Description

My new small form factor gaming machine. I wanted to build SFF for a few reasons.

  • I wanted a smaller case for a smaller on desk footprint
  • I wanted a more challenging build than my normal ATX mid tower build
  • I wanted some portability as some friends and I still run the occasional LAN party

This build has delivered on every point so far. It fits nicely atop my desk, presented some build challenges, and is pretty easy to carry about (though by no means "lightweight").

The third image above, with the AIO cooler installed is still with the coolermaster 25mm fan. I could run it open lid, but that fan hit the top of the pump and wouldn't allow the case to close. I'll try to get some more pics up detailing some of the more intricate parts of the build. The AIO hoses actually have to wrap around the pump to get the lid closed. It took a bit of work to get everything in just the right place, but I'm happy with the result.

Part Reviews

CPU

An easy to love powerhouse. It crushes bits, it does it well. It's probably overkill for my use-case right now, but I wanted some space to grow into as I tend to run my machines for several years. Currently I'm running lidded at base clock rates.

CPU Cooler

I started this build air cooled, but during long gaming sessions or Bluray encodes I was seeing temps as high as 95C. Not wanting to have to worry about the longevity of my CPU or worry about temp throttling I did some looking and some measuring and found that with a low profile fan I could make this fit in my case. Glad I did, keeps everything nice and not melting.

Motherboard

Honestly not a ton to say about this, it works as advertised. So far I'm very happy with it.

Memory

Fast, looks nice, isn't covered in LEDs, what more could you want out of RAM?

Storage

Quick reads, and quick writes. It's not the highest end drive on the market, but the cost / GB and the performance were in a good spot for me. Who knows, maybe I'll buy a second one for that slot on the back of the motherboard... :-P

Storage

Good amount of storage for pretty cheap. This is my first run with a hybrid drive, the idea being that I run my 2 main system partitions from the SSD and install all of my games to the FireCuda. So far this has worked pretty well, loading times are short and I don't notice much issue. I have had one case where I was playing Dauntless and steam was running a large game update and I was getting performance problems in Dauntless, I can't say for certain that it was I/O problems, but this is my most likely culprit ATM. If I prove that this wasn't the problem I'll come back and add the missing star.

Video Card

I bought this about a month before the 10 series cards were released because I live under a rock and don't pay enough attention... I used it to build an EGPU for my 2012 MBP so that I could play higher fidelity games and run an HTC Vive. That worked pretty well for a while, but I eventually got tired of every windows update breaking my EGPU drivers, so I decided to cannibalize the EGPU and just build a proper gaming machine. The graphics card has done an admirable job of keeping up with my ridiculous ideas so far, so I can't complain.

Case

I'm a really big fan of this case. I like the aesthetics and I like the size. Working in it is definitely tight, but not unreasonably so IMO. As I mentioned in the AIO review, I originally ran an air cooler an nt06 pro to be specific, but I was seeing temps to high for my liking. I tried some different arrangements on the fan, but ultimately decide to go AIO as I had never used one and this was a build for new experiences. But I digress, my only real complaint with the case layout is that the PSU bracket is designed for an ATX power supply, and there really no good way to mount an SFF PSU. So I bought a small form factor PSU, but still had to mount it to the full size bracket which makes it take way more space than if I could just mount the SFF PSU directly. It may seem extreme to dock a whole star for just that, but in a space constrained build like this every little bit of space that can be reclaimed matters.

Power Supply

Great power supply, It being smaller didn't really save me as much space in the case as I would have liked, but that really falls on the case. And I ended up having to use all of the power cables, so the modularity did basically nothing for me, but that's my fault for not doing better research. For what I ask of the PSU, this one delivers.

Operating System

It plays games. I actually run my machine Dual booted with Fedora 28 and Windows 10 Pro. I keep the windows partition trimmed down of any excess software outside of what's required to run Steam / Battle.net / Origin etc. Fedora is where all of my daily computing happens. But for a game console OS Windows 10 pro does a fine job.

Case Fan

Slim and pretty quiet right up until peak RPM. This is the low profile fan I used to replace the stock radiator fan on the AIO cooler. This provides just enough clearance for the case to close.

Comments

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

Really amazing build, thanks for sharing, specially since you are the only one that i see that tested the nt06pro. I have a couple of questions if you don't mind.

1) is that the only way the nt06pro fits on the Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming? I mean does it clear to any other orientation?

2) does the nt06pro fits with all the Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming heatsiniks?

3) i cant see form the picture, but you use the stock fan on the bottom? im just wondering if it fits

4) from your comments it seems the nt06pro is not enough, was your i7-8700K delided?

5) about the RGB, seems the Asus ROG Strix Z370-I has 3pin 5v RGB and the RVZ03 is a 4pin 12v for the frontal RGB lights, did you manage the case to work with it? if you did, please expand some, i would like to use the Asus Aura sync with the CPU temp

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the slow reply, work has been super busy. Thanks for the props, it was a really fun build.

As for your questions:

1) That was the only fit I could get that cleared my full size RAM, if you were to go with low profile RAM then you could turn it any direction iirc.

2) I'm not sure I fully understand this question, but other than ram clearance I didn't have any problems with fitment.

3) Yes, I had the stock fan bottom mounted, I tried it in both a blowing and a vacuum configuration. iirc the vacuum performed slightly better in my testing.

4) I'm still running the CPU lidded, so you may be able to get a few extra degrees if you're delidded.

5) I punted on this one. I couldn't get the lights to work together and the RVZ03 provides a manual controller for adjusting the lights. I wired the manual controller to the hardware reset button on the front of the case and use that to cycle through the lighting modes manually.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply, i appreciate your time, and your answers give me another perspective into what should i aim at.

I think this case is amazing, just wished it had a little more clearance for the taller heatsinks, i feel the only weakness it has is handling a high end cpu.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Which air cooler did you have prior to this one? I have the same processor, OC-ed and even during stress testing my highest temp. was 86C. I use a dark rock pro 4. 95C really is a bit high.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

I was running nt06 pro as it was designed specifically for the case so I was hopeful that it would optimize the air cooling, but I guess I just couldn't get enough airflow.