Author Topic: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build  (Read 75204 times)

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2016, 10:03:48 PM »
Yup, looks good. But you still haven't seen it built with an air cooler. I say go for it and tell us how it works!

Right, I'm not doing a liquid cooled build. But yesterday I found this guy's Z97 Evolv ITX build using the Thermalright Silver Arrow ITX cooler that I like!

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/d2Pscf

« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 10:07:29 PM by Steve N. Mavronis »
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2016, 02:29:54 AM »
Wow, well there you go. It works....

...at least on that Z87 motherboard!

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2016, 05:10:37 AM »
Wow, well there you go. It works.... at least on that Z87 motherboard!

Z97 he has there. Anyway it's good to see what it would look like physically and with a similar style MSI twin frozr GPU. I like what he did with the MSI badge too. I was thinking about branding the MB/GPU like that. Originally I wanted a ASUS Strix 980 Ti. I like it's triple fan side, but I like the MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G exposed edge cooling pipes (the part you see more) better. I also like the EVGA 980 Ti ACX+ like the bigger Classified version plus they are known for great warranty support and trade-up program. But their sole Z170 Stringer ITX motherboard is lacking features for the price and has no USB 3.1 ports, etc. So it's hard to brand MB/GPU together without making sacrifices. The MSI Z170i Gaming AC motherboard is nice but not as good for the price as the ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming. So here I am mixing it up brand-wise which isn't bad if you want the best system in this ITX form factor.

Speaking of that MSI badge plate he used, I was already thinking about reversing the SSD mount so it's on the inside of the case to show off the drive.

And as far as case fans go, when I order the Evolv ITX bundle w/140mm fan and free HDD tray, I may see how it goes with the case airflow at first. If the front cover panel is choking the intake air supply, I'll cut a nice looking 120mm hole (I have a drill press) aesthetically placed with a DIY sandwiched metal rim effect or an attractive fan cover billet in black like this example:



If that's still not enough, then I'll replace the stock 200mm intake fan with dual 140mm Phantek fans.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 06:26:58 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2016, 06:20:21 AM »
Ah, yes , Z97. The review you linked used a Z87. But as you probably realize from your mockups, the motherboard matters when it comes to fitting a tower cooler. Luckily based on your measurements and discussion with Thermalright, you know the cooler will work on the Asus board.

I wouldn't get the MSI or EVGA boards at this point. The Asus is better and cheaper. You could go for the matching Asus video card, as it looks quite good too, but note that it's a lot bigger and might look a little odd on the small board.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2016, 09:47:38 PM »
Current Configuration Parts List:

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX (High-End Gaming PC Build)         
            
  • Chassis - Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX Bundle - 1x Enthoo Evolv ITX PH-ES215P_BK (window version), 1x PH-F140SP Fan, 1x 3.5" HDD Bracket   EVOLV ITX Bundle HDD   $85   Phanteks
  • Rear Case Fan - Phanteks PH-F140SP_BK 140mm Case Fan   PH-F140SP_BK - $15      Phanteks
  • Motherboard - ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard   Z170I PRO GAMING   $165   Newegg
  • Memory - G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin SDRAM DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) Intel Z170/X99 Platform Desktop Memory   F4-3000C15D-16GTZB   $105   Newegg
  • Processor - Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz LGA 1151 Boxed Processor   BX80662I76700K   $400   Newegg
  • CPU Spacer - Thermalright Skylake 1151 CPU Support Spacer (Free w/proof of Skylake purchase)   1151 CPU Spacer   free   Thermalright
  • CPU Cooler - Thermalright SilverArrow ITX (320W) Heatsink LxWxH 154x103x165mm    SilverArrow ITX   $85   Amazon
  • Video Card - MSI GTX 980 Ti GAMING 6G w/Backplate   GTX 980TI GAMING 6G   $650   Newegg $10 rebate card
  • Power Supply - EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G2 80 Plus Gold Modular Power Supply 3.35"x5.91"x 6.50" (85x150x165mm)   220-G2-0650-Y1   $70   Newegg, $20 rebate card
  • Storage OS - SAMSUNG 850 EVO MZ-75E250B/AM 2.5" 250GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)   MZ-75E250B/AM   $85   Newegg
  • Storage Data - Western Digital Blue 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive   WD10EZEX   $54   Amazon
  • Optical Drive    - Pioneer 6x Silver External Slim Portable USB 3.0 BD/DVD/CD Burner    BDR-XD05S   $75   Best Buy
  • Keyboard - Corsair Gaming K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red   CH-9000114-NA   $110   Amazon
  • Mouse - Corsair Raptor M45 USB Wired 5000 DPI Optical Gaming Mouse   CH-9000052-NA   $60   Amazon
  • Headset - Temporary Existing Plantronics .Audio 355 Wired Headset   79730-21   n/a
  • Speakers - Temporary Existing Logitech X-230 2.1 Black Speaker System - Satellite Stereo Speakers and Subwoofer   X-230   n/a
  • Webcam - Temporary Existing Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910   C910   n/a
  • Backup - Temporary Existing Western Digital 2TB Mybook Essential - USB 3.0/2.0   4064-705084-026   n/a
  • Monitor    - Temporary Existing LG E2360V LED 23" D-Sub/DVI-D/HDMI Widescreen 1920x1080 LCD   E2360V   n/a
  • Operating System - Microsoft Windows 10 Home - 64-bit - OEM   KW9-00140   $100   Newegg

(Prices updated 2/7/2016)   Total:   $2,044   
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
PCPartPicker - https://pcpartpicker.com/b/96JV3C
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Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2016, 08:19:55 AM »
Changes to the above parts build list is going for TridentZ 3200 speed memory instead of 3000 - only because on Newegg they cost the same, actually $5 less at the moment.

Okay well with the Evolv ITX case instead of mounting an SSD in the back and HDD down below in the drive bay or higher on the mid-plate, I'm thinking about removing the two lower HDD slot frames and mounting the HDD tray and drive to the bottom where the optional pump base would normally be located.

Since I'm going to purchase directly from Phanteks their Evolv ITX bundle w/140mm fan and free HDD tray, maybe I can repurpose the mid-plate mounting assembly by attaching it to the floor of the case to use the HDD tray there similar this Evolv ATX case photo example below:



I only plan on using a single SSD and a single HDD plus mounted in a 'low profile' position like this should open up and greatly improve 200mm fan airflow to the GPU along with the limited modular PSU cables in the way. At most the only mod needed might be to drill a 4 screw holes and spacers to mount the mid-plate tray mounting grommets for the HDD tray and/or mid-plate onto the floor. If using the mid-plate too, it's flap could either be removed or folded up against the bottom shroud or folded under to hide it. What do you think?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 08:34:20 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2016, 09:08:49 AM »
I'm actually not a big fan of the move to rear-mounted 3.5" hard drive brackets. While that works reasonably well for 2.5" drives, 3.5" drives actually produce a significant amount of heat, and in my opinion they should be actively cooled. I'd use that optional drop-and-lock mount right up front, where it will get cool intake air from the 200mm fan. I'm not too worried about that blocking a lot of air from getting to the GPU.

The only mechanical hard drives that I'd mount behind the motherboard would be 2.5" laptop-style models.

By the way, I've been following Newegg's pricing on G.Skill DDR4 memory (I currently have 80GB worth, as a matter of fact), and indeed the prices have been dropping on the really fast stuff. But note that the TridentZ models add about a $10 surcharge over the Ripjaws 4 and 5 models, and it's just for the aesthetics of the heatsinks. In my opinion, they're actually harder to install due to the somewhat sharp edges versus the 4/5 models.

Also keep in mind that DDR4-3200 is about the limit of what the Z170 memory controller can do on an ITX board. I'm currently benchmarking multiple systems at DDR4-3200 for a gaming article I'll be publishing soon, and DDR4-3200 isn't always easy to hit with stability.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2016, 09:25:27 AM »
I'm actually not a big fan of the move to rear-mounted 3.5" hard drive brackets. While that works reasonably well for 2.5" drives, 3.5" drives actually produce a significant amount of heat, and in my opinion they should be actively cooled. I'd use that optional drop-and-lock mount right up front, where it will get cool intake air from the 200mm fan. I'm not too worried about that blocking a lot of air from getting to the GPU.

The only mechanical hard drives that I'd mount behind the motherboard would be 2.5" laptop-style models.

By the way, I've been following Newegg's pricing on G.Skill DDR4 memory (I currently have 80GB worth, as a matter of fact), and indeed the prices have been dropping on the really fast stuff. But note that the TridentZ models add about a $10 surcharge over the Ripjaws 4 and 5 models, and it's just for the aesthetics of the heatsinks. In my opinion, they're actually harder to install due to the somewhat sharp edges versus the 4/5 models.

Also keep in mind that DDR4-3200 is about the limit of what the Z170 memory controller can do on an ITX board. I'm currently benchmarking multiple systems at DDR4-3200 for a gaming article I'll be publishing soon, and DDR4-3200 isn't always easy to hit with stability.

For the SSD position my plan is to mount it up front to show it off by reversing the SSD tray's 4 grommet mounts to the other side.

ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming Memory Speeds (Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile) - DDR4 3866 O.C, 3800 O.C., 3733 O.C., 3600 O.C., 3466 O.C., 3400 O.C., 3333 O.C., 3300 O.C., 3200 O.C., 3000 O.C., 2800 O.C., 2666 O.C., 2400 O.C., 2133

Edit - I have a situation now regarding buying the i7-6700K and ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming. On Newegg both combined is $575 assuming no tax and free shipping. But at my local Micro Center the 6700K is $370 and bundle deal with the $165 motherboard is an extra $20 off. So both together including 6% Maryland sales tax is $545.88 for store pickup. Should I wait until Monday to see if they have any President's Day sales affecting these items?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 09:53:47 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
Evolv ITX Build w/3DMark 11/Fire Strike Scores:
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2016, 10:47:53 AM »
I'm actually not a big fan of the move to rear-mounted 3.5" hard drive brackets. While that works reasonably well for 2.5" drives, 3.5" drives actually produce a significant amount of heat, and in my opinion they should be actively cooled. I'd use that optional drop-and-lock mount right up front, where it will get cool intake air from the 200mm fan. I'm not too worried about that blocking a lot of air from getting to the GPU.

The only mechanical hard drives that I'd mount behind the motherboard would be 2.5" laptop-style models.

By the way, I've been following Newegg's pricing on G.Skill DDR4 memory (I currently have 80GB worth, as a matter of fact), and indeed the prices have been dropping on the really fast stuff. But note that the TridentZ models add about a $10 surcharge over the Ripjaws 4 and 5 models, and it's just for the aesthetics of the heatsinks. In my opinion, they're actually harder to install due to the somewhat sharp edges versus the 4/5 models.

Also keep in mind that DDR4-3200 is about the limit of what the Z170 memory controller can do on an ITX board. I'm currently benchmarking multiple systems at DDR4-3200 for a gaming article I'll be publishing soon, and DDR4-3200 isn't always easy to hit with stability.

For the SSD position my plan is to mount it up front to show it off by reversing the SSD tray's 4 grommet mounts to the other side.

ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming Memory Speeds (Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile) - DDR4 3866 O.C, 3800 O.C., 3733 O.C., 3600 O.C., 3466 O.C., 3400 O.C., 3333 O.C., 3300 O.C., 3200 O.C., 3000 O.C., 2800 O.C., 2666 O.C., 2400 O.C., 2133

Edit - I have a situation now regarding buying the i7-6700K and ASUS Z170i Pro Gaming. On Newegg both combined is $575 assuming no tax and free shipping. But at my local Micro Center the 6700K is $370 and bundle deal with the $165 motherboard is an extra $20 off. So both together including 6% Maryland sales tax is $545.88 for store pickup. Should I wait until Monday to see if they have any President's Day sales affecting these items?

Well, you could always buy the 6700K and Z170I Pro Gaming right now at Amazon for less than either Newegg or MC.   8)

They won't be cheaper at Newegg on President's Day. Newegg's been having a field day jacking up the price on the 6700K since the August 2015 release.

And trust me, I know what these Z170 boards are rated for with regard to DDR4 overclocking. I also know they can't hit those numbers.

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2016, 11:03:45 AM »
Only the CPU is cheaper. Combined with 6% tax (we have a local Amazon center) the price is higher at $562.
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2016, 11:20:14 AM »
Only the CPU is cheaper. Combined with 6% tax (we have a local Amazon center) the price is higher at $562.

Newegg currently has the Core i7-6700K "on sale" for $380 with discount code EMCEGEN22, and the Z170I is $166 shipped. Since there's no Newegg tax in Maryland, your total is $546 shipped. I'd take that over MC to save the gas and the trip!

While you're at it, you might as well pick up the G.Skill 2x8GB TridentZ DDR4-3200 C16 kit for $95.

You see, I can play the deals game too. ;)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 11:24:41 AM by Ari Altman »

Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2016, 11:25:03 AM »
Yes you can! :)

Newegg also has the K70 keyboard red backlighting LED with red MX Cherry switches on sale for $90 as well. Most of my purchases will be from them.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 11:27:42 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2016, 11:55:59 AM »
Yes you can! :)

Newegg also has the K70 keyboard red backlighting LED with red MX Cherry switches on sale for $90 as well. Most of my purchases will be from them.

The Corsair K70 is a great deal at that price. But I just don't love Corsair's MX Red switches. I strongly suggest you consider the G.Skill KM780, built on the same platform but with a number of enhancements. It's $90 at Newegg with MX Brown or MX Red switches.

I know you think it looks wild, but up close with the standard keys and the wrist rest removed, it's stunning.


Steve N. Mavronis

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2016, 07:52:23 AM »
I think I'll buy these 3 items from Newegg today since they are on limited sale. They are holding in my Newegg shopping cart:

G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) F4-3200C16D-16GTZB - $95 Newegg (after $5 off promo code EMCEGEJ54, ends 2/11)
Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz LGA 1151 Boxed Processor   BX80662I76700K - $380   Newegg (after promo code EMCEGEN22)
Corsair Gaming K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Cherry MX Red CH-9000114-NA - $91 Newegg (limited time offer regularly $130)

Only reason 3200 speed is because the TridentZ 3000 speed DDR4 that I was going for (same price) is still $5 more because of the promo code.

Now come the Windows 10 Home 64-bit choices below. I was going to do the OEM version which has a nice $20 off promo sale right now. But I'd rather have the full version I think. Microsoft says if I by through a 3rd party vendor I have to go through them for support. It's only 90-day Microsoft free support and I don't think I'll need it being a PC tech all these decades. But with a full version I can do an in-place upgrade if something gets corrupted, etc. With the USB installed version I figure you just have to set your motherboard BIOS to boot from USB to load it onto a blank SSD?

Microsoft Windows 10 Home - 64-bit - OEM KW9-00140 - $83 Newegg (after $20 off promo code EMCEGEN74, w/$2.99 shipping)
Microsoft Windows 10 Home - Full Version (32 & 64-bit) / USB Flash Drive KW9-00016 - $120 Microsoft, free shipping

Also, they have the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti GAMING 6G GOLDEN EDITION on sale cheaper than the regular red edition sale price. But not sure about the orange cooler cover and copper heatpipes/heatsink even though it's slightly faster. It just doesn't go with anything color-wise. They should have made it all black. But I don't know faster is faster an copper is better than aluminum. It's growing on me and oh on the backplate the dragon is gold! Would it tarnish though?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 08:12:54 AM by Steve N. Mavronis »
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Ari Altman

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Re: The TBG Ultimate Gaming Mini-ITX PC Build
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2016, 08:30:42 AM »
The 980 Ti Golden Edition is definitely a good deal at $610 after rebate, but that "copper" is just painted on (it's the same heatsink), and the overclock versus the 6G Gaming is insignificant. Given how much time you've spend on aesthetics, I don't think this is the right card for you.

As for Windows, you've got all the differences down, so it's up to you to choose what you want. Microsoft Windows support? I don't think you need that. Upgrade to a different motherboard? You better hope you don't need that anytime soon, and that's the only component that's restricted when using an OEM copy. The only reason I'd go for the full version is because you won't have a DVD drive in this system, but if you're getting an external drive, then just jump on the sale price on Windows 10 OEM.