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Help my boyfriend and I build our very first mini-ITX Gaming PC

Hi everybody, my boyfriend and I are looking to build our first computer together.  Both of us have decided on mini-ITX builds, his will probably look identical to mine except for 16GB instead of 32GB DDR4 ram and he won't need the bluray drive.  So far these are the parts we have picked out :


Fractal Design Core 500 Black Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case
Gigabyte Motherboard GA-H170N-WIFI Core I7/I5/I3 LGA1151 H170 DDR4 mITX
G.SKILL Ripjaws V F4-2133C15D-32GVR DDR4-2133 32GB (2X16GB) CL15 1.2V Memory Kit Red
Corsair SF Series SF600 80 PLUS Gold Certified 600W Small Form Factor PSU
SanDisk X400 512GB M.2 2280 SATA 3 Solid State Drive (SSD) 
Intel Core I7-6700 Processor 8M Cache 3.4GHZ Base 4GHZ Turbo FC-LGA14C LGA1151 Retail Box Skylake
LG BH16NS55 16x Blu-Ray Writer BD-R SATA M-DISC Black Retail Box
AMD RX 480 Polaris video card (when released end of the month)
ASUS MG248Q 24" Gaming Monitor 144hz freesync 1ms  (already bought this, wishing there was an IPS version of this, I like the 24" size and 1920x1080 resolution)


Questions/notes :
1.  The motherboard above I chose because the only Z170 motherboard I could find with good reviews (and no M.2 problems) is the ASRock Fatal1ty Gaming Z170 and it's $289.99 CAD at NewEgg.ca (not available on NCIX).  Since we are not planning to overclock, I picked the above Gigabyte board which has good reviews and decent price.  My question is, from the specs it only supports 2133Mhz DDR4 ram, so how come on pcpartpicker I am seeing other systems running 2400Mhz DDR4 ram with the same motherboard?

2.  The Corsair SF600 is I think the largest wattage PSU I can find that fits a small form factor.  From the specs it is 0.86kg which is approx 1.9 lb.  Does this mean it's really less than a third of the weight of regular size PSU's? (which I am seeing approx 6-8lb?)

3.  Is it worth it to get the more power efficient i7-6700T processor?  It's about the same price of a i7-6700K and i7-6700.  It doesn't seem too popular so I can't find much info on it.

4.  Do I need to buy Arctic Silver 5 to mount the stock Intel heatsink that comes with the i7-6700?  Or would I only need it for aftermarket CPU coolers?

5.  Would it be quieter to go with a water cooling setup or is it around the same as the stock heatsink if I am not overclocking?

6.  Do I need additional fans in the system?  If so which ones would you recommend for my build?  (which are the quietest these days?)

7.  The SanDisk X400 seems very inexpensive compared to other brands.  Is there a reason why?  Is the performance about the same?


We are both very excited and looking forward to building our very first gaming computers together  :-)
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Even if you bought 2400Mhz or higher ram, the motherboard will only allow you to run the ram modules ay 2133Mhz. That is the limitation of the H170, the only ram speed supported is 2133Mhz. You don't really need 32GB for gaming, 8 or 16GB would still be fine.

    If you are not planning to overclock with an i7 6700k then you don't need a Z170 motherboard.
    You could use the i7 6700T depending on the price but that cpu is more aimed for low power purposes, not gaming. The i7 6700 would be fine. You do not have to replace the thermal paste on the stock cpu cooler with the i7 6700. You can but you most likely would achieve better cooling performance by getting a better low-profile cpu cooler.
    You could go with an AIO cpu cooler but it will depend on whether you have the space to do so in your case. A decent low-profile air cpu cooler would still be fine and quiet for the same/lower price.

    You would also need a SFX to ATX adapter since the Core 500 does no suport SFX psus.
    http://www.corsair.com/en-gb/sfx-to-atx-psu-adapter-bracket
    You can add additional fans if you wanted to for more airflow but it is optional. If you run the fans at a low rpm, they would be quiet. You could choose to use brands like Noctua or Fractal's.

    The Sandisk X400 is aimed to be on the budget side, its performance is average compared to the performance SSD like the 850 EVO. It's speed is still good enough for a SSD.
  2. Hi Suztera, thanks for the reply.

    I have heard that aftermarket CPU coolers tend to be quieter and better performing than stock Intel heatsink. But I am overwhelmed by the selection of them out there! How do I choose which is the best for my system?

    The 32GB ... wouldn't it help with multitasking apps and opening multiple browser tabs at once? I do a lot of that.

    Thanks for telling me about the SFX to ATX adapter needed ... I didn't know! I did a search on Amazon.ca, NCIX, Canada Computers, DirectCanada, NewEgg.ca, eBay.ca, ... none of these places that ship to Canada carry this adapter bracket! Maybe I will stick to those EVGA power supplies which seem to have excellent reviews and are super quiet. Would you recommend one that fits this case?
  3. Best answer
    It will depend on the clearance you have within the case and the motherboard. With your choice, you could use a low porfile cpu cooler or something a bit more beefy.
    The Coolermaster 212EVO could be one option, another is Noctua NH-L9i. If you looking at low profile then, you could look at the silverstone ar06or be quiet! Shadow Rock LP.


    be quiet! Shadow Rock LP
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/9FGj4D/be-quiet-cpu-cooler-bk002

    Silverstone AR06
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/sV38TW/silverstone-cpu-cooler-ar06

    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/hmtCmG/cooler-master-cpu-cooler-rr212e20pkr2

    Noctua NH-L9i
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/xxphP6/noctua-cpu-cooler-nhl9i

    Noctua NH-L12
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/PP4gXL/noctua-cpu-cooler-nhl12

    EVGA G2 or GS or GQ series or higher psus are fine. Other options are the Corsair RMx or RMi series.
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/products/power-supply/#W=550,2000&sort=a9&page=1&e=4&m=14

    With Silverstone SFX psu, they should include a SFX to ATX bracket so if yous till want to go with SFX psus, that is another option.

    With ram it will depend how many tabs and the memory usage. If you actually use 32GB or near enough then it may be worth it.
  4. What's the overall budget you have for the build? That gives us a decent idea of where to start when we go to suggest parts or alternate builds.
  5. Suztera said:
    It will depend on the clearance you have within the case and the motherboard. With your choice, you could use a low porfile cpu cooler or something a bit more beefy.
    The Coolermaster 212EVO could be one option, another is Noctua NH-L9i. If you looking at low profile then, you could look at the silverstone ar06or be quiet! Shadow Rock LP.


    be quiet! Shadow Rock LP
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/9FGj4D/be-quiet-cpu-cooler-bk002

    Silverstone AR06
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/sV38TW/silverstone-cpu-cooler-ar06

    Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/hmtCmG/cooler-master-cpu-cooler-rr212e20pkr2

    Noctua NH-L9i
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/xxphP6/noctua-cpu-cooler-nhl9i

    Noctua NH-L12
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/product/PP4gXL/noctua-cpu-cooler-nhl12

    EVGA G2 or GS or GQ series or higher psus are fine. Other options are the Corsair RMx or RMi series.
    http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/products/power-supply/#W=550,2000&sort=a9&page=1&e=4&m=14

    With Silverstone SFX psu, they should include a SFX to ATX bracket so if yous till want to go with SFX psus, that is another option.

    With ram it will depend how many tabs and the memory usage. If you actually use 32GB or near enough then it may be worth it.


    Typically my recommendation is to go for Corsair LPX RAM, which always looks clean enough while providing enough headroom for coolers such as the Cryrorig H5/H7.
    By the way the 212 Evo does not fit with Ripjaws V ram due to the high profile heat sink and fan dimensions, requires some very annoying working around with modding and strange fan arrangements. (not recommended in short)
    See the Cooler Master product page for specifications regarding RAM clearance.

    Another option which I typically tend to recommend with mini ITX builds is AIO coolers with 120mm rads like the Corsair H60 which has typically been quiet and well performing through personal use in Mini ITX cases. It makes the build look very clean should the case have a window, and helps with airflow if the case is a bit tight lipped.

    I still like to recommend the i7 6700k even for non-overclockers.
    It offers a nice core clock improvement over the 6700, while also leaving the option to overclock in future (with a different mobo of course) and drastically improves the lifespan of the chip relative to performance at the cost of only $20.
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