Description

UPDATE: I've provided pictures of the build with the new memory (switched from 1x16GB to 2x8GB and got red heatspreaders), CableMod cables, and performance screen shots

How I determined the build: I am coming from a failed experiment with an eGPU and a laptop. I had a Razer Core and an HP Spectre x360 17-acXXXX. And while I loved the concept of having a laptop with Windows Hello, touch, and pen input that I could connect with a single USB-C cable using ThunderBolt 3 so I could dock, get power, and leverage a discreet graphics card, the concept is much better than the implementation. I found that the bandwidth limitations of TB3 are just too much to allow the solution to work well (plus the Razer Core has well discussed USB 3.0 hub problems).

So, I decided I wanted a SFF build. I returned the laptop and will eBay the Razer Core. And began looking here for ideas.

The Razer core is small, compact and powerful. That was my design inspiration so I looked at SFF options.

I didn't want anything so compact that I would struggle too much for the build. It's been over 10 years since I did a build, so I knew I didn't want to take on too much and going SFF was going to be challenging enough.

So I excluded anything that used riser cards to accommodate the video card. I also excluded anything with an external power supply. And the part selection began.

Part Selection: Case: The Sugo SG13B is readily available on Amazon, is only 11.5 liters, and even supports ATX power supplies. And it is so light (and I do plan on packing TinyTerror to take the rig and my VR gear on the road at times). CoolerMaster has a similar offering, but after watching a couple LinusTech videos on the case, I was hooked. And how can you beat a $40 price?

Power Supply: This was also a pretty easy option for me. I knew I wanted the space that an SFX power supply would allow me. Also, since space would be at a premium, modular was a requirement. So then I just had to choose between Silverstone and Corsair. Since the case was Silverstone and I knew that I wouldn't need more than 500W based on video card, CPU, and storage, I ordered the Silverstone 500W SFX fully modular PSU.

CPU: This was probably the hardest choice I had to make. And I made this decision as much for doing what I could to ensure competition in the marketplace as I did to get a solid CPU. Don't get me wrong, if Ryzen weren't competitive from a performance standpoint, I wouldn't have gone this route. But since all the reviews of Ryzen have been solid, and Intel seems to be sitting on the laurels, I decided I wanted to support team red. I picked the 1700 because, while I expected to be somewhat CPU bound for gaming, I knew that any multi-threaded app would run very well (even better than Intel CPUs), and I knew that I could overclock (and I have overclocked to 4GHz boost with no stability issues). And getting 16 threads of CPU for less than $300 is the type of value I like.

CPU Cooler: To be honest, I didn't really research this choice much other than to see what others building in this case were using. And I've always heard good things about Corsair H series all-in-ones. This had most of the simplicity of installing air cooling with some of the best benefits of water cooling without the hassle of installing reservoirs, pumps and large radiators. I have done full water cooling builds in the past and remember how cool it was, but also remember the pains of that type of build. This AIO, while a bit expensive, seems to be the best of all possible worlds. I like how Corsair took the little things into account like the magnetic attachment of the retention bracket to the cooler module itself. Couldn't be much happier about this choice either and the CPU temps have been well managed in this SFF build without too much trouble from the thick and somewhat inflexible tubing.

Motherboard: This wasn't too hard of a choice. There are only three options on the market today. Biostar was the first to release mini-ITX for Ryzen. But the board doesn't have WiFi, and while I won't use WiFi at home, I do want WiFi for when I take the rig on the road. Gigabyte has an offering, but there are horror stories about the voltage regulator modules on the Gigabyte overheating. So that left me with the ASRock x370 Gaming option. And it has been pretty nice. It's black and red (sure it's a gaming mobo). And the only complaint that I have is the placement of the M.2 2280 module on the bottom of the board. So replacing the SSD in TinyTerror will be a terror if I want to do that some day.

Memory: I think I screwed up this selection. I knew I wanted a single DIMM. But I selected a DDR4-3000. I don't think I needed the 3000 since I haven't been able to overclock the memory. Now, I'm not very savvy on overclocking in general, but I have been able to OC both the CPU and the GPU already, but zero luck with the memory. I probably should have just picked up DDR4-2133. But maybe this will work out for me.

Storage: I've had this SM961 512GB SSD for a while now (maybe 2 years). It's amazing. I can't see myself going back to 2.25" SSDs and thinking of a spinning disk sends shivers down my spine. I have an Ethernet attached large NAS. So I only need to get my OS and key apps onto this drive. I also have 100mb down internet speeds and with Steam, the Windows Store, uPlay, Battle.net, and Origin, if I need to delete a game and reload it later, it isn't a problem (although the Windows Store is awful at downloading large games and is probably the worst feature of Gears of War 4).

Video Card: I had a video card from my Razer Core. But it didn't fit in this build. So based on the great reviews and the even better size I got the only 1080 mini on the market (I think) from Zotac. And it's been quite nice using only a single 8-pin PCI-E power cable and fitting so nicely in this build that I can top load the remove the card. The pictures I've seen of full size founders edition cards all show that you need to use the space between the front panel of the case and the case's front structure (meaning the card is ever so slightly longer than the case, but fits in the case when the front panel is installed.

Hints/recommendations for this type of build: Sequence is important! I built everything outside the case first. I forgot that you need a power switch to turn on the machine, but after totally mistaking a USB header for the front panel header bank (which took me an hour to figure out), I used the screw driver trick to turn on the build. Seeing it boot I felt comfortable moving the build into the case.

I removed the GPU and left the SSD and memory on the motherboard. I removed all the PSU cabling and then I mounted the motherboard into the case. The cooler was still attached to the CPU (and the cooler and fan power leads were already on their headers). Then I attached the radiator to the fan and case. But this is where I screwed up. Having extra room to navigate the GPU into the case was necessary and the radiator and fan attached to the case was in the way. So I removed the radiator and fan from the case. Then I realized the video card I had from my Razer Core was too large for this case. OUCH! So I returned my EVGA 1080ti SC Black and got the Zotac 1080 mini.

After all that, I installed the front panel cables to audio (here's another hint, do the HD audio cable to header before the video card, because on this motherboard the HD audio header is right next to the PCI slot and if the graphics card is installed, while you can still get to it, reaching the header can be difficult). Then I hooked up the remaining front panel leads (reset, power & storage LEDs) and the front panel USB which was a very nice connector on the motherboard to connect the front two USB to a single port on the motherboard.

Finally I reconnected the ATX 24-pin cable to the motherboard, the EPS 8-pin cable to the motherboard, and the PCI-E 8-pin cable to the 1080 mini. I've just ordered custom cable lengths (and colors) from CableMod for these three cables. It will clean up the inside even more, give it a little more color, and provide even more space as the excess cable (especially from the dual 8-pin PCI cable) really consumes all the extra space.

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Comments

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

That is some tasty beer :D

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey man great build, it helped me out with the same cooler. I had no idea how to put it, I installed just like you did. Great work man, and thanks!

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, this looks like a sister build to the one I have (which I'm yet to document and post here). That ZOTAC card I have as well, it's such a solid performer. Here's my +1

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Please post your build. The builds I read on here were the inspiration for this one.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I can't help you on the RAM other than a 3000mhz kit is what you want. I'd do some research if I were you as Ryzen processors seem to do well when paired with fast memory. Could be brand or it could be that it's only one stick, perhaps a bios update for the mobo...

Good luck.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

That makes me feel a little bit better. It's been a long time since I OC'd, so your comments just reinforce my thought that I'm probably doing something wrong. I didn't think about the impact of using a single DIMM on performance. I was only thinking about future upgrades.

  • 34 months ago
  • 3 points

From everything I've watched and read current motherboards are a bit touchy with RAM speeds. There are definitely boards and RAM combos that will do 3000 or 3200 and there are demonstrable FPS gains in doing so.

Just something to look at, it may just need a bios update or it could be something to do with it being an ITX board, sometimes for CPU's anyway they don't overclock as easily as a larger board. No idea if that would impact RAM.

Try a thread on one of the various forums PCPP, Toms, HardOCP or similar and you can probably get some guidance.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Overclock ram is actually a lot more simple than it seems at first. Go into the BIOS and you should see a tab called xmp profile. Click on that drop down tab and you will see ddr4 3000. Click on that and then save and exit the BIOS. Your Ram should now be over clocked. You will see a very big performance boost especially with Ryzen.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I have XMP 2.0 enabled. I guess I had the memory over locked the whole time? What’s the best windows app to verify? I’m afraid Ryzen Master might be overriding the BIOS.

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

Usually there is a drop down tab with profiles and you should see the 3000 speed. You can usually verify your memory speed in something like Fraps or Nzxt Cam.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I'll try Cam

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

get the silverstone PP05 short cable kit it pretty goooood

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

That’s a good suggestion. I looked at the PP05 and they look like they are still too long.

I placed a CableMod order. I went 250mm on the ATX cable, 350mm on the EPS cable and 150mm on the PCIE cable.

I’ll update my build when they arrive and are installed.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I just wanted to update everyone on my memory overclocking efforts. I really appreciate all the feedback and advice.

In order for me to use Ryzen Master to overclock my processor (1700 OC'd to 4GHz at 1.394V), I had to disable XMP in the UEFI BIOS. I think XMP was conflicting with Ryzen Master (overriding the XMP settings).

So I turned off XMP, and did all my memory OC in Ryzen Master. I set the memory clock to 1467MHz, the MEM VDDIO to 1.350V, the CAS latency to 15, the Row Precharge to 17, RAS active to 35, and Read and Write Row-Column delays to 17.

This change gave me a 30-50 point boost in Cinebench R15 CPU benchmark. I'm getting 1600 pretty regularly now.

Thanks again everyone!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

It's too bad about the 1080Ti. That would have been incredible if it had worked out. However, I love that 1080 mini and maybe will own one someday. Still really impressed how much went into that case!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks.... I don't miss the 1080ti that much, but do wish it would have fit. Thanks for the feedback!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

What resolution/refresh do you game at?

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

The last screenshot shows a Gears of War 4 benchmark at my favorite resolution. I like 1440p ultrawide gaming (3440x1440). I try to have framerates in the 50-60 range.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Derp, sorry for missing that. 1440p ultrawide is definitely something I'd be keen to try getting into later on down the line when I have enough desk space for it. Perhaps by then, 4k ultrawide will be viable.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey I have this case, What length of cables did you use when you bought your set from cablemod? Was it worth the cost?

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I bought the shortest available lengths and they fit perfectly. It cost $90 for the three cables. So, they were pretty expensive, but for me it was worth it because I have a fully modular SFX power supply, it really improves airflow, and the colored sleeving just looks cool.

The smallest available (and what fit my configuration was): 24 pin ATX: 250mm 8 pin EPS: 300mm 6 pin PCI-E: 150mm

I also bought cable combs, but if I did it again, I wouldn't get these because I don't have a window or really anyway to see the cabling from the outside. But to me, buying CableMod was good from having the best length to make sure air flow was as unrestricted as possible. The color and the cable combs really weren't necessary.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

That sleeving and combing with custom lengths makes volume reclaimed from the lack of extra cable is awesome. +1

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful - about a week away from building a cousin to this:

  • i5-8400 instead of Ryzen, but the same style ASRock board. No temp issues with the undermount M.2?
  • Went with the Zotac 1070 Ti Mini for $$$ reasons.
  • I got a NH-U12S for the cooler to start, but I'm looking at an Arctic Liquid Freezer 120 instead. I'm really looking for quiet over power with the 8400. Are you using the AiO as an intake or exhaust?

Can't wait to build mine!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

The AB350 has an on board water pump header for your H60 :)