Description

After building my first computer in an NZXT S340, I realized that college students tend to move around a lot, so I built this using mostly the old parts, only now in the smallest case they could fit in. I plan to migrate the build to a Sentry case once I receive mine, which will allow my to carry the computer around in a backpack or laptop case. I use this build for schoolwork (CAD, FEA, CFD, and other industry software) and gaming.

Random thoughts:

  • Building in a small case was easier than expected.
  • The R25 cooler seemed like a nice, integrated solution, however, it ended up being pretty loud, and annoying even when quiet because of the high frequency noise it makes.
  • The T318 + NF-A9x14 combo works really well, and is pretty much silent, even at high load.
  • Cooling everything was hard. The graphics card side of the case has no exhaust vents, and is clearly meant only for blower style cards. However, using an intake and exhaust fan works pretty well, with no thermal throttling seen in games.
  • I might try and replace the exterior fan with a slim 120mm fan on the inside of the case, but the power cable would probably be in the way.
  • I had to 3D print a new support for the graphics card, since the included graphics card support uses the fan screw holes.
  • I desperately want some custom cables, especially for the 24 pin and CPU 8 pin. That said, cables are expensive, and I can't really justify spending almost $100 for something that is mostly aesthetic.
  • I will probably replace the 120mm fans with the new slim Noctua fans (NF-A12x15), just because the Scythe fans are the loudest components.
  • Parts with a $0 cost are parts I already had.

Feel free to ask away with any questions.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Combining this with the Noctua NF-A9x14 fan results in pretty much the only short cooler capable of handling processors over 100W in a small form factor. The combination is pretty quiet too.

CPU Cooler

While this works really well, it makes a lot of noise, and that noise is pretty high pitched. Probably fine for the intended usage of servers, but I can't recommend it for a desktop build. Cooling a i7-5820k it was silent at idle, but quickly became audible with any load.

Motherboard

This board is a pretty amazing accomplishment, but certainly not without its flaws. The biggest flaw is the ATX 24 pin connector placement, which is pretty inconvenient for most use cases. The USB 3 front panel connector is just randomly in the middle of the board. Finally, the included WiFi card is complete crap. Before I replaced it, I would randomly disconnect from networks. The boot time also went down once I replaced the card. If you buy this board, expect to invest the $25 for a nicer WiFi card.

Storage

I took this from an old laptop, where it had been running fine for 5 or 6 years. Still works fine in this build.

Video Card

One of the fans on my card broke after about 1.5 years of use. The RMA process was relatively painless, but took almost 1 month. Other than that the card has performed well.

Case

Pretty well designed, with some flaws that keep it from perfection. The front panel USB header is way too long and unwieldy. It also is a tight fit between the fan and front panel board. The threading for one of the bolts holding the GPU frame in was also stripped on my case. Finally, the screws included with the case are pretty crappy, some of them are already starting to strip.

Power Supply

Well reviewed by Jonnyguru. That said, the cable stiffness is approaching unacceptable for the SFF builds this is clearly intended for. If you can afford it, custom cables for this are almost a necessity.

Wireless Network Adapter

Has worked flawlessly, and includes Bluetooth.

Case Fan

Noctua's reputation is well deserved. The fan is silent at almost any speed. The only downside is that the sleeving on the cable makes it pretty stiff, and thus hard to manage.

Case Fan

Works well enough. These don't move a huge amount of air, and can get noisy. At lower speeds (<1000 RPM) they are silent, and above that they get audible, but never loud.

Comments

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

Everything looks quite cozy

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

free cpu?

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha, no I had it from the previous build I referred to.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I am putting the same GPU in the same case, what's the clearance like for the fans?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

You can sort of see it in the fifth picture. There is about another 12-15mm of space between the fans and the GPU. I've seen some people use thick fans (25mm) instead of the thin ones and then the GPU basically rests on the fan. I can take more pictures if that would help.