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The PC Builder's Guides - Small Form Factor => The Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build => Topic started by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2014, 01:50:45 PM

Title: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2014, 01:50:45 PM
Here's the thread to discuss the "Compact Micro ATX Build (http://techbuyersguru.com/1400-compact-micro-atx-alternative-build)" on The Tech Buyer's Guru.

Feel free to start your own threads to discuss your personal builds in this category!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 02, 2016, 11:14:18 AM
So I decided to take the leap and build my first computer. It will be used for work-related stuff, Adobe Photoshop, solid modeling, but most importantly Call of Duty, Black Ops III. Based on online reviews with similar hardware, the Ultra-Compact Micro ATX build should meet all of my requirements. The only hardware that I'm installing that's different is Corsair's LPX 16GB DDR4 DRAM 2666MHz. So the new hardware has been successfully assembled and Windows 10 has been installed, and everything looks great. This was mid-January.
Fast forward to today: Windows 10 will still not update, every time it starts the installation process the computer crashes (most common error is Memory_Management). It took three tries at reinstalling Windows before I could get Nvidia's Experience application to install and run. After finally getting the motherboard and graphics drivers updated, I proceeded to install Call of Duty Black Ops III (and Steam software). The game loaded, however it crashes quite often, first during intro, second during start of campaign, and last one when attempting to save my progress. I've searched the internet and Microsoft's community for similar issues, but all have failed to fix the problems. The operating system is installed on the SSD drive, I've disconnected the other hard drive for now. My last resort is to disassemble the computer and start sending the hardware back. I hate to do that because it is such a beauty! Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2016, 11:37:55 AM
So I decided to take the leap and build my first computer. It will be used for work-related stuff, Adobe Photoshop, solid modeling, but most importantly Call of Duty, Black Ops III. Based on online reviews with similar hardware, the Ultra-Compact Micro ATX build should meet all of my requirements. The only hardware that I'm installing that's different is Corsair's LPX 16GB DDR4 DRAM 2666MHz. So the new hardware has been successfully assembled and Windows 10 has been installed, and everything looks great. This was mid-January.
Fast forward to today: Windows 10 will still not update, every time it starts the installation process the computer crashes (most common error is Memory_Management). It took three tries at reinstalling Windows before I could get Nvidia's Experience application to install and run. After finally getting the motherboard and graphics drivers updated, I proceeded to install Call of Duty Black Ops III (and Steam software). The game loaded, however it crashes quite often, first during intro, second during start of campaign, and last one when attempting to save my progress. I've searched the internet and Microsoft's community for similar issues, but all have failed to fix the problems. The operating system is installed on the SSD drive, I've disconnected the other hard drive for now. My last resort is to disassemble the computer and start sending the hardware back. I hate to do that because it is such a beauty! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Welcome to the TBG Forum, Gradydann!

Glad you like the look of the system. Sorry things have gone a bit downhill since the initial positive experience. Did BOPSIII ever run properly, or did it fail after the initial installation? I'm trying to understand whether the Windows update issue is related.

Because the build changes from month to month, would you mind listing the exact components you have? The CPU, motherboard, and RAM are most important. I don't think this is the SSD or PSU issue, by the way.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 02, 2016, 12:23:07 PM
Sure thing. Here's the components in my build:

Silverstone Tek Micro-ATX mid tower case
ASRock Micro ATX DDR4 H170M PRO4S motherboad
Intel I5-6600K 3.50 GHz for LGA 1151 CPU
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 DRAM 2666MHz
Gigabyte GV-N980G1 GeForce GTX 980 graphics card
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-inch SATA III SSD
Toshiba 3.5-inch 2TB 7200 RPM SATA3/SATA 6.0 GB/s hard drive
LG Electronics 14x BDXL Blu-Ray Burner/rewriter WH14NS40
Noctua L-Type Premium Quiet CPU cooler NH-L9x65
EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GS 80+ Gold, 550W power supply

I haven't tried BOPSIII since it last crashed. Attempting to download an ISO using Media Creation Tool but just got an error code.

Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2016, 12:28:54 PM
Sure thing. Here's the components in my build:

Silverstone Tek Micro-ATX mid tower case
ASRock Micro ATX DDR4 H170M PRO4S motherboad
Intel I5-6600K 3.50 GHz for LGA 1151 CPU
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 DRAM 2666MHz
Gigabyte GV-N980G1 GeForce GTX 980 graphics card
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-inch SATA III SSD
Toshiba 3.5-inch 2TB 7200 RPM SATA3/SATA 6.0 GB/s hard drive
LG Electronics 14x BDXL Blu-Ray Burner/rewriter WH14NS40
Noctua L-Type Premium Quiet CPU cooler NH-L9x65
EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GS 80+ Gold, 550W power supply

I haven't tried BOPSIII since it last crashed. Attempting to download an ISO using Media Creation Tool but just got an error code.

Let's do a bit of trouble shooting here. That RAM cannot run at 2666MHz on that board, and you mentioned a memory error, so let's see if we can stabilize things. Pull out all RAM,  then insert only a single stick in the second slot away from the CPU. Then go into the UEFI by tapping delete key continuously during boot, and find the DRAM frequency and timings settings. You want DDR4-21233 and 15-15-15-35 as your settings. I can help you navigate the UEFI if necessary.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 02, 2016, 12:49:18 PM
The DDR4 is correct at 2133, but the other settings are 15-15-36-2N. The "clock cycles" currently set at 36 has a range of 28 to 63 allowable. The last one is command rate. Probably need your assistance navigating these in the UEFI.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2016, 01:12:37 PM
The DDR4 is correct at 2133, but the other settings are 15-15-36-2N. The "clock cycles" currently set at 36 has a range of 28 to 63 allowable. The last one is command rate. Probably need your assistance navigating these in the UEFI.

OK, 36 will work too. That's less "aggressive" than 35, which means it puts less stress on the memory subsystem.

I would still go ahead and run one stick at a time and see if you still have the errors in COD or other apps.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 02, 2016, 01:22:47 PM
I pulled the other RAM stick out and played BOPSIII again. So far it hasn't crashed so fingers-crossed. Thanks a bunch for the input.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2016, 01:34:07 PM
I pulled the other RAM stick out and played BOPSIII again. So far it hasn't crashed so fingers-crossed. Thanks a bunch for the input.

Now we're getting somewhere! It could be that you have a bad stick, or perhaps there's some issue with the RAM's compatibility with the motherboard. If you are error-free and can update Windows, we know it was the other RAM stick, or a motherboard issue. Hopefully it's just the RAM, as pulling the motherboard is a lot more difficult!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 02, 2016, 02:46:40 PM
I will consider myself very lucky if it's just the RAM. When I originally installed them, I had them in configuration A1/A2 instead of A1/B1. Don't know if that could have messed one up or confused the system? Come to think of it, before I placed them in A1/B1, I had left just one in A1 and the computer seemed to work best then. I'll try to install updates again tonight. Thanks again for your help!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 02, 2016, 02:54:39 PM
I will consider myself very lucky if it's just the RAM. When I originally installed them, I had them in configuration A1/A2 instead of A1/B1. Don't know if that could have messed one up or confused the system? Come to think of it, before I placed them in A1/B1, I had left just one in A1 and the computer seemed to work best then. I'll try to install updates again tonight. Thanks again for your help!

The RAM sticks should always be installed with one empty slot between them. Before returning or RMA'ing anything, make sure to try both dual-slot configurations.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 03, 2016, 08:06:36 AM
BOPSIII crashed multiple times again yesterday during game play. This was with one 8GB RAM stick in the second slot. Windows also failed to install updates again (it does however successfully install a few, such as Windows Defender, etc., but these installed before the RAM changes also). I've ordered replacement RAM sticks (2133MHz), is there anything else I could try in the meantime?
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 03, 2016, 09:03:49 AM
BOPSIII crashed multiple times again yesterday during game play. This was with one 8GB RAM stick in the second slot. Windows also failed to install updates again (it does however successfully install a few, such as Windows Defender, etc., but these installed before the RAM changes also). I've ordered replacement RAM sticks (2133MHz), is there anything else I could try in the meantime?

Yes. You should download the latest BIOS (http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/H170M%20Pro4S/?cat=Download&os=BIOS) for the motherboard and flash the board using the utility within the UEFI.

As you'll see, one of the main updates ASRock has been making to its BIOS files since release is to memory compatibility. The issues you're having are almost certainly memory related based on the pattern of crashes (always under load, both in Windows and in games)

Skylake is a new platform, and DDR4 is a new standard. Based on my experience with DDR4 on multiple systems, it's clear that Intel released Skylake in a "beta" stage due to having fallen so far behind schedule, and the unique aspects of DDR4 seem to have been lost in the process.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 03, 2016, 02:48:38 PM
So I flashed the board with the latest update from ASRock, played & saved BOPSIII without crashing. I was also able to install the latest Windows update for the very first time! I definitely was holding my breath when it reached 99%. Glad to know that not all of problems were due to my ignorance. I was originally going to build the computer around the Haswell chip, but canceled the orders when I saw the prices come down in January. Thanks again!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 03, 2016, 02:53:50 PM
So I flashed the board with the latest update from ASRock, played & saved BOPSIII without crashing. I was also able to install the latest Windows update for the very first time! I definitely was holding my breath when it reached 99%. Glad to know that not all of problems were due to my ignorance. I was originally going to build the computer around the Haswell chip, but canceled the orders when I saw the prices come down in January. Thanks again!

Glad that worked...for now. If you have continued issues, feel free to post back and we'll try something else!

I have to say that Intel's botched release of Skylake really should have gotten a bit more press attention. As far as I know, TBG is the only one that's covered it (http://techbuyersguru.com/hotdealsblog/tbg-commentary-intels-disastrous-skylake-rollout/).  ;)

On a happier note, if it's too late to cancel your new sticks of RAM, you can always add them to your existing system to bump it up to 32GB!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Gradydann on February 03, 2016, 07:51:16 PM
Very interesting article. Considering the market share they have, kinda looks like we're at their mercy. Talk about a monopoly!

I haven't even added back the other 8GB stick yet.  :D
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 03, 2016, 09:04:43 PM
Very interesting article. Considering the market share they have, kinda looks like we're at their mercy. Talk about a monopoly!

I haven't even added back the other 8GB stick yet.  :D

You got that right! To think...10 years ago, AMD actually had the better product, and Intel was about to launch its Core 2 Duo line that would change the computing world (and AMD's fortunes) forever!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: mattym on September 13, 2016, 05:03:18 AM
Hi all,

First of all, thank you Ari for such a wonderful resource you are providing here. It really has saved me hours of research!

I'm just about to hit the big order button, but wanted some opinions on my hardware beforehand. My build is very very similar to the newly updated one (parts list below), with a couple of exceptions.

I have decided on the Cooler Master V550 psu, as I can get it for a good price but I note you recommend a 650w psu. Pcpartpicker suggests maximum draw is 340w, so should the v550 be ample?

Also, I was thinking of swapping the MB from the guide to the gigabyte z170m-d3h. Where I am based (China), the z170mx gaming 5 runs at about a 75% cost premium to the d3h and at the moment I'm not sure it's worth it (I won't be going SLI in the future). The only problem is that I can find very few reviews etc for this board.

Here is the permalink to the parts list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/XW2ZJV

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions or suggestions (if you have any of course!).

Cheers,

Matt
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on September 13, 2016, 09:09:47 AM
Hi all,

First of all, thank you Ari for such a wonderful resource you are providing here. It really has saved me hours of research!

I'm just about to hit the big order button, but wanted some opinions on my hardware beforehand. My build is very very similar to the newly updated one (parts list below), with a couple of exceptions.

I have decided on the Cooler Master V550 psu, as I can get it for a good price but I note you recommend a 650w psu. Pcpartpicker suggests maximum draw is 340w, so should the v550 be ample?

Also, I was thinking of swapping the MB from the guide to the gigabyte z170m-d3h. Where I am based (China), the z170mx gaming 5 runs at about a 75% cost premium to the d3h and at the moment I'm not sure it's worth it (I won't be going SLI in the future). The only problem is that I can find very few reviews etc for this board.

Here is the permalink to the parts list: http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/XW2ZJV

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions or suggestions (if you have any of course!).

Cheers,

Matt

Welcome to The TBG Forum, mattym!

Glad to hear you're interested in this build. It's definitely quite impressive when put together!

At to your two component questions, here are the answers:

(1) The Cooler Master V550 (US Link (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0118FG7AM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B0118FG7AM&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21) | UK Link (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0118FG7AM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B0118FG7AM&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21)) is an older Seasonic-based fully-modular PSU, which is to say it's actually a great pick. It's no longer cost-competitive in the US, but if you're finding it at a good price in China, then definitely go for it.

(2) Gigabyte's D3H line has a history of delivering great value, and the GA-Z170M-D3H (US Link (http://amzn.to/2cj69aQ) | UK Link (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B013GJ0LBY/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B013GJ0LBY&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21)) is no different. One of the ways Gigabyte cuts costs on this board is to equip it with two PCIe slots and two PCI slots, the latter which are essentially useless. So you have to view this board as having two slots, which does reduce versatility a bit. The lack of SLI isn't a problem for you, clearly, but for example you might want a sound card and a wireless card - you'd have to choose one or the other.

Now, a word on power requirements. You are correct that a 650W unit is not required for this build, but in fact PC Part Picker is also wrong regarding its estimate. It uses algorithms based on listed thermal design envelope specifications, and it's typically about 30% off the mark. Because I've tested all of Intel's recent-gen quad-cores on a power meter, along with nearly every Nvidia video card released over the past 5 years, I know that the combination of a 6600K and a GTX 1070 in fact uses 240W at load.

Why do I spec the system with a 650W unit then? Two reasons: (1) the ability to go SLI (which by the way only draws about 350W, but requires a lot of cabling that 550W units may not have), and (2) economies of scale. You simply will not find high-quality PSUs rated under 550W, and 650W units typically cost just 5-10% more. Therefore, it makes sense in most cases to buy a 550W or even 650W unit even if all you need is 250-300W, as these are the best values. They also allow you to use the PSU in another more powerful system later on. Given that most quality power supplies have at least a 5-year warranty (and will likely outlast that), it's a good investment to make.

Hope that helps!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: tamboril on January 22, 2017, 06:58:35 AM
 I just ordered the updated version of this. I upgraded the RAM and the SSD to double each of their sizes. I did notice the conspicuous lack of a Wi-Fi card. So I added a cheap one of those.

 One question, though. I plan to drive a dual monitor (Dell U2715H setup). What kind of cabling will I need with that graphics card?
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on January 22, 2017, 09:23:25 AM
I just ordered the updated version of this. I upgraded the RAM and the SSD to double each of their sizes. I did notice the conspicuous lack of a Wi-Fi card. So I added a cheap one of those.

 One question, though. I plan to drive a dual monitor (Dell U2715H setup). What kind of cabling will I need with that graphics card?

Congrats on the new system, and thanks for the feedback, tamboril.

Many TBG readers are surprised to learn that most PCs do not include built-in WiFi. This feature, which appears only in high-end motherboards, adds significantly to the cost and many users do not need it in a desktop. That being said, it's quite easy to add WiFi to any system. If you'd like to see TBG's recommendations for WiFi add-in cards and adapters, check out TBG's Wireless Networking Buyer's Guide (http://techbuyersguru.com/wireless-networking-buyers-guide).

As for your Dell U2715H monitors (http://amzn.to/2kfsRPo), they can be connected easily to your EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 video card (http://amzn.to/2kgVmQD). They include a mini-displayport to displayport cable in the box, and that's exactly what you should be using to connect them to two of the displayport outputs on your video card. The card has three in total, plus an HDMI 2.0 output.

Feel free to report back when your system is up and running!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: mvlaplante on March 04, 2017, 09:45:00 AM
Hello, first post on the forums.  I purchased all of the components listed except I opted for 16meg of ram (8 x 2) instead of 8.  Assembling the computer now and the only glitch I've run into was with the power supply.  I could not figure out how to install it.  There are six screws that hold the top cover down and you have to remove that to put the power supply in.  Also, the 1TB hard drive should be installed before putting the motherboard back in place.  I was barely able to squeeze it in under the cooler.

Now, all I have left is attaching the cables and waiting for the video card from Amazon.  Got to love Amazon.  Everything in the order arrived on Friday except the card which arrives on Monday.

Looking forward to firing it up and checking it out.  I am not an over-clocker so I will probably just leave everything at stock timings/voltages.  The most video intensive game I play is World of Tanks so it should not be much of a load for this CPU/GPU package.

Thank you for your article and list of components.  Perhaps you could do a quick "put-it-together" article specific to this build.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 04, 2017, 10:20:29 AM
Hello, first post on the forums.  I purchased all of the components listed except I opted for 16meg of ram (8 x 2) instead of 8.  Assembling the computer now and the only glitch I've run into was with the power supply.  I could not figure out how to install it.  There are six screws that hold the top cover down and you have to remove that to put the power supply in.  Also, the 1TB hard drive should be installed before putting the motherboard back in place.  I was barely able to squeeze it in under the cooler.

Now, all I have left is attaching the cables and waiting for the video card from Amazon.  Got to love Amazon.  Everything in the order arrived on Friday except the card which arrives on Monday.

Looking forward to firing it up and checking it out.  I am not an over-clocker so I will probably just leave everything at stock timings/voltages.  The most video intensive game I play is World of Tanks so it should not be much of a load for this CPU/GPU package.

Thank you for your article and list of components.  Perhaps you could do a quick "put-it-together" article specific to this build.

Welcome to the TBG Forum, mvlaplante!

I'm glad to hear that your micro-ATX build is coming along. As it turns out, this is one of the very first builds TBG ever covered, way back in the January 2014 review (http://techbuyersguru.com/silverstone-tj08-e-matx-case-review) of the SilverStone TJ08-E (http://amzn.to/2mE00JZ), which is the predecessor to your SilverStone KL06 (http://amzn.to/2lqnJgs). TBG's reviews back then were a bit less detailed, however, so while I'm quite familiar with the hard drive clearance issue you raised, it's unfortunately not mentioned in the review. I'm not as sure about the power supply problem, as I recall it going in without an issue. The case (and the rest of the PC) was donated, so I can't check on it anymore. Not because it wasn't great - on the contrary, it was something someone else would truly appreciate!

In any event, if other issues come up, I'll do my best to help, but it sounds like you're on the home stretch!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: miiked on March 06, 2017, 02:22:02 PM
As a complete newbie in pc building, I hope these questions are not bothersome:

Regarding this build, would I be able to to exchange the i7-7700K for the i5-7600K?
-I believe the i7 chip is more than I would want

As far as the case is concerned, the featured Silverstone KL06B will not look tasteful in my room. Would you please consider advising me on an alternative case.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 06, 2017, 05:29:23 PM
As a complete newbie in pc building, I hope these questions are not bothersome:

Regarding this build, would I be able to to exchange the i7-7700K for the i5-7600K?
-I believe the i7 chip is more than I would want

As far as the case is concerned, the featured Silverstone KL06B will not look tasteful in my room. Would you please consider advising me on an alternative case.

You can of course go with the Core i5-7600K (http://amzn.to/2mZ5hZs). Because it uses less power and runs cooler, it is an easy substitution.

As for the case, if you provided some thoughts as to what you're looking for (color, tower shape or cube shape, windowed or solid side panel, vented or solid front panel), I can provide you with some option.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: miiked on March 07, 2017, 07:01:22 AM
As a complete newbie in pc building, I hope these questions are not bothersome:

Regarding this build, would I be able to to exchange the i7-7700K for the i5-7600K?
-I believe the i7 chip is more than I would want

As far as the case is concerned, the featured Silverstone KL06B will not look tasteful in my room. Would you please consider advising me on an alternative case.

You can of course go with the Core i5-7600K (http://amzn.to/2mZ5hZs). Because it uses less power and runs cooler, it is an easy substitution.

As for the case, if you provided some thoughts as to what you're looking for (color, tower shape or cube shape, windowed or solid side panel, vented or solid front panel), I can provide you with some option.

I may have seen it on this site, it was a Phantek Eclipse P400S silent edition, ATX mid-tower. Although it seems to be quite larger than I was hoping, it has simple and non-distracting designs. Would a case like this fit this build?

By the way, could we expect a March update on this build?  ;D I would like to begin purchasing the parts and have this build complete by the end if March. YAY!

Update: If the Phantek proves to be too large, would a cube case similar to Thermaltake Core V21 work? I am slowly learning what the different sizes mean and that not all parts are compatible in all cases. Thank you!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 07, 2017, 10:23:59 AM
As a complete newbie in pc building, I hope these questions are not bothersome:

Regarding this build, would I be able to to exchange the i7-7700K for the i5-7600K?
-I believe the i7 chip is more than I would want

As far as the case is concerned, the featured Silverstone KL06B will not look tasteful in my room. Would you please consider advising me on an alternative case.

You can of course go with the Core i5-7600K (http://amzn.to/2mZ5hZs). Because it uses less power and runs cooler, it is an easy substitution.

As for the case, if you provided some thoughts as to what you're looking for (color, tower shape or cube shape, windowed or solid side panel, vented or solid front panel), I can provide you with some option.

I may have seen it on this site, it was a Phantek Eclipse P400S silent edition, ATX mid-tower. Although it seems to be quite larger than I was hoping, it has simple and non-distracting designs. Would a case like this fit this build?

By the way, could we expect a March update on this build?  ;D I would like to begin purchasing the parts and have this build complete by the end if March. YAY!

Update: If the Phantek proves to be too large, would a cube case similar to Thermaltake Core V21 work? I am slowly learning what the different sizes mean and that not all parts are compatible in all cases. Thank you!

miiked,

The Phanteks Eclipse P400S (http://amzn.to/2mfzHXz) would work fine, but as you noted, it's larger than the SilverStone KL06 (http://amzn.to/2nb7Fvr), primarily because it is an ATX case, rather than a micro ATX (mATX) case. What that means is that it can fit a 7-slot motherboard, not just the 4-slot motherboards that fit in an mATX case.

The Thermaltake Core V21 (http://amzn.to/2lU3CCz) would work, but it's really pretty big for being mATX. If you'd like something with the understated appearance of the P400S, but the smaller size of the KL07, consider the SilverStone PS07 (http://amzn.to/2mBS7Eg) or the Corsair 350D (http://amzn.to/2mfoNkv).

An update to this guide will be coming soon - in fact, it will be up in a few minutes!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: mm0047 on February 12, 2018, 03:32:20 PM
Hello, Ari,

     This is my first forum entry.

I have built several of your builds with no problems whatsoever; however, I'm encountering difficulty loading the operating system on this build.  I'm using the parts list from july 2017, with the exception of the Windows 10 operating system, which I got as a download. I put the Windows 10 on a USB drive using the Microsoft Download tool, which indicated a successful installlation onto the USB drive.  My problem is that I cannot load the OS from a USB drive; no matter what boot drive order I set up in the BIOS, I still get the "Reboot and select proper boot device" screen.  Is there a trick to getting the system to recognize my boot USB drive?
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 12, 2018, 04:50:53 PM
Hello, Ari,

     This is my first forum entry.

I have built several of your builds with no problems whatsoever; however, I'm encountering difficulty loading the operating system on this build.  I'm using the parts list from july 2017, with the exception of the Windows 10 operating system, which I got as a download. I put the Windows 10 on a USB drive using the Microsoft Download tool, which indicated a successful installlation onto the USB drive.  My problem is that I cannot load the OS from a USB drive; no matter what boot drive order I set up in the BIOS, I still get the "Reboot and select proper boot device" screen.  Is there a trick to getting the system to recognize my boot USB drive?

Welcome to the Forum, MM0047!

When you have the USB drive in the system and you enter the BIOS, are you able to see it as a bootable drive under the drive order? If not, it isn't being detected or isn't formatted correctly. You might try another USB port, by the way - I suggest using the rear ports, as the drivers will load before the front ports in some cases.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: mm0047 on February 24, 2018, 05:58:29 PM
Hello, Ari,

      Thank you for your informative reply.  I spent some time on this situation, and learned the following:

(a) The USB drive in question was not recognized by the BIOS, no matter what USB port I used;
(b) 4 other USB drives I had on hand-all containing data so they couldn't be used to load Windows 10-were recognized as bootable drives by the BIOS on all the USB ports.

I purchased a different brand of drive and used it to load my operating system with no problems.
The original drive is now recognized in Windows File explorer, but still not by the BIOS.
I purchased another USB drive of the specific brand in question and tried everything again, and the drive was again recognized by Windows File Explorer but not the BIOS. The drive was returned to the vendor for a refund.

I have a feeling that there is a code glitch in either the BIOS or the USB drive software that precludes the drive being recognized as a bootable drive in this combination; I've never run across this situation before, and was a bit frustrated until I was able to obtain a different brand of drive.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 24, 2018, 08:47:38 PM
Hello, Ari,

      Thank you for your informative reply.  I spent some time on this situation, and learned the following:

(a) The USB drive in question was not recognized by the BIOS, no matter what USB port I used;
(b) 4 other USB drives I had on hand-all containing data so they couldn't be used to load Windows 10-were recognized as bootable drives by the BIOS on all the USB ports.

I purchased a different brand of drive and used it to load my operating system with no problems.
The original drive is now recognized in Windows File explorer, but still not by the BIOS.
I purchased another USB drive of the specific brand in question and tried everything again, and the drive was again recognized by Windows File Explorer but not the BIOS. The drive was returned to the vendor for a refund.

I have a feeling that there is a code glitch in either the BIOS or the USB drive software that precludes the drive being recognized as a bootable drive in this combination; I've never run across this situation before, and was a bit frustrated until I was able to obtain a different brand of drive.

Glad you figured it out. What brand of flash drive did you use? It sounds like it may have a flaw in its design that prevents it from being used as a boot drive.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: mm0047 on February 26, 2018, 07:30:08 PM
Ari,

     The drive brand in question is PNY.  I purchased it at Staples.  First (and last) time I will be buying this brand of drive.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on February 26, 2018, 07:42:45 PM
Ari,

     The drive brand in question is PNY.  I purchased it at Staples.  First (and last) time I will be buying this brand of drive.

Interesting. While PNY isn't the top-rated flash drive manufacturer, they've been around a long time. My go-to brand is actually SanDisk - it really can't be beat.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: JackH on March 27, 2018, 02:32:57 PM
I just finished putting together this Micro ATX build. (Almost built the previous version of this build with the AMD processor.)

Thanks for the article and putting it all together. No problems with the build. This is a fast and super quiet computer. The only thing I did differently was the graphics card. I used the EVGA GTX 960 from my old system since the price/availability on cards are so unstable. Still fast enough for my needs. I also added the rear 120mm fan.

I am not much for overclocking so I left everything at default settings. 

Thanks again for the information and excellent build article.

--Jack
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on March 27, 2018, 03:06:27 PM
I just finished putting together this Micro ATX build. (Almost built the previous version of this build with the AMD processor.)

Thanks for the article and putting it all together. No problems with the build. This is a fast and super quiet computer. The only thing I did differently was the graphics card. I used the EVGA GTX 960 from my old system since the price/availability on cards are so unstable. Still fast enough for my needs. I also added the rear 120mm fan.

I am not much for overclocking so I left everything at default settings. 

Thanks again for the information and excellent build article.

--Jack

Welcome to the TBG Forum, JackH! Glad you had a positive experience building the $1,400 Micro ATX PC (https://techbuyersguru.com/1400-compact-micro-atx-build). It's really pretty ideal for just about everyone - most people don't realize that compact cases can hold everything you need!
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Shinrouen on August 13, 2018, 12:36:48 PM
Love the look of the new Silverstone LD01's. When will a review be out?
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 13, 2018, 01:09:08 PM
Love the look of the new Silverstone LD01's. When will a review be out?

Actually, SilverStone offered TBG a sample of this case as soon as it hit the market, but we've held off because we no longer have nay mATX test boards on hand. Testing with an ITX board is always possible, but it won't quite show off the potential of the case.

To help decide whether to go ahead with reviewing the case, it would be great to know what you would like to learn more about in an LD01 review.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Shinrouen on August 13, 2018, 04:44:53 PM
Ari,

With the migration towards ITX do you still see there being much of an enthusiast space for mATX? It almost seems like no-man's land for this segment. I love the looks and without any decent viable mATX boards supporting the Ryzen 200 series I wonder if it makes sense to use an ITX module? But then it seems overkill in terms of storage and space.

The 3-sided glass panels look outstanding but I wonder how airflow would be affected along with temperatures and acousics.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on August 13, 2018, 05:24:45 PM
Ari,

With the migration towards ITX do you still see there being much of an enthusiast space for mATX? It almost seems like no-man's land for this segment. I love the looks and without any decent viable mATX boards supporting the Ryzen 200 series I wonder if it makes sense to use an ITX module? But then it seems overkill in terms of storage and space.

The 3-sided glass panels look outstanding but I wonder how airflow would be affected along with temperatures and acousics.

Actually, there are now some great mATX boards for the Ryzen 2000 series - they've literally hit the market over the past week. I think that's a great use case for a micro ATX case. But yes, generally there has been a trend towards ITX as the importance of expansion slots lessens. What mATX gives you, however, that ITX really can't, is ease of use in with a lower footprint than any ATX case. ITX cases always require a bit more work to build in.

From my preview of the LD01 case at CES earlier this year, I'm pretty confident that thermals will be more than adequate, but that's something that could definitely be examined if a TBG review goes forward.

There are a few other reviews in the works right now, but if TBG does another case review in the near future, it will probably be the LD01.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: bensrichards on April 16, 2019, 06:32:03 PM
Hey Ari,

I was looking over your supreme dream machine build and wondering what the smallest system I could make with a discrete gpu and an optane 905 would be.  Would it be possible to do with just two slots on an m-atx board?  If so, what's the smallest case that would likely work with such a configuration?

Best.
Ben
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 16, 2019, 08:08:23 PM
Hey Ari,

I was looking over your supreme dream machine build and wondering what the smallest system I could make with a discrete gpu and an optane 905 would be.  Would it be possible to do with just two slots on an m-atx board?  If so, what's the smallest case that would likely work with such a configuration?

Best.
Ben

Ben,

Great question. As you may have noticed, the micro ATX build isn't featured in the DIY PC guides anymore. I've found that the selection and availability of mATX motherboards has been decreasing with each of the past few chipset releases, especially at the high end. Today's Asus Z390 Gene (https://www.amazon.com/Socket-Lga1151-Support-ge-mingumaza-bo-do-Maximus-MicroATX/dp/B07J66ZXH1/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Asus+Z390+Gene&qid=1555469730&s=gateway&sr=8-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=2e887844d8f763e70ddc5c3b4ce73fb2&language=en_US), which has always been their highest-end mATX board, doesn't even support SLI, but to keep the price really high, Asus instead included silly "dual-height RAM" compatibility, which is doubly-stupid due to Asus dropping two of the four slots found on every other mATX board. So that's a non-starter.

In any event, the Optane drive (https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Optane-905P-960GB-XPoint/dp/B07CVNS851/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Optane+drive&qid=1555470016&s=gateway&sr=8-5&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=61e2748c0bd930455140580612abe13c&language=en_US) is one of the few remaining good uses of a PCIe x4 slot, so if that's what you want, you do need something bigger than ITX. The best Z390 mATX board on the market today is the MSI Gaming Edge (https://www.amazon.com/MSI-MPG-Z390M-AC-Motherboard/dp/B07HM753YS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=z390+matx+motherboard&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&qid=1555470066&refinements=p_6:ATVPDKIKX0DER&rnid=303116011&s=pc&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=e90b406e661fbcefe5c2d304062c4969&language=en_US), but it has one drawback: it actually supports SLI, which means to use the second x16 slot, you must use a double-slot video card. I'm not sure if you're re-purposing an old card or had another one in mind, but you have to watch out for that. If you are using a triple-slot card, you'll want to go with the Gigabyte Z390M Gaming (https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Z390-LGA1151-Realtek-Motherboards/dp/B07J9YH428/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=z390+matx+motherboard&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&qid=1555470066&refinements=p_6:ATVPDKIKX0DER&rnid=303116011&s=pc&sr=1-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=63e30773afc19460f0fb1c93a8042572&language=en_US), which isn't quite as high end and doesn't support SLI, but does have a PCIe x4 slot in the 4th position, which is ideal for Optane. You also lose built-in WiFi and ALC1220 audio (it drops down to ALC892), but otherwise it's quite comparable to the MSI Gaming Edge board.

By the way, which case are you thinking about? I personally believe the best-looking, highest-quality mATX case on the market today is the Phanteks Evolv mATX (https://www.amazon.com/Phanteks-PH-ES314ETG_AG-Tempered-Aluminum-Illumination/dp/B06ZXZBT7C/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Phanteks+Evolv+mATX&qid=1555469927&s=gateway&sr=8-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=10e98c078f54031de00558cb9de23c79&language=en_US) featured in the $1,500 Stock Trading Build (https://techbuyersguru.com/best-1500-stock-trading-pc-build-april-2019), but it's not particularly small, nor is it ideal for ultra-high-end gaming PCs due to restricted airflow. But boy does it look good.
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: bensrichards on April 17, 2019, 08:02:47 PM
Hey Ari,

I was looking over your supreme dream machine build and wondering what the smallest system I could make with a discrete gpu and an optane 905 would be.  Would it be possible to do with just two slots on an m-atx board?  If so, what's the smallest case that would likely work with such a configuration?

Best.
Ben

Ben,

Great question. As you may have noticed, the micro ATX build isn't featured in the DIY PC guides anymore. I've found that the selection and availability of mATX motherboards has been decreasing with each of the past few chipset releases, especially at the high end. Today's Asus Z390 Gene (https://www.amazon.com/Socket-Lga1151-Support-ge-mingumaza-bo-do-Maximus-MicroATX/dp/B07J66ZXH1/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Asus+Z390+Gene&qid=1555469730&s=gateway&sr=8-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=2e887844d8f763e70ddc5c3b4ce73fb2&language=en_US), which has always been there highest-end mATX board, doesn't even support SLI, but to keep the price really high, Asus instead included silly "dual-height RAM" compatibility, which is doubly-stupid due to Asus dropping two of the four slots found on every other mATX board. So that's a non-starter.

In any event, the Optane drive (https://www.amazon.com/Intel-Optane-905P-960GB-XPoint/dp/B07CVNS851/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Optane+drive&qid=1555470016&s=gateway&sr=8-5&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=61e2748c0bd930455140580612abe13c&language=en_US) is one of the few remaining good uses of a PCIe x4 slot, so if that's what you want, you do need something bigger than ITX. The best Z390 mATX board on the market today is the MSI Gaming Edge (https://www.amazon.com/MSI-MPG-Z390M-AC-Motherboard/dp/B07HM753YS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=z390+matx+motherboard&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&qid=1555470066&refinements=p_6:ATVPDKIKX0DER&rnid=303116011&s=pc&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=e90b406e661fbcefe5c2d304062c4969&language=en_US), but it has one drawback: it actually supports SLI, which means to use the second x16 slot, you must use a double-slot video card. I'm not sure if you're re-purposing an old card or had another one in mind, but you have to watch out for that. If you are using a triple-slot card, you'll want to go with the Gigabyte Z390M Gaming (https://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-Z390-LGA1151-Realtek-Motherboards/dp/B07J9YH428/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=z390+matx+motherboard&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&qid=1555470066&refinements=p_6:ATVPDKIKX0DER&rnid=303116011&s=pc&sr=1-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=63e30773afc19460f0fb1c93a8042572&language=en_US), which isn't quite as high end and doesn't support SLI, but does have a PCIe x4 slot in the 4th position, which is ideal for Optane. You also lose built-in WiFi and ALC1220 audio (it drops down to ALC892), but otherwise it's quite comparable to the MSI Gaming Edge board.

By the way, which case are you thinking about? I personally believe the best-looking, highest-quality mATX case on the market today is the Phanteks Evolv mATX (https://www.amazon.com/Phanteks-PH-ES314ETG_AG-Tempered-Aluminum-Illumination/dp/B06ZXZBT7C/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=Phanteks+Evolv+mATX&qid=1555469927&s=gateway&sr=8-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=10e98c078f54031de00558cb9de23c79&language=en_US) featured in the $1,500 Stock Trading Build (https://techbuyersguru.com/best-1500-stock-trading-pc-build-april-2019), but it's not particularly small, nor is it ideal of ultra-high-end gaming PCs due to restricted airflow. But boy does it look good.

Thanks for the info. Totally agree that the Asus board is a nonstarter. In the picture it looks like it only has 1 PCIe slot too. Is that right? Not sure what the point is over an ITX board if thatís the case. [edit: I see the PCIe x4 slot now].

Based on the info you provided, Iíd probably go with the MSI board. I used an ITX board from MSI in my FTZ01 htpc and have no complaints. The lack of WiFi in the Gigabyte board is a deal breaker from my perspective.  Iím willing to shop carefully for a dual slot gpu to make it all work together.

Funny you should mention the Evolv. I agree itís the best looking mATX case Iíve come across. I looked through what Thermaltake, Cooler Master, Silverstone, and Fractal Design had to offer and I didnít see anything sleeker. I can probably deal with mediocre cooling as I donít think Iím that interested in big overclocks. I do wish the case was smaller though. For me, I am most interested in sff builds and seeing how small a package a full-featured system can fit in (hence my interest in downsizing a system with an optane drive). Iíll probably keep perusing the cases on the market, but I think it will be hard to top the Evolv.

As always, thanks for your thoughtful response. TBG has been a big part of getting me into diy pc building.

Best,
Ben
Title: Re: The TBG Ultra-Compact Micro ATX Build
Post by: Ari Altman on April 17, 2019, 09:04:35 PM

Thanks for the info. Totally agree that the Asus board is a nonstarter. In the picture it looks like it only has 1 PCIe slot too. Is that right? Not sure what the point is over an ITX board if thatís the case. [edit: I see the PCIe x4 slot now].

Based on the info you provided, Iíd probably go with the MSI board. I used an ITX board from MSI in my FTZ01 htpc and have no complaints. The lack of WiFi in the Gigabyte board is a deal breaker from my perspective.  Iím willing to shop carefully for a dual slot gpu to make it all work together.

Funny you should mention the Evolv. I agree itís the best looking mATX case Iíve come across. I looked through what Thermaltake, Cooler Master, Silverstone, and Fractal Design had to offer and I didnít see anything sleeker. I can probably deal with mediocre cooling as I donít think Iím that interested in big overclocks. I do wish the case was smaller though. For me, I am most interested in sff builds and seeing how small a package a full-featured system can fit in (hence my interest in downsizing a system with an optane drive). Iíll probably keep perusing the cases on the market, but I think it will be hard to top the Evolv.

As always, thanks for your thoughtful response. TBG has been a big part of getting me into diy pc building.

Best,
Ben

Always happy to help a fellow DIY PC enthusiast, especially one that came to it through TBG!

I have two other case suggestions for you, just to give you some options:

(1) SilverStone LD01 (https://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Technology-SST-LD01B-Micro-ATX-Stainless/dp/B07F15G26B/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=silverstone+ld01&qid=1555559247&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=a71698e416138a49694dafb86a0f1ea1&language=en_US): featuring glass panels on three sides, along with a major offset in the front to allow cooling air in, this is the only case on the market that can lay claim to being a "glass box" and still offering enthusiast-level cooling. It's also just 37 liters (5 liters than the Evolv mATX). In terms of aesthetics, I personally like the Evolv more (and its swinging doors are particularly slick), but the LD01 may appeal to you if you want that glass look more than aluminum. It also uses a rotated motherboard facing the right panel, which may allow you to better show off your build better depending on which side of your desk the PC will sit. Note that it doesn't come with any fans, but it can fit dual 140mm fans up front, and I'd recommend starting with one Noctua NF-A14 (https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NF-A14-PWM-chromax-Black-swap-Premium-Grade/dp/B07655KF5C/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=noctua+140mm+fan&qid=1555559421&s=gateway&sr=8-4&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=810d8132e24146aa363e7f53ac91a93a&language=en_US). I did a preview of it from the CES 2018 showfloor (https://youtu.be/tR2FRMBF8iE?t=99), which will give you an up-close view.

(2) In-Win 301c (https://www.amazon.com/InWin-301-Tempered-Micro-ATX-Mini-ITX/dp/B077Y6T43Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=in-win+matx&qid=1555559519&s=gateway&sr=8-2&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=thtebusgu-20&linkId=7cc02c53716f3cdfb1a6d7edd970739f&language=en_US): as with most In-Win cases, this one is absolutely about form over function, but that does mean it's a very small 26 liters. The issue is that its cooling system is "creative" (i.e., pretty bad). There is no front air intake - all air must come in through the side vents. But it does look pretty cool, and has RGB lighting, USB Type-C Gen 2, and a glass panel all at a very good price. I also did a video preview of it from the CES 2018 showfloor (https://youtu.be/scg8pvrW558?t=124), which will give you an idea of the size and layout. Note that it will also require the addition of at least one fan, and it will only fit 120mm models.