Description

Backstory

  • This is the 2nd PC I've built. I retrofitted my previous PC with a Geforce GTX 1060 and a Solid State Drive, but the CPU was 7 years old! I had to upgrade if I wanted to stream the video games I play. Upgrading my CPU meant it was time to get new motherboard. I figured I might as well get a newer case, since the old one was falling apart and boring. I realized I would need to buy a stronger cooler for the 7700k, and a semi-modular power supply to save some space in this tiny rig!

Troubleshooting

  • Moral of the story: Always double check for motherboard compatibility BEFORE you buy memory! Try different slots if RAM gives you boot errors. I figured PCPartPicker wouldn't show me the memory if it was incompatible with the board I already set, but it's wrong to assume when it's just as easy to double-check the motherboard's website! I had to buy new RAM. Silver lining; I upgraded the speed and it fits slightly easier. I installed new RAM. I saw the CPU and RAM LEDs blinking, which briefly made me panic. Did I brick my CPU? Is this board busted because I got it in an Amazon Warehouse deal? I tried starting my computer with 1 stick in Slot A. Nothing. Then 1 stick in Slot B. Success! It booted, and then I installed the second stick.

Future Upgrades/Hindsight

  • I would like to switch out my 1060 graphics card for a 1070 or 1080, and then upgrade my monitor to 144hz and get those silky smooth frame rates.

  • I think a normal sized atx 'mid-tower' case could have suited me well. I really like the look of some of them, like this NZXT one . Finding a board small enough for AMD Ryzen was a big reason why I chose the team blue over team red. At the beginning, I could only find 1 itx board w/ AM4 socket on the market (Asrock). Meanwhile there were 5-6 itx boards offered with LGA 1151 socket, so I swung towards Intel, and got a water cooler.

  • It's a tight squeeze to fit this water cooler in this case. The motherboard power, and RAM are all packed tight in there. Low profile RAM is essential.

  • I will update this when I run more tests. I plan to lightly overclock the i7 7700k and post temps with benchmarks. Currently my CPU is cooled great, no more than 60C under a moderate load.

Part Reviews

CPU

Blazing fast compared to anything I've had before. It measures up to the 5 star reviews on Amazon. It's staying cool (40 idle, <60 on a medium gaming load. 27 ambient) under a moderate load with my Corsair H80i v2 water cooler. It's running at 4.45 Ghz out of the box with XMP enabled. I will report back once I OC more.

CPU Cooler

No problems so far. It is a tad bulky for my small Thermaltake Core V1 case. The radiator and 2 fans setup means you can't use the large case fan included, but I know spacing is difficult in general with small builds. As for doing it's job, it seems to cool my 7700k just fine. I pushed the cpu load to 100%, 4.45 Ghz, was impressed by temps in the 50-60 C range. Idle is 40 C. It's about 80 F (27C) in my apartment at the moment.

Motherboard

It works, although it was puzzling it would only start with a single RAM module in DIMM B slot not DIMM A slot. On the other hand the BIOS is really user friendly. It was easy to install the second RAM stick and push the speeds up to the marketed setting (3000Mhz). EZ Troubleshooting LEDs were helpful to identify my RAM issue. Nice to have built in WiFi. I like the design, and the on-board and expandable LED strip feature.

Memory

Originally my motherboard would only accept 1 module to boot, but then it was easy to install both and use XMP in BIOS to boost the speed from 2133 Mhz to the 3000 Mhz specified. Low profile design keeps my bulky motherboard power cable from bending the sticks.

Storage

Easily one of my favorite upgrades to my older rig. It makes the boot time blazing fast. Very affordable at 250 GB for $100. I'll add my 1 TB HDD if I really need the space for projects, but I think I'll be fine.

Video Card

I bought this card for $200 October or November 2016. It brought new life to my aging computer. It's a bit of an odd card. I've heard I should have got the 6GB of memory. I've also heard the video RAM gets used mainly for textures, so if you plan on turning down the graphics to maximize frame rate you won't see much of a difference? I'd rather grab 1070 or a 1080 once the price is more comfortable. But with the cryptocurrency mining craze, I might end up waiting for next gen!

Case

Does everything you need. Modular is completely necessary with this small form factor. Every single panel, barring the back panel, you can detach to reach into those difficult areas. It's very helpful.

Power Supply

I got it for $50 on Newegg after a MIR. I would probably go with whatever Gold Semi modular PSU that fills your wattage requirement you can find. SeaSonic seems like a reliable brand, no complaints. Modular PSU is very nice in a tiny case. You can forgo a lot of unnecessary cables by simply not installing them.

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Comments

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Hey guy! Nice build. I have used the same mobo and I ran into some RAM issues as well. Used the exact same RAM.

With 2 RAM sticks it didnt boot. Tested with one, it booted. Also same stick worked in both slots.

The second stick however wouldn't work in either slots. So i figured one of them is faulty and Im returning it this week. Now reading your story makes me thing again. (To test I had to remove my graphics card each time, so I kept my troubleshooting to a minimum.. ITX builds eh ;) )

Could you explain a bit more in depth what you encountered and how you solved it? Did you upgrade the bios? Of did it just worked once the PC had run before on one stick??

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry I didn't see your message earlier. I bet you figured it out by now. I think I ran it with one stick, and then messed with the XMP in the bios to go to 2 sticks. I forget exactly. Hope you're doing great now.

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