPU's thermals.

Comments

  • 23 months ago
  • 3 points

NICE build like the noctua fans

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks tacoshell01 - it was fun doing it.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Your memory is slower than the rated speed. If you look on the 6th photo it says your memory is at 1600 Mhz, when you brought RAM at 3200 Mhz speed. I am sure just changing something in the BIOS would make the RAM run at it's advertised speed. Just pointed that out so you know. It is a easy fix though.

So if you felt your memory was kind of slow, now you know why.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Lakota_ - I don't know why that's occurred as I initially set the RAM memory speed to 3200 in the BIOS settings as shown in 5th photo - so I'm a bit bemused as to why that's happening?

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Done some research on this - Speccy (which I used) & another monitor program called CPU-Z take the actual frequency of the RAM which is 1600MHz - but as its name suggests DDR - RAM is Double Data Rate & the effective speed is double - so all is as it ought to be - Anyway well done for keeping your eyes open to reading all the detailed figures & I hope this will help other folk who may be similarly bemused by the results. Have a Happy New Year 2018

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks so much. I just wanted to make sure it was at the right speed.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi there, I made a very similar build as you, except with the following differences: Intel i5-8400 GTX 1070 Ti G.skill Tridentz 3200 Link here: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/XCMhsJ

I'm having a problem where my RAM sticks keep dying. First one died 2 days after turning it on, second one died a day or two later. They seem to die after I turn the computer off for a while.

Did you have to change any settings in BIOS for RAM to work properly? Do you have any idea why this would happen?

Thanks!

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Can't help you wrt RAM sticks "dying" - you may have faulty ones that need returning to PC store - unless your motherboard RAM slots are damaged ?? However as far as set-up for RAM BIOS - Paul's Hardware on YouTube is brilliant but You do need to watch BOTH links as 2nd has a correction to the 1st - both ,however, are excellent. 1st : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbpqkiaO7q4 2nd : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xURz-SSQUVY This should give you all the details about BIOS settings for RAM and more

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

You really went all-out for a first build! Where did you research what you wanted for this build? Were there any parts that you settled on at the outset?

I can imagine that with an 8700k and 1080Ti, this is a gaming machine at least in part. I'm wondering what monitor you have paired with this and I'm assuming it's not the one in picture #5. I'm also curious about noise out of the blower-style 1080Ti since even the blower on my 1070 can be intrusive.

Finally, I find the choice to use Optane interesting. You may be the first I've seen on PCPP, especially for such a high-end system. Curious to hear your perspective on that.

I am super impressed overall by your build. Everything looks neat and clean. Temps on CPU are phenomenal, nearly enough to make me consider upsizing cases just to get a bigger cooler. Sweet build with lots to chew on.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Will be more than happy to answer your questions - however going through parental bereavement at moment - so I'd appreciate it if you could give me some time to respond - regards BDP

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

No worries, friend, thanks for taking the time. Sorry to hear about your loss. I know it's not much, but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

How kind - really appreciated - it's lovely to know that there's a very considerate and respectful side to what is essentially a hobby forum - blessings to you my friend

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi anasoh323 - Thank you again for being so considerate regarding my situation.

Before my build I used an HP-7 Pavilion 6154ea laptop as my desktop sat closed beneath the AOC e2239Fwt HDtouchscreen in Pic 5. It served for 7+years but was faltering frequently.

My own experience mirrors "raininseattle's" "Heart of the Expedit" build in that I never saw myself as a "enthusiast" - Ideally I'd have bought another "dogs-bollocks" laptop - except for less money I guessed I could build myself a massively higher specced PC - so I took to researching - First on PC Specialist's configurator then PCPartpicker and watching loads of YouTube channels reviews, product comparisons and manufacturer websites, etc. Finally I found "THE $2,000 ULTIMATE GAMING MINI-ITX PC BUILD" by Ari Altman - which was hugely relevant to my build. Also Paul's Hardware channel - "First 5 Things to Do with a New PC Build" & "3 More Things To Do with a New Computer".

Aged 53 , I hardly see myself as the next champ gamer though I do want to be able to play stuff at the best frame-rates possible for the date of my build. I only needed one GPU so ITX with 1 PCI slot fitted the bill. In terms of expandability ; my set-up should suit my needs for 3-4 years.

Originally I was looking at the Sharkoon C10 case but favoured the Fractal Core 500 and that formed the basis - plus a good PSU with a long warranty & as big an air cooler as the case could fit to keep an i7-8700K CPU cool. These parts and the motherboard were to form the skeleton.

I'm currently using the AOC display until I've enough cash to buy probably a 27" (2560x1440) 144Hz+ with G-sync and IPS (& Thunderbolt?) - 4D may have to wait a few years.

I went for the blower fan to keep internal temps down & it seems to have worked. As far as audibility is concerned - I think it's fairly silent unless a load is put on it in which case I can alter the fan curves to suit ( I've used Zotacs own Firestorm software for that & it seems to do the job.) To be honest - its the 3-pin Fractal fan that I'm using as my intake which is creating all the noise and I look forward to swapping it for a 4-pin one soon. Even with the noise of this fan I don't find it hideous but I reckon it must be in excess of 30-40dB.

Optane - the rationale behind using it was simple - I have masses of family holiday videos and pictures (> 1.5TB currently) that need to be stored and accessed & the only affordable way to do this is on a HDD - so I went down the route of pairing it with the purported caching properties of the Optane.

It was a big risk as I have to have my HDD as both boot-up & operating system drive (which together with apps - I've partitioned to the C: Drive) -

The system boots in around 15s - and opening my photo and video albums appears quicker than a standard HDD did. Also game launches are pretty quick - about 30-45s - Having said that I've never experienced SSDs so I really have nothing to compare against .

10TB Optane that'd serve for all purposes at HDD £/TB would be the ideal - so come on Intel - you can mop up the whole memory marketplace if you dare.

I almost forgot to mention - possibly the most important part of my build was to create a good single-directional air-flow - basic physics I think. An input of cool air from the surroundings into as large and uncluttered a volume of space as practicably possible that's accessible to the CPU cooler fan which then pushes the cool air over the CPU and exhausts it towards the exhaust fan at the rear of the case to deal with.

I believe that by minimizing the clutter through cable management this may have aided achieving my low standing temperatures albeit that I haven't yet overclocked the CPU. Further the proximity of the GPU fan to the external air via the case side-vent also seems to be assisting with keeping its processor temperature at a manageable level for such a small case volume.

Thank you again annasoh323 for your patience, kind words and for taking such a keen and highly complementary critique of my build - BDP

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

We're people first, hobbyists second (or third or fourth or whatever). Hope things are looking up for you, even if it's little by little.

It's interesting that you should mention raininseattle's build since I was just over there looking at it. On my end, I've always sort of wanted to do a build since high school but going away for college (and not having money) prevented that. It took a few years even after that before I felt settled enough to attempt a PC build and my foray into the mITX world was because of space constraints (but now that I'm here, I'm pretty sure I'm here to stay unless I reaaaally need those extra PCI-E slots). Building my current computer taught me the importance of board layout, case design, and cooler clearance since the combination of those factors can create huge conflicts. Lesson learned for next time, whenever that is. Perhaps my perceived noise problems can be remedied just by moving my tower farther away from me <shrug> My present case doesn't really have "airflow" in the traditional sense so cable tidiness in my case (pun!) is more for aesthetic and Your load time numbers with Optane seem pretty good. Myself, I'm running a SATA-connected SSD in conjunction with a larger HDD but manually moving things around can be a pain. Neat to see someone adopting Optane and getting good use of it. One day I'll find someone using an NVMe SSD, Optane, SATA SSD, and normal HDD and we can have speed comparisons live (not really analytically, just by "feel").

Anyway, thanks for your time and sharing your build. Hang in there no matter what happens. Keeping your in my prayers friend.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Does the blower style GPU create much noise?

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

At rest its's silent , however the fan can get noisy when pushed e.g. I tried mining several times and this can , if not controlled, cause the card to heat up and require significant fan output - so for such purposes I modified the fan curve for 20% up to and including 50C (pretty silent) then a 10 % increase per 10C up to 70C (still very tolerable), finally 20% increase per 10C rise from 70-100C (At 80% fan speed and above it sounds like a plane taking off). By slightly underclocking - the card stays below 70C limiting noise & with marginal effect on hashing productivity. Retained same fan settings but at stock clock speed for games (Archeage ~120FPS:<70C & World of Tanks ~ 60FPS:<40C) - Hope this helps.

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi! How to get worked all Fans on this board?

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry friend - I wasn't too clear on what you mean? As I understand you want to know how all the fans operate? If so - then I used all three of the 4-pin PWM connectors on the Asus Z370 motherboard - the fans all work well and quietly automatically as soon as the PC powers up even without the need to modify their respective speeds with a Fanspeed program. Does this answer your question?

  • 16 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you!

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Went searching for other Core 500 builds like mine and this is gorgeous. +1

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you so much - just had a brief look at your build and you've done a really awesome job. Your detailed figures inspire me for when I'm brave enough to delid and use liquid metal tim for an overclock.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

I am suppressing the urge to copy your setup - buying the NH-D15S, chromax swap fans, heatsink covers and Prolimatech fans... Because, quite frankly, that is the best air cooling solution for this case I've seen yet. The all black scheme just ties it together nicely.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

It would appear that Noctua are likely to introduce all-black coolers soon - so if you can hold tight you'll save yourself a lot of sweat and grief - the rearmost heatsink cover was a total dog to attach as I didn't remove the motherboard first - plus they'll probably look even better. The Prolimatechs I wouldn't have entertained had the 5.25" drive fitted in as I'd hoped - the Noctua looked really the biz - A bit daft really since it's all hidden beneath the enclosure anyway. Nevertheless - I'm really impressed by their performance and quietness.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

I saw that earlier today for the first time about Noctua introducing new all-black coolers. Yeah, you're right. I really didn't consider making the internals match because you're never going to see any of it anyway, so I'm 50/50 at the moment about the whole idea. I did find this Custom Watercooled Fractal Design Core 500 which inspired me to dremel a hole in the front for a fan. The side window is a nice touch.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

That's a stunning modification - it ressembles an outboard motor. The work is clean , precise and the overall finish is quality. Would a grey-black tinted-glass window complement it further?

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Great build and incredibly helpful!

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Two quick questions.

1.) Since the D15S is asymmetrical it looks like you positioned it so that there was more heatsink near the graphics card. Is this true?

2.) How much space would you say you have between the very top of the D15S and the bottom of the top case fan(s)?

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi exergist - In response to your 1st question - I placed the heatsink so that the NA-15 fan was aligned as centrally as possible with the 140mm exhaust fan - I found that as well as most aesthetically pleasing it also kept my access to the motherboard's PWM sockets as clear as possible. I knew I'd probably want to play around with the build and might need to tinker with the fan arrangement until it was what I was happiest with. It did mean that there wasn't a huge space between the rear of the GPU and the heatsink, even more evident with the chromax covers on - yet there does seem to be clear air between the components - I don't believe they're in any physical intrusive contact.

In relation to your second question - we're probably talking ~5mm - it was always going to be that tight. I was delighted i got away with it . I think I've been able to provide as much cool air as possible into the remaining spaces of the case following my introduction of the cumbersome air-blocking Blu-ray. As you may have read - I went from a single 140mm Noctua intake fan with a significantly larger air void to cool (without the front bracket) to my current arrangement. Hope this helps you a little. It's tight - but it definitely works.

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Perfect, thank you for the feedback!

I'm working on a "cram as many drives into an ITX case as possible while not compromising cable management" build with my Core 500, and I'm using dual 2.5" x 15mm hard drives in conjunction with SSDs on the side rail. I WAS going to use my existing U14S but I realized that it would be just barely too tall to accommodate dual 13mm Cryorig XT140 fans. Assuming the CPU socket location is the same, clearly your build showcases that it is possible to fit the D15S, a large graphics card, and top-mounted 15mm fans. For me it was going to be VERY tight between the U14S and the side HDD, but the asymmetrical D15S should open up the gap.

Now I just have to decide if I'm willing to wait to see if Noctua will release updated products (new U or D12 to go with the new NF-A12x25?) early next year. Thanks again!!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Are the temps on the GPU good, thinking about buying this variant, you review talked about the noise too, is that in oc or stock?

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

My honest opinion - Unless you decide that you really have to use a blower GPU because of limited air-space issues , like in my build, you'd likely be better served by a multi-fan cooling type that can overclock higher and operate quieter - Performance is limited by the very small single fan & while it works as I intended for my thermals, any noise , while tolerable for me in gaming, is individually subjective and therefore may not be as tolerable for you .

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Thx, I currently have an itx mobo in a closed, no glass, or anything special matx case, so I am planning to switch to a premuim itx case, and switching my gpu, currently a dualfan 1070ti, and i heard blowers are better in the situation

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

You're probably right for a itx build - wouldn't you get a better effect by changing to a more open case though - that way you'd control your thermals better and save yourself a load of coin by not having to buy another GPU ?

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Eh might as well upgrade, I have a 1060 lying around my flat and can prob sell that with 1070ti to buy a Navi or if AMD disappoints [as always] I can just buy a 1080ti, which this model is relatively cheap. So, overall in a small case like a mini tower this gpu does the job and has decent thermals and isn't as loud as many say it it?

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I forgot to mention - I don't tend to use headphones & my pc is barely a foot away from my head. Whilst I can turn up the volume control to drown out most of the noise much of the time , if I play a game at nighttime when my family are asleep, then I hear more noise from the system , but like I already said , it's tolerable and doesn't hamper my playing experience to any great extent. In Assassin's Creed Origins - I get just shy of 60fps in 4K lots of the time with my card overclocked - I suspect that a non blower card may achieve even better FPS and with higher consistency?

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Hello, I was pleasantly surprised that you managed to fit a 267 mm Video Card with an ATX Power Supply.

Do you think that a 298 mm Video Card would fit with that ATX Power Supply as well?

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi MetaCode - Hope this helps you : January 2019 I decided to modify my build around the GPU card by adding a EVGA Powerlink Adapter - for internal aesthetics , but more importantly - to enable me to get most of my cabling outside of the internal case environment. This part adds at least an extra 10 mm to both the height and the length of the card - but enables the GPUs cables to emerge directly in front of the front panel's "cable exit" hole - so all my GPU cabling is organised behind the front snap-off panel. While this added 10mm card length - it was seriously tight as the connectors and associated cables are not very malleable.

You might just be able to fit a 298mm card - but it will definitely depend on the attaching cabling arrangements as these can add to the overall dimensions in an already tight space.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Just rechecked the spec on the FD Core 500 website and it states it can take a GPU card up to 310mm + this size of ATX PSU - so in theory it's doable.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you. I was under the impression that my Video Card was too big but the problem is that if you use a 160mm Power Supply you will not have room to properly install a Video Card because of the cables, no matter how you bend them. A 140mm or smaller Power Supply solves that. (This should probably be in the compatibility warnings)

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

That's pretty much correct - I recollect doing all kinds of "mock-up" 3-d sketches and measurements within my pre-purchase research long before I pushed "pay". My research similarly pointed towards a roughly 140mm PSU length limitation to avoid uncomfortable spatial incompatibilities. Anything much longer could present issues. Fortunately there are some top-notch ATX PSU's with models of that dimension . For me , Seasonic , probably the most established company in this marketplace , offered a compatible solution at a tenable price.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Did you use the same fan connector for the Noctua NF-A14 PWM chromax fan as the Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 fans?

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

I had to use a fan- splitter cable to attach my two pwm Prolimatech fans to a single 4-pin pwm fan port on the motherboard whereas the Noctua could attach directly. This means both my intake slim-fans have to operate at the same revs - but this is controllable with software.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you. And after that, did you connect them all to the Chassis Fan Connector on the Motherboard?

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

The connection of all my 4 fans using the nomenclature of the ASRock Fatal1ty Z370 Gaming itx/ac motherboard is as follows :

1) The rear Noctua - NF-A14 PWM chromax.black.swap 82.52 CFM 140 mm Fan is connected to the Chassis Fan Connector (CHA_FAN1)

2) The Noctua NF-A15 HS-PWM chromax.black.swap, 82.52 CFM 140 mm is connected to the CPU Fan Connector (CPU_FAN1)

3) The 2 x Prolimatech - Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 , 98 CFM 140 mm Fans are connected via a Silverston​e PWM Fan ​Splitter cable to CPU Fan Connector (CPU_OPT/W_PUMP)

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  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome looking build, I thought that a video card might not fit in this case but it looks like it does after seeing your build :-)

Does the video card run hot inside the case since its kind of sitting there separated from the top fans?

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Wise_Silver_Wolf - pleased it's been of some benefit to you and appreciate the compliment - I was playing A/C Origins in 4K last night for over 3 hours with every display setting at maximum - Both my CPU and GPU are overclocked [4.8GHz all cores CPU] and [1.987GHz peak GPU-z] respectively - CPU max temp reached 63C & GPU max 77C - Bear in mind this is a particularly cramped build with 4 very large 140mm fans inside. The GPU fan runs 70% max (3500-4000rpm) - it's not silent at this level but certainly tolerable - I don't use headphones and as you'll see from the pics - the PC is less than a foot from my ears. The GPU sits so proximally accessible to externally inputting cool air within this case and I believe that this is the biggest factor at keeping temps very keen in my non liquid-cooled build. Similarly, the blower GPU assures the CPU/motherboard temps are kept low.

  • 1 month ago
  • 2 points

Well done cable management, unlike in my build, Which uses Cablemod cables and is done by lazy *** builder

  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

Your build is very tidy & you have every right to be proud of yourself for it.

  • 8 days ago
  • 2 points

Amazing use of the EVGA powerlink. I used it with my old build, amazing piece of hardware for use cases like mini ITX.

  • 5 days ago
  • 1 point

Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 point

You're welcome. Comments on here aren't as much of a thing as I used to notice them to be.

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 point

That's a pity. Why do you think that is?

  • 3 days ago
  • 2 points

I think the people don't want to spend as much time taking the time to comment. They might look at some builds, but won't like or comment.

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

Damn shame given that contributors put thought and effort into their pc building pastime. A little recognition and mutual correspondence goes a long way. Take care friend.

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  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

850 W is too much in my opinion but for that price its even a better option if you consider future upgrades. Nice build

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks - actually paid £99.95 from Overclockers on Cyber Monday deal.

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