Description

Intro: So 18 months ago I replaced my previous ITX build with a 27" iMac 5K. Who the heck buys an iMac, right? Well, long story short, I had a utopian idea of getting an easy, powerful, all-in-one. I was sick of the disjointed and piecemeal nature of PCs. And Windows 10 was annoying me with its clunky Settings menu and half-baked touch/non-touch GUI.

Anyway, I got an iMac and suffered the consequences. MacOS is worse. And dual-boot into Windows 10 had its own incompatibility issues, especially related to video drivers, screen recording, and video editing.

So enough was enough. I dropped that steaming iTurd and bought another mini-ITX.

The Streacom DA2 had good reviews and you wouldn't say it's an ugly or chintzy case. One big selling point for me was front USB-C, which is hard to find on ITX cases. The DA2 is damn expensive though. It's a mid-to-large ITX enclosure, although slightly smaller than my previous Thermaltake Core V1 Snow (beautiful case). One of my images shows the DA2 next to a white keyboard for scale. The problem is if you go with too small a case, it just cannot handle the heat well from a GPU.

You know what's ********? The size of graphics cards. When will decent GPUs finally be as small as an M.2 SSD stick? If it weren't for the damn size of graphics cards, I wouldn't be making this post. I'd have an all-in-one PC built into a high-refresh-rate monitor and wouldn't be wasting my time taking photos of components :D

Motherboard/CPU/RAM: The Intel 9600K does not come with a heatsink, so I bought the Noctua NH-L9x65. I have no intention to overclock the CPU, so did not need a monstrous heatsink. The heatsink sits very close to the RAM, so you definitely don't want RAM that's any thicker than the Corsair Vengeance LPX... and even that RAM is quite thin as it is.

The ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX motherboard has excellent specs, coming with 2x M.2 slots, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3. Plus the usual back-of-the-box ******** about the board having some gold-plated shrapel they found lying around the warehouse one day.

It also has a set of customizable LEDs with different modes. I still have this enabled with a slow 'breathing' effect, but I may disable it later. The effect isn't bad though and it's unobtrusive when the case is sitting under the desk.

Storage: 2x M.2 SSDs: a 1TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVME for the operating system and apps, and a 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SATA for games and user files. You know, it doesn't matter how many terabytes you get, you will always eventually fill it up because it's THERE. I figure getting a smaller amount forces you to clean up old files more frequently and keep things somewhat more tidy. No more 2.5" drives, and I'm glad I made that decision because I would not want a 2.5" drive and extra cables obstructing the airflow.

GPU: The RTX 2060 Founders Edition is a damn good lookin' card. Honestly, I paused to admire it when opened the box. nVidia is having serious problems with its 2070 and 2080 cards, but I have not seen reports about the 2060 cards failing. The left fan on mine (closest to the display outputs) has a slight buzz when idle. I notice it when the room is quiet. This is a bummer since all my other fans are silent. But it is not enough to RMA the card, and someone else did mention they had the same issue on their 2060.

How is performance? Well at 1440p, I'm getting high 80s FPS average in Far Cry New Dawn with the high-res texture pack enabled, and almost all settings at the highest. It's a beautiful looking game.

Monitor: Dell S2719DGF 1440p, 155Hz, 27". Love it. It's classy, no lame LEDs or gaming brand ********, slim stand, pixel perfect, and Dell's reliable quality control. The color of the stand is a nice metallic blue which is very hard to pick up in photos and often looks grey. I was wary about the switch from my iMac 5K IPS to this TN screen. Yes, I have noticed it requires a stricter viewing angle than the IPS, but for me, the high refresh rate makes up for it.

Keyboard: This is the Ducky One 2, Skyline version. I thought I would point this out, since whoever added the keyboard to the PCPartPicker list didn't include the actual name of it.

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Problems: Building this PC ended up more difficult than I anticipated...

Attaching the backing plate for the PSU: The DA2 case has a backing plate that you attach the PSU to, and then you attach the plate to rails that hang from the top of the case (see photo). The problem is that the backing plate had slightly misaligned screw holes when I was trying to attach the Corsair SF600 SFX. It caused one screw to be misthreaded. To resolve this I had to change from the recommended screws that came with the case, to the screws that came with the PSU. The slightly different screw design allowed me to secure the last screw better. It still wasn't perfect, but overall it's not an issue.

A couple DA2 users have also found another issue where the bezel for the PSU on/off switch (Corsair SF series) slightly interfered when attaching the backing plate. One person resolved this by using washers when attaching the plate, to give a slight gap between the PSU and the plate. I did not feel the need to do this for mine, but I could see how it would help.

Boot loop / resetting after 2 seconds: The PC seemed to go into a boot loop the first few times I powered it on. After much screwing around and totally rebuilding piece-by-piece, I think I found out the issue. I believe it was a motherboard vs RAM incompatibility. From what I've researched, the system was restarting so that the motherboard could try different settings to get itself working with the RAM. I upgraded the BIOS for good measure, and I have not had the issue since.

Unable to attach a DisplayPort cable to the GPU: The RTX Founders Edition cards have the display outputs very close to one edge of the card, rather than being in the center. Due to this and the fact that the case has a thick aluminum border around the PCI-E slots, a typical cable won't fit all the way in the port (see photos). I actually had to cut a portion of plastic off the DisplayPort cable in order to make it fit. I have ordered another cable with thinner plugs to replace it.

Graphics card heat: The GPU really heats this case up during load. I believe part of it is due to the RTX design. It blows heat out of the bottom of the card, which heats up the right side panel a lot. I suspect the thick aluminum side panel compounds the problem. The max GPU temp recorded is 82c (179F). When idle or general Windows usage, it's only about 31-35c. I have ordered a couple more fans and will see if I can cool the case down a bit. If I can edit this post, I will advise of the outcome.

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Would I buy the DA2 case again?: At this stage, I don't think so. Especially for the price. During load, it seems to get hotter than it should for a slightly large ITX case. During idle it's no problem. Maybe I'm just expecting too much given the combination of the Founders Edition card and its fan blowing style, and my minimal case fans. Though I'm not convinced that a DAN A4 case or a Ghost S1 would do much better with the same components, given that those cases are even smaller.

I'm also a little disappointed with the side panel attachment. As you can see in photos, there's just some rubber on the corners to help the panels attach with friction, but the rubber doesn't cover the whole corner. The corner edge that's not rubberized slightly scrapes the case when you slot it in, so that function seems a bit unrefined.

The left side panel (where the GPU is) has a magnetic mesh dust filter. When my GPU cranked up the first time during a game and I felt the heatwave, I freaked out and removed the mesh filter. I haven't put it back since, as I suspect it blocks too much airflow.

The DA2 is still a nice looking case, and I tend to like the ability to attach components to the rails and move them around if necessary. I will continue tinkering a little with it to optimize my GPU temperature. I'm open to suggestions that don't involve watercooling or destructive methods.

Thanks for reading!

Comments

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points
  1. they have the RTX 2060 on this site, just search it in the task bar and it'll show you all of them,
  2. the fan buzz can most likely be fixed with some fiddling

I've seen a couple other people complain about how hot the RTX 2060 is, but all of those have had a micro atx case which doesn't do so well with open air style cards, more fans should definitely help

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. I'm a bit scared to try and fix the fan, since I'd have to take whole front plate off the GPU

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

D: Google to see if anyone else has fixed the problem already, it's probably not balanced correctly. I honestly don't recommend taking off the cover unless you absolutely need to. ( it also voids warranty!!!)

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the RTX 2060 in builds! +1

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for having a look!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Np

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Like the prodigal child coming home. +1

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

hahaha The grass is not greener on the other side.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

great build title and all components :). excellent work!

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

please dont leave on carpet :(, poor pc. Love the build is why :P

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

haha Unfortunately there's no room for it on the desk. It's not the most flattering photo though... I will be tidying up under the desk once I install more fans in the case.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

My iMac 5K can go to Hell

That's where it belongs. +1

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm just curious as to why you chose the components you did? At your price point you could have gotten at least an RTX 2070 which would have given you far better utilization of your monitor, or even an RTX 2080, if you had went for purely SATA SSD's given the the benefits of NVMe are very rarely realized, and cut your RAM in half as 16GB is rarely ever fully utilized. You also could have either saved a few hundred dollars or again gotten a better more suitable graphics card had you went with a ryzen build. Not trying to hate on the build, it looks awesome! Just curious as I am doing a build myself if there was a particular reason for some of your choices. I'm also not a ryzen fanboy, I prefer intel but I would never sacrifice on the GPU to get a more expensive CPU unless it is actually required, which even if you were doing productivity a ryzen would have outperformed the i5.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the reply! I considered AMD, but went with Intel because I wanted Thunderbolt 3 and I read some comments that Intel chipset motherboards were more refined/higher quality.

I do video editing as a hobby, so have chucked in 32GB RAM for my last couple builds for that reason. Overall 16GB would be just enough for games with some headroom to spare. But I would consider it a bare minimum.

I went with M.2 drives as I wanted to avoid 2.5" SSDs. It's just extra space taken up by a drive bay, and also means more cables and less airflow.

Reviews showed that the RTX 2070 wasn't a big step up from the RTX 2060, especially for the big jump in price. I think it was only like 10-15% game improvement. I was also really concerned about extra heat since it's in an ITX case. If I was building this case primarily for gaming, then I might have waited to see what AMD had to offer for a higher end GPU. It just doesn't seem like the 2070 is good value for money.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Thunderbolt was something I never actually considered, that is a good point, and I can't comment on the motherboard quality difference but in my experience that might be true as well, intel usually gets extra/better/more refined features. Personally I think 16GB of ram is the minimum as well but with lots of headroom already, Linus Tech Tips has a video on whether 8GB is enough RAM in 2018 and it's a good watch. However if video editing or an avid chrome user you are probably better with the 32GB lol. You can actually get SATA M.2 SSD's for about half the price, however if your video editing includes 4k/higher resolution/higher framerate video it would be one of the cases you actually notice the speed difference so I would say that is a good choice. As for RTX performance difference I'm having trouble deciding myself, I actually saw a higher difference then 10-15% in the reviews I saw but that was mostly for higher res, and from what I can tell the 2080 is about 10-20% faster then the 2070, for me the price between a 2060 and a 2070 is only about 150$ and then to go to a 2080 from the 2070 is an additional 250$ so the 2070 is the best value for me so that's why I thought it would be a better choice. Thanks for your reply, really great build!

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice tight build. Please tell me where did you get the RTX 2060 FE. I can't seem to find it in NVIDIA website

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

I got it from the nVidia Australia website, although this probably won't help you if you're not in Australia: https://www.nvidia.com/en-au/geforce/graphics-cards/rtx-2060/

Just be aware that if nVidia is out of stock, they don't actually say "out of stock" on their website. Instead they remove the "Add to cart" button and just give you links to sites that sell non-FE versions. sending you on a wild goose chase. Sneaky ********.

A week or so after I bought mine, the Aussie nVidia site went out of stock, but they appear to have stock again. So it seems to come and go. I would say keep checking the nVidia website in your country.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Congrats man, such a good looking card :) . also enjoy the PC .

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

awesome build! +1

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Your story made my day- same as mine, I now know I'm not the only weirdo :D I also replaced a hi-end mITX build with iMac 5K couple of years ago hoping to save some space on the desk and make a cleaner look and so on... After two years, I finally fed up with my iMac and now looking forward to replacing it with another mITX custom built PC again... shortlisted this case, DB4 and also Dan's A4, need to do bit more research to see which is the right for my needs.

Anyways, great build and story behind! +1

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Just be careful when shoving high end components in these small cases. This Streacom DA2 was running way too hot with an RTX 2060 inside it. I haven't updated my post yet, but I got rid of the DA2 case and swapped to a Core V1 Snow (which is a case I used before the iMac). Even though the V1 is only slightly larger, it has a much more efficient layout and much better ventilation. My RTX 2060 temperature DROPPED BY 12c (53F).

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, have something to think about now. I still have my old mITX case- Corsair Obsidian 250D, it's not the very smallest, but I never had temperature issues in it. Wanted something fresh, but probably will save a buck and stick with the good old 250D again.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I would recommend a faster GPU for a system like this

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

NVM actually I thought it said 1060 but the 2060 is perfect

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, I had 1060 in the part list as a placeholder as I couldn't find the 2060 FE at the time (the search function seems a bit buggy). All fixed now

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

does the adaptive sync with the 2060 and your dell monitor work? cant seem to find an answer if that monitor is compatible with the recent change with nvidia cards being able to use certain freesync monitors.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Hi, I have been running at 144Hz with G-Sync compatibility enabled and I have not experienced any problems. I have been playing Far Cry New Dawn and Anthem and have not had any display glitches. Seems good to me!

EDIT: This is when using a DisplayPort cable.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Would you know where the second m.2 port is on the motherboard? I was thinking about getting it

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

There's one m.2 slot hidden under a heatsink on top of the motherboard. See photo 14. The other m.2 slot is underneath the motherboard.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Do you recommend rtx 2060 founder edition for mini itx cases ?

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Because of the heat of the GPU in the DA2 case, I recently changed cases and went to a Core V1 Snow. It is larger than most ITX cases (although only slightly bigger than the DA2), but the extra size and design of the V1 gives the components more breathing room.

In the Core V1, my video card temp dropped 10 degrees celcius compared to the DA2. At load, it is now maxing out at like 72/73c. It made a huge difference. I am not using water cooling, either. So yes, if you have the right mini-ITX case, the RTX2060 FE will work fine

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

cool

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

I have the same case with the same cpu but Im using a diff motherboard and cooler I have the nzxt x62 and evga FTW3 1080TI I took out all the air filters and Im getting great temps now I would give AIO a try I have my cpu oc to 5ghz . The side panels I love for there easy of use no screws to mess with fast and simple to put on and take off. I have my build here

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

I applaud you for this. It's fantastic and I love how fresh and clean it looks. +1 from me

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

So you bought an iMac to run Windows and game on it...right.

iMacs aren't crap because they don't do either of those things. Nobody buys a Mac to run Windows and game on it.

I can appreciate an iMac as much as your beautiful build as both serve different purposes. But yeah, Bootcamp still has compromises and Mac will never be a gaming platform.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I got the iMac because I was sick of Windows... I didn't intend to keep using Windows unless I really had to for certain apps. But I found MacOS to be a real pain to use. It's a bunch of little things: The app store is a ghost town. It's the same advertised apps week after week. I would purchase highly-rated apps that would almost never get updated on Mac, but had plenty of updates in Windows.

Many niche apps outside the App Store have not been updated in a long time, but it's difficult to find alternatives since many developers won't bother porting to MacOS (lack of potential buyers). And those older apps are in danger of not working with every MacOS update, unless the developer specifically issues a fix.

I found MacOS itself to be a stale, out-dated interface. The lack of little conveniences was a pain, like no on-screen "show desktop" button. There is a shortcut key you can press, but no clickable button like on the right-hand side of the Windows taskbar. There's also no preview thumbnail when you hover over open apps on the Mac taskbar. You have to do the equivalent of Alt-Tab to view thumbnails instead. And having to enter a password every time I wanted to change some system settings was also irritating. MacOS Mohave comes out and the most advertised features was 'dark mode' and 'dynamic desktop'. This is just minimal aesthetics that Windows has been able to do in one way or another for years. It was yet another MacOS release that brought very little improvement to the interface.

I spent a lot of money on the iMac and tried to use MacOS as long as I could, but eventually just got sick of compromising and started booting into Windows instead.

  • 11 days ago
  • 1 point

Hey, can you confirm what came with the streacom da2? I can see a packet of screws (my box didn't include this packet).

Thanks!

  • 11 days ago
  • 1 point

Yes, it came with an illustrated manual and a bunch of screws. The manual mentions the various types of screws. If you didn't get the manual either, you can view it here: https://streacom.com/products/da2-chassis/ (look under the Downloads tab > DA2 User Guide)

Email Streacom if this stuff was missing from your case.

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