Description

My first mini-ITX build using the wonderfully flexible Thermaltake Core V1 case. After seeing so many cool builds on this site, I thought I would go all out and replace my aging desktop with a fast 4790K overclockable machine. The main use of this PC will be office work with some video editing and some gaming.

Key objectives - Quiet, Fast and Cool!

After many hours of research I chose the Asus Z97i-Plus motherboard as it seemed to have many easy overclock options in the UEFI. Not being an overclocker before I did not want to cook my CPU.

The Kingston Beast RAM seems to work fine on the 2400MHz setting at 1.6V but a little concerned that exceeds recommended settings for the Haswell CPU.

After an initial build without a GPU or custom fan, more research lead me to the Asus STRIX GTX960. Not as fast as top end but not too slow either! Happy to have it overclocked and running cool - the fans seldom come on.

Also added the Samsung 850 PRO drive - blindingly fast using the Magician software that came with it. Windows 10 starts up in seconds.

A bit of bling with the LED strip lights that I got from eBay - $12 from China including delivery. The remote control means I can change the colours to suit. I decided blue was very calming to start with. However after a few weeks preferred the red so I swapped out the Spectre Pro at the front from blue to red and changed the LED strip. You'll see the difference as the photos progress. The only thing now, as another user observed, is that the power on LED is too bright and blue! Will find some perspex to cover it eventually.

Today I added the tiny (?) Noctua NH-U9S - seems to have had great reviews and does a good job for a non-water-cooled unit. Temperatures are not as cool as those reported so am wondering if I have not put enough thermal paste on or maybe too much. Runs around 41Celsius with the CPU at 4.5GHz. Edit- took front cover off and it dropped to 36C. Vacuumed the dust out of the cover and replaced it (amazing how much it collected in a few weeks) and it settled around 39C. So now I am happy!

Being an Australian build I was not lucky enough to get any factory discounts so all up it was around $AU 1600. Much more than I had wanted to spend but in the end I am very happy with the speed and quietness of the build.

Part Reviews

CPU

Great CPU - runs a little warm but the speed is amazing. Easy to Overclock.

CPU Cooler

As the reviews state - this cooler is amazingly quiet. Haven't run a full benchmark with a 4.6GHz CPU but will post results when I do.

Motherboard

A bit more expensive than I wanted, however it's UEFI BIOS is amazingly versatile, but above all else makes overclocking simple for novices like me, A host of utilities make is easy to overclock the board without have to leave the OS.

Memory

RAM seems fine - bit hard to tell if it is hindering the rest of the build or not. A little concerned that I am running it at 1.6V and not 1.5V which Intel 4790K recommends. Keen to hear what others run this RAM at?

Storage

What can I say? Amazingly fast. Could not believe the difference when I swapped out my Patriot Sata II SSD with this one. Chalk and cheese. Magician software works very well and was easily able to speed up the time it takes for applications as well as Windows to start.

Video Card

Many hours of fun spent overclocking this one. I've not had a medium level graphics card before (always opted for cheapies). This one runs graphics well and so far have only had the fans come on when extreme checks are being run (Heaven Benchmark) As soon as the benchmarking finishes the fans are already off - the heatsink works that well without them!

Case

Incredibly versatile case and very easy to access all components with the sides off. The only time I had to use a set of needle nose pliers was connecting the Noctua fan to the mainboard (bit squeezy at the back of the case). Incredible value case.

Power Supply

Quiet and plenty of power. Maybe too much power but will run cool as should only draw around 300W

Case Fan

Fun coloured fan that runs very quietly. Great airflow.

Log in to rate comments or to post a comment.

Comments

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice looking build! I'm sure some people will say your should have got a 4690k and a 970 for the same money but given your intended use of the machine your parts choice seems good to me!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Hughesy! Always a toss up CPU vs GPU. My daughter is doing film and TV so does a bit of video editing and rendering, so that was the swinger for me - fast CPU :)

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Could always get the best of both worlds, 4790K and a 970! :D

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

That could be a plan - will have to wait for Santa :)

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Temperatures are not as cool as those reported so am wondering if I have not put enough thermal paste on or maybe too much

nooooooo.. You probably use a little more. You should be ok, but next time just put the size of a grain of rice. The Noctua NH-U9S is a great cooler, but don't expect that great of a performance compare to other coolers while overclocking.

The Kingston Beast RAM seems to work fine on the 2400MHz setting at 1.6V but a little concerned that exceeds recommended settings for the Haswell CPU.

but you shouldn't be concerned, as you have a compatible motherboard (Z97) and unlocked CPU.... You only need to enable XMP profile in bios which I'm assuming you did. Just to give you some peace of mind, this is from intel. Check the voltages

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/datasheets/core-i5-processor-memory-datasheet.pdf

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/gaming/extreme-memory-profile-xmp.html

One thing I DONT get is that your build has an great PSU (cooler master V 650), but on your part's list and description you have a thermaltake.... You should fix this!!

BTW nice build!!!! Enjoy it! :)

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey pegotico - thanks for the good pickup on the parts list. I had changed the Thermaltake to the Coolermaster but it didn't stick for some reason. Have fixed it now though :)

Thanks also for the tips and info about voltages - very much appreciated.

One thing I did notice - if I remove the front cover the temperatures drop around 4C within minutes, so the dust filter must impede airflow (obviously!) Will see if there are any better filters around.

Thanks again for the info!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

this is the best place for filters.....

http://www.demcifilter.com/

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks again - will check this out.

Also - took cooler off and re-did the thermal paste using the "pea" method that was in the youtube link you sent and it worked great. Took around 3-4C off! Really appreciate you taking the time to let me know about it.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not usually a fan of ITX builds but your's a real beauty have to admit.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the nice comment. I love the way the case is so versatile, but I stick to having the window on top!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

You can get way more out of a manually over clocked cpu than the easy version the motherboard offers (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/automatic-overclock-motherboard-cpu,3048-17.html).

And some would argue that that's not the ideal way to apply thermal paste (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hNgFNH7zhQ).

Just a couple thoughts. Really like this build though!! Seems well planned and thought out.

  • 58 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks for the tips. Re-did the paste and it lowered temps by around 4C. Really appreciate your input.

Have been tweaking the CPU using the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility and it has helped me get close to 4.8GHz. With the newly applied thermal paste I am getting idle temps at 36C :)

  • 55 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 Really nice build... Mind giving me tags to search for when looking to buy the LED strip you used? I want to make sure I get one that's reliable. Thanks in advance.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry to be so late getting back to you. Haven't logged in for a while and did not get notified about your post. Did you find somewhere? I just checked the ebay link but they don't do them anymore. If you do an ebay search for "Computer case LED light" you should get a few hits. I get some from the Australian site (where I am). Good luck and apologies again for late reply.

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice, I got the same case wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl !

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice!! Where did you get the vinyl from?

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

I got it online, google for 5d carbon fiber vinyl.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

"Haven't run a full benchmark with a 4.6GHz CPU but will post results when I do." So... did you ever?

[comment deleted]
  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks BKM. I learned so much from reviewing others on this site, so was keen to share mine for others to see.

Just need to tidy up the cabling once I stop fiddling!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Just need to tidy up the cabling once I stop fiddling!

Please do! This build has so much potential! Just take your time and start over if you have to.

[comment deleted by staff]