SFF Build - My take on the Armor A30

xyexz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
471
UPDATE
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In case people didn't read the bottom post, made more sense to put update here, not sure why I didn't in the first place:
So in an attempt to bring my overall system footprint down, I've moved my build back to the Armor A30 case, I've written a blog post with pictures and build process up until the end for all to see, this system is pretty freak'n sweet after the modifications.

http://xyexz.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/curiously-crazy-project-a30-d620/

wp_0002051.jpg


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Made more progress today, had to take the coolers out and rotate the fans to suck cool air in instead of blowing out, made a huge difference in temps during BF3.

Here is a link to the whole build album on my skydrive: http://sdrv.ms/MG2Imo

Here you can see both Antec 620s here and the tube routing:
WP_000223%20(2)%20(1).jpg


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Long time lurker here that just made an account :D

Back story, I bought all new components last year and built a nice Sandy Bridge rig with the ever popular and overused HAF-X case. I love my big case however I was concerned about my 1.5 year old grabbing it and pulling it over on top of herself and also for whatever reason the thing was a vacuum and I got tired of removing dusty weekly and sometimes more frequent than that.
Also I had the Gigabyte UD4 H67 board and didn't get it replaced when the whole Intel chipset bug was found so I wanted to get a different board anyways that had the B3 revision.

Original Build:
Case: HAF-X
PSU: Corsair Gold 80+ 750Watt Full Modular
CPU: Core i7 2600K (I do a lot of multi-threaded programming so I chose this over 2500K)
RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1600 (2 x 4GB)
GPU: EVGA NVidia Geforce GTX 570
HDD: 2 x 1TB WD Black 7200RPM in RAID 0 (living on the edge :D)

So I started looking around for SFF cases as small powerful systems have always intrigued me ever since I had an older BioStar barebones system back in 2003.

I had a couple goals in mind that I was trying to stick to:

1) Able to use my Cooler Master Hyper N520 cooler or something better
2) Small enough footprint to keep on my desk (less dust than sitting on my carpet floor)
3) Able to hold my EVGA GTX570 and possibly allow for a second card in the future
4) Get a motherboard that had the B3 revision or something better
5) Look somewhat "extreme" eg: a gamer system, not audiophile or hip (subject to personal opinion)

Upon reading everywhere I jumped to choosing all different kinds of cases and had the pleasure of helping a friend build a SFF light gaming system for which I selected the SilverStone SG02-F as SLI wasn't in question nor was cooling as it was a Core i3 build.

I did love the craftsmanship of the SilverStone case but I didn't see how with a longer card I wouldn't run right into the harddrive mounting system included in the case and I didn't like the lack of included fans and lower PSU ceiling over the CPU.

So the search continued and I came across all the terrible reviews and bashing of the Thermaltake Armor A30 case, I immediately latched on to this case as I'm somewhat of an underdog lover and I entertained the added value of the included fans (subject to personal opinion here as well).

I decided I was going to buy the case and for my motherboard replacement I would have to go with the z68 chipset so that I could keep my craving for overclocking subsided; for the purpose I chose the ASUS P8Z67-M PRO board.

Outright I knew the board wasn't the extreme best choice as the SATA ports were vertically aligned and with the audio and case front assembly wires being so close to the furthest out PCI-E slot my options of another GTX 570 fitting were slim to none, however I wasn't willing to shell out the cash for the ASUS Gene-Z board even though that would better serve my purposes in the future.

My biggest concern was the lack of space for the Cooler Master Hyper N520, however in other searching during my adventure I found the Antec H2O 620 and I fell in love, I had always wanted to try the Corsair H60 but I like trying new stuff so I purchased the Antec H2O 620.

The goal with the Antec H2O was to not have it hanging out the back, I had seen that in another review on this forum and while it works I needed the system to be as closed up and self contained as possible.

After receiving all of my parts I went to work and found quite the ingenious way to keep the Antec H2O inside the case sacrificing one side of the secondary 5.25 drive bay as well as the removal of the hdd chassis that sits in front of the front most fan of the case (retarded design imo).

Also I had to modify the modular drive tray assembly to the right of the top 5.25 drive bay to allow more room with the second power cable for the GTX 570.

I'll let the pictures wrap up this novel :D

5.25%20Drive%20Bay%20Modification%20for%20Antec%20H2O%20620.jpg


So above you can see all I did was bend the fin inward to make height room for the Antec Cooler.

Antec%20H2O%20620%20Placement.jpg


Here you can see the exact placement of the Antec Cooler, basically I think it's a perfect fit, didn't even need anything to hold it in place as it wedged in nicely between the front of the case and the motherboard tray. Also the grill on the side of the case made it great for airflow coming out of the Antec Cooler, I positioned the fan to push air through the radiator portion and out the grill on the side of the case.

Modification%20of%205.24%20Bay%20for%20PCI-E%20Power%20Connector.jpg


The above picture shows the small modification performed to make room for the second PCI-E power connector for my video card - while I didn't take my time with this modification I think it came out decently, I will be going back and sanding down the cuts and painting it to make it clean and safe.

Some of the pictures are of my wife's pc build for which I used the same cooler and case that's why you may notice different video cards, psu and ram etc.

After all is said and done I was able to use the included ASUS overclock software which netted me a 4.8GHz Core i7... I have yet to see CPU temps over 60 C during Intel Burning Test running for 30mins.

GPU temps are higher during BF3 running around 80 C but with all the heat exiting out the back (it's a non-reference card) it isn't baking the inside of my case.

Ok I'm done writing - let me know what you think all!

Thanks for reading and if anyone wants a picture of the final complete build let me know, I didn't post as everyone has seen an Armor A30 completely done.
 
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-Ducky-

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Messages
338
I'm intrigued, more pics are always awesome! Looks like a great build. How is the 550ti for the wife? What does she mainly do with it?
 

xyexz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
471
ignoring -Ducky- comment, I think it's a great build and don't really have any suggestions. The build is almost identical to what I will be building in a week or so. IT should tear SWTOR apart. If money is no concern, and you aren't trying to save on parts, it will be an amazing build.

... oh sorry wrong thread and I was pretending to be you again lmao



... in other news

The 550Ti is a great card, she's running 1440x900 resolution native for her display and is able to play games like WoW at Ultra quality with 60-70fps in towns with 60+ people in them.

Spore among other titles run very nice as well highest settings, I'm sure if you look it up on youtube you would find some other examples but for a $115 card that is capable of SLI and much smaller footprint to say a GTX 570 it's a great card for mATX builds or ones on somewhat of a budget that want in on the 500 series graphics cards.
 
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-Ducky-

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Messages
338
ignoring -Ducky- comment, I think it's a great build and don't really have any suggestions. The build is almost identical to what I will be building in a week or so. IT should tear SWTOR apart. If money is no concern, and you aren't trying to save on parts, it will be an amazing build.

... oh sorry wrong thread and I was pretending to be you again lmao

I wasn't trying to be a jerk, sorry if it came across like that. I didn't mean to if it did. I dont have alot of knowledge about the 550's other than what I have heard on the forums. The comment made you seem as if you were trolling his build. I hold no grudges, was just inquiring. Hopefully we can look past this in the future.
 

xyexz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
471
I wasn't trying to be a jerk, sorry if it came across like that. I didn't mean to if it did. I dont have alot of knowledge about the 550's other than what I have heard on the forums. The comment made you seem as if you were trolling his build. I hold no grudges, was just inquiring. Hopefully we can look past this in the future.

Fair enough.. thanks.

550's definitely aren't the end all be all of graphics performance but I think for the price they are nice and I'm not a fan of AMD/ATI so I don't really consider their performance/cost.
 

xyexz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
471
So in an attempt to bring my overall system footprint down, I've moved my build back to the Armor A30 case (in a seperate thread I moved to Fractal Design Define Mini - too big), I've written a blog post with pictures and build process up until the end for all to see, this system is pretty freak'n sweet after the modifications.

http://xyexz.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/curiously-crazy-project-a30-d620/
 
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