Custom Air Silent PC ~11L - Performance Gaming PC - ITX - RTX 2080 Ti

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by Neyurt, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. Neyurt

    Neyurt n00b

    Dec 10, 2018
    In the quest for smaller and better cooling, I've got an idea to utilize 2X Noctua d15 air coolers for both the GPU & CPU. I have seen a few vids on CPU air coolers being used on GPU with great success. I believe it's just not that popular because it doesn't look very good and you end up not being able to use any of the adjacent PCIE slots.

    But there's none of that limitations with ITX builds!

    I dub this the "Noctua Tower" builds. Here's a 3D render of them.

    V1: Double NH-D15 stacked. Would be the tallest

    V2: Using the CH-C14s for the CPU would compromise a bit of performance but should still be plenty to cool the CPU

    V3: Hybrid Air-Liquid build. A smaller 120/140mm AIO can be sandwitch in between the D15 heatsink towers. This further reduces to overall height. Down side is possible extra noise from pump, plus side is can use full size ATX PSU since there are extra space cause by the length of the long fullsize GPU.

    V2-B: Using BeQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 and Dark Rock TF.

    I name it the "Dark Tower" build:



    0) (Noise == Performance ) > Size > Aesthetics

    1. Very compact build that compact all the components together.

    2. No performance compromise

    3. Minimal use of fans to make this a silent built

    4. 6.7x6.7" base, height is variable base on final design.
    I figure since I'll start building and testing various components to work out the quirks I'd move the info here to the building logs.



    RTX 2080 TI

    Asus Z370-i

    512GB 960 Pro Nvme

    480GB Adata XPG Nvme

    RipJaws 16gb 3200Mhz RAM


    Progress Album:

    Google Alternative:


    Update 1 : Starting build log. So far have tested GPU with Noctua d15 mounted. Very good results, GPU running at 50C under load


    The D15 is mounted to the 2080 Ti by using a backplate to clamp down on on the heatsink and using nuts/bolt (homedepot 1.5" #4 bolt/nut) works well. The new throughholes is almost perfectly matched to the old LGA 775 socket so you can try to find them online

    Something like that should work. Personally, I just grabbed the backplate that comes with the Enermax AIO cooler .

    Update 2:

    Conduct test for V3 concept with radiator sandwich in between the D15 heatsink plates. Very good results still. 2 140mm fan is used for push-pull running through both the radiator & D15 heatsink. Both GPU & CPU running around ~50C under load. Under OC, 2080 ti can go to 2100Mhz @ ~60C. Great results! I am liking V3 so far for how compact it is and cheaper to put together. (smaller AIO are cheap, shorter pcie riser, etcs). And full size ATX PSU are quieter and run cooler also.

    Update 3:

    Added concept for enclosure design. Thinking front/top/bottom could be wood. Sides can be tempered glass, and the back can be a full metal mesh. With a full metal mesh back, I might not have to add more vent holes on the sides. That would keep the complexity down.

    Update 4:

    Testing TT 600mm riser cable, V3 appears to be difficult to put together due to GPU I/O being in the way of most placements. When GPU output ports is on the bottom, it interfere with the PCIE riser and it's hard to work around. V2 is looking good right now:

    Update 5:

    NH-C14s came in today so I tested the V2 concept. Amazing temps still all fans running at~30-40%

    So far, this is the easiest to put together. Everything just fits like a puzzle . The sfx PSU will sit on top of the stack and there's still be plenty of riom to route wires

    Update 6: Testing PSU wiring on V2 build

    Wiring was a breeze, all the crevasses was enough to run all the wires, and everything except for the 24 pins was stock sfx length, I needed an extension for the 24 pin.



    Update #7: Zotac GTX 1080 Ti Mini Build

    Some people are requesting for a mock for a gtx 1080 ti mini build so here it is:

    Update #8 : The "Dark Tower" build

    The Dark Rock Pro 4 & TF combo came today so I'd put it together for testing. I call this the "Dark Tower". I absolutely love the 'be quiet!" logo on the side, it's exactly what this project is about!

    With this combo, there's no change in temp performance, if anything the GPU now runs 1C lower! But thats within margin of error so I'd deem the performance the same as the noctua d15 & c14s combo.

    But the biggest difference here is obviously the "dark look", it's probably more appealing to most people. AND I was able to shave some about 1L in volume (~1 inch shorter stack and some side space)

    It's now standing ~13 inch tall. So that's 6.7*7.5*13 = 653 in^3 => 10.7L!!


    Update #9.

    I made some effort toward case design today as performance testing is paused until I get Li-Heat PCIE riser that he's gracefully offered.

    For simplicity, here's a first draft of the case design:
    Here is a "frame design", the internal skeleton of the case. The red plate is what the GPU will be mounted directly to, it can have various mounting holes for different type of GPU models. I will need to work that out when testing different card. The mounting bracket then will be screw and attached to the frame.

    Also, not included in the above pic, I think the top part of the front (opposite the PSU) is a good place to mount a few SSD or 1 HD if that is ever needed. That's one of the few "dead space" inside the tightly fitted rig.

    I haven't gone too far with with the external panels yet, I will continue to work on various design of panels that can be attached to this skeleton/framework to form a finished case.

    Update #10

    I've got some old parts from a friend ( Foxconn H67s + i7-2600k + DDR3 RAMs) so I figure I'd use this spare system to test the V3 concept with a GTX 1080 ti Mini. The mini's length is perfect to house a full NH-D15 with the 2 fans mounted at the opposite ends.

    I don't have a spare pcie riser set so the GPU is mounted normally in it's regular pcie slot. Here you can see a full stack of the D15 mounted on the GTX 1080 TI and a 120MM AIO sandwiched right in between.

    Holy moly the temps! The GTX 1080 TI Mini never got above 40C and it dles around 21C with fan speed around ~30%... Insane temp! (Now I'm questioning why I'm going to a RTX 2080 Ti lol!)

    The i7-2600k runs around ~55C under gaming load, but it's on a much lower process and I'm using only a slim 120mm aio, I suspect a 140mm would give it better result, and if u're using a modern CPU it would even be better.

    Will try a full stack once I've got another PCIE riser soon.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
    Jspr and AG1M like this.
  2. AG1M

    AG1M [H]Lite

    Apr 7, 2017
    Nice I like that, silence with no compromise to performance in a "small" package. I only don't like that the VRAM and VRM are not active cooled with an Tower cooler solution, it only keeps the GPU cool. I would prefer a Top-Blow cooler instead of a Tower cooler to have fresh air onto VRAM and VRM from the GPU.
  3. Pantera_666

    Pantera_666 [H]Lite

    Apr 6, 2016
  4. AG1M

    AG1M [H]Lite

    Apr 7, 2017
    Because he can. ;)

    No srsly the main issue with SSF is the noise level. If you want to put high end components into a small package, there is always a compromise between cooling and noise performance.

    That's why I go with Ncase M1 + external watercooling, the desk is clean and you have tiny box and you can put any hardware you want and you hear no noise at all. Air cooling is a different challange, so I like his idea.
  5. Frazhna

    Frazhna Limp Gawd

    Jun 27, 2013
    I like where you are going with this, but there are a couple things that stood out to me. You have taken off one of the fans from the DarkRock TF and the TF looks like it won’t be getting any fresh air. I’m really curious if you can make an enclosure for this that will still allow it all to get the ventilation it needs.
  6. Neyurt

    Neyurt n00b

    Dec 10, 2018
    By default, the Dark Rock TF runs as a Push-Pull configuration, by taking off 1 fan I'n not really dinking it's performance by much. If you go look up push/pull vs push vs pull, you'll notice that the performance usually doesn't differ by a huge amount (and to me, 2x fan just outperform 1 fan , but not with added noise from the extra fan).

    Because this design has such low fan speed and still be able to maintain top performance, I can literally wrap the entire a thing in a mesh to provide almost "open-air" to all the fans, building a case for ventilation is moot.
    xSDMx likes this.
  7. Neyurt

    Neyurt n00b

    Dec 10, 2018
    Gamer's Nexus does a lot of hybrid mod for GPU testing and he mentioned that the VRAM and VRM can do without active cooling. So far I have no experience any frame drop of throttling in long stresstest.
  8. Neyurt

    Neyurt n00b

    Dec 10, 2018
    Added new updates!
  9. jrobdog

    jrobdog Limp Gawd

    Dec 4, 2006
    I love the V3 concept. Needs to happen.
  10. Neyurt

    Neyurt n00b

    Dec 10, 2018