DTX Lives! Four Double-Slot Cases For ITX Gaming Machines

Test Setup

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-2600K: 3.4-3.8 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache, Stock
MotherboardZotac H67ITX-A-E: Intel H67 Express PCH, BIOS 2.02.1205 (12/15/2010)
RAMG.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1600 at DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24
GraphicsGigabyte GV-N560SO-1GI: 1000 MHz GTX 560Ti GPU, 1.0 GB GDDR5-4580
Hard DriveWD WD3000HLFS: 300 GB, 10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSilverStone SST-ST45SF: 450 W, ATX12V v2.2, 80 PLUS Broze, SFX
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 266.66
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1019


A powerful CPU is required to push high-end graphics cards to peak performance. Intel’s Core i7-2600K fits that bill perfectly.

Here’s where our build will befuddle many up-and-coming enthusiasts. Our processor doesn’t care how small the case is, and will operate at full performance as long as it’s kept at or below 98° Celsius. Lacking a small enough performance-oriented CPU cooler to fit within the tiny confines of our smallest case, we were stuck with Intel’s retail-boxed unit.

Had we a high-end, low-profile cooler, it may not have fit our motherboard. Zotac’s H67-ITX is packed with features, but any CPU cooler wider than 100 mm will block its PCI Express slot. We’ve noticed that this problem is consistent across Asus and ECS products also.

Since we never got a chance to review Zotac’s board, we thought it prudent to include the full set of images above. This board does not support manual memory adjustments, but does include the additional memory voltage controls needed for certain modules. The third BIOS image is more important, as users must manually increasethe fan speed limit to 100% in order for the Core i7-2600K to operate normally with its stock cooler. We have no idea why Zotac would artificially lower the maximum CPU fan speed by default, since its “smart controls” prevent that limit from being reached unless it’s actually needed.

G.Skill's DDR3-1600 CAS 8 modules defaulted to DDR3-1333 CAS 9. We were hoping for DDR3-1333 CAS 8 at least, since our motherboard’s BIOS doesn’t support manual configuration.

Thermal testing requires a constant, high-load level that’s hard to reach with most of today’s performance graphics cards. That’s because most of the latest enthusiast-oriented products respond to a constantly-high load by dropping their clocks to cope. The only current-generation high-end card we had on hand that doesn’t exhibit this behavior is Gigabyte’s GV-N560SO-1GI.

Many builders might think we're crazy for using a 450 W power supply in today’s configuration. Yet, SilverStone was certain its SFX form-factor ST45SF would be up to the task. Our non-overclocked CPU contributed to a combined CPU and GPU full load power draw of 420 W, which means the unit was only being tasked with a 374 W output according to its 80 PLUS report.

The ST45SF includes a PS/2 form-factor adapter plate.

Our motherboard didn’t include any right-angle cables, so we dug a pair of SilverStone’s 90° cables out of our collection.

Two of our cases required slim optical drives, so we ordered Samsung’s low-cost SN-S083 DVD writer, along with a store-brand mini-SATA adapter cable.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFT's, 7-threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1280x1024, 8X AA, Stability Test
Minimum and maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.60Highest core reading at full CPU load (60 minutes)
Highest core reading at 30 minutes idle
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB), A-weighting
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61 comments
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  • iam2thecrowe
    the silverstone sg06b is the only one that looks any good (not great though). the rest are just plain ugly.
    -4
  • Darkerson
    iam2thecrowethe silverstone sg06b is the only one that looks any good (not great though). the rest are just plain ugly.

    Opinion = Fact?

    Anyway, I actually like Cubitek's case. Sure, it looks like it would be a pain to make changes to when doing upgrades or whatnot, but nothing is perfect. If it had a handle on top or something, Id probably use it for LAN parties and the such.
    0
  • Crashman
    hmp_goosePst: Guys! Ya' flip the plexglass vent on the SG07! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/h [...] c?page=0,1
    Thanks! But if you're building a new system...better still, use a single-fan GPU cooler and the foam air guide! Imagine this beast with a GTX 580!
    0
  • gti88
    Nice article. Very informative.
    1
  • Anonymous
    Oh wow, lets reinvent a box that holds computer parts, accomplishing the exact same thing all other computer cases before it did, only this version will suck a little bit harder.
    -4
  • Crashman
    m84092Oh wow, lets reinvent a box that holds computer parts, accomplishing the exact same thing all other computer cases before it did, only this version will suck a little bit harder.
    So, you're saying you'd have preferred an AT desktop case roundup?
    0
  • Onus
    I would like to have seen the PC-Q08 tested with the blower-style cooler. I cannot imagine how that could have been omitted.
    Otherwise, it was an interesting read.
    0
  • Crashman
    jtt283I would like to have seen the PC-Q08 tested with the blower-style cooler. I cannot imagine how that could have been omitted. Otherwise, it was an interesting read.
    The PC-Q08 didn't fail.
    1
  • Anonymous
    and the advantage of any of these over a "lunchbox" style mATX case is?
    -1
  • K2N hater
    These rigs aren't only way better to carry around but also look awesome on the table. Wondering if the noise is bearable with a 6990 installed...
    1
  • stingstang
    It doesn't matter how small the case is for desktop portability. Put a handle on any ATX case and there ya go. What matters is all the cables, monitors, and speakers, keyboards, and mice you have to lug around with it. If there's a better solution for cable management then zip ties around, these cases would be more useless than they already are. Better looking, too.
    -1
  • nukemaster
    With some tweaks you can get a Geminii S(you have to re-drill the mounting bracket on some, not others) with a low profile fan and 2 3.5 inch drives :)

    Or 1 drive and a normal fan(take a bit of work.)

    http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/1414/dsc0348n.jpg
    0
  • pletopia
    whats the largest video card that will fit in the SG07? The website says 5970 will fit but i'm more interested to know which 6xxx radeon i'd be able to stuff in there. Have been planning on building a rig with that case since Sandy Bridge came out, only the chipset snafu has me waiting on the sidelines atm.
    0
  • Crashman
    pletopiawhats the largest video card that will fit in the SG07? The website says 5970 will fit but i'm more interested to know which 6xxx radeon i'd be able to stuff in there. Have been planning on building a rig with that case since Sandy Bridge came out, only the chipset snafu has me waiting on the sidelines atm.
    6970 and GTX 580 both fit, the dimensions are on Page 1!
    0
  • Crashman
    nukemasterWith some tweaks you can get a Geminii S(you have to re-drill the mounting bracket on some, not others) with a low profile fan and 2 3.5 inch drives Or 1 drive and a normal fan(take a bit of work.)http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/1414/dsc0348n.jpg
    That really depends on two other things that have nothing to do with height:
    1.) The motherboard used (as well as most other LGA 1155 boards) only has room for a 100mm cooler. For a 120mm cooler to fit, it has to be 10mm off-center, away from the graphics cards.
    2.) Additional offset (more than 10mm) is required for any heat pipes that protrude from the "short" side.

    Tom's Hardware should probably do a cooler roundup to figure out which low-profile designs actually fit this type of motherboard without blocking off the graphics card slot.
    2
  • nukemaster
    Anonymous said:
    That really depends on two other things that have nothing to do with height:
    1.) The motherboard used (as well as most other LGA 1155 boards) only has room for a 100mm cooler. For a 120mm cooler to fit, it has to be 10mm off-center, away from the graphics cards.
    2.) Additional offset (more than 10mm) is required for any heat pipes that protrude from the "short" side.

    Tom's Hardware should probably do a cooler roundup to figure out which low-profile designs actually fit this type of motherboard without blocking off the graphics card slot.

    Its an H55 board(H55N USB3), so same spacing as yours(or damn close) :)

    AXP 140 fits without mods(unless there are components on the back of the board that get in the way)
    Samuel 17 fits

    It is said that the Shuriken(not the big shuriken) fits as well.

    Or my first cooler for my MCE system. The stock Core2 cooler with bolts/nuts and rubber spacers.
    http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/3787/dsc0225zv.jpg

    I do think you should do a review for heatsinks that fit in SFF cases....
    0
  • ta152h
    The point about BTX is ill-informed. There were actually a LOT of BTX form factors sold; massive amounts. They were often sold by makes like Dell. So, it wasn't a failed standard at all, it just never caught on in the hobbyist market.
    -1
  • Onus
    CrashmanThe PC-Q08 didn't fail.

    True, but seeing how much better it was might help people decide how much overclocking they can do.
    I have a MSI GTX460 "Cyclone" installed in mine. It exhausts none of its heat, which I think limits how well the CPU can be cooled.
    Another point to make is that the PSU can be mounted either way in the PC-Q08, either drawing its own air through the side vent, or helping to cool the CPU by pulling its air from inside the case.
    0
  • dainsane1
    i do like the lian-li cases. good to see they stack up well. so surprised to see the tiny one win. i jammed a q8200 and a gtx460 into a lian-li PC-Q07B. it took some hacking of the case and just fit the video card. had to add 4x 40mm fans at the bottom and a blower at the top. the thing screams when the fans are at full speed. soon as i can get hold of a milling machine the whole case will become part of the water cooling system.
    0