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View Full Version : Gaming ITX case - impossible? NOT!



FireFlower
03-24-2012, 02:07 AM
Ah hello fellow RoG users.

Have you ever dreamed of a PC smaller than your regular desktop PC but still don't want loose power?

Well no worries... I'm here to share my experience about this little cute puny tiny black gaming pc I have build.

Background:
Some of you might have noticed my previous PC was a full tower with EATX, 6x hotswap, water cooled and a lot 120mm fans to keep it cool as possible. Well I didn't look that bad in my eyes, served well it's purpose next to my desk but... I have a problem... I do not own a car, I visit yearly almost 10 different lan parties, so I pack up these monstrous case with me... Well I moved and distance to lan parties has increased greatly and carrying ~40-45 pounds heavy computer case around often was not really nice because you could barely secure good grip to lift it.

Well I started my search for smaller, more compact, silent, good looking, still has enough features to keep all my hardware inside... A few months search has paid off and here it is... A gaming rig which has... Z68 motherboard, GTX 560 Ti graphic card, 2600k processor, two big ugly hard drives, an SSD, a optical drive option, ATX psu and still boasts with 120mm and 140mm cooling fans in two times of your regular shoes' box. Don't belive me? Well check this out...

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/romuluotain7/romuluotain7_valmis.jpg

Neat ain't it?

Case: Lian Li PC-Q08B
- Okay I chose this over PC-Q25B because it had optical drive bay and front connection ports for my headset and cardreader / fancontroller / thermometer multipanel. But lets take a look at specs...

Dimensions: (W) 227mm x (H) 272mm x (D) 345mm
Material: Aluminium
Bays: 1 x 5.25" drive bay, 6 x 3.5" internal drive bay*, 1 x 2.5" internal drive bay
Cooling: front 140mm led fan, top 120mm fan
front I/O: power button (power led), reset button (hdd led), 2 x USB 3.0 ports, HD-audio ports
Form factor: M-ITX / M-DTX (2 pci slots)
Weight: 2.73kg
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=480&cl_index=1&sc_index=26&ss_index=68&g=f

*4 x available if using over 17cm long peripheral device card in PCI slot.

Well I let you look at manufacturer's site for pictures of empty case... I'm just a little bit too lazy to edit images of empty case.

Well anyway what you should do if you would like to assemble these kind components to the case?


Zotac Z68-ITX WiFI
Intel Core i7-2600k
Antec Kühler h2o 620
GTX 560 Ti graphic card
G.skill ripjaws-x DDR3-1600MHz 8GB-kit of 2
Corsair HX 650W (reason for this)
2-4 HDD's
Corsair Force GT 120GB
Optical fan / fan controller / card reader / 5.25" drive bay device
Change original fans


Okay about fans a little bit... I think I'm too old and i'm not fond of super bright led's. I decided to change the front 140mm supplied fan to be led-less. I chose BitFenix Spectre Pro 140mm out of curiosity to see how well it performs. Quite well actually but lets go back to the originals. I didn't test them but they are manufactured by Yate Loon, so you can expect high quality fans to come with this case. Also they are very silent according to reviews of this case if you use supplied molex adapters.

And a word about tools... Seriously get a 30-50 pieces screwdriver set (changeable heads or something). Because Lian li has for some reason put ALL screws in moment, they are pretty tight. If you used wrong screwdriver, you will damage the screw because those are very soft for some reason (aluminium screws? hope not). I destroyed one screwdriver and one screw completely when tried to change 140mm fan. That screw didn't budge at all so I had to drill trough it. Also You need a some kind blade, scissors or cutters to cut inside pretty strong cable tie which holds accessory box.

And about power supply unit. Do not buy over 16 cm ever, it won't with top hdd cage. A corsair' HX650W is pretty nice being only 15cm long.

Anyway... You should take both side panels off first in this case... both contain 6 small screws and the accessory box don't contain bare pieces, so don't loose them. The "motherboard's" side panel has 4 motherboard stands attached to it. First prepare motherboard with back plate if your cooler had one (like antec water cooler). Then install on table cpu , cpu cooler (or the rack for antec water cooler) and memory modules. Then secure motherboard to side panel. Next you should remove top HDD cage and in the case of need the lower one and change it to supplied top HDD cage support pillar which allows installation of graphic card or any PCI device longer than 17 cm.

Next if you plan to have Antec water cooling like me, you need to remove top fan and frontal fan. The top fan is easy but frontal one has a little trick. First pull it along the case then lift towards the hdd cage and it will pop off. Take off dust filter and take off 140mm fan and change blow direction. Why? Because if you install Asus GTX 560 Ti DirectCu II like I have the card will bath in its own heat. Because radiator's fan will be blowing down (because outside the case is a lot cooler than inside the case). Well anyway install the radiator to the roof where fan is blowing towards inside Also make sure tubes are towards the side panel with mothearboard (only way to install it). I recommend highly changing the supplied finger-protection-frill with different kind because it is very thigh and fan will have a hard time pulling air trough it. I used metallic dust filter to protect someone else's fingers. Anyway now you have flipped the cooling direction of the case.

If you plan to use 5.25" drive bay, take it of, install the drive on the bay, measure the distance correctly if you don't plan to use front aluminium dvd-cover so it won't look like tumor on the case ;). The 2.5" drive installation is under 5.25" bay and device will be secured with 4 screws. After assembly of the bay put it back in the case.

Next bring the motherboard which is attached to side panel next to case. Connect frontal I/O (audio, start, reset, leds, USB 3.0). The USB 3.0 has 20 pin-header but lian li has supplied an adapter to turn those USB 3.0 ports to USB 2.0 ports if your ITX motherboard doesn't have USB 3.0 header. Now install the pump / block unit to CPU that way you find it easiest. I found it easiest to install when Antec text is flipped 180 degrees. Don't forget to install fans to motherboard fan header's if you plan to use motherboard's own fan control. Now remember to install the I/O shield to the case and carefully secure side panel with motherboard to case. It is pretty tight fit but should fit nicely. I installed also a PSU's ATX 24pin and 8pin when side panel was not attached but I realised after wards it would had been a lot easier without those attached. Anyway insert now s-ata cables and power supply cables to motherboard. Leave the PSU still outside of the case to secure more assembly room inside the case.

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/romuluotain7/romuluotain7_alla.jpg

Now install the 3.5" top drive cage with disks where disks I/O should be pointing towards the open side panel. install cables to disks. Install graphic card now and cables.

Hide most of the cages behind drive bay's to secure best air flow for hot air. Now install the psu which is still outside of the cage, it is again tigh fit but should fit nicely with a little gently (but bruteful) push. Install modular cables, check cabling looks ok and close the side panel.

Now your M-ITX computer with efficient cooling should be ready to be fired up.
Room temp: 24.5C degrees
CPU idle: ~33C degrees
CPU Load (DX 11 game): ~57C degrees
GPU idle: ~30C degrees
GPU load: ~69C degrees
Front fan: 1000 rpm
top fan: 1000 rpm

And you can see the result inside the case in the first picture of this post.

Because I assembled the cooling to horrendous way at my first try with this case I needed improve it a lot. The top fan was in pull configuration for radiator, and it didn't work at all because delta T with case and and radiator was almost 0 meaning no cooling can be done. And that fan was spinning 1850 rpm. Well I changed top fan to blow air in instead out. Well now my GPU was in hotbox of it's own. Because top fan was blowing down hot air, front fan tried to push hot air towards back of the case which was pretty nicely blocked by cables, it didn't work at all. Third try I improved cabling and changed to frontal fan to blow outside of the case. Now temps, rpm's and noise levels were down a lot and the case didn't feel anymore like heat radiator.

Here is a picture of my first try:
http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/romuluotain7/romuluotain7_done_yet.jpg


Because the case is able to take in 30cm long graphic cards it should be possible to use even the most high end card with this case because the bottom of this case is full of air holes for graphic card. Anyway so far I have tested works fine, soundless with my fan controller and going to serve me well in lan-parties and at my home also. Time to get smaller ;)

XRIGS
03-26-2012, 05:49 AM
Nice build mate, You've got some really nice temps especially for an itx build.

frisianbear2002
03-26-2012, 07:13 AM
Wow thats a veryyyyyyyyyyyyy compact build.

Cygnitr0n
03-26-2012, 05:38 PM
Nice ITX bro! :)

Nice watercooling the system! I thought about it to! nice!
Maybe I can inspire you with this picture. It's mine also, project: Lil'lian (http://www.cygnitr0n.nl/project-lillian/).

7152

FireFlower
03-27-2012, 12:04 AM
Nice ITX bro! :)

Nice watercooling the system! I thought about it to! nice!
Maybe I can inspire you with this picture. It's mine also, project: Lil'lian (http://www.cygnitr0n.nl/project-lillian/).

7152

Nice one. The only problem I see is that "HDD" extra fan doesn't have any effect... it doesn't have air holes, so it is just blowing sideways the air that 140mm front fan is pushing towards rear... Also I might see a problem with Bequiet power if you had powerful graphic card there, again no air holes for it.

Anyway that window looks nice and sleeving is nice but I can't really understand the purpose behind it when you can't see anything under the hood, thanks to the psu. Well anyway I have now placed mine on floor next to fresh air hole to pull in pretty cool air (~17C). Overclocked yesterday processor to be stable with 4.5GHz but the noise from CPU is too intense for me so I just use 4.2GHz for lower temps and noise levels to be as good as unhearable from background noise. Still have to install afterburner to set different fan profile for graphic card because it is still noisy. (Why you Asus not making DCII cool and noiseless :()

FireFlower
04-02-2012, 09:57 AM
http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0708.JPG

All items received from local hardware dealer.

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0710.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0713.JPG

Much stuff in small box. I/O shied, manuals, USB 3.0 bracket, two omni directional antennas, msata installation bracket, USB 3.0 low profile bracket, 8pin extension cable for CPU, mini displayport adapter cable, four s-ata cables and the motherboard also.

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0736.JPG

Neat... Sadly Asus just released their Z77 version but even more sad that it won't fit in my case with my antec cooler

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0726.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0727.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0728.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0729.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0731.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0733.JPG

It has so much space yet so small, yet so big still.

FireFlower
04-02-2012, 09:57 AM
http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0738.JPG

Busted my screwdriver and the screw. Had to drill trough this one to get it off.

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0739.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0740.JPG

Cable hell awaiting...

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0744.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0746.JPG

Tight fit still even with small water cooler...

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0748.JPG

First try, bad decisions... Cable routing not working at this moment. hdd's should be in as close to roof as possible to get off one modular s-ata power cable and hide those cables better.

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0751.JPG

Air flow improved by turning cooling upside down. Cool air pulled trough the roof and hot air pushed out trough front. Works a lot better this way, all temps went down about 10-15C.

And here is the reason why I took off the 140mm fan

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0717.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0719.JPG

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/artikkeli/mitx_pelikone/DSCF0722.JPG

no leds, sound ain't so bad ~1000 rpm actually almost unhearable.

Next are overclocking tests and checking how well Intel Smart Response Technology works with this way...

OS partition on SSD: 93GB
Acceleration Cache on SSD: 18.4GB
Accelerated Programs HDD: 2TB 5400rpm
non-accelerated Media HDD: 2TB 5400rpm

A few most used games and programs should receive significant boost to performance. Like battlefield 3 and world of tanks

frisianbear2002
04-02-2012, 10:09 AM
Hmmm nice and compact:cool:

LeandroJVarini
04-03-2012, 01:12 AM
congratulations also already had a mini itx gamer!

FireFlower
04-03-2012, 11:05 PM
Here is "the little boy" behind the desk running 24/7 :)

http://garde.fi/~fireflower/kuvia/tietokone/romuluotain7/romuluotain_7_valmis2.JPG

Giannis996
04-04-2012, 05:34 AM
very very clever idea and nice job gratz!!!!

FireFlower
04-07-2012, 08:18 AM
very very clever idea and nice job gratz!!!!

Thank you very much