Monday, November 30, 2015

Desktop Power in a Console Frame: Check out TheOriginalQ's Awesome Mini-ITX Build

Sometimes the Mini-ITX form factor is forgotten about, especially in the shadows of its bigger brothers. But while some might associate Mini-ITX with low-powered computers for office workers', these days that's anything but true.

Case and point is this build from TheOriginalQ on Reddit's Build a PC subreddit. TheOriginalQ  says that he wanted to move away from gaming laptops, and back to the power of a PC, but at the same time keep a small form factor too. 

Thanks to the GIGABYTE GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 Mini-ITX board he was able to do that. The Z170N Gaming 5 Mini-ITX board supports Intel's® latest 6th Gen. Core™ processor, DDR 4, and USB 3.1. Combined with a Mini-ITX sized video card (which there are plenty of from Nvidia and AMD), this small form factor PC can push through any game you can throw at it.

Check out these photos, courtesy of TheOriginalQ: 

But as TheOriginalQ mentions in his post, building a PC with such a small form factor is not without its challenges. The small form factor means its tough to fit everything inside, meaning the build took some careful pre-planning. Check out what he has to say about this challenge:

One of the toughest parts of this build was making everything was going to fit before I even purchased any of the parts. There is exactly 83mm of clearance between the top of the CPU and the edge of the case (thats not including the included case fan). This limited the selection of CPU coolers tremendously. There are plenty of heatsinks available, but the performance doesn't warrant the cost over a stock cooler. I ended up with the Noctua NH-L12. The full heatsink assembly when it comes out the box is 93mm tall, however, the neat thing about this heatsink is you can remove the top fan and it will work just fine with just the bottom 92mm fan, and it makes the total assembly only 66mm tall. Additionally, the layout of the case puts a 120mm fan directly over the CPU, so you can mount a slim (15mm thick) fan to the case blowing directly on the heatsink. This heatsink was almost made for this case.
In the end with a little patience TheOriginalQ was able to fit everything in the case. And despite the small form factor, the CPU and GPU coolers were still able to keep their respective components within tolerable ranges. TheOriginalQ reported that during burn testing the CPU was hitting 53°C to 55°C while the GPU was at 73°C to 74°C.

Of course, most importantly, it's able to play through the latest games with ease. Fallout 4 runs smooth as silk at 60fps on Ultra settings.

Here's the breakdown of the parts used for the build:

 You can check out a photo album of the entire build here. The original Reddit thread can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. that is what I was searching for a perfect blog about tech