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DAN A4 (Silver) - Kaby Lake / Gigabyte Build

by Smith

Description

For drawing, gaming, and hopefully one day 3D rendering. I boot Win10 currently as I wait for Ubuntu to steam out issues with Kaby Lake.

For those wondering about the case, you may be able to buy one going forward at SFFLab.com - I know they're planning on selling the DAN A4 eventually but they also have other good, small cases like the N Case which is what I would recommend if you want the smallest form you can still watercool (which you cannot without heavily modifying the A4). The A4 I have is a first-generation that I helped Kickstarter but it looks like they have a version 3 on SFFLab.

Ended up adding a Hue+ RGB controller with strips, a 500GB 950 EVO (to make room for the Hue+ - There is a spot for two 2.5in's under the PSU which happened to be the perfect size and spot to mount the Hue+; I was able to do this only by getting an NVME SSD for OS and using the additional 2.5in slot behind the front panel for my storage drive (currently just a regular 500 850 EVO I use to store the few games I find interesting) and some custom black PSU cables to help free up a little more room. Ended up messing up when I ordered my cables so I'm still using my stock GPU and CPU cables but I hope to eventually buy custom ones just to keep everything clean.

I await the day I can shove more than one NVME into the back of a mITX motherboard lol

I added some art pins I've been semi-collecting to the side as well as replaced the tiny little screws with the smallest thumbscrews I could find just so I didn't have to hassle with a screwdriver anymore.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Very silent, thermal paste seems high quality both in 3rd party review standards as well as core temps recorded. It's a whisper even under load.

Case

Very light! I wish there were screws at the top of the sides instead of using only push-pins but if you lay your cables right (or have smaller cables) then it shouldn't be that big of an issue. Screws that hold it together are TINY and very easy to lose. Might consider switching to thumbscrews for most of them in the future but that would kill the otherwise sleek appearance.

Power Supply

The cables are both high-quality enough for use but garbage in appearance and how stiff the cables are to bend.

Comments Sorted by:

someta 4 Builds 3 points 24 months ago

Nice build. I too am a Linux fan, although I usually use Antergos myself (IDK why - I just installed in and got used to it, I suppose...). I'll may build a dedicated Linux programming box, and probably install Ubuntu GNOME on it.

What desktop environment are you using? Unity? GNOME, Xfce, etc.?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Heyo!

Just basic Ubuntu, which is Unity. Currently I'm on my Windows drive since there doesn't seem to be good enough support just yet for Kaby Lake. Will be making the switch back once 17.04 is released come April.

someta 4 Builds 2 points 24 months ago

Ah. I'll keep the compatibility issues in mind.... I hope 17.04 will be good for Kaby Lake (I know people were testing Ryzen gear with the preview). I'll probably end up using 17.04 myself.

Minky7 3 Builds 2 points 24 months ago

Nice build! That's one heck of a tight fit for the graphics card!

Robertbert 1 Build 2 points 24 months ago

+1

Looks like a beast for the package. I really like that case.

"cables right now are WAY too big" hey you had the foresight to go modular on the PSU!

keep us posted, cheers

CROSE1128 2 points 24 months ago

where you buy the case and have any tips on building it

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

I Kickstarted the case back in June. It was ~$280 and took until March to arrive at my door. https://www.dan-cases.com/dana4.php You may be able to buy it from a UK seller and have it shipped. For building it you have to install the motherboard first, then your storage drives, then plug in the cables into the PSU/mobo, then install the PSU, then the GPU, and power-up. It takes a bit of working with the cables and if you end up buying the case my biggest recommendation is to make yourself a custom set of cables that are a LOT smaller than what a standard SFX PSU ships with. I basically plugged all the cables in first before installing it all into the case itself so I could work the cables as needed as I went along. It's not that hard and it's handy that the case is so tiny that it's easy to flip around and work with as you do it

TheGateKeeper6 2 Builds 2 points 24 months ago

How well can you overclock with that cooler ?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Not at all! With the CPU cooler and the case I actually had to knock off some of the turbo-boost down. Lost .02 ghz but saved myself 40C in temps. (I used the noctua thermal paste and had even reapplied it twice to be sure)

SmartWolf 2 points 24 months ago

Dude, i'm totally digging your build. I had not heard of that case, very nice. Very Ncase-ish.

Could you work in AIO cpu cooler if you wanted to?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

The only way you could fit liquid in this case is if you cut the case, unfortunetly :/

I plan to never clock this build but I will be making another, Ryzen build in the future using a different mITX (or even mATX) which will allow me to overclock and watercool.

PatricusOrion 2 points 24 months ago

Looks great! Do you overclock?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 24 months ago

Nope! Had to turn down turbo-boost, in fact. Was getting outrageous temps before and that was even after redoing the thermal paste application

superpie94 2 points 23 months ago

Looking at doing a build like this soon, and I'm trying to decide if I need a blower style card or not. Sounds like it may be a trade off of heat vs fan sound. Any reason why you went with that GPU?

Tobi_Kenobi 1 Build 1 point 22 months ago

Indeed, how do your GPU temps fair with the custom cooler?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

Not really, I had limits on the size of the GPU and have sort of been a fan of Gigabyte for a while. I decided to get matching motherboards and GPU (both Gigabytes)

I went 1070 because I didn't want to pay for a 1080. I still get 60 FPS on a 144hz so ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

I should add that there's no space for a blower in this case without modifying my otherwise flawless and beautiful $300 case. The GPU is seated right up next to the venting on the side of the case so it's really got uninterrupted airflow going into and then blowing out where the ports are.

DAN is currently doing another Kickstarter for the case with some improvements and a chance to get a window kit on the GPU side. If I had the money, I probably would get the case again (I want to make a Ryzen build at some point when I can find mITX motherboards for AMD) if I wasn't saving up money for other things, but I wouldn't get the window kit. I don't like how the only open part of the window is a cutout of 'DAN' on the side. Kinda makes me think there's not enough air flow.

Gooberdad 10 Builds 2 points 14 months ago

Late post, but this setup is amazing. I'm digging the case.

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 13 months ago

Thanks! I added some custom PSU cables (just black), a 960 EVO (500 GB) and a Hue+ so it's rocking some RGB now :D

Only issue is I totally miscalculated the size of the custom cables I needed (ended up ordering some since it was basically the same price vs. making them myself when I calculated it) and I thought I needed all the cables to be shorter and ended up getting a GPU cable and I think the CPU cable way, way shorter than I needed it to be (should have been same length)

That's what I get for not measuring before I ordered though :/

CaffeDoppio 1 point 10 months ago

Great build! I'm doing something similar with the v2 case. The plan is to go Ryzen 7 2700X and bring over a few parts from my current machine.

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/user/CaffeDoppio/saved/sRL3FT

There's a few new 400-series boards due out so I want more details on them before final decision. Pity the B450 boards probably won't be out for months since it's likely a waste getting X470 on mITX.

Where did you get your custom cables from?

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 10 months ago

Nice build!

I got my cables from https://cablemod.com/ (CableMod). They have a very nice setup for ordering cables. I think the V2 is the same as the V1 minus some quality improvements.

I did shorter (as short as possible) 24-pin, Molex, Sata (I went just single SATA; I use an m.2 for my OS now and plan on upgrading to a 2x m.2 motherboard at some point in the future - single 2.5in for storing games sits in the front of the case). I wish I kept the CPU and GPU cables the same length but accidentally ordered them shorter, too (bad mistake, don't make my mistake!). The cost of ordering them from CableMod vs. building them myself ended up being a difference of $20 but it's supposedly a pretty fun project to do yourself too

I plan on going AMD next year too; really need a second m.2 slot so I can have separate drives for different OS's and the motherboard change will yield a forced change in cpu anyways

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 10 months ago

Also, just a full heads up, I'm working on seeing what sort of options are out there for watercooling because specifically that Noctua isn't keeping my stuff as cool as I'd like in games like FarCry5 on High settings. There might actually be a mITX watercooled cooler by Corsair but I haven't gotten off my lazy *** to measure it out. Might just be stuck having a radiator hanging out of my case (not fully sealing the side; not drilling into the case or anything lol) until CPU's come cooler in the meantime. I actually have to lower Intel's Turbo Boost because it was pretty hot just at idle (Doing that fixed 99% of the heat issues, it seems to really just be with a single game so no huge worries in regards to the case/build alone)

No other issues besides that; I'll be updating my list if it works out otherwise I'm just going to have to be careful

Chapeau 1 Build 1 point 23 months ago

What's the noise like when you're gaming? - I've read that the A4 is pretty good. I guess it's hard to quantify but I'm still interested in your thoughts...

A tip re: custom cables - If you can it's probably better to do your own with the stock cable set. I ordered some for my Ncase M1 and really, but the hardcore twisting and turning in the case I redid about half of them anyway. Custom cables may well be shorter, but they can't account for the differing radii when you bend around a component. End result is still kinda messy...

Smith submitter 2 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

I originally was thinking on making my own cables with stuff off FrozenCPU.com but the more time that passes the more likely I'll just order through a cabling service. I was only going to take like 10cm off each line so there's still going to be flex but I'll look out for flex issues.

I had to adjust the turbo boost on the intel (it comes 'on' stock) because, while not the case, the noctua fan isn't really capable of cooling the CPU. I guess the fan part is just too tiny (It's really thin)

Noise is non-existent non-gaming and barely audible while gaming. It's really just the GPU, which tends to run hot after a couple hours.