Smallest possible 3.5" HDD mini-ITX case?

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by atx, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Hi !

    I currently have a TU100B mini-ITX system and it's time for an upgrade so I thought I would seek some input. Currently my setup is a gaming and work/productivity rig. The TU100B doesn't accept a full length graphics card, but it does an okay job with a GTX 760 that I have currently.

    I'm looking for a case that will take a full length graphics card, 1x3.5" and 1x2.5" storage. The 3.5" is mainly for using a massive HDD, probably 8TB and the 2.5" for an SSD. It would be nice to get something with a handle also, or at the least has a custom barebones travel bag if it does not.

    Right now I'm looking at the Silverstone ML08. That would mean a restricted mini graphics card (R9 nano probably, I don't believe the Gigabyte GTX 1060 or 1070 fits the width restriction) and an extra 2.5" slot which would be needless.

    What's the smallest mini-ITX case you know of? Any other tips?
     
  2. chx

    chx Gawd

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    NCASE M1 is 12.6L and fits a 3.5", three even if you use an SFX PSU.
     
  3. cowsgomoo2

    cowsgomoo2 [H]Lite

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    The SilverStone SG05 and SG13 will take a HDD with a long card. That's the only ones I can think of. If you're willing to use 15mm tall 2.5" OEM Seagate SMR HDDs without warranty, and money is not an issue, Dan A4 SFX can fit 2x15mm drives + 1x9mm drive, which is 4TB+4TB+2TB maximum. Seagate is coming out with 5TB 15mm 2.5" soon.

    Edit: Can't believe I forgot the case I'm using: The Ncase M1 (as chx mentioned).
     
  4. chx

    chx Gawd

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  5. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Hmmm, thanks for the tips. I liked the NCASE M1, but I think the bags are out of stock right now? I really liked the idea of the Silverstone ML08's slim, yet tall design. It's something that I just find really aesthetic. Something like the Silverstone RVZ01 would currently work I guess, but then you don't get the handle and I wonder how a 7200 RPM 3.5" drive would hold up being held straight to the PSU. Heat issues perhaps? At this point I guess I might choose the ML08, but I'm not sure if the R9 nano fit alongside the 3.5" drive. Maybe use a M.2 SSD and 2x2.5" HDDs like what cowsgomoo2 said? What might be a good bag to get for the RVZ01 if I went down that route instead?

    I guess one bonus to the ML08 is that if I get a tiny graphics card and use a 3.5" drive then I always have the option to go full length when SSDs improve in capacity / price.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  6. Knolly

    Knolly n00bie

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    You can fit a 3.5" HDD into the RVZ02 and ML08 while using a full length card, you just have to remove the optical drive bracket.

    The messy innards of mine:

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Wow, thanks for that! I wonder why they don't advertise that. Is it easy to install that way? Is it stable? Do you recommend getting it with or without the window in terms of aesthetics and noise and temperature? How is your noise and temperature now?

     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  8. Knolly

    Knolly n00bie

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    I'm really not sure, they could have easily made it "official" by adding some mounting holes or making the optical drive mount removable. You do have to basically rip out the optical mount to do this, but it's super easy to do just with some pliers since it's riveted in.

    As far as noise and temperature, I have a EVGA 1070 SC and don't overclock anything (as you can tell by the stock CPU fan) so I actually haven't really ever monitored temperatures but I haven't seen any sign of throttling. The case sits vertical behind my TV and I've never noticed noise either, it's basically invisible as far as I'm concerned, so I'm really happy with it!

    EDIT: I should add, the 3.5 drive is held there with industrial velcro and that's it. It's been really secure and I've transported the case around for Vive demos quite a bit without a single issue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  9. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Brilliant. My prayers have been answered !

     
  10. atx

    atx n00bie

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    One thing I noticed is that they say there is a 4.78" width restriction on the graphics card, but if you don't put the riser in then you can get wider than that. Would there be any problems with using no riser? Wobbly or something?
     
  11. Brian_R170

    Brian_R170 n00bie

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    Also consider that if you're buying all new equipment (it sounds like you are), you can and probably should go with M.2 form-factor SSD. That means you need a case that supports a 3.5" drive, but it doesn't need to support a 3.5 and a 2.5" drive at the same time.
     
  12. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Yeh, I got the ML08, a Silverstone SFX-L 500W and an Intel 600P M.2 SSD now. The current graphics card I'm looking at is the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 FTW GAMING ACX 3.0

    Do you think this is going to fit in the width restrictions? It simply says 'Dual Slot'. I also notice it's a bit under 13" in length so it's possibly not using all the case space. Perhaps there's another/better card I should get? I kind of just want a GTX 1070 at the cheapest price that works or gets the most bang for buck value. Any other input is welcome!
     
  13. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You'll want a blower style cooled card instead of the ACX cooler. If you want that style cooler, get the RVZ01 or ML07 so you can put intake fans below it. The benefit of that would also be that they also can mount a 3.5" drive instead of the optical drive without having to rip out a mounting bracket and velcro it in.
     
  14. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    If you are needing the big drive to store games, you could also always use a 2.5" SSD as a cache drive for it. The newer MS chipsets support this directly through RST (but only up to 64GB). Some Marvell controllers support this through their storage app and I am not sure of a limit.. I know it works at least up to 256GB.

    If you don't have built in support, you can always get a copy of MaxVeloSSD for about $20.

    It speeds up game load times over just a HDD by a significant amount.
     
  15. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Got a blower recommendation?
     
  16. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Founders edition it probably the most common.
     
  17. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Do you know why a blower should be used here? Got any links describing this? I've seen others suggest that the ACX is better. Also which brand should I get?
     
  18. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I have an ML07 and it is my personal experience that blower style coolers work better in it if you're not going to run additional case fans. YMMV

    I don't have any personal experience with the ML08 and how much room it has for fans for the gpu area, but since moving to an XFX RX 480 RS, I added two Silverstone FN123s as intake fans underneath the GPU to help with it's cooling. It is noticably louder then when I just ran a blower style GTX 670 though.
     
  19. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Do you think you got better cooling with a blower because fans generate little hot spots inside the case rather than drawing the air in?
     
  20. danger

    danger [H]Lite

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    It is my experience that blowers will be louder and result in worse gaming performance even in a case with no fans. They should only be used when you care more about temps than performance.
     
  21. ND40oz

    ND40oz [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I found that the way the GPU is completely compartmentalized in the ML07, if you don't have some sort of air flow either by pulling it into the case using intake fans or using a blower style card to exhaust it, you end up with a GPU just getting stagnant hot air. Same thing goes on the CPU side and the stock intel cooler, an FW121 helped with that but if you go with an aftermarket cooler you're probably fine.
     
  22. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Ok, I just bought the 'EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders - 8GB'. Not sure if it's going to fit though.
     
  23. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Here is the final build with all parts except the 3.5" HDD ordered (might just rip out one of my current ones):

    Case: ML08-H
    Motherboard: Asus Z170I PRO GAMING Mini ITX LGA1151 Motherboard
    CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor
    CPU Cooler: Silverstone AR06 40.2 CFM CPU Cooler
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
    Storage: Intel 600p Series 512GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
    Western Digital Red Pro 8TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Founders Edition Video Card
    PSU: Silverstone 500W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply
     
  24. Knolly

    Knolly n00bie

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    The RVZ02/ML08 was my gateway into SFF, so it's a fun build. The founders edition should absolutely fit, I have an EVGA 1070 SC in my ML08.
     
  25. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Hehe ok then. Yeh the TU100B was my first one. I found that there was just too much space wasted though.
     
  26. FISCHER

    FISCHER [H]Lite

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    I just got done with the ML08 fan mod but been thinking about the wasted spaced, its too big to fit in my 17' backpack bag.. thinking about switching to the Sentry or the Dan4. Also the ML08 isn't the best quality (mine is all scratched up and little bent/warped from a small amount of cutting).
     
  27. atx

    atx n00bie

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    So I've got the case today and unscrewed that optical drive riser, but the rivet things still stick out. How did you manage to remove that? They seem pretty sturdy for pliers, perhaps I should saw them off? Also I guess I should leave the front cover of the optical drive on? Here's mine now:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  28. Knolly

    Knolly n00bie

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    This actually would be easier if you screw the bracket back on. Once it's attached just take pliers and start bending it back and forth and it'll pop out. Those posts are just riveted in there so it should come out fairly easily and not leave any jagged edges.

    Then to fit that actual 3.5 drive in there you'll have to bend the clips for the cable next to it up a little bit to give it the extra clearance it needs. Once the drive is installed you can bend them back to secure it.

    I hope that helps!
     
  29. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Thanks ! I managed to get it. It was still a bit jagged so I filed it down with a nail filer. Few scratches as I didn't really take care with the pliers, but at least nobody will see it ^^

    [​IMG]
     
  30. FISCHER

    FISCHER [H]Lite

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    Personally I would take one (if not both) of the SSD brackets off since you can stick them anywhere and you might want optical down the road
     
  31. atx

    atx n00bie

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    Good idea, but I definitely don't see my need for optical. Who actually uses those these days?