I fell in love with the Silverstone ML08. This machine is designed primarily for gaming at high end, targeting 1440p at high frame/refresh rates. I've been gaming on a potato of a laptop, and have finally gotten to a point where I can go back to desktop gaming after a long time away.
I should probably talk a bit about part selection. I knew going in that Kaby Lake runs pretty warm, and this being an ITX build, I decided to go with the 7600k mainly because of its lower TDP. I figured that if it ran cooler stock, I'd be able to get it to behave a little better when/if it became time to OC, or at the very least it'd let me run the fans at lower RPM's. It's now delidded, so I'll be adding some CPU/GPU benchmarks in a few days, laziness permitting.
Speaking of GPU's, I picked mine based around the 1440p/100ish fps target. The 1080 SC2 was also picked for its lower TDP, 180, which is identical to stock. Given that basically every 1080 (and every Pascal card in general) behaves the same when trying to overclock, paying extra for more power delivery or a binned chip seemed super wasteful this generation. The cards just hit their power limit first, making the thermal limit essentially meaningless. This one fluctuates between about 2000-2100mhz in Unigene Heaven, while maintaining 67-68* like clockwork.
Moving on, "Which CPU cooler should I buy?" is probably the most asked question over at Overclock.net. There are basically only 2 choices. A cooler with a (fanless) height of 40mm will allow 25mm remaining mm of space for a full-size fan, despite official Silverstone data stating that the limit is a paltry 58mm. Therefore, the only rational choices for CPU cooler are the ID-Cooling IS-60, or the Deepcool Gabriel. Everything else is either just barely too tall (Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B, Thermalright AXP-100, Prolimatech Samuel, Reeven Brontes, Xigmatek Janus, or Raijintek Pallas) or only supports tiny 92mm fans (Noctua NH-L9i, Silverstone AR-06, or Cryorig C7). Of course, the IS-60 or Gabriel both come with garbage-tier fans that should be replaced with something that is both full-sized and optimized for high static pressure/low noise. The eponymous Noctua NF-F12, or it's quieter/less powerful cousin, the NF-P12, will fill this role nicely.
Thanks to @phdpepper here and on Overclock.net, I knew that this case works best when modded to allow 3x80mm fans in the upper part of the case, to help exhaust air from the GPU. Unlike him, I have mine routed directly to a PWM header on the motherboard, and controlled in software via Speedfan. And thanks to an Amazon reviewer named Thomas, I'm clued in to the above info dump about CPU coolers. In this build, you'll see pictures of both:
1 - Just the basics. The only connected power cable is going to the Mobo. This is the most important cable, because it 's the one with the most bulk. I might get a Cablemod one instead. I originally fed it behind the back panel, around the case, and through the hole at the bottom of the case, but getting the panel over the CPU/PSU side of the computer ended up being very difficult in that configuration, so I routed it behind the mobo instead.
2 - Here you can see everything hooked up, except the 3 GPU chamber fans and the CPU cooler. I'd seen ML08/RVZ02 builds where they'd managed to fit more things around the back of the case, but this seemed the most logical arrangement, given where all the connectors are on the STRIX 270I.
3 - Everything in, now. NF-F12 FTW!
4 - Mobo cable routed behind the mobo itself, so that the inevitable bend in the case panel that it causes will be somewhat manageable. And of course, the 1080. It's just barely small enough to accept the GPU retaining bracket, but it works. Very helpful for a build intended to be able to move.
5 - Closeup of the GPU area, with panel but without handle. Pay no attention to the bank card behind the curtain.
6 - This is the first shot of the 3x80mm fan mod. If you are going to do the same thing, this should help you plan where your fan holes are going to go. That missing part at the bottom used to have the stock vent holes.
7 - A hole saw would probably be better, but a Dremel will do the job, albeit not as cleanly. If you're doing this mod, too, spend extra time aligning your mounting holes. As you can see here, they're off center by a few mm each.
8 - Almost done.
9 - Radius test. I didn't end up keeping the fan pictured here, because SilenX makes terrible garbage and should go out of business. I also ended up switching over to metal grilles, for slightly more airflow, but mainly because they're more comfortable to knock your knuckles against than the plastic Silverstone's.
So that's my build! If you plan to emulate it, get a Deepcool Gabriel instead of the cooler I got. Like I said, it'll fit a 120/140x25mm fan, but I bet it'll get to you in better condition than my China-shipped IS-60 got to me. Also, don't get my monitor. Get the 27" S2716DG instead. It's dropped in price dramatically from when I originally put this together.
5/25 Edit: Did benches, took screens.
10 - Fan curves. Notes written on the top section reflect UEFI settings.
11 - AIDA64 Stress test results. BCLK 103 / Multiplier 43 / VCore 1.18 Mem Freq. 3296
12 - Unigene Heaven, Extreme Preset.
13 - Unigene Heaven, Custom profile to better emulate what I play at - 1440p, AAx2, etc.
Great CPU, does its job. Intel shouldn't have started cheaping out on their TIM, but what can you expect from a complacent behemoth. If I were doing this build again, I'd have Waited For Ryzen out of spite alone.
Awesome cooler, and one of the few that will allow a 25mm-wide fan inside my ML08. The stock fan is trash, so the specs of it are essentially meaningless, as its perfomance in benchmarks because of that. Paired with a Noctua NF-F12, it's best-in-slot.
I got mine from Newegg, and it shipped directly from China, complete with customs stickers, so expect it to get knocked around in transit just like mine did.
Solid board from a solid manufacturer. UEFI is well layed out, overclocking features leave nothing to be desired, and the sound quality is pristine. I would re-arrange where the connectors go, and I don't really care about RGB, but those are just minor nitpicks. If it had a Thunderbolt 3 port, it'd be perfect.
Decently priced at the speed I want it at without any obnoxiously tall heat spreaders, and from a brand I trust.
The Samsung 960 Pro is proof that performance in benchmarks != performance that humans can detect. That being said, the warranty helps to offset buyer's remorse somewhat.
Best price/performance NVME SSD I could find. Highly underrated product, IMO.
One of the best Price/Performance HDD's I could find, and from a brand I trust. It makes this funky "prong" noise when I shut my computer down, and I've kind of grown to like it.
High performance, low noise, decent price. EVGA had received a bit more bad publicity than they deserved with the ACX/VRM debacle, IMHO. The ICX line of cards goes absolutely insane with thermal pads, thermal sensors, and cooler overdesign, and I couldn't be happier about it.
A truly brilliant design. The split up CPU and GPU compartments allow for some really fun stuff, and help to completely negate the thermal concerns inherent in an ITX build. The thinness is very, very impressive.
That being said, the GPU compartment could be much better ventilated. Many owners have retrofitted it with 3x 80mm fans, which really should've been done by Silverstone. Also, it would be improved by adding just 5mm to the side measurement. Reason being, virtually any low profile CPU cooler would work, and be able to use a 25mm wide fan at the same time.
Doesn't have the clicking problem that the equivalent Silverstone SFX PSUs have, apparently because it's a newer design. Decent price/performance ratio, and from a brand I trust to not explode my computer.
The cables, especially the mobo cable, are a bit of a pain to work with.
The only 80x80x15mm cooler I could find with PWM. Detachable cables a plus, cost a definite minus.
One of the best radiator/CPU cooler fans there are. High static pressure, relatively low noise.
It has all the specs I was looking for.I needed a monitor that was 1440p, supported GSYNC, and had a refresh rate of at least 120hz. At 165hz, it's officially overkill. I only wish I had waited a little longer, so I could've snagged the 27" variant for almost the exact same price.
Least expensive non-tenkeyless backlit keyboard with mechanical keys I could find. Heavy enough to be used as a cudgel, should the need arise. What more could one ask for in a desktop keyboard?
2018 Edit: The G key has been double and triple typing on me for about 4 months now, and the W key just started doing it, now, too. Stay away!
Feels great in-hand, and "it just works".