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ZoPHaR

SFF First Timer (Done until tax season. Then I'll look at a full loop)

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Well, my full tower watercooled build has stalled out a bit. In the mean time I wasn't going to do anything else, but the other day I saw a Lian Li PC-Q07B on newegg as the shell shocker for $30 and figured the family could use a new machine. And a SFF build would be perfect. So I picked up the case. It got here a few days later and let me tell you going from a full tower to an ITX chassis is crazy. the lack of space is quite a challenge, but it's one that I look forward to overcoming. Here are a couple of quick pics of the case.
 
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Now, some of you may notice the lack of places to put a fan on the top, side, and front. Thats because this case was really meant for silent or near silent system's with passive cooling. The side panel you see with the holes is actually meant for the intake fan on the PSU. Well I think we need to change that. Because for some reason that I'm not sure about my family needs something a little more powerful than passive cooling can support. So I think I need to add some fans. So the plans call for a 120mm fan on the front, top, and a 120mmx12mm fan on the bottom to cool a GPU.
 
This is where I want to give a quick shout out to MNPCTECH.
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They have some of the coolest and very high quality modding parts. Most of you have seen a couple of their recent builds on here that are currently ongoing (Rebel Alliance, and FrozenCPU Tech Station) and the quality of the parts is as good as the work they do on their builds. Thanks again Bill for doing what you do, and for the help. Here's the care package that I ordered from them.
 
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Got a pair of 120mm Nautilus fan grills for the top and front. A set of micro case feet. A set of the most comfortable safety glasses I've ever worn (safety first when cutting on stuff). And a bag of rotary tool cutting discs.
 
Went ahead and did a quick test fit of the largest PSU that the chassis supports at 140mm long To make sure a 120mm fan would fit. Had to borrow one from my brother since I don't have any laying around. Here's a standard ATX PSU installed in the chassis.
 
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And a quick test fit to verify the fan will clear.
 
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Went ahead and taped the front, top and bottom of the case of so that in the next couple days I can get the holes marked and cut/drilled.
Top:
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Front:
 
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Also removed the bottom hard drive brackets to fit the 120mm x 12mm fan in the bottom:
 
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Didn't have time to do mark or cut things last night. Hoping to get to them by the end of the weekend and atleast be  able to power up the fans and see how things work. Front and top fans by the way are Prolimatech 120mm red LED fans. Here's a couple pic's outside of the case.
 
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And with a grill installed:
 
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Also got the main piece of hardware for this build yesterday. Got a quick teaser.
 
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Ok I'm no good at keeping secrets.
 
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Hoping to make progress soon.

Thanks for looking.

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Did a little work today. Haven't gotten the hole saw from my brother, planning on doing that tomorrow. I did however get the feet installed. Here's how it went.
 
Factory feet:
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Held on by adhesive, removed them and found this underneath:
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It's like they knew that I was going to drill a hole here and install the MNPCTECH ITX case feet.
Drilled a bigger hole for the case feet:
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Installed all four feet. I've gotta do some polishing on the four of them so hopefully I can get an almost mirror shine on them. but we'll see just how far I get.
All four installed:
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And a quick pic of it sitting up the right way.
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Also since I am installing a 120mm fan on then bottom I checked clearance from the fan to the desktop. Only had to make sure because the case is only setup for a single slot GPU. And I'll be installing a dual slot GPU. And I'm not sure that the fan will fit on the
inside of the case with a dual slot GPU. But there is space and here's the proof:
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Also test fit the motherboard real quick. It looks right at home in there.
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Hoping to mark the fans and cut holes for fans tomorrow. But we'll see how thing turn out time wise. Also planning on borrowing a Dremel or other rotary tool to "adjust" the size of the optical drive bay support bracket. I won't be using an internal drive for this build, and the bracket will be in the way of my cooling solution. Also it'll impede the air flow in the case when I'm done.

As always thanks for looking.

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sweet, looks like it's going to be a slick little build. Can't wait to see more!

 

Thank, I hope it turns out the way I plan. Got all the fan holes marked and that. Just waiting on my wife to get home so I can get a drill with a 1/2" chuck for the hole saw from my father in law. Biggest drill I have has a 3/8 chuck. So I'll hopefully have all the holes cut and be

able to install fans by tonight so that everybody can see what it'll look like.

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good luck... using a hole saw can be a pain. not sure how experienced you are with one, but this build I'm working on, was my first shot with them. when it starts to bite, if you don't have cutting wax, you can use a bar of soap. wd-40 helps if it gets too hot, but it smokes, so avoid it if you can. i had good results with rubbing soap on the hole saw every time it grabbed... just my experience. I was doing 1/8" alum and thin case steel.

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I've used them before. Never on aluminum though. I did get the holes cut. Need to do some trimming along the edges to clean things up.

 

Here's all the holes marked and ready for cutting:

 

 

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And then the holes cut and screw holes drilled:

 

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Lookin good jon! This is gonna be one badass ITX build.

 

Thank you Bill. Gotta get some bits for my angle grinder so I can finish touching up the fan holes tonight. Then finish polishing the Nautilus grills. That's the part I'm not looking forward to.

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Installed the Nautilus fan grills real quick and powered up the fans.

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Still need to remove the grills and finish polishing them, as well as the feet. And I need to decide on a PSU. I was planning on using a Siverstone 450w SFX PSU. But I might get the PSU extender bracket and run a 650W EVGA Nex PSU. Not sure.

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That last pic... I know it's not mounted all the way, but if you see any case metal inside the grill, mark it and chop it back. :D

 

Kinda reminds me of a pug with the MNPCTech feet on it.

 

 

Ya there is still case there. I got excited and wanted to see it after getting the front done. I'll finish trimming the top later this week. And now that you compared it to a pug, I'm going to have to scrap the whole thing. I hate those dogs. My brother and his wife have one and I want to put it out of it's misery every time I see/hear it. The sound they make when they breathe is so annoying. Sorry if anybody here has one, they're just not my thing.

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Made a little progress today with the polishing of the Nautilus fan grills. They looked awesome out of the package from MNPCTECH, but I wanted them to pop just a little more. Still have to do the case feet, but those won't take long.

 

After and Before:

 

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Close up of the center:

 

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And a quick pic of the pair of grills:

 

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They still have some scratches that I may get some 3000 or 4000 grit and try to take out. But we'll just have to see if I have that much motivation. Still trying to find a PSU, an H60 or similar cooler, and a permanent CPU. For now it'll get my 2600k, but I want to find a 3570K for it.

 

Also if anybody wants to please give me your opinion. I'm looking for a Silverstone 450w SFX PSU. But if I can't find one I may run a full size ATX PSU. For airflow and space reasons I was thinking about getting the Lian Li PSU extender bracket. That would get me an additional 60mm of clearance inside the case. But I'm not sure I want to add that much space to the back. Please help me decide on what to do there.

 

Thanks

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Decided to polish the case feet today. Here's a run down of the process I used.

 

First removed the screw and nut from the feet, and installed a long machine screw.

 

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Then install into a drill. I used an air powered drill since I'm an automotive technician and that's what I had. But any drill will work, just don't go super fast.

 

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First pass was with a red Scotch Brite pad. It doesn't take much time. It's just aluminum.

 

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Second pass was with 800 grit sand paper wet.

 

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Now you could probably stop and polish here, but I decided to go further and did another pass with 1200 grit wet again.

 

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And one more pass using 2000 grit wet.

 

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As you can see, a lot of the scratches are gone. There are still some, and this is partially due to the case foot not being held tight enough to the machine screw. I should have used a nut to hole it tight in the screw and then I could have gotten a perfectly sanded finish. And I might do this before final install. But for now it was cold outside and I said forget it.

 

Finally got some polish on them and this is where I ended up.

 

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The scratches you see here are only visible when your this close. But they may bother me enough to redo them like I already said.

 

And here's one last group shot of the feet.

 

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Thanks for looking, feel free to leave your thoughts.

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Blinding!  That's a good trick polishing them with the drill, I'll have to remember that.

  

hey, good idea with the drill! mini lathe lol.

Thanks guys. It worked pretty good. But like I said, it would have worked a little better if I had used a nut to hold the feet tight to the screw. As it was if I put a little more pressure than just barely touching the sand paper or polishing cloth they would stop spinning. I tried to find a nut but gave up pretty quick. I might grab one from work today and try it again, but IDK.

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That's a classy little case! The polishing really makes those parts look great. If we could only put those grills on your drill it would really speed things up / I mean speed up your trip to the doctors, mahahaha

I agree on these Mini's they are really growing on me. I think I got the bug from watching Confusis, these things can be as powerful as you want to make them! Nice job man

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I really starting to like these mini builds. Great job on the aluminum parts.

 

Thanks, they look a lot better in the pics because you don't see all the little imperfections.

 

That's a classy little case! The polishing really makes those parts look great. If we could only put those grills on your drill it would really speed things up / I mean speed up your trip to the doctors, mahahaha

I agree on these Mini's they are really growing on me. I think I got the bug from watching Confusis, these things can be as powerful as you want to make them! Nice job man

 

I got a mothers mini polishing ball to get the final shine on them. But the old family machine went down and I had to skip that step as well as a few others to get this build done and going. And I like this mini build. It's definitely a fun little puzzle, especially when you start modding it and have to come up with new places to fit things.

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Well I got some more parts for this build and got it up and running due to the family machine going down. It's not complete and next tax season I would really like to look into changing it to a full custom loop.  That will be a HUGE test of patience and thinking to make it all fit.

 

For now I ended up going with an Antec 620 AIO cooler. Got it at the local Best Buy (I'm sure I hate them as much as you). Nice thing is now they price mach so it wasn't as expensive as the in store price. Quick pick installed:

 

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Also picked up a set of Corsair Dominator DDR3 2000MHz 2x4gb ram. This stuff is tall and weighs a ton. First set I've ever owned.

 

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I went to install my 550Ti and found out it was too long. I'm not sure how I missed that when I was planning things. So I made a trip to my local Micro Center because they had an open box EVGA GTX650Ti 1GB GPU. Well when I got there (about a 75 minute drive) the GPU was gone :(. So I decided that I go ahead and make the trip worth while and picked this up:

 

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Opened it up and took this cute little thing out:

 

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Now for anybody who has messed with a PC-Q07 case you know that it only has a single expansion slot. Well that does become a problem because there really aren't any single slot GPU's worth much anymore. There are some but they are few and far between. So I just did a quick trim of the GPU's bracket.  Forgot to take pics before installing so here are a couple after thought pics.

 

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Also picked up my PSU. I went with a full ATX PSU. I wanted to make sure I had enough power for overclocking and to power a water pump and everything else if/when I water cool. Here's what I picked up.

 

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It's a very nice PSU. Its finish feels very nice and having a full modular PSU is a must in my opinion for an SFF build. There's just no room for the extra unneeded cables. Heck I barely had enough room to fit  the cables I used.

 

Anyway, if you can't tell by this build I'm a bit of an EVGA fan boy. I'm not afraid to admit it. I've always had very good luck with their products and when I have had a problem it's been take care of very quickly and conveniently.

 

Put the rest of the parts in and started it up for the first time.

 

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Also made a custom SSD mount. This is an SSD that was in my laptop and died so I rma'ed it. It's been laying around since. So I figured it would make a great OS drive. It's held on by a set of velcro strips.

 

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Finally got it all up and running and installed the OS. Went to update the bios to fix a couple of known bugs and when I did it corrupted the OS. Grrr, but it was ok. Just installed the windows disc again and it repaired just fine. Here a couple pics of it running.

 

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Needs the LED's replaced or new switches installed because the blue is so out of place. And here a pic of the top fan for Cheap's. Look no extra metal showning anymore.

 

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Anyway, it's all up and running. The cable mess on the inside isn't near as bad as it looks. One of these day's I'll get the cables shortened to improve looks and airflow. Also still looking at a full loop, but thats a little ways off. And when it does go full loop I'm looking at getting a GTX 670 or 770 whichever is out at that point in time. Also working on some overclocking and that on the current setup. I'll post some screen shots when I get everything all dialed in. Thanks for looking, and thanks for all the comments. I hope that in the future I can do something a little more impressive than cutting a couple holes and polishing some grills and case feet lol.

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Got an OC of 4.6GHz. First time I've broken 4 in any build. Let it fold all night with no problems. Checked in this afternoon and temps on one core would spike to 78c to 80c every once in a while. So I backed it down to a 4.4GHz OC. That also let me drop the V-Core down a little as well. Here's a screen shot of my 3d Mark Firestrike score as well as Precision, and E-Leet showing CPU speed.

 

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Here are the links to Fire Strike, and Mark11.

My only gripe about this setup right now, is that you can't set the memory speed. And XMP profiles aren't supported. Something EVGA needs to iron out and get fixed. It sucks having DDR3 2000 that will only run at 1066. Hopefully it's taken care of soon.

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I like you're build a lot!  I think SFF is a good way to go right now and it's good to see some modded builds.  How do is the closed loop cooler treating you?  I'm thinking of getting one as a stop-gap until I do a custom system.

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I like you're build a lot!  I think SFF is a good way to go right now and it's good to see some modded builds.  How do is the closed loop cooler treating you?  I'm thinking of getting one as a stop-gap until I do a custom system.

 

Thanks, I really appreciate it. The AIO is doing just fine. It's quiet and it does a good job. Due to the components that I used it was really the only way to go besides a full loop. And I plan on trying that next spring when I get tax return money. But when I say full loop it'll have a 120mm rad top and bottom, and a block on the CPU and GPU. I'm aiming to get rid of the high pitched fan on the GPU. Not that it's loud, I just don't want to hear it.

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