Author Topic: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide  (Read 17838 times)

lambi21

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #105 on: November 18, 2019, 02:04:58 AM »
So, I spend the weekend buying the machine and testing it out a bit. Here are my impressions on the built (I used to built PC's, however this was my first ITX-built), to anyone who might find this helpful:

- take your time. Missing something or making an error during cabling etc. is much more diffcult to correct than in a regular housing, simply due to the very tight tolerances

- plan ahead. try to map out (either in your head or in writing) which component has to be connected where, and which cables have to be connected where. With this in mind, plan the order in which you are going to connect the different components.

- there is a plastic shroud in front of the PSU, remove it before mounting (it's only secured by one screw), that will enable you to move the power cables a bit more during construction, as wlel as give you a little bit more wiggle room

- when you have a plan in which order you want to connect all components, try to plan in which step you are going to mount the mainboard to the case. This is important, as a bunch of stuff cannot be connected anymore once the board is mounted, on the other hand, the more cabling you have connected, the more difficult it is to mount the board. As a general rule of thumb however, try to connect as much as possible before mounting the board, and the take your time inserting the board making sure all wires stay connected.

- on that note, take care of the ARGB connector to the mainboard. That one is slippery and will come off if the wire is tugged even a little bit, but is wuite difficult to re-connect once the board is mounted; and nigh impossible once the GFX is mounted.

-  during mounting of the mainboard, keep the cables from the case out of the way (fix them with a piece of tape to the case), ideally in a position that resembles the way you want to have the cables laid out later on; otherwise they will get into the way or get pinched in way what makes them unable to connect

- while mounting, thread the SATA cables for the 2.5" slots to the mounting points of the HDD's, as well as their power supply cables. These are diffcult (but not impossible) to thread through once the board is mounted.

- once everything is mounted and connected, move the cables out of the way in the case; not just because of visuals, but also to improve airflow.

- just to reiterate: take care not to pull on the ARGB-wires, or the connector to tha mainboard will come off. This has cost me a lot of nerve during built  ;)

With that done, there are still some things I have to take a closer look at, and am not sure (yet) how to tackle them):

- sound: the PC is really quiet during normal windows operation, however when gaming, the fans are clearly noticeable. Will take a look at the fan controls, however, I'm not sure how much can be improved there

- temperature: GPU goes to ~80įC during gaming ("The Outer Worlds" on highest settings), CPU stays at ~50-60į. not sure much can be done here also, the small case in itself leads to higher temperatures.

- fans: this leads me directly to the fans. I am not sure the current layout is optimal. Fans distribution currently is as follows: exhaust fan in the back (on the radiator from the water cooling), exhaust fan front right, and an as of now unused fan on the bottom of the case.

At the moment, I do not see a vaild option to mount an intake fan:
- the fan on the front left sits directly below the exhaust fan from the PSU, if I set the case fan as intake, it would essentially push the hot air from the PSU further into the case.
- the fans on the bottom sit directly under the GPU's fans. The GPU fans push air away from the GPU to the bottom, so if the case fans are mounted as intake, they would essentially work "against" the GPU fans. Since the case fans are bigger, they would probably "win", and hence push the hot air from the GPU back onto it.
I am not sure how to tackle this right now, maybe I am also missing something, any input is appreciated.

bensrichards

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #106 on: November 18, 2019, 06:59:39 AM »
Congrats on finishing your build!  I'd love to see it.  Maybe you can type up a little summary and send it to Ari with some pictures for his gallery on the website.  I think you can post pictures in the forum too if you host them yourself somewhere else.

On the topic of fan layout:  I think you might be mistaken about the way the fans on the GPU are moving air.  I'm pretty sure the fans on your GPU draw air towards the circuit board, and then the hot air expels out the sides of the card.  In other words, the GPU fans are pulling air up from the bottom of the case to cool the heat sink directly above those fans.  With that in mind, your best bet for air intake is going to be installing case fans underneath the GPU.  For what it's worth, case fans under the GPU is a very typical fan layout for this particular ITX layout, and it probably works well with the InWin case because the case appears to sit up off the desk a little bit.

You may already know this too, but as an FYI, fans exhaust out the frame side of the fan and intake through the hub side.  This is one of the early things I learned from Ari's site, and it's a super helpful rule of thumb to keep in mind.

BTW, those CPU temps sound great for a single 120mm radiator setup (or maybe I should just say they sound great).

Best,
Ben

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #107 on: November 18, 2019, 09:31:28 AM »
So, I spend the weekend buying the machine and testing it out a bit. Here are my impressions on the built (I used to built PC's, however this was my first ITX-built), to anyone who might find this helpful:

- take your time. Missing something or making an error during cabling etc. is much more diffcult to correct than in a regular housing, simply due to the very tight tolerances

- plan ahead. try to map out (either in your head or in writing) which component has to be connected where, and which cables have to be connected where. With this in mind, plan the order in which you are going to connect the different components.

- there is a plastic shroud in front of the PSU, remove it before mounting (it's only secured by one screw), that will enable you to move the power cables a bit more during construction, as wlel as give you a little bit more wiggle room

- when you have a plan in which order you want to connect all components, try to plan in which step you are going to mount the mainboard to the case. This is important, as a bunch of stuff cannot be connected anymore once the board is mounted, on the other hand, the more cabling you have connected, the more difficult it is to mount the board. As a general rule of thumb however, try to connect as much as possible before mounting the board, and the take your time inserting the board making sure all wires stay connected.

- on that note, take care of the ARGB connector to the mainboard. That one is slippery and will come off if the wire is tugged even a little bit, but is wuite difficult to re-connect once the board is mounted; and nigh impossible once the GFX is mounted.

-  during mounting of the mainboard, keep the cables from the case out of the way (fix them with a piece of tape to the case), ideally in a position that resembles the way you want to have the cables laid out later on; otherwise they will get into the way or get pinched in way what makes them unable to connect

- while mounting, thread the SATA cables for the 2.5" slots to the mounting points of the HDD's, as well as their power supply cables. These are diffcult (but not impossible) to thread through once the board is mounted.

- once everything is mounted and connected, move the cables out of the way in the case; not just because of visuals, but also to improve airflow.

- just to reiterate: take care not to pull on the ARGB-wires, or the connector to tha mainboard will come off. This has cost me a lot of nerve during built  ;)

With that done, there are still some things I have to take a closer look at, and am not sure (yet) how to tackle them):

- sound: the PC is really quiet during normal windows operation, however when gaming, the fans are clearly noticeable. Will take a look at the fan controls, however, I'm not sure how much can be improved there

- temperature: GPU goes to ~80įC during gaming ("The Outer Worlds" on highest settings), CPU stays at ~50-60į. not sure much can be done here also, the small case in itself leads to higher temperatures.

- fans: this leads me directly to the fans. I am not sure the current layout is optimal. Fans distribution currently is as follows: exhaust fan in the back (on the radiator from the water cooling), exhaust fan front right, and an as of now unused fan on the bottom of the case.

At the moment, I do not see a vaild option to mount an intake fan:
- the fan on the front left sits directly below the exhaust fan from the PSU, if I set the case fan as intake, it would essentially push the hot air from the PSU further into the case.
- the fans on the bottom sit directly under the GPU's fans. The GPU fans push air away from the GPU to the bottom, so if the case fans are mounted as intake, they would essentially work "against" the GPU fans. Since the case fans are bigger, they would probably "win", and hence push the hot air from the GPU back onto it.
I am not sure how to tackle this right now, maybe I am also missing something, any input is appreciated.

Wow, thanks for passing along all these tips! Yes, indeed, building a mini-ITX system, especially a high-end one, is pretty difficult. But it's always worth it in the end, sort of like a really big puzzle!

Now, as for the fans, as usual bensrichards is right! You want those to fans mounted at the bottom of the case to act as intakes, pushing air into the GPU. This is indeed how it's supposed to work, and it will lower your GPU temps a lot, although honestly 80C isn't that bad for a high-end GPU in a small case. As for the side fan, you should go ahead and set it up as an intake too. Yes, it might catch some heat from the PSU, but it will also pull air from outside the case. In the stock configuration, it would no good to set this up as an exhaust, as it would just compete with the CPU cooler for air. That being said, if you do indeed set up the two optional fans on the bottom, you could theoretically set this side fan up as an exhaust and see how it works out. Getting in and out of this small case isn't much fun, so if you already have it set up as an intake, juts leave it that way for now. Maybe someday you can experiment, especially once you have those bottom fans running.

dobart

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #108 on: November 24, 2019, 08:21:51 PM »
Hi all, build in progress... in retrospect for my needs I should have considered a full size case. (Blender+GPU)

I'm not sure about the fans and the PWM expander- the fans I moved to the bottom of the case and daisy chained seem to work OK- I ordered the additional fan for the side and the PWM expander just in case.

Biggest issue is the radiator; just leave that out for last, and feel out the fit of the cooling head 100% before considering gooping everything up with thermal compound. Connect all the motherboard connections possible before stuffing it into the case, because once it's in there, it's black wires with black connectors on a black board with no labeling in a tiny dark space... pulling the plastic shield off the power supply helps with the space issues.

I work with these RGBA LEDs all the time using Arduino stuff, there's lots of room for some cool temperature controlled feedback with these.

Anyway, got to the point of turning it on to see where I was, and I got no display and no apparent LEDs on the motherboard or underside of the case, but the LEDs lit up on the RAM and the water cooler. GPU LEDs turned on. Cooler and case fans all spun slowly.

I tried a few different displays in all the HDMI ports I could find but no joy.

So, I took it to PC place for them to rebuild (220$ rebuild fee) as I am fresh out of options. They told me to be extra wary of the liquid cooler as there's little warning between full cooling and none should an air bubble find its way into the pump over the years; I have no idea how an air cooler would fit in this case though.

I'll update when I find out the damage from the professionals.

*disclaimer: I am an electronics designer and product developer in the OEM world, I have designed built/serviced lots of more industrial-strength PC equipment.

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #109 on: November 24, 2019, 10:29:37 PM »
Hi all, build in progress... in retrospect for my needs I should have considered a full size case. (Blender+GPU)

I'm not sure about the fans and the PWM expander- the fans I moved to the bottom of the case and daisy chained seem to work OK- I ordered the additional fan for the side and the PWM expander just in case.

Biggest issue is the radiator; just leave that out for last, and feel out the fit of the cooling head 100% before considering gooping everything up with thermal compound. Connect all the motherboard connections possible before stuffing it into the case, because once it's in there, it's black wires with black connectors on a black board with no labeling in a tiny dark space... pulling the plastic shield off the power supply helps with the space issues.

I work with these RGBA LEDs all the time using Arduino stuff, there's lots of room for some cool temperature controlled feedback with these.

Anyway, got to the point of turning it on to see where I was, and I got no display and no apparent LEDs on the motherboard or underside of the case, but the LEDs lit up on the RAM and the water cooler. GPU LEDs turned on. Cooler and case fans all spun slowly.

I tried a few different displays in all the HDMI ports I could find but no joy.

So, I took it to PC place for them to rebuild (220$ rebuild fee) as I am fresh out of options. They told me to be extra wary of the liquid cooler as there's little warning between full cooling and none should an air bubble find its way into the pump over the years; I have no idea how an air cooler would fit in this case though.

I'll update when I find out the damage from the professionals.

*disclaimer: I am an electronics designer and product developer in the OEM world, I have designed built/serviced lots of more industrial-strength PC equipment.

Welcome to the Forum, dobart. Sorry to hear this PC caused you issues, but given that it powered up, my guess is that you simply didn't have something plugged in all the way, Main culprits are a RAM stick that's askew or a CPU power cable not fully inserted. Hopefully your repair shop can fix it, but wow, $220 is a heck of a lot of money for this service. Maybe you should have posted here first!

dobart

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #110 on: November 24, 2019, 11:20:04 PM »
Thank you Ari!
I absolutely should have posted here first... I'm hoping that's what it is; my spouse works doing machine vision at NOAA and is interested in this build as well so they called the PC place (used them before for something) so we can get a breakdown of what I missed without having to tear it down to bug hunt and then I can revise my build notes. I'm hoping it's something I can get tech savvy people who might not have built PCs on this level (yet have good anti-static electronics lab benchtops) to do without much heartache as they frustrate easily. It went together to 'lets see what happens at power up' stage in about 4 hours- not bad for feeling out the process as I went along. Should they take the plunge I will suggest that they get an account here as well.

lambi21

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #111 on: November 25, 2019, 10:31:00 AM »
Congrats on finishing your build!  I'd love to see it.  Maybe you can type up a little summary and send it to Ari with some pictures for his gallery on the website.  I think you can post pictures in the forum too if you host them yourself somewhere else.

On the topic of fan layout:  I think you might be mistaken about the way the fans on the GPU are moving air.  I'm pretty sure the fans on your GPU draw air towards the circuit board, and then the hot air expels out the sides of the card.  In other words, the GPU fans are pulling air up from the bottom of the case to cool the heat sink directly above those fans.  With that in mind, your best bet for air intake is going to be installing case fans underneath the GPU.  For what it's worth, case fans under the GPU is a very typical fan layout for this particular ITX layout, and it probably works well with the InWin case because the case appears to sit up off the desk a little bit.

You may already know this too, but as an FYI, fans exhaust out the frame side of the fan and intake through the hub side.  This is one of the early things I learned from Ari's site, and it's a super helpful rule of thumb to keep in mind.

BTW, those CPU temps sound great for a single 120mm radiator setup (or maybe I should just say they sound great).

Best,
Ben

So, sorry for the late reply, I was out of town and overwhelmed with work...
So, after a little while I too realized you were correct about the fans on the GPU; they do work towards the GPU, so additional intake fans on the bottom shouldn't be a problem.

Quote from: Ari Altman
That being said, if you do indeed set up the two optional fans on the bottom, you could theoretically set this side fan up as an exhaust and see how it works out. Getting in and out of this small case isn't much fun, so if you already have it set up as an intake, juts leave it that way for now.

That's the issue with this case, re-adjusting anything once it's closed is a real hassle. However, as for now, I don't even think it's necessary. I tested the whole build out some more on the weekend, specifically playing a couple of hours "The Witcher 3" on my big screen (3440x1440) on high graphics setting, monitoring CPU and GPU temperature with MSI afterburner. Even after several hours of gaming, the CPU stayed right at the 50-60ish (deg celsius) range, and the GPU never broke 80; and that's with both case fans set as exhaust, and no dedicated intake fan (the one on the bottom is mounted but not connected). So I'll probably just connect the bottom intake fan and call it a day, as the current setup seems to work fine for my needs.

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #112 on: November 25, 2019, 08:48:02 PM »
Congrats on finishing your build!  I'd love to see it.  Maybe you can type up a little summary and send it to Ari with some pictures for his gallery on the website.  I think you can post pictures in the forum too if you host them yourself somewhere else.

On the topic of fan layout:  I think you might be mistaken about the way the fans on the GPU are moving air.  I'm pretty sure the fans on your GPU draw air towards the circuit board, and then the hot air expels out the sides of the card.  In other words, the GPU fans are pulling air up from the bottom of the case to cool the heat sink directly above those fans.  With that in mind, your best bet for air intake is going to be installing case fans underneath the GPU.  For what it's worth, case fans under the GPU is a very typical fan layout for this particular ITX layout, and it probably works well with the InWin case because the case appears to sit up off the desk a little bit.

You may already know this too, but as an FYI, fans exhaust out the frame side of the fan and intake through the hub side.  This is one of the early things I learned from Ari's site, and it's a super helpful rule of thumb to keep in mind.

BTW, those CPU temps sound great for a single 120mm radiator setup (or maybe I should just say they sound great).

Best,
Ben

So, sorry for the late reply, I was out of town and overwhelmed with work...
So, after a little while I too realized you were correct about the fans on the GPU; they do work towards the GPU, so additional intake fans on the bottom shouldn't be a problem.

Quote from: Ari Altman
That being said, if you do indeed set up the two optional fans on the bottom, you could theoretically set this side fan up as an exhaust and see how it works out. Getting in and out of this small case isn't much fun, so if you already have it set up as an intake, juts leave it that way for now.

That's the issue with this case, re-adjusting anything once it's closed is a real hassle. However, as for now, I don't even think it's necessary. I tested the whole build out some more on the weekend, specifically playing a couple of hours "The Witcher 3" on my big screen (3440x1440) on high graphics setting, monitoring CPU and GPU temperature with MSI afterburner. Even after several hours of gaming, the CPU stayed right at the 50-60ish (deg celsius) range, and the GPU never broke 80; and that's with both case fans set as exhaust, and no dedicated intake fan (the one on the bottom is mounted but not connected). So I'll probably just connect the bottom intake fan and call it a day, as the current setup seems to work fine for my needs.

Glad you're enjoying the new system. Those temps sound very good, and once you plug in the bottom fan, they'll be even better.

As for the difficulty of getting in and out of the system, welcome to the world of small form factor computing. The smaller the system, the more difficult it is to work on, pretty much without exception!

bensrichards

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #113 on: December 06, 2019, 01:58:29 PM »
I'm just here to celebrate the return of the FTZ01 to the list of recommended builds!  Huzzah!   ;D

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #114 on: December 06, 2019, 02:17:15 PM »
I'm just here to celebrate the return of the FTZ01 to the list of recommended builds!  Huzzah!   ;D

Ha, ha, yes, it's back for more! The FTZ01 really is a classic case. It's a bit more expensive now due to tariffs, but there's really nothing else that can give you that premium look and feel at this pricepoint. Yes, a lot of folks like the tiny bespoke crowdfunded cases that cost $300, but those promise more than they deliver.

Alas, the super-slim Scythe fans that you modified yours with are no longer available, but luckily, the Ryzen 9 processor that I'm now recommending pulls a lot less wattage than a 9900K, so it will be fine with the Noctua NH-L12S as long as people don't do any overclocking, which on a 12-core chip really isn't that productive anyway!

bensrichards

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #115 on: December 06, 2019, 02:36:13 PM »
Glad I bought the two-pack of those Scythe fans then. That said, I have heard from other FTZ01 owners that the published specs for cooler height on the FTZ01 are just a little bit off. Itís been a couple months, but Iím pretty sure I saw some pictures from user who was able to do the same push pull set up Iíve got but with a 15mm Noctua fan. Testing that for myself is actually on my list of things to do (who knows when... whenever I get the motivation to plug fan headers into inaccessible locations).

I will of course report back with my findings once it happens.

On a different note, do you consider Sliger cases in the same camp as the other Kickstarter cases?  They were a new brand I only recently heard of. Just as expensive it seems, but they seem to have a much larger variety of cases on offer than the average Kickstarter (ie, more than 1).

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #116 on: December 06, 2019, 03:19:09 PM »
Glad I bought the two-pack of those Scythe fans then. That said, I have heard from other FTZ01 owners that the published specs for cooler height on the FTZ01 are just a little bit off. Itís been a couple months, but Iím pretty sure I saw some pictures from user who was able to do the same push pull set up Iíve got but with a 15mm Noctua fan. Testing that for myself is actually on my list of things to do (who knows when... whenever I get the motivation to plug fan headers into inaccessible locations).

I will of course report back with my findings once it happens.

On a different note, do you consider Sliger cases in the same camp as the other Kickstarter cases?  They were a new brand I only recently heard of. Just as expensive it seems, but they seem to have a much larger variety of cases on offer than the average Kickstarter (ie, more than 1).

I hadn't paid too much attention to Sliger, although I'd heard of them. Now I see from their website that this isn't just a storefront for ODM cases made by Lian-Li (like so many others). It appears that Sliger is actually a metal fabrication company in Nevada that happens to spend a bit of its time on case manufacturing. I think that's cool - I really like that these are made in the US. The prices are reasonable given that fact alone.

I'm going to reach out to them to see if they'd send me a sample. I do hesitate to heavily promote companies that have no retail presence (direct order only), as I feel that limits the reach (and impact) of their products, but some of these look pretty good.

Ari Altman

  • TBG Founder
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4024
    • View Profile
Re: The TBG Ultra-Extreme ITX PC Buyer's Guide
« Reply #117 on: December 06, 2019, 03:40:35 PM »
Glad I bought the two-pack of those Scythe fans then. That said, I have heard from other FTZ01 owners that the published specs for cooler height on the FTZ01 are just a little bit off. Itís been a couple months, but Iím pretty sure I saw some pictures from user who was able to do the same push pull set up Iíve got but with a 15mm Noctua fan. Testing that for myself is actually on my list of things to do (who knows when... whenever I get the motivation to plug fan headers into inaccessible locations).

I will of course report back with my findings once it happens.

On a different note, do you consider Sliger cases in the same camp as the other Kickstarter cases?  They were a new brand I only recently heard of. Just as expensive it seems, but they seem to have a much larger variety of cases on offer than the average Kickstarter (ie, more than 1).

Thanks for bringing Sliger to my attention. They aren't anything like the Dans and NCases of the world. I just spent about 20 minutes on the phone with their media rep, and Sliger is dead serious about bringing awesome made-in-the-USA products to the enthusiast audience. They've been in the metal fabrication business for 35 years, so this is no kickstarted one-hit wonder.

They'll probably be sampling TBG their next ITX release, so stay tuned... launching in January!

Cheers,

Ari