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 Post subject: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 19
Location: UK
MiniITX gaming builds have been all the rage on SPCR lately, my contribution uses the Jonsbo U2 case - the even teenier version of the U3 MicroATX/MiniITX Lawrence reviewed in September.

QuietPC & Scan are the only dealers I'm aware of selling these in the UK, nominally under the Cooltek brand. I understand across the pond Newegg sell them under the Rosewill brand.

Image

Much of what Lawrence's review notes about U3 case holds true for the U2 case. They are very similar cases, but with a three crucial differences:

The U2 is smaller - dropping MicroATX support, shaving 4cm off the height, and 3.7cm off the depth for total dimensions of 208mm(W), 319mm(H), 233mm(D). Which results in a ~15.5 litre case - yet still one which can take a full size ATX PSU, a decent sized tower cooler, a couple of hard drives (albeit 2.5"), a respectably sized graphics card and two 120mm case fans.

Yep two 120mm case fans - that's the other big difference - the U2 case has a front mounted standoff serving as a mounting point for either a 3.5" hard drive (if you choose not to mount on the floor) or a front case fan. There's no direct intake path for this fan however, rather the standoff space creates a vacuum in the void which sucks in air from the side vents. Undoubtedly not as ideal as a direct path, but with such a small case the path from the side vents to the void behind the front fan is only about an inch long.

Front panel PCB has migrated from the bottom left on the U3 to the bottom right on the U2 - this allows for much tidier cabling and crucially doesn't get in the way of delicate docking of graphics cards - something Lawrence mentioned in his U3 review, and something I'm supremely grateful to have not had to deal with whilst assembling the even smaller U2.


This was an upgrade rather than a complete fresh build. New bits, other than the U2 case are:

Motherboard: Asus H97I-Plus MiniITX - the H version of the Asus Z97I-Plus board SPCR have been using in their gaming MiniITX builds of late. I figured I didn't need the extra gubbins Z gives (wireless, bluetooth, overclocking) they would suck an extra watt or two, be extra components to break, and extra drivers to load up. And the H is a bit cheaper of course.
CPU: Intel i5-4460 Haswell - not fussed about overclocking, so no need to spend money on the K version.
Memory: 2x4gb Kingston HyperX Fury DDR3 (1600 something, CL10 I think? - main selling point is the modest sized heat spreaders).

Bits recovered from previous builds (and hence may no longer be available):

PSU: beQuiet StraightPower E9-480 modular - fitted with ample room (that room subsequently used to wodge cables).
Case Fans: 2xFractal Define Mini stock fans - my old Nocturas were beginning to warble so pulled these from my bits box - they're *very* good as stock fans go. Range from ~350 to ~1100 RPM, one of them is silent up to ~600, the other I can just start to pick up at ~500.
CPU Heatsink: Coolermaster Hyper212 Evo - yay, same mounting bracket that worked on my previous 1156 board works on the new 1150 board just fine.
CPU Heatsink fan: beQuiet ShadowWings PWM 120mm fan - range of ~290 to ~1600 RPM and again silent up to ~550, unnoticeable when gaming up to ~1100 and, well as to be expected when running at full tilt.
Storage: 2.5" Samsung 830 SSD (128mb) and 2.5" Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid (750gb) - hard drive mounting issues are covered well in Lawrence's review of the U3 case, it's the same here with the U2. I put both in the bottom, and this likely doesn't help the graphics card gulp down any more air. 2.5" drives have around half an inch headroom before they hit the graphics card. Perhaps the second case fan on the U2 induces a bit more negative pressure, allowing a teensy bit more air into the case. When we're all running M2 drives this won't matter of course. On the subject of M2 drives, worth noting the U2 has extra long motherboard standoffs, allowing good clearance for rear mounted M2 drives.
Graphics card: Asus Radeon HD7770 DirectCU 1gb - this, this was problematic. It just fits. Just. This is a ~23.5cm card - modern day comparisons like the Asus Strix GTX 750TI at ~ 19.5cm should go in much easier. Jonsbo recommend a maximum length of 22cm.


One thing I miss from the Fractal Define Mini - that case padding wasn't just for show. I'd forgotten how completely it masked the spin-up/spin down & seek noises coming from the platter based 750gb apps drive. The Seagate remains a very quiet 2.5" collection of platters, I'd just become used to it being a silent collection of platters. I'm also just beginning to pick up the faintest hint of idle fan noise from the PSU and GPU, which again were masked in Define Mini.

The upside of a new motherboard however is FanXpert2+ - such a user friendly way of keeping fans under control.

Having been on all day, a dozen tabs open and doing regular office work, temps are currently:
CPU: 30C
Mobo: 30C
GPU: 29C
The CPU fan is spinning silently at 340rpm, both chassis fans are off (I've set rear to start up at 35c and front at 40c)

Time for a couple of internal shots I think:

Image
Bottom of CPU fan just brushes top of first memory stick, otherwise clearance very good.

Image
Getting the a 23.5cm graphics card in requires first the removal of the card's backplate, pre position this in the slots but don't screw it down yet, you'll need to lift it up a little to meet the graphics card as you pirouette the card into place. Remove the rear case fan (you'll need the angle to swing the card in), make the graphics card the first thing you plug into the motherboard and plug in the card's extra ATX power midway through the positioning spiral (there's no way you'll get the angle to plug them in before hand), lift up the GPU back plate to meet the card as you make the final descent, screw it back together & lock in place. Apply plasters to skinned knuckles, and apologise to the cat who, to be fair, was only trying to help and really didn't deserve to learn all those new swear words.


Overall I'm extremely impressed with the U2 case. I'd go so far as to say if you're going to be using a MiniITX board the U2 is demonstrably better than the U3, thanks to the extra fan placement options and better placement of the front PCB. Like the U3 it's not a quiet case in and of itself - it won't mask that final barely perceptible squeak, rattle and whine like a Fractal Define will, but fill it with quiet components and you can make damn near silent gaming PCs these days.

It's a 15.5 litre case that takes a full size ATX PSU, a tower cooler, two 120mm case fans, a couple of hard drives and has room for a very respectable graphics card. That's pretty much my holy grail.


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:29 am 
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Thanks for the mini-review and build info :)

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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:49 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Wet Coast
Thanks for the info, MiniMatt. It looks great! The U2 is on my micro-list for a mITX build, using eerily similar parts.

I had somehow imagined that the front mounted 120mm would somehow be magically connected through magical ducting to the side vents. Seems not to be the case in this case. ;-)

My question is: how useful is the 120mm mounted on the front sucking air from nearby vents? Did you measure temps with and without it?

The U2 seems to offer lots of modding possibilities in small ways.


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 19
Location: UK
Hi QuietCat, sorry for the delay.

Nope, no magical ducting. As to how useful that extra front fan is, I'm only going on gut here as I haven't tested in any meaningful way, but my gut says "probably small but nevertheless meaningful". My hunch is that temps which, with the CPU & exit fans alone would, require both both fans spinning at 800rpm can instead be maintained by three fans running at 600rpm. And three fans at 600rpm could/should be quieter than two running at 800rpm.

My real world office usage generally sees only the CPU fan running, with the exhaust spinning up for a couple of minutes every now and again. Gaming of late has been bouts of Dragon Age Inquisition, this sees front, exhaust, and CPU fans all peaking at around 700rpm.

I should get some time on Sunday to do some testing, see what sort of difference that front fan can make.


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:49 pm
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Location: Wet Coast
Thanks for the info, MiniMatt! Really like this little case. One of the prettier mITX ones, IMO. Also considering the Legacy W1-S. It's bigger tho, but airflow seems simple front-to-back and more space for my clumsy hands to break, er, place stuff.

If I can play 20 questions....

What is the dust ingestion like? The vents aren't filtered and it seems like it's a negative pressure layout, so dust will be welcomed with open slits.

Have you tried reversing the exhaust fan so that it becomes the intake and using the front as exhaust? Have you considered using a fan on the bottom as intake? Probably require some modding tho. What about creating a magical intake duct using magic duct tape and flexible plastic sheets?

Is a modular PS mandatory? How much space is there behind the PS area to wrangle unused cables? Plan to use the Seasonic G360, since it's cheap, gold rated and it's Seasonic. And it's cheap, but not modular.

Thanks for your response. Look forward to your extensive Sunday testing results. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
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Love it when testing proves a hunch wrong :)

Turns out that, with my components, the addition of a front fan makes close to no difference at all. That component choice may be relevant though; comparing my temps to those Lawrence was seeing in his U3 review I was initially worried I was doing something wrong - how was he seeing 75+ degrees on the CPU, whilst I was only seeing mid 40s? Of course, the SPCR test rig - to maintain a degree of cross comparisons - is using some fairly old bits, first (or is it second?) generation i5, and an AMD card of a generation prior to my own (itself getting on a little now).

So it's possible that a more significant front fan benefit can be seen with hotter components, but for anything modern and modest I'd say the testing below has revealed that the addition of a front fan in this case makes very little difference. A slight possible benefit to cooling of motherboard components is all I could likely claim.


Test Setup

CPU, front and rear fans were pegged to 50% speed via FanXpert2+. This resulted in CPU fan speed ranging between 806-835, front fan speed (when on) between 757-764, rear fan speed of 662-681. GPU fan was left to it's own devices, adjusting speed according to it's own bios settings.

CPU stress test used Prime95 blend "torture" test on all 4 cores. CPU+GPU stress test used FurMark GPU stress test in addition to Prime95 at same time. Tests were run for 10 minutes, temps recorded at the end of 10 minutes. 10 minute cooldown between tests.


Idle results

CPU & Rear fans only:
CPU 29c
Motherboard 29c
GPU 30c (GPU fan 1084rpm)


CPU stress only

CPU & Rear fans only:
CPU 42c
Motherboard 35c
GPU 31c (GPU fan 1124rpm)

CPU, front & rear fans on:
CPU 42c
Motherboard 34c
GPU 31c (GPU fan 1126rpm)


CPU+GPU stress

CPU & Rear fans only:
CPU 48c
Motherboard 42c
GPU 71c (GPU fan 1577rpm)

CPU, front & rear fans on:
CPU 49c
Motherboard 39c
GPU 70c (GPU fan 1575rpm)


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:49 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Wet Coast
Great test results! Sort of. Shaved a degree off the GPU with the front 120mm stirring the air. So, that's a thermal victory. Sort of. :wink:

Thanks for taking the time to spin and unspin your case fans.

How is the dust collection/containment in the U2?


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:14 am
Posts: 19
Location: UK
QuietCat wrote:
What is the dust ingestion like? The vents aren't filtered and it seems like it's a negative pressure layout, so dust will be welcomed with open slits.


It's only been running for a month and a bit so far, but a glance through the window shows no dust buildup yet. But yep, it is negative pressure so that dust will undoubtedly come. I guess with low wattage components we don't need to pull nearly as much air through a case to cool it as compared to days of yore when cases would routinely need three+ fans continuously running at 1100+rpm. Less airflow required means less dust ingress.

My hunch (though as noted above, my hunches are of questionable reliability) would be that popping the side off and giving a quick blast of compressed air every six months would keep it looking pristine.

QuietCat wrote:
Have you tried reversing the exhaust fan so that it becomes the intake and using the front as exhaust? Have you considered using a fan on the bottom as intake? Probably require some modding tho. What about creating a magical intake duct using magic duct tape and flexible plastic sheets?


The rear fan would definitely be the easiest to filter if you wanted to reverse the direction. Motherboard components may prevent one moving the CPU fan round the other side to match the air flow direction so you may end up having the CPU fan flipped such that it pulls air through the tower cooler rather than push. This *might* introduce some inefficiency.

The other potential prob would be warm air exhausting the top mounted PSU finding itself sucked down into this rear intake fan. Potential for a little warm air loop kicking off there.

Bottom mounted fan would either foul, or be within a millimetre of fouling, any double slot graphics card. Unless you used a slimline fan, but even then it's a very tight fit, and slimline ones tend to get noisy.

Magical ducting is, if I'm honest, beyond my inclination, and indeed likely beyond my Dremel-ability too.

Main thinking though would be "to what end?" I mean, four cores of Prime95 running simultaneously with FurMark for ten solid minutes is far in excess of any real world load. Nothing I could do in normal usage, no games I could play, no video encoding or rendering I could do could come close to the heat generated by that test. If that absolute peak heat output can be kept under control with, as the tests above show, nothing but an exhaust fan and a CPU fan, both running at 50% (<850rpm) and generating CPU/Mobo temps of 48c/42c then what do I gain with adding extra ducting? If it results in them running 3 degrees cooler is that actually a worthwhile benefit? Is a CPU running at 45c really any more reliable than one running at 48c?

That's with my components though - a Haswell i5 and a ~80watt TDP graphics card. If you're into overclocking and 200watt GPUs then differences may become more pronounced.

QuietCat wrote:
Is a modular PS mandatory? How much space is there behind the PS area to wrangle unused cables? Plan to use the Seasonic G360, since it's cheap, gold rated and it's Seasonic. And it's cheap, but not modular.


I'd say you'll be fine with that one. On a G360 you've got a motherboard power lead, a CPU socket lead, a string of SATA power, a string of molex power, a PCIE line, and a floppy drive power line. Of those I'm guessing you'll be using all but the floppy and the molex lines. You've got quite a lot of places where they can be wodged. I doubt the G360 is longer than my beQuiet unit and the bottom photo above shows maybe ~2 inches of space behind it. In addition you've got vertical space between the front fan standoff and the right hand side of the case, and furthermore, the long motherboard standoffs mean that with some planning you can arrange unneeded cables under the mobo before installation.

Meatier (unnecessarily so) power supplies with, say, a second PCIE line and another string of SATA would perhaps struggle to find space if they weren't modular.

Benefits of a modular really only come into play when you're using fewer components. My sort of vague plan for this case, when funds and inclination dictate, is to replace the GPU with something like a GTX750ti (needing no additional PCIE power) and the storage with a ~512gb motherboard mounted M2 solid state. At that stage the only lines needed from the power supply will be the motherboard & CPU socket ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Jonsbo/Cooltek/Rosewill Legacy U2 MiniITX "gaming" build
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:00 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:49 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Wet Coast
Thanks for all the details, MiniMatt.

Good to hear that dust isn't an issue for you. You need more cats! And dogs! And fans!

Am now very tempted to get one of these and mod it until it's much bigger and noisier....oh..wait.

Magical ducting isn't that hard. First, start with magical thinking. And work (magically) from there. :D

Thanks again for sharing your experience with this little gem!


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