What are you looking for in a mITX case?

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Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
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367
The 35W and 45W i5 and i7 models seem quite good. There isn't too much data on the internet, but they seemed to offer >90% gaming performance of a standard chip, with that crazy low tdp.

The only problem I've seen with the 35w chips is their availability. They are sometimes hard to find a place to buy them, and sometimes are marked up considerably because of this. But otherwise, clock for clock, they are very competitive with the full power chips like rawrr said.

I think Anandtech did a review of the 35w versions vs the standard power versions.
 

rawrr

Gawd
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The only problem I've seen with the 35w chips is their availability. They are sometimes hard to find a place to buy them, and sometimes are marked up considerably because of this. But otherwise, clock for clock, they are very competitive with the full power chips like rawrr said.

I think Anandtech did a review of the 35w versions vs the standard power versions.

Ahh. You're stateside, right? Here in the UK, Scan has pretty much all the intel desktop chips. I could easily pick up for myself a 4785T or 4790T, weird that you can't in the US.
 

Raphaei

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Hehe, first off, a computer (any size) and a woman (any size) have NOTHING in common except for the fact that bigger is NOT better:D

I have no need for watercooling myself at this point, I was merely exploring holes in the SFF market.

If you have the expertise available to make proper airflow calculations, then I think you might be on to something. Airflow is the number one compromize in most sub 20L cases.
Oh I disagree, what attracts us to computer cases are qualities shared with a myriad of entities, one of which are women (if you're into that sort of thing, that is!). Nice curves, memorable front, no design flaws on the inside, doesn't whine, etc. Come to think of it, works with cars too.

I doubt I'm alone on this forum looking at some computer cases and wondering what they were thinking, airflow and yet another clone chassis are my #1 and #2 irks.

I'm looking for <7L cases without the need for an external power brick. I know it can be done, I did it myself, but using the LianLi PC-Q12 is just a compromise in many ways.

And, I want to be able to put the case into a backpack or sidebag. Not that I need to use that feature very often, but I absolutely love the idea of it :D

What I want my case to fit is a good PC that can easily double as a better console replacement or even an HTPC, so dedicated graphics are a must, low noise is desirable. I like the idea of having space for a slim ODD, but that is not a must-have, certainly.
Doesn't it become hard to put a 300x300 flat computer case in a backpack? The M1 for instance is much larger than <7L, but by the looks of the pictures it sure would fit in mine. My impression was always that steambox type chassis belong in the living room, stationary, while the midi tower style is more versatile.

I dont mind a mini itx eighter but i realy dont like water cooling as most of the time im gona use the pc as a workstation for 3d (and a litle gaming)and just cant afford to risk a leak.
- a gpu support of maybe 300mm
-cpu cooler up to 140mm
-160mm standart power supply
- place for 3 ssd or 3 smaw hdd (no more than that)
-the use of 140mm fans or those new noctua fans that have mounts for a 120mm fan but are 140mm.(maybe 2 at the bottom of the case and 1-2 on the top)
-slim dvd
It can be done.Ive seen some companyes come close but ruin it at the end as they want to save from materials.
-2mm think andorized aluminum for the outher shell of the pc woud be good.Just like the josbo umx1 plus.

Speaking about design maybe you coud borrow some ideas from Abee(beautifuf pc cases and terrible cable managment and airflow.Not to speak about the prices!)

acubic t80
http://www.akihabaranews.com/wp-content/uploads//images/9/09/58409/1.jpg
asenclosure 220htr(this one is big)
http://img1.kakaku.k-img.com/images/productimage/fullscale/K0000411107.jpg
acubic a90
http://www.techfresh.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Abee-acubic-A90-Mini-ITX-PC-Case.jpg
3D as in Maya/Blender, or more as in Vegas/After Effects? When I did lots of video editing I wouldn't survive without at least one 3,5" HDD. Didn't need one as much when doing lighter Blender renders for intros and such.

When it comes to design I'm more interested in the inside than the outside. Mainly because I find the insides more mathy and the outside more artistic work. And I draw paintings like a 6 year old (using my pictures from when I was 6 to compare with where I'm at today, still can't tell them apart). I'm better at math.

Answering topic question - what am I looking for in mITX case?

For the same qualities as with my girlfriend:
- slim
- fit
- flexible
- good looking
- nice face
- stylish
- ready to fit some 12 inch long stuff inside

;)
This man gets it! Also, likes to finally stretch the legs when you want to play. And, of course, is deserving of being the center of your universe.

The 35W and 45W i5 and i7 models seem quite good. There isn't too much data on the internet, but they seemed to offer >90% gaming performance of a standard chip, with that crazy low tdp.
Yeah, the not too much data on the internet is what made me ask. It's like every single hardware review site has signed an agreement that no one in their right mind would want to play games on low TDP CPU's. Which boggles my mind, since I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested, tyvm.
 

Raphaei

n00b
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
Messages
28
The only problem I've seen with the 35w chips is their availability. They are sometimes hard to find a place to buy them, and sometimes are marked up considerably because of this. But otherwise, clock for clock, they are very competitive with the full power chips like rawrr said.

I think Anandtech did a review of the 35w versions vs the standard power versions.
If you have a link to that review I would truly appreciate it. I was sad when I found out anandtech's Bench didn't include 35W CPU's.

Regarding availability, or pricing, here in Sweden it's cheaper buying the K-version and simply downvolt/-clock to get the same effect, but cheaper.
 

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
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Doesn't it become hard to put a 300x300 flat computer case in a backpack? The M1 for instance is much larger than <7L, but by the looks of the pictures it sure would fit in mine. My impression was always that steambox type chassis belong in the living room, stationary, while the midi tower style is more versatile.

Yes, most backpacks don't like 30cm wide stuff in them, that's why I also said sidebag (I meant shoulder bag, I think).

You are right in that most steambox type cases are designed for the living room, but they are even smaller than the M1, it seems so sensible to take them with you :) Also, there may be room to innovate on the form factor side of things: Why does it even have to be 300x300? There are plenty of ways to arrange components inside a small box.
 

Mackan

Limp Gawd
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Jun 8, 2014
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379
If you have a link to that review I would truly appreciate it. I was sad when I found out anandtech's Bench didn't include 35W CPU's.

Regarding availability, or pricing, here in Sweden it's cheaper buying the K-version and simply downvolt/-clock to get the same effect, but cheaper.

Yeah, since these lower TDP CPUs have a tendency to cost as much as the i7 4790K, it seems a better strategy to just buy a 4790K and downclock it. I think I saw a review where they compared a downclocked 4790K to a 45W one, and at same frequency they consumed the same TDP...
 

Zap

[H]ard|Gawd
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it seems a better strategy to just buy a 4790K and downclock it./QUOTE]

That's what I thin ktoo, especially since you can get a bundle deal at Micro Center. ;)

There is no real special sauce to a T or S model other than they are set to max out at a certain MHz and voltage, and maybe (good luck getting Intel to verify) binned to guarantee that low voltage.
 

edward78

Limp Gawd
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Aug 21, 2011
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I don't know why their are almost no mITX cases that are dual slot Element Q size, O found 1 in EU that only ships to the EU. Like they have a mITX prodigy http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prodigy/ the bloody thing is huge, yes they have smaller ones, not much though unsless you go single slot. They have ones to short for a reg. gpu, single slot. All I bloody want is a dual slot mITX case, that is Element Q size, There would be no heat issue from the gpu really..
 

Necere

2[H]4U
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I don't know why their are almost no mITX cases that are dual slot Element Q size, O found 1 in EU that only ships to the EU. Like they have a mITX prodigy http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/chassis/prodigy/ the bloody thing is huge, yes they have smaller ones, not much though unsless you go single slot. They have ones to short for a reg. gpu, single slot. All I bloody want is a dual slot mITX case, that is Element Q size, There would be no heat issue from the gpu really..
Keep fighting the good fight, edward...

I know we've talked about this before (since you do keep bringing it up), but as a reminder the Element Q is only barely tall enough (130mm) to house a standard-height (single slot) card at all; there is no room left for PCIe power connectors at the top of the card. The case needs to be an absolute minimum of 20mm taller, IMO, for even a tight fit for the connectors. If you wanted to use a taller card (which most aftermarket cards are these days, including the ASUS ITX cards), it needs to be even taller. At that point, you're close to the SG05/SG06's height (176mm), which is otherwise very close to the Element Q in size and layout. Edit: there's also this rather horrible looking case, which has a layout more like the SG07/SG08 (ATX PSU in front), making it longer, but it is only 150mm tall. Not sure where to find it actually for retail sale, though.
 
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Limp Gawd
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Mar 28, 2013
Messages
367
Why didn't they review the i5 and i7 -t chips too?

The i7 4765t is on the list of benchmarks. It's right below the orange bar for the i5 4570s on the top benchmark.

Battlefield 4 Comparisons:

i5 4960k (88w) at top with average 108fps
i7 4765t (35w) has average 103fps

but if you look at the minimum FPS, the i7 4765t has top spot at 50fps.

A lot less heat, nearly identical performance. Theres a lot of configurations on that page though, and other games benchmarked. Single GPU, SLI, average framerates and minumum framerates, all at 1080p resolution. A lot of good information, but the overall take away is the 35w parts are either identical or only slightly slower than the full power parts.
 
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rawrr

Gawd
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The i7 4765t is on the list of benchmarks. It's right below the orange bar for the i5 4570s on the top benchmark.

Battlefield 4 Comparisons:

i5 4960k (88w) at top with average 108fps
i7 4765t (35w) has average 103fps

but if you look at the minimum FPS, the i7 4765t has top spot at 50fps.

A lot less heat, nearly identical performance. Theres a lot of configurations on that page though, and other games benchmarked. Single GPU, SLI, average framerates and minumum framerates, all at 1080p resolution. A lot of good information, but the overall take away is the 35w parts are either identical or only slightly slower than the full power parts.

Ahh, I see.

The "professional performance" is a bit poor for the 4765t, but gaming it does really well! I'll probably end up buying a 4785t then (refresh version)
 

edward78

Limp Gawd
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Keep fighting the good fight, edward...

I know we've talked about this before (since you do keep bringing it up), but as a reminder the Element Q is only barely tall enough (130mm) to house a standard-height (single slot) card at all; there is no room left for PCIe power connectors at the top of the card. The case needs to be an absolute minimum of 20mm taller, IMO, for even a tight fit for the connectors. If you wanted to use a taller card (which most aftermarket cards are these days, including the ASUS ITX cards), it needs to be even taller. At that point, you're close to the SG05/SG06's height (176mm), which is otherwise very close to the Element Q in size and layout. Edit: there's also this rather horrible looking case, which has a layout more like the SG07/SG08 (ATX PSU in front), making it longer, but it is only 150mm tall. Not sure where to find it actually for retail sale, though.

Oh, ya forgot about that ugly thing...
 

Quartz-1

Supreme [H]ardness
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The Shuttle XPC boxes are a good place to start. I don't want an internal ODD. I do want FOUR USB ports - two USB 2 and two USB 3, and they should be on top at the front (perhaps on a 45-degree bit).
 

DG25

Gawd
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550
Edit: there's also this rather horrible looking case, which has a layout more like the SG07/SG08 (ATX PSU in front), making it longer, but it is only 150mm tall. Not sure where to find it actually for retail sale, though.
Ugly and still too big. It should have been 215 x 280 x 150 mm (or 140mm with custom 90 degrees bent PSU power connectors for the GPU) with a SFX PSU at the back or at the front (but placed on its side on the bottom of the case, with the fan towards the front).

Or make a more quiet and dust proof version of this case, same size as above, but with the internal arrangements of a SG05/06 case, except the case will sit on its GPU facing side, with a dust filter tray underneath it. At the front a 120mm fan will sit, pushing air over the hdds and into the case, sucking fresh, filtered air, from rectangular side panels intakes (the front should be a mask, a la SG06, to further reduce noise).

Too bad i don't have time now for some Sketchup, it would have been much easier to show it than describing it. :(
 

Raphaei

n00b
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An open question to the people here, which is your favorite low profile CPU cooler, and why? Would you be willing to trade for a smaller one if you found a case you liked that couldn't support it? Example; I like the CM Hyper 212 tower cooler, amazing bang for the buck, but if I found a chassis that was just shy of fitting it, I'd be slightly hesitant to find a smaller alternative, like the CM TX3 (159mm vs 136mm [6.3" vs 5.4"]).

On the subject of low profile CPU coolers, is there a 120mm version of the Zalman CNPS8900? I'm curious why they opted for 110mm on the fan, considering its already stellar performance, a larger fan would make it even more awesome.

Yeah, since these lower TDP CPUs have a tendency to cost as much as the i7 4790K, it seems a better strategy to just buy a 4790K and downclock it. I think I saw a review where they compared a downclocked 4790K to a 45W one, and at same frequency they consumed the same TDP...
Which isn't surprising consider it's the same chip. Usually when one thinks of a K-series CPU, one thinks of the overclocking potential, and forget the underclocking possibilities. Since every single chip is tested (hence binning), T-series are simply verified to function at the lower wattages, or simply can't work with a higher TDP. Regardless, they're locked so it's irrelevant.

If a T-series and a K-series chip of the same model cost as much, if one gets a motherboard that supports manual adjustment of voltages and frequency, the K-series allows for so much more potential, even if one only wants a low TDP CPU. You never know what the future brings, being able to overclock (or standard clock) the T-series that one time you want to render a movie or want to try a new and particularly demanding game, if it was me, I'd rather have the option to try it than not.

Oh, thank you so much. No wonder I didn't know about that review, it was made after I looked around for low-tdp CPU gaming benches. :D Lots of surprising results (more specifically, any result involving any lower TDP CPU). I was hoping for a i5-T, but the i7 test results works well enough as a general guideline in games. I'm very surprised that the i3-T didn't score much lower, especially in Frostbite. I was sure a T-grade CPU would starve the massive amounts of work the GPU has to do at higher settings, especially a lowly i3.

i5/i7-T + a future 950Ti @ ~100W seems like an amazing combo in a super small chassis, to hang up on the VESA mounts on the back of the screen. I'm getting all giddy just thinking about it. A grown man jumping up and down giggling like a little schoolgirl. Imagine the sight.

The Shuttle XPC boxes are a good place to start. I don't want an internal ODD. I do want FOUR USB ports - two USB 2 and two USB 3, and they should be on top at the front (perhaps on a 45-degree bit).
It might be just me, but I don't like the look of cables hanging in front of the computer case like some wild bang-type rastafari hair style. It does allow for better utility though, especially if you have the case next to you on the floor, which is where the 45-degree angle comes in handy?

Ugly and still too big. It should have been 215 x 280 x 150 mm (or 140mm with custom 90 degrees bent PSU power connectors for the GPU) with a SFX PSU at the back or at the front (but placed on its side on the bottom of the case, with the fan towards the front).

Or make a more quiet and dust proof version of this case, same size as above, but with the internal arrangements of a SG05/06 case, except the case will sit on its GPU facing side, with a dust filter tray underneath it. At the front a 120mm fan will sit, pushing air over the hdds and into the case, sucking fresh, filtered air, from rectangular side panels intakes (the front should be a mask, a la SG06, to further reduce noise).

Too bad i don't have time now for some Sketchup, it would have been much easier to show it than describing it. :(

Those aren't half-bad ideas. I don't think I've seen those around, so there might be a market for them. Or just make one for oneself. The one thing that comes to mind is the PSU placement in the bottom front. PSU's has a nasty tendency to want ot have cables sticking out at either side, making it hard to place them efficiently without including some dead space. It would be possible to make a ~1"x1" cable-channel running the entire width beneath it, and use flat feet in the front to compensate.
 

rawrr

Gawd
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Favorite absolute smallest is the NH-L9i. I also like the Zalman CNPS 2X.
 

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Limp Gawd
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If you have the space, i really like the Thermalright AXP-100 and the Scythe Big Shuriken. If you need something smaller than that, my favorite is the NH-L9i. It's about as small as your going to get and still be better than stock cooling.

Silverstone has 2 new low profile coolers out, but i haven't seen any reviews for them. They look really similar to the Noctua cooler.
 

Moogoos

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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IMG_9793_zpsd3e08c9d.jpg

okwchin's picture of his mini-ITX case summed up what I look for in a case nicely.

+1 /thread
 

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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An open question to the people here, which is your favorite low profile CPU cooler, and why? Would you be willing to trade for a smaller one if you found a case you liked that couldn't support it? Example; I like the CM Hyper 212 tower cooler, amazing bang for the buck, but if I found a chassis that was just shy of fitting it, I'd be slightly hesitant to find a smaller alternative, like the CM TX3 (159mm vs 136mm [6.3" vs 5.4"]).

On the subject of low profile CPU coolers, is there a 120mm version of the Zalman CNPS8900? I'm curious why they opted for 110mm on the fan, considering its already stellar performance, a larger fan would make it even more awesome.

I think they didn't make 120mm because there simply isn't enough space on most mainboards. 110mm already require you to use low-profile RAMif the socket is close to it (which it is most of the time), but on mITX boards, a 120mm version could potentially prevent you from plugging the ATX 24pin connector into your board.

My favourite is the NH-L9i. Not only because I find it to be very quiet, but also because there are practically no compatibility issues. No matter how flat a case is, or how little space there is above the mainboard, the NH-L9i always fits, because it is about 0.5mm lower than the keepout area of the motherboard I/O shield. The only cases where this cooler doesn't work are those that exclusively support thin-mITX boards.
 

EdZ

Gawd
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On the subject of low profile CPU coolers, is there a 120mm version of the Zalman CNPS8900? I'm curious why they opted for 110mm on the fan
120mm is the width/height of the fan casing. If you take the blades themselves out, they will be closer to 110mm in diameter. The '110mm' Zalman fan IS effectively a 120mm fan, just uncased.
 

Raphaei

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If you have the space, i really like the Thermalright AXP-100 and the Scythe Big Shuriken. If you need something smaller than that, my favorite is the NH-L9i. It's about as small as your going to get and still be better than stock cooling.

Silverstone has 2 new low profile coolers out, but i haven't seen any reviews for them. They look really similar to the Noctua cooler.
I have no personal experience of Big Shuriken (rev. B), but I am a fan of it (pun not intended). I think for a m-ITX system where performance is the #1 priority (noise and heat are indirectly related) there has to be room for at least something of its size. Only when size becomes the #1 factor (and performance is sidelined) should a m-ITX system only support a smaller CPU cooler, at least in my opinion.

With that said, both AXP-100 and NH-L9i are competent coolers, especially given their sizes.

IMG_9793_zpsd3e08c9d.jpg

okwchin's picture of his mini-ITX case summed up what I look for in a case nicely.

And as someone who experienced the 2011 earthquake in Japan when I was living for a year there, I look for the lightest (and hopefully sturdy) case that packs all my computing experience into it, and that I can take and go, with the possibility of not ever coming back, and without losing anything, in 5 minutes notice.

Given the size of your post, I'm surprised I missed it! I saw that picture a while ago but didn't get the context, so I didn't understand it fully. With the proper context though, I now realize it's a very beautiful picture that really paints a thousand words.

I think there should be some form of independent third-party drop-test for SFF cases, video recorded and put up on youtube.
 

kierwest

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Personally, I use an AZZA 103 mini but it doesn't optimize space and it has a horrible design for the hard drive cage. Overall, I want a new case but I do not know what to get. I like the ncase and I have seen some other designs here... but I just can't make up my mind. I do not like generic boxes because they look awful. I want a futuristic design that can:
1) hold a full size gpu
2) ventilate everything
3) HDD and SSD space
4) not look like an undergrad engineering project
 

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
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There are two cases you can buy right now that have their internals set up similarly to the AZZA, namely the Silverstone RVZ01 and RVZ02. Neither of them is a generic box, and both can fit quite a few components.
As for non-generic boxes, I'm working on one, too: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1849088

But there are many things that can put you off with cases like this, design is a huge factor. And as of now, the market isn't really flooded with this kind of cases, so you'll have a hard time finding one that really is just like you imagined.
 

kierwest

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Man, if only your case supported a full size gpu and hard drive.

I bought a raidmax atomic for my fiance and I decided I was going to paint it white. Just do a cookies and cream design. Hopefully, it turns out nice. I will probably have to stick with my case until the market expands.
 
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