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Build Advice i7 uATX SLI Gaming Rig Advice (Poll and WC Questions Added)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by shomann, 5 Feb 2009.

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Which is best for video encoding and gaming (SFF, price/performance)?

Poll closed 2 Mar 2009.
  1. i7 920 @ 4GHz (requires water)

    16 vote(s)
    84.2%
  2. Q9550 @ 3.4-3.6GHz (on air)

    3 vote(s)
    15.8%
  1. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    I knew I wanted to build a SFF gaming rig for my next project. I even have some ideas about a complete scratch build, but think I want to case mod first. The recent announcement that DFI has brought to market a uATX i7 compatible board has accelerated my interest.

    I have built quite a few systems both for myself and others, so I am not a complete noob ;) . However, I have yet to do any serious modding and I have yet to try to build a SFF computer with the emphasis on gaming.

    The main project goals are:
    • Gaming a priority as is video encoding.
    • As quiet as possible on air.
    • Medium overclocking on both CPU and GPU
    • Easy upgrading and other considerations all expendable
    • Budget considerations secondary to top components, but nothing ridiculous
    • Modding with the emphasis on maximizing cable management and function.

    I have refined the build this far, but am really going back and forth on the GFX:

    Case: Silverstone SG03B (Lian-li PC350b and other SFF systems from Silverstone are still on the list as well)

    CPU: i7 920
    Mobo: DFI JR X58-T3H6 micro-ATX
    RAM: 3x 2GB OCZ PC3 12800
    GFX: 2x eVGA 260-216 886MB (right now I can get these cards ~ $100 less than a GTX 295.)

    PSU: Corsair 620w CMPSU-620HX
    HS(CPU): Silverstone NT06-E
    FANS: 3x Scythe 120mm SFF21F
    Fan controller: ? Needs to fit either 3.5" bay, or PCI cover

    One big question is whether the 620w PSU will really support (2) GTX 260s.

    The other areas where I most need advice are the GFX, case fans and controller, however any critique is welcome. Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: 23 Feb 2009
  2. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    I dont know about the SG03 case but i know that the Lian li V300 and 350 required modding to fit any long video cards. So anything bigger than a 9600GT would be a B**ch to fit unless you own a dremal.

    DFI mATX cheesecake thats for sure!
     
  3. DorkSterr

    DorkSterr Hakuna Matata

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    I doubt you can get GTX 260 in SLi with a 620W PSU. My rig right now is using 350W on IDLE and on full load it uses almost 550W, imagine 2 GTX 260's.
     
  4. icutebluezone

    icutebluezone The meaning of life is to MOD

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    Im building a system in the SG03B. Very nice case and has room for dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX280/260 -10.5”. Cards up to 10.5" long im not to sure about the GTX 295

    More info here: http://www.silverstonetek.com/products/p_contents.php?pno=sg03&area=

    Also on the fan controller part Im using a PCI slot fan controller. 3 way fan controller. With the 3.5 bay you have to have a controller with short knobs think its about 12mm max not 100% sure i havent checked but i have a 3.5 4 way controller thats got tiny knobs on it that fits in and the side door shuts.

    Sounds a little like you building one kickass system. :) I wouldnt mind getting that board. :D
     
  5. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Actually I saw your post earlier today when I was searching on more info for the SG03 ;) How do you think I got the idea for using a PCI sized fan controller? ;)

    Thanks for the insight about the knob height. I think having some fan control would be critical for this case.

    I figured the PSU might be a bit undersized. Now I need to decide if I want to go up to 1K just to support SLI, or go with a single GTX 280/285/295. A part of me wants to do SLI just to see that case used the way they claim it can be.
     
  6. icutebluezone

    icutebluezone The meaning of life is to MOD

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    Yeh i have searched net for mods and systems people that have used the SG03 there are sum nice setups. But havent seen much SLI setups in it.

    another good thing with the case is that you can have the longer PSU in it also.

    Only downside is the CPU cooler area. but I see you picked the Silverstone NT06-E witch fits in there. :) But you would have to mod a new bracke to hold it onto your mobo.

    Yeh i was going to use a 3.5" bay controller but wanted a card reader 2 so went with the PCI 1 and that xtra PCI slot up the tops a nice place to have it.

    Make custom cables for the PSU also so no xtra cables hanging round to hide.

    Now im off to get sum chips. :p
     
  7. AQNFX

    AQNFX Twist The Grip, Let It Rip!

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    Personally I would use nothing less then a 800 watt psu. You can get an ANTEC 850w on Newegg for about $200 USD. and its modual too (consider this when your making a case that a SFF and want to keep it neat to help better air flow.)

    And I have to let you know that making a power house SFF isnt easy to keep cool on AIR (or at least for me. Look at my Sig at my moms work station.)

    The q6600 @ 2.40 Ghz idles at 30*C and it will hit 61*c at load On a stock cooler. 61*c on normal task working. (prime95 got it to 71*c, Ohhh snappp!)

    The XFX 9500 GT DDR3 edition sits at 45*c idle, didnt check the load temps.

    The Mobo sits at 38*c because its just a heat sink.


    You have to get a lot of air moving and get that warm/hot air pushed out of your case! You might want to consider water cooling. I can only warn you with my experience that your SFF will become "baken hot" when you start to push your system.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As seen here, it will make it hard to get a big cooler inside
    [​IMG]
     
  8. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    That's the most amazing computer that I've ever seen.
    :jawdrop:
     
  9. klutch4891

    klutch4891 New Member

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    I have to agree with docodine that is a great looking computer. Is it looking for a new home? :D
     
  10. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Holy mother of pearl! That is a most excellent build! (channeling Ted "Theodore" Logan) How did I miss that when I was on my v350b search streak yesterday?

    I was hoping that the more open design of the SG03 would allow more airflow than the V350b. I do know there is even less room between the processor and the bottom of the PSU in the SG03 than in the V350b, so from what I have read, you almost have to use some variant of the NT-06.

    I have seen at least one extremely nuts water-cooled SG03 so far. One further question, how transportable is a water-cooled system? Do you have to drain/refill or is the theory that if it's water-tight, it's water tight no matter the orientation of the chassis?
     
  11. AQNFX

    AQNFX Twist The Grip, Let It Rip!

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    Well when it comes to transporting water, its hear say. Some people will tell you that you shouldn't move the case because it could cause a disturbance among the block connectors. Some have no problems moving their water cooled little monsters.

    And as I look at SFF cases, yeah, your going to be kicking yourself because your cpu might be heating up because you cant use a proper cooler in that SG03 case.

    The next best thing to do is just build your own case.

    Once again I like the v350b because it will allow you to use a bigger CPU cooler. If I was to build one and i didn't want to build a custom case I would definitely go with the v350b (that's my opinion though.)

    The v350b I believe has more spacious room because it is also square. So as long as your cable management is up to par then you should have no problems. And just throw a new CPU cooler and a couple of high flowing air fans in it and it should be fine.

    All SFF cases that I will use.
    Thermaltake - lanbox lite - I have this SFF in my sig just look at my mother work station!
    v350b
    Falcon Northwest FragBox - I just think its sick looking but it might make as a second house heater, who knows?
     
    Last edited: 6 Feb 2009
  12. AQNFX

    AQNFX Twist The Grip, Let It Rip!

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  13. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    So...freaking...torn...

    AQNFX, thank you for your thoughts. Its obvious that you know what you are doing in the SFF arena. I really like the look of the V350b and like you mentioned, I have more choices of coolers.

    No matter which case I choose I am going to have to mod. This doesn't bother me, in fact I am looking forward to it. :dremel:

    After another day of spec-shopping, I think I am going to start with (1) GTX 285 rather than 260-216 SLI. It would be great to have such a unique rig, but this just makes more sense in the whole scheme of things.

    I have found a great PSU whose only issue it it isn't modular - the Corsair CMPSU-850TX. A single 12v rail @ 70A is what caught my eye, so I am contemplating modding this as well. How difficult is it to do this well? I am familiar with soldering, but have never torn down a PSU before.

    I have a "wish list" fully loaded at Newegg as we speak - its very tempting to pull the trigger on it. :naughty:
     
  14. icutebluezone

    icutebluezone The meaning of life is to MOD

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  15. klutch4891

    klutch4891 New Member

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    I would really recommend getting a modular PSU. It's a huge help when building a normal computer so I'm sure it'll be even better in a SFF.
     
  16. AQNFX

    AQNFX Twist The Grip, Let It Rip!

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    Really I wouldn't mod a brand *NEW* PSU, you want to keep the warranty. So I would highly suggest that you get it modular. It seems to me that you want to stick with Corsair which is fine but if your going to a single card then I would just go for about a 600W (don't quote me on power im just roughing it.) But dont expect to overclock anything on 600w. And if you go 285 SLI then your looking at something with a 900-1000W of power (you want some buffer area).

    (professional opinion) If you go with the v350b I don't think you will have to mod it. I would just see if you can even fit a 285 in the case. That's where we are now in this stage..... Will the card fit?

    Personally I would go for a 4870 x2 + 4870 in crossfire.
     
    Last edited: 7 Feb 2009
  17. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    Instead of getting the SG03, shoot for the Temjin TJ08. It isn't exactly the smallest uATX case on the block, but you will have zero clearance issues, period. Plus, the dual 120mm slots look quite ripe for watercooling... :D

    The real issue with the SG03 is that the PSU sits directly over the CPU. They made a special passive cooler specifically designed for that case so the PSU fan would suck out the heat. While I'm not speaking from direct knowledge here, I'd be rather surprised if anything short of a couple of right-angle connectors could make a CPU waterblock fit under the PSU without the tubes bumping up against it.

    Oh, and since you are going uATX - do not do not do not go with any non-modular PSU. Period.


    - Diosjenin -
     
  18. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    I haven't forgotten you guys, just been away on business.

    I really don't feel like water-cooling is a good idea for a case I plan to move any distance, even if it is for the occasional LAN. I know its a better method than cooling with air, but this build will not be water-cooled.

    I have opened my mind to the possibility of what I would call a mini-tower, like the Lian-Li A05 or the Silverstone TJ08. One problem I see with the TJ08 is, once the 3.5" drive cage is removed for the second 120mm fan in the front, where is storage supposed to go? The case floor? Not a big deal, and I am only planning on a single 3.5" drive for the system.

    Still weighing my options, basically. But I have locked into my brain the idea that I need a modular PSU. Thanks, and keep the ideas flowing!
     
  19. _man1c_

    _man1c_ New Member

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    i went with the qmicra v.2 case.

    thisll be my first sff case to build. bought it cause it looked roomy enough where i didnt have to mod anything to fit in it. my specs are:

    Qmicra v.2 case
    Antec Signature 850watt psu
    6gb Corsair Dominator 1600
    LG BD drive
    2 120mm Thermaltake fans (still thinking of getting a 3rd for the back of the case)
    4870 1GB Radeon Sapphire
    ci7 920 cpu
    DFi uATX Jr mobo
    WD 300GB Raptor

    not sure if im going to get a soundcard right now, but eventually i will and ill end up wc it.
     
  20. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    EDIT: Are you ^^ sure you posted in the right thread, _man1c_?

    Well, if you're only going with one 5.25" drive as well, you can get a 5.25"-to-3.5" converter like this one, which (assuming the motherboard supports it) will also provide hot-swap functionality. You know, assuming you'd ever want that for one drive. :p But if it were me, I would just leave the cage in and stick with the one 120mm.

    Also, keep in mind that the PC-A05 is a full-ATX case (as you've probably figured out by now). The layout keeps it at TJ08 size (or even a bit smaller), but you can put a full ATX board in there should you want to. On the other hand, the PSU placement and layout resulting does mean that you won't get quite as good of airflow in there as you would even in the TJ08's default configuration.


    - Diosjenin -
     

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