It's been around 5 years since my first build in the Silverstone SG08, and it still runs relatively well! But with all of the new PC parts that have come after those years such as RGB lighting, fast M.2 storage, and better-designed SFX components, I thought it was about time for a much needed update to my favorite case! So after realizing I could downsize my first build in the SG08 into an SG13, I decided to retire my first build in the SG13 to HTPC/second computer duties. With a clean slate for the SG08, I set out to address the issues in my previous build and plan out a better, more reliable PC for my everyday needs.
ISSUES FROM LAST BUILD:
I learned from my first build that for a mini-ITX, airflow and CPU temps are key issues that will arise if not taken care of properly. I used the stock Intel cooler in my last build and it definitely was not enough to cool the CPU. CPU temps would idle at around 40c, which I guess is okay, but then it would hit 90c-100c under load playing games like Counter-Strike or DotA. Another issue I had was the very tight space between the GPU's power slot and the case fan. This caused the cables from the PSU to barely fit and push the GPU down, thus indirectly pushing the whole motherboard down making it sag a little. The PSU functionally worked well, but the non-modular extra cables were annoying to tuck away and just looked like spaghetti.
So the first PC build I did was when I was in college and budgeted it to be ~$1000. It was just a best bang for your buck gaming PC in an aesthetically-pleasing case, the Silverstone SG08. Now that I've got a job and paid off all of my student debt, I decided it was probably time for a much needed upgrade after 5 years. All of my old parts were generations behind and had like 1/4 of the specs that these new components have. While choosing parts for my PC, I was mainly looking for top-tier parts that would fully utilize all of the space in the SG08 case. But these parts would also have to be capable of being properly cooled, thus I was looking for parts that do not generate too much heat/energy.
So while picking out a CPU, I decided to go with the locked Intel i7-8700. It has a low TDP (65W) and I'm not going to overclock it, since I learned from my last build that the CPU could really heat up, even when it's not overclocked. I had thoughts of putting the Intel i9-9900k into the case, but I had to be realistic that it probably would not actually reach its full potential in such a small case. To further prevent bad temps, I also ditched the stock Intel cooler and got a Noctua NH-L12. The Noctua JUST fits on the motherboard barely touching the heatsink and RAM. It also fills more of the empty space that the stock Intel cooler would have left.
I picked the ASRock Z390 motherboard, since I heard it was the best z390 mini-ITX board out on the market. And when compared to other mini-ITX boards, it had cool options, such as M2 port and M2 heatsink, USB-C port. At first, I was thinking of getting the Asus X470-i motherboard and run the AMD Ryzen 2700x, but the Asus X470-i does not have USB-C ports, and the AMD CPU also runs hotter/uses more energy. But then again, the AMD CPU does come with a nice Wraith Spire Cooler, so I would save money on the Noctua NH-L12, and it would have an RGB cooler and RGB audio port. The choice between AMD or Intel is still up for debate, but I impulsively bought the Intel one first so "oh well!"
For RAM, I wanted the cool RGB factor. Also, the maximum limit for memory for the z390 motherboard is 32 GB. So easily enough, I went with 32GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB RAM since it covers both criterias, and plus it matches the case's brushed aluminum front panel!
For storage, there's not much to say. I wanted to try the M.2 NVMe drives, since I've never used them before, and they're REALLY small! Also it's pretty cool that they don’t need any SATA cables or PSU cables. An M.2 drive for a mini-ITX build is definitely a must have for saving space and removing clutter.
For the PSU, I went with the Corsair SF600 for an SFX power supply so that I could cut out the extra cable problem that I had last time. It also provides more space for cables when you have a full-sized GPU. In this case, I went with the Asus GTX 1070 Ti TURBO, since it is one of the biggest GPUs, and a blower card should theoretically work better in a mini-ITX. It also has a lower TDP than the GTX 1080 Ti, so I thought a step down to the 1070 Ti would be more appropriate and cost effective. Plus, it was on sale :D
COMPARISON TO LAST BUILD:
I'm really happy and stoked on my updated SG08! Everything fit just right without any components being awkwardly pressured by other parts. At first, I was worried how the CPU cooler, motherboard heatsinks, and RAM would fit, but they all get along nicely! The GTX 1070 Ti is longer than my last graphics, and its connector for the PSU cable is in a spot where it won't get smushed on by the 180mm intake fan. It also indirectly fixed the issue of the graphics card pushing the motherboard down causing it to sag. The cables on the SFX PSU are modular so I could cut down on the number of cables used, and the extra space from the smaller size of the SFX PSU over the ATX PSU also really helps!
Another note: Before, I was using an ATX PSU and stock intel cooler, but this time I'm using an SFX PSU and a bigger Noctua cooler. The weight distribution is so much better! Before the case used to be front heavy and it would be awkward carrying it around, but the lighter weight of the SFX PSU and the heavier weight of the Noctua cooler makes it feel so much more even and nicer to hold. It also runs so much better and quieter than my old build that its almost embarrassing. The CPU temps idle at 30c, while hovering around 60c at load! The GPU temps idle at 30c, while running at 80c at load.
Overall, The completed build came out to be faster, cooler, cleaner, and quieter than my previous build!