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ITX HTPC build aka Adventures in Haswell

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Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
I picked up this sweet little Asus Maximus Impact VII ITX board with a 4770K and 16GB of DDR3 1866. It was the only Z97 I could find in this form factor that actually will service a PCIE 3x4 NVME by sharing half the lanes from the PCIE slot, so it should be pretty zippy with the Mushkin Pilot E I bought for it.

I'm going to get Windows installed and test out the temps and OC'ing of this thing. I know these were pretty easy to delid, so I may do that if I don't like the temps. I also have a Thermalright AXP-90I full copper 47mm tall heatsink incoming. I have a variety of water cooling gear I could throw at it too, but I am a little leery of doing that on top of my pretty expensive home theater electronics setup, even with my track record of zero leaks in 20 years, so I'll stick to air cooling for now. GPU will be the GT1030 as seen in the pics below, but if I want to game I may swap in my 1660 Super.

So here it is in my old Mountain Mods Pinnacle 24 case for S&G's, and it does look hilarious in such a big super tower.

What I need now is an ITX mini tower or desktop style case. I'm pondering the Ncase M1, Cooler Master NR200, and Fractal Node 202. max height tolerated will be 12" so it's the same height or shorter than my center channel. A friend suggested an even smaller cube case, but I don't know of any. I'm open to suggestions!

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stompah

Deep Pain Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2001
I have an old Shuttle PC. If you could find a barebones one you could swap all of that into it. (not the PSU)
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Everything depends on your budget as this is not a new setup so putting $300+ in SFX PSU and ITX case seems not the best idea.

Since these 3 cases listed in the #1 post are similar then below are some other ideas:
- In-Win Chopin - in case if you don't need a discrete graphics card, comes with a pretty good 150W PSU
- In-Win A1 - not cheap but comes with a PSU and looks pretty good
- Raijintek Metis - budget and small option but I recommend SFX PSU and won't support more than ~170mm long graphics card, side window is not the best quality but everything else is pretty good
- Lian-Li TU150 - if you want a window
- Jonsbo A4 - similar to these 3 in the 1st post
- Jonsbo C2 - full alu cube, no window and quite compact but inexpensive
- Streacom DA2-V2 - well designed but expensive and can be larger than some other cases from the list, I'm modding one right now and I guess I will finish by the end of the weekend
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Nice options to browse there, Woomack. Thanks.

I did start playing with the rig tonight. The NVME drive was listed as present but not usable as a boot drive during the Win10 install. I downloaded the latest bios from Asus, which happened to be a 2018 beta bios. Nice support there, putting a bios up four years after the last one. Reflashed the mainboard with it. The bios showed more options for NVME drives and the Windows installer immediately recognized it as a potential boot drive. Machine is fully updated and purring along now. I Prime95'ed it with the G3258 OEM heatsink. Copper sleeved aluminum heatsink. CPU pulled about 80W total, but 50W package power, which seems odd to me. I can't imagine the FIVR pulling that much power, but does anyone here know? It thermal throttled pretty fast at 100C and brought down the power limits on its own. I didn't expect much from it, but now I'm looking forward to my Thermalright to come in to tame that a bit.

For a more real world test, I load up some 4K Youtube videos. Of course my DDR4 GT1030 shrugs it off and takes a nap, even though the ram is crap. GPU NVENC hardware decoding FTW. Unplugged it and decided to lean on the integrated graphics instead. 4K stutters pretty bad with a lot of contrast in scenes. 1080P is tolerable depending on the scene. One stutter ever couple seconds or so. I haven't enabled XMP or OC'ed at all, but it's still enlightening.

I think the GT1030 will be a temporary resident of this rig unless I want to do some 1080P gaming in my living room.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Got myself an Ncase M1 and EVGA 550W SFX PSU on order. Should be a fun build.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Ncase M1 unboxing. It came super fast from Asia. Through Los Angeles customs to my door in less than 24 hours. Arrived four days ahead of schedule.



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- - - Auto-Merged Double Post - - -

Initial build.

Asus Maximus Impact VII
i7 4770K 3.5GHz, 4.3GHz boost
2x8GB Gskill 1866 DDR3
Mushkin Pilot-E 500GB
MSI GT1030 DDR4 GPU
Thermalright AXP90-I heatsink.
Aerocool 120mm intake fans on low noise adapters
Be Quiet 92mm exhaust fan (a lot cheaper than Noctua)

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Spot the n00b mistake. And IHS surgery for Conductonaut. Shorted the SMDs with too much TIM, so I had to clean and reapply.

Stock P95 load, no AVX: 98C, thermal throttled to 3.8GHz.
Conductonaut re-lid P95 load, no AVX: 83C, 4.3GHz solid.

Going to try to squeak out some extra clocks on it on air. I do have a brand new black copper Heatkiller IV CPU block, but I kind of have an issue tempting the electronics gods by water cooling this on top of my home theater system.

The IGPU is completely inadequate for 4K streaming on Youtube. Stutters and other lagginess. 1080P is tolerable, but not perfect. Using even this POS 1030 with junky DDR4 is far superior with it's hardware NVDEC/NVENC acceleration.

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OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
More shenanigans. The 4770K makes me nervous with LM TIM and non-insulated surface parts, so I pulled it back out to use nail polish as the conformal insulating coating.

Next: Ripped the lid off a brand new old stock G3258 to give it the LM treatment from the get go. Doing it right the first time.

Observation: The G3258 had a different OEM TIM under the IHS than the 4770K. The Pentium had a thicker dark grey TIM where the Core chip had a white, thinner TIM. Makes me wonder if the G3258 got the Haswell Refresh / Devil's Canyon TIM treatment. No matter, Conductonaut for you both!

Also, took two of my 2133 ram sticks out of my 2600K to replace the 1866 sticks that came with this Asus board. Everything I'd read indicates that the Haswells can run higher ram speeds far easier than Sandy Bridge.
 

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Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I guess that the CPU cooler is enough but if you wish for something larger/better then I guess that Noctua NH-U9S should fit. You can also check if fan orientation on the CPU cooler helps as it should help with the heat from around the socket. I'm not sure if it's going to improve anything but can always try.

G3258 was fun for benching. I remember I had some nice results with my CPU. I still have Maximus V Gene and delidded 3770K somewhere in the boxes. I guess it's still prepared for benching.

In the last week, I installed 11600K+Biostar Z590 ITX+RTX3060 inside Jonsbo U1 Plus ... and it's been mining since then as I had no idea what else I can do with this build :p
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Yeah, I could fit a small tower heatsink in there if I wanted. The downflow sinks do flow some air across the VRMs which I like. I have some custom water gear laying around I can use to squeeze more, too.

Did some initial testing on the Pentium last night. It barely pulls over 20W and 43C on Prime95 despite a TDP in the 50s. Set XMP timings and it booted without a hitch on 2133 ram speeds.
Played around with some SuperPi and the ram speed helped a bit, but I shaved a ton off by going straight for 4.2GHz. Voltage there was only 1.176V from the 1.02V at stock. Very thrifty on power consumption. Going to be fun working my way to 5GHz on air.
 
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Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Ok, got some more testing in. Left to its own devices, the motherboard auto-boosts the Vcore as requested clock rate increases, and it's pretty darn accurate. Vcore doesn't flinch with load either. The only time I had to manually boost voltage was to stabilize 4.8GHz, which seems to be the max for this cooling combo at 65W and 75C load at around 2krpm on the CPU fan. The mobo was giving 1.39V but would give random BSODs, so I cranked it to 1.425V and it was rock solid. I think I could trim that down to 1.40V. 32M Superpi is down to 8 minutes (if my mental notes are right).

All in all, an easy 50% overclock from the stock 3.2GHz, on a low profile heatsink as well. I'll chart some more numbers soon.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
More notes:

5.0GHz no go even at 1.5V. It won't load into Windows.
4.8GHz needs 1.425V. Couldn't drop it to 1.40V without BSODing.

For general usability, the cores load up when changing timestamps in Youtube, but streaming is fine since the GPU is doing all the decode work. Cores also load up when loading multiple web pages. I'm sure it would be a bit better if it was Hyperthreaded, but sadly it isn't. Furmark maxes out both cores.

So, I could use it as a stream box and general browsing CPU, but it is clear that in today's world and my targeted use case, 4C/8T on the 4770K is going to give a better experience.

Next up: finishing the LM TIM on the 4770K and clocking the snot out of it, too.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Finished the LM TIM on the 4770k last night and reinstalled it. No issues running 3.5-3.9GHz on stock volts around 1.06V or so. Cranking it to 4.2GHz needed 1.2V. On P95 it pulls 135W and 98C, and the VRM goes to 76C. Pretty much maxing out the heatsink's capabilities, and it's throttling down to 3.8GHz again. Think I might need to inspect my TIM application again. Something seems funky.
 

David

Forums Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
Dumb question - does it behave better if you place the case on its side? Could the heatsink be leaning off the board if the mounting isn't quite right?
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Every time I've removed the heatsink I've had a good grease imprint. It's pretty dummy proof, but I'll be checking it.

Or maybe my voltage/wattage is just out to lunch right now.....
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
I think I accidentally had AVX enabled in P95 on that last run. CPU runs at 80C and 100W without it on. Pretty much a decent maximum for this heatsink. I'm going to put this on a custom water loop and see what happens to temperatures with that.

The thermal efficiency is pretty well in line with what I had on the G3258. You really don't want to push more than about 125W or so through this Thermalright low profile heatsink. Which still works really darn well for a 92x15mm fan at 2000rpm.

Code:
Bios defaults: 3.9GHz. 1.16V
P95: 85W core. CPU 74C. VRM ~60C. .6 C/W
4.0GHz. 1.148V. XMP 2T
P95: 85W core. CPU 75C. VRM ~60C. 
4.2GHz. 1.173V. BSOD
4.2GHz. 1.198V. 
P95: 100W core. CPU 80C. VRM ~63C. .56 C/W. Comfortable max on LP HSF.
P95 AVX: 122W core. CPU 93C. VRM ~65C. ~.565 C/W. No throttle.
AVX2: crash.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
So I went full stupid again. I water cooled it.

Iceman DDC reservoir, XSPC EX240 radiator, and a Heatkiller IV Pro in black copper complete with backplate.

Flow path - Reservoir - radiator - block. Flushes out air really easily due to the wide ports on the radiator and I have the lowermost port going into the radiator. Topmost flows out.

Pretty snug with 3/8" tubing but still managed to use all straight barbs without any kinks.

Results:
35C idle at 20W
65C load at 110W. 30C drop from the Thermalright with the pump running at 2krpm and the fans at <1krpm. Nice and quiet.
 

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Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
I did something I never would usually do: buy swivel fittings. It was the only way my 2080Ti with my Heatkiller IV would hook up to the pump and radiator. Now the machine has the GPU and CPU both under water now, and both with Heatkiller blocks. What a fine little machine....I still need to figure out how to cool the VRMs. They cruise at 70C with the case buttoned up, but with a little direct airflow they drop to 40C very quickly.

Initial temperature testing:

Code:
Moved 2080Ti into machine. 
280W load on Heaven. Rad fans (1200rpm) and pump maxed out. 45W CPU
55C GPU, 70C hotspot, 60C CPU. Radiator 115F surface temp. 1935MHz unthrottled. Drops to 1920MHz.

50% GPU power: 150W. 43C. 1550MHz. 97F radiator
33% GPU power: 100W. 39C. 1050Mhz. 93F radiator

The radiator feels like it's maxed out. I have the 380W bios loaded on the 2080Ti but the heat load would be overwhelming if I let it run that hard. As it is now, the radiator is blowing warm air and very warm to the touch. It's a very tidy little install, though.
 

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Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
That external pump is actually a good idea, so you won't kill it because of overheating ;) Maybe in this specific rig, it's not so big issue but newer series are getting hot.
Yesterday I rebuilt my ITX gaming PC. I replaced 11700K with 5700G just because in games it doesn't matter much but it's 70W+ difference which in various ways translates into the heat inside the case. I can use intel for something else.
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
The Iceman reservoir is a neat little unit built specifically for the Ncase. I'm running an 8W DDC in it with a heatsink and it doesn't even get warm hardly. I think only the high power 18W DDCs can run into heat issues.

How much wattage does the 5700G pull under full load?