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'Next Gen Killer' mATX 1st build - Help!

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January 12, 2014 5:38:52 PM

Hi all,
looking to build a ‘Next-Gen Console’ killer mATX system in the next couple of months, so getting my head around it all now… This is my first build so want this to be right first time!
Looking to Ultra Battlefield4, and future proof for WatchDogs, The Division, Titanfall and so on, all on a 60” Plasma at 1080p.

Have been researching the boards for a while now and have come up with the following build. Still quite a few questions though, mainly regarding the case cooling issues I might have.
Expected build (under $2000, lower the better) listed below. A few questions to follow, as there is sooooo much information and reviews that it’s starting to ‘brain my damage’!



Expected Build (MSY prices):
Case Fractal Design Arc Mini $110
CPU i7 4770k $396
Mobo AsRock z87M Extreme4 $155
CPU Cooler CM Hyper 212-EVO $35
GPU Sapphire R9 290 $499
RAM G-Skill RJawsx 8GB 1600 $94
SSD Samsung 840EVO 120GB $109
HDD S.Gate 3.5” Barracuda 2TB $98
PSU Antec HCG750W $159
OS Win8.1 64bit $115
USB Wifi/KB/Mouse $180

TOTAL $1950
(Apologies for not using PCPartPicker, not all parts are listed on site, plus MSY is my closest and cheapest retailer who I will use for 99% of parts)

Questions:
1. It’s to go in a TV unit cupboard, with 2 swing doors open during use for gaming/hold digital movies. Worried about the space available for the mATX case (dimensions of unit space: 590w.430h.430d). The Fractal JUST fits height wise but not by depth, so anything else that would be better for size, but with GREAT COOLING would be much appreciated!
(I’m now looking a bit more towards BitFenix Prodigy/Phenom M or Silverstone TJ08-E)

2. What about laying a case on its side? Any problems with this outside of access to Front (side) Panel inputs? Greatly considering some extra cooling fans with the Fractal, but also adding the extras to the TJ08-E so it doesn’t have to blow too hard (love the 180mm Air Penetrator fan on the front!!).

3. Worried about the 277mm Sapphire R9290 fitting in with HDD trays, but more than willing to discard them, or get a adapter to insert 3.5” HDD into DVD tray (not installing a media drive at all, already have a USB one due my MacBook Pro drive failing little while ago)

4. Going for the GSkill Ripjaws-X single 8GB stick. Worried about height to 212 EVO, and also the CL ratings (CL10?). Anything better?

5. Sapphire recommends 750W PSU for the R9290, is this really required? Overclocking will not be happening right away, only going for the cooler and i7 ’K’ for future-proofing. Also, some of the listed cases require 160mm or under PSU - HCG750 is 180mm Deep, from memory! was originally going to be the HCG620 as it is cheaper, 160mm and (both) are modular.

5. Any other parts you would consider swapping? SSD, HDD? Win7 or 8.1? Use USB Wifi (Asus AC53 802.11ac)?
Or anything I may have skipped over? Is anything here Overkill? The i7 is said to be required for Watchdogs, so Im looking to the future with that one…

Thanks in advance, any help very much appreciated!
January 12, 2014 5:54:55 PM

I can only help with some of the things you have mentioned.
First, go with a GTX 780 over the R9 290. The R9 series has jumped in price and the 780 will be better for you.
Second, Since its going inside the cupboard, even if you keep the doors open when gaming be absolutely sure you have enough circulation for cooling the PC.
Third, when you mention that "MSY is my closest and cheapest retailer who I will use for 99% of parts" are you saying you do not want to use any other local or online retailer? I can tell you right off the bat, the i7-4770K does not cost that much. If anything, try and get them to price-match.
Fourth, windows is not gonna make a big difference, just go with whichever one you like. I use win 7, 8, and 8.1 across various machines. I don't mind using 8/8.1 even though many people say they "hate" it.

It would be best for me not to try and help with anything else. I shall leave the rest to someone who knows a bit more about these thing to aid you in your build.

Sorry if my English grammar is no good. Still having some issues in learning everything.
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Best solution

January 12, 2014 6:12:09 PM

1) Don't buy an i7. The only difference between an i5 and an i7 is that the i7 has a tiny bit more L3 cashe (which doesn't matter for games), and hyperthreading, which only applies to double-precision calculations - i.e. calculations accurate out to some number of hundred decimal places. Games should not be doing many of these calculations, and that's not likely to change in the future. Go with an i5 and save money while producing less heat.

2) Check to see that the EVO is going to fit in your case - it can be a tight fit sometimes.

3) I wouldn't go with an AMD card in a small form factor rig, period. Much much less so considering that you're going to be putting it inside a cabinet and absolutely robbing it of any ventilation.

4) You don't need a 750w PSU - a 550w will do just fine, especially if you go with an nvidia card.

5) There's no reason not to buy an OEM copy of windows 8.1, which should only be about $90.

6) How are you spending $180 on a keyboard, mouse, and wifi dongle? First, you shouldn't ever use wifi on a gaming computer, especially not since you're then sticking it in a cabinet. Your connection is going to be slow and unreliable - you should absolutely be using an ethernet cable. As for the other parts, if you're getting a mechanical keyboard and a good mouse, then great. If not... you're wasting a lot of money.

Now, on to your questions:

1) I highly highly highly suggest you mod that tv cabinet to put two 140mm case fans in it - one as intake in the bottom front, one as exput out the top or rear. Think about it this way - no matter how good the ventilation of your case is, if you take that case and put it inside another, only slightly larger case that has absolutely zero ventilation, you're screwed. Going with a mini-ITX rig is also probably a good idea.

2) There are actually a lot of cases that are designed to be laid down, which can be a great option. I would be hesitant to take a case designed to be upright and just put it on its side - it might well cause some stresses that ought not to be there.

3) Again, I strongly suggest an nvidia card. It'll be a little shorter and it'll run a LOT cooler (which is seriously important in this case).

4) That's not a good option. You want a low-profile 8GB kit, but you want two modules (i.e. 2x4GB). I would prefer a lower CL rating, but it's not hugely important. Being able to run in dual-channel mode is.

5) Yeah, okay. First of all, you know that there's an unlocked 'K' series i5 too, right? Just wanted to throw that out in case that's why you got the i7. You would be absolutely fine with a 620W PSU, and antec makes good stuff. The other option, if you can find it, is the SeaSonic X-650, which is pretty much the best power supply ever made.

5 (the 2nd) ) I would possibly consider trading the HDD for a western digital blue or black - newer barracudas are good, but tend to run a little noisy, which you don't want for this kinda use. I have both windows 7 and 8 - as long as you don't use the windows store "metro" apps, it's a great OS. Don't use wifi, use a hard wired cable. Don't fall for that BS that watchdogs is spewing - it's absolute BS that they're using to try to generate hype and get people more interested in their game. Remember that neither an i7 nor an fx 8350 are actually 8-core CPUs, nor even really use 8 threads when it comes to gaming.
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January 12, 2014 6:22:18 PM

DarkSable said:
1) Don't buy an i7. The only difference between an i5 and an i7 is that the i7 has a tiny bit more L3 cashe (which doesn't matter for games), and hyperthreading, which only applies to double-precision calculations - i.e. calculations accurate out to some number of hundred decimal places. Games should not be doing many of these calculations, and that's not likely to change in the future. Go with an i5 and save money while producing less heat.

2) Check to see that the EVO is going to fit in your case - it can be a tight fit sometimes.

3) I wouldn't go with an AMD card in a small form factor rig, period. Much much less so considering that you're going to be putting it inside a cabinet and absolutely robbing it of any ventilation.

4) You don't need a 750w PSU - a 550w will do just fine, especially if you go with an nvidia card.

5) There's no reason not to buy an OEM copy of windows 8.1, which should only be about $90.

6) How are you spending $180 on a keyboard, mouse, and wifi dongle? First, you shouldn't ever use wifi on a gaming computer, especially not since you're then sticking it in a cabinet. Your connection is going to be slow and unreliable - you should absolutely be using an ethernet cable. As for the other parts, if you're getting a mechanical keyboard and a good mouse, then great. If not... you're wasting a lot of money.

Now, on to your questions:

1) I highly highly highly suggest you mod that tv cabinet to put two 140mm case fans in it - one as intake in the bottom front, one as exput out the top or rear. Think about it this way - no matter how good the ventilation of your case is, if you take that case and put it inside another, only slightly larger case that has absolutely zero ventilation, you're screwed. Going with a mini-ITX rig is also probably a good idea.

2) There are actually a lot of cases that are designed to be laid down, which can be a great option. I would be hesitant to take a case designed to be upright and just put it on its side - it might well cause some stresses that ought not to be there.

3) Again, I strongly suggest an nvidia card. It'll be a little shorter and it'll run a LOT cooler (which is seriously important in this case).

4) That's not a good option. You want a low-profile 8GB kit, but you want two modules (i.e. 2x4GB). I would prefer a lower CL rating, but it's not hugely important. Being able to run in dual-channel mode is.

5) Yeah, okay. First of all, you know that there's an unlocked 'K' series i5 too, right? Just wanted to throw that out in case that's why you got the i7. You would be absolutely fine with a 620W PSU, and antec makes good stuff. The other option, if you can find it, is the SeaSonic X-650, which is pretty much the best power supply ever made.

5 (the 2nd) ) I would possibly consider trading the HDD for a western digital blue or black - newer barracudas are good, but tend to run a little noisy, which you don't want for this kinda use. I have both windows 7 and 8 - as long as you don't use the windows store "metro" apps, it's a great OS. Don't use wifi, use a hard wired cable. Don't fall for that BS that watchdogs is spewing - it's absolute BS that they're using to try to generate hype and get people more interested in their game. Remember that neither an i7 nor an fx 8350 are actually 8-core CPUs, nor even really use 8 threads when it comes to gaming.


I agree with your post however I couldn't help but speak out as you bash against wireless gaming. While $180 is a bit extreme, I assumed he was getting a mechanical board and nice gaming mouse.
I myself currently use two mechanical boards and two Logitech mice for gaming. The G700s and Performance MX. I have had the latter for about 4 years and it is still running strong with 0 issues ever. They both offer micro usb ports in the front to charge and the former will act as a wired mouse when plugged in. Granted if he closed the cabinet and went fairly far he may have wireless drop issues but I hope he is smart enough not to do that and to also leave it open while gaming.

"...you shouldn't ever use wifi on a gaming computer..." is a bit harsh and over the top to us wireless users.
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January 12, 2014 6:30:36 PM

Illumynization said:
I agree with your post however I couldn't help but speak out as you bash against wireless gaming. While $180 is a bit extreme, I assumed he was getting a mechanical board and nice gaming mouse.
I myself currently use two mechanical boards and two Logitech mice for gaming. The G700s and Performance MX. I have had the latter for about 4 years and it is still running strong with 0 issues ever. They both offer micro usb ports in the front to charge and the former will act as a wired mouse when plugged in. Granted if he closed the cabinet and went fairly far he may have wireless drop issues but I hope he is smart enough not to do that and to also leave it open while gaming.

"...you shouldn't ever use wifi on a gaming computer..." is a bit harsh and over the top to us wireless users.


Jeeze dude, taking this a bit seriously much? It wasn't a personal attack, and it had nothing to do with gamers who use wireless, nor really with wireless peripherals.

I was saying that wireless internet is significantly slower and less reliable than a hardwired ethernet connection is, which is 100% true. I then went on to say that if he's using a USB wifi dongle like he indicated, that he's going to be unhappy with his internet performance, especially when playing games.

I absolutely stand by my statement that any computer trying to run competitive games such as starcraft or shooters should be using the technology that is both more reliable and significantly faster, and that's a wired connection, not wifi.

As for wireless mice, I didn't say ANYTHING about them. I personally dislike them simply because I don't trust them not to have an issue at a key moment. (I don't have a wide experience with them, but every wireless peripheral I've had starts to have issues when further away than on a desk with the computer nearby.) There also aren't any wireless mechanical keyboards.

But again, if you go back and read what I was actually talking about, I never mentioned anything about wireless peripherals, nor did I say anything about gamers who use them. You have absolutely no reason to be offended, nor say I'm bashing anything. All I was saying was that trying to use wireless internet doesn't make any sense in this case, when it's slower, less reliable and going to have those issues enhanced by the fact that it's going to be surrounded by wood.
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January 12, 2014 7:05:49 PM

Wow, didn't want to start a fight! Just kidding..! :-) At no point did I take it as a stab! I’m new to building, so I need a firm hand for guidance!


Yeah $180 is over doing it for the KB/Mouse, but the Wifi dongle is about the only option I have in the house for Internet connection, thats why I went a bit up market USB with the new AC configs. Current Modem I have is capable of it. Only other option I could think of is the “Over Power Point” systems, but I’ve heard both good AND bad things about this, anyone with thoughts? Might have to look further into it…

i5 vs i7 I am happy to save some $$$ on no problem at all. Can understand that an i7 is most likely what the Devs are using for their systems, and by the time it is required for gaming there would most likely be new CPUs let alone a whole new LGA setup Mobo! I’ve also read just after posting this that it has also been stated the ACTUAL requirements will be lower than those stated originally, so thats a good thing!

But I was fairly set on the AMD cards due MANTLE and the $ differences between comparative nVidia cards. Cant believe a 780 could be so expensive in comparison! HEAT will definitely be an issue, but out of interest what would be the BEST 780 Non-ref cooler card to go for? Prices are extreme!!! How do they go OC’ing in comparison, later on?

I look at MSY because its more ‘local’ and I can avoid postage, but they also beat most prices on most components by around $5-$10 (or more on some!) from other sites I can find. PCCasegear is ok, but still not quite on-par, plus I’d be paying the difference in postage from online stores anyway…

2x4GB is better than a single 8gb in what way? I’ve read a bit into this and figured that a single 8gb stick would be better on an mATX Mobo for future expansion, but that’s about as far as my technical brain goes. I understand ‘matching’ pairs of sticks can be an issue later on?

I’ll look into the different PSU’s and HDD you’ve listed, thanks for that!

The TV unit has 2 swinging doors on the front, so the WHOLE front is open for use, not ever closed. The back however does require some ‘adjustments’ for which I already had considered some type of exhaust fans, but thanks for the definitive response!

Anyone using the TJ08-E or Fractal ARC Minis? would love some input on them. Not going to go SLI/xFire so expansion slots isn’t an issue for me, just COOLING! :-)

Thanks again!
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January 12, 2014 7:09:58 PM

Ahh my fault for jumping to conclusions, sorry. I mistook the paragraph the contains wifi and keyboard/mouse to mean otherwise.

Yes, I agree that wired should always be used whenever possible. Wireless should be a last resort option, while still viable, it is highly unrecommended.

I respect that you, as well as many gamers, dislike wireless mice. That is a matter of personal opinion though and unrelated to this topic (I realize I brought it up). As for mechanical keyboards not being wireless, of course... but maybe that will help inform novice users in the market.

Biggest point that we can't help emphasize enough, don't use wireless for competitive gaming (or in general if you need a stable 100% connection).
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January 12, 2014 7:35:25 PM

Consider a closed loop liquid CPU cooler mod mounted somewhere. It would easily export the heat from the cpu and reduce hassle in modding proper air exhaust. You still need to exhaust the heat from the rest of the components though of course.

Ahh, you are in AU which is why the prices are higher (vs USA). Indeed go with an i5 as it will suit you needs completely and save you a good amount of money. There is no need for you to get an i7 to game.

As for the "best" non ref, 780 gpu, well thats a matter of opinion. Yes there are differences in the cards but they are VERY slight and non worth considering for this purpose as it will run every game out there right now. I like the ASUS GTX 780 because of their DirectCU II cooling method and the EVGA card is decent as well. Pick whichever 780 you like from a reputable manufacturer.

The case you have seems fine, I am not sure exactly what cases are availiable to you. A friend of mine built a system for a customer with this case Thermaltake VM70001W2Z Armor A30 I think it was. for $5 more I like the looks of it more vs the Fractal. The fractal seems like a good case for your needs though.
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January 12, 2014 9:14:12 PM

Ouch I hate looking at MSY's component price list. Here's what I got though:

i5-4670k - $274
Cooler Master Hyper 212X - $39
Gigabyte Z87N-Wifi - $158
8gb RAM kit G.Skill Ripjaws X 1866mhz - $99
Samsung 840 EVO 120gb SSD - $109
Seagate Barracuda 1tb HDD - $69
Sapphire R9-280X - $399
Antec HCG620M - $115
Windows 8.1 OEM 64-bit - $115
Cooler Master RC-130 Black - $50

That totals up to $1427 AUD excluding the mouse and keyboard. The motherboard has built-in wifi.
For a keyboard, I would recommend the Corsair K70. It is a very nice keyboard that comes in Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown. It's fairly sturdy as well. MSY has it for $165.
For the mouse, I would either go for the Logitech G500S, Corsair M65, or Razer Deathadder 2013. I heard the Steelseries Sensei is a good mouse, though I don't have any experience with Steelseries.
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January 12, 2014 10:20:10 PM

He has not specified, I don't think, what type kb/mouse he wants. Its not absolutely necessary to get a mechanical board but those of us that have them, love them. The Sensei is good, my buddy has it. Logitech G9x, Razer deathadder and orochi are also good mice. I've never been a fan of Razer though.
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January 12, 2014 11:40:30 PM

Illumynization said:
Consider a closed loop liquid CPU cooler mod mounted somewhere. It would easily export the heat from the cpu and reduce hassle in modding proper air exhaust. You still need to exhaust the heat from the rest of the components though of course.

Ahh, you are in AU which is why the prices are higher (vs USA). Indeed go with an i5 as it will suit you needs completely and save you a good amount of money. There is no need for you to get an i7 to game.

As for the "best" non ref, 780 gpu, well thats a matter of opinion. Yes there are differences in the cards but they are VERY slight and non worth considering for this purpose as it will run every game out there right now. I like the ASUS GTX 780 because of their DirectCU II cooling method and the EVGA card is decent as well. Pick whichever 780 you like from a reputable manufacturer.

The case you have seems fine, I am not sure exactly what cases are availiable to you. A friend of mine built a system for a customer with this case Thermaltake VM70001W2Z Armor A30 I think it was. for $5 more I like the looks of it more vs the Fractal. The fractal seems like a good case for your needs though.


Thanks for the info! I like the EVGA non-reference for power and cooling (from online reviews), but almost impossible to find cheap here!

I've thought of the WaterCooling methods too but seemed a bit overkill at the start, but now i think of it it seems like it could work (adding a little extra cost!)

Quote:
Realchaos
Ouch I hate looking at MSY's component price list. Here's what I got though:

i5-4670k - $274
Cooler Master Hyper 212X - $39
Gigabyte Z87N-Wifi - $158
8gb RAM kit G.Skill Ripjaws X 1866mhz - $99
Samsung 840 EVO 120gb SSD - $109
Seagate Barracuda 1tb HDD - $69
Sapphire R9-280X - $399
Antec HCG620M - $115
Windows 8.1 OEM 64-bit - $115
Cooler Master RC-130 Black - $50

That totals up to $1427 AUD excluding the mouse and keyboard. The motherboard has built-in wifi.
For a keyboard, I would recommend the Corsair K70. It is a very nice keyboard that comes in Cherry MX Blue, Red, or Brown. It's fairly sturdy as well. MSY has it for $165.
For the mouse, I would either go for the Logitech G500S, Corsair M65, or Razer Deathadder 2013. I heard the Steelseries Sensei is a good mouse, though I don't have any experience with Steelseries.


Thanks for the build recommendation. Is there any reason apart from size for the mITX?
I quite like the Asrock z87m Extreme4 in mATX, but understand if i'm not using XFire I won't need any more expansion slots. Without looking up much right now, how is the heat/cooling on mITX and the CM RC130? Looks like a good case just from the MSY site (as you can see, not much info to work from on their page!)

Funny you put the 280x on there. I originally LOVED the Sapphire 280x Vapor-X. at $415 its ALOT cheaper than a 780, and the 290!
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January 13, 2014 2:28:38 AM



Hey thanks for that! I've been reading about the 290/x's running at a constant 95degrees - thats hot! Even if they say it won't degrade their lifespan!!!

The Sapphire 280x Vaporx is 80degrees under load:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-r9-280x-thir...
...which is better than 90 degrees but still a little hot. But as far as I can find the 780 will go around 75-80degrees too! So for Temp control I don't see the need for a 780 with its rediculous $tag!

Performance and longevity is my only problem with going for a 280x. I know its all good for Mantle, but it does under perform the 290 and the 780 a bit. Still up there in $$$s too considering performance degradation. (Yes, our prices are high in Australia, and there has been the jump in prices over the last month, hence I'm waiting and watching for a while.)

I'm going to put a bit more study into the mITX / Cases, because at the moment my build is still pointing towards a mATX with the TJ08-E.

Thanks,
Dave
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January 13, 2014 3:38:22 AM

Davo161 said:
Yeah $180 is over doing it for the KB/Mouse, but the Wifi dongle is about the only option I have in the house for Internet connection, thats why I went a bit up market USB with the new AC configs. Current Modem I have is capable of it. Only other option I could think of is the “Over Power Point” systems, but I’ve heard both good AND bad things about this, anyone with thoughts? Might have to look further into it…


Why is it the only option you have in the house? You can still run an Ethernet cable to your modem. If that's really not an option, I would look at going through your power lines - I know a few blokes who use that sort of setup and like it just fine. The trouble is that wireless internet is spotty to begin with, and trying to then push it through a wood cabinet and probably several walls just isn't going to help that.


Davo161 said:
i5 vs i7 I am happy to save some $$$ on no problem at all. Can understand that an i7 is most likely what the Devs are using for their systems, and by the time it is required for gaming there would most likely be new CPUs let alone a whole new LGA setup Mobo! I’ve also read just after posting this that it has also been stated the ACTUAL requirements will be lower than those stated originally, so thats a good thing!


Save the money. It's what the devs are using in their systems because hyperthreading helps with compiling. I don't know how to state this more clearly, though: for gaming, there is such a small difference between an i5 and an i7 that you can say there is no appreciable difference between their performance whatsoever. This is why Watchdogs claiming to "require" a modern i7 is utter bs, because there ISN'T a difference between it and the i5 unless the game is coded extremely, extremely, extremely poorly.


Davo161 said:
But I was fairly set on the AMD cards due MANTLE and the $ differences between comparative nVidia cards. Cant believe a 780 could be so expensive in comparison! HEAT will definitely be an issue, but out of interest what would be the BEST 780 Non-ref cooler card to go for? Prices are extreme!!! How do they go OC’ing in comparison, later on?


I'm not sold on Mantle. I'm really not. It's not going to be used in either console, because MS and Sony want their compilers to be exclusive, which means that developers have a LOT less incentive to work with mantle and use it to its fullest. If it were otherwise, it would be a great bit of technology.

Heat really will be an issue, yes. If you have the setup I'm imagining, where you have air flowing in the open front of the cabinet and exhausting out a fan in the back, you're actually going to want a reference cooler for sure - it will blow the hot air back towards the exhaust fan, and will do a surprisingly good job of it. They overclock pretty well - on air, they're better than AMD's lineup because of heat issues, but in a custom water loop, AMD has the advantage.


Davo161 said:
I look at MSY because its more ‘local’ and I can avoid postage, but they also beat most prices on most components by around $5-$10 (or more on some!) from other sites I can find. PCCasegear is ok, but still not quite on-par, plus I’d be paying the difference in postage from online stores anyway…

2x4GB is better than a single 8gb in what way? I’ve read a bit into this and figured that a single 8gb stick would be better on an mATX Mobo for future expansion, but that’s about as far as my technical brain goes. I understand ‘matching’ pairs of sticks can be an issue later on?


What country are you from? PCCasegear is Australian, right? That changes things a little - certain parts are going to be more expensive, and most of us on the forums won't know that data off the top of our heads.

2x4GB is massively better than a single 8GB stick, because it lets you run in dual-channel mode, which gives you a massive speed up. If you go with the single stick, you can't do that till you put another stick in there, and you're going to have trouble unless the second stick is identical to the first.

The other thing is that you don't need to upgrade past 8GB. 16GB is not enough for very RAM-heavy workloads like rendering, but is way too much for anything else. 8GB is enough to simultaneously run battlefield 3, photoshop, and 30 tabs in chrome.


Davo161 said:
I’ll look into the different PSU’s and HDD you’ve listed, thanks for that!

The TV unit has 2 swinging doors on the front, so the WHOLE front is open for use, not ever closed. The back however does require some ‘adjustments’ for which I already had considered some type of exhaust fans, but thanks for the definitive response!

Anyone using the TJ08-E or Fractal ARC Minis? would love some input on them. Not going to go SLI/xFire so expansion slots isn’t an issue for me, just COOLING! :-)


Gotcha, so you're going to have basically a cave that it'll be sitting in. That helps some, because it lets you have something to draw from. As for the back, you're going to want to install (most likely) a 140mm fan, blowing back - hopefully there will be enough room between the back of the cabinet and the wall for the air to then escape somehow. This isn't exactly an ideal setup, thermodynamically... It might be worth considering moving the computer to another spot.

Now that I think about the way this is going to be set up, though, I'm going to highly, highly recommend to you the mini-ITX version of the BitFenix Prodigy. You aren't really going to lose anything from your build right now, and you'll be able to have a massive 200mm fan in the front to draw in as much cool air as you can, and an excellent thermal setup with the flat motherboard for venting that heat out the back of the case with a 140mm fan. The other huge advantage to that is you can use the larger fans, which are much much quieter.
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January 13, 2014 3:47:32 AM

Illuminyzation, no worries mate, and sorry for jumping down your throat there - I had just come from a thread in which people were arguing and tossing names around over things that they were all dead wrong about. (So, slightly frustrated. :p  )

Your idea about using a closed loop CPU cooler is actually very good, but... I would actually take it one step further. OP, would it be possible to build a custom watercooling loop? That would allow you to take all the heat from the CPU and GPU and dump it outside the wooden enclosure, which would make your troubles much, much, much less. I know that watercooling is bloody expensive down there; just how bad would it be for you?

As for graphics cards brands, if you are watercooling, EVGA is the ONLY brand to even consider - their warranty covers removing the graphics card cooler and replacing it with a watercooling block, which no other manufacturer covers.

One other thing that we should consider - how far away from this computer are you going to be sitting? It might cause issues both with wired and wireless peripherals... On the topic of peripherals, Illumynization, I'm with you on not being very big on Razer's products 99% of the time. They tend to be very well-designed, but cheaply built, and don't last very long for what you pay. However, after my old Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 finally bit the dust, I tried for a very long time to find a replacement to it before finding the deathadder black edition. I don't know if it's because it doesn't have to have any of the LED components, or if Razor actually listened to the definition of what a black edition computer component is supposed to be able to do, but this thing is very solidly build and can withstand serious punishment. (I've tried just about every 'big' gaming mouse out there - the G9x makes my hands cramp like nothing else, the Sensei is good but feels... slightly off somehow, the deathadder was nearly perfect but way too flimsy... but that got fixed with the black edition.)
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January 13, 2014 4:19:49 PM

If you're really tight on space, I would go with a mini-ITX solution. mATX doesn't really offer much over IT. mATX is more upgrade-able (more expansion slots for crossfire/SLI, two extra ram slots, etc.) and it does have better airflow than mini-ITX, but if space is an issue then mini-ITX is the way to go. Since you stated that you don't plan to crossfire/SLI, the only advantage of mATX is the airflow. You'll definitely get better temps in a mATX solution, but it shouldn't be a huge difference over mini-ITX.

A single GTX 770 or R9-280X can already max out anything at 1080p. If you do want to, you can go for a GTX 780 or R9-290 as they are definitely more stronger. The only thing is that the R9-290 reference cooler is complete shit. So you have to either go with a GTX 780 or wait for the 29-290. The R9-290 is definitely a stronger card but only if the proper cooling is applied, hence waiting for the aftermarket coolers on the R9-290. Also, high temps are normal for high-end graphic cards. Probably not up in the 95c range like the reference cooler R9-290, but around the 75-85c mark.

NVIDIA gpus do run cooler, and their reference coolers are great. So if you do plan to go with a mini-ITX solution, where there is very limited airflow, you would probably want to go with a GTX 770 or GTX 780 with the reference cooler. If you do go with a mATX solution, where there is more airflow, then go with an aftermarket dual fan solution. Those aftermarket coolers take advantage of the airflow so it'll run cooler than a reference cooler when there is good airflow.

The difference between your original build and my build is that mine is much cheaper and it's mini-ITX. Even if you do put in a GTX 780 or R9-290 (though I wouldn't recommend a R9-290 for a mini-itx solution), it will still be significantly cheaper with practically the same performance.

@Dark: I wouldn't really count mantle out yet. Mantle was designed for PC, not for console. Mantle has a potential to be a game-changer. Although few games are announced to utilize Mantle currently, every Frostbite3 engine game from EA in the future will utilize Mantle. Mantle is still relatively new, so it just takes a bit of time for games to start utilizing it.

I would've recommended the Bitfenix Prodigy, but MSY.com.au doesn't have that in their inventory. Also, I wouldn't really consider an open loop cooling solution. Since space is limited, it's going to be very hard to have a decent custom loop. The only mini-ITX case I've seen that is flexible enough is the Bitfenix Prodigy, but since MSY doesn't have it, that's out of the question. Few mATX cases can actually handle a full on custom loop. Space is just too tight.

Razer do have over-priced and over-rated products; almost all of their products are like that. They have cheap mechanical keyboards that fail quicker than other companies like Corsair or Cooler Master. However, their mouse are fairly decent. The Deathadder 2013 is a great mouse, even if it is by Razer, just like you stated.
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January 13, 2014 5:31:13 PM

OK, lets see if this is getting closer..

CPU i5 4670K $274
MOBO Asrock Z87E-ITX (Ac/b/g/n) $165
RAM GSkill RipjX 2x4gb 1866 $99
SSD 840 EVO 120GB $109
HDD 2TB Barracuda $98
GPU Sapphire R9280x VaporX $415
CASE Bitfenix Prodigy ITX $99
PSU Antec 620HCG $115
COOLER CM 212 EVO $37
OS Win 8.1 $115

EXTRAS
Cooling fans 230mm/140mm, KB/Mouse $154

Total $1680

Other possibilities and their costings:
Gskill ARES 2x4GB 1600 - $1
840 EVO 250GB + $80
1TB Barracuda - $29
3TB Barracuda + $39
Sapphire Toxic 280x + $34
EVGA 780 Superclock + $274
EVGA 780 Classified + $334
Gigabyte Z87N-Wifi (b/g/n) - $7

Idea:
- Bitfenix Prodigy ITX case with larger 230mm fan at front for pulling in, 140mm PWM at back (possibly another (2?) for the back of the TV Unit), Swap 2x120mm included fans to top exhausting.

- Put the 280x VaporX in there just to keep a lower costing. Still scary with the 780 $ on there! Understand that the 280x’s are hotter, less powerful and noisier than the 780’s, but there is the vent holes on the Side of the case, right next to where the 280X intakes are, so cooling the card is no real issue, just removing the heat from the TV Unit and the noise!

- Went for Asrock Mobo over Gigabyte due ac 802.11 ($7 difference). Still looking into the Ethernet Over Power (EOP) connections though its looking fairly expensive here in Oz.

- Considered upgrading to the 250GB SSD and Downgrading to a 1TB Barracuda. Thoughts?

- The EVGA Reference 780 is the SAME price as the Superclock, so I only included that in the list.

Will take a look at some different configurations and call to see if PCCaseGear will price match, as MSY don’t have the Prodigy, or the EVGA 780 (if I go that way), so would be much easier to buy from them.
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January 13, 2014 9:11:14 PM

That's looking like quite a good rig there, mate. Just a few notes:

1) The issue for the graphics cards isn't intake, it's the fact that the reference cooler REALLY sucks, and all the aftermarket designs recirculate heat through the inside of the case instead of venting it out the back. That's a problem for small form factor builds.

2) Great pick on the motherboard - just out of curiosity because you only said it wasn't an option, not why... what's wrong with getting a long ethernet cable and running it along the baseboards to your router? Wireless or EoP would both function, but if you're going to be doing any sort of competitive gaming... Oh, and if you do decide to go wireless, one thing that will help is getting larger antenna for your motherboard.

3) I wouldn't bother with a larger SSD - remember that the only things that see a large benefit from it are windows, programs, and games that have loading screens that ruin immersion, like skyrim or WoW. It's a waste to put something like Call of Duty on an SSD, because if you load into the map faster, that just means that you have to sit there longer waiting for the game to start.

4) The other option would be to buy those two items from PCCaseGear and the rest from MSY, yes? Just thinking.

(Oh, and I would definitely grab the ARES ram, just because it's low profile.)


Now then. realchaos: I suggest you do a bit more reading of the thread. Mini-itx is actually going to have an enormous advantage when it comes to airflow in this case, especially with a well designed, slightly larger case like the Prodigy. I would imagine that it would get much better temps in this case.

As for graphics cards, you have to again consider the fact that we're dealing with small form factor here. I can tell you from a LOT of experience that while aftermarket coolers are designed to take advantage of airflow in a larger case with much more open air and a single path of airflow from front/bottom to top/back, small form factor cases are NOT designed to provide this sort of airflow. In most cases, at least in the well designed ones, the CPU, GPU, and PSU all have entirely self-contained airflow pockets, which means an aftermarket cooler just simply doesn't work right. Reference, or even better, aftermarket blower style coolers are by far the better, cooler option.

I'm absolutely not counting mantle out yet, and am rather excited to see where it goes, I'm just not buying into it taking off so quickly that I would base my GPU choice right now on it doing what AMD hopes it will in the next several years.

As for not considering an open loop cooling system, come on, man! Think outside the box! This is watercooling we're talking about. I had a perfectly successful custom loop in a bitfenix prodigy by mounting my reservoir off the back fan mount, using a Swiftech CPU block / pump combo that's nearly as good as a D5 pump, and using black ice radiators, which have a ridiculously high FPI but are thin and don't block airflow too horribly. In this scenario, it's even easier. A reservoir leads inside the case, to a block/pump combo, to the graphics card, which leads out the back of the case to a bulkhead connected to a quick disconnect. That quick disconnect leads outside the cabinet entirely, to the radiator, and then back to a quick disconnect dumping into the reservoir. That way nearly ALL the heat from the computer is taken care of by a radiator that can be hidden discretely out of the way, but outside the confinement of the cabinet. Slightly pricey, but hands down the best cooling for this situation.
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January 13, 2014 10:10:26 PM

Yes, that's what I meant with the airflow and type of cooling situation on the gpu. I said that if the OP is going for a mini-itx solution, the best bet is a NVIDIA card with a reference cooler as it does not require great airflow to still cool the gpu fairly well like aftermarket coolers.

I would still imagine mATX having better temps than mini-ITX because it will have more room for airflow, even more than the slightly large Bitfenix Prodigy. The Prodigy is still cramping a lot of components in a small space, so the airflow will be very limited, even with a 230mm fan. It's definitely better than other mini-ITX cases though.

I'm not sure if you read my entire post, but I did say that Bitfenix Prodigy is, I believe, the only mini-ITX case that supports a full on custom loop. The only reason I did not recommend it was because that I saw the Prodigy was not available at MSY, though I did not know that the OP was willing to buy online. I never said the Prodigy couldn't fit a custom loop; I've seen many custom cooled Prodigys. They are more flexible than any other mini-ITX case, which is why it's such a popular case.

You probably just skimmed through my post without reading the full thing, as I did agree with most of the points you made in my post above.

@OP: That is a great build. I would stick with the 1866mhz RAM because low-profile won't really do much here as there isn't a huge heatsink that is covering the RAM slots. Also, though it may be a very small performance increase, it's still a performance increase and only $1 more.
I think you'll probably be better with a GTX 780 Reference cool'd in there. NVIDIA is typically the go to graphic vendor for mini-ITX solutions because not only do they run cooler, but the reference blower design coolers, which are best for mini-ITX cases, are actually decent. The intake fans right next to the 280X may help the 280X be cooler, but it also has the possibility of increasing the temps of the other components since they exhaust the hot air inside the case.

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January 14, 2014 1:47:49 AM

Quote:
Darksable:

2) Great pick on the motherboard - just out of curiosity because you only said it wasn't an option, not why... what's wrong with getting a long ethernet cable and running it along the baseboards to your router? Wireless or EoP would both function, but if you're going to be doing any sort of competitive gaming... Oh, and if you do decide to go wireless, one thing that will help is getting larger antenna for your motherboard.

Long Ethernet Cable won't be an option unless its on top of tiles, on top of carpet and gets kicked/tripped on all the time. The house is on a cement slab, so there is no basement or even any space underneath the house for wiring. Have looked at an ethernet through wall socket and wiring in roof, but the install is getting a bit over the top for me. I'm currently looking into the EOP which is around $150 for a decent type here is OZ.

I can't find a good review of EOP with regards to speed/ping times, though I know online gaming more refers to Internet Ping, which we don't have much control over, and here in Oz we are about 10years behind the rest of the world on speed/ping rates!!!

Quote:
As for not considering an open loop cooling system, come on, man! Think outside the box! This is watercooling we're talking about.

$150 for a H100i here is OZ too, so that will push my build $ out a bit as well..

Im looking at the 200-230mm fan at front which will have unimpeded fresh airflow from outside the TV Unit, as the case will sit flush with the front. The 120mmx2 in the top pulling exhaust as well as the additional 140mm pulling exhaust on the back.
Im then looking at a 140-180mm exhaust fan on the back of the TV unit wall, with a very short flap to push it sideways once its clear to vent it away from TV/back around to the front again.
The Bitfenix (Spectre?) Pro fans look to pull a bit of air (these are also the type of fans Im looking at in case, apart from the stock 120mm that come with the case), but Im always happy to consider other options! :-)

I fully understand the reference cards pushing air out the back of case and not inwards like the 280x Vaporx, but Im still looking at the best way to purchase locally/online, as both places will not price match, which sucks! So the 780 still makes me cringe, hence why I went for the big fan up front and a lot of exhaust for everything else.

So Im happy with the Case/mobo/cpu+cooler/psu/RAM + Drives, its really just FANS, GPU and I think I can find Win 8.1 a tiny bit cheaper somewhere else...
This has changed a fair bit since my first build plan, with many many thanks to you all, I guess its a wait and see what some prices do, and see what I can do with the back of the TV unit. If I ever get to cleaning it out I'll try put a pic up of what Im working with, and put a box in there thats about the size of the Prodigy (considering taking off the Top handles cos its not going to get moved very often!) to see how much room I've got.


PS: Any good products other than pantyhose to cover the side vent (quite big) to stop dust? :-)
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January 14, 2014 12:15:56 PM

@realchaos: Ahh, gotcha. I understand your reasoning with airflow, but I'm not certain about it - because micro-ATX is going to be just as cramped, because the parts are larger. But anyways, point still stands, airflow has to be taken into huge consideration in this build no matter what.

The other thing with the custom loop, which would make it work in this case even in a smaller, less versatile case than the prodigy, is that bit of mounting the radiator outside of the cabinet. It would basically completely solve the cooling woes. Water cooling inside the case wouldn't do much of any good over air cooling if the hot air is still confined to the cabinet.

I apologize, as it was late, and I did apparently miss several parts of your post.

@Davo161: Gotcha, that does make it rough - I was actually just looking at trying to do something like that for my grandparents, to move their router to the center of the house - my option was going through two cement slabs or several walls... I ended up just trying to hide it as best I could around the edges of walls and using two of those rubber cable covers to prevent people from tripping on it.

Sorry to hear that you internet is that bad - that would frustrate me to no end. Fingers crossed that when people eventually realize how much cheaper and easier fibre optics are and the telecom companies have to lay down fibre everywhere, that you guys get a cut of the pie!

Closed loop coolers are pricy, jeebus... I'm going to presume then that a custom loop is going to be prohibitively expensive?

That sounds like a pretty good setup to me - I would just want to know exactly how well that back fan will be able to exhaust, and I would also be careful of the top exhausts, as they might harm more than they help.

As for fans, I like Corsair's for the looks and decent performance, and obviously Noctua for amazing performance and absolute silence. Haven't got much experience with Bitfenix Spectres. As for the large fan, the only good one that I've been able to find was made by Cooler Master.

Ahh, yeah, you're in a kinda tough spot there, huh. How bad are customs down there? I'm thinking if someone purchased the thing in the US or korea, where it would be very cheap and you wouldn't have to worry about VAT, that combined with shipping and customs might still come out to be less than you're looking at.

Fands, I think you have a good job, but again, make sure that the top exhaust has a way out of the cabinet, or else it's not going to be doing much good. GPU, it's a hard spot, don't know what to tell you. You should be able to find it a little bit cheaper - especially if you get the OEM version, which has no downsides for system builders.

Glad to hear that we've been able to help a little! One other option that you might consider is building the thing on a test-bench like system, or even mounting it to the wall - there are a lot of cool things you can do with wall-mounted computers, and it could go behind your TV, provided other people don't disapprove.

As for dust, you're unfortunately going to be kinda SOL. The trouble is that the prodigy doesn't manage dust well, as that front panel isn't a filter. In addition to that, you're going to be running negative pressure in the case (and will pretty much have to be, really), which means dust is going to be able to come in every tiny crack in the thing.

I hear your pains - I live in the middle of the desert, where something gets a layer of dust over it as soon as you blow it clean, but there's sadly not much you can do.
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January 14, 2014 6:18:11 PM

About the dust, you can get some magnetic aftermarket dust filters and just stick it on the outside of the case. I'm not sure if they have these in Australia, but here are some from Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
These are just for examples.
You can also look at reference cooled GTX 770. They obviously won't be as strong as the GTX 780, but they're on par with the R9-280X.
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January 14, 2014 6:24:27 PM

^Don't know how well that's going to work on something like the front of the Prodigy... plus negative air pressure is going to make them pretty much moot anyways.
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January 14, 2014 7:41:34 PM

I've just looked at the CFM, Stat Pressure and dB notes on a few different fans. It WILL be negative pressure, but then again theres this thread
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-air-pressur...
about Neg v Pos pressure for high performance conditions, saying Neg is usually better (with a few dependants, of course!)


The 230mm Bitfenix fan or 180mm Silverstone Air Penetrator fan will pull in around 157/130CFM @ 1.1/2.45mmH2O respectively. But with 3 other fans pulling out, its most definitely Neg pressure inside the case! The very large open side panel will surely bring in and catch dust (which we have a lot of also!), so Im wondering;
do I put the top two 120mm fans as INTAKE instead and push air out the vented side (which is to the side where there will be a lot of spare room inside the TV unit, which is a good start), but also sending hot air past the GPU instead of it really pulling air in from that vent???

PS, thanks for the dust cover link, but I think the size of the vents will be more than the size of any fan covers, so may have to look into that if I go Neg Pressure a little more.

PPS: Very much considering now the EVGA 780 GPU, as it seems OC very well with not much temp increase, plus the noise difference to a R9, and the obvious venting of heat out the back. So, Darksable, you may have won the GPU battle after all!!!
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January 14, 2014 9:42:35 PM

That link is almost four years old, and this is a hotly debated topic. That's also a very very editorialized entry that does everything it can to make negative pressure look better. The trouble is that negative pressure means that dust is going to be drawn into every single little crack in your case, clog it up, make your case filthy, make your fans grind...

Positive pressure, when done correctly going from the front and bottom to the back, will keep air blowing out of those cracks, meaning dust can only get in past those fans, which you can put filters on. Meaning way less wear and tear on fans, and no having to worry about parts getting thermal insulation from dust.

MILD positive pressure is pretty commonly accepted as the absolute way to go. However, in your case, I wouldn't flip those top fans - you need your graphics card fan to be working as slowly as it can, not having to fight turbulence to get air into it.

As for dust covers, they won't help much in this case, but if you do want it, black pantyhose is absolutely the way to go.

Hadn't thought about the noise, but if that is an issue, that's a definite plus. The interesting thing is that here in the States, the 780 is actually cheaper than the R9 290x, and almost bang-on with the aftermarket 290s. You absolutely don't want to use a reference cooler on a Hawaii-based chip - it ends badly.
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January 14, 2014 9:46:38 PM

I would go for an i5 4570/4670 personally. The i5 is the sweet spot in the 'Core i' range. The i7 is overpriced, and only just outperforms the i5 in most cases. In some cases the i5 will match or surpass the i7. Do a little research and read reviews lol.
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January 14, 2014 10:16:07 PM

DarkSable said:
That link is almost four years old, and this is a hotly debated topic. That's also a very very editorialized entry that does everything it can to make negative pressure look better. The trouble is that negative pressure means that dust is going to be drawn into every single little crack in your case, clog it up, make your case filthy, make your fans grind...

Positive pressure, when done correctly going from the front and bottom to the back, will keep air blowing out of those cracks, meaning dust can only get in past those fans, which you can put filters on. Meaning way less wear and tear on fans, and no having to worry about parts getting thermal insulation from dust.

MILD positive pressure is pretty commonly accepted as the absolute way to go. However, in your case, I wouldn't flip those top fans - you need your graphics card fan to be working as slowly as it can, not having to fight turbulence to get air into it.

As for dust covers, they won't help much in this case, but if you do want it, black pantyhose is absolutely the way to go.

Hadn't thought about the noise, but if that is an issue, that's a definite plus. The interesting thing is that here in the States, the 780 is actually cheaper than the R9 290x, and almost bang-on with the aftermarket 290s. You absolutely don't want to use a reference cooler on a Hawaii-based chip - it ends badly.


Yeah I noticed the dates after i posted the link and read a bit more fully into it all... I can see the advantages to both really, but positive Im thinking is what I will need due to dust and heat exchange.

What if i fork out the extra ($19) for the windowed side panel so there is no vent at all? With the current fan setup I would still be running -P, but if I flip the top fans then it won't impede the GPU fan as much, yes? More cool air and no escaping air through vents = not as much turbulence around the GPU fan, +P and more airflow??? :-|
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January 15, 2014 11:20:03 AM

Hmm, that could actually work, pretty well, yeah... you would have to h ave a blower-style cooler, but it could work.

Only other thing that I would consider is taking the windowed side panel and modding it to have a 140mm fan blowing into the case right at the GPU intake - it wouldn't have to be blowing hard, but it would help on all cases, and then you could use the back and one top fan as exhaust.
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January 15, 2014 9:43:28 PM

DarkSable said:
Hmm, that could actually work, pretty well, yeah... you would have to h ave a blower-style cooler, but it could work.

Only other thing that I would consider is taking the windowed side panel and modding it to have a 140mm fan blowing into the case right at the GPU intake - it wouldn't have to be blowing hard, but it would help on all cases, and then you could use the back and one top fan as exhaust.


Great! Thanks for that!

Since there are 2x 120mm fans spare that come with the case, Im thinking maybe just using one on top as Intake closest to the front, which then will be blowing down towards the front of the 212 EVO fan. This would be best for the LEAST amount of turbulence around the CPU cooler, but still give a tiny bit of Pos Pressure inside the case.

The second 120mm if not modded into the window, could be put in the TV Unit, though i think a 140mm would work better, obviously, but am almost considering a 180-200mm to really get that hot air out! :-)

So:
Intake: 230mm Spectre Pro - 900RPM, 156.6CFM with about 1.8mmH2O
120mm Spectre - 1000RPM, 43.5CFM, .62mmH2O
Total Intake = 157.2 CFM
Exhaust: 140mm Spectre Pro PWM - 500 to 1800RPM, 122.2CFM, 2.8mmH2O
Difference = 35CFM Positive Volume, but with only just 0.4 Neg Pressure!
That's hard to get my head around today!

This issue is that the Asrock Z87E-ITX has only 2x 4pin fan headers. Thats it! No 3 pins at all!
The 230mm is 900RPM with under 26dB, and the 120mm is under 20dB, so fairly quiet if they are just connected to PSU, so not worried about a fan controller unless I add the second 120mm. But it would be nice to slow them down a little for watching movies instead of them whirring away at full RPM!

As for the 140mm TV Unit fan, I was thinking a USB-3 Pin adapter, but that's only about 5V from USB, yes? Not very fast (only just Start Voltage).
Are there any other options? Not finding much apart from these (normal desk fans):
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPa...

I know this thread is getting LONG with Questions now, but I am VERY much appreciative of all the help! :-)
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January 15, 2014 9:57:21 PM

That sounds like a pretty good plan to me. Biggest thing that stands out to me is that larger fans are WAY quieter, so if noise is going to be an issue...

Not having 3-pin headers is actually pretty common now. I know that on ASUS motherboards the 'Chassis' headers are 4-pin but regulate by DC, not PWM. It could very well be the same with AsRock. Otherwise, you'll still be able to plug the fans in, but they'll run full-time. You could also, like you mentioned, use a fan controller.

You're correct as to the adapter. What I've done in the past is while wiring the computer, find a spot on the back panel where I can poke a molex connector through. Usually I do it between the PSU and case, or something similar like that. Then you just need a molex extension to the fan and you're good. If you do it in a prodigy, and you have a longer PSU, it's really easy - just take motherboard headers and put them between the case and the PSU backplate. That way the PSU doesn't go in as far, making it easier to route cables, and you have this convenient little gap to stick the cable out of. It also doesn't make the case any longer because you'll have the wifi antennas and usb connections coming out the back.

Always happy to help, mate, no worries there!
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January 15, 2014 10:08:20 PM

DarkSable said:
That sounds like a pretty good plan to me. Biggest thing that stands out to me is that larger fans are WAY quieter, so if noise is going to be an issue...

Not having 3-pin headers is actually pretty common now. I know that on ASUS motherboards the 'Chassis' headers are 4-pin but regulate by DC, not PWM. It could very well be the same with AsRock. Otherwise, you'll still be able to plug the fans in, but they'll run full-time. You could also, like you mentioned, use a fan controller.

You're correct as to the adapter. What I've done in the past is while wiring the computer, find a spot on the back panel where I can poke a molex connector through. Usually I do it between the PSU and case, or something similar like that. Then you just need a molex extension to the fan and you're good. If you do it in a prodigy, and you have a longer PSU, it's really easy - just take motherboard headers and put them between the case and the PSU backplate. That way the PSU doesn't go in as far, making it easier to route cables, and you have this convenient little gap to stick the cable out of. It also doesn't make the case any longer because you'll have the wifi antennas and usb connections coming out the back.

Always happy to help, mate, no worries there!


The gap idea is great, I could even just Dremel out a notch near the back/side cover like you said to run it through in the worst case. The cable won't have to be very long to reach the Unit fan, but if I put a Fan controller in then I might need an extender.

Hows this Controller? Off/7v/12v 3 way switch
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Thats about as cheap and easy as they get!

The 4Pin header is PWM from the Asrock manual, but only the 140mm rear Exhaust fan used PWM, so that's no big issue.
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January 15, 2014 10:27:06 PM

Oh, well hell... if you have a Dremel, my friend, anything is possible. ;) 
I swear, my Dremel gets used almost more than my screwdrivers. I just need a good jigsaw rather than the bread-slicer I have and I would be set for life.

If you want to use a fan controller for the back fan as well, then yeah, you'll need an extender. I just use a connection direct to the fan from the PSU, and unplug it when I don't want it - I let my motherboard control everything else. (Though since you need a fan controller anyways...)

I have no idea - haven't tried it, and don't know the brand. However, up to 60w per channel is nice, though only having two different on settings would bother me a little, I think. I also wouldn't want the flashy LEDs when trying to game or watch movies.

One thought is that there are a few fan controllers out there that come with a remote, which might be awful nice in your situation...
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January 17, 2014 3:26:57 AM

DarkSable said:
Oh, well hell... if you have a Dremel, my friend, anything is possible. ;) 
I swear, my Dremel gets used almost more than my screwdrivers. I just need a good jigsaw rather than the bread-slicer I have and I would be set for life.

If you want to use a fan controller for the back fan as well, then yeah, you'll need an extender. I just use a connection direct to the fan from the PSU, and unplug it when I don't want it - I let my motherboard control everything else. (Though since you need a fan controller anyways...)

I have no idea - haven't tried it, and don't know the brand. However, up to 60w per channel is nice, though only having two different on settings would bother me a little, I think. I also wouldn't want the flashy LEDs when trying to game or watch movies.

One thought is that there are a few fan controllers out there that come with a remote, which might be awful nice in your situation...


Oooooooooh a remote, now that sounds great! haha! ;-)

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Thinking this one from NZXT would be more suited to the front panel and less lights, and sliders for variable control rather than the limited 3 controls. No mind there are extra sliders, I bet I can fill them with more mods later on!!!
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January 17, 2014 12:44:00 PM

I've used that particular fan controller before - note that its front mesh is different than that of the Prodigy's, so it looks kinda odd. That being said, it works just fine, and is a particularly easy fan controller to mod, should you so desire.
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