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186
Mini ITX Box
by pmwalk
Permalink:   (76 comments)
Description

I decided to use some money I'd saved to build my own small gaming machine this summer. I had previously only used laptops for school and lab work, and hadn't had a true gaming system in almost a decade. My goal with the machine was to build something that looked as good as it performed, while staying within the confines of a mini-ITX package.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!


Other info:

The GPU is also slightly overclocked from the original settings; however Asus has factory overclocked this card already.

The cabling is the Silverstone PP05 Short Cable set, with the cables individually sleeved with single braid high density white sleeving.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.5GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle38.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load81.0° C
Asus GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.11Ghz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate6.17Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle35.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load66.0° C
3DMark 11 Benchmark Results
Extreme Preset ScoreX3361
Performance Preset ScoreP9153
Entry Preset ScoreE12482
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Sorted by:
 
 
DontUSASme 4 points 13 months ago

She's, She's... gorgeous.

 
 
skemble [17 Builds] 3 points 13 months ago

It's so.... Pretty :3

 
 
Sabotage 1 point 13 months ago

This looks great!

 
 
flipins [3 Builds] 1 point 13 months ago

nice build

 
 
InitialP [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

This looks quite amazing. I just built my first build ever inside the Node 304 as well. To say the least, my cable management needs some tidying up. I wish I got a modular PSU :c

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 0 points 13 months ago

I'm glad you like it! Yea cable management was tricky. I was wavering about modular for awhile because I wanted a good (long) GPU... then came this ASUS short card :-)

 
 
YourLocalPCNoob [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Does the size of the 670 affect its peformance?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

It seems to perform as well as I expected. I think the benchmark results are similar enough to the regular-length ASUS 670 cards.

 
 
uin12nerfer 1 point 13 months ago

can i steal this from you? because i think i am in love

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 13 months ago

You and me both, lol. It was a lot of fun to build.

 
 
Enlyten [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Gawd this looks good. +1

 
 
Smily 1 point 13 months ago

Beautiful.

 
 
canders [6 Builds] 1 point 13 months ago

Very nice. Do you plan on using an external drive or anything?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Thanks!

I've had a 2 TB external USB 3.0 drive for awhile to hold movies, music, etc. Most of the space on this machine is used for games and work.

 
 
Bladedrummer [3 Builds] 1 point 13 months ago

Very nice job! I'm not sure on the price ratios for some components but who cares! It's glorious.

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

I appreciate it, thanks! Yea picking the parts was an endless process... I probably could have done better for the price. Have any suggestions?

 
 
Bladedrummer [3 Builds] 1 point 13 months ago

I would have maybe gone for lower priced RAM, Mobo and power supply. I'm not sure those extra bucks on the ram are going to make an impact on performance and that power supply seems very expensive given the other components' prices. Still, that is a very sweet build, you should be happy.

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Yea I agree, I definitely don't need the 650W for this system... if I could do it again I'd buy the 450W version for sure.

For the Mobo and RAM, I think I was swayed by how it would look in the case as much as anything :-p (although I suppose in the end you can't see them that well anyway).

 
 
Bladedrummer [3 Builds] 3 points 13 months ago

Hey, wanting to achieve a certain "look" is a legitimate reason! =)

 
 
MichaelNiayesh 1 point 13 months ago

Why did you get a 670 and not a 760?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

The major concern with the video card was length. With the modular power supply I couldn't fit in any card longer than 8 inches or so. There are only one or two 700-series cards that fit that bill, and last time I looked they didn't have any reviews, so I decided to stick with the mini 670.

 
 
MichaelNiayesh 1 point 13 months ago

Fair enough :)

(Love the lights btw ;p)

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 3 points 13 months ago

Thanks! White light is underrated :-)

 
 
MichaelNiayesh 2 points 13 months ago

I'm getting white lights for my build too, it's a lot more sleek and minimalistic I think ;P

 
 
SimonRoss [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Awesome build!! I've got a Node 304 waiting for a build, and this is very inspiring. Great to see what can be achieved. +1

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

I love the Node 304. It was really easy to modify too. Let me know when you get your build up!

 
 
Grixis 1 point 13 months ago

I've been looking at the Node 304 and haven't seen a model with a plexiglass window on top. Did you custom design that yourself?

 
 
Grixis 1 point 13 months ago

Ive been looking into getting a Node 304 but haven't seen any with the plexiglass window on top. Did you custom design that yourself? (props)

 
 
Grixis 1 point 13 months ago

Ive been looking into getting a Node 304 but haven't seen any with the plexiglass window on top. Did you custom design that yourself? (props)

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Yea I did, and it was surprisingly easier than I expected (given that I'd never done any case modifications before). Thanks!

 
 
SangeetKhatri [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Wow!! One of the neatest Mini ITX builds I have ever seen and powerful too..!

Nice build indeed. +1 from me.

 
 
OMGitsBob 1 point 13 months ago

Love the build, man. Did you use a kit for the window, or did you fabricate it? If you used a kit, can you please tell me what kind? Thanks!

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 13 months ago

Thanks for the question, I should probably put this in the description.

I made the window myself, but it was fairly easy. You can order the size acrylic sheet you want from various places online (this window was 1/8 in thick, 8-1/4 in wide, 11-3/4 in long). Then it's just a matter of cutting the top of the case, and drilling holes for the bolts. I'd recommend a jigsaw for this case. You can also just use some modder's tape on the inside to stick the window on. With the molding it will still look just as good, and this prevents having to drill into the acrylic (which can be tricky).

I hope that helps!

 
 
OMGitsBob 1 point 13 months ago

Awesome. Thanks a lot!

 
 
RangerFire 1 point 9 months ago

What did you use for the molding and where did you get it? I think the window on the top looks excellent!

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks!

The molding is from FrozenCPU (although you can probably get similar things from other pc modding sites). Here's the link: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/5096/mol-04/Slim_C-Strip_FanWindow_MoldingGrommet_Edging_-_Black.html?tl=g42c355s338

I used bolts to keep the window on the case, which you can also get there.

 
 
RangerFire 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks a ton for the info!

 
 
Kelvasa 1 point 12 months ago

So I'm new to the computing world, but I still feel I my concerns about the heat generated by the processor and video card are valid. I don't think it's normal to have a processor burning at 81 degrees.

 
 
Kelvasa 1 point 12 months ago

Is it?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

It's definitely high. In order to get the 4.5 overclock I had to push the voltage up some, which had a major effect on the heat. I normally use the computer at 4.4GHz, which means I don't have to push the voltage up as high, which in turn means lower temps (in the upper 60s-lower 70s).

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 12 months ago

The video card at 66 is fine though, as far as I know. They'll start to throttle at 70, so as long as I stayed below that I felt comfortable.

 
 
FamousWolf [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

This is a thing of beauty. I keep coming back to ogle it.

 
 
Patriotic01 [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Very nice I love it! Great amount of power in this little package. I'm curious, did you take the silver covers off of the heat spreaders on the Dominator Platinum RAM? Kinda looks like it but maybe I'm looking at it wrong. Because of the height I'm guessing? Just curious...

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Yea I did, for space reasons. They still fit with them on, but there was a lot of pressure from the cables above them that pushed them together. Plus I kind of like the look better with them off :-).

 
 
Patriotic01 [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

I was surprised but so do I :)

 
 
emad06 1 point 11 months ago

How did you get all the fans in? I am waiting for my parts to come in and am building with a p8z77i motherboard, and hoping to do a push pull like you for the water cooler.

My only problem is it looks like there's only one header for CPU fan (which I assume the radiator plugs into), and one header for chassis fan (which will cover 1 radiator fan).

How did you get the second radiator fan in there?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 11 months ago

The H80i comes with fan inputs on the CPU block, so all the fans are plugged into that, and then the CPU block is plugged into the CPU fan header on the motherboard (just make sure you don't have any fan control set in the BIOS or it will affect the pump). The CPU block has two inputs (and it comes with a splitter), so you can power 3 PWM fans from it. If you need a fourth you can buy another splitter from Corsair's website.

I hope that helps!

 
 
emad06 1 point 11 months ago

Awesome! Thank you so much!

I assume youre basically making a wind tunnel in your case blowing fresh air in through the front and exhausting it out the radiator fans out the back?

Amazing build if I haven't said already.

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Thanks!

That's what I had originally, but when I made the top window with the fan I switched it up. Now the front fans and radiator fans are intake, and the larger fan on top is exhaust.

 
 
mac13 1 point 9 months ago

Do you have a link to the kit for the top? Did the kit already have the cutout for the fan? I would kind of like to put an additional fan in the top like you did but I don't really care about having the plexiglass. I'd love some more details on how to do the top. Sweet looking build!

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

The top was custom. Originally I had a smaller window/120mm fan kit from FrozenCPU (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9049/atw-11/DIY_Window_Kit_-Top_Mount-_w_120mm_Blow_Hole_730_x_603.html?tl=g42c355s915), but that is still a plexiglass window so it may not be what you're looking for, although it will give you a 120mm fan. I did a custom top because I wanted a bigger window and bigger fan (140mm). In fact, if you did it yourself you could fit up to a 180mm fan.

If you don't want the plexiglass window at all, what I'd recommend is getting a hole saw (or renting one from a HW store). You can use that to cut the hole in the top in whatever size you want (just make sure you get the hole saw in the right size), and then a normal drill for the fan holes.

I hope that helps! Let me know if I can give you any more info.

 
 
mac13 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks. Ya if I did it, I would want a 140mm as well so I guess I would have to do a custom one.

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Leg3ndary 1 point 11 months ago

I think this is the best looking Node build I've seen, very clean. Great job, the window in the top looks nice.

 
 
shiyoushi 1 point 10 months ago

This looks fantastic! I'm already building a home media server in a black Node 304 case, I might borrow your parts list and build a Steam Box in a white Node :)

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Yea the white Node looks excellent. I'm almost wishing I'd waited for it :-)

 
 
the13yearoldgenius 1 point 9 months ago

How quiet are the zalman 92mm fans, i plan on putting them on a NZXT Kraken G10 :D

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

They're very quiet. I can't hear them at all over the sounds of the radiator fans. When I stop those, I only hear a very faint sound from right next to the case.

 
 
the13yearoldgenius 1 point 9 months ago

Cool thanks, I cant wait to get a few

 
 
mac13 1 point 9 months ago

I am thinking about getting that mini Asus 670. How is it as far as noise goes? I didn't know if it was pretty loud since it is a small card with one fan or if it is still pretty quiet. I want my build to be as quiet as possible. Also, do you still like the card?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 9 months ago

I do like the card, but it is pretty loud at load. I do some overclocking on it though and like to keep the temps under 70. If you don't overclock it you can set the fan speed lower, which would help.

If I could do the build again I'd get an SFX PSU (probably the SilverStone 450W Gold SFX), which would have allowed pretty much any length GPU in the case.

 
 
chriswelle [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Inspired build imho. Nice work.

 
 
bepari220 1 point 7 months ago

this looks awesome :) but, how did you do the top cutout ?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

It was pretty easy actually. I used a jigsaw to cut the top of the case, and hole saw for the fan hole in the acrylic (you might be able to rent these from a HW store if you live near one). Just need to cover the top of the case with masking or painters tape, trace the hole you want, and jigsaw along it (with a blade for cutting thin steel).

 
 
peterb [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Are those pics even... real?! :O :D

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 6 months ago

Thankfully they are :-)

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pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

Thanks!

 
 
strawberrykun 1 point 6 months ago

I'm about to move my current build to a Node 304 and I'm wishing I was better with tools. I love the look of the top window, especially since I'm aiming to make the inside look as nice as the outside of the case.

I'm definitely going to save this to refer to later! Great build!

I was wondering about the LED strips as well, are they more evenly diffused than the camera makes them out to be? That's one of the main deciding factors between cold cathode tubes and LED strips is for me.

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 5 months ago

Sorry for the late reply! I've used cathode tubes in the past and I definitely prefer the LED strips. They are a lot more diffused in real life, especially with the top on looking through the window.

Glad you're joining the Node club :-)

 
 
tabascosauz [2 Builds] 1 point 5 months ago

Beautiful in every way. Loving the Vertex on top of the PSU and the Asus Mini-ITX 670.

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rudenutt 1 point 5 months ago

Loving the case ;)

Quick question, did you make the cables white yourself, if so how? or did you just buy them white?

 
 
pmwalk [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 4 months ago

I just bought them in white, but you can get individually-sleeved wires in various colors and replace the stock ones, which is a cheaper route. Checkout FrozenCPU.com.

 
 
1337h1pst3r [2 Builds] 1 point 2 months ago

where'd you get the sleeved short cable set for $20? i see it on frozen cpu for $300...

 
 
baddatabaddata 1 point 4 months ago

Oh man this is incredible! Great work!

 
 
pegotico 1 point 4 months ago

NICE!!!!!! +1

 
 
Robax91 [1 Build] 1 point 2 months ago

Check out my build. It's very similar, but yours looks way cooler! xD

 
 
Do.You.Wanna.Build.a.Pc 1 point 2 months ago

Oh my...