Description

Thanks for taking a look at my first build! I-5/1070 ITX gaming /Photoshop editing rig. Around $1500 USD complete with Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse.

I watched prices for about two months, picked up a few bargains along the way. Parts kept going in and out of stock and prices kept going up and down. Let me preface my impressions with that I have been photo editing and game playing on 15" high- end laptops forever, so just the sight of a 24" monitor and a full-size keyboard is awe inspiring. Building this on the road, in the back of a 28' Airstream Trailer.

CoolerMaster 110 Elite Case Mod.

Mod 1a) Letting the box breath As many have noted, the (Left) side of the case blocks the GPU intake fan. As most mount the HHD's on the top bracket, I see no use for the (L) side internal HDD mounting bracket on my build, so I removed it. A 1/8" drill bit easily removed the 7 pop rivets. Once the bracket was removed, a dremel with a cut-off wheel removed most of the bracket, leaving enough material to use as a support bracket for the top HDD mounting bracket. Pop riveted the modified (L) side top bracket in place. I cleaned up what remained of the previously removed (L) side HDD bracket and reinstalled it on the (R) side.

Mod 1b) I decided not to use the top HHD bracket, so that the Elite 110 has a clear top vent on which to mount an exhaust fan. I think the case is all ready for my build, almost! SIMPLE EXPLANATION: I removed the LEFT side HDD bracket, modified it and installed it on the RIGHT side. I also removed the top HDD mount. (Or you could just buy a Silverstone)

Mod 2) Removable Air Filter I'm building this rig for use on the road and I spend a fair amount of time in the dusty hot desert. This build will include a NZXT 120mm AIO, with a Noctura fan and a Thermaltake fan filter in a push configuration for two reasons. 1, to facilitate dust cleaning from outside the case. 2, to make a little more breathing room inside the case. The design of the Elite110s removable front bezel has a (non-removable) foam dust screen sandwiched between the front metal screen and the plastic bezel frame. Once this foam filter gets clogged, (and clogged it will) it would be very difficult to clean. As you can see from the photos, the metal front screen can be separated out by first removing the 2 screws from the front panel I/O cluster. Carefully bend the metal screen tabs perpendicular and the mesh screen will separate, allowing access to the foam screen, remove (I plan on reusing this foam for the (L) side GPU air intake,) Reassemble.

A removable dust filter installed over the Noctua NF-F12 PWM pushing fan (as shown) should keep dust out of the radiator fins, making it easier to clean.
Applied loctite blue, to all threaded mounting screws.

I first ran the case without the top mounted exhaust fan, relying on the SFX power supply fan to evacuate the case hot air build up. After running FarCry4 for a few hours, the GPU was running warm, and I really could not feel a good exhaust of hot air from the GPU or PSU. I installed the stock NXZT fan to the top of the removable case cover and connected an extension cable to the motherboard case fan header, then plugged the NXZT fan cable into the extension. I also removed some of the screening from the top vent slots to allow for better air-flow. According to the CAM software, GPU Temps have come down 5-6 degrees

FIRST BOOT FAILURE! First fire up and rig would not post, just on for 10 seconds, shut down and repeat. Manual had no trouble shooting section and I could not find any useful information on the Gigibyte website. Three rapid blinks... found some info, seemed to suggest memory missing, pulled both sticks and reseated without success. In a mild panic, I decided to completely disassemble the build and only install the basics. I think it may have been the individual header connectors, but I very well could be wrong. Bottom line, with the PSU out and cables all over the place, the system booted up fine. Put everything back together, testing along the way and after 48 hours of burning in, she runs smooth, cool and very quiet. Down loaded all the drivers, new windows 10 home install from USB.

I savored the building process, so when it failed, I got to build it again! Posting 3DMark numbers.

I would like to thank PC PartPicker for this indispensable DIY site, all the members that looked over my build and a special shout-out to Vengeance1871 for the ITX inspiration!

Part Reviews

CPU

All gaming reviews pointed to this CPU. Good price to performance ratio.

CPU Cooler

NZXT 120mm Kraken x31 liquid CPU cooler. Good reviews. Used in similar Parts Picker builds. I've been stress testing the CPU and I can't hear the pump.

Motherboard

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-H270N-WIFI Mini ITX Not a big selection of Kaby ITX mother boards, only about 3 (non-Z) to choose from. Some boards hardly had any reviews, here or on the Net. Manufacture websites seemed to all have generic descriptions, with (not available on all models) clauses. Required WiFi and BT, C type connector, M2 Slot, and USB 3.1. The magnet mounted antenna is a nice feature. Bios feels nice. Designed for a warm mobile environment and small footprint, I didn’t think Overclocking would be practical, but then again; gaming on the road using solar power, probably isn't practical either! Nice BIOS setup.

Memory

MEMORY:Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 3000. Wanted low profile sticks, and this set was on sale!

Storage

Crucial MX300 M.2-2280 SSD: Boots up in less then 15 seconds.

Video Card

Only 2 GPU's will fit in this case. Good reviews on both, but seemed Zoltec runs hotter (that's what I've read} No lighting. Nice Nvidia software.

Case

First part I purchased for this build. Built solid as a rock. I found it easy to build in, provided you assemble your parts in the right sequence. Modded the hell out of it. Also, picked it up for a great price.

Power Supply

PSU: SF Corsair SFX 450W G80. Very good reviews for quality and stability. Went with a SFX size PSU to give the case as much breathing room as possible. Mounted upside down (as is recommended when using a radiator) to exhaust hot case air. Universal ATX to SFX bracket (Silverstone)

Case Fan

FAN: Noctra NF-F12. Highly regarded. Pricey. Solid feel. Display Packaged like a fine watch. Dead Silent, even at 75%.

Monitor

MONITOR: ASUS VG248QE I flipped back and forth between three 144 24" monitors. BenQ, ROG, and Asus, I settled on the Asus. PCMonitor is a good source of ICC profiles and reviews. Audio jack would have been better placed in the front, instead if back. The Asus came nicely boxed. Audio cable, DVI Duel Link Cable, Power Cable, and a DVD. No dead pixels Nice solid stand. Super bang-for-the-buck. A bit bright and washed out color out of the box. For the price, the picture quality is impressive with a bit of tweaking .

Keyboard

KEYBOARD: Solid, nice lighting, nice tactile feel., GREAT VALUE! No instructions, a single sheet instruct you to the EagleTec website to download the manual. The keyboard sounds like it could have been used as the key board sound Fx for the move "Brazil" I like it.

Mouse

Great Value! Solid feel, fully programmable. Logitech quality. Nice size for my hand. Comes with a 5' dongle. 1 star deducted for cheap feeling center wheel.

Custom

FAN SCREEN: (2 pack) Thermaltake . Very fine screen, sturdy frame

Comments

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build! I really like this case for its size, I'm thinking of using it for my sister's build coming up in a week. Her family doesn't need an HDD since they have no media, so I think I'll just cut the HDD caddy right out. Thanks for the idea, +1 =D

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks DD. If there is anything I can help u with, feel free! Enjoy the build...

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

The left side caddy, you can drill out the pop rivets. The top caddy screws out!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate it, thanks!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

I have to say, this is brilliant! Talk about some next level modding. I am so impressed with everything you've done. Way to take this case and make it work for you. Now that you've had a couple days to paly with it, what do you think?

Also, I can appreciate the feeling of upgrading from a laptop to a desktop. I was in a similar situation before I built my first pc.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the kind compliments, V. I've been thrilled with the speed of the box, the mechanical keyboard, the monitor and sound quality (JBL over ear phones). Photo editing is a dream, and gaming is thrilling (FarCry). I've been running the system off of my truck mounted solar battery bank , with minimum impact (which was my biggest concern). I may add a light or two and am toying with some paint schemes for the box. For less than the price of a good gaming laptop, I'm thrilled. Would not change Thing...

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow this is a pretty awesome build, I can't believe I didn't see this until now. You did some great mods for this case, +1000

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Joshzpants! Builds get lost so fast around here! The case mod was the funest part! The addition of the top exhaust fan did the trick. The rig performs beyond my expectations, and is a joy to use! PS, thinking up a paint job for the case next! Thanks again for commenting on my build. Best, Artstream

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  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Nicker950! This rig travels with me in my traveler where temps can reach up to 32 C. Plus it needed to run off of my solar system. These factors made me hesitant for years to build a traveling rig, worried about keeping it cool and being able to get any usable play time of of the batteries. But eventually I just couldn't stand photo editing and game playing on my 15" laptop ( The heat chews up my laptops) This rig runs real cool. Ambient temp: 32 C, CPU at idle 38 C. GPU at 95%, 78-79 C. Power draw with monitor: 49-52 Watts. I'm thrilled to be playing Far Cry Primal at ultra settings on a 24 inch monitor at 60+FPS, instead of 12 FPS on my laptop. Not to mention the full keyboard and gaming mouse. It's also good for photo editing! Thanks again, glad you enjoyed my build!

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi. Very nice build.

I have a few questions. Is your gpu getting loud under load? I am used to a pretty quiet system. ;-) I still have an old elite 110 sitting here and would like to use it again for portability reasons. Looking at the 480 prices, I might be able to sell my 480 and buy a 1070 without paying much extra. And then I would like to get the gigabyte mini gpu. Are you still happy with the combo? Would you recommend it?

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Go for it! Runs silent and cool. Changes, larger SSD and HD. Let me know if there is anything I can help with! Best, Michael

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow. thanks for the swift reply. I will try to do that then. However I will have to wait for decent AM4 ITX motherboards to be released. Right now I am on an mATX platform with a Ryzen 5 1600 and love it, but I have a thing for small systems and I have a few "interesting" ideas for the Elite 110. I want to put a full tower cooler into it in combination with an HDPLEX 400W PSU. That should help temps a bit as well and enable some overclocking on the CPU. Thanks again.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Still thrilled with the build. Shredding Witcher 3. I have heard reports about pump noise, but mine is whisper silent, maybe it's hose placement? Best of luck with your build!

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I just snagged a 1070 mini for 360€. On eBay refurbished from an actual retailer, so with full warranty. Now I need an itx mobo

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweet!

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