Description

1st build for years so a bit rusty. Last one was an Athlon 1200. Lots of reading up in the last couple of months before getting impatient and started ordering.

Wanted a mATX case to minimise space,but also have some gaming potential with large GPU so choose a well reviewed mesh fronted case. Not sure I'd have enough space for radiators, plus the added complexity and apparent noise vs air cooling meant I stuck with what are apparently considered good fans.

As I plan to have a go hackintoshing this system using a seperate, yet to be purchased drive, I stuck with an Intel CPU and motherboard having read that using AMD made it trickier. This was also the reason for the GPU choice as although the Radeon 5700 XT is yet to be supported in Mac OS, there's a good chance it will be, which is more than can be said for Nvidia cards at the moment. The Sapphire cards are well regarded in Mac external GPU builds so hopefully the extra length of the heatsink will help to keep the noise and temperature down.

850w PSU more than technically required, but allows for both 8 pin and 4 pin motherboard EPS cables to be connected, as well as supplying 2 x 8 pin for the GPU. Will probably turn all RGB off eventually but photgraphed with it on for effect.

Still lots of work to be done in working out the best fan curves, cable management etc. but for now it's fun to have a fairly powerful PC back in the house. Whatever happens it's cheaper than a new Mac and a damn sight easier to repair!

Uploaded my parts and photos as I used this site a lot for reference and hopefully this may be of help to someone else.

Extra fans added after initial build to help keep the temps down whilst gaming and make the entire system quieter all-round. The two AF14 fans originally used in the front of the case have been replaced with three NF-A12x25's as they are quieter in the RPM range that I want to use them with. This now means I can keep the input fans at around 1000 PRM when gaming at a reasonable 44 decibels.

Still trying to wrangle the AMD drivers and creating custom GPU settings to maintain the best performance to noise ratio. If I limit the fans to a maximum of 45% (about 1400 RPM) they're still the loudest component in the system.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Very impressed with the quality of the kit and supplied accesssories, I guess that’s reflected in the price. Clears the motherboard and DIMMs nicely and can sustain the cpu at 34 degrees at a whisper quiet 250 rpm.

Motherboard

A bit of a limited choice in mATX boards it seems but research pointed in the direction of this one due to apparently better VRMs than those of comparable Asus and Gigabyte ones. Bonus of 4 PWM headers (5 if you count the pump) conveniently spaced around the edges. Inbuilt bit of RGB silly, but fine if you like that sort of thing.

Only annoyance was that the Shipped BIOS had to be updated before Windows could be installed. Turns out MSI boards need these for anything past build 1809, and of course Windows didn’t give you any help in figuring this out, my trusty Linux USB stick revealed the problem and thankfully you can use the M-Flash option from the BIOS to update itself.

Memory

Sleek and black so fitted the aesthetic. Reported as 2133 by default before clicking the XMP button in the BIOS to default overclock it to 3024 without any other work needed.

Case

Spent a long time deciding between this case and the Define Mini C as I wanted as quiet a build as possible when not gaming. Considered the NZXT 400 and Phanteks S400 but the airflow of the Meshify won.

For a novice it’s a great case to build in with tons of space, if like me you remove the drive caddy from the front of the PSU shroud. Built-in cable ties and rubber grommets on the main slots make routing the cables really easy and there’s space for a maximum of 7 120mm fans if you’re going for extreme air cooling.

As other reviewers have mentioned, the only real negative is the difficulty in removing the front mesh filter or panel, even with the bottom filter removed it’s still a bit of a faff.

Another plus point to mention is the existence of the Fractal spare parts store, which should allow me to mix and match components between cases of the same size if I feel the need to modify it any further. Fractal will certainly be top of my list when building another PC.

Power Supply

More than required really, as a 750w would have sufficed but a bit more headroom for any future upgrades. Cables are pretty stiff and the 24 pin one in particular could be a little easier to work with in my opinion, but it gets the job done and the silent fan profile helps keep the overall noise down.

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Comments

  • 6 months ago
  • 4 points

I always thought of noctua as having the worst color scheme, but damn is it not beautiful to see a build using all noctua fans. It really shows that this is more of a quality build than just a "wooow look at my RGB" type of build. Also love your selection of parts, great quality for the dollar!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks. I wasn’t sure of the brown/beige colour at first but it’s grown on me. As the case will end up being under-desk mounted I’m more interested with performance than looks anyway.

  • 6 months ago
  • 3 points

Yeah, the same thing has happened to me, used to dislike the Noctua colours but they've grown on me. Maybe that was their plan all along :)

  • 6 months ago
  • 3 points

"Uploaded my parts and photos as I used this site a lot for reference and hopefully this may be of help to someone else." Thank you. I appreciate that you do this and it indeed is helpful :)))

  • 6 months ago
  • 3 points

I second this - Seeing your Nitro+ in the Meshify Mini made me confident it would fit in my Meshify C - and it does. Thanks!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

After seeing this build, I really want to build a system similar that just embraces the colour. I was talking to a friend today and he was saying how he would never buy noctua products becuase of the colour and it got me thinking, I think its more about the presentation of the parts, do they all work together for a good aesthetic. Having all Noctua fans, then everything else black makes for a good look in my option and it would be nice to brag about having such good fans.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

I think once you embrace the brown It becomes quite acceptable. I think it definitely works better in a dark case. Had I spent more time researching my options I may have looked at the redux versions, but the basic ones cost enough as it is.

My main concern though was decent air cooling and low noise, so thats why I choose them. As a returning novice builder the information available on their website regarding compatibility, along with the accessories that come with them, made me choose them over similar products such as Silent Wings.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm new to building, so if I'm incorrect, that is why. I see you have a NF-S12A fan on your parts list and I'm assuming this is for your rear exhaust. But, looking at the fan on your rear exhaust, it looks more like NF-A12x25. Is that right? And, if you have used both, which one works better for rear exhaust?

  • 6 months ago
  • 3 points

No need to apologise for politely worded questions.

You’re correct that the NF-S12A should be on exhaust duty and the NF-A12x25’s on the CPU cooler. If I’ve mounted them incorrectly due to multiple reattachments then that’s my fault for not paying attention. I’ll check in the morning and let you know.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

And yes, you’re right. I’d mixed up the S12A and A12x25. Whilst swapping them back it got me thinking about perhaps adding a top exhaust and bottom intake fan (using up all my headers) to see what difference it could make to the overall thermals.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm building same exact build and didn't even see yours before I started ordering parts! haha. Thought I'd look around for ideas. We got same build in mind. Meshify, ssd, mobo and the fans. Except I went with a 750Evga PSU and EVGA RTX-2080 FTW3 Ultra beast lol. Glad to know it can fit a long video card. Ordering my case now lol. Everything else just sitting waiting to be put somewhere.

How quiet is this case under mild load? I heard with the front fans its a bit louder than a few cases.

Also, do you think "Noctua NH-D15" would fit? its about 10mm bigger than yours. (120mm vs 140mm fans)

  • 6 months ago
  • 4 points

Great minds think alike eh? I was toying with the idea of exactly that card but then realised that I was perhaps going a bit over the top. I've now replaced the Corsair 650 with an 850 as although it's apparently overkill, I wanted the second EPS cable for the motherboard. The 650 has been relegated to my backup box pending inspiration.

The Noctua website lists the NH-D15 as incompatible with the MSI board as it blocks the PCI-e slot but the NH-D15S should work. In terms of height in the case, all of them are fine as you've got 172mm to play with.

I've been playing around with fans and speeds for the last couple of weeks trying to work out what's best for me. I've now added a top exhust and a bottom intake - by taking out the removable piece of the PSU shroud. I initally put the 2 supplied Fractal case fans in these positions but my desire for matching fans meant that I went out and got another two NF-A12x25's, figuring that I could then play mix and match to my hearts content.

I can keep the idle CPU temp down to 33-34 degrees whilst browsing etc, and the GPU fans stay off since it's idling at about 42 degrees. The other case fans are set to around 30% at 40 degrees minimum, so most are spinning around 550-750 RPM. My phone's decibel meter app when about 30 cm from the case is showing around 29dB(A)

My only real issue is when I try out a few games. I'm probably being over cautious as my CPU doesn't get very hot, maybe 45-50 degrees or so, but the GPU quickly gets up to 68-72 degrees and the fans really kick in. I'm currently running the GPU on it's lower power BIOS to reduce the noise.

Seeing that I've got about a decade of games to work through, I'm currently playing Metro 2033 Redux. Running very high graphics setttings on my 1080p monitor results in a GPU temp of 72 ish with the fans at around 1350 RPM. The CPU temp rises to 48 degrees and with my no-idea fan curves I'm seeing around 900-1100 RPM, depending on their location. With the same deceibel app I'm now getting 44dB(A). I must say the fan response time on the GPU is excellent though. As soon as I switch out of the game the GPU temps drop like a stone and the fans cut out very quickly.

Apologies for the long-winded reply, but it's as much for my reference in the future as I hopefully learn how to tweak things further.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi there!

Pretty nice build, I'm considering a similar one so I must thank you all the information you provide here.

I've read that the RX5700 cards are quite hot, so that could explain the high temperatures on your GPU, but anyway I agree that those high temps are disappointing. Did you hit the 68-72 degrees before installing the bottom intake fan and with the psu shroud fully closed? Because, from my perspective, the lower NF-A14 on the front is providing fresh air directly to the GPU cooler fan so I would not expect so high temps on the RX5700 anyway.

In the other hand, the Meshify case is known to provide very good CPU temps but to be in the high medium temps for the GPU in the stock configuration. According to some reviews the CPU can drop its temperature about 7 degrees when changing the stock fan for a couple of Noctuas, but only improve about 1 degree for the GPU in the same scenario which is disappointing. It seems that the problem is that most of the air moved by the lower 140mm fan will go over the backplate of the GPU, and not to the relevant fan but, after seeing your pictures, I would say your GPU must be taking fresh air anyways.

Good job with the rig!

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, I think the AIB 5700 XT cards are all pretty hot. From all of the reviews that are now in, the Powercolor Red Devil should run a few degrees cooler than the Sapphire so that might be the best bet for a quieter card overall.

The original temps were with the two 140mm fans in the slightly higher position and with the shroud closed. I was really just tryingto get an idea of how hot and loud things should be in the first couple of weeks and streesing about the amount of noise I was hearing, but I think that probably stemmed from the fact that I really wanted a quiet setup, but ended up picking an airflow case instead of a silent one as if things got to toasty in there there wouldn't be much I could do about it, whereas a louder, cooler case should be able to be tweaked.

Now that I've put the lower 140mm fan a bit lower down as well as installing the bottom intake 120mm fan with the PSU shroud plate removed things seem to be a bit better, but I wouldnt have said they were the cure-all that I was looking for. I suspect that part of my problems stem from my lack of knowledge regarding fan setup and cooling - though I have been reading a lot and think I'm getting somewhere. With the two fans at the bottom that you'd think were pushing intake air directly into the path of the graphics cards intake fans and cooler, I'd have hoped for more of a result than I got.

For the moment I'm leaving those two fans on a manual input, each on 25% until I fire up a game and then I set the bottom intake to 30% (700rpm) and the two main intakes (I have them on a splitter) at 40% (650rpm) The CPU and exhust fans are slaved to CPU temps. Until the GPU fans kick in this results in a reasonable 30dbA measure 30cm in front of the case.

When the GPU fans kick in, and I'm currently running on the cards primary BIOS which means they should be more aggressive, they spin at around 1400-1500rpm taking the decibel reading up to 40dbA and the card to around 68-70 degrees.

Ramping all of the fans up to 70% doesn't seem to improve the GPU temperature or fan speed much, if any. I don't know if this has anything to do with the space-constrained build, but I'd be really interested to one day get either a different card, or transplant all of my kit into a larger case to see if there was much difference. I suspect that water will play a large part of any future build for me though as just setting it all up is probably more fun than actually using it.

Another part of the equation may also be the fairly poor state of the drivers for the Navi cards, and the 5700 XT in particular it would seem. When I was using the 19.9.3 drivers my idle temps were 40-42 degrees for the card, now that I'm on 19.10.1 tthey creep up to 60 degrees even when there is nothing going on, forcing the fans to briefly spin up.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey!

Thanks for your detailed answer. One word about it: space-constrained builds.

I wouldn't consider this a space-constrained build as the GPU fans can take air from the space on top of the PSU shroud and the CPU cooler has also intake clearance. It would be a problem if you use a vertical mounting GPU which is usually not recommeded because of the lack of space of it fans facing the side of the chassis.

On a smaller case, like the Meshify, you should be able to move all the air inside the case faster than in a larger case (considering using the same fans at the same RPMs). So, if the GPU can get fresh air and warm it after conducting it through its heatsinks then all you need to do is get that warm air out of the case as fast as possible. According to that it would be better to have a smaller case than a bigger one if both can get fresh air from the outside, as you can refresh all the air inside the box faster. Have you tried to increase the RPM of the lower front intake fan and see the effects on the GPU?

Cheers

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Upping the rpm of both the front intakes and the bottom intake don't seem to have much of an effect on the GPU other than perhaps by a couple of degrees, in fact I'm not sure the bottom intake, although it looks to be in an ideal position for supplying air, does much at all. I wonder if adding the extra fan disrupts the air flow from the main intakes? That's why I'm currently leaving it at 30%.

I hadn't paid as much attention as I probably should have to the exhusts, and although the top exhust is slaved to a combination of CPU+GPU average temps over 5 seconds I also wonder if it is too far away from the primary heat source (GPU) to be of much effect? What would be nice is teh option to have a case that had another exhust fan at the back, or even one of the good old side exhusts like you used to get back in the day.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Question for you, is the RGB on the motherboard customizable? Can you change the color or turn it off entirely?

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, lots of options for various forms of unicorn vomit or a steady single colour. You can also turnit off completely.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh excellent, that is what I was hoping. Thanks for the response! Very nice build btw!

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Did you oc the cpu?

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Only briefly using the easy auto over clock facility (game mode) from the BIOS for a proof of concept. Seemed stable, but the idle CPU temperature with my standard fan curve was 42 degrees so I turned it off again.

When I've settled on the ideal cooling vs noise setup for my general gaming use I'll turn my attention back to overclocking. For now my time is taken up with fine tuning the GPU.

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey you only use 1 gpu cable, is it better? because i use the two of them but the extensions are hangin out??

  • 5 months ago
  • 3 points

I’ve moved to using 2 separate cables now as all the online chatter seems to recommend powering the 5700 XT cards with 2 cables for better stability.

The only annoying part about that, as you’ve mentioned, is that you then have to make it look as tidy as possible with the spare extensions hanging loose. I guess that’s why so many people use custom cables to make the build look cleaner.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Also the weight of the psu cable make the psu sag a little

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Whats useful for me though is that the pretty stiff cables that come with the Corsair PSU act as a bit of a support for the card since they are routed straight up through the gap in the PSU shroud. I'll probably get round to ordering an UpThere support one day but for now it all looks ok to me.

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build! I was thinking the same route with the noctua fans and meshify case but I wasn't sure how it would look with the colors. And the clearance for the ram. You've inspired me! Did you need an additional mount to place the fan on top?

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

No, the top fans mount to the case, using a slotted channel that allows an element of adjustability, especially if you’re only using one.

If using two 120mm fans you won’t have a lot of adjustment but seeing as I wanted to maintain positive pressure I only need an extra exhaust, and even now I think I’ll probably run some tests to see what actual difference it makes.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey, if I put 3.5" drive, and remove the bottom fans to the top, can I do that? And, did you use some fan controller or you just plug the 6 fans (U12a fans) into mobo?

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

If you want to mount 3.5" drives you can use the supplied mounting bracket in the bottom of the case after removing the PSU shroud plate. This means, as you've already guessed, you'd lose the option of having a bottom intake fan. You can still have 2 x 140 or 3 x 120 front fans, and there is space at the top for 2 x 120 fans.

I've got all of the fans plugged directly into the board, though the 2 CPU fans and 2 front fans are on a Noctua supplied doubler. The board has 5 x 4 pin PWM headers available.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

So, if I mount 3.5" drive I'd still be able have 3x120 front fans? Do you know how many PWM headers available in X570 Aorus Elite? I'm planning using R7 3700X with X570 Aorus Elite

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

I believe the X570 Aorus Elite has 4 PWM headers so you could use doublers to increase the maximum amount of fans in the case. Check the location of the headers on the board in case you need to think about cable length though.

https://www.tomshardware.com/uk/reviews/gigabyte-x570-aorus-elite-atx-motherboard,6252.html

You should still be able to use the 3.5" drive bay in the bottom with 3 fans as long as it doesn't interfere with your PSU cables as you might need to move it back a bit.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Considering a similar build. Just wondered if you have tried MacOS Catalina yet. It purportedly has support for the 5700.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Was really meant to have started the Hackintosh project by now but the lure of PC gaming has stopped me dead in my tracks. So much to catch up with, and the lure of Red Dead 2 have proved to be too much to break away to spend some decent time looking into Mac OS.

Still miss it though as a day-to-day OS compared to the constant battle of wills with Microsoft and Windows 10.

Other people on Hack forums have successfully got the AMD Navi cards working the latest builds of Catalina from what I’ve read, but the general consensus on Catalina is that it still needs quite a bit of work before it’s really ready for mainstream use.

This Autumn/Fall has not been kind to Apple software releases. So many updates for iOS!

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Question: (sorry i really don't know) how do you put the red rgb on the video card?

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

The Sapphire 5700XT Nitro+ cards have some RGB which can be customised using the "Nitro Glow" feature of the Sapphire Trixx software. Make sure you download Trixx version 7 or later which has the Nitro Glow option available.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

You should see if you can overlock the memory to 3200 CAS 16

  • 23 days ago
  • 1 point

This is an excellent, very clean build. Great work. I especially like what you did with the rear cable routing, which almost makes it hard to believe that this is a completed build. Makes mine look a bit... organic, by comparison. :P

(My Ryzen 3700X build uses the same case.)