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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:34 pm 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Edit: Asrock belonged to Asus and now belongs to Pegatron, which is an Asus competitor in the OEM market

ASUS was the parent company and it is currently the major shareholder (20%) of Pegatron (and ASRock), while the second larger shareholder (4%) is Tzu Hsien Tung, one of the founders and current Chairman of ASUS, and the third one (2%) is Shih Chang Hsu, current President of ASUS (and Chairman of ASRock).
As far as I know ASUS and ASRock currently shares testing facilities and part of the production facilities.
But all this is almost off topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:12 am 
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Even better than Cooltek U3, there is the Cooltek Coolcube.
It would be pretty cramped inside: link, link. CPU cooler can only be 80mm, and the graphics card no longer than 185mm, so the MSI GTX 750 Ti doesn't fit. On the other hand a Noctua L9i would probably be good enough - I don't mind underclocking the CPU a bit if necessary. And there are plenty of other 750 Ti cards, for instance the Zotac or similar cards from EVGA or Gainward - it seems like many of them are pretty cool and quiet, which makes sense.

So a Coolcube with G360 PSU, 4690K with Noctua L9i on top, and a Zotac or similar GTX 750 Ti card. Then a chassis fan wherever I can fit it, perhaps I'll make more holes (looks tight though). Only one SSD, so no extra vibration or heat there.
Does it sound doable / nice / bad?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:18 am 
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I received the last parts yesterday and assembled them. I'll probably write some kind of review later with pictures, but thought I'd share my initial impression.

Background:

I didn't get a graphics card yet, as the Intel HD4600 works great for my gaming needs right now. I'll wait for Maxwell 20 nm and also get to know the situation inside my new chassis a bit better first. For the same reason I'm using the stock CPU fan right now, and will change it later.

As for the PSU, I went with the ST45SF-G rather than SeaSonic G360. After seeing some pictures of completed builds I realized that it would be really tight, and that a SFX PSU with modular cables could help quite a bit. I also got a discount so the price difference wasn't very big.

The chassis is a Cooltek Coolcube (Rosewill Legacy V3).

First impressions:
I like the chassis so far, it's smaller than the others I considered and looks really nice. I find it quite tasteful with the brushed aluminium, the build quality seems nice, also considering the low price. The combined power and disk LED is cool. I can easily lift the assembled machine with one hand when the case is open. Assembly was easy.
It is pretty full inside, but I don't see why I couldn't add a graphics card if I choose one of the smaller ones. It would still have some air around it and should be fine with a fan of its own.

The SilverStone PSU feels awesome, from the box and manual to the unit and its cables it all radiates quality. The modular cables are nice, but might not actually make a huge difference. With only a CPU and one SSD, I still use 3 cables out of 5, and the Molex cable is long and has 3 connectors on it, out of which I only need one. Might just barely be worth the higher price. It's also worth noting that from the numbers I've seen, the cheap 300W Bronze model is more efficient than this 450W Gold model, for sub-100W loads where I guess I'll be most of the time, especially without a discrete graphics card.
With a full ATX PSU the cables would probably have been pressed against the side of the case.

The biggest problem is that the PSU fan is very loud. Even without a graphics card or even a mechanical disk, it's annoyingly obvious. It's a relatively comfortable blowing sound, but too loud. Much louder than the Intel stock CPU fan unless I max out the CPU. My wife who was sitting 1 meter away agrees that's very audible. I'm actually a bit disappointed in SilverStone here. Will try to replace the fan with a NoiseBlocker as many others have done, which will increase the price quite a bit.

The BIOS on the Asus Z97I is nice. Compared to other computers I've had there are MANY options, I can tweak everything here and it will take time to learn. For now I can say that the memory runs at 1.35V out of the box with the advertised timings, and the MB and CPU voltages are low too and automatically adjusted each second. CPU fan spins up each time I boot, then quickly goes down to under 900 RPM and becomes silent (next to the PSU anyway). An annoying thing is that almost every time I reset, the CPU FAN doesn't spin up quickly enough, and the BIOS pauses with a "CPU FAN error - press F1 blah blah". Maybe I can fix this by tweaking.
Unless people here say it's not worth it I'll probably upgrade to a Noctua L9i for better capacity at high loads, and a quieter boot.

As for performance, it subjectively feels like a decent upgrade. Compiling code, installing packages, indexing file systems etc are significantly faster. This makes sense since the CPU is much faster with twice as many cores, and I now have SATA 3.0 and a modern SSD drive instead of an early one at SATA 1 or 2.
I can play Dota 2 with higher settings on the HD4600, than on my old discrete laptop graphics card (Radeon 6470M).

Wow, a wall of text after just installing an OS on it... :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:43 am 
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gaidal wrote:
...An annoying thing is that almost every time I reset, the CPU FAN doesn't spin up quickly enough, and the BIOS pauses with a "CPU FAN error - press F1 blah blah". Maybe I can fix this by tweaking...
In the BIOS Monitor menu there is a CPU Fan Speed Low Limit setting, changing this to Ignore will stop the error message.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:47 am 
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lodestar wrote:
gaidal wrote:
...An annoying thing is that almost every time I reset, the CPU FAN doesn't spin up quickly enough, and the BIOS pauses with a "CPU FAN error - press F1 blah blah". Maybe I can fix this by tweaking...
In the BIOS Monitor menu there is a CPU Fan Speed Low Limit setting, changing this to Ignore will stop the error message.
Cool, that will be a big improvement. ;-)
Unfortunately I can't enter my BIOS at the moment after disabling the boot screen and seting POST delay to 0 sec. It does boot to my Linux login in like 5 seconds (!!!) but if I try to enter BIOS I just get a black screen. But I can always remove the CMOS battery to reset it I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:23 am 
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gaidal wrote:
As for the PSU, I went with the ST45SF-G rather than SeaSonic G360...
...snipped out...
The biggest problem is that the PSU fan is very loud. Even without a graphics card or even a mechanical disk, it's annoyingly obvious.

That was a silly move, why did you do it without asking any advice about (as you did for all the other parts)?
If you had done so, you'd learn that the smaller 300W bronze unit was probably all that you need: it isn't modular, but comparatively it would have been deadly silent (and you'd spare some money).

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:24 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
That was a silly move, why did you do it without asking any advice about (as you did for all the other parts)?
...
Yes that was a big mistake, costing me almost $70 more with the NoiseBlocker fan included. :( Would've gone a long way towards a 500 GB SSD instead of 250 GB.

I guess since I had been talking about the SeaSonic since the start and already changed my mind about several parts I didn't want to add even more new questions. Then there were some dangerous assumptions: the 450W model is more expensive, modular and gold-rated, surely it's just a better version of the 300W unit in all respects...
Now I just wonder how SilverStone were thinking - why would anyone want such a loud PSU for anything? But some reviews say it's "quiet" so I guess people are different.

Anyway, not saying I didn't screw up but done is done and it could be worse.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:45 am 
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Out of interest, what are good SFX PSUs? The SPCR recommended PSUs list only two (SeaSonic 300 & 200 Watt models); are there others which are too new/untested for the SPCR list?

gaidal, please post photos of your build (and how it fits in the case 8) )


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:21 am 
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UK_Peter wrote:
Out of interest, what are good SFX PSUs?
...
There are surprisingly few. I read a thread where people requested one from SeaSonic, and a SilverStone representative showed up and felt hurt that people weren't satisfied with their SFX series after all the work they had put into making them. :lol:
For me the only options were SilverStone 300W and 450W, some from Be Quiet! and one each from Thermaltake and Chieftec. From reviews the SilverStone seemed like the most decent ones. And between those, the premium version doesn't seem worth it at all, as I have discovered... :)

UK_Peter wrote:
gaidal, please post photos of your build (and how it fits in the case 8) )
Will do when I'm home.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:51 am 
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The Intel box cooler is crap for the standard i5. So, nearly any replacement will be better. Now that everything is assembled, you can measure the actual clearances. Maybe something bigger/better than the Noctua can fit.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:26 am 
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gaidal wrote:
For me the only options were SilverStone 300W and 450W, some from Be Quiet! and one each from Thermaltake and Chieftec.

I'm not aware of any TT SFX PSU (but I would bet it were crappy, if ever existed), I can't speak about Chieftec, but current BeQuiet! are not worth considering: their SFX platform is quieter than your current Silverstone, but still more audible than the old Seasonic SFX 300W (which isn't particularly quiet on its own).

Definitely the only SFX relatively quiet unit is (IMHO) the semi-fanless Silverstone 300W unit, mainly when used with loads up to about 120W DC.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:13 pm 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Definitely the only SFX relatively quiet unit is (IMHO) the semi-fanless Silverstone 300W unit, mainly when used with loads up to about 120W DC.
Quiet up to 120W sounds perfect. I really should've bought that one instead...! Anyway I've ordered the NoiseBlocker for my ST45SF-G, will update when I've tried the mod.

Attached some pictures.

Which CPU cooler would be best? Here are some choices, from lowest to highest in LxWxH millimeters:

Noctua L9i: 95x95x37
Current Intel stock fan: 104x104x46 (according to this page which looks like mine, I forgot to actually measure it.) Could also be 95x95, not sure.
Scythe BIg Shuriken 2 rev. B: 125x135x58
Zalman CNPS8900: 120x120x60
Noctua NH-L12 with single fan: 128x150x66

The PSU will be right above this, so it is worth considering to either turn the CPU fan so it pulls air through the sink and into the PSU, or flip the PSU so it pulls in cool air from through the case wall which conveniently has holes on that side.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:42 am 
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Not getting a lot of feedback or thumbs up... :P

But I will add some update in case someone comes here for info later.

Scythe Shuriken 2: very satisfied! It's quiet and looks great. I didn't expect such a big improvement over the stock fan since my PSU is louder anyway, but somehow the system is already quieter and it's somehow a more pleasant noise now. Temperatures under max load are roughly 65°C at 1400 RPM. How quiet this is, I can't tell until I mod the PSU.
It fits easily with room on all sides, although installation took some thinking, backtracking and swearing, and one of the MB screws is pretty hard to reach now.
The Very Low Profile RAM is a godsend here since it's under the cooler. Normal RAM would be painful to remove. With the cooler on I could just barely swap RAM sticks without removing the MB from the case (10-15 minutes, my fingers are still a bit sore).
To summarize cooler installation & changing memory the day after: I'm happy I didn't break anything yet... ;)

Random crashes: Testing one stick at a time in slot 1, I soon found some broken addresses on one of them in memtest86+. With only the working stick installed all problems disappeared. I am currently running tests on the two exchange modules I got from the store, looks promising.

PSU: I have received my 80x80x15 NoiseBlocker fan, will update when I've finished the mod.

Graphics card: The HD4600 is better than I expected, so I won't get a graphics card until it's really necessary. Until that my system will use much less energy, too.


Last edited by gaidal on Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:14 am 
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gaidal wrote:
or thumbs up... :P

I guess that to receive some thumbs you should find a way to keep your cabling a tad more neat and tidy. :P

Anyway, I'm looking for your PSU fan swap. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:28 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
I guess that to receive some thumbs you should find a way to keep your cabling a tad more neat and tidy. :P
Good call, that'll be the next step after modding the PSU. Will see if I can find some on DealeXtreme or eBay. The ATX, CPU and front USB-cables are rather stiff though, I wonder if I can really do much about them...


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:20 am 
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Congrats on your build - glad the BS2 rev b worked so well.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:18 am 
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Hi gaidal,

I missed you'd posted photos! I'm impressed with the build though not enamoured with where the PSU goes - I'll definitely go for a slightly larger case to make it easier (I was thinking PicoPSU but it seems like I'd be too close to the edge).

A question about the On-board graphics: the ASUS website says their board can only use 512MB shared memory, while MSI and ASRock say 1760MB and 1792MB respectively. What does yours use,as that seems a weird discrepancy between their board and the others.

Will a card still fit in the PCI slot with the BS2 cooler installed? It looks like it should from the motherboard layout but nothing like checking when it's in-place :)

I hope this second lot of RAM works without any issues...


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:14 am 
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agree, that rig would love a pico, tower heatsink and a single 120mm(or larger) fan.


-and just a we bit o' cable-gami. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:17 pm 
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xan_user wrote:
agree, that rig would love a pico, tower heatsink and a single 120mm(or larger) fan.

But then comes the million dollar question: would it still love it if he added the GTX 750 Ti later?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:48 pm 
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I don't think the PSU is that bad, and the Shuriken 2 seems pretty capable without being a tower... :-)

But since I'm about to change the PSU placement fan to one with less airflow and the air coming out is already sort of warm... I should probably do something to improve it. Maybe I could fasten the SSD somewhere else and get a 120mm at the bottom, that would rock.

I'd say the picoPSU is not for systems with discrete graphics... doesn't seem entirely safe to push it like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Oh yeah - does the Asus Z97I allow for undervolting? Maybe you could show a screenshot of the UEFI with a negative core voltage offset :D

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:21 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Oh yeah - does the Asus Z97I allow for undervolting? Maybe you could show a screenshot of the UEFI with a negative core voltage offset :D
Yeah I've been hoping to stumble on a Z97 underclocking guide somewhere... because that BIOS has SO many things to tweak! I think I can set the maximum multiplier to 32-35 and prevent turbo charge at 3.9 GHz, but would the voltage adjust automatically, or...?

What's a silent 120mm fan? Noctua redux?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 10:28 pm 
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gaidal wrote:
What's a silent 120mm fan? Noctua redux?
There are lots of options, for PWM i would consider Noctua NF-S12A PWM (or the redux if you dont like the brown/tan). For 3pin i like Scythe Gentle Typhoon, Noiseblocker M12-S1 or Nexus Basic.

mod: fixed the quote

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:47 am 
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Undervolting: Easiest is to let it continue to run stock everything except putting a delta on the adaptive core voltage...set the core to Adaptive Voltage mode and then set the core voltage offset to a negative value. YMMV on the actual naming of these things as I don't have an Asus mobo on hand. :D You should be able to get -0.1V offset or so and still run stock (where std core voltage is 1.08V load or so).

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:06 am 
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I modded the PSU with the quiet fan, and noise-wise it's a big improvement - however instead of getting warm the case now gets so hot that it's uncomfortable to touch, not far from burning my hand... Yes, really. :o

I didn't expect that only a CPU could cause this much heat! I think the PSU itself is actually fine - it has a fan with its own fresh air from the outside, and there are passive PSUs for much higher effects - the problem is that the case now can't get rid of hot air as well anymore.
This is definitely a good (and increasingly expensive...) lesson for me, I have never experienced the importance of airflow like this before.

Hopefully the 120mm fan I've ordered will improve the situation a bit, although it can only pull in air from the bottom.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 4:47 am 
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Try to go with a similar speced fan on the PSU, sometimes i go on the low side a little bit but not by much, i just helped a friend swap the ADA 2200rpm on his TX650 to a Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP15 1850rpms, and all went well, no issues to report, seems to have still good airflow that you still can feel on load, and quieter than the old fan.

On the case itself being hot its not normal, given that therer is transfer of heat with the case and the air, it should never reach uncofortable levels, unless a high heat ouput is extremly close to where you are touching. But if no direct components it touching the case, and you are feeling it hot, then there is very poor airflow. Btw what temps are your components? like chipset, cpu, gpu etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:03 am 
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gaidal wrote:
Hopefully the 120mm fan I've ordered will improve the situation a bit, although it can only pull in air from the bottom.

After installing that fan, you should raise a tad that enclosure, maybe using some rubber feet like the old Nexus ones, to improve the bottom airflow (and likely noise).

With reference to your heating issue, one of the concurrent reasons is that the PSU fan is an intake, so in the previous scenario you was sucking hot air from the enclosure, expelling it from the PSU back panel (while heating the PSU itself, speeding up its fan): now you have no more that (improper) exhaust effect, and that may likely be a cause for the current heat build up (and noticeable more quietness).

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:40 am 
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Abula wrote:
Try to go with a similar speced fan on the PSU
...
I'll stick with this one, I think the CFM wasn't that much lower and several people have had it for a year without problems.
I didn't know that it doubled as a crucial exhaust fan for the case, but hopefully I can solve that.

At least it's really quiet. It's hard to tell if the computer is on from 1 meter away. :-)

Abula wrote:
But if no direct components it touching the case, and you are feeling it hot, then there is very poor airflow. Btw what temps are your components? like chipset, cpu, gpu etc.
Yeah there just isn't any airflow at all anymore without the old strong PSU fan. Before the maximum for any one core was 67°C, now I've seen it reach 81°C after a while. There is no discrete GPU, and I'm not sure which value represents the chipset. I'm using the sensors command (Linux) and the output is a bit confusing.

quest_for_silence wrote:
After installing that fan, you should raise a tad that enclosure, maybe using some rubber feet like the old Nexus ones, to improve the bottom airflow (and likely noise).
There are rubber feet, I'm guessing 6-7mm high, should be enough.

quest_for_silence wrote:
With reference to your heating issue, one of the concurrent reasons is that the PSU fan is an intake, so in the previous scenario you was sucking hot air from the enclosure, expelling it from the PSU back panel (while heating the PSU itself, speeding up its fan): now you have no more that (improper) exhaust effect, and that may likely be a cause for the current heat build up (and noticeable more quietness).
Yes this makes sense, I also think the PSU is better off this way and that I should solve the airflow issue separately. Expect for the 120mm bottom fan I see two possibilities:
* A side fan at the top - would sort of have to pull air around the PSU - it's the opposite corner from the CPU but pretty close anyway and might still help.
* An external 80/92mm fan on the back, which would cover half the PSU exhaust AND the holes for 40mm fans. Not too hard to mount, but not sure about the aerodynamics with such a setup...


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:08 pm 
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gaidal wrote:
quest_for_silence wrote:
After installing that fan, you should raise a tad that enclosure, maybe using some rubber feet like the old Nexus ones, to improve the bottom airflow (and likely noise).
There are rubber feet, I'm guessing 6-7mm high, should be enough.

Maybe, or maybe not: I'd advice to do some little experiments using some suitable support to rise a tad more the bottom, in order to determine if you may borrow either better cooling, or improved quietness.


gaidal wrote:
but not sure about the aerodynamics with such a setup...

Well, that could likely cause some wind noise, as it isn't certain a "properly designed fan grille"...

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1894
Location: Guatemala
I agree with Quest, on laptops that are overheating, simply raising them more helps a ton to get fresh air to the components, here could be a similar case, do as he says, test different heights and see the temps, specially loads, its very easy to grab some erasers and lift the feet temporarily to test.

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