Description

So I got the upgrade bug once the new Nvidia cards were announced. This build is the result.

I live in a small apartment with my girlfriend, so I jumped at the chance to do an itx build. That informed most of my choices for parts. The Founders Edition GTX 1070 in particular is not something I probably would have chosen in a larger ATX build, but its blower style cooler works very well in a case like this.

This build is supposed to be minimalist; the idea is to have everything you would need for a decent gaming rig with nothing that would bloat the build beyond the constraints of the mini itx form factor or a modest budget. So there's nothing fancy in it other than what are hopefully high quality and high value core components.

This build had one major issue which kept it from being completed for over a week. Two different i5 6600k processors and two different Z170 Stingers would not POST with Crucial Ballistiz Sport RAM installed in the first RAM slot. Seeing that it would POST with either stick in the second slot, I assumed it was a motherboard issue and RMA'ed the Z170, but the second board acted exactly the same. I got some Corsair Vengeance RAM and the problem went away. Frustrating, but I'm glad the solution was fairly simple.

I will be adding more details and more pictures shortly.

Part Reviews

CPU

My previous PC had an i5 3570k in it, and while the 6600k isn't a revolutionary advancement it does have some significant performance gains. I have it clocked to 4.4GHz on stock voltage and it runs stable and cool.

CPU Cooler

This thing is an excellent performer in terms of cooling and noise. It is very quiet and it keeps my CPU below a max of around 50 degrees Celsius under the heaviest loads. Most benchmarks and gaming see it around 40 degrees. Now that I've got it in, I realize that I have plenty of room in the Evolv itx for a much larger radiator. I could have gotten a larger model, but this one works very well.

Motherboard

I bought this because I just wanted something simple, yet powerful enough for a bit of overclocking headroom. Now that it's working it's exactly that, but it would not boot with any of my Crucial RAM sticks in the slot closest to the CPU. I changed out the Crucial for Corsair and it works fine, but I wasn't expecting that kind of weird compatibility issue from what's supposed to be a robust enthusiast product.

Add to that the fact that it doesn't have Wi-Fi, M.2 storage, or many of the other things that have become standard on other boards, and this board is hard to recommend at its MSRP. Fortunately I got mine on sale and it was pretty much the cheapest Z170 itx board I could find.

Memory

I plugged it in and it worked exactly as advertised, which is more than I can say for the Crucial Ballistix Sport I tired using at first.

Storage

This SSD is getting speeds just slightly higher than those of my HDD. I have it plugged into the correct SATA port and its firmware is up to date. I'm not sure what else to do about it other than call it a bad SSD.

Update: I used AS SSD to further investigate and the other benchmark must have been wrong. According to AS SSD this drive is getting better speeds than most Samsung EVO drives.

Storage

It's not fancy but there's a reason it shows up over and over, including in every build I've ever done. It works, it's not horribly slow, and it has a decent amount of storage for the price.

Video Card

This thing is exactly what they said it would be. At my screen's resolution (2560x1080) it destroys everything without breaking a sweat. The blower fan in the reference design works excellently in my mini itx case and it keeps out all of the hot air from the GPU.

Case

This is the best case I've ever built in. It was so, so easy. My previous build was in a NZXT S340, and while that case was also a nice value, I don't think this case can be beat for the price. It has an extremely intuitive and easy to build in design, and a very high quality for the price that you pay.

It is a pretty respectable size for a mini itx case, but it makes up for its larger footprint with a huge amount of space and airflow for this form factor. You can pretty much go to town in this thing with no worries. My 240mm radiator isn't even close to getting in the way of my RAM or anything else, and I could probably fit another radiator up front as well if I wanted to.

If you aren't keeping in mind the small confines of the mini itx form factor and the solid sides of this case, you might end up with something that gets pretty hot. With the H100i v2 and the blower fan GPU cooler it's not a large issue for me. I have, however, taken to running this case with the sides and front off because I think it looks great as an "open" test bed style rig, and in that configuration heat is not an issue in the slightest.

Power Supply

This is where I saved my money. It's nothing to be proud of but it had everything I needed and nothing more.

Comments

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

nice build +1 I had the same issue with Crucial Ballistiz Sport ram, that ram is a joke!!

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

I have to agree. I would buy the Corsair RAM over the Crucial ones from now on, no questions.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually why?

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Because one worked as it should and the other didn't at all?

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  • 28 days ago
  • 1 point

Really? I've got the Crucial stuff and it works great, I've never had a problem with it in the slightest. and it looks awesome

  • 36 months ago
  • 2 points

Awesome looking build, and I like the pear! :D I admire your setup a lot, and I was wondering if that orange box thingy was a flight sim controller or a stereo amp/ DAC Again love the build, and the case too!

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! It's the latter. It's an amp simulator/recording interface called the Eleven Rack. It's basically Pro Tool's version of a rack-mounted POD.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh that's awesome! I recently got involved in audiophile stuff so it piqued my interest.

  • 35 months ago
  • 2 points

Very artistic fruit photography! +1 for clean build and the pear.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build! But what size fan is that for exhaust?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

It's a 140mm Corsair fan.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice. Gaming performance per $ spent is looking good in builds like this.

Strange with your SSD? Those PNY drives are supposed to be ok. Definately right SATA port? Right cable etc etc? How are you testing it?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I tested it with a simple read/write benchmark test and it came up with results almost identical to my HDD.

I just used another benchmark called AS SSD and came up with this:

Sequential read: 519 MB/s Sequential write: 491 MB/s

4k read: 46.87 MB/s 4k write: 112 MB/s

Which now that I'm looking at comparable SSDs looks pretty standard. Maybe the other test was off?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Those look more like SSD speeds = Think your ok.

I use AS SSD too.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

what do u mean by "have it clocked to 4.4GHz on stock voltage"? does it mean voltage is auto?

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I mean I haven't had to increase the voltage whether manually or by offset, so it is running at about 1.2V for the 4.4GHz overclock.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I see, because if you don't set it as manually. should it be running as auto? and you don't know if its using 1.2v or higher until you monitor it

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

I have monitored it, it is running at 1.2V (and yes that IS the auto setting).

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

How does the radiator mount? Im looking to get a H100i V2 but I have no idea how the radiator actually mounts to the bracket

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Installing the radiator in this case was very easy. I took the bracket out, lined up the bottom of the bracket with the top of the radiator according to the markings for the middle position on the rails, and screwed it in. On the H100i v2, the inside four screws will go right at the end of the tracks towards the center of the bracket. I found there is a lot of space on each side of the radiator in this position, especially on the side facing the motherboard tray. You could definitely fit a 280mm radiator in or move a 240mm one to either side to make room for other fans and components.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Are the screws bundled with the H100 or the case? Since i've found im missing alot of screws with my case.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

They will come with the H100.

  • 36 months ago
  • 1 point

Thats good, thanks for the help. Neat build too btw :)

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

How loud is your computer when gaming without headphones on? I have a very similar build but with an old noisy graphics card that's in desperate need of an upgrade. I'm trying to go for as quiet of a build as possible because I game using speakers.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

It's not loud at all. The temperatures never really get that high so the fans don't usually have to kick in to high gear. I do game using headphones almost always, but even when I take them off during a session the computer sounds pretty much the same as it does on idle.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful build! Bonus points for going with the blower style, but looking at the PSU shroud, it does still seem to obscure the fan arrangement as with the a non-blower style. Presumably the blower style still works somewhat better, but how are you finding your GPU temps? Is the combined cutout and grille hole arrangement towards the rear of the PSU shroud allowing enough of a decent air flow?

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! The blower fan is only partially obscured by the PSU shroud; at least half of it is over the cutout area. There is a pretty decent amount of open space directly between the bottom of the 240mm front fan and the GPU, so it ended up working pretty well. When benchmarking with a modest overclock it gets into the low 70s, but most of the time during normal gaming it runs about 50-60.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Sweet. Sounds like blower is the way to go, and yep, a modest overclock is what I'd probably aim for too :o)

I've been looking at a very similar build, but with an air cool CPU solution. Perhaps a final thought I might ask you about is how you feel about the 200mm fan at the front? I'm caught between sticking with that and replacing it with a couple of 140mm fans for a bit of extra air flow. In your actual real world opinion, how do you think that might fare, given that I will have an air cpu setup? Might it be worth it for that bit more? Then there's also sound to consider. I expect the 200mm fan is quite capable of shifting a lot of air with a relative amount of silence. Assuming you have some frame of reference, how are overall noise levels with the Phanteks case? I know if I was that concerned then I might as well choose a Fractal Design as the Phanteks, still I feel it's worth an enquiry..

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello Gavrev, sorry that I did not respond to your comment, but I have not logged into PCPP for a long time! Hopefully your build is already long since completed and successful. To answer your question, I feel like the case is adequately quiet, and the 200mm fan does move a good amount of air. Using two fans up front might increase the airflow at the expense of some extra noise, but I feel it would be worth doing mainly if you are experiencing high GPU temperatures, as the airflow from the lower fan would be blowing directly on the GPU.

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Sadly not - I'm nowhere near getting this thing off the ground lol.. I do take your points and advice though. Thanks for the input and sorry for a disappointing reply hehe.. Eventually..

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Well god speed to you then!

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