Author Topic: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build  (Read 9652 times)

Steve N. Mavronis

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Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« on: January 28, 2016, 04:56:21 PM »
Glad that I found this review on the Evolv ITX. Here is my $2,000 build plan with a question:

  • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX Bundle - 1x Enthoo Evolv ITX PH-ES215P_BK (window version), 1x PH-F140SP (Rear) Fan, 1x 3.5" HDD Bracket
    ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
    G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin SDRAM DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) Intel Z170/X99 Platform Desktop Memory
    Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz LGA 1151 Boxed Processor
    Cryorig H7 (140W) LxWxH 98x123x145mm w/QF120 Balance 120mm PWM Fan (Zero RAM Interference)
    Phanteks PH-F140SP_BK 140mm Case Fan (2 fans) - needs longer 1 1/4" X 6/32" screws to mount in front (both replacing stock 200mm fan)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SC GAMING (Reference Cooler) 1102/1190 (Base Boost Clock)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 980 TI Backplate
    EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GS Power Supply - 86mm (H) x 150mm (W) x 150mm (L)
    SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
    Pioneer 6x Silver External Slim Portable USB 3.0 BD/DVD/CD Burner
    Corsair Gaming K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Cherry MX Red
    Corsair Raptor M30 USB Wired Gaming Mouse
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home - 64-bit - OEM

Total based on current parts pricing: $1,977

Questions/Comment:

I like to use the MSI GTX 980 Ti GAMING 6G w/Backplate but I'm concerned about the rear GPU fan over the PSU, and the fact that a non-reference GPU will blow hot air into the case. Has anyone with this case used a non-reference 980 Ti and if so how does it do with GPU temps?

I'm thinking about modding the front cover panel to improve airflow by cutting a 120mm hole (or smaller holes) with cosmetic grommet ring(s) added.

I'd like to use a taller CPU tower cooler heatsink with a 140mm fan if possible for better overclock potential, maybe like a couple that Thermalright offers. I don't want a massive cooler that completely blocks view of the motherboard or covers the RAM. I don't think that the Phanteks PH-TC14S is better than the Cryorig H7 cooler? Too bad their cooler fans don't color match the case fans black frame white fans.

I'm not interested in liquid cooling at all.

Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 06:07:35 PM »
Glad that I found this review on the Evolv ITX. Here is my $2,000 build plan with a question:

  • Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX Bundle - 1x Enthoo Evolv ITX PH-ES215P_BK (window version), 1x PH-F140SP (Rear) Fan, 1x 3.5" HDD Bracket
    ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
    G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin SDRAM DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) Intel Z170/X99 Platform Desktop Memory
    Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz LGA 1151 Boxed Processor
    Cryorig H7 (140W) LxWxH 98x123x145mm w/QF120 Balance 120mm PWM Fan (Zero RAM Interference)
    Phanteks PH-F140SP_BK 140mm Case Fan (2 fans) - needs longer 1 1/4" X 6/32" screws to mount in front (both replacing stock 200mm fan)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SC GAMING (Reference Cooler) 1102/1190 (Base Boost Clock)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 980 TI Backplate
    EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GS Power Supply - 86mm (H) x 150mm (W) x 150mm (L)
    SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
    Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
    Pioneer 6x Silver External Slim Portable USB 3.0 BD/DVD/CD Burner
    Corsair Gaming K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Cherry MX Red
    Corsair Raptor M30 USB Wired Gaming Mouse
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home - 64-bit - OEM

Total based on current parts pricing: $1,977

Questions/Comment:

I like to use the MSI GTX 980 Ti GAMING 6G w/Backplate but I'm concerned about the rear GPU fan over the PSU, and the fact that a non-reference GPU will blow hot air into the case. Has anyone with this case used a non-reference 980 Ti and if so how does it do with GPU temps?

I'm thinking about modding the front cover panel to improve airflow by cutting a 120mm hole (or smaller holes) with cosmetic grommet ring(s) added.

I'd like to use a taller CPU tower cooler heatsink with a 140mm fan if possible for better overclock potential, maybe like a couple that Thermalright offers. I don't want a massive cooler that completely blocks view of the motherboard or covers the RAM. I don't think that the Phanteks PH-TC14S is better than the Cryorig H7 cooler? Too bad their cooler fans don't color match the case fans black frame white fans.

I'm not interested in liquid cooling at all.

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Steve!

The problem with using a reference blower-style card is that there's essentially no air intake on the fan-side of the card, due to being pressed up against the PSU shroud. In such a situation, you're actually going to want to stick with an open-air GTX 980 Ti rather than the reference model. Actually, an even better choice might be the EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid, which is liquid-cooled. You said you don't want that, but what if it's pre-installed right out the box? It's a great match for this build, given the open fan slot on the back of the case.

In terms of tall CPU coolers, you're going to run into RAM clearance issues. I just pulled my sample Thermalright Macho Rev. B out and tried to install it on the Asus Z170I Pro used in TBG's High-End ITX Gaming PC Build Guide, and it's not even a close call. There's no way it would fit. The fan is right on top of the RAM slots. While you might find a 140mm cooler that will fit, it will be trial and error. I have five on hand here and none will fit on an ITX board.

You might want to reconsider your aversion to a liquid CPU cooler, as it's sure to fit, and would ensure that you didn't need to worry about temps. Is there a reason you're replacing the stock 200mm fan with two 140mm fans? I'm not sure that will actually perform better, and of course it increases the cost of the case significantly.

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 07:43:31 PM »
The problem with using a reference blower-style card is that there's essentially no air intake on the fan-side of the card, due to being pressed up against the PSU shroud. In such a situation, you're actually going to want to stick with an open-air GTX 980 Ti rather than the reference model.

In terms of tall CPU coolers, you're going to run into RAM clearance issues. While you might find a 140mm cooler that will fit, it will be trial and error. I have five on hand here and none will fit on an ITX board.

Is there a reason you're replacing the stock 200mm fan with two 140mm fans? I'm not sure that will actually perform better, and of course it increases the cost of the case significantly.

Hmm, interesting take on reference vs non-reference GPU. I hadn't thought of it that way and I hope it's true. Both versions would have their fan side close to the PSU shroud, but my thinking is a reference GPU's fan is at the front end where airflow is better, at least partly over the open part of the shroud where the HDD cage is. The GPU heat is exhausted out the back instead of into the case. Plus for either type GPU, the PSU shroud isn't a solid piece of metal. It's heavily perforated with holes allowing air to pass. With non-reference GPU the tradeoff is more case heat. But with enough case airflow maybe that can be managed.

You'll have to educate me on how a reference GPU gets no airflow but a non-reference does? Unless you are relying on the non-reference GPU heatsink getting cooled by case airflow with limited GPU fan cooling. Are there any real world tests experimenting with this case? It would be good to test this and helpful to cover all scenarios as part of an expanded Evolv ITX build guide.

Now to improve things further that lower HDD cage could be removed for more direct airflow to the GPU and you would use the mid-plate as an HDD mount instead, or do something more creative like mount the HDD elsewhere, like maybe with an optional HDD drive tray mounted hanging from the radiator rack instead.

Also you ask why ditch the 200mm fan. To improve case airflow and maintain positive pressure, dual 140mm fans in the front (better than a single 200mm) and another in the rear would be much better. It could be that the 200mm front fan doesn't have to be changed by just adding a 120mm or 140mm fan in the rear. I was reading reviews like on SPCR for example complaining about poor airflow in the Evolv ITX. What irks me is they test the stock case and GPU temperatures using a non-reference GPU without adding a rear exhaust fan to supplement cooling like all silent air cooling builders would probably do.

I wish the front panel opening were a bit larger. That's why I may drill it for more air supply opportunity from the outside.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2016, 08:12:57 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 08:44:34 PM »
The problem with using a reference blower-style card is that there's essentially no air intake on the fan-side of the card, due to being pressed up against the PSU shroud. In such a situation, you're actually going to want to stick with an open-air GTX 980 Ti rather than the reference model.

In terms of tall CPU coolers, you're going to run into RAM clearance issues. While you might find a 140mm cooler that will fit, it will be trial and error. I have five on hand here and none will fit on an ITX board.

Is there a reason you're replacing the stock 200mm fan with two 140mm fans? I'm not sure that will actually perform better, and of course it increases the cost of the case significantly.

Hmm, interesting take on reference vs non-reference GPU. I hadn't thought of it that way and I hope it's true. Both versions would have their fan side close to the PSU shroud, but my thinking is a reference GPU's fan is at the front end where airflow is better, at least partly over the open part of the shroud where the HDD cage is. The GPU heat is exhausted out the back instead of into the case. Plus for either type GPU, the PSU shroud isn't a solid piece of metal. It's heavily perforated with holes allowing air to pass. With non-reference GPU the tradeoff is more case heat. But with enough case airflow maybe that can be managed.

You'll have to educate me on how a reference GPU gets no airflow but a non-reference does? Unless you are relying on the non-reference GPU heatsink getting cooled by case airflow with limited GPU fan cooling. Are there any real world tests experimenting with this case? It would be good to test this and helpful to cover all scenarios as part of an expanded Evolv ITX build guide.

Now to improve things further that lower HDD cage could be removed for more direct airflow to the GPU and you would use the mid-plate as an HDD mount instead, or do something more creative like mount the HDD elsewhere, like maybe with an optional HDD drive tray mounted hanging from the radiator rack instead.

Also you ask why ditch the 200mm fan. To improve case airflow and maintain positive pressure, dual 140mm fans in the front (better than a single 200mm) and another in the rear would be much better. It could be that the 200mm front fan doesn't have to be changed by just adding a 120mm or 140mm fan in the rear. I was reading reviews like on SPCR for example complaining about poor airflow in the Evolv ITX. What irks me is they test the stock case and GPU temperatures using a non-reference GPU without adding a rear exhaust fan to supplement cooling like all silent air cooling builders would probably do.

I wish the front panel opening were a bit larger. That's why I may drill it for more air supply opportunity from the outside.

Hello again, Steve!

I based my comments about blower-style vs. open-air coolers on my own published benchmarks of the GTX 780 Ti in reference and open-air configurations, as well my testing of the GTX 980 Ti in both open-air and reference configurations in the Silverstone SG08 and RVZ02. I've done extensive long-term testing of all these configurations, and while only some of my benchmarks have been published, I'm pretty familiar with how the GTX 980 Ti behaves in an airflow-constrained environment, as well as the effects it can have on other internal components.

By the way, while I haven't yet tested the Phanteks Evolv ITX, I'm actually in the middle of testing the Evolv ATX, so again, I'm fairly familiar with the layout of the case and the airflow design.

The key reason a reference cooler will not work well in the Evolv ITX is that it depends on significant amounts of fresh air intake perpendicular to the fan axis. In the Evolv ITX, there is almost no airflow in that direction, and while there is perforation of the shroud, there's no air movement inside of that shroud. Open-air 980 Ti models, on the other hand, require no directional air movement to function correctly, as they simply move massive amounts of air in all directions, and yes, as you suggested, they can take in significant amounts of air from the sides of the cooler. An open-air cooler like the MSI GTX 980 Ti will also be much quieter in this scenario than a reference model, and it seems that quiet operation is one of your key objectives.

By the way, you may be correct about dual 140mm fans working better than the single 200mm fan, but I'd suggest you see how the stock configuration works for you first, and then start modifying it if you need to. I definitely agree with you, though, that adding a rear-mounted 140mm exhaust fan would be a good choice, especially if you're going with an air-cooled CPU.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2016, 09:06:26 PM »
I based my comments about blower-style vs. open-air coolers on my own published benchmarks of the GTX 780 Ti in reference and open-air configurations, as well my testing of the GTX 980 Ti in both open-air and reference configurations in the Silverstone SG08 and RVZ02. I've done extensive long-term testing of all these configurations, and while only some of my benchmarks have been published, I'm pretty familiar with how the GTX 980 Ti behaves in an airflow-constrained environment, as well as the effects it can have on other internal components.

By the way, while I haven't yet tested the Phanteks Evolv ITX, I'm actually in the middle of testing the Evolv ATX, so again, I'm fairly familiar with the layout of the case and the airflow design.

The key reason a reference cooler will not work well in the Evolv ITX is that it depends on significant amounts of fresh air intake perpendicular to the fan axis. In the Evolv ITX, there is almost no airflow in that direction, and while there is perforation of the shroud, there's no air movement inside of that shroud. Open-air 980 Ti models, on the other hand, require no directional air movement to function correctly, as they simply move massive amounts of air in all directions, and yes, as you suggested, they can take in significant amounts of air from the sides of the cooler. An open-air cooler like the MSI GTX 980 Ti will also be much quieter in this scenario than a reference model, and it seems that quiet operation is one of your key objectives.

By the way, you may be correct about dual 140mm fans working better than the single 200mm fan, but I'd suggest you see how the stock configuration works for you first, and then start modifying it if you need to. I definitely agree with you, though, that adding a rear-mounted 140mm exhaust fan would be a good choice, especially if you're going with an air-cooled CPU.

Thank you very much Ari,

Great to know the MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G should be a better choice afterall. I really like those curving heat pipes on the edge. They give it that hot rod look, plus it's a great GPU from all the reviews I've read. I'll read your benchmarks too. Glad I found this place!
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2016, 09:59:10 PM »
I based my comments about blower-style vs. open-air coolers on my own published benchmarks of the GTX 780 Ti in reference and open-air configurations, as well my testing of the GTX 980 Ti in both open-air and reference configurations in the Silverstone SG08 and RVZ02. I've done extensive long-term testing of all these configurations, and while only some of my benchmarks have been published, I'm pretty familiar with how the GTX 980 Ti behaves in an airflow-constrained environment, as well as the effects it can have on other internal components.

By the way, while I haven't yet tested the Phanteks Evolv ITX, I'm actually in the middle of testing the Evolv ATX, so again, I'm fairly familiar with the layout of the case and the airflow design.

The key reason a reference cooler will not work well in the Evolv ITX is that it depends on significant amounts of fresh air intake perpendicular to the fan axis. In the Evolv ITX, there is almost no airflow in that direction, and while there is perforation of the shroud, there's no air movement inside of that shroud. Open-air 980 Ti models, on the other hand, require no directional air movement to function correctly, as they simply move massive amounts of air in all directions, and yes, as you suggested, they can take in significant amounts of air from the sides of the cooler. An open-air cooler like the MSI GTX 980 Ti will also be much quieter in this scenario than a reference model, and it seems that quiet operation is one of your key objectives.

By the way, you may be correct about dual 140mm fans working better than the single 200mm fan, but I'd suggest you see how the stock configuration works for you first, and then start modifying it if you need to. I definitely agree with you, though, that adding a rear-mounted 140mm exhaust fan would be a good choice, especially if you're going with an air-cooled CPU.

Thank you very much Ari,

Great to know the MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G should be a better choice afterall. I really like those curving heat pipes on the edge. They give it that hot rod look, plus it's a great GPU from all the reviews I've read. I'll read your benchmarks too. Glad I found this place!

Sure thing, Steve!

Have you seen the Phanteks Enthoo ITX in the black and red color scheme? That's definitely the one to pair with the MSI 980 Ti Gaming video card and the Asus Z170I Pro motherboard. Combined with the G.Skill TridentZ memory you chose, the look will really be complete.

By the way, I didn't fully answer your question about finding a 140mm air cooler to fit in this system. I happen to love 140mm coolers due to their enormous efficiency and ultra-low noise levels, but fitting one in an ITX rig has always been difficult. So I just pulled out my trusty Noctua NH-U14S, which was the winner in a recent TBG cooler shootout, and it turns out you're in luck. It fits on the Asus Z170I Pro board, clearing the PCIe slot, the motherboard components, and even the memory slots (but just barely). And unlike with Thermalright's coolers, you can actually mount the Noctua's fan at multiple heights, so if the TridentZ heatsinks are too tall to fit under the fan in the stock configuration, you can simply move it up. That wouldn't work in every case, but the Evolv ITX has 200mm of clearance for a CPU cooler (basically, that means infinite in the world of coolers), so you'll have no issue.

Of course, the Noctua fan will mess with your color scheme, but you can fix that with a Noctua iPPC fan modified with Noctua Chromax Red bumpers.

While you're visiting the TBG Forum, stop by the sign-up for the 2016 Prize Drawing. It ends on Sunday!

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 04:21:09 AM »
Have you seen the Phanteks Enthoo ITX in the black and red color scheme? That's definitely the one to pair with the MSI 980 Ti Gaming video card and the Asus Z170I Pro motherboard. Combined with the G.Skill TridentZ memory you chose, the look will really be complete.

By the way, I didn't fully answer your question about finding a 140mm air cooler to fit in this system. I happen to love 140mm coolers due to their enormous efficiency and ultra-low noise levels, but fitting one in an ITX rig has always been difficult. So I just pulled out my trusty Noctua NH-U14S, which was the winner in a recent TBG cooler shootout, and it turns out you're in luck. It fits on the Asus Z170I Pro board, clearing the PCIe slot, the motherboard components, and even the memory slots (but just barely). And unlike with Thermalright's coolers, you can actually mount the Noctua's fan at multiple heights, so if the TridentZ heatsinks are too tall to fit under the fan in the stock configuration, you can simply move it up. That wouldn't work in every case, but the Evolv ITX has 200mm of clearance for a CPU cooler (basically, that means infinite in the world of coolers), so you'll have no issue.

Of course, the Noctua fan will mess with your color scheme, but you can fix that with a Noctua iPPC fan modified with Noctua Chromax Red bumpers.

Yeah my first preference is Noctua. I was thinking the NH-U12S with those industrial fans. Of course the NH-U14S performs way better. I know about those black industrial fan versions and wrote them about it. They always respond promptly. It's nice that thy came out with those Chromax vibration corners. Yeah maybe the back and red Evolv ITX would look nice. I like it but had worried it would be too much red! Anyway I'll do a scale graphic mockup of the Asus Z170i Pro Gaming with those coolers as a virtual test fit and post them here later after work. It would cost more but if all the case fans were Noctua black/red 140mm (or another comparable brand) that would look cool.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 04:24:24 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2016, 08:48:50 AM »
Have you seen the Phanteks Enthoo ITX in the black and red color scheme? That's definitely the one to pair with the MSI 980 Ti Gaming video card and the Asus Z170I Pro motherboard. Combined with the G.Skill TridentZ memory you chose, the look will really be complete.

By the way, I didn't fully answer your question about finding a 140mm air cooler to fit in this system. I happen to love 140mm coolers due to their enormous efficiency and ultra-low noise levels, but fitting one in an ITX rig has always been difficult. So I just pulled out my trusty Noctua NH-U14S, which was the winner in a recent TBG cooler shootout, and it turns out you're in luck. It fits on the Asus Z170I Pro board, clearing the PCIe slot, the motherboard components, and even the memory slots (but just barely). And unlike with Thermalright's coolers, you can actually mount the Noctua's fan at multiple heights, so if the TridentZ heatsinks are too tall to fit under the fan in the stock configuration, you can simply move it up. That wouldn't work in every case, but the Evolv ITX has 200mm of clearance for a CPU cooler (basically, that means infinite in the world of coolers), so you'll have no issue.

Of course, the Noctua fan will mess with your color scheme, but you can fix that with a Noctua iPPC fan modified with Noctua Chromax Red bumpers.

Yeah my first preference is Noctua. I was thinking the NH-U12S with those industrial fans. Of course the NH-U14S performs way better. I know about those black industrial fan versions and wrote them about it. They always respond promptly. It's nice that thy came out with those Chromax vibration corners. Yeah maybe the back and red Evolv ITX would look nice. I like it but had worried it would be too much red! Anyway I'll do a scale graphic mockup of the Asus Z170i Pro Gaming with those coolers as a virtual test fit and post them here later after work. It would cost more but if all the case fans were Noctua black/red 140mm (or another comparable brand) that would look cool.

The NH-U12S would definitely fit - it's quite a bit more compact than the U14S. But I do think that the U14S is worth the extra $5 or so - it performs much, much better based on my tests. I've spoken to Noctua about this issue, and they've said that unfortunately their high-end manufacturing process just can't be scaled down in cost that much. Building a U12S or a U14S costs them nearly the same amount, hence the similar costs yet very different performance.

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2016, 02:27:01 PM »
The NH-U12S would definitely fit - it's quite a bit more compact than the U14S. But I do think that the U14S is worth the extra $5 or so - it performs much, much better based on my tests. I've spoken to Noctua about this issue, and they've said that unfortunately their high-end manufacturing process just can't be scaled down in cost that much. Building a U12S or a U14S costs them nearly the same amount, hence the similar costs yet very different performance.

Here are my virtual fit tests:

ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming w/Cryorig H7
(145mm tall)


ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming w/Noctua NH-U12S
(158mm tall)


ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming w/Noctua NH-U14S
(165mm tall)


ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming w/Thermalright SilverArrow ITX
(165mm tall, black/red ROG fan)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 02:32:03 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2016, 02:52:18 PM »
Wow, nice work. Based on trying the NH-U14S on my Z170I Pro, I'd say this looks very accurate. The SilverArrow gets some serious style points.  Thermalright was already way ahead of the competition with its black chrome finishes, like the Macho Rev. B I've tested:



But, wow, the SilverArrow ITX:

« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 02:57:03 PM by Ari Altman »

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 03:01:42 PM »
I didn't include the Phanteks PH-TC14S cooler yet. It's kinda plain looking and sure the similar style SilverArrow ITX cools better. I try to look for ones that don't overlap RAM populated in the slots. I did a graphic mockup of all the Thermalright Macho 140mm fan series. Only the Macho Direct cleared the RAM slots but it's so large on an ITX board that you would be able to mount a rear case exhaust fan, that is unless you did on the outside of the case.

Besides the MSI GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G, what do you think about the triple fan ASUS Strix 980 Ti in Evolv ITX case? The new ASUS 980 Ti Matrix is just too thick. The cooler extends out at least a 1/2 slot or more.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2016, 02:55:35 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2016, 09:02:37 AM »
I re-scaled my ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming motherboard graphic to double-check it's accuracy. Before I just scaled it as 170mm by 170mm which is ITX standard, not to exceed those dimensions. But not all board have the same dimensions. So I researched ITX standards for the 4 mounting hole locations. I was only off a bit on the vertical direction. Two of those 4 coolers come very close to tall RAM interference. It appears the distance from CPU center to RAM slot inner edge is 49mm for this motherboard.


The Noctua NH-U14S heatsink mounting center to fan frame edge is 52mm which is at the middle of the first RAM slot.


The Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX heatsink mounting center to fan frame edge is 51.5mm, cutting it close too.

I emailed Thermalright about RAM compatibility so I hope they can shed some real world knowledge if it fits or not. If these are a no go the I'm left with the Cryorig H7 or Noctua NH-U12S for my Phanteks Evolv ITX build.

There's always the Phanteks PH-TC14S Slim Twin Towers 140mm, (37mm CPU center towards RAM slot) )but how does that compare to the 120mm fan based H7 or NH-U12S coolers? If it were only scaled up from a depth of 74mm to 96mm - It just doesn't seem to have enough meat on its bones:


« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 09:11:58 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2016, 09:13:38 AM »
I re-scaled my ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming motherboard graphic to double-check it's accuracy. Before I just scaled it as 170mm by 170mm which is ITX standard, not to exceed those dimensions. But not all board have the same dimensions. So I researched ITX standards for the 4 mounting hole locations. I was only off a bit on the vertical direction. Two of those 4 coolers come very close to tall RAM interference. It appears the distance from CPU center to RAM slot inner edge is 49mm for this motherboard.


The Noctua NH-U14S heatsink mounting center to fan frame edge is 52mm which is at the middle of the first RAM slot.


The Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX heatsink mounting center to fan frame edge is 51.5mm, cutting it close too.

I emailed Thermalright about RAM compatibility so I hope they can shed some real world knowledge if it fits or not. If these are a no go the I'm left with the Cryorig H7 or Noctua NH-U12S for my Phanteks Evolv ITX build.

There's always the Phanteks PH-TC14S Slim Twin Towers 140mm, but how does that compare to the 120mm fan based H7 or NH-U12S coolers? It just doesn't seem to have enough meat on its bones:


I'm willing to provide a photo of my NH-U14S mounted on the Z170I Pro Gaming if that would help. I like your mockups, but it's hard to get them exactly right, and you're talking about very tight tolerances here. E-mailing Phanteks may help, but they can't speak to the motherboard socket placement, which differs by manufacturer.

And I agree, the TC14S is a no-go. I've found in my testing of half a dozen Noctua coolers that dual-tower heatsinks generally only cool slightly better than a cooler with a single array the size of the second tower, and the TC14S has very, very slim towers. I wouldn't bother with it. It will pale in comparison to the NH-U14S. One big-block heatsink for the win!

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2016, 09:18:13 AM »
I'm willing to provide a photo of my NH-U14S mounted on the Z170I Pro Gaming if that would help. I like your mockups, but it's hard to get them exactly right, and you're talking about very tight tolerances here. And I agree, the TC14S is a no-go. I've found in my testing of half a dozen Noctua coolers that dual-tower heatsinks generally only cool slightly better than a cooler with a single array the size of the second tower, and the TC14S has very, very slim towers. I wouldn't bother with it. It will pale in comparison to the NH-U14S. One big-block heatsink for the win!

I would love that. Get some side pics of the fan against the RAM module. I don't mind if it touches. I just wouldn't want to push or stress the socket connection too hard.

By the way, since I've never mounted a CPU cooler before - is there any forward/backward wiggle room when you tighten it down when mounting?

I hope Thermalright has some good news. I mean the 'Silver Arrow ITX' was made for ASUS ROG ITX boards and this one is about the same. I agree scaling photo graphics introduces lens distortions so without engineering drawings or the actual motherboard it's just an estimate.

There's also the Cryorig H5 Universal which is bigger than the H7 but has a 140mm fan that's only 13mm thick, which I'm worried may underperform. The smaller NH-U12S just beats it in overclock tests and only betters the H7 by less than 2 degrees. The H5 Ultimate with it's thicker fan would be better but overlaps the RAM.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 09:48:25 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
EVGA Mod Rigs - www.modsrigs.com/detail.aspx?buildid=35547

Ari Altman

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Re: Air Cooling the TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 09:53:05 AM »
I'll be able to do it tonight it tomorrow and will post here. I'll try the Thermalright Macho as well.

There is generally very little front to back wiggle room with Noctua, by the way, a bit more with Thermalright.