Advice on SFF gaming build that's suitable for carry-on luggage

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
Update:


M1 v2 Build Log on page 2





=====================


Hi there,

I've recently discovered the world of SFF gaming on this forum which might mean I could finally end 8 years of Macbook Pro discrete graphics and Bootcamp misery!

I've seen a lot of great builds with the SG05 and other cases that look small and light enough to potentially carry-on inside a backpack. Is this even possible with airport security and modern cooling systems etc? I've had electronics stolen from checked bags before, so a little hesitant about checking it. It would have to weigh no more than about 6.5kg/14.5lbs so I could fit my laptop in there too. I live between a couple of states in Australia and take domestic flights a few times a year.

...anyhow, I'd love some advice from those more experienced :)

1. What will you be doing with this PC?
1. Gaming (BF4, Metro LL, Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Grid 2, etc). Would love to be able to run these in Ultra/Very High at 1080p, but dropping the resolution down a bit is okay, as most of my gaming is done on a TV on the other side of the room
2. Dual boot with OSX Mountain Lion or Mavericks hackintosh
3. Windows 8 media centre (not a big priority though)

2. Will you be overclocking? (If so, are you looking to watercool?)
Not immediately, but I'd like to experiment down the track if possible

3. What's your budget?
$1200 USD including tax... Have factored in higher parts cost in Australia. Budget is a little flexible if needed.

4. Where do you live?
Australia. Have easy access to B&M stores and discount parts shops

5. What exact parts do you need for that budget?
Case
Power supply
Motherboard
CPU
RAM
GPU
Cooling
SSD
HDD for storage... will 3.5" be too heavy?

6. If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing?
Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, monitors

7. What specific features do you need in a motherboard?
Wifi and bluetooth required
2x USB 3.0 required
1 or 2 more USB 2 or 3 ports required

8. What resolution output do you need?
1080p x2 screens: Panasonic 1080p plasma (HDMI) + Samsung 27" 120Hz 3D 1080p LED (displayport or dual link DVI)

9. Does this system need to fit into a particular space and do you need an optical drive?
Needs to fit in carry-on luggage/backpack
No optical drive required

10. How comfortable are you with custom case design/modification and electrical wiring? What tools do you have
Comfortable with modding but would prefer an unmodified or subtly modded case if possible, especially when explaining to airport security
Have metal snips, soldering iron, drills, screwdrivers

11. How important is the noise/silence of this sytem?
Not too important at full load when gaming (headphones), but would be nice if it's a reasonably tolerable level at idle

12. How mobile does this system need to be? Need a carrying handle or carrying straps? Is weight important (carry-on bag, etc)? Water cooling quick disconnects, etc?
As small as possible
6.5kg/14.5lbs max weight
No handle required

13. Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Yes, Windows 8 64bit license

14. When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
3-5 weeks

Thanks :)
 
Last edited:

Quartz-1

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
4,257
You should consider a Shuttle SZ77R5. It's a SFF and the shipping case comes with a carrying handle. You could also get a padded case. It's slightly longer than the SG05 but comes with a 500W PSU (vs 300W for the SG05) and can take a full-length GPU. Weight is 3.5 Kg net / 5.0 gross.

However, if your concern is flight, then you may well have problems as unlike a laptop you won't be able to power it up to demonstrate that it is a computer and they may insist it goes checked. I've read of more than one instance of a SFF PC being broken this way. So you may prefer to keep it in the shipping case and check it. Wrap it in stout brown paper and tie with cord to disguise it.
 

Daemos

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
376
You should consider a Shuttle SZ77R5. It's a SFF and the shipping case comes with a carrying handle. You could also get a padded case. It's slightly longer than the SG05 but comes with a 500W PSU (vs 300W for the SG05) and can take a full-length GPU. Weight is 3.5 Kg net / 5.0 gross.

I'd go the SG05 with the 450W psu..then you can at least use the Z87 chipset...the sg05 is also MUCH easier to find in Australia than the shuttle stuff.
 

Daemos

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
376
So I priced a system from pccasegear (out of Melbourne)

This would be a system I'd recommend if you want to experiment with overclocking down the road...
Silverstone SG05 Black Cube with 450W $145.00
Intel Core i7 4770K $379.00
Silverstone NT06-PRO CPU Cooler $69.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked 2GB $315.00
ASRock Z87E-ITX Mini ITX Motherboard $169.00
Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $115.00
SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive 120GB $139.00
Western Digital WD Green 3TB WD30EZRX $139.00
Sub-Total: $1470.00

BIG EDIT: Just remembered earlier hackintoshes required certain hardware (for driver compatibility) I'll have to read up and if different I'll recommend something different.

Okay, reading up on hackintoshes there are a few hardware brands that are recommended for ease of Hackintosh building...so I'll include a new list (and also this can be sorta used as a non OC list as well)

Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI Mini ITX Motherboard. $145.00
Intel Xeon E3 1230 V3 $299.00
Silverstone NT06-PRO CPU Cooler $69.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked 2GB $315.00
Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $115.00
SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive 240GB $249.00
Western Digital WD Green 3TB WD30EZRX $139.00
Silverstone SG05 Black Cube with 450W $145.00
Sub-Total: $1476.00

Now you'll notice it's basically the same price...I've swapped the motherboard and cpu for non O/C versions and gigabytes are easier to build hackintoshes with, and Xeons are lower power (usage) 200mhz slower i7s...but I added a larger SSD so you can have 2x128GB partitions for both windows and osx...

The only thing I'm unsure about is the CPU cooler on this one as the gigabyte board has the cpu socket closer to the pci-e slot...it might interfere...and you might need to switch to this one: Noctua NH-L9i...not recommended for the OC system, and I hope where you stay has aircon for the summer :)

Costs for savings I can say would be the GPU, and the 3.5" HD for a smaller one...
 
Last edited:

Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Messages
1,421
However, if your concern is flight, then you may well have problems as unlike a laptop you won't be able to power it up to demonstrate that it is a computer and they may insist it goes checked. I've read of more than one instance of a SFF PC being broken this way.

IIRC I've flown with my SFF rig four times (in the USA) last year as carry-on. It was in an Antec ISK300-150 case, carried in a notebook messenger style bag. Of course you'd be limited to low profile graphics cards. AFAIK best that fits are certain Radeon 7750. Sapphire makes one that you can still use one DVI and one mini-DP with the low profile bracket. Not the fastest GPU in the world, but it is within spitting distance of an Xbox One's GPU in number of stream processors and clock speed, and with Mantle I'm sure you can run BF4 in 720p and upscale it to 1080p, just like an Xbone! :p
 

Showbiz

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
1,515
Hi Jambo,
Glad to see someone else exploring the feasibility of traveling desktop components year round. It's completely doable, and the components are much more durable than you would think. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a serious enthusiast and travels year round. I have been traveling a SFF year round for a little over 6 years. This computer:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1586412&highlight=

has been to All over the UK, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, SE Asia, Nearly every county in South America, and of course all over the US.

The pictures in the thread are about 2 years old, so some of the components have been upgraded. it's currently running:
Silverstone SG-02 (case)
i7920 - Cooler master all in one water cooling block.
6GB RAM
Asus Rampage Gene II
Geforce GTX 780
4x 4tb hard drives w/ LSI 9620 in Raid 5
Mushkin 800w modular PSU,
and a 500GB Samsung SSD.

I travel this unit in a carry on bag, it just goes in the overhead compartment. sometimes I've had to gate check it, and it's gone through the luggage handling system just fine (though I always get squeamish when it does).

I did very recently upgrade the case to a Silverstone SG-09. This case is much more rigid, and though slightly larger, it still fits into the carry on and I'm liking it a lot. When I first started touring i had an alienware laptop, and it just left me wanting. Then once I built the SFF system and started traveling that, I never looked back, and neither should you.

Edit: If you don't need a Raid card, or 4 3.5" drives, you could get a much smaller case that will still fit a ATX PSU, and a full size graphics card.
 
Last edited:

alamone

Gawd
Joined
Sep 30, 2008
Messages
589
I just finished a build based on the ASRock M8 case.
The aesthetics are little too "gamer" for my tastes but it was the smallest
case that still fit the components I wanted to use (R9-290X). I was considering
the N-case but I think I still prefer the thinner profile of the ASRock M8.
 

bAMtan2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
1,480
Advice on SFF gaming build that's suitable for carry-on luggage

I carried on my shuttlepc in its box. Like a cat! The box came with packing material designed specifically for it, so it fit perfectly, and was as small as possible by design. The box even had a plastic handle. So you can't beat that.
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
Wow thanks for the great responses :) it's been a good 10 years since I built a gaming PC, it's a really big help

You should consider a Shuttle SZ77R5. It's a SFF and the shipping case comes with a carrying handle. You could also get a padded case. It's slightly longer than the SG05 but comes with a 500W PSU (vs 300W for the SG05) and can take a full-length GPU. Weight is 3.5 Kg net / 5.0 gross.

However, if your concern is flight, then you may well have problems as unlike a laptop you won't be able to power it up to demonstrate that it is a computer and they may insist it goes checked. I've read of more than one instance of a SFF PC being broken this way. So you may prefer to keep it in the shipping case and check it. Wrap it in stout brown paper and tie with cord to disguise it.

I carried on my shuttlepc in its box. Like a cat! The box came with packing material designed specifically for it, so it fit perfectly, and was as small as possible by design. The box even had a plastic handle. So you can't beat that.
Haha like a cat! That’s a good point, I didn't even consider the packaging and the Shuttle box seem to be made for this. The only problem I can see is that I think we are only allowed 1x carry-on bag (+ a jacket) and I still have to carry on my laptop, which is why I was thinking about getting a really small case so I could throw both into a big backpack. I'll look into that idea though and see what else I could carry, at least it would be clearly written on the box that it is a PC. Thanks for the idea.

So I priced a system from pccasegear (out of Melbourne)

This would be a system I'd recommend if you want to experiment with overclocking down the road...
Silverstone SG05 Black Cube with 450W $145.00
Intel Core i7 4770K $379.00
Silverstone NT06-PRO CPU Cooler $69.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked 2GB $315.00
ASRock Z87E-ITX Mini ITX Motherboard $169.00
Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $115.00
SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive 120GB $139.00
Western Digital WD Green 3TB WD30EZRX $139.00
Sub-Total: $1470.00

BIG EDIT: Just remembered earlier hackintoshes required certain hardware (for driver compatibility) I'll have to read up and if different I'll recommend something different.

Okay, reading up on hackintoshes there are a few hardware brands that are recommended for ease of Hackintosh building...so I'll include a new list (and also this can be sorta used as a non OC list as well)

Gigabyte GA-H87N-WIFI Mini ITX Motherboard. $145.00
Intel Xeon E3 1230 V3 $299.00
Silverstone NT06-PRO CPU Cooler $69.00
EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked 2GB $315.00
Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $115.00
SanDisk Extreme II Solid State Drive 240GB $249.00
Western Digital WD Green 3TB WD30EZRX $139.00
Silverstone SG05 Black Cube with 450W $145.00
Sub-Total: $1476.00

Now you'll notice it's basically the same price...I've swapped the motherboard and cpu for non O/C versions and gigabytes are easier to build hackintoshes with, and Xeons are lower power (usage) 200mhz slower i7s...but I added a larger SSD so you can have 2x128GB partitions for both windows and osx...

The only thing I'm unsure about is the CPU cooler on this one as the gigabyte board has the cpu socket closer to the pci-e slot...it might interfere...and you might need to switch to this one: Noctua NH-L9i...not recommended for the OC system, and I hope where you stay has aircon for the summer :)

Costs for savings I can say would be the GPU, and the 3.5" HD for a smaller one...
Holy cow thank you so much for the work you put into this! I didn't realise only certain boards worked with a hackintosh and after seeing your post I went and had a read too. I'll be in sizzling hot Queensland over summer. The house is air conditioned but I don't want to have it running just to play games. So if getting a Gigabyte board is going to screw around with cooling options maybe I should drop the hackintosh idea? I'll still have a Mac laptop to run my osx stuff on, I had just planned to downsize to a smaller less powerful model but I can make sure it’s still quick enough for what it has to do. I'd rather the PC be reliable and trouble free for gaming.

Do you think saving $100 and getting an i5 K series would be detrimental? I've noticed some GTX770 cards popping up recently for $380-390 and was thinking I could potentially spend the extra there instead of an i7. These were Gainward and Galaxy versions though, so not sure if they fit as well as the EVGA. Which parts do you think would be the better gaming performer?

IIRC I've flown with my SFF rig four times (in the USA) last year as carry-on. It was in an Antec ISK300-150 case, carried in a notebook messenger style bag. Of course you'd be limited to low profile graphics cards. AFAIK best that fits are certain Radeon 7750. Sapphire makes one that you can still use one DVI and one mini-DP with the low profile bracket. Not the fastest GPU in the world, but it is within spitting distance of an Xbox One's GPU in number of stream processors and clock speed, and with Mantle I'm sure you can run BF4 in 720p and upscale it to 1080p, just like an Xbone! :p
Great option too thanks for that :) Though after being limited for so many years I'm hoping to get something that lets me use a variety of standard parts and upgrade options in future. But to carry it in a messenger bag would be pretty awesome. I’ll have a look into GPU options in that model :)

Hi Jambo,
Glad to see someone else exploring the feasibility of traveling desktop components year round. It's completely doable, and the components are much more durable than you would think. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a serious enthusiast and travels year round. I have been traveling a SFF year round for a little over 6 years. This computer:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1586412&highlight=

has been to All over the UK, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, SE Asia, Nearly every county in South America, and of course all over the US.

The pictures in the thread are about 2 years old, so some of the components have been upgraded. it's currently running:
Silverstone SG-02 (case)
i7920 - Cooler master all in one water cooling block.
6GB RAM
Asus Rampage Gene II
Geforce GTX 780
4x 4tb hard drives w/ LSI 9620 in Raid 5
Mushkin 800w modular PSU,
and a 500GB Samsung SSD.

I travel this unit in a carry on bag, it just goes in the overhead compartment. sometimes I've had to gate check it, and it's gone through the luggage handling system just fine (though I always get squeamish when it does).

I did very recently upgrade the case to a Silverstone SG-09. This case is much more rigid, and though slightly larger, it still fits into the carry on and I'm liking it a lot. When I first started touring i had an alienware laptop, and it just left me wanting. Then once I built the SFF system and started traveling that, I never looked back, and neither should you.

Edit: If you don't need a Raid card, or 4 3.5" drives, you could get a much smaller case that will still fit a ATX PSU, and a full size graphics card.
Showbiz, your post has given me so much hope, thank you! Your setup is absolutely amazing for such a small box. I’ve accumulated a lot of external 3.5” drives over the years of laptop ownership, so I don’t need RAID or so many drives in the actual machine (they are more for long term backups, don’t need to carry all that data with me). So I’d prefer lighter weight… maybe SG05 might still be the one for me. When you did run into trouble and have to check the PC, were there any specific parts they didn’t like? I guess some of the coolers might looks suspicious on xrays, wondering if there are any parts I should particularly avoid. Did they ever ask you to turn it on? I could keep the power cable in carry on too.

I just finished a build based on the ASRock M8 case.
The aesthetics are little too "gamer" for my tastes but it was the smallest
case that still fit the components I wanted to use (R9-290X). I was considering
the N-case but I think I still prefer the thinner profile of the ASRock M8.
Wow to fit an R9-290X that is pretty phenomenal! It is quite a large case though to carry with a laptop but I’ll check one out in the flesh and see. It does look very “gamer” though :) I do prefer a discreet black box.
 

Showbiz

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
Messages
1,515
Showbiz, your post has given me so much hope, thank you! Your setup is absolutely amazing for such a small box. I’ve accumulated a lot of external 3.5” drives over the years of laptop ownership, so I don’t need RAID or so many drives in the actual machine (they are more for long term backups, don’t need to carry all that data with me). So I’d prefer lighter weight… maybe SG05 might still be the one for me. When you did run into trouble and have to check the PC, were there any specific parts they didn’t like? I guess some of the coolers might looks suspicious on xrays, wondering if there are any parts I should particularly avoid. Did they ever ask you to turn it on? I could keep the power cable in carry on too.
Thanks buddy :D

Usually when I had to check it was simply because the airplane overhead compartments were full. I've never had much trouble going through security, at least not beyond wanting to swab it down for explosive traces. I usually packed all the cables and speakers into the carry-on case as padding to keep the computer from moving around to much. I guess if they wanted me to turn it on, all they would have to do is hook it up to a monitor to see it work, but again, that's never happened. Also, not wanting to turn this discussion political, but I doubt I look the part....if you know what I mean ;) .
 

Daemos

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
376
Holy cow thank you so much for the work you put into this! I didn't realise only certain boards worked with a hackintosh and after seeing your post I went and had a read too. I'll be in sizzling hot Queensland over summer. The house is air conditioned but I don't want to have it running just to play games. So if getting a Gigabyte board is going to screw around with cooling options maybe I should drop the hackintosh idea? I'll still have a Mac laptop to run my osx stuff on, I had just planned to downsize to a smaller less powerful model but I can make sure it’s still quick enough for what it has to do. I'd rather the PC be reliable and trouble free for gaming.

Do you think saving $100 and getting an i5 K series would be detrimental? I've noticed some GTX770 cards popping up recently for $380-390 and was thinking I could potentially spend the extra there instead of an i7. These were Gainward and Galaxy versions though, so not sure if they fit as well as the EVGA. Which parts do you think would be the better gaming performer?

IMO more and more games will use more than 4 threads so Hyper Threading will be an asset...which is why I'd suggest a Xeon over an i5 unless if you specifically want to over clock.

If you don't mind getting creative with your hard drive mounting, you can still build a hackintosh with a gigabyte with a AIO water cooler, you can mount the SSD on the side of the PSU and build a bracket for the 3.5" drive somewhere...OR if you can find the Samuel 17 heatsink and put on a 120x25mm fan on it that would work as well...keeping the cpu nice and cool...and without worrying about pci-e slot placement and finding creative methods of mounting hard drives. TBH though if you want to overclock, you will want something like the H80i AIO watercooler...

A GTX 770 like this http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=193_1486&products_id=23787 would be a good price...and MIGHT fit into the case without cutting, the Gainward and Galaxy are quite a bit longer.

Since a GTX770 is pretty much a rebranded GTX680...this might be more appealing http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=193_1572&products_id=22417 as it has 4GB of memory and according to the specs is only 10" which according to silverstone should fit in the SG05...

I have an SG05 my self and I quite like the small compact size.
 
Last edited:

Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Messages
1,421
Great option too thanks for that :) Though after being limited for so many years I'm hoping to get something that lets me use a variety of standard parts and upgrade options in future. But to carry it in a messenger bag would be pretty awesome. I’ll have a look into GPU options in that model :)

It uses all standard parts except for the power supply (slightly modified Flex ATX size). It uses 80mm fans for exhaust, mini ITX motherboards, low profile graphics cards (which are industry standard) and notebook drives.
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
Thanks buddy :D

Usually when I had to check it was simply because the airplane overhead compartments were full. I've never had much trouble going through security, at least not beyond wanting to swab it down for explosive traces. I usually packed all the cables and speakers into the carry-on case as padding to keep the computer from moving around to much. I guess if they wanted me to turn it on, all they would have to do is hook it up to a monitor to see it work, but again, that's never happened. Also, not wanting to turn this discussion political, but I doubt I look the part....if you know what I mean ;) .
More brilliant news, thank you! Will definitely be heading down the SFF route now. No more sickening custom built to order Macbook prices! I really wish I found this forum sooner.

IMO more and more games will use more than 4 threads so Hyper Threading will be an asset...which is why I'd suggest a Xeon over an i5 unless if you specifically want to over clock.

If you don't mind getting creative with your hard drive mounting, you can still build a hackintosh with a gigabyte with a AIO water cooler, you can mount the SSD on the side of the PSU and build a bracket for the 3.5" drive somewhere...OR if you can find the Samuel 17 heatsink and put on a 120x25mm fan on it that would work as well...keeping the cpu nice and cool...and without worrying about pci-e slot placement and finding creative methods of mounting hard drives. TBH though if you want to overclock, you will want something like the H80i AIO watercooler...

A GTX 770 like this http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=193_1486&products_id=23787 would be a good price...and MIGHT fit into the case without cutting, the Gainward and Galaxy are quite a bit longer.

Since a GTX770 is pretty much a rebranded GTX680...this might be more appealing http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=193_1572&products_id=22417 as it has 4GB of memory and according to the specs is only 10" which according to silverstone should fit in the SG05...

I have an SG05 my self and I quite like the small compact size.
Great to know that games may be using more cores. I guess it makes sense since consoles are going 8 core.

Thanks for looking into hackintosh cooling options. I spent a couple of hours researching it today after reading your post, and it sounds like even if you have all the right hardware it is a really convoluted process using a bunch of random pieces of software and patches that I'd probably screw up. Even this "Beginner's guide" sounds pretty crazy. Then I read that hackintoshes are almost as limited with graphics card selection as motherboards, so I think it'll probably be simpler to keep the PC focussed on what it does best. I'll just make sure whatever lower spec Mac laptop I get will still run all my apps well.

So something along the lines of the first combination you posted with the i7 and Asrock seems to be a proven combination. I love that the board comes with a headphone amp too. So you think it's worth changing the Silverstone cooler for the H80 on that combo if I wanted to try some mild overclocking in future? Are those water cooling units okay for this kind of transport?

Wow the 680 you posted is fantastic value. If they still have stock in a couple of weeks I might pick one of those up. Cheers again for all your tips.

It uses all standard parts except for the power supply (slightly modified Flex ATX size). It uses 80mm fans for exhaust, mini ITX motherboards, low profile graphics cards (which are industry standard) and notebook drives.
Thanks for clarifying :) I am such a newb. I'll check out what low profile options there are
 

Quartz-1

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
4,257
The Shuttle systems are considerably smaller than Showbiz's SG02 and can still take full-height and all but the longest full-length cards. Shuttle also has a list of resellers on their website here.

BTW with regard to the Mac side, is it possible for you to run it in a VM?
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
The Shuttle systems are considerably smaller than Showbiz's SG02 and can still take full-height and all but the longest full-length cards. Shuttle also has a list of resellers on their website here.

BTW with regard to the Mac side, is it possible for you to run it in a VM?
Hm I'm not really sure about OSX in a VM, thanks for the idea I'll take a look. The intention was to have some beefy system resources available for OSX apps (which hopefully a VM can give), but if I just spend an extra few hundred on the macbook it should cover that without all the hassle to be honest.

I had a look around for the SZ77R5 and it's a really nice quality looking package. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive and hard to find here in Australia. It will end up costing $450-480 delivered at least :( and no stores seem to have the 4th gen version yet, but I'm scared to ask the price of that one.

On the other hand, the SG05 450W + ASRock Z87E-ITX + NT06-PRO cooler can be picked up here for about $380 all up at any number of stores (some offering free system building). Which will get me a 4th gen board and save about 2.5L of luggage space, so it might be the way to go. Slightly smaller power supply but people still seem to be powering some great GPUs with it.

I noticed some people saying it's better to use a GPU with a "blower" type cooler in these small cases. I'm not sure how I would recognise one?

Thanks again to everyone offering help
 

JoanTheSpark

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
154
...
I noticed some people saying it's better to use a GPU with a "blower" type cooler in these small cases. I'm not sure how I would recognise one?
...

front row, blower left, fan right.

5wb.png


  • blower type cards use a radial fan (sucks air from the centre and pushes it outward) and create high pressure.. god to get some air through tight fins, air volume on the other hand isn't that great
  • normal fan cards use axial fans (sucks air from one side and pushes it out the other) and can move big volume of air (if no obstacles).. good for overall ventilation or wide spaced fins, pressure isn't that great

You want a blower type card with dual slot exhaust of the warm air as a SFF case is very small and you don't have many fans pushing air through the case, so dumping hot air inside the case with a normal fan card probably increases the heat for other stuff in there (cpu, ram, etc..) big time.
 

okwchin

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 29, 2013
Messages
357
Just saw your thread, but I am currently replying to you on an Asrock Z87eITX, running ML 10.8.5, with a GTX670, in a cardboard mockup of a NCase M1, which I have been carrying around in a backpack, or with a cloth strap as a handle ;)

With a lot of work on the hackintosh department, depending on your needs for the hackintosh, I have managed to get a 95% functional hackintosh. As far as I am concerned, the only part left is waking from sleep by anything other than the power button. Currently only the power button can wake it from sleep. Slightly annoying, but unless I work out what to do with the sleep wake functionality in the DSDT editing, I will just be using a hardwired sleep button on my desk! oh, and bluetooth I have not been able to get to work yet, but a USB bluetooth dongle has been what I have been using for the last 2 years anyway, and thats an easy painless solution anyway.

GPU wise, I am using a 670, but the 700 series I believe are also out of box compatible, if not pretty close to being so.

My setup isn't exactly budget, as mITX isn't the cheapest solution, but certainly something I have been extremely happy with, and the challenge of the build so satisfying. I just costed up my build, and I am a little shocked to see that its in the 2K region!!

I dis-like the gigabyte motherboard because of the placement of Everything!. The CPU is too close the the PCIe, the power connectors are on the far side, the Sata conenctors are about as far away as possible from the devices as they can be, and the 12v power connector is all the way in the other corner. Unless your building a case where you cant be bothered reaching for connectors and building it in the correct order, the gigabyte is a messy layout. It is Supposedly a highly compatible out of box hackintosh system though, but it doesn't mean others wont work.

Here is an explanation of my build so far
http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1040384522&postcount=3
 
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Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Messages
1,421
Great to know that games may be using more cores. I guess it makes sense since consoles are going 8 core.

Consoles are also going 8GB RAM, but don't let that fool you. The RAM is shared with the integrated graphics, and the 8 cores are Jaguar cores, which is AMD's latest netbook CPU, which is a competitor to the Intel Atom (but a bit faster). Any modern high end desktop CPU would crush it in performance. The GPUs are also quite lower midrange compared to current AMD offerings.

All this might explain why Xbone can only run BF4 at 720p. :p
 

[RCKY] Thor

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 1, 2001
Messages
2,136
My Fractal Design Node 304 case fits nicely in a standard rolly carryon bag, with room to cram some clothes/towels around the edges to pad it. Have to take it out at security and run it through by itself, but otherwise no issues with a full up gaming build and corsair self contained water cooler.
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
front row, blower left, fan right.

  • blower type cards use a radial fan (sucks air from the centre and pushes it outward) and create high pressure.. god to get some air through tight fins, air volume on the other hand isn't that great
  • normal fan cards use axial fans (sucks air from one side and pushes it out the other) and can move big volume of air (if no obstacles).. good for overall ventilation or wide spaced fins, pressure isn't that great

You want a blower type card with dual slot exhaust of the warm air as a SFF case is very small and you don't have many fans pushing air through the case, so dumping hot air inside the case with a normal fan card probably increases the heat for other stuff in there (cpu, ram, etc..) big time.
Great explanation, thanks so much. Makes a lot of sense.

Just saw your thread, but I am currently replying to you on an Asrock Z87eITX, running ML 10.8.5, with a GTX670, in a cardboard mockup of a NCase M1, which I have been carrying around in a backpack, or with a cloth strap as a handle ;)

With a lot of work on the hackintosh department, depending on your needs for the hackintosh, I have managed to get a 95% functional hackintosh. As far as I am concerned, the only part left is waking from sleep by anything other than the power button. Currently only the power button can wake it from sleep. Slightly annoying, but unless I work out what to do with the sleep wake functionality in the DSDT editing, I will just be using a hardwired sleep button on my desk! oh, and bluetooth I have not been able to get to work yet, but a USB bluetooth dongle has been what I have been using for the last 2 years anyway, and thats an easy painless solution anyway.

GPU wise, I am using a 670, but the 700 series I believe are also out of box compatible, if not pretty close to being so.

My setup isn't exactly budget, as mITX isn't the cheapest solution, but certainly something I have been extremely happy with, and the challenge of the build so satisfying. I just costed up my build, and I am a little shocked to see that its in the 2K region!!

I dis-like the gigabyte motherboard because of the placement of Everything!. The CPU is too close the the PCIe, the power connectors are on the far side, the Sata conenctors are about as far away as possible from the devices as they can be, and the 12v power connector is all the way in the other corner. Unless your building a case where you cant be bothered reaching for connectors and building it in the correct order, the gigabyte is a messy layout. It is Supposedly a highly compatible out of box hackintosh system though, but it doesn't mean others wont work.

Here is an explanation of my build so far
http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1040384522&postcount=3
Hehe that cardboard case certainly looks the business! This is awesome news :) Hackintosh is a secondary preference that I don't mind figuring out down the track some time so it's great to know it's possible with the Asrock. I've been reading a lot lately and was also worried about the placement of everything on the Gigabyte board. I also didn't realise that overclocking the CPU can gain as many FPS as it actually does, so I'd preference overclockability pretty high now, the Asrock board seems great for that.

Did you have to run a patch for your motherboard/bios? Do these patches affect other features on the board or overclocking capability? With the system sleep problem you have, does it actually sleep/wake when you press power, or shut down completely?

Consoles are also going 8GB RAM, but don't let that fool you. The RAM is shared with the integrated graphics, and the 8 cores are Jaguar cores, which is AMD's latest netbook CPU, which is a competitor to the Intel Atom (but a bit faster). Any modern high end desktop CPU would crush it in performance. The GPUs are also quite lower midrange compared to current AMD offerings.

All this might explain why Xbone can only run BF4 at 720p. :p
Oh I was so close to ordering a PS4, glad I didn't! The unexplainable "Australia tax" we pay on everything plus the price of games and PS+ here just killed it for me. It works out about the same price as a decent SFF gamer after replacing just a few PC games I've already paid for.

[RCKY] Thor;1040394633 said:
My Fractal Design Node 304 case fits nicely in a standard rolly carryon bag, with room to cram some clothes/towels around the edges to pad it. Have to take it out at security and run it through by itself, but otherwise no issues with a full up gaming build and corsair self contained water cooler.
Great to hear :) I don't mind taking it out at security.




I'm still not too sure about the cooling I need..... Is the NT06-PRO suitable for overclocking the 4770K or would I need H80 or something else? I see a lot of people using Noctua too.

Also I noticed it's only $25 more to get the SG05 Lite + ST45SF-G instead of the bronze, will this fit and is it worth the upgrade? It would be nice if the system is upgradable to something like a 780 Ti in a year or so.

This is the list that sounds pretty good at the moment:

Case: SG05
PS: ST45SF or ST45SF-G
MB: ASRock Z87E-ITX
CPU: i7 4770K
Cooler: NT06-PRO, H80i, Noctua?
GPU: EVGA or similar GTX 680 or 770 SC with blower cooler
RAM: Corsair Vengeance CML8GX3M2A1600C9 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3
SSD: Sandisk Extreme II 240G
HDD: 7200RPM 3.5"
 
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Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
1,421
I'm still not too sure about the cooling I need..... Is the NT06-PRO suitable for overclocking the 4770K or would I need H80 or something else? I see a lot of people using Noctua too.

For any decent overclocking in the SG05, you are pretty much required to mod the case to fit the AIO liquid cooler (any single 120mm rad version from any company). You basically lose your drive bays. Most who do that end up using an SSD (because 2.5" and thin) and mount it somewhere else in the case. Alternately, IIRC someone mounted a 3.5" HDD on the opposite side of the case from the graphics card, using some modder's mesh.

Also I noticed it's only $25 more to get the SG05 Lite + ST45SF-G instead of the bronze, will this fit and is it worth the upgrade? It would be nice if the system is upgradable to something like a 780 Ti in a year or so.

It fits the case. I think it may block installing an optical drive though, because the modular connections take up extra room.

That said, don't buy it for the modularity. Why? Because you will likely end up using all the cables anyways. Besides the motherboard and PCIe plugs, these PSUs only have one strand of SATA and one strand of peripheral. You need the SATA. For the peripheral, depends on if you end up using one for a fan or something.

Regarding efficiency, would probably take years to even break even, at least at the rates I pay.

Probably the best reason to buy it is for those who want to mod the cabling.
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
For any decent overclocking in the SG05, you are pretty much required to mod the case to fit the AIO liquid cooler (any single 120mm rad version from any company). You basically lose your drive bays. Most who do that end up using an SSD (because 2.5" and thin) and mount it somewhere else in the case. Alternately, IIRC someone mounted a 3.5" HDD on the opposite side of the case from the graphics card, using some modder's mesh.
Thanks for this. As long as it can fit a 2.5" and 3.5" somewhere in the case I should be able to figure it out without the drive bay. I have a USB optical drive so can also use that space for the 2.5" perhaps. Just have to remember not to shape any new mounts like a knife or anything :p maybe plastic will be best.

It fits the case. I think it may block installing an optical drive though, because the modular connections take up extra room.

That said, don't buy it for the modularity. Why? Because you will likely end up using all the cables anyways. Besides the motherboard and PCIe plugs, these PSUs only have one strand of SATA and one strand of peripheral. You need the SATA. For the peripheral, depends on if you end up using one for a fan or something.

Regarding efficiency, would probably take years to even break even, at least at the rates I pay.

Probably the best reason to buy it is for those who want to mod the cabling.
Oh, I thought fitting a Gold efficiency PSU meant I could run a more power hungry GPU in future... but then again, I don't know much about these things :) I didn't realise it was literally just power efficiency at the wall socket which I'm not too concerned about. The appearance of cables or modularity doesn't worry me either, so looks like it's best to stick with the standard 450.

Cheers for your help
 

JoanTheSpark

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
154
Going over the thread I couldn't see it.. but why did you opt for the 3.5" HDD instead of a 2.5"?
They're available with 1.5-2TB already. Probably not as fast or 'cheap' as a 3.5", but if it is just needed as a data-grave.. should suffice.
Pro would be size, weight and lower energy usage.
 

JamboAU

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Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
Bit of an update ... I got sent interstate for a while which slowed me down, but by the time I got back, low and behold the M1 v2 was up for preorder!

I have also bought a few other components, mostly because I got fantastic deals on them, bringing my projected total build cost back down to the original target of $AUD1250-1300 (~$USD1200) but with slightly higher spec components than I was previously looking at.

I have purchased a new Macbook Pro so no longer need the Hackintosh functionality as it is powerful enough for me. This PC will live in my loungeroom with its main purposes being gaming, storage, and Plex media server/player.

So far I have:

Silver NCASE M1 v2 (on order)
XFX R9 290 reference
Samsung 840 Pro 128gb
Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP 2x4GB
Corsair H60 SE

Things I'm planning to buy when the M1 arrives:

Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac
Intel 4690K
Silverstone ST45SF-G or SX-600G if available

I chose the H60 for its light weight compared with air coolers, and because I need to install 2x 3.5" HDDs in the other 120mm bracket which will add plenty of weight on their own.

To answer your question JoanTheSpark, I am going with 3.5" drives because I already have them and because I need 6-8TB of space. I'm not too keen on the added weight, but I figure it's still lighter than traveling with a separate NAS, or multiple external enclosures + power supplies.

As mentioned, this will be my first PC build in 10+ years so all feedback/advice appreciated!
 

Shadowspawn

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 17, 2002
Messages
1,870
First question: How are you a "noobie, 9 months" but started this thread in 2013?

Second question: With the new rules on electronics on aircraft, you wouldn't be able to travel with this unless you are traveling with an LCD and want to put it together and boot it every time you go through security. I know the rules apply to flights to the US, but these rules are often adopted elsewhere, especially in Allies.
 

WiSK

2[H]4U
Joined
Oct 28, 2011
Messages
2,207
First question: How are you a "noobie, 9 months" but started this thread in 2013?

Second question: With the new rules on electronics on aircraft, you wouldn't be able to travel with this unless you are traveling with an LCD and want to put it together and boot it every time you go through security. I know the rules apply to flights to the US, but these rules are often adopted elsewhere, especially in Allies.

November 2013 is less than 9 months ago.

Are you saying that in the USA, at the security check, when carrying on electrical equipment, you have to demonstrate that it works? What a tremendous waste of time that will be.

Anyway, he is in Australia.
 

Bobalias_LeShay

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 27, 2013
Messages
287
Second question: With the new rules on electronics on aircraft, you wouldn't be able to travel with this unless you are traveling with an LCD and want to put it together and boot it every time you go through security. I know the rules apply to flights to the US, but these rules are often adopted elsewhere, especially in Allies.
Those rules apply to predominantly cell phones and laptops, AFAIK. Also, they're only from certain international airports for flights into the US. Finally, you can't very well power up a machine that doesn't have a battery, can you?
 

Showbiz

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
1,515
It's also not that uncommon for people to travel a Wii, or an Xbox etc. They're going to have to figure out a reasonable process for those type of electronics.
 

AFD

2[H]4U
Joined
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Messages
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It's also not that uncommon for people to travel a Wii, or an Xbox etc. They're going to have to figure out a reasonable process for those type of electronics.

An Eyefinity/Surround flight board would be a reasonable solution..

zQIlERO.jpg

(CREDIT: AC4:BF SCREENSHOT FROM WSGF) / MUNICH AIRPORT PHOTO FROM WIKIPEDIA)

They already have the screens all over the place. If they request that you test out your PC, PS4 or whatever, then you're automatically allowed 15 minutes of gaming. Make travel fun again! :D
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
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Messages
71
Wow I hope they don't bring that in over here. I lived in the US for a few years flying weekly/fortnightly and security is definitely a lot more stringent there than Australian domestic. A couple of weeks ago I flew with 6 HDDs, DJ gear, laptop and loads of cables in carry on here and they couldn't care less if you seperate a couple of things out. Fingers crossed it stays that way, and like you guys said they will need a solution for all the console folks. Now how do I get a surround flight board in my living room :D
 

JamboAU

Weaksauce
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
71
Quick question, am I shooting myself in the foot buying 2x4GB RAM?

This PC is only doing 1080p ultra settings gaming and Plex (not simultaneously), I do everything else on my laptop. I read a lot of comparisons that show zero performance increase to 16GB in AAA titles, and barely any from 4-8GB either so it seemed like a good place to save some money. I'm hoping to not upgrade for 2+ years. Cheers
 

Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
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Dec 15, 2005
Messages
46,062
Quick question, am I shooting myself in the foot buying 2x4GB RAM?

This PC is only doing 1080p ultra settings gaming and Plex (not simultaneously), I do everything else on my laptop. I read a lot of comparisons that show zero performance increase to 16GB in AAA titles, and barely any from 4-8GB either so it seemed like a good place to save some money. I'm hoping to not upgrade for 2+ years. Cheers

While yes 8GB of RAM is more than enough for gaming, there's always the slim possibility that you may need more RAM down the line should your laptop die and you need to do something more performance heavy. Considering that RAM pricing is only going to go higher from here and the fact mITX only has two DIMM slots, I'd go with a single 8GB stick of RAM so that you can upgrade in the future without having to replace any RAM.

Remember that it wasn't that long ago when people were saying that 4GB of RAM was enough. Before that it was 2GB of RAM. So 16GB of RAM isn't totally out of the question.
 

edward78

Limp Gawd
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Aug 21, 2011
Messages
272
The Element Q case is really small, taller than the ISK, you can fit a reg. GPU (single slot) in it & if you want a ODD also just go slimline.
 

JamboAU

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Messages
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While yes 8GB of RAM is more than enough for gaming, there's always the slim possibility that you may need more RAM down the line should your laptop die and you need to do something more performance heavy. Considering that RAM pricing is only going to go higher from here and the fact mITX only has two DIMM slots, I'd go with a single 8GB stick of RAM so that you can upgrade in the future without having to replace any RAM.

Remember that it wasn't that long ago when people were saying that 4GB of RAM was enough. Before that it was 2GB of RAM. So 16GB of RAM isn't totally out of the question.
Thanks for your advice. I had a bit of a search and sadly it looks like DDR3 prices may be going up just like you said :( I didn't realise this. I have another week or so to return it, I'll see if I can stretch the budget for the 2x8GB kit.

The Element Q case is really small, taller than the ISK, you can fit a reg. GPU (single slot) in it & if you want a ODD also just go slimline.
Thanks for the reply. I've already ordered an M1 v2 and am waiting for delivery :)
 

Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
1,421
The Element Q case is really small, taller than the ISK, you can fit a reg. GPU (single slot) in it & if you want a ODD also just go slimline.

I wouldn't get the Element Q. It is a rebadged case that is also sold as Apex MI - series (MI008, etc.) and Rosewill RS-MI-01. The construction and materials are similar to the typical cheap cases. The ventilation is not too good (no case fan). The PSU is rather mediocre.

I'll see if I can stretch the budget for the 2x8GB kit.

If you already have the 2x4GB kit, don't sweat it too much. Yes, eventually you'll need more RAM, but that eventuality might be a half decade from now.
 

JamboAU

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Messages
71
If you already have the 2x4GB kit, don't sweat it too much. Yes, eventually you'll need more RAM, but that eventuality might be a half decade from now.
Thanks for your input. I managed to get a great deal yesterday on a 2x8gb Ballistix Tactical LP kit through a friend so returned the 2x4 kit. I know it's probably overkill for now but once this is all set up I don't want to fiddle with it too much or buy and sell parts for a while... I want the time I spend on it to be pure relaxation/unwinding as life is pretty full on atm :) and I could definitely see myself offloading some memory intensive tasks from my laptop to this PC
 

JamboAU

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M1 v2 Build Log

Big thanks to everybody who's offered advice and answered my questions along the way!




Gigabyte Z97N Gaming 5 and 4690K
14917910836_d3018b8f2d_c.jpg

14937822431_9e609223f6_c.jpg


RAM and cooler added:
16GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical Low Profile 1600 CL8 1.35V
Corsair H60 SE
14754237540_574e548e63_c.jpg

14937821831_cf20670fbf_c.jpg

14937822011_c338978954_c.jpg


Motherboard mounted
14940542512_32077d4403_c.jpg


XFX R9 290 added
14754284588_d8929714b7_c.jpg


Silverstone SX600-G mounted
14940900075_90cd761b18_c.jpg


Storage drives and cabling added, fan/HDD bracket mounted:
Samsung 840 Pro 128GB
Seagate 4TB 3.5"
WD 2TB 3.5"
Will definitely look into making shorter cables in future. Cable management is pretty non-existant at the moment!
14754223009_ce9f6013cd_c.jpg

14937819811_9b3591795b_c.jpg


Everything seems to match my Australian theme nicely!
14917935206_d214dc96a8_o.jpg


Bonus bling on the audio path
14754234800_6cfdf704fd_c.jpg

14754234340_38ae486b9e_c.jpg


Fired up first time no sweat :) no issues to report so far but I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions
14754284428_006b8945c2_c.jpg

14754347497_2b71aa2be3_c.jpg
 
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Hanakuso

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
1,463
I was going to say something nice about your build but then you threw in that black widow picture....
 
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