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Build

SFF Silverstone MSI Skylake i5 GTX 970 - ML08B-H

by dvorshock

12
9 Comments

Details

Date Published

Aug. 11, 2016

Date Built

March 15, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.3 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.216 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.101 GHz

Description

This is primarily a gaming machine, also used for Photoshop and general work purposes. It was my first Small Form Factor build in a long time. Years ago I had build a number of Shuttle XPCs, but my last 2 PCs were normal mid-towers since I felt I was sacrificing performance. This build, however, feels like I've sacrificed very little. I love the Silverstone case. It is very minimal looking, fits on my desk very easily and looks good. It travels very easily for LAN parties. My only gripe is I don't like the mounting system for the 2.5" HDDs.

While building, I had issues with motherboard and power supply. My first MSI motherboard was defective; it would not recognize the video card. I'm fairly certain it wasn't from anything I did during installation. The good part of this was that when I returned it I switched from the H110I Pro to the H170I Pro AC motherboard, which was a better choice in retrospect since it included RAID and WiFi. So not a big deal in the end.

The other main issue I had was with power supplies. Originally I chose the 500W Silverstone SFX-L power supply, which on paper seems like the ideal choice for the Silverstone case. But, it fits awkwardly in this case (strange since both are Silverstone) because of the orientation of the power socket and integrated case power cable. It also ended up being a bit too large to comfortably route cables. But worst of all, the supposedly quiet PSU had very bad fan rattle when the fan kicked in at low speed. It was shockingly loud. I returned it for another identical PSU, and the new one had the same issue. It was even from a different retailer. I ended up switching to the Corsair despite being rated for 50W less. The Corsair is vastly superior in every way, including smaller size, case fit, cable routing, build quality, and packaging quality. I would speculate that the packaging on the Silverstone contributed to the faulty fans; there was very little padding (just some popped bubble wrap) and it seems maybe they were getting knocked around in shipping. So my main takeaway from building this PC is I love Corsair PSUs. Performance is amazing with the M.2 SSD and full size 970 video card. At this point, if you don't need lots of drive bays, multiple video cards, or massive overclocks, there's very little downside to going with SFF/mATX form factor.

Part Reviews

Case

Great with caveats.

Pros: - Overall look and interior design. - Easy to carry with handle. - Good cooling for SFF. - PCI-E riser design for video card is brilliant. - Can fit very long video cards, and if you use a shorter card it leaves space for an extra 3.5" drive

Cons: - Silverstone SX500-LG 500W SFX-L PSU has issues fitting with the internal power cord. See photos of my build. I feel this is fair to mention since it is from the same company and you'd think it would be designed to fit this case or vice versa. I ended up switching to the Corsair 450W which I much prefer now. - Included feet are terrible, as they don't physically attach and fall off easily. I ended up just not using them. It's stable without them unless something really knocks into it hard. - Video card case side cannot be removed without removing the handle which is 4 additional screws. Minor quibble. - 2.5" screwless HDD trays are badly designed and seem cheap. They are an awkward distance apart for using 1 power cable. The HDDs only fit one way (seemingly backwards) and it isn't obvious unless you look really closely. RTFM I guess. Honestly, some normal carriages with screws would have been totally fine. It's not like you're in there changing them a lot.

Summary - I listed a lot of cons just because I feel they are useful comments for anyone building with this case. But, overall, I am extremely happy with it.

Power Supply

Amazing power supply. Great build quality, near silent, plenty of power. Perfect for any SFF build.

Comments Sorted by:

Xar-Das 1 Build 2 points 30 months ago

+1 build. Thank you for all the notes on the case. They will serve me well.

MadBomberBRYANT 1 Build 1 point 26 months ago

Exactly what he said. +1!

soperq 1 point 31 months ago

Why not a GTX 1060??

dvorshock submitter 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

At the time I built this PC the 10-series parts had not yet been released. If they had been, I probably would have gone with a 1060 or 1070.

isedsmart 1 Build 1 point 31 months ago

I hope you get this comment and are still willing to look at this website, but I have such an honest question that I bet many would have. I'm thinking of doing a VERY similar build for the same reasons and I'm just wondering how hot the overall case can get. I really don't want my parts to be in a sauna.

dvorshock submitter 1 Build 1 point 30 months ago

I'm not an expert at benchmarks or measuring temperatures in a scientific way, but I ran Furmark for a while and my GPU leveled off at 78C. If I'm playing games for a while on a hot day the case will definitely get warm, but I haven't had any heat-related instability yet. My overall impression is that the case is well designed for cooling because of how the GPU and motherboard are in separate compartments. The fans for both have access to outside air immediately through the side panel mesh, and they both vent directly out the back. If I had to guess, I would say temps might be a little bit higher than a conventional case with extra fans circulating air, but not enough to really matter unless you are running bleeding edge components or extreme overclocks. High end CPU coolers may be too large to fit.

luttz 2 Builds 1 point 21 months ago

I have the same case and I keep using the stand (even though it does not physically attach or increase stability) to have at least a little airflow through the bottom. Might give a few °C if needed ;-)

dvorshock submitter 1 Build 1 point 21 months ago

Good thought I hadn't considered the airflow increase. Fortunately I haven't had any overheating issues with this build.

jak-jak 2 Builds 1 point 20 months ago

Nice Job. I was looking at this case for a long time. It's nice to see an actual build in it to get an idea of space. If I ever go ITX, this is prob the case I would use.