Meet Luna. She is a cute but mighty AutoCAD battle station. This computer is phenomenal power, stuffed into an itty-bitty living space. This build has actually gone through two different lives. The first one was an idea of a little i5 with a modest R7 370 to do some light desktop work. Then she fell in love with this monitor and everything changed. Immediately it became clear that the 370 was not going to be enough for this. That led to a chain of events that ended with the current build we have today.
I do have to say, I am so glad that this wasn’t my first build. The foresight and planning required to put so much power into such a tiny space would have been a nightmare to deal with. I can only imagine how many times I would have had to redo things if I didn’t already have that experience. As it is I only had to undo everything once. Turns out, if the radiator and fan are installed, there is not enough space for the motherboard to fit in the bottom of the case.
A note on the pictures: I actually forgot to take pictures until I was almost done, so sorry for no prebuild showcase with all the parts. I tried to take as many pictures as I could from several angles so other people interested in a similar ITX build can have something to look at for reference. I know that was a frustration for me when I was going through and looking at other people's build logs. Also, in case you couldn't tell, I am not a photographer. All of these were taken with my phone so quality varies. For the second picture with the monitor, all the white is from my camera's flash. That isn't back light bleed at all, the monitor is actually off in that picture. Finally, yes I am aware that the cable management looks absolutely horrid, but with such a small space, pretty much I just wanted the power cables to be out of the way of the fan. All the other cables are stuffed in the front under the radiator.l
Mouse This mouse is surprisingly comfortable to use. It takes a little bit to get used to, but is one of the best mice I’ve had the pleasure to put my hand on. The only downside is that the software support is pretty terrible. Going through all of their online guides, I still wasn’t able to get it to work. Basically their software drivers work for about the first 30 seconds of the computer being on then the mouse becomes unresponsive. I had to uninstall it and just use the mouse in basic mode which means we can’t remap the buttons. Not a deal breaking problem but annoying for sure. I’ve reached out to the company but haven’t received a response yet.
Desk A glass desk a print of the world on it? It looks just as good as it sounds, which is awesome.
Planned updates Eventually when I have time I will do some benchmarks to get good load temps and a Firestrike score. For right now, the most intensive thing this computer does is Sims 4 and that doesn't really push the boundaries, even with this large of a screen.
When the decision was made to go for a powerhouse, the i7 6700k was the only option. Even though there probably won’t be any overclocking I wanted the extra clock speeds that come with the 6700k versus 6700. And you never know, maybe that will be something that happens in the future. Given the current temps I think it’s more than possible.
After deciding on an i7 and given the small case, I wanted it to be as cool as possible, especially with the 1070 going in there as well. I used an AIO cooler in my previous build and it was amazing so i decided to try the same for this one. I really wanted to try and fit a 140mm AIO in this case, but everywhere I looked said it wouldn’t fit. Having gone through the build I can confirm that a 140mm radiator is just too much. This one barely fit as is. As you can see in the pictures, there is very little space on the bottom if the second RAM slot is filled. I was worried whether I could manage a push/pull configuration but there is enough space behind the front panel to mount an additional fan so I put the original fan that came with the case there. So far everything is working great. There aren’t any audible fan noise distortions from using two different fans and in general this is pretty quiet. It’s very rare that I ever hear these fans.
I had a nice economical motherboard picked out, but then I found out that M.2 hard drives are pretty much the same price as standard SSDs. Then the hunt for a reliable mobo with proper M.2 support was on. Turns out this was the least expensive one that I trusted. It comes with a lot of neat features and has been working great so far. The WiFi was actually great to get the computer up and running until I was able to get an Ethernet cable for it.
Even though you don’t get to see it, I think this ram looks and feels great. The shroud has a nice heft to it and has premium feel to it. Otherwise it's 16GB DDR4. I went with one stick just in case she needs to expand to 32GB in the future.
It’s still mind boggling to me that 500GB can fit on a stick of gum. Yet, here it is. For this case, this was an absolute life saver. Not having to run cables for SATA and power for a traditional 2.5 inch saved me so much frustration with cable management. I can’t imagine trying to deal with two more cables, on top of everything else. One of the best ideas and highest recommendations I have for anyone else thinking about building in this case.
I was planning to go with an R9 Nano, because AMD seems to work better with AutoCAD. I didn’t really want to go that route, especially with the power of Pascal being available. But then masa6gcs showed this report to me. It was a relief to see that not only would Nvidia be preferable, but also the GTX cards were generally better performing than their workstation counterparts. Previously I had only had experience with MSI, but it turns out that only Gigabyte has an ITX version of the 1070 that would fit. So far this card has been great. In any ITX build temps are always a concern and so far there hasn’t been any concerns. For graphic intensive tasks, besides driving the 34 inches of curved visual majesty that is her monitor, she plays The SIms 4 and as mentioned does AutoCAD for work. This card does all of these things with ease. Over Winter break I’m planning to do a campaign on Civilization 6 just to see what it would be like to see an empire spread across so much screen. I’ll provide an update when that happens.
The single thing that drove every other part of this build. I spent quite a while showing her different cases and this was the only one she liked the most. The rest were just meh, but this one appealed for it’s small size and great visual appearance. For the price, this case is amazing. Whether you are just doing a basic build, or something more advanced, the case will more than likely give you what you want. Preplanning is required!! I know this is always necessary for ITX builds in general, but everything in this case is so tight that research is necessary to avoid misery and disappointment on build day. Even though it only comes with a single 120mm fan, for this case that feels like a 200mm fan, because of how small the area inside is.
I’m so glad I went with the SFX power supply. It made dealing with cables easier, it didn’t block the fans as much, and it left a lot more space open for airflow. I orientated it so that it is acting as an exhaust since there are no dedicated fans for that.
Windows 10, 64 bit modern operating system. Yep.
The second most impactful piece of this build. After originally planning a dual monitor setup, that all went out the window when she saw this screen. If you haven't had a chance to see a large curved monitor in person, I highly recommend it. I am extremely jealous and can’t wait until I can ditch my old fashioned Acer Predator to get a real monitor like this one. I honestly can’t say enough to describe the beauty, the aesthetics, the sheer enjoyment of using this screen. Definitely worth the price, no doubt.
I have a Corsair Vengeance keyboard and she loved getting to use it, so she wanted one of her own with RGB.