Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

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Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:07 pm

Hi all,

Just ordered the following components to build myself a new mATX box:

Intel Core i5-4670K Processor - $209.99
GIGABYTE GA-Z87M-D3H 1.0 LGA 1150 Intel Z87 motherboard - $84.99
HyperX Black 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $64.99
Corsair CX500 Modular 500-watt Power Supply - $54.99
SilverStone PRECISION Series PS09B Black Steel / Plastic MicroATX Mid Tower - $39.99

Component Total - 454.95
S+H - $9.18
Grand Total - 464.13
Grand Total after $20 MIR on Corsair PSU - $444.13

I have a spare windows 7 ultimate license and some spare hard drives and a SSD to toss into the system. Will hold off buying a GPU until prices drop and/or I get more cash freed up, but dang, that's still a pretty decent system for the price.

Was debating getting the Thermaltake Urban S1 case for $44.99, which had an extra 3.5" bay, but was down on maximum video card length (10.2" vs 14" on the PS09) and no foam padding; in the end, decided I'd prefer the extra freedom in GPU length (most 760 GPOUs are 10" long, but some are 11" or more).

Guess you can get a pretty good build if you're careful not to overspend (a Corsair 350D or Silverstone TJ-08E would have been nice, but would have cost me an extra $50-70, a not inconsiderable amount when talking about a budget build).

Peace,
V.

EDIT 03/19/14:
DPete27 wrote:Volednuit, please let us know your impressions of the Silverstone PS09B case. That looks like a very good case to me, so I've recommended it to a few people in the forums. I'd be interested in using it for future builds if you like it.


Updates for DPete27: Silverstone Precision PS09 case impressions.

Hi, the case and motherboard arrived today; sadly UPS is not as good as ONTRAC, and my tigerdirect order isn't here yet. The light has been pretty bad in the Pacific Northwest, so I don't know if I'll be able to post pictures; in the meantime, here are my thoughts on the Precision PS09.

The Good:
This case is tiny. Really tiny. It is dwarfed by my hp micrATX tower by over 1 5.25" drive bay, although it is slightly deeper. You will need to plan your build very carefully, starting with bulkier components and then working your way down the pecking order. Not for first-timers.

Case seems pretty rigid, although the side panels are a little flimsy when removed. They have a nice heft to them due to the foam padding, but can wobble* despite the stiffening effect of the ridges. The motherboard tray area is reassuringly solid despite having a huge cutout for backplate access.
* EDIT2: While the side panels can wobble when removed, they are reassuringly stiff to even firm pressure when installed. I wouldn't worry about any structural issue or noise problems from their relatively thin gauge (don't have a micrometer, but assuming they are 0.6SECC).

The paintjob is pretty good internally and externally. The plastic front fascia is tastefully painted and has a resemblance to brushed aluminum without being too obvious that it is plastic.

It'll swallow a 14.1" long video card. Many full-ATX cases can't manage that.

Lots of screws and an adapter to screw in the motherboard standoffs using a Phillips head screwdriver

The left and right side panels and air filters are interchangeable. This is just clever, efficient design, allowing Silverstone to cut down on BOM (Bill of Materials) and allowing users to swap panels if one side gets scratched/dented (eg if one side is visbile while the other is hidden).

2x USB3.0 front ports

I can't test the efficacy of the acoustic padding until I build my system, will update later, but hey, at least it's there, right?

The Bad:
This case is tiny. Plan your build carefully, or you'll have to laboriously remove any previously installed components to gain access if you change your mind halfway through a build.

Cable management is minimal, with very little space behind the motherboard tray and few locations to even attach cable ties to.

The air "filters" are just big open holes. I've seen reviews where there was wire mesh behind the plastic vents, but there was no such thing on my unit. Cost-cutting at work? Anyway, still disappointing.

Filling the hard drive bay will block off a significant amount of area to the intake fan. I've ordered a spare 80mm fan to go in the bottom 80mm slot just to be safe.

The Ugly:
Only 1 intake fan and no exhaust fans. Depending on the build, this will not be an issue, but don't expect to run a FX-8350 and a R9 290X in here without additional cooling.

First Impressions Conclusion:
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this case, but as I have said more than once, this is not a noob-friendly case. For easier builds, perhaps a Thermaltake Urban S1 or Antec NSK-2xxx or 3xxx series for those on a budget, and maybe a Silverstone TJ-08E, Corsair 350D or Nanoxia Deep Silence Mini if you can spare the cash.

UPDATE 3/26/14:
Posted pics.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:45 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:21 am

Yes, it is pretty amazing what you can put together for a moderate amount of cash these days. $500 will get you a decent budget system, and for just a bit over $1K you can build a nice "power user" workstation. It's all about hitting the price/performance sweet spots, and not over-spending on things that don't substantially improve performance or reliability.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:58 am

Pretty nice, and yeah you can get a pretty powerful system these days for the price. Of course you're carrying over some parts and there's no discrete graphics card but you could add a SSD and a solid $150 card for 1080p gaming and still be at a very good price.

Not necessarily the PSU I would have gone for, especially without a discrete graphics card (I am a bit of a Seasonic fanboy and would have gotten this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151117 which still would have had some headroom for a mid-range ~$160 graphics card especially the super-efficient GTX 750 Ti, or this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151077 to save some money and be OK with a Bronze 80+ PSU) but I guess you wanted to get everything from TD? It's odd they don't carry Seasonic.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:20 am

I've been satisfied with the Corsair PSUs I've bought over the past couple of years. Seasonic is one of the manufacturers Corsair uses, so it is even possible that he got a re-badged Seasonic!
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:50 am

I'm pretty sure that one is a CWT OEM but it's kind of hard to tell because Corsair keeps bringing out new versions of the CX series with the same basic name. Not that CWT is necessarily bad but generally they aren't *quite* as good as Seasonic, but especially for an IGP system I would have chosen a more appropriate wattage rating PSU, I suppose that was my main point.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:01 am

MadManOriginal wrote:Not necessarily the PSU I would have gone for, especially without a discrete graphics card (I am a bit of a Seasonic fanboy and would have gotten this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151117 which still would have had some headroom for a mid-range ~$160 graphics card especially the super-efficient GTX 750 Ti, or this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151077 to save some money and be OK with a Bronze 80+ PSU) but I guess you wanted to get everything from TD? It's odd they don't carry Seasonic.


@ MMO: the PSU was chosen to give me some headroom to grow with a GPU. For now, I'm going IGP purely for cost/budget reasons and plan to add a decent GPU later, so the Seasonic SS-360GP might be a little restricting for me, even though it's a really nice DC-DC unit. I know what you mean about Seasonics - the PSU in my current rig is a PCP&C Silencer Mk III 500W unit that was ODMed by Seasonic and is just great. I mixed and matched retailers based on price: so newegg had the same CX-500 for $69-$10MIR, but TD had it for $54-$20MIR, no brainer there.

just brew it! wrote:I've been satisfied with the Corsair PSUs I've bought over the past couple of years. Seasonic is one of the manufacturers Corsair uses, so it is even possible that he got a re-badged Seasonic!


I've also been pleased with Corsair's PSUs for a while, The first PSU of theirs I bought was a HX-520 modular unit back in '08, that was made by Seasonic. The CX-500M is made by CWT, which has made some of Corsair's other PSUs in the past, and they also have a solid reputation. It's not a DC-DC unit, but is listed as 'Haswell Support: Yes'. Worst comes to worse, I can always enable power loading in BIOS or disable some sleep states if the system turns out to be unstable when sleeping.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:11 am

just brew it! wrote:It's all about hitting the price/performance sweet spots, and not over-spending on things that don't substantially improve performance or reliability.


QFT. I recently configured a $800 system for a friend (he wanted 4C/8T because he was doing a lot of video processing from his NEX camera, so we had to bump up to a Core i7), but incremental upgrades here and there ended up pushing the price to over $1,200.

I have a spare Plextor M3 128 GB SSD that was left over when I upgraded to a Crucial M500 240 GB (wife needed more room for her CAD/Drafting software). That's going to go into the new build. I also have a spare 3 TB Hitachi drive and a bunch of 2 TB WD drives that are going into the new system, so "saving" a bit of money on storage by reusing components.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:25 am

Volednuit, please let us know your impressions of the Silverstone PS09B case. That looks like a very good case to me, so I've recommended it to a few people in the forums. I'd be interested in using it for future builds if you like it.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:47 am

DPete27 wrote:Volednuit, please let us know your impressions of the Silverstone PS09B case. That looks like a very good case to me, so I've recommended it to a few people in the forums. I'd be interested in using it for future builds if you like it.


Will do. I've used several Silverstone cases in the past (original TJ-08 and KL-01), and have come away with positive impressions, although I've found their stock fans to be a little noisy (can be fixed with undervolting/fan controls and moving to rubber mounts). Since this is a super budget case, my expectations are tempered. The Steel is probably a low gauge and the sound padding unlikely to be as good as what you'd find on a higher end Nanoxia, but I'm hoping for a good balance of price/performance/features.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:55 am

The PS09 does seem like a pretty nice case given the price range. The only nitpick I'd have against it is the 80/92mm exhaust fan and 140mm CPU cooler height limit. But if you know what you're getting into and are ok with those aspects, for example have a good 92mm fan that won't be too loud if quiet matters or won't use the exhaust fan with an IGP system, or will use the stock CPU cooler or have medium height one that will work, then it seems like a workable case.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:32 pm

Yeah, the 80/92mm exhaust is a potential downside for some, but I'm intending to run a positive pressure case (inasmuch as the PSU fan, which is out of my control, will dictate) for dust reasons, so do not need/want a high flow 120mm+ exhaust. Overclocking won't be a main goal; if anything, I'm hoping to undervolt at stock speeds (Why get a K processor then? I just couldn't resist the $30 instant rebate which brought it down to 4570-level prices).

Got one of these Arctic F9 Pro PWM fans for $4.97 as the exhaust fan. The open cage and increased thickness (38.5 mm vs 25mm for standard fans) should help offset the reduced impeller area vs a 120mm fan, but I'm also hoping to run it in the 600-800 RPM range, just enough to keep hot air from pooling. Intel CPUs have been very power efficient since Core 2, so I don't expect heat buildup to be a problem, and if higher end Maxwells continue the trend of the 750Ti, even adding a new GPU down the road may not thermally stress my build.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:47 pm

Without a discrete graphics card I wouldn't even bother with an exhaust fan honestly. It might be more ideal to have one, and I suppose the one you got is cheap enough, but getting hot air out of the case wouldn't be a big deal with only the IGP imo.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:03 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Without a discrete graphics card I wouldn't even bother with an exhaust fan honestly. It might be more ideal to have one, and I suppose the one you got is cheap enough, but getting hot air out of the case wouldn't be a big deal with only the IGP imo.


Well, a dGPU is in the plan, and I'd rather have everything nice and installed ready to just plug in the video card when I do get one, instead of having to reroute cabling, installing fan, unplugging and replugging peripherals/components, etc. Especially in a compact mATX case where working space is always tight after you've installed components (PSU, motherboard, hard drives, CPU fan etc etc.)
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:42 am

Dumb rule that works for me trying to keep things cool and quiet:
Add a 120mm fan for every 100W your PC pulls from the wall, meaning that a PC which never hits 100W can get by on the PSU exhaust fan alone.

On a tangent, related to JBI's post, I'm sure many of us are happy with our presumably high-end kit, but two things always strike me as quite remarkable:

  1. How well my HTPC handles stuff. I may keep tinkering with the graphics cards, but it's an old Core2 Quad with 4GB RAM and not a single game has given it any problems yet - I'm talking serious stuff too like BF4, Titanfall beta, Crysis3.
  2. I build machines for others on a regular basis still and they're often budget gaming PC's. I know the sweet spot for price/performance is higher than this, but when the budget is tight, a Pentium/4GB/HD7790/120GB SSD makes a compelling games machine that will still run most "gaming laptops" to shame.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:15 am

I don't even do "high end" any more. My builds tend to be more about reliability and moderate noise levels. It has been years since I spent more than $200 on a GPU or CPU.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:34 pm

UPDATE 3/19/14: Case and motherboard arrived, I've updated the first post with my impressions of the case per DPete's request.

EDIT: This will be my 3rd Silverstone case (after TJ-08 and KL-01). If it holds up with a running system, Silverstone might be in for a fourth repeat purchase.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:50 pm

just brew it! wrote:I don't even do "high end" any more. My builds tend to be more about reliability and moderate noise levels. It has been years since I spent more than $200 on a GPU or CPU.

Same here.....if you average the two. I have a local Microcenter, so I usually get my CPUs for around $179'ish. Then I try to keep my GPUs under $230 if at all possible.

Of course, if I dole out the bucks for that new Asus ROG G-Sync monitor running 2560x1440, I'm probably going to need to get at least a GTX770 or equivalent Maxwell :(
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:43 am

Well, that didn't last long. My foray into IGP computing didn't even last a day with a working computer. :P

Caved and bought a MSI GTX 760 OC 2GB for $249 - $10MIR.

Now I'm glad I got that rear 92mm exhaust fan and that 80mm front intake.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:21 am

Voldenuit wrote:UPDATE 3/19/14: Case and motherboard arrived, I've updated the first post with my impressions of the case per DPete's request.

Thank you for the review/impressions. Overall it sounds as good as I'd imagined.

1) The difficulty of assembly is trademark Silverstone, so no surprise there, especially when you consider that you're stuffing everything into an abnormally small space compared to other mATX cases. (The PS09 is 300 cu in (4.9L) smaller than the TJ08 which is already one of the smaller mATX cases on the market) My PS07 (same as TJ-08) was equally challenging. Tons of screws, multiple times having to remove components because I didn't follow the Silverstone install order (manuals? who needs those?...besides the front panel pinouts). If you want the easiest build, buy a Corsair case. Itt'l just be twice as big.
2) For a budget case, almost have to assume you'll have to install the mobo standoffs (they won't be built-in), and that cable management might not be up to par with more expensive and/or larger cases.
3) Cooling, I've built a couple systems with the Fractal Design Core1000 which also has an unpopulated 92mm fan mount in the back. Sucks that it's not included (cost cutting), but at least you can put a fan there. (my PS07 didn't come with a rear exhaust fan either) If you are IGP only or have a blower-style GPU, the rear fan probably isn't needed. Otherwise, yeah, you'll need to buy another fan. A tower-style heatsink could allow you to skip the rear 92mm fan if you don't have a super powerful GPU since it would be relatively close to the back of the case and be blowing toward the opening. Looks like it would have to a be a 92mm HSF for this case. For your GTX 760, I'd probably recommend the rear 92mm fan regardless.

BTW, is the 80mm fan mount on the front panel? Seems strange that they couldn't fit 2 - 120mm mounts there? Too short?
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:36 am

DPete27 wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:UPDATE 3/19/14: Case and motherboard arrived, I've updated the first post with my impressions of the case per DPete's request.

Thank you for the review/impressions. Overall it sounds as good as I'd imagined.

1) The difficulty of assembly is trademark Silverstone, so no surprise there, especially when you consider that you're stuffing everything into an abnormally small space compared to other mATX cases. (The PS09 is 300 cu in (4.9L) smaller than the TJ08 which is already one of the smaller mATX cases on the market) My PS07 (same as TJ-08) was equally challenging. Tons of screws, multiple times having to remove components because I didn't follow the Silverstone install order (manuals? who needs those?...besides the front panel pinouts). If you want the easiest build, buy a Corsair case. Itt'l just be twice as big.
2) For a budget case, almost have to assume you'll have to install the mobo standoffs (they won't be built-in), and that cable management might not be up to par with more expensive and/or larger cases.
3) Cooling, I've built a couple systems with the Fractal Design Core1000 which also has an unpopulated 92mm fan mount in the back. Sucks that it's not included (cost cutting), but at least you can put a fan there. (my PS07 didn't come with a rear exhaust fan either) If you are IGP only or have a blower-style GPU, the rear fan probably isn't needed. Otherwise, yeah, you'll need to buy another fan. A tower-style heatsink could allow you to skip the rear 92mm fan if you don't have a super powerful GPU since it would be relatively close to the back of the case and be blowing toward the opening. Looks like it would have to a be a 92mm HSF for this case. For your GTX 760, I'd probably recommend the rear 92mm fan regardless.

BTW, is the 80mm fan mount on the front panel? Seems strange that they couldn't fit 2 - 120mm mounts there? Too short?


Yeah, the second front mount is an 80mm (not even 92). There's no space for a second 120 (unlike, I believe, the PS07). Also not enough space to accomodate extra-thick fans - I was hoping to get an Arctic F8 Pro (34mm thick), but that was not possible.

You do have a point about silverstone cases being quirky to build in, although they're at least not as bad as lian-li (from what I've heard about them).
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:12 pm

UPDATE 3/24/14:

Woot! It's built!

All the parts arrived today, and I put together the system after work.

Was a pretty arduous build, but one nice thing I found out was that there were no sharp edges in the PS09 case - there's been many a time I've cut myself on a cheap case, so it's really appreciated that there are no sharp edges on a $39 case - Silverstone really did exceed my expectations here. Space was tight as expected but since I had planned the build out in advance, the only hiccup was manoeuvring the massive MSI GTX 760 Twin Frozr into the case after I'd installed everything else - for a moment there, I was afraid I'd have to take everything apart and start over, but I finally managed to twist it in at an angle it would fit.

There was no room for cable management; I tried the best I could with what I had to work with, but there's still a mass of cables on the motherboard tray side behind the drive cage. 4 HDDs (9.5 TB space total) are blocking off most of the 120mm intake fan, so I'm glad I got the 80mm Arctic F8 to supplement it.

The system is running quiet with the fans under 1000 rpm using default motherboard fan settings. CPU temps are a bit high (50C in UEFI), but that could be a function of the intelf HSF's preapplied goo taking some time to liquefy. What a dinky heatsink. I've been spoiled by AMD Opteron heatsinks with heatpipes, and even the stock AII 640 X4 heatsink in my older desktop is more substantial than this. Maybe I'll think about upgrading the CPU heatsink in the future.

First go at a Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64 UEFI usb boot disk using NTFS didn't work, so I retried it with FAT32, and it installed without a hitch (After deleting my old SSD's MBR partition and making a GPT one). Currently installing driversand updates.

Hm... maybe I'll take up that offer through work to get 2 copies of MS Office 2013 for $10.

Anyway, the sun's gone down on me, I'll try to post some pics tomorrow.

PS: Since I built this in a Silverstone case, I've named the computer Hangar_Straight, after the straightaway on Silverstone Circuit. :P
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:19 am

Voldenuit wrote:CPU temps are a bit high (50C in UEFI)

That's a bit high for idle temps. Should be closer to 40-45C. Check to make sure all 4 push tabs on the CPU heatsink are fully depressed through the mobo. They can be tricky.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:23 am

DPete27 wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:CPU temps are a bit high (50C in UEFI)

That's a bit high for idle temps. Should be closer to 40-45C. Check to make sure all 4 push tabs on the CPU heatsink are fully depressed through the mobo. They can be tricky.



UEFI seems to run the CPU at max speed (3.4 GHx). Windows idle temps are 29C for CPU, 30C for system; load at around 50-60C *(haven't run AIDA yet).

GigabyteSmart Fan utility is pretty good - it will calibrate your fans and report power level to RPM from 0-100%. Also reports starting voltages for fans, so you can set your minimum threshold above that. You can set 5 different points on a curve for CPU fan and separate cuves for system fan 1 and a combined curve for system fan 2 & 3. It will also control non-PWM fans, which is a plus.

The case is silent at idle with the 3 system fans installed (Silverstone 120mm fan, Arctic F8 PWM 80mm, Arctic F9 Pro PWM 92mm), reasonably quiet at moderate load, and a bit noisy with full CPU load with the intel stock cooler, which has the super power of overcoming any acoustic treatment, it seems. I might have to invest in an aftermarket cooler at some stage.

The real champ here is the MSI GTX 760 Twin Frozr, which is boosting to 1267 MHz sustained at 74C with +120% power target and +105 MHz clock offset under load. The GPU is inaudible at base 34% fan RPM and makes a quiet wooshing sound at 60-70% rpm. Using A New Dawn demo at ultra settings, which used to max out my GTX 660 more than any games I played.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:25 pm

Ok, as promised, here are the pics of the build:

Front:
Image

and Back:
Image

Internal view:
Image

Since the last post, I've gone back and rerouted some cables with glue-on clamps (you can see one in the back view). This helped clean up some of the air path to the GPU.

Getting that GTX 760 Twin Frozr into the case was an ordeal - I had to reinsert it after the aforementioned cable cleanup, and it was just as hard the second time as the first - I swear I had to find some extradimensional pocket space by accident before it would go in.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:18 pm

It's a good thing that your PS09 case allows easy access to the bottom of the motherboard so you won't have to rip all of that apart again when you replace the wimpy stock Intel heatsink with something larger, quieter and more effective like a Silverstone NT-06 Pro or a Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or NH-L12.

It's a shame that CoolerMaster has recently discontinued the attractively-priced GeminII S524. I have one of those in my living room PC.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:38 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:It's a good thing that your PS09 case allows easy access to the bottom of the motherboard so you won't have to rip all of that apart again when you replace the wimpy stock Intel heatsink with something larger, quieter and more effective like a Silverstone NT-06 Pro or a Noctua NH-C12P SE14 or NH-L12.

It's a shame that CoolerMaster has recently discontinued the attractively-priced GeminII S524. I have one of those in my living room PC.


Yeah, a CPU cooler upgrade is in the cards, but will have to wait until budget allows for it. I have things semi-under control with a combination of undervolting and fan speed controls. Currently running -0.140V to the CPU, running stable with 4 threads of Prime95, and cooler kept below 2000 rpm. CPU temps are 66C with 4xPrime95 threads, and sound level is bearable. Will probably grab something relatively inexpensive and not too large, don't intend to OC the CPU much, if at all.

The other disappointment is the Corsair CX500M PSU, which is louder than my PCP&C Silencer Mk III 550W in my other build. Oh well, what can you expect from a $35 PSU (after rebate)?
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:28 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:replace the wimpy stock Intel heatsink with something larger, quieter and more effective

The spec sheet says the PS09 can accommodate coolers up to 140mm tall. The venerable Cooler Master Hyper TX3 is a tower-style HSF measuring 139mm... Since you have the case, I would definitely confirm that clearance since it's so close. If the heatpipes push into the foam panel slightly, that's not a big deal. A tower-style HSF would really facilitate removal of heat out the rear fan. Up to you though.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:38 pm

Ye Olde Hyper TX3 uses a 92mm fan. The coolers that I linked (like the $40 GeminII S524) have more surface area and larger 120mm or 140mm fans. If you're looking for a cheap and compact cooler with a 92mm fan, how does the $21½ Hyper TX3 compare to the $26 Vortex Plus or other fine 92mm coolers for $20, $25, $25 or $25?

It doesn't look as if there's room at the PS09's 92mm rear fan mount to install a 100mm fan with 92mm mounting hole pattern as I've done on some small cases.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:58 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, guys.

Settled on the Zalman CNPS5x Performa heatsink for $26.99. 135mm height.

Better cooling performance and quieter than the TX3 or Vortex, but the deciding factor for me was that the profile of the CNPS5x ensures that it will be well clear of the closest DIMM slot.

Will update thermals and subjective noise evaluation after it arrives.
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Re: Just bought a new mATX system on the cheap

Postposted on Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:07 pm

The Zalman CNPS5X Performa arrived in the mail today, yay!

Installation was relatively painless. I didn't have to remove any components to install it in my little case. It uses a plastic frame that clips on to the intel mounting holes, and then the cooler is tightened on to it using a phillips head screwdriver. The frame had plenty of clearance over the CPU socket capacitors and power phase units, which was my one concern. The fan is well clear of the DIMM slots, so I shouldn't have any trouble adding more DIMMs later. The 135mm height barely cleared the 140mm cooler height limit of my case - a couple of the heatpipes were slightly tall and left 2 small indents in the sound insualtion foam of the side panel - no biggie, but I'm glad I didn't try to get a 139mm cooler in there.

How's the performance? First, let's talk about noise. At the minimum HSF speed of 1200 rpm, the Zalman is dead silent. Unfortunately, at the max speed of 2600 rpm, it sounds like the luftwaffe are attacking. On the bright side, I was able to tune the HSF speed to tolerable levels while maintaining adequate performance using Gigabyte Smart Fan. Comparing it to the baseline intel HSF performance:

IDLE:
Intel - 29C @ 1000 rpm; Silent
Zalman CNPS5X - 24C @ 1200 rpm; Silent

LOAD: (4x Prime95 for 1 hr)
Intel - 66C @ 1800 rpm; Quiet (barely audible)
Zalman CNPS5X (PWM) - 51C @ 1400 rpm; Silent
Zalman CNPS5X (Max RPM) - 46C @ 2600 rpm; moderately noisy

All benchmarks run at stock i5 4670K speeds with -0.120V Vcore offset.

All in all, pretty happy with this little heatsink that could. For $26.99, it's hard to fault. Just make sure you get a motherboard with good fan speed controls or can work with Speedfan if you plan on a quiet build with it.
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