Description

I had been running a build in a Bitfenix Prodigy for a while and liked it fine but thought that, for what I was using it for (light gaming, some virtualization, everyday computer tasks), it was still too big.

I don't overclock, I have two drives in it at most, and I can't remember the last time I'd used the disc drive.

I'd seen the NCASE M1 a bunch online and really liked it, so I decided to transplant all of the parts from my last-ish gen Haswell Prodigy build into an M1.


Case

NCASE M1

I love the NCASE M1. It's a great size and looks fantastic. I'm impressed with the flexibility built into the mounting for fans and drives.

One complaint, which I knew going into this, was that there isn't a manual included. I figured it all out because of documents the NCASE people have on their site, but a lot of the stuff I found online was for older revisions of the case (mine is v5, I found a lot of v2 documentation).

The case is a bit pricey too, but I think it's worth it. If I were to go for a cheaper mini-ITX case, I think the Fractal Node 202 would be my first stop.


Cooling

Watercooling seems to be a popular choice with the NCASE M1, but wasn't a good fit for me. I don't overclock, and didn't want more noise and maintenance than necessary, so I'm only cooling with air.

The NCASE people recommend top-down CPU coolers, which was tricky. I would have loved to have used a Cryorig C1, but I've seen a lot of builds here and on other forums that struggle with making larger top-down coolers like the C1 fit in the NCASE M1.

I've only done very mild customization in terms of how the fans run both for the CPU and case and I'm not super happy with the temps, but I'll probably do more tinkering to strike the right balance of quiet and cool.


CPU

Intel Core i5 4430

This CPU has been fine for me for some gaming (mostly Blizzard games these days) and occasional virtualization. This replaced an AMD Phenom II X4 955 a few years ago and I've had no complaints.

I've never been drawn to overclocking because of the added heat and power, but I don't really know a ton about it so I'll look into it in the next iteration of my build.


Motherboard

ASRock Z87E-ITX

The Z87E-ITX has been great, the only thing I would change about it would be to add another case fan header.


Memory

Crucial Ballistix 16GB

16GB has been plenty for me. I chose this kit because its heatspreaders are very low-profile. I think it also has lower CAS latency than a lot of comparable kits, but that probably makes absolutely no real-world difference.


Storage

The Samsung Pro 850 was probably overkill for what I needed. I could have gotten a cheaper, higher capacity model and not noticed any difference.

I'm using the 2TB drive mostly for serving movies and TV shows off of Plex, so I'd like to get a home NAS (probably some 2-bay QNAP or Synology ) sometime in the next few months and get a MSATA SSD with more capacity (probably 500GB) to save on space, noise, and heat.


PSU

Corsair SF 450

The Corsair SF 450 is a fantastic PSU. I don't draw a lot of power with this machine so I'm very comfortable at 450 watts, and the modularity and performance of it are impressive. I don't think I've seen its fan spin up yet!

I may replace the stock cables with sleeved, shorter length cables.


GPU

Sapphire Radeon R9 380 Compact

The R9 380 has worked fine for me, but it probably didn't need to be as small as it is. In the Prodigy and even in the M1, a full-sized card works just fine.

For smaller cases, the conventional wisdom seems to be to go with a graphics card with a blower-style cooler, so I'll upgrade to one of those with more VRAM when I have the chance.


Final Thoughts

I'm pretty happy with how everything's turned out in this build. I do feel like I've kinda missed the train with this current gen and am missing out on some cool things (DDR4, M.2, etc.), but this machine does what I need it to do and looks fantastic.

Thanks for reading! Formatting shamelessly stolen from Eltech

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Comments

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

This looks great. I enjoyed reading your description and such lovely format that I may add. I know your computer will serve you well and looking sexy at the same time. You have my one.

This came to my mind later on but I think the cat helped out for measurements and cleanliness. ;)

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

This is so clean an well built. It's perfect. Why hasn't it got more "+1s"?

  • 43 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

because it just got posted like 2 minutes ago lmao, calm down there jipster.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

lmao jipster jajajajaja that's a legend...

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

That team liquid mousepad <3

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I've been a Team Liquid fan since Wings of Liberty! <3

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Team valor 4 lief

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

What desk is that

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Something from IKEA that I got years ago, can't remember the name

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks like a linnmon

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

NCase M1!

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 for cat

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

OMG that cat is so cute :3

+1

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Is your cat polydactyl? It looks like he/she has extra toes (mitten paws)?

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

She is! She has one extra toe on each front paw, and even more extra paw pads

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I really like your case, didn't know anything like this exists, for me I think this could be the smallest possible build, can't really fit X99 into Node 202, so looking towards this now.

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, the NCASE M1 has a lot more flexibility for cooling than the Node 202. More height for the CPU cooler, watercooling options, etc.. Like I said int he description, the biggest downside is the cost--and the wait! I think I got mine maybe a month after I'd ordered it

  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I will say too that I don't think that the NCASE M1 can fit all of the drives that you have in your build, but I could be wrong. It'd be a very tight fit at the very least.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I also thought about drive management there, a reason why I opted for Corsair 250D in first place was it's storage management. Will have a look at more reviews about NCASE, really like it so far!

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, a pretty nice build you have there :) I just wanna ask, since you have a R9 380, is your PC running without any hardware problems? Your PSU is 450W, reccomended PSU wattage for your GPU is 550W, that's why I'm asking :) Anyway, +1

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I've never had any power issues with this build, and the power usage is probably going to go down in future iterations.

If you're concerned about power usage, you could always get a Kill A Watt or similar product and measure what your machine does under load. I've thought about doing this, but have never gotten around to it and it's never been an issue for me.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Aye, thanks for the reply :) I have a similar product at home myself, but before I buy the card I just wanna make sure if it'll work. Once more, thanks !