Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

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Lawrence Lee
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Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Lawrence Lee » Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:13 pm


quest_for_silence
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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:01 am

Thanks for all the good work, Lawrence.

So long, merry Christmas and may a God bless you and everybody.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:13 am

Editor's Note
Upon reading about the buzzing video card in a final proof of this article before posting, SPCR contributor & forum mod CA Steve had this comment:

If you run FRAPS or similar FPS indicator, you'll find that the Resident Evil coil whine is due to the damn GPU running at >>60fps. See if you can turn V-Sync on or some other frame rate limiting option, and the coil whine should reduce, along with power use, thermals, noise...
Hey Mike, you edited out two important words. Here's the original:
I bet if you run FRAPS or similar FPS indicator, you'll find that the Resident Evil coil whine is due to the damn GPU running at >>60fps.
It's an educated guess on my part, not a fact. I could be completely wrong and look forward to the retest. :)

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by MikeC » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:16 pm

CA_Steve -- oh, sorry, you seemed so positive I thought those words were unnecessary. I'll put them back. :wink:

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:24 pm

For grins, I ran the RE6 benchmark using the PC in my signature. The default setting was maxed out quality @ 1080p and there is a V-Sync toggle - it was off. My GTX 760 gave 80fps in the lighter scenes, 60 in the moderate scenes and 50 in the heavy scenes. CPU use was mostly limited to 2 cores and there was headroom. I turned V-sync on and about half of the benchmark ran at 60fps and the other half at 50fps. So, the GTX 970 is probably seeing 75-85fps in the heaviest scenes. Ok, maybe you didn't need to edit the edit :)

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by jb1 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 9:29 pm

Just curious, why the choice of the Noctua NH-D9L over the new NH-U9S? I'm planning a similar build and was curious as to whether it might be better to use the NH-U9S and orient the fans so that they pump the hot air from the CPU out the top of the case rather than out the back of the case.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Xyvotha » Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:11 pm

Yet another great article! :D Can't thank SPCR enough for the incredible amount of info you guys put in the past weeks, cheers!

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Techno Pride » Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:37 pm

How is the Zotac 970 at stock? The testing was done with 3rd party cooler.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by fwki » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:53 am

I built an NCASE gaming machine for Christmas, and it was the first Micro ITX build that I actually enjoyed. It is amazing what you can cram into that case. I used EVGA GTX 970 ref card with the blower style cooler (model 1970) and was able to fit a full 750W ATX PSU (non-modular) because this version of the 970 is very short. I used the gigantic Noctua NH-C14 top-down cooler with both 140mm fans attached. With two 2.5" drives and an optical drive I had no space for any case fans, but with the blower-style on the GPU and the CPU fans at 400-500 rpm, my temps stayed around 40C under full power Prime 95 (it was a cool day 20C ambient in the room). Within a meter I can hear faint fan noise, likely from the GPU blower because the PSU and CPU fans hardly move. I used the same Asus Z97I Plus with an intel i7-4790 cpu, 2x8GB low profile RAM.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by edh » Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:11 pm

An interesting thought I had with the Noctua cooler is whether or not cardboard ducting to the rear 92mm vent on the case would show much improvement. Maybe a few degrees? There are other coolers than could be tried, I did think that the Silverstone AR02 might be an option because of its 134mm height being just within the 135mm limit of the N1. It's about the biggest tower cooler that could fit thats listed in the SPCR recommended heatsinks list.

Or is a top down cooler better in this case?

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:02 pm

edh wrote:I did think that the Silverstone AR02 might be an option because of its 134mm height being just within the 135mm limit of the N1. It's about the biggest tower cooler that could fit thats listed in the SPCR recommended heatsinks list.

Maybe a dual fanned NH-D9L could be better (but I guess we should wait for the relevant SPCR review), and even the NH-U9S may turn out interesting.

edh wrote:Or is a top down cooler better in this case?

An NH-C14 will surely better cool the mobo power circuitry.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by mouwen » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:09 am

Good build
But no space to install 3.5 HDD
I'm thinking of using NH-L12 CPU cooler, then the radiator & fan on top of it
Leave out the space for the 3.5 HDD bracket
But CPU cooler fan -> intake, radiator fan -> exhaust
Could have some air flow issues

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by MikeC » Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:48 pm

mouwen wrote:Good build
But no space to install 3.5 HDD
I'm thinking of using NH-L12 CPU cooler, then the radiator & fan on top of it
Leave out the space for the 3.5 HDD bracket
But CPU cooler fan -> intake, radiator fan -> exhaust
Could have some air flow issues
Not sure if there's enough space for 2 1" fans + 1" thick radiator + NH-L12.

ncase says 130mm height is available for cpu heatsink. NH-L12 is 66mm tall w/o top fan; leaves 64mm. fan + radiator = 50cm. OK it would fit if you mount the 120mm fan on the Noctua under its fins; you'd have ~15mm left. This could work.

But a 3.5" HDD will definitely increase the SPL. Even the quietest WD Red would add a little low pitched hum of some kind. Personally, I'd go with an external eSATA box and place it as far away as possible (2m, iirc) if "local" mass storage is imperative.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by harshad » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:42 am

I'm doing a Ncase Gaming Build too. How does the Asus Maximus VII Impact compare to the Asus Z97I-Plus? (Heard it also had issues with M.2 supported ssds and boot issues).

Will be using it mainly for Gaming and 3d animation work. So heavy usage.

Everything except the processor & motherboard is delivered. I'll be starting soon...
M.2 SSD - I ordered the same one you did :) (I've 2 other ssds I may use for storage)
GPU - MSI Gtx 970 Gaming 4G (Wont change the cooler as I'm uncomfortable doing that)
CPU Cooler - Corsair Hydro 100i (Replacing stock fans with Noctua Industrial 2000 pwm NF-F12)

Appreciate if you help me on the motherboard decision. Thanks!

Edit: So I found out that the Maximus only supports M.2 PCie based ssds. Since I already have the Kingston 240, I'll go ahead with the Asus Z97I-Plus.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Fraked » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:44 pm

I'm planning to do exactly this build, with only the graphic card replaced by the Asus Strix GTX970 listed as an alternative.

The only issue is that I'm not an expert and certainly never have built such a small PC.

I will try to use the current article to make sure I'm not breaking everything, but would it be possible to have a more detailed step by step "guide" with all the photo you didn't use, either here as comments or by email ?

I know I'm asking a lot, just that it would be so helpful for those of us needing extra support ;D

Whatever you answer will be, thanks a lot for the good work and guidance you provide us !

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Stevo_ » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:01 am

Fraked wrote:I'm planning to do exactly this build, with only the graphic card replaced by the Asus Strix GTX970 listed as an alternative.

The only issue is that I'm not an expert and certainly never have built such a small PC.

I will try to use the current article to make sure I'm not breaking everything, but would it be possible to have a more detailed step by step "guide" with all the photo you didn't use, either here as comments or by email ?

I know I'm asking a lot, just that it would be so helpful for those of us needing extra support ;D

Whatever you answer will be, thanks a lot for the good work and guidance you provide us !
Check the original M1 thread below, the Strix cards are probably too tall without modding. Reference type cards are your best bet.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1 ... 1041400554

Edit: Also check the user build gallery
http://imgur.com/a/zOoA2

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by MikeC » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:39 am

Stevo_ wrote:
Fraked wrote:I'm planning to do exactly this build, with only the graphic card replaced by the Asus Strix GTX970 listed as an alternative.
Check the original M1 thread below, the Strix cards are probably too tall without modding. Reference type cards are your best bet.

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?p=1 ... 1041400554
Yeah, Stevo is right. If the Strix is listed in the orig. article as an alternate, we need to change it. Sorry for misleading anyone.

We just took delivery of a new 970 from Zotac which *might* fit for height (ie, distance above PCI slot opening) but it is quite long, a hair under 12". ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Core Edition (ZT-90107-10P) Amazingly, I can't find any physical dimensions for the card on the Zotac site. The M1 measures 13.1" front to back, but there's a chance that the connectors and cables from the bottom of the front panel could foul. No idea whether the new Zotac is quiet in stock mode (probably not), but with the sheer size of the heatsink w/ 3 fans, a silencer should be able to manage. :wink:

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Fraked » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:16 am

Well i guess I just have to return the GC then ;D

Would appreciate if you have a definitive answer on the GC choice. My understanding was that the original card was too large as well. Hope the new one you received will make it.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:23 pm

MikeC wrote: Amazingly, I can't find any physical dimensions for the card on the Zotac site.
I ran into this when building the GTX 960 compilation thread. It's kinda stupid...but at least they are consistant about it. :D

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Fraked » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:20 pm

What about this one guys ? A confirmation from you would be awesome ;D

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-GTX970-DCMOC ... rdfocom-20

Thanks !

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by quest_for_silence » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:06 am

Fraked wrote:What about this one guys ? A confirmation from you would be awesome ;D

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-GTX970-DCMOC ... rdfocom-20
It's surely as noisy as a reference card.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by MikeC » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:15 am

We worked with the new Zotac 970... found a min 60% fan speed limit seemingly hardcoded into the firmware. Min noise is 17~18 dBA, pretty good, but certainly not as low as 0 as in the Asus or MSI top models whose fans stop at low load.

The new single fan models probably aren't going to be that quiet -- the key is large heatsink size & multiple larger fans. W/o those, low noise in a current card is tough to achieve.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by domcom » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:56 pm

Instead of water-cooling the GTX970.... would a better alternative be to get a reference styled GTX970. It would suck in air from the bottom and force it out of the case reducing overall temps, and having a lower Idle db since the GPU fans get activated at 60oC ??

Let me know what you think.

example of video card that would be used to achieve similar temps/db...

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as ... -_-Product

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:33 pm

No, not really. There's a limit to how much heat can be expelled through these tiny holes...and that limit is somewhere under 100W. So, you still heat up the inside of the case and you have an inferior cooler (for noise and temp) to boot. Hence all of the aftermarket designs using dual and triple fans.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Fraked » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:02 am

MikeC wrote:We worked with the new Zotac 970... found a min 60% fan speed limit seemingly hardcoded into the firmware. Min noise is 17~18 dBA, pretty good, but certainly not as low as 0 as in the Asus or MSI top models whose fans stop at low load.

The new single fan models probably aren't going to be that quiet -- the key is large heatsink size & multiple larger fans. W/o those, low noise in a current card is tough to achieve.
Ok, understood. So the choice is either the new Zotac 970 or the Asus/MSI top models. In order to make sure I don't make any mistake, do you please have links I can use to buy one ? Preferably links which will give you back some bucks of course ;D

Thanks,
Stephan

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by MikeC » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:36 am

Just use the link to Amazon in my sig -- that's a sure way of dropping a few $ into SPCR's revenue stream, thanks.

As for the specific Zotac card, it's Zotac VCX ZT-90107-10P, but the pricing is pretty steep.

The MSI and ASUS top cards simply will not fit -- the heatpipes stick up too far.

What you want is a card that's long but well under 12" long if possible, has 3 fans (at least 2), and is not too tall -- ie, doesn't stick up too much higher than the back panel opening for the PCI slot cover. That will fit in the NCASE, and with that kind of shape & fan config, even if the min fan speed is a bit high (as in this Zotac), the overall noise level will be modest, especially at load.

The Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce OC has that kind of shape + 3 fans, and it too is pricey (around $450) and even longer than the Zotac at 12.28" -- probably too long.

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by domcom » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:08 pm

I was mentioned that using a G 10 is not a good idea.... "The best alternative is the NZXT G10 GPU bracket which adapts any water cooling unit with an Asetek design (round pump/base) for video card use. It ships with its own fan to cool the VRMs but unfortunately in our case, the fan would have been positioned on the wrong side of the card."

There are many users building with the G 10...

Mike (or anyone), can you explain what you meant by the fan being positioned on the wrong side of the card?

Below is an image of the G10 used in a build
http://i.imgur.com/Hztv9ju.jpg

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Fraked » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:59 pm

Thanks Mike, will use your link.

So the choice is either the original Zotac featured in your build with its liquid cooling or the new one (with or without LC ?). My understanding is that the results are pretty much the same in term of noise.

So I'll go with the old one ;D

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by Maelwys » Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:39 pm

Great build guide and extremely timely for my own build. I'm in the process of ordering parts now as I should have my V3 case in a week or so. Used the SPCR link for ordering so hopefully that tosses a few bucks your way Mike.

One question on the VC: the GTX 970 Strix is too tall for the case (5.5") but does the GTX 960 Strix suffer from the same issue (4.77")? The NCASE website says 5.5" max in slot 1&2 and 4.4" max in slot 3. I find this a bit confusing though as it looks like all three slots in the case have the same clearance assuming an SFX power supply is used and the fan/radiator frame doesn't appear to interfere. Any insights on this topic before I order up the VC?

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Re: Quiet Mini-ITX Gaming Build Guide #2: NCASE M1 Edition

Post by NCASEdesign » Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:23 pm

Maelwys wrote: One question on the VC: the GTX 970 Strix is too tall for the case (5.5") but does the GTX 960 Strix suffer from the same issue (4.77")? The NCASE website says 5.5" max in slot 1&2 and 4.4" max in slot 3. I find this a bit confusing though as it looks like all three slots in the case have the same clearance assuming an SFX power supply is used and the fan/radiator frame doesn't appear to interfere. Any insights on this topic before I order up the VC?
The 960 Strix should fit, the only potential issue being the taller PCB which leaves less room for the PCIe power connectors. Based on photos of the card however it seems to be about as tall as the ASUS "ITX" cards, which have been used in a few M1 builds without apparent issues.

The 3rd slot height limitation is due to the panel clips, which extend into the case. Are you actually planning to have the card in the third slot? As a reminder, the only way that's possible is using a 2 or 3 slot compact mATX/mini-DTX motherboard (or a flex riser if you're up to the challenge).

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