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How to choose a cooling system for a performance gaming desktop in Mini-itx case

Last response: in Overclocking
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Cooling for performance gaming desktop in Mini-itx case

Total: 2 votes

  • Change cooling components, stick with air cooling
  • 50 %
  • Build a custom liquid-cooling system
  • 0 %
  • Switch back to full-size ATX case+board
  • 50 %
  • No worry, you are good, :)
  • 0 %
April 28, 2014 9:44:26 PM

Hello guys,
I plan to build a mini-itx desktop, but I'm so worry about the cooling issue since I will use an overclocked GPU and a k-series CPU. Should I keep my build now or I need a change?

After looking for a while, I realized I have 3 options:
1. Choose a different CPU cooler, fans, components,design a better arrangement for the air flow. ( the easiest, and most preferable choice, but need some solid advice.)
2. Start build a custom water cooling system. ( I never done it before, and I also doubt the space in this Itx case.)
3. Change to a full-size ATX mobo+case.(which I don't really want because of the outlook.)

The following is my component list:
Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core
CPU Cooler Corsair H80i 77.0 CFM Liquid
Motherboard Asus Maximus VI Impact Mini ITX LGA1150
Memory Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866
Storage Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" SSD
Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM
Video Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB WINDFORCE
Case Fractal Design Node 304 (White) Mini ITX Tower
Power Supply Corsair HX650W ATX12V / EPS12V

Thanks!
a b K Overclocking
April 29, 2014 12:49:01 AM

You are basically fine, more or less. What I would say is that in this case, on that motherboard, air cooling makes a lot more sense. You have loads of room for a big tower cooler, someone even managed to fit the huge Phanteks PH-TC14 in one - link.
You don't have a huge amount of flexibility on the airflow side of things, the case has three fans and using a H80i or some of the larger tower coolers means removing the rear fan and using the cooler to self-exhaust. The front fans are pretty small so won't move huge amounts of air, even at full speed, but in terms of it's basic airflow the case is about as good as it gets at these sort of sizes. To get more options, you have to step up to something like a Bitfenix Prodigy which is a lot bigger.

It's not really a case which favours a custom water cooling solution, so I'd more or less rule that out immediately. To cool your graphics as well as your CPU (which you kinda have to or else it's just a load of money with little return) you'll probably need at least a 240mm rad (or multiple smaller ones - see the watercooling sticky for more info). This pushes you more towards the Bitfenix Prodigy and Corsair 250D, both of which have support for a 240mm rad with space for additional ones. Alternatively, there is the semi-custom solution of the EVGA Hadron Hydro, which might take a hit on performance but keeps things in a pretty tight package.

There isn't any need to jump to a full sized case, but there are plenty of intermediate steps if you feel that you want a better balance of size versus room/flexibility. There are conventional compact small towers like the Fractal Design Arc Mini as well as less conventional small-footprint designs like the Silverstone FT03, both of which take mATX boards.

As a general observation, this is a very expensive build (which I'm sure you are aware). There is nothing wrong with it, but more or less everything is potentially more expensive than it has to be, which will eat away a lot at your value:p erformance ratio. It's quite likely, depending on your needs, that you could half (or even more) your budget and still come out with a suitable solution.
April 29, 2014 8:06:57 AM

Rammy said:
You are basically fine, more or less. What I would say is that in this case, on that motherboard, air cooling makes a lot more sense. You have loads of room for a big tower cooler, someone even managed to fit the huge Phanteks PH-TC14 in one - link.
You don't have a huge amount of flexibility on the airflow side of things, the case has three fans and using a H80i or some of the larger tower coolers means removing the rear fan and using the cooler to self-exhaust. The front fans are pretty small so won't move huge amounts of air, even at full speed, but in terms of it's basic airflow the case is about as good as it gets at these sort of sizes. To get more options, you have to step up to something like a Bitfenix Prodigy which is a lot bigger.

It's not really a case which favours a custom water cooling solution, so I'd more or less rule that out immediately. To cool your graphics as well as your CPU (which you kinda have to or else it's just a load of money with little return) you'll probably need at least a 240mm rad (or multiple smaller ones - see the watercooling sticky for more info). This pushes you more towards the Bitfenix Prodigy and Corsair 250D, both of which have support for a 240mm rad with space for additional ones. Alternatively, there is the semi-custom solution of the EVGA Hadron Hydro, which might take a hit on performance but keeps things in a pretty tight package.

There isn't any need to jump to a full sized case, but there are plenty of intermediate steps if you feel that you want a better balance of size versus room/flexibility. There are conventional compact small towers like the Fractal Design Arc Mini as well as less conventional small-footprint designs like the Silverstone FT03, both of which take mATX boards.

As a general observation, this is a very expensive build (which I'm sure you are aware). There is nothing wrong with it, but more or less everything is potentially more expensive than it has to be, which will eat away a lot at your value:p erformance ratio. It's quite likely, depending on your needs, that you could half (or even more) your budget and still come out with a suitable solution.


This is a great advice, and relieve me a bit.:) 
I'm thinking to change my original case front/side fans for a better cooling, and do nothing specifically on cooling my graphic. Do you think this will work in this case?

My components are still on the way, so I have to wait for a few days.
If this does not work out, I will try to change my case.

Thanks
!