Description

Due to an upcoming work/holiday trip, I was in need of an even more portable workstation solution. I had a Silverstone Milo ML08b with an i5 Broadwell CPU serving as home/media computer. Unfortunately, the Milo case was still too big and heavy for a backpack. While I have an NFC S4 Mini on pre-order, it won't be delivered till 2018. After trawling the forums, I came across another Silverstone case, the ML09b, an updated version of the ML06. Unfortunately, there weren't many build reviews around using high powered parts and there was only one youtube video gaming build.

I moved the parts from the ML08 to the ML09 and also upgraded the CPU cooler with Termalright AXP-200 muscle. It had 140mm fan and a rated 180w tdp. I wanted something to accomodate light CPU overclocking and possible CPU upgrades. With an AIO, it was possible to overclock the i5 5675C to 4.2Ghz, but on air cooling in a compact case, 4Ghz was probably more realistic. I won't go much into details regarding the Broadwell 5675C, it is regarded somewhat as an exotic CPU. It comes with the Iris Pro 6200 IGPU which still packs a punch for most graphic and light gaming requirements in an HTPC. Unfortunately, it's still lacks power for professional 2D/3D applications use.

The focus is on the Silverstone ML09b. The case only allowed low profile GPUs to be installed. After some research, it came logically to the GTX 1050ti. The low profile card by Gigabyte was slightly shorter than the MSI offering. Only downside was the single fan design but low noise was a benefit.

It was quite a challenge to fit everything inside the case. As you can see from the pictures it is really packed tight. The side panel barely closes. I may have gone overboard with the AXP-200 because it was really difficult to connect everything to the motherboard.In hindsight, I should have connected the wires before dropping in the cooler. The HDD cage is a nice addition to the case which needs to be removed if you want to install an SFX-L PSU.

I really like how compact the case is but there are a few quirks which really annoys me. Like the ML08b, the ML09 shares similar problems. The side panel is really hard to remove. Once the screws are removed, sliding the panel off is really difficult. I needed some rubber gloves to help my grip on the panel. I wish they made it tooless and change the design of their slot system. Finally, using an aluminium material would help keep the weight down.

Here are my pros and cons for the ML09b: Pros: - Compact size - SFX / SFX-L PSU compatible - low profile GPU compatible - 2.5" HDD cage - Optical drive option - 120mm case fan included - really useful magnetic dust filter

Cons: - Not nearly enough vent slots - Not tooless side panel - Very difficult to remove side panel - Only low profile GPU compatible

Why go to this trouble and not just buy a PC laptop? Well, I wanted to use my hardware as I was familiar with its performance. I didn't want to shell over $1k for a decent machine. The only new cost were for the ML09b case, the 1050Ti and AXP-200. Another argument was I had all my apps installed just the way I want. With Windows PCs, not everything comes across smoothly when you upgrade your motherboard. You have apps licenses going haywire and compatibility issues not there before.

I love small form factor builds. Gone are the days where I have this huge monolith under or on my desk. Its real estate is at a premium for my monitors, Wacom tablet and various other pro accessories. Also big cases on the floor attract much more dust while too many led lighting makes the bedroom light up like a nightclub when the machine is powered on and rendering. No, I’ll take a small discrete, low noise, high power, upgradable machine any day of the week. The only big machine I have at the office is a 2012 twelve core Mac Pro. That monster is a pain to lift and clean. Apple actually had a good idea with the 2013 trash can. The only downside was its limited upgrade path with standard parts. I really think the future of desktop PC is in small and beautiful.

Thanks for reading and I hope this will inspire other sff builds.

Part Reviews

Video Card

Great card in a small package. Power consumption is amazing and doesn't require additional pcie connectors. Performance is very decent and will play 99% games at reasonable settings. Temperature is kept in check. All in all very happy with this purchase.

Case

Good small case for budget builds. It has all the space you need for a decent media PC. There's room for an SFX PSU, HDD cage for 4 2.5" drives, mini ITX motherboard, low profile GPU and an optical drive bay. I would have given it 5 stars if not for the awful panel removal system. Once the screws are removed, the panel is incredibly tight so you need a good grip in order to slide it off.

Comments

  • 21 months ago
  • 9 points

thank you for putting the PC in a backpack for size comparison

  • 21 months ago
  • 4 points

Yes I thought others might find it useful the reason for this build. Could make a good portable lan machine too.

  • 21 months ago
  • 6 points

For the love of god, take the plastic film off.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Good call! Started to forget about it. It’s already off, didn’t want to scratch it too much as I was still tinkering. :)

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha I figured as much. Just keep in mind we want to see it in all its glory!

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

The CPU cooler next to the GPU is the closest fit of any build I've ever seen lol

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

I know, for a moment I really thought it was too tight to fit and I would have to return the cooler.

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Broadwell i5, what is this - a unicorn?

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Hehe I quite like the little guy. One of those things I’ll be hanging onto even if the mobo dies. It’s really power efficient at stock setting and makes a great 24/7 media Center. Having said that Ryzen will be available as an APU soon so I might switch to AMD at some point.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

How did you get the CPU? I didn't see many for sale after release but was interested in them.

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Ordered it on release date from Scan.co.uk It wasn’t all that hard to get your hands on them. I think there were not much interest in the i5 and i7 Broadwell. Everybody wanted Skylake. Thinking back, I should’ve gone with an i7 5775C as there were times when I really needed the extra threads. Coming from years of experience with Xeons, I was really surprised how this little i5 made everything run so smooth like butter just with the iris pro. Still holds up its own for gaming and pro apps interaction. Render is its only weakness. I might swap this for a Ryzen 7 or 8700k next year.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm running a Xeon E3-1246 V3 in my main PC (Z97 ITX board free from a friend after RMA) right now with a free 4790 I picked up sitting on top of the case. I don't think the 1% performance boost is worth it unless I can trade for a 4790k.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

That's really neat and tidy build you have, I also found the rvz02b a bit big to lug around. I would still like to get my hands on a sentry for travel but that will have to wait. +1 from me nice build

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

The sentry is a neat case too but I wanted to squeeze a bigger cooler. Also the sentry isn’t as readily available and a niche item to purchase. The NFC S4 mini will make a great sff build. My biggest gripe is having an internal psu as opposed to a separate brick. For air travel I could just take the sensitive components with the case in cabin and leave the psu/brick in the checked in luggage.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Wicked small, love it

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

first time i see someone using a 5th gen cpu .

nice build , it looks like a tight fit for the cpu cooler.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks great! There is something very pleasing about how this looks with everything being so tightly packed and fitting perfectly. I'm surprised by how much you fit into that case, you utilized the space available very well.

  • 21 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! There is about an inch gap between the 1050ti and the top vents. I’m tempted to put two 80mm slim fans there.

[comment deleted]
  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

I build a similar system with a ML06-E - but I used a Noctua L12 cooler and removed the fan shroud from the MSI 1050 LP and replaced it with two Noctua A8. Maybe an idea for you :P Nice Build anyway!

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Good idea for the 1050 lp! How did you connect the dual A8? To the mobo fan header or to the Gpu card? I had considered the L12 and L12s but I needed a cooler that would fit a 2011-3 narrow ILM socket. If my tinkering with the x99e-itx doesn’t pan out, I might rethink my choice of a cpu cooler.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

This is not JUST a console killer

its a console RAPER

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Congrats on the build! Must have been pretty hard fitting everything in such a tight place lol

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes it was! But the toughest was cable management. No more space to bend them. If I want to take it up another level, I would’ve needed custom length cables.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Lowkey wanna bring it trought TSA

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Back to back featured SFF builds?! Well done on this excellent build ryo4ever. Looking forward to your NFC S4 Mini (you ordered from NFC Systems directly or via SFFLAB?) build next year.

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I’ve ordered the skyreach from sfflab since I missed the boat on the original S4 Mini. Its release was way too limited and fast becoming a collectible item. Originally, with the S4 I intended to get a 970ti (I wanted dual DVI output). An old 970ti was selling at the same price as the 1050ti lp on eBay.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Used hardware is like that unfortunately. Going with an ITX 1050Ti for the build in the Skyreach 4 Mini?

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

If it fits 99% of my need why not? It’s small, quiet and has a low power consumption. Unless I get an error message saying I need more memory for displaying textures.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I like your choice and reasoning!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

While I think it would be a very expensive addition, I think you could make this even more portable by going for a WACOM Cintiq. Other than that, clean and nifty. SilverStone makes nice stuff, too bad the metal used at times is cheap and flimsy for what you're paying.

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

Agreed, the Silverstone material bends easily if you’re not careful. Cintiq is nice of course but not essential. All in one screen and tablet. For the work I do, it doesn’t justify the cost. It would be more on a wish list and I would still need a second display monitor though.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I would love to see a size comparison pic with a console!

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

Sadly, I don't own any :( Gotta ask the wife for one...

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi i would like to ask some questions on this pls try to help me just having some confusion

1 ) is intel better for gaming or amd better 2 ) now on this construction msi gtx is not available alternatively wat 1070 gtx can i use for this 3. ) And is this VR ready 4 ) And if I want to use i5 8th gen for this construction do i have to change the mother board if so can u tell me that 5 ) my budget is 850 $ gtx 1070 is a must can u help me with a pc bulit that shoul play ultra 1080p at 60+ fps and should also be VR ready

Pls help me with this pls really urgent

Thank you

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

I'll try to answer as much as I can but there might be better sources of information elsewhere. I'm also not a gaming expert by any means.

1) As of today, i7 8700k is best gaming CPU for highest framerate. That said, if you're on a tight budget AMD Ryzen 5 1600 is more than enough to handle every game. Just invest your money in a good GPU.

2) There are several low profiles 1050ti: Gigabyte, MSI, Zotac, KFA2

3) No I've not tried any VR games or application on this setup. I think minimum requirement is a 1060 or R9 290

4) 8th gen intel requires Z270 chipset motherboards

5) Well go for greatest GPU you can afford. I would also look at older 9 series Nvidia. They still have very decent performance. 970 or 980 ti. If you're on a budget go for ryzen 5. Others might want to offer you advice too.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build and presentation. Thanks for posting.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I didn't expect it to pick up much interest as it was more about sharing my goal out there. But all the positive comments helped me feed the post further. Will try to improve structure and syntax in my next build presentation.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

This is a man who knows what he's doing!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I think being on a budget helps you focus on your goal!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

what game are you playing in the pic?

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Final Fantasy 13 - Lightning Returns. Just taking it for a spin :)

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

holy cow this build is awesome.

I might just throw away my plan to build a ML08 RX580 and instead, go with an ML09 GTX1060., crap didn't see the "it will only take low profile" on the post. sad.

BTW I noticed there isn't any 2.5/3.5" hard drives, how many would you be able to fit if ever?

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I didn't put it in my part list. But if you look at the pictures closely, I've actually got three 2.5" HDD in the cage in raid. They are recycled laptop drives leftover from upgrades. You can fit up to four of them in there. Now the good part is you can fit thick 2.5" HDD up to 4TB each. So this could actually be a NAS if you wanted to.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

hey are recycled laptop drives leftover from upgrades.

I have these too ahaha this build is awesome.

Unfortunately, upon checking, the ML09 is not available in my country yet.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Just wait a little I’m sure they will be back in stock. Otherwise check out the ML06b as it’s an earlier version. I think it has a different optical drive slot.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I think you meant the ML06, which is sadly also unavailable ahahaha

anyways I don't have the money (yet). if the ML09 is available by the time I get money, I'll go with a build following yours ahahaha (ML09 and 1050TTi LP)

if not, I'm just gonna go ahead with my original plan (ML08 and RX580).

I'll leave it to fate ahahah

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

What's that "monitor" you have. I've been looking for something like that.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

It's a GeChic 1503H portable monitor full HD. The same size as a 15" laptop screen. Brightness is actually very decent and color isn't too bad either.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. A few questions about the airflow. In which direction is the included 120mm fan mounted? Blow in cold air or blow out hot air? What is the height of the included silverstone 120mm fan?

I was considering to build a system with a AMD 2400G APU which is boxed with a Ryzen Wraith Stealth Cooler. The height of that would be 6mm standoff screw backplate to mobo, 1.6mm mobo, 4.2 mm socket, 4.86mm cpu, 54mm for the cooler which would be 70.66 mm in height. But i think it would be a bad idea to mount the cpu cooler fan and the included 120mm fan close together. Is there enough room for this?

I'm not sure if the cpu cooler alone would be sufficient. A 120mm fan would be preferred because of noise. I could buy a 120mm slim fan or 2x 80mm low speed fans, but it adds to the cost and "waste" the included cooler which would be unfortunate.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

I actually have a 140mm Thermalright fan blowing in cold air. That's the only fan inside the case. There's a filter mesh which is perfect to block dust over the vent holes. Now it's packed very tight inside the case so that positive air pressure has nowhere to go but out toward any other vents and openings. My low profile 1050Ti GPU has a fan exhaust pushing the air out but airflow is almost non existent. CPU temperature is still very decent though.

Regarding your wraith cooler. You can't put both fans inside the case. The silverstone fan is 15mm and the bracket holding it is 5mm = 20mm thickness. So it would be a tight fit closing the case. And even if it closes you'd have two fans touching each other. So either use the wraith cooler or remove the fan and use the silverstone fan. If you can find a fan thinner than 15mm thick, it may fit. Three options: 1. use two fans but buy another low profile cooler combo 2. Use only the wraith cooler 3. Use a bigger CPU heatsink and use the silverstone fan as your CPU fan.

If you're using integrated graphics and don't need a discrete GPU, you could add two 80mm fans to blow the hot air out at the top of the case. Without the GPU, your airflow would be greater.

With such a thin case, you don't need many fans over the CPU it's also more counterproductive.

Hope this helps.

  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks very neat!
Is there any modification done to the case to fit the axp-200?
How did it fit when the ml09 max cooler height is 70mm (according to silverstone site) and the cooler is 73mm?
Do you think a cryorig c1 would fit?

  • 18 months ago
  • 2 points

It’s a very tight fit. The cover bends slightly when closed just 1-2mm too big. The cooler is on heat pipes which bends under pressure. No mod for the axp-200. Thinking back I should’ve just gone with the axp-100. I still might... I had considered the C1 but 4mm was a little too much to try. Maybe it will fit and the cover will just beng further to accommodate. The fan screws are what’s touching my cover but if the screws are flushed on the cryorig it could work.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Great SFF build you got there! +1

I was thinking of making a pretty similar build and I was wondering, how is the Gigabyte GPU in terms of temperatures and noise while idling and under load?

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, I can barely hear the 1050Ti. It's really quiet and temperature is very decent. I can't feel any heat or hear any noise coming out of that card under load. Your CPU fan will be making more noise than the GPU fan. Power usage is very decent too as it's powered only by PCIe slot. You can't go wrong for budget gaming.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you so much for replying! I would be grateful if you could load something like Unigine Heaven benchmark or anything similar to stress the GPU and post the max temperature here!

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

Have posted benchmarks on the last photo. Temperatures average was 60C with Max 76C on the 1050Ti. I could hear the fans at about the same level as the Noctua fan. Noticable but nothing to bother about.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

did the graphics card have a low profile bracket?

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Yes, it comes with both brackets.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello.

I hope you find the time to reply to this one. I realise that this is going to be long but a prompt reply would be greatly appreciated. First of all, congratulations on an excellent build. I want to make a similar thing with the same case but with a few changes and wishes listed below:-

A little bit of background which might help you understand the situation.

Bulk of the work I do involves, documents and presentations. At times, Excel spreadsheets and occasionally SPSS like statistics applications.

I am a very avid movie and TV-series watcher

I am not too big on gaming and most of the titles I play are for the story rather than gameplay. In fact, the latest games I am playing right now are Max Payne 3 (and hating it...killed the spirit of the first two) and the Mass effect original trilogy. The only other games I am considering playing in the near future are Doom, Rise of the Tomb Raider series, Wolfenstein I and II.

I also edit short videos for consumption of the family, mostly shot on phone cameras.

Apart from me, it will also be used by my parents mostly for web browsing, skyping with other family members, e-mails, bills etc. They have requested that a DVD drive be included.

  1. Planning to use the Ryzen 5 2400G I believe that there should not be any issues while playing Max Payne 1,2 and the Prince of Persia Sands of time series on this APU with 2x8GB RAM. I do realise that I will perhaps need a discrete GPU to play the tomb raider series, but as of now, perhaps, I can forego the GPU owing to budget constraints and add one later ( Zotac 1050 Ti)

  2. I think only a slim ODD can be added in this case and there might not be enough room for the stock cooler + fan + the 120 mm fan In such a scenario, probably I'll need to use a low profile cooler + fan (Noctua NH-L9i) Would it be possible in any other manner which may be a little more budget efficient. I am hoping to use a Slot load DVD+RW (LG-GS40N). Since, I will not be using a discrete GPU and will certainly not be overclocking the system, would it be more prudent to use a small liquid cooling solution with single fan like CM Liquidlite 120 or Antec Kuhler H2O K120? I understand that this will increase the cost, but will it ensure that the ODD fits without problems?

  3. Regarding the power supply. I understand that I'll need the SFX PSU. Do I really need the 450W or will 300W suffice? Also, Should I go for a modular one, or will that lead to further complications?

Hope I can get help on the above points.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, sorry for the delay in my reply as I don't check this page regularly. I hope you managed to build your system already if not I can still answer some of your questions.

The Ryzen 5 is a great choice for this case as it's not too power hungry and easier to cool. I would still go with the noctua NH-L9i, it's the easiest choice due to its popularity and performance. I wouldn't bother with liquid cooling as there's almost no room in this case.

You can definitely put an ODD and it does need to be a slim drive. The noctual cooler would allow that. Anything bigger/taller and you wouldn't be able to mount the ODD. Definitely no liquid cooling either, there's simply no room.

300W is more than enough even with a low profile GPU. I just had a spare 450W PSU, this is why I was using it. Modular is better as it allows you to remove any unwanted cables.

Good luck with your build!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. I have not built it yet. The prices in my country for this particular build are crazy expensive right now. Particularly the RAM prices. Perhaps I'll try building this as a new year present to myself

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Cool build! I have a similar build as well ;) Will switch my Quadro K620 with the Gigabyte 1050TI LP. I have two 80mm fans on top and after removing the GPU shroud I get even lower temps by utilizing bottom to top airflow. Could you tell me -if you are able- how much clearance the 1050TI has without the shroud? Only the heatsink? I know from documentation that normally it is 37mm high wich leaves around 15mm for slim fans, but I would like to keep my Noctua Redux :) Thanks!!

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi there, thanks for writing. I’ve measured the gap between the 1050ti heatsink without fans to the top end of the case. You have a clearance of around 23mm. So any 80mm with less than 23mm thickness should fit. Hope this helps.

I’ve just seen the redux are 25mm thick so it could fit but it would be touching your card and the end of the case. Basically you won’t have any gap. That might add noise level when the fans rev up. It would be a very tight fit again. Also don’t forget there won’t be any exhaust space for the heat coming from the CPU.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Thank you for the detailed information! I really appreciate it! I might pull the trigger and try it out myself with my current 25mm fans. Worst case scenario, I might need to buy slim ones. I am counting on the airflow physics to work in my favor and exhaust the CPU hot air as well as dissipate the GPU heat since I will be using them as exhaust - the 2x80mm fans. Will update once I get my hands on a 1050ti LP. Have a good day!

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Quite the tactic. I mean, this is literally a portable workstation. Genius. +2

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I've upgraded the mobo and CPU to 8700K 6 months ago. Tempted to put in a 9900K but I think I'll wait for zen 2. Crossing fingers for a ryzen 3000 with 16 cores to put in that case.

  • 20 months ago
  • 0 points

This is actually an ingenious build when you look at the entire setup. It's is done super clean and and fits the purpose exactly. Great Job.

The only nit-picky, PC-Master-race comment would be to put in a gtx 1070 or 1080 and get a better mouse like the logitech g603 or 900.... The machine would be capable of pretty much anything you could think of then. and it would better fit your g13 for gaming.... Of course, that all depends on the games you are playing with it.

Nicely done, sir!

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for your kind comments. I wish I could drop a 1070 or 1080 into that box. I'll have to wait for the NFC S4 Mini for that. I don't game that much these days, the g13 is purely for using shortcut keys with my applications. I've got it programmed for photoshop, lightroom, 3D software shortcuts. I had started to develop muscle strains from using the keyboard too much so this helps my left elbow stay at a 90 degree angle with my desk. I would definitely like to upgrade my mouse for a Logitech MX Master. Could be a xmas wish list!

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  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I can’t make myself upgrade to 10 for unknown reason. All my apps are working perfectly. I’ll have to clone the drive and do a test upgrade to see if anything breaks. A bit similar to people refusing to move from Win7. I’ve disabled the update feature following an overnight auto update to win10! Everything broke down and had to reformat and reinstall win 8.1. It still turns on by itself at midnight...

[comment deleted]
  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I had to turn compatibility filter off for the 1050ti. The low profile versions will fit but I saw a YouTube video where they had trouble with the usb3 connectors pressing against the MSI 1050ti LP so that’s why I went with Gigabyte as it was a little shorter. Didn’t want to take that chance. Don’t forget that the gpu needs to be LOW PROFILE. So the Zotac 1080 mini wouldn’t fit. I’d squeeze a 1070 or a 1080 if there are any low profiles version out there. That’s why your other sff case option would be an S4 Mini or a Dan case A4 if you want to fit a full height card.

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