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Mini-ITX gaming PC, need confirmation on compatility

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June 19, 2014 11:04:59 AM

Hello! I asked for advise earlier this year, but i had some minor setbacks, so my new pc was delayed. Now, i came across some cheaper prices for better parts, and want to know if these will work.

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/kcPGnQ

The GPU is actually the Tri-X OC version. I plan to OC once i need more power (hopefully not soon) so that is why i went for a Z87 board.

Thanks for any advice in advance!
a b 4 Gaming
June 19, 2014 12:26:09 PM

Use a dual channel RAM kit

Check the length of the graphics card and whether it fits in the case .
Consider switching to nVidia . They run a little cooler and that may be important in an mini-ITX case
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June 20, 2014 3:55:30 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Use a dual channel RAM kit

Check the length of the graphics card and whether it fits in the case .
Consider switching to nVidia . They run a little cooler and that may be important in an mini-ITX case


I'm getting one module for future upgrading, (only 2 slots :/ ) and i have already set my mind on the R9 290 as i will get the performance of a 780 for 100€ cheaper. As far as i am aware the Prodigy (not M) has a good airflow, and the custom cooler should keep it cool.

I just need someone to confirm that this setup will indeed work, as i was thinking of getting mATX (cheaper, easier to upgrade) but i couldn't find a case that suits my needs.

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a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2014 5:18:24 AM

As a general compatibility check, the only issue you have is the motherboard, it shouldn't be compatible with the CPU cooler you have selected. If you want to use an air cooler, I'd recommend the ASRock or Asus solutions of Z87, or the ASRock, Asus or Gigabyte Z97s.

Any ambiguity over whether or not that cooler will fit is caused by the fact it can be rotated (against the flow of the case) which mean that it might appear as "compatible" on some lists, but in a practical sense is not, as it won't give good performance. It also depends on whether or not your graphics card has a backplate, as this can further reduce the width available (The 290 Tri-X does not).

The only other thing that springs to mind is the single 120mm case fan, it seems like an odd addition to this case. If you want good airflow, you more or less have to bin the stock fans as they are super-quiet but pretty weak. Replacing both with quality 120s is an option, but the front fan will still be too low in the case to really make a huge difference. Selecting a 230/200/140mm front fan puts it bang in the centre of the case, blowing towards your CPU cooler. Additionally, going for a larger rear fan (140mm) isn't a terrible idea because depending on which motherboard you select, your cooler is unlikely to be directly aligned with the rear exhaust vent, 140mm gives you more scope in this regard.
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June 20, 2014 5:55:44 AM

Rammy said:
As a general compatibility check, the only issue you have is the motherboard, it shouldn't be compatible with the CPU cooler you have selected. If you want to use an air cooler, I'd recommend the ASRock or Asus solutions of Z87, or the ASRock, Asus or Gigabyte Z97s.

Any ambiguity over whether or not that cooler will fit is caused by the fact it can be rotated (against the flow of the case) which mean that it might appear as "compatible" on some lists, but in a practical sense is not, as it won't give good performance. It also depends on whether or not your graphics card has a backplate, as this can further reduce the width available (The 290 Tri-X does not).

The only other thing that springs to mind is the single 120mm case fan, it seems like an odd addition to this case. If you want good airflow, you more or less have to bin the stock fans as they are super-quiet but pretty weak. Replacing both with quality 120s is an option, but the front fan will still be too low in the case to really make a huge difference. Selecting a 230/200/140mm front fan puts it bang in the centre of the case, blowing towards your CPU cooler. Additionally, going for a larger rear fan (140mm) isn't a terrible idea because depending on which motherboard you select, your cooler is unlikely to be directly aligned with the rear exhaust vent, 140mm gives you more scope in this regard.


Hmm... How about the stock cooler? It should fit, but does it perform ok? I could get a liquid cooler or an more expensive air one when i OC, so if the stock one works i'm ok with using it.

The 140mm fans aren't that expensive so i'll get one of those then.

EDIT: I found Noctua P14 FLX fans in stock, getting one of those!

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jGFyqs
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a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2014 6:48:19 AM

It's your motherboard that is the problem, not the cooler. The MSI ITX boards use a CPU socket which is poorly located for air cooler compatibility.

Option 1
Change the motherboard to any of the models I listed, it shouldn't change your budget dramatically.

Option 2
Find a suitable cooler to match the motherboard, you are a bit limited in terms of air with this board.
Air - Any tower cooler with a 90-93mm fan should work, though do check the widths. Hyper 101, Hyper TX3, Xigmatek Loki, EVGA ACX ITX cooler, Silverstone AR02. If you want a good list of these, newegg has a good filter - link but I'd pick tower coolers over down-blowers in a Prodigy.
Closed loop - Anything with a 120/140mm radiator (Corsair H60 etc) goes on the rear exhaust vent without any issues. If you remove the ODD bay, then anything with a 240mm rad (Corsair H100i etc) should work fine.

The stock cooler is sufficient for cooling a non-overclocked i5, but my main argument against it is that if you have already spent the extra money on an overclock-capable i5 and overclocking motherboard, the expensive is fairly trivial to get a solid cooler. On a budget build, sticking with the stock cooler makes infinite sense, and as a short term solution for you it'd be fine.
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