Description

(Edit 6/20/17: I finally built a desk for this thing! No more floor computing! I left the original floor setup photo in there so you can have a laugh.)

This is my new SFF gaming rig, built with a focus on silence and performance, in that order. I built this largely because my old gaming PC, Korra, is an ATX mid-tower and it's a pain to lug it back and forth from university.

My performance target for this PC was 1440p@60fps for games like Overwatch, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Mirror's Edge Catalyst. The GTX 1070 clears that bar for all of these without breaking too much of a sweat, and they look gorgeous on the Dell U2515H monitor.

The NCASE, despite its steep price tag, is a very, very nice case. I'm still not sure it was $230 nice, but I'm quite happy with it. Being a 12-liter case, it can be frustrating at times to build in, but its design attempts to alleviate these issues as best as it can. For example, the back of the case (behind the motherboard tray) is very accessible, and handy for plugging in system panel headers or an M.2 drive in the back. Long graphics cards can also be difficult to fit, but this case has a cutout in the front that lets you slide the card in through there. It's all very ingenious, and to top it off, the case comes with plenty of accessories, like dust filters, wire guards, various brackets, and more. I really wish it had a manual, because it has a lot of unique features that are not found in larger cases and weren't immediately obvious to me.

The star of this build is the Arctic Accelero Xtreme III graphics cooler. This thing is a miracle worker. It's a pain to install and you'll need to read the instructions a few times to make sure you've got it down. It took me about 2 hours to install it, and I did it wrong the first time. But it was worth it. With the stock EVGA ACX 3.0 cooler, my 1070's fans screamed and its temperature would creep above 70C when playing Overwatch at 60fps, which should be a piece of cake for this card. With the Accelero, cooled directly by 2x NF-F12's, the fans only spun to 20%/700RPM, and it was stable at a relatively chilly average of 53C. I think the Accelero Xtreme III is a requirement for building a quiet and cool gaming PC in the NCASE M1.

Part Reviews

CPU

It's the newest overclockable Core i5. If you're building a new high-end gaming PC, you're probably getting this. It performs as well as everyone says it does.

CPU Cooler

Noctua makes top-notch coolers and the U9S is no exception. It cools phenomenally well for a 95mm tower, even on a silent fan curve. The renowned SecuFirm 2 mounting system is still awesome: easy to install, very strong and secure, and forward-compatible. And the 6-year warranty is unbeatable. As anyone will tell you, Noctua's reputation is well-deserved.

Motherboard

This board has everything: onboard WiFi/BT, USB Type-C, Thunderbolt 3, six SATA ports, an 8-phase VRM, and all of its fan headers are PWM-capable. The only things I don't like are the ugly I/O shield (solid black would be better), and that there's no front M.2 slot like on the Asus Z270i.

Memory

The low-profile heatspreaders are great and not too gaudy, as is often the case. Apart from that, it's RAM and it works fine.

Storage

Performance is as good as the best SATA SSD's out there and it sips power. The MX300 is a great bang-for-your-buck drive if you're not willing to spend the premium for an NVMe drive.

Power Supply

The Corsair SF series are still the best SFX power supplies on the market. The SF450 is 80+ Gold certified and just barely misses Platinum. The fan never kicks on in my system. I have to take off a star for two small issues though: first, the stiff and bulky ribbon cables that everyone complains about. This is a significant issue for a power supply made for the small form-factor market. And second, my SF450 exhibits some mild coil whine. It's not a big deal for me and it's barely audible, but something to keep in mind.

Monitor

The panel in the U2515H is big, bright, and beautiful, and there's no lag so it's great for gaming, despite only being 60Hz. The thin bezel is really nice and the array of inputs is generous: 2 HDMI, 1 DP, and 1 mini-DP. The stand is strong and flexible like every UltraSharp monitor. The integrated USB 3.0 hub is handy too, but I wish it had ports on the side like my U2312HM instead of on the back.

Comments

  • 31 months ago
  • 5 points

I love the title lol. ATLA was amazing.

Yeah I do think a desk might help though :P

+1

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

It's small yet deceptively powerful, just like its namesake ;D

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

+1 For the name :D

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points
  1. Sees the name

  2. Fanboys

  3. Sees other ATLA fans

  4. Fanboys a bit more!

+1 great build!

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice neat build - the accelero is kinda perfect for this case. Loving the keyboard too!!

Is the case still propped up? There are heaps of aftermarket case feet available if you need a little extra height. Or even some 3d printed ones too..

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, it's still propped up. I've been thinking about building a stand for it, but I've read about replacement feet too and I might look into those.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

These are pretty nice: https://optimumtechmedia.wixsite.com/optimummods/product-page/ncase-m1-element-feet

Personally I just got some audio equipment feet from ebay.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Good choice of fans, and that case looks really nice and I have been seeing more popping up from people's builds lately

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for clever application of the Accelero cooler.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

The size of a toaster ... awesome!!!

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

I through the passive Accelero on an RX470 and saw 10C temp drops at idle and with high pressure fans great temps under load. I can definitely see this system running well as the extra cash spent on the cooler is jsutified across temps and total build cost.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Definitely! I know I could've gotten a GTX 1080 instead, but I don't think I'd be happy with the thermal performance, especially since that card draws even more power. I've been chasing a silent gaming PC build for a long time and the Accelero has finally managed to achieve that goal.

And from the benchmarks I've seen, the 1070 is more than enough for 1440p/60fps so I'm happy with my choice.

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

+1

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for max and chloe wallpaper

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Case costs more than the cpu?