Author Topic: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide  (Read 14089 times)

Ari Altman

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The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« on: March 10, 2017, 03:46:59 PM »
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n0chance

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2017, 10:54:51 AM »
Some questions

1. Video Card
Saw this comment on a review about video card and wonder if there is concern: ". Specs on website don't say, but board has HDMI 1.4, not HDMI 2.O, which is required for 4k media playback even if you have a Kaby Lake processor and a powerful enough GPU with HDMI 2.0."

2. SSD
Is it necessary to get the two SSD as mentioned in the guide or ok just to go with one? Is it more about additional storage?

3. RAM
If you want to eventually go 32 Gb, what would be suggested here

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2017, 11:48:05 AM »
Welcome, n0chance!

Every nvidia geforce card released since Sept. 2014 has HDMI 2.0, including the Asus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Strix, so the user must have been mistaken. You can confirm this on the Asus website.

As for SSDs, you can definitely use one, and given the recent price decrease on the 960 Pro and price increase on the MX300 1TB, next month's build will have a single Samsung 960 Pro 1TB.

In terms of RAM, you'll need to go with 32GB now, for example the Corsair 2x16GB Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 kit. There is no upgrade option from 16GB unless you toss the original sticks.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 01:18:30 PM by Ari Altman »

n0chance

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2017, 04:22:26 PM »
Thanks!

Is it necessary to tweak the CPU for overclocking or RAM as you mentioned in the article if I'm starting my gaming journey on a 2880x1440 IPS monitor? Eventually I'm looking to use it as also a living room console for local multiplayer couch gaming with friends as well. Probably not 4K right away but I like to run games at high resolution with close to max settings.

Also is there step by step build guide or YouTube video with this build?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2017, 04:57:01 PM »
Thanks!

Is it necessary to tweak the CPU for overclocking or RAM as you mentioned in the article if I'm starting my gaming journey on a 2880x1440 IPS monitor? Eventually I'm looking to use it as also a living room console for local multiplayer couch gaming with friends as well. Probably not 4K right away but I like to run games at high resolution with close to max settings.

Also is there step by step build guide or YouTube video with this build?

You really don't have to do anything to the system in terms of tweaking, except for enabling the XMP profile for the RAM, which is very easy to do. That will increase memory frequency from 2133MHz to 3200MHz.

Unfortunately, TBG doesn't have a tutorial for this particular system, but if you have any questions, just post back here and I can probably walk you though them.

n0chance

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 05:33:36 AM »
The ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce GTX 1080 TI 11GB on Amazon has a base clock and boost clock model options. Which one does you're guide refer to?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 06:39:50 AM »
The ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce GTX 1080 TI 11GB on Amazon has a base clock and boost clock model options. Which one does you're guide refer to?

The listings on Amazon are a little confusing, as is the Asus lineup. The two Asus Strix models include a lightly overclocked version and a heavily overclocked version. I've listed them both below for clarity:

(1) ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-11G-GAMING with 1632MHz Boost Clock - $760
(2) ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING with 1708MHz Boost Clock - $780

What's unfortunate is that Asus continues to list boost overclocks that are achievable only with software tweaking, enabled by a setting in the Asus software. The actual overclocks of these two cards are +13MHz (essentially reference) and +90MHz. I'd say if you're going to do manual tweaking, you might as well go all the way by fully overclocking them, and these two cards will likely hit the same speeds.

So, to answer your question, the guide refers to the standard Strix model, which is $760.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 06:58:27 AM by Ari Altman »

n0chance

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 07:16:18 PM »
I am considering doing this build (or similar) once some parts go on sale, but not sure if I can look at alternatives on a few parts.

1) Is the hard drive really for game load times? I don't really care about "load times" as much and am wondering if the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2 in your $2k ultimate gaming ITX, or other comparable hard drives would be ok.

2) If power usage is not an issue, could the EVGA Supernova G3 650W (or another alternative) be used instead as it is cheaper than the P2.

3) You mention that a 2 slot graphics card like Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti Gaming works better in an ITX system. Are there similar cards that would work? In case I see them go on sale and want to pull the trigger.

4) Should I just consider instead building the $2k mini itx build, as it seems smaller and just as powerful. I'm looking to be able to do high fps max settings gaming on a 1440p monitor. I've always bought or built similarly priced PCs and laptops for programming/development purposes and 'gaming as a secondary utility' but this time around I don't want to have to sacrifice resolution and graphic settings for gaming!

Thanks!

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 07:41:20 PM »
I am considering doing this build (or similar) once some parts go on sale, but not sure if I can look at alternatives on a few parts.

1) Is the hard drive really for game load times? I don't really care about "load times" as much and am wondering if the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2 in your $2k ultimate gaming ITX, or other comparable hard drives would be ok.

2) If power usage is not an issue, could the EVGA Supernova G3 650W (or another alternative) be used instead as it is cheaper than the P2.

3) You mention that a 2 slot graphics card like Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti Gaming works better in an ITX system. Are there similar cards that would work? In case I see them go on sale and want to pull the trigger.

4) Should I just consider instead building the $2k mini itx build, as it seems smaller and just as powerful. I'm looking to be able to do high fps max settings gaming on a 1440p monitor. I've always bought or built similarly priced PCs and laptops for programming/development purposes and 'gaming as a secondary utility' but this time around I don't want to have to sacrifice resolution and graphic settings for gaming!

Thanks!

Hey there, n0chance, lots of good questions there. Here are your answers:

(1) You can absolutely use the Crucial MX300 1TB M.2 drive. The 960 Evo 1TB is going to load games a bit faster, but the benefits are more noticeable in use cases that really tax I/O.

(2) You're right on target here: the EVGA Supernova 650 Platinum is a premium model, but you can definitely use the EVGA Supernova G3 Gold. There are of equal quality and output.

(3) The Asus GTX 1080 Ti Strix is the quietest and coolest-running dual-slot card, but you can also go with the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2, which is on sale right now at a nice price. Again, the Strix is really a premium model, which is why it's in the $2,500 Ultra-Extreme build.

(4) As for which system to go with, yes, the $2,000 Ultimate Gaming ITX Build will actually perform identically to the $2,500 in games, at least at default settings. But with the liquid cooler in the larger $2,500 build, you'll have a chance at much higher CPU overclocks. I've tested the Cryorig H7 cooler on the Core i7-7700K, and I probably wouldn't push it past 4.7GHz, but with the liquid cooler, 5.0GHz to 5.1GHz is definitely possible. But the air cooler is a whole lot quieter than the liquid cooler. So it really depends what you want out of your system. Pushing it to the extreme, or more of a stealth approach to ultra-high-end gaming. Sounds like you might do some development work on this system, which says to me that you want quiet. Go with the $2,000 build and leave the 7700K at stock settings. It's plenty fast!

One quick note: the Cryorig H7 is currently sold out but should come back in stock shortly. It's very popular and sells out on a regular basis.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 07:46:27 PM by Ari Altman »

PCNoob

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 03:21:41 PM »
Hello guys,

First off, thanks for such an amazing resource. I'm a total PC noob who's been going crazy trying to figure out a compact build, and you guys nailed it with far more clarity and efficiency than anyone.

So, I'm trying to put together a compact, airline-carry-on motion graphics PC for about $1700. I'm mostly following the $1500-mini itx guide as the SG13 case fits well in a carry-on.

 I'm building for video editing and motion graphics, not gaming, so I want to add two Samsung 960 EVO 250GB's in addition to the suggested hybrid drive. But PC partpicker warned me that I "need 1 additional M.2 2280-M compatible slot." I'm guessing this is because the MSI - Z270I motherboard has only one PCIe slot?

This presents a problem as After Effects needs two separate SSD's, one for my OS/programs and another one for projects/cache.

Am I correct in seeing this as the issue? And if so, what are my options?

Is there another compatible motherboard with an additional PCIe slot?
Alternately, could I use one 960 EVO PCIe and another 850 EVO plugged in via SATA III? I'm not sure if that would still bypass the bandwidth bottlenecks.

Let me know what you think. Once again, I'm new to all of this so please pardon any misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

If the whole carry-on thing is too problematic, and I'm better off building a mid-size PC and disassembling it before checking with luggage, let me know.

Thanks again for your time and patience.

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2017, 04:13:35 PM »
Hello guys,

First off, thanks for such an amazing resource. I'm a total PC noob who's been going crazy trying to figure out a compact build, and you guys nailed it with far more clarity and efficiency than anyone.

So, I'm trying to put together a compact, airline-carry-on motion graphics PC for about $1700. I'm mostly following the $1500-mini itx guide as the SG13 case fits well in a carry-on.

 I'm building for video editing and motion graphics, not gaming, so I want to add two Samsung 960 EVO 250GB's in addition to the suggested hybrid drive. But PC partpicker warned me that I "need 1 additional M.2 2280-M compatible slot." I'm guessing this is because the MSI - Z270I motherboard has only one PCIe slot?

This presents a problem as After Effects needs two separate SSD's, one for my OS/programs and another one for projects/cache.

Am I correct in seeing this as the issue? And if so, what are my options?

Is there another compatible motherboard with an additional PCIe slot?
Alternately, could I use one 960 EVO PCIe and another 850 EVO plugged in via SATA III? I'm not sure if that would still bypass the bandwidth bottlenecks.

Let me know what you think. Once again, I'm new to all of this so please pardon any misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

If the whole carry-on thing is too problematic, and I'm better off building a mid-size PC and disassembling it before checking with luggage, let me know.

Thanks again for your time and patience.

Welcome to the forum, PCNoob! For a portable, ultra-high-performance PC, you are definitely on the right track considering the SilverStone SG13 case. It's perfect for your application. Infinitely better than building a large PC and disassembling it for travel!!!

And luckily, I have a simple solution to your M.2 dilemma: go with the Asus Z270I, which has dual M.2 slots, a true rarity in the ITX world. Typically, I don't recommend the use of the back-of-the-motherboard M.2 slot in the SG13 case, as heat can build up there, so just make sure that your OS drive is in the top-mounted drive, as it will see more use overall.

Here's the thing, though: I would not recommend the 960 Evo 250GB. It's a highly compromised design. The reason you don't see published benches of it is that Samsung didn't want it sampled. Having tested the 960 Evo 500GB and found it to be slower overall than the 950 Pro, which it supposedly beats in benchmarks, I'll never recommend the 960 Evo 250GB. Its capacity is just too small to overcome the deficit imposed by using TLC NAND. A much better solution from my point of view would be to go for the MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB for your OS, and the BPX 240GB for your cache. You're ending up with 720GB instead of 500GB, and will cost you about the same ($315 vs. $260). And these drives are simply way better due to their use of MLC NAND, which helps a lot in smaller-capacity drives.

By the way, to support this site, please use the links provided here and in the guides rather than those provided by PCPartPicker. Thanks for understanding!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 07:53:11 AM by Ari Altman »

PCNoob

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2017, 06:55:24 PM »
Hey Ari,

Thanks so much for the quick response. It's impressive enough that you responded quickly and with good info, never-mind on a Saturday afternoon.

I'll definitely use the links here whenever possible. (A few of the parts you recommended weren't even on PC partspicker).

I'm sure I'll have a few more questions as I go forward, but for now, thanks again. You guys have turned a massive headache into something I'm truly stoked about building.



Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 07:51:35 AM »
PCNoob - looking forward to hearing more as your project continues!

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 05:54:07 PM »
Hey Ari,

I've decided to check out this water-cooling ITX build because I'm also considering overclocking since I've discovered that it's easier to do than 5 years ago. There's actually an auto OC option in the bios now.

Here are my questions regarding this build:
Where do you mount the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 in the case? With its' 4 fans, can you still mount it on top?

I would like to mix this build with the $2,000 build. Can this build use the Phantek ITX instead of the Manta?

Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 09:42:27 PM »
Hey Ari,

I've decided to check out this water-cooling ITX build because I'm also considering overclocking since I've discovered that it's easier to do than 5 years ago. There's actually an auto OC option in the bios now.

Here are my questions regarding this build:
Where do you mount the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 in the case? With its' 4 fans, can you still mount it on top?

I would like to mix this build with the $2,000 build. Can this build use the Phantek ITX instead of the Manta?

I know you can mount the Liquid Freezer 240 up front, not so sure about the top, at least with four fans. But it actually works really well with two fans as well, so that's another option.

I'm actually testing the Liquid Freezer 240 and three other liquid coolers right now, so I'll have more to say on the matter soon enough!