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High-End SFF Gaming Case (micro ATX) - a way to keep it cool?

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April 3, 2012 2:23:17 PM

Hello,

I am building a new gaming PC, but I don't have much space so trying to use a small case with Micro-ATX and high-end parts.
The two cases I am focusing on are:

1) acubic CP715 (sorry for those who don't speak Japanese, but can more or less figure it out with the pictures/comments with sizes written!), full specs here
It comes with a 120mm fan in front panel, 92mm in back, and fits standard ATX PSU

2) Lian Li PC-V353 - no fans but good ventilation; room for 105mm CPU cooler and 140mm for PSU

While the parts all seem like they will fit both cases [Part List Here], I am worried about the cooling.

Are there cooling parts, even if expensive, to fit my needs? I will be honest I am a newb to cooling (which is why I'm coming to the experts here!), but I believe there needs to be some circulation and cooling for the video card/processor/power supply etc.

Thank you in advance and please let me know if I can provide any more clarity.

More about : high end sff gaming case micro atx cool

a b ) Power supply
April 3, 2012 2:31:08 PM

if you want better cooling you can get the h60 or h80 cpu cooler if that case has an 120mm exhaust fan
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a b ) Power supply
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:45:35 PM

BeefNoBroccoli said:
Hello,

I am building a new gaming PC, but I don't have much space so trying to use a small case with Micro-ATX and high-end parts.
The two cases I am focusing on are:

1) acubic CP715 (sorry for those who don't speak Japanese, but can more or less figure it out with the pictures/comments with sizes written!), full specs here
It comes with a 120mm fan in front panel, 92mm in back, and fits standard ATX PSU

2) Lian Li PC-V353 - no fans but good ventilation; room for 105mm CPU cooler and 140mm for PSU

While the parts all seem like they will fit both cases [Part List Here], I am worried about the cooling.

Are there cooling parts, even if expensive, to fit my needs? I will be honest I am a newb to cooling (which is why I'm coming to the experts here!), but I believe there needs to be some circulation and cooling for the video card/processor/power supply etc.

Thank you in advance and please let me know if I can provide any more clarity.



OK firstly do not buy the Lian Li, as you cant fit a very large GPU in there at all, have a look at these from Silverstone as there small but do fit Large GPUs

Silverstone TJ08B-E Temjin Evolution, Black microATX Tower Case, Aluminium/Steel with USB 3.0


Dimensions: 210 x 374 x 385 (WxHxD mm)
Fan Bays: 1 x 120mm 1 x 180mm


Silverstone Fortress FT03B, Black, Micro-ATX Aluminum Mini Tower Case


Dimensions: 235 x 487 x 284 (WxHxD mm)
Fan Bays: 3 x 120mm 1 x 80/92 mm 2 x 80mm


I have both the FT03 and TJ08, both have GTX570 inside them and both are fitted with Corsair H80 CPU coolers, they are fantastic cases.
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Related resources
a b ) Power supply
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:49:35 PM

But if it must be cubed then try this for size.

Silverstone SG02B-F Evolution, Black, Micro-ATX SFF Mini-Cube Case

Dimensions: 270 x 212 x 393 (WxHxD mm)
Fan Bays: 3 x 80mm

Again ive built a high end system inside one of these for a friend, using a i52500+H61matx mb+GTX560
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a c 156 ) Power supply
a c 202 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:52:00 PM

Another case you might check out is the lian li V354. It has plenty of cooling:
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

I use a Silverstone TJ08E which also would be good.
The front 180mm fan is on slow speed, and undervolted. It provides all the cooling you need for a GTX680. No rear fan is needed either.
It holds a full sized air cooler. I use a Prolimatech megahalems.

But, I have some thoughts and a different suggestion.

First of all, the GTX680 is as good as it gets today, and with the 28nm construction, it does not seem to get hot or loud.
Cooling may not be the problem you think it is.

Next, games rarely use more than two or three fast cores.
No doubt, you are building a top of the line, no holds barred gaming sustem, and you want some portability.

With the imminent launch of ivy bridge, I suggest you consider waiting for the 3770K, the follow on to the 2600K. It will be 10% faster, and who knows how well it will OC. In general, the current 2600K competes well in games with the 3960X. Check that out. ivy bridge, with a oc should do better.

For a small form factor case, you can get Z68 based ITX motherboards. But what I am really interested in is the ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE:
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z7...

Put it in a lian li Q08 case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I am using one, as a backup and the 140mm intake fan will be all you need for cooling.
It also comes in red anodized aluminum which is a stunning color.
I am considering using it as a main pc when ivy bridge launches.

You will also want a modular psu for a small case. 550w will do it for a gtx680, but I would look at 650-750w to provide for the possibility of a stronger dual chip gpu if you ever need one.
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a b ) Power supply
a b 4 Gaming
April 3, 2012 2:54:36 PM

And heres another good one from Lian LI

Lian-Li PC-V354B Cube, Black Mini Tower Case, Aluminium, Card Reader/ USB 3.0, MicroATX



Dimensions: 245 x 320 x 420 (WxHxD mm)
Fan Bays: 2 x 120mm 1 x 140mm

This ones more expensive than the rest, but again ive built a high end system in one of these for my brother which included an OCd 2600k @ 4.5ghz with a H80 cpu cooler, MSI Z68MA-G45 mobo and a GTX 570 gpu fitted by removing the bottom HDD cage.
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April 4, 2012 12:21:16 AM

Thank you for the quick replies!

I can't use the TJ08B-E/FT03, and while the SG02 could fit I didn't like it because it doesn't have USB 3.0

The Lian-Li PC-V354B will stick out a bit so less desirable, but can work if needed.

FYI my restrictions for size are:
1) 335mm (h) x 335mm (w) x 390mm (d) <-- it can stick out a little further than 390mm, but ideally not too much
2) 150mm (h) x 600mm (w) x 360mm (d) <-- can these shaped cases fit cpu coolers (?)

Before I resort to the Lian-Li V354, I just want to understand: what are the reasons I can't use the first two options I suggested?

The acubic CP715 will fit 270mm GPU, and the Lian Li V353 will fit 300mm GPU, both of which should accommodate the GTX680 which is 256mm - right? (I will only have one HDD and one SDD in my build)

Also the acubic715 (which I am now leaning towards) has a 120mm front fan and space for a 92mm rear one - if I put in a Liquid Cooling - ECO II 92 or a Asetec 545LC 92mm Performance Liquid CPU Cooler in the rear (or are there better options?), would that provide ample cooling?

geofelt - very valid point on ivy bridge. I want to have this PC by early May at the latest to play Diablo 3, so maybe I'll get a cheaper CPU (2600K?) and upgrade once ivy bridge is out. Or if the 3770k will come out this month, that will work and save me a few $ too!

Thank you again for your replies, I'm getting excited to build this, just want to be certain on the cooling part!
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a b ) Power supply
April 4, 2012 12:27:20 AM

Hi :) 

My computer shops build high end custom gaming machines...

We NEVER build them in anything smaller than a Server tower....

Thats because of the size of graphics cards and COOLING....

You are asking for trouble building a gaming machine into ANY small case...cube or anything else...

All the best Brett :) 
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a c 156 ) Power supply
a c 202 4 Gaming
April 4, 2012 1:52:34 AM

BeefNoBroccoli said:
Thank you for the quick replies!

I can't use the TJ08B-E/FT03, and while the SG02 could fit I didn't like it because it doesn't have USB 3.0

The Lian-Li PC-V354B will stick out a bit so less desirable, but can work if needed.

FYI my restrictions for size are:
1) 335mm (h) x 335mm (w) x 390mm (d) <-- it can stick out a little further than 390mm, but ideally not too much
2) 150mm (h) x 600mm (w) x 360mm (d) <-- can these shaped cases fit cpu coolers (?)

Before I resort to the Lian-Li V354, I just want to understand: what are the reasons I can't use the first two options I suggested?

The acubic CP715 will fit 270mm GPU, and the Lian Li V353 will fit 300mm GPU, both of which should accommodate the GTX680 which is 256mm - right? (I will only have one HDD and one SDD in my build)

Also the acubic715 (which I am now leaning towards) has a 120mm front fan and space for a 92mm rear one - if I put in a Liquid Cooling - ECO II 92 or a Asetec 545LC 92mm Performance Liquid CPU Cooler in the rear (or are there better options?), would that provide ample cooling?

geofelt - very valid point on ivy bridge. I want to have this PC by early May at the latest to play Diablo 3, so maybe I'll get a cheaper CPU (2600K?) and upgrade once ivy bridge is out. Or if the 3770k will come out this month, that will work and save me a few $ too!

Thank you again for your replies, I'm getting excited to build this, just want to be certain on the cooling part!


I measured. The lian li Q08 is 230w x 285H x 350D

The main intake fan is 140mm, and I think it spins at 1200rpm. It seems very adequate.
If the airflow is insufficient, it can be replaced with a faster(and noisier) fan.

The best cooler I can find that fits the case without impacting the psu is a downdraft cooler, the Thermalright AXP140.
I figure it will do a good job of getting heat off of the cpu chip, and the case fans are strong enough to get the air out of the case.
http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/product_page/cpu...

In general, I would avoid the all in one water cooling kits. They want you to use up a 120mm fan spot to use as an INTAKE for air to cool the cpu. It does that, but then it disrupts the airflow in the rest of the case. And you need that for the graphics card more than the cpu.

If you use a gold rated psu, it will not by itself generate lots of heat. Modular is good because you will not use half of the leads on a typical 650w psu.
Seasonic makes about the best. You also want one that is not overly long for a small case.
Here is the Seasonic 650w unit:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might want to read some threads on builds using small form factor cases.
Here is a huge one:
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1481013



It is my understanding tha the Z77 motherboards will launch in a week or two, and the 4 core ivy bridge chips will be available April 29.
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a b ) Power supply
a b 4 Gaming
April 4, 2012 2:00:10 AM

what ever you get make sure you get some variable speed high cfm fans. as your case will be so small cooling will be more of an issue in such a small case i would consider either yate loon or scyth gentle typhoon both manufacturers do fans that can push up to 120cfm through your case... (they wont be quiet at full speed but will give excellent results but if you get the variable speed 1s it will be quiet when your idle)

http://www.scythe-eu.com/en/products/fans/120mm.html

http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/20252144/Scythe-Gentle-Ty... this 1 claims to pull 150+cfm which is huge.... but at 55db which is quite loud.
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April 4, 2012 4:44:28 AM

geofelt said:
I measured. The lian li Q08 is 230w x 285H x 350D

The main intake fan is 140mm, and I think it spins at 1200rpm. It seems very adequate.
If the airflow is insufficient, it can be replaced with a faster(and noisier) fan.

The best cooler I can find that fits the case without impacting the psu is a downdraft cooler, the Thermalright AXP140.
I figure it will do a good job of getting heat off of the cpu chip, and the case fans are strong enough to get the air out of the case.
http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/product_page/cpu...

In general, I would avoid the all in one water cooling kits. They want you to use up a 120mm fan spot to use as an INTAKE for air to cool the cpu. It does that, but then it disrupts the airflow in the rest of the case. And you need that for the graphics card more than the cpu.

If you use a gold rated psu, it will not by itself generate lots of heat. Modular is good because you will not use half of the leads on a typical 650w psu.
Seasonic makes about the best. You also want one that is not overly long for a small case.
Here is the Seasonic 650w unit:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might want to read some threads on builds using small form factor cases.
Here is a huge one:
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1481013



It is my understanding tha the Z77 motherboards will launch in a week or two, and the 4 core ivy bridge chips will be available April 29.


Thanks for your reply, I actually saw and liked the Lian Li Q08 when doing research originally, but it didn't support Micro ATX (only Mini ITX). It seems that the new Z77 motherboards will have a mini-ITX model (true?) - in which case will the performance still be good compared to the micro ATX/full sized ATX?

I added the Gold Seasonic 650w to my parts list, thank you for the recommendation. I presume there is no need for more than 650w?

Last related question then - according to Lian Li website, there is a 140mm front fan, 120mm top fan, and 110mm room for cpu cooler height.
Sounds like I should put a Thermalright AXP140 in the 140mm front fan, what do you recommend for the 120mm spot (scythe 120mm per HEXiT's comment?) and do I need something else on top of the cpu for the 110mm room that I have?

Thank you very much.
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April 4, 2012 11:10:13 AM

One more point - now that it would be a Mini-ITX (as opposed to Mico ATX) I researched some other models. Only one worth mentioning is from this same Japanese company: http://abee.co.jp/Product/CASE/acubic/T20R/index.html

It has front and rear 120mm fans, plus 170mm for cooling! Do you this could be better than the Lian Li Q08 which has front 140mm, top 120mm, and only 110mm for cpu cooling?

Thanks.
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Best solution

a c 156 ) Power supply
a c 202 4 Gaming
April 4, 2012 4:10:01 PM

The japanese itx case you linked to looks attractive. I presume it's dimensions will fit your space.
But, I see only one 120mm intake fan, and not a lot of intake area, so I don't think it will be a very good cooling case.

The 110mm height limit on the Q08 does restrict the type of cpu cooler to a downdraft type cooler vs. the tower types which can be larger and more efficient.
The Thermalright AXP-140 is a downdraft cpu cooler with a 140mm fan. I would expect it to be very good in extracting heat from the cpu chip.

Past that, you do not NEED to do more for cooling, at least until you have tried things out. I find the front 140mm fan that is included to be quite good. It will have a led strobe type light which you may not want, but it can be disabled or the fan replaced. A 140mm fan is somewhat comparable to two 120mm fans. Just calculate the ratio of intake areas.

If you should need more than a 1200rpm front intake fan, there are a number of options.
Some have used the noctua Noctua NF-P14 FLX , primarily because it is quieter. Possibly, it has a slightly higher airflow.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is easy to replace the q08 front fan. It comes out easily to clean the intake filter.
Here is a scythe 1700 rpm 140mm fan:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There is a noise trade off with higher rpm fans. I suggest you try everything stock first and then evaluate if there is a better trade off option for you.

On the motherboard side, I am really enthused about the ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE. It seems to have top strength power management which is attractive for high overclocks. I personally don't like to fiddle with voltages, and will accept more conservative overclocks. It has a 8 pin aux cpu power connector, while most small itx boards have 4. Asus delivered early on the first P67 based M-ATX motherboard when sandy bridge was first launched. I am still using the P8P67-M PRO.
Based on that, I would expect to see the itx variant at launch. The board exists; there are several previews. Here is one:
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1872/3/

By comparison, here is a Z68 based ITX motherboard. Nothing wrong with it, really. It might not OC quite as high, and would be an excellent choice in the absence of the P8Z77-I Deluxe:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As to power, I can't see the need for more than 650w. A cpu, ram, dvd, ssd, hdd, and an oc will not need more than 150-200w. Most of the power draw comes from a strong graphics card. GTX680 is in the area of 200w. Card manufacturers want to limit the power draw of cards to 300w. That can be delivered by two 8 pin pci-e power connectors. Add in 75w max for the slot, and we are well below what any single card should draw, even with dual gpu chips.

Start looking for that GTX680. They are hard do find unless you will pay $100 premium to ebay speculators.
Check EVGA directly too, they may list it on their web site first.
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April 4, 2012 10:19:45 PM

I see! I was confused thinking that the Thermalright AXP-140 would be 140mm, but I understand now what you were saying that this should work as the heatsink in the 110mm space that I have with the Q08, with the default case fans (to start with at least).

I also looked up the reviews for the P8Z77-i Deluxe since my last post and I can see it is compared to the power of the full ATX boards so I'm not so concerned anymore (rather getting quite excited!).

I will try it out with these parts - first finding the GTX680 first is also a good idea so I will get started with that.

Thank you SO much for all your help in answering my questions!!!!
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April 4, 2012 10:20:14 PM

Best answer selected by BeefNoBroccoli.
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