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Build

Tiny

by adfgadfg

Description

First PC build in many a year. Switched to the Mac in the late 90's and haven't been back since. Mostly used for gaming, a bit of video/photo work, and some print/web work.

There is a couple odd things you many notice, both have to do with the power supply. I was worried about the video card having enough space for air flow so I went with Corsair's SF line.

First, yes, that is cardboard instead of a proper bracket. There are two brackets I found online, one from Corsair and one from Silverstone. The corsair bracket looks like it centers the PSU vertically, which places it closer to the video card, so that was a no go. The Siverstone looks great, but would have ended up costing me $30+ in Canada, so cardboard it is. The PSU is attached to the case with the bottom two screws, which is good enough for me, not going to be moving the case around at all.

Second, the the cables that came with the PSU are SHORT, and a pain to work with. They're probably fine for a 'real' small form factor, but here they're not great. I had to get a $10 extension cable (in a lovely rainbow of colours) for the main mobo power supply cable, there was just no other way to make it work in this case with the video card I have.

The other issue is that the cables don't fold down flat which made it very hard to attach them to the hdds. To make it possible to attach power to the SSD I had to attach the drive by the top two screws only, leaving the drive loose so that the bottom could be pulled out a good quarter-inch away from the mounting bracket.

So, in short, PCPartPicker rightly flags the power supply as being incompatible with the case. I had thought it's just because of the size, but it's the cable length that makes it a real PITA to work with.

I've played with a few airflow setups and settled on having the front fan mounted near the top of the case to push air across to the CPU and out the back. I'm using the stock Intel cooler so it likes any airflow it can get. The video card is able to draw in fresh air from the bottom of the case when the fans spin up.

At first I had set the front fan on the bottom and closed off the bottom of the case so that the air was pushed in and into the video card, and then to the top and out. The second photo above of the case inside is of this setup. There was no real temperature difference between this and the final fan-on-top setup, but the case and CPU fans spun a good 200rpm faster in this setup to match the temperatures.

Part Reviews

Memory

Works, not much more to it than that.

Not sure how much the heat spreaders help things, especially as in my mobo the two memory sticks have less than a mm. of space separating them.

Storage

Spent a few more dollars to get the Red over the Blue/Green/Whatever it is to get lower vibration. Have used Reds previously in a NAS and they've been great in that.

Video Card

Works, or, to be more specific, laughs at anything I've thrown at it on a 1920x1200 monitor.

There is very slight coil whine when a game lets the fps go crazy - like on a loading screen - but once some polygons are on the screen at the fps get under 200 no whine at all.

Case

Great case, well built, and very easy to work in. Yes, it's a bit cramped, but there's not much choice at this size. Fans are pretty quiet becoming slightly audible only under load. The dust filters are easy to get at from the front of the case.

Only a few negatives:

The front panel feels ever so slightly mushy when inserting headphones or a USB cable.

The side panels don't site very snugly, it's not an issue at all so far, but I can see it rattling a bit if something starts vibrating the case.

The screws, or more specifically the screw holes feel like I'm going to strip them when tightening some of the screws. I'm not sure how to describe it, you know when you line up a screw with the hole perfectly and it screws down nice and smooth. Not really happening on this case, specifically on the side doors and the two HDD attachment flaps. I've closed and opened it up a good half dozen times now and it's all still good, so it's probably just in my mind.

That's it, very minor, Compared to my last PC case it's a dream, but compared to my old iMac (First-gen aluminum, so it was pretty easy to open up once I got a big suction cup) it's not quite the same level of finish. Not a fair comparison by any means, but speaks highly to this cases quality.

Power Supply

The power supply itself has been great so far. I don't think I've heard the fan come on once yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is because the total estimated power draw for my system is about 350W so it stays below the fan spin-up threshold. Will see how it does in the summer.

The alternative theory is that the fan is dead and the whole thing will explode at some point. :)

The included cables are not great. They may be fine for a real SFF computer, but for my Define Nano they don't cut it. See my build review for more details if interested.

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