I spend most of my PC's cycles working with large quantities of high-megapixel images in Lightroom, Photoshop, and various Topaz AI tools. My Dell from a few years ago was beginning to show its age against photos from the latest 60MP+ cameras (despite upgrades to the storage and GPU—which I carried over), so my goal was to build something that would help me speed up my photography processing workflow. Additionally, since I work from a small multi-use home office I wanted to utilize a compact form factor case in an attempt to free up precious desk space.
After reading about Paul Stamatiou's adventure with the Louqe Ghost S1, I thought I'd try to replicate his sffpc build (but with a Ryzen CPU since AMD's latest chips demonstrate excellent performance on Lightroom tasks).
Overall the build was a success. The Ryzen 3900X gave me a noticeable speed-up on various photography processing tasks, and the Ghost S1 is the ultimate desk-space saving chassis. However, after a few weeks of tweaking OC configs and playing around with temp/fan settings, there are two things that I wish I'd done differently:
- The Case: I was extremely impressed with the quality and ingenuity of the Ghost S1. It's a superlative sffpc chassis that provides a lot of build flexibility with its "tophat" options. However, I wasn't quite prepared for how compact it really is. Yes everything fits—but just barely. The lack of space makes cable management a struggle, which in turn doesn't do any favors for airflow. As Paul noted, it really does need custom short cables. I've still been able to achieve acceptable temps under load with my stock SF 750 PSU cables + the Kraken X52 + all three Noctua fans working hard (read: loud) in exhaust, but in hindsight I wish I'd left such an extreme case to the extremists and gone with something a little more conservative (like perhaps the Cerberus).
- The Motherboard: The Gigabyte X570 I AORUS Pro WiFi is a great little X570 ITX board, and appears to be performing admirably despite the tight quarters. However, after some research I'm intrigued by the Asus ROG Strix X570-I Gaming and wonder if that would've been the better option for an OC'd 3900X under heavy load in a case as dense as the Ghost S1. If I were to do it over again, I'd probably pay the extra $30 (at the time of this writing) for the Asus' more robust VRM/chipset cooling.
Great Mini-ITX X570 board. BIOS is nice and seems very stable. Minus 1 star for the mediocre VRM/chipset heatsinks.