Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Sun Dec 07, 2014 2:38 pm

edh wrote:
MikeC wrote:You know that there are thousands of gamers using huge mitx system who disagree with you.
The same people will also disagree with us on many other things, like running 1kW+ PSUs when you use ~300W, or having cold cathode lighting, or thinking that an i7 actually has benefit in gaming over a similarly clocked i5.
Actually, after working and experimenting with half a dozen or more gaming builds these last couple months, I understand and appreciate why the Bitfenix Phenom style of case is popular. Thermally, they are probably better than most conventional tower style mATX cases when using a hot gaming VGA card + high performance CPU -- as long as there's enough space for a 2+ slot VGA cooler and good side venting. The VGA heat doesn't rise up to affect the CPU temp as much, and a tall CPU cooler can be used. In a conventional vertical mATX layout, the rising heat of the VGA card really affects the CPU temp. A fair bit of airflow seems necessary to counter this, and that airflow costs something acoustically. And a bottom mounted PSU tends to impede airflow from bottom vents to the VGA card, at least partly.

We'll know more after we do detailed analysis of gaming builds in mATX cases, but I suspect a large well-vented mITX case that allows the motherboard to sit horizontally will generally offer better cooling for the core components than most similar sized (or even larger) vertical mATX cases.
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Olaf van der Spek
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:12 pm

Perhaps you could test a tower case on it's side to verify this hypothesis.
The mITX Phenom supports 230mm fans and the path from fan to components is shorter than in those ultra-deep ATX towers, and it's not impeded by drive cages.

An inverted motherboard would also prevent GPU heat from rising to the CPU.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Mats » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:29 pm

That Rosewill case is also sold with other brands, Jonsbo and Cooltek.

http://www.jonsbo.com/en/products.html

http://www.cooltek.de/en/powered-by-jon ... 1/w1?c=237

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Vinny » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:06 pm

@MikeC
Great article! I've been hoping to read something like it for a while since all other sites usually recommend ATX builds.

Quick question.
I currently own a Corsair AX850 and a Noctua NH-D14. Do you think these components would have a simmilar outcoum when compared to the ones you used?
It makes me want to migrate my current build in a SG08 Lite to this case since it's more spacious in order to accomadate quieter components that I already own.

Thanks!

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Mon Dec 08, 2014 2:23 pm

Vinny wrote:@MikeC
Great article! I've been hoping to read something like it for a while since all other sites usually recommend ATX builds.

Quick question.
I currently own a Corsair AX850 and a Noctua NH-D14. Do you think these components would have a simmilar outcoum when compared to the ones you used? Thanks!
iirc, the Corsair is silent at low load, pretty quiet at moderate load & stays that way till pushed quite hard. Maybe a touch noisier than a fanless PSU but you'll be gaming once the fan kicks in, so... D14 is as quiet as the Silverstone we used & a more powerful cooler. Keep HDDs out of the build & the main issue will be your choice of VGA card.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by nizer » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:29 am

ekerazha wrote:What about the RVZ01 "mini Raven" case?
My thoughts exactly - I mean, I have build a gaming mini ITX system with a full ATX PSU (Corsair HX650 PSU) unit inside this case. The PSU has the zero RPM fan mode, it is Ultra quiet.
The CPU is easy to cool, and the GFX is easy to cool quietly as well.

RVZ01 is the ultimate quiet mini ITX gaming case, when 'moded' to contain a full ATX PSU.

And mind you, not a single scratch to the case, no hole was cut, no nothing - everything can be screwed off in this case.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by smilingcrow » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:55 pm

Will the ASUS Z97I-PLUS which has an 8 pin power socket work with a PicoPSU 160 which has a 4 pin adapter?
I understand that some boards with an 8 pin socket do work with 4 pin adapters and some don't!

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:25 pm

smilingcrow wrote:Will the ASUS Z97I-PLUS which has an 8 pin power socket work with a PicoPSU 160 which has a 4 pin adapter? I understand that some boards with an 8 pin socket do work with 4 pin adapters and some don't!
All the ones we've tried work fine. I doubt there's any sensor on the 8-pin plug which tells the board a 4-pin socket is connected. The extra 4 wires are there only to ensure enough current capacity, which for a sub-100W CPU seems like overkill, as any VGA card that actually calls for substantial 12V has separate PCIe 6/8-pin power connectors.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Irrelevant » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:18 pm

MikeC wrote:The extra 4 wires are there only to ensure enough current capacity, which for a sub-100W CPU seems like overkill, as any VGA card that actually calls for substantial 12V has separate PCIe 6/8-pin power connectors.
Not necessarily. I can envision scenarios where sloppy PCB layout and/or skimping on components would mean parts of the GPU/mobo would have to be supplied from specifically from the slot/secondary connector. PCB layout is a real pain when you're dealing with operating frequencies as high as those in computers, so while unlikely, it's not impossible that engineers might violate one of the first rules of PCB design and not have a contiguous power/ground plane.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by smilingcrow » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:06 am

MikeC wrote:
smilingcrow wrote:Will the ASUS Z97I-PLUS which has an 8 pin power socket work with a PicoPSU 160 which has a 4 pin adapter? I understand that some boards with an 8 pin socket do work with 4 pin adapters and some don't!
All the ones we've tried work fine. I doubt there's any sensor on the 8-pin plug which tells the board a 4-pin socket is connected. The extra 4 wires are there only to ensure enough current capacity, which for a sub-100W CPU seems like overkill, as any VGA card that actually calls for substantial 12V has separate PCIe 6/8-pin power connectors.
Thanks Mike, I have heard of boards not working so maybe I need to go back and look to see which manufacturers were involved.

Second thoughts: I've found a specialist mini-PC supplier that show compatibility so I'll double check with them.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Mats » Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:33 am

According to the manual:
DO NOT forget to connect the 4-pin/8-pin EATX12V power plug. Otherwise, the system will not boot.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Stevo_ » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:20 am

MikeC wrote:
Stevo_ wrote:
edh wrote:At 31 litres it is massive for MiniITX. This is my biggest crticism of it. If you want a 31 litre case, why limit yourself to MiniITX? MicroATX is typically a cheaper motherboard size and there are MicroATX cases available at that size.
My thought exactly, should've used the M1 and embraced the true mini-ITX concept. If you can build a quiet gamer in that, you've accomplished something.
You know that there are thousands of gamers using huge mitx system who disagree with you. I refer to the Bitfenix Phenom craze. And that's only one of the big mitx cases popular w/ DIY game PC builders.

I also remind you that this is only the first mitx gaming system we've detailed. I said this before -- these build guides will be regular features. Not just 1 or 2 every year, but more like at one every few weeks at least. You know how this article begins with a list of cases considered? Systems in some of those cases are actively being developed right now. The nCase, for example, we wrote in the article, is awaiting a suitable VGA/cooler. I have my doubts about a GTX 970 being cooled well enough in there w/o exceeding our low noise standards, but we'll give it another try. I doubt very much it can match the 13/20 dBA idle/load performance of this W1-S system, tho. Even getting close would be nice.
I saw the other cases considered, of those the Fractal is at the extreme range of what I would consider an mITX case, the others are mATX masquerading as if. Wasn't aware of a "Phenom craze", when I look at forums for mITX builds (which are usually SFF < 20L) I don't see any, the occasional Prodigy(also a beast) at best. But if such a craze does exist, it's mostly due to the lack of proper cases being manufactured, like the Air 240 that was also considered, an absolute whale. Over on the [H] forum M1 build thread, many are building very quiet rigs, to the point that the Silverstone 600W SFX PSU appears to be the main noise culprit(fan noises and coil whine) even at low idle power, a PSU that SPCR has reviewed. The newer VGA cards especially 970/980 are in some cases semi-passive at least and very quiet.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by smilingcrow » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:16 am

Mats wrote:According to the manual:
DO NOT forget to connect the 4-pin/8-pin EATX12V power plug. Otherwise, the system will not boot.
Thanks for that. I wouldn't take that as being definitive as it could just be a generic phrase they use for all motherboards to cover both possibilities.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:26 am

Stevo_ wrote:I saw the other cases considered, of those the Fractal is at the extreme range of what I would consider an mITX case, the others are mATX masquerading as if. Wasn't aware of a "Phenom craze", when I look at forums for mITX builds (which are usually SFF < 20L) I don't see any, the occasional Prodigy(also a beast) at best. But if such a craze does exist, it's mostly due to the lack of proper cases being manufactured, like the Air 240 that was also considered, an absolute whale. Over on the [H] forum M1 build thread, many are building very quiet rigs, to the point that the Silverstone 600W SFX PSU appears to be the main noise culprit(fan noises and coil whine) even at low idle power, a PSU that SPCR has reviewed. The newer VGA cards especially 970/980 are in some cases semi-passive at least and very quiet.
Sorry, I meant Prodigy.

There's a distinction which must be made here --
1) m-ITX cases for systems as originally intended: Very small PCs meant for general use, typically well under 100W peak draw.
2) m-ITX cases & systems for gaming with total power often exceeding 300W.

The 2nd class of cases is huge compared to the first, but they're much smaller than ATX cases. As mentioned in the review, they are typically ~30 liters. This is not nonsense if you consider it from a functional point of view: The objective is a smaller system that can compete head-on with ATX gaming systems.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Olaf van der Spek » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:25 am

Mats wrote:According to the manual:
DO NOT forget to connect the 4-pin/8-pin EATX12V power plug. Otherwise, the system will not boot.
So it won't boot without any plug, it doesn't say it won't boot if you plug a 4p plug into an 8p connector.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Stevo_ » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:46 pm

MikeC wrote:
Stevo_ wrote:I saw the other cases considered, of those the Fractal is at the extreme range of what I would consider an mITX case, the others are mATX masquerading as if. Wasn't aware of a "Phenom craze", when I look at forums for mITX builds (which are usually SFF < 20L) I don't see any, the occasional Prodigy(also a beast) at best. But if such a craze does exist, it's mostly due to the lack of proper cases being manufactured, like the Air 240 that was also considered, an absolute whale. Over on the [H] forum M1 build thread, many are building very quiet rigs, to the point that the Silverstone 600W SFX PSU appears to be the main noise culprit(fan noises and coil whine) even at low idle power, a PSU that SPCR has reviewed. The newer VGA cards especially 970/980 are in some cases semi-passive at least and very quiet.
Sorry, I meant Prodigy.

There's a distinction which must be made here --
1) m-ITX cases for systems as originally intended: Very small PCs meant for general use, typically well under 100W peak draw.
2) m-ITX cases & systems for gaming with total power often exceeding 300W.

The 2nd class of cases is huge compared to the first, but they're much smaller than ATX cases. As mentioned in the review, they are typically ~30 liters. This is not nonsense if you consider it from a functional point of view: The objective is a smaller system that can compete head-on with ATX gaming systems.
I get that, but I think I'm coming more from the position that if one is using a case like Rosewill W1(31L) for a mini-itx build, just get the SG09/10(23L) and build an mATX box with less mobo hardware limitation.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by MikeC » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:32 pm

Stevo_ wrote:I get that, but I think I'm coming more from the position that if one is using a case like Rosewill W1(31L) for a mini-itx build, just get the SG09/10(23L) and build an mATX box with less mobo hardware limitation.
Not everyone would agree, every case is a mix of strengths and compromises, & this applies to the SG09 as much as any other case. The SG09 isn't exactly a beauty, and this is important to lots of folks, esp. placed atop the desk where it's always visible. There's no arguing with the thermal/noise results we obtained with the Rosewill.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by ajira99 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:37 am

MikeC wrote:
Stevo_ wrote:
edh wrote:At 31 litres it is massive for MiniITX. This is my biggest crticism of it. If you want a 31 litre case, why limit yourself to MiniITX? MicroATX is typically a cheaper motherboard size and there are MicroATX cases available at that size.
My thought exactly, should've used the M1 and embraced the true mini-ITX concept. If you can build a quiet gamer in that, you've accomplished something.
You know that there are thousands of gamers using huge mitx system who disagree with you. I refer to the Bitfenix Phenom craze. And that's only one of the big mitx cases popular w/ DIY game PC builders.

I also remind you that this is only the first mitx gaming system we've detailed. I said this before -- these build guides will be regular features. Not just 1 or 2 every year, but more like at one every few weeks at least. You know how this article begins with a list of cases considered? Systems in some of those cases are actively being developed right now. The nCase, for example, we wrote in the article, is awaiting a suitable VGA/cooler. I have my doubts about a GTX 970 being cooled well enough in there w/o exceeding our low noise standards, but we'll give it another try. I doubt very much it can match the 13/20 dBA idle/load performance of this W1-S system, tho. Even getting close would be nice.
The nCase M1 is a nice piece of kit, but people fail to appreciate the diminishing returns on a case that size (or smaller). As it is, you're constrained primarily by the types of video cards that can readily be used in the case and the available power supplies. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but I don't want to spend a lot of time ducting fans and waiting (hoping) for a quiet PSU that doesn't exhibit coil whine to hit the market. In my case, I still have unused 3.5" hard drives that can take the place of an SSD for mass storage and my new MSI GTX970 that performs very well (but lacks a rear blower). Ultimately, i made my nCase M1 (v1) my desktop PC (to replace my Sugo SG05) and look for a more suitable albeit larger case for my new gaming PC.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Silent1 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:21 pm

Again great article with alternatives. Never heard of Roswill before. Like the case, maybe next build.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Mats » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:21 am

Silent1 wrote:Again great article with alternatives. Never heard of Roswill before. Like the case, maybe next build.
As you can see in one of my previous posts, it's sold under different brands in Europe.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by NCASEdesign » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:46 pm

Mats wrote:
Silent1 wrote:Again great article with alternatives. Never heard of Roswill before. Like the case, maybe next build.
As you can see in one of my previous posts, it's sold under different brands in Europe.
Indeed. Jonsbo is actually the manufacturer. Cooltek rebrands them for the European market, while Rosewill (Newegg's in-house brand) rebrands them for North America.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Abula » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:43 pm

Such a nice build, the case seems very nice, so nice that i decided to do a build for a close friend on it, just a lower end components, will post my thoughts in two weeks.

MOTHERBOARD = ASUS H97I-PLUS Mini ITX
CPU = Intel Core i5-4590
CPU Cooler = Scythe Kotetsu
MEMORY = Crucial Ballistix Sport Very Low Profile 8GB Kit (4GBx2) DDR3-1600 1.35V BLS2C4G3D1609ES2LX0
GPU = ASUS GTX 750Ti STRIX
SSD = Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 2.5" Solid State Drive CT256MX100SSD1
CASE = Rosewill Mini-ITX Tower Legacy W1-B
PSU = SeaSonic G Series 550-Watt SSR-550RM

The only thing that im a little worried is the comments about the fans and its rpms with the Asus motherboards, but will see upon testing how FanXpert handles this Rosewill fans, else i might swap them.
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by Vinny » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:51 am

Here is my build :)
http://imgur.com/a/KeLRB

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by manu7573 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:08 am

Hello

I read this article and every test I could find about Cooltek W1 (European reseller).

All these tests all indicate that the Cooltek drive cage is not removable. I also received this mail from Cooltek Support Team after asking for confirmation.
The W1 cases available in Europe come with a fixed HDD-cage
Was anyone owning the Cooltek version of this case able to remove the cage without resorting to Dremel tools ?

Regards

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by quest_for_silence » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:43 am

manu7573 wrote:Was anyone owning the Cooltek version of this case able to remove the cage without resorting to Dremel tools ?

I used it for a friend of mine: differently from what's seen on the Rosewill sibling, it wasn't possible to remove the cage, as the Cooltek has two rivets (instead of screws) on the right side of the cage.
So, as far as I know, you should cut those rivets, and then replace them with a pair of screws (I think you should also make the thread in the two panels).
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by fyleow » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:42 pm

I just ordered the Rosewill for my mITX gaming build. How concerned should I be about the side panel gpu ventilation if I choose not to remove the filter? The article mentions issues but now how bad it is. I am planning on using a 970/980.

Is it enough of a deal breaker that I should look for a different case? Unfortunately I didnt see many options out there. The prodigy seems to have better out of the box cooling but has build quality issues and is ugly imo. Node 304 can't support my 150mm modular psu. Core 500 hasn't been released and the Corsair 250D has limited cpu cooler height

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gamer Build Guide

Post by fyleow » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:36 am

Newegg has this on sale for $64 right now with free shipping. You can also use American Express checkout for an extra $10 off. Not bad for a steel/aluminum case with 2 useable fans.

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