Description

This build has been superceded by the new v3.2 with Tempered Glass mod. Check out this post for the new version: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/9zNQzy


Update April 3, 2017

Phoebe v3 has undergone several revision since the initial build. GPU has been upgraded, SATA SSD has been replaced with NVME, cooler has been upgraded, cables have been replaced, and last but not least, I'm going to swap the side panel to a tempered glass.

Once I'm done with the tempered glass portion, I will do a new write-up chronicling the journey! Stay tuned

Update 9/22

Two quick updates. I initially got 4x Noctua NF-S12B Redux because the cooler I initially picked was the Cryorig C7 which is a low profile cooler so I can fit 2 side intake and 2 bottom intake. However, when changing to the Cryorig M9i tower cooler, the left side intake don't fit anymore so I keep one as spare.

More importantly, I also added 1x Noctua NF-B9 Redux for exhaust. This has helped drop temperature by around 4C on both CPU and GPU. Highly recommended!!

As of today with the exhaust fan, here are the temperature details:

CPU Idle = 29-30C

CPU Heaven load = 49-50C

CPU x264 Stress Test = 58-62C

GPU Idle = 50C (Fan not running)

GPU Heaven load = 75-76C rock solid


Update 9/16

The EVGA 980 Ti SC is an extremely good card. However, the full fat GM200 core is showing its age in the thermal department. While the ACX 2.0 cooler can generally kept the temperature in check around 78C, it's at the cost of noise as the cooler has to ramp up significantly to keep up with the thermals.

Along come Pascal. Specifically Asus Strix 1070. This is the non-OC edition and it's a beast. It performs just as well as the 980 Ti but at a much lower thermal envelope... and in turn, less noisy too.

Note that the GPU is an extremely tight fit for NCase M1. You need to gently lower the right side of the GPU to the other side and slowly slide the bracket side lower.

GPU is overclocked to 112% Power target, 83C Temp target, +207 Mhz Core, and +792 Mhz Effective Memory. This brings the card to 1713 Mhz Base, 1890 Mhz advertised Boost, and around 1980 Mhz Boost in game with Max boost to 2025 Mhz.

GPU Temperature is around 45-50C at idle with 0 rpm fan and between 75-78C during full load with much, much lower noise.


History

Phoebe I started in 2011 as a budget PC build to mark my comeback to PC Building scene after a 6 years hiatus. The build was completed using i5-2500k, 8GB RAM, and Radeon 6870. Over time, I added a second video card for a Crossfire set up (that was a mistake) and eventually upgrading to Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X when it was released. This is a decent rig but embarrassingly outmatched by my decision to go with a 1440p monitor because once you saw a beautiful 27" 1440p monitor, you're not going back. Neither 6870 nor R9 290 is equipped to drive 1440p monitor at max settings.

Phoebe II was part of the "half upgrade" I initiated in early 2016. These include:

  • NZXT S340 White Case

  • EVGA 980 Ti Superclocked.

  • 500GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD

  • Arctic Freezer 120 AIO

The newly updated rig was great and I was finally able to play most games at 1440p with very little compromise. However, the beautiful S340, albeit smaller than my original case, is still an ATX case and too large to be desk-friendly.


Phoebe III

In summer 2016, I started researching ITX build and was instantly enchanted (and clearly mind-blown) by the fact that you can fit such power in a small package. My initial thought was to go with Phanteks EVOLV ITX but decided against it as the case itself is still relatively large and I want something smaller and more elegant.

When I stumbled upon NCase M1 and Dan Cases A4 over at HardOCP Forum, I knew my next case will be one of these two. They are SFF (Small Form Factor) cases that maximize efficiency while being extremely pleasant to look at. This means my PC can finally be on my desk without being too overbearing or look like an eyesore.

As far as the inside of the case, moving to ITX means I have to upgrade the entire platform. Skylake/Z170 is a no brainer here.

Let's go through each new parts in details:

CPU: The choices are between i5-6600k or i7-6700k. I chose 6700k just because. While I do not necessarily use the PC outside of gaming, my rationale is that the last Sandy Bridge platform lasted me 5 years so I figure why not get 6700k for the next 4-5 years. Note that CPU is delidded and I use Coolaboratory Liquid Ultra as the TIM between CPU Core and the IHS.

CPU Cooler: I initially picked Cryorig C7 but found it lacking. The Cryorig M9i is an excellent and cheap cooler for this configuration. I got approximately 10C lower with M9i vs the C7 while being quieter to boot.

Motherboard: Building an ITX platform means tight spaces. This means motherboard port placement is extremely important. For Z170 ITX motherboard under $200, only Asus Z170i Pro Gaming and Asrock Fatality Z170 has port placement that makes sense. Board like EVGA Stinger has the SATA port in the middle of the board which is just poor. Having said that, the Asus Z170i Pro Gaming is a no brainer as the Asrock Fatality has too much red for my liking and the Asus also supports M.2 for future upgrade.

RAM: G.Skill TridentZ 16GB DDR-3200 Memory is chosen solely because of the look. This is the best looking RAM out there. I picked the White/Black color to match my aesthetics.

Power Supply: The choices are between Corsair SF600 and SF450. Decided to go SF600 just in case.

Fans: Noctua NF-S12B Redux is a good case fan. It runs fairly quiet and supports PWM. Oh and no ugly brown color.

Case: This is the pièce de résistance. NCase M1 is an excellent case. It's tiny yet powerful, elegant yet purposeful. One caveat, this is a fairly challenging case to build as newbie because there is no real "manual". Personally, I would recommend people who have built a few PCs (maybe 2 or more) prior to building with this case. The choice between NCase M1 and Dan Cases A4 is very difficult but it ultimately come down to the fact that the Dan Cases will not ship until later in the year and will be more expensive to boot. P.S. If you are planning to do any watercooling (custom loop or AIO), you can only choose NCase M1 as Dan Cases A4 is too small for any watercooling/AIO or even case fans.

Misc: I also purchased Custom Cablemod cables. I highly recommended this as longer cables mean more slacks that you need to manage. With tiny cases like NCase M1, you need every inch you can get so this custom cable is a lifesaver if you want to make your build as clean and neat as possible. Length as follows:

  • 24 Pin ATX - 250mm (minimum length)

  • CPU 4+4 EPS - 400mm

  • (2x) 6+2 PCIE - 200mm

  • SATA Power - 150mm

Note that I run the CPU power cable behind the motherboard.


Overclocking

CPU is overclocked to 4.5Ghz at 1.28v. Rock solid running x264 stress test from Overclock.net as well as AIDA 64.

CPU Temperature is around 30-32C at idle and between 65-68C during full load.

Comments

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the look of that case. Nice build.

Ok so the C7 underwhelmed you, but the M9i is great?

  • 41 months ago
  • 2 points

The M9i is around 10C cooler in my application and slightly lower noise too due to the lower RPM fan. Not sure what the issue was but I am returning the C7 and keeping the M9i yes :)

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool deal. Thank you.

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Excellent build with excellent pictures.

+1

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

super serious voice "well it's not gonna be a ******* ncase m1 eatx build is it?"

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Maybe with NCase M5 ;)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice case! Great pictures and write up ! +1

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Very impressive, sleek and stylish internally just like the exterior! +1 I notice you added 4 120mm case fans, I count three in the pictures, where is the last one hiding? :) Edit: 1 more question, what fan controller do you use and where have you buried it? :D

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

I bought 4 fans because initially the cooler I had was the Cryorig C7 which means I can fit 4 120mm case fans (2 bottom, 2 side) as that cooler is low profile. However, after changing the cooler to the M9i which is a tower, the left side fan doesn't fit anymore so I just kept one as spare!!

Also, I have added a smaller 92mm fan (same model... Noctua Redux) for exhaust. This actually helped temperature to drop by some 4-5C on both CPU and GPU which is a godsent. I'm updating the post now!!

  • 40 months ago
  • 2 points

Oops sorry I forgot to answer your other question.

I do not use any fan controller. The board has 3 PWM fan headers. One for CPU and 2 for Chassis fans.

Here's my set up:

CPU header -> CPU fan

Chassis 1 header -> Side intake

Chasis 2 header -> Exhaust

Bottom 2 fans are connected to the ASUS Strix fan header so the PWM control relies on GPU instead of CPU.

However, if you do not have ASUS Strix card with fan headers, I recently got this too (and keeping it as spares for the future): https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DV1Z0Z4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You can essentially use 2 fans with 1 header with this adapter!

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Yeah I know about splitters, got a three way white braided splitter from bitfenix. My own board only has 2 chassis headers and I have three fans. So that's three fans hooked to one header. Thanks for all of your explanations! Absolutely inspiring

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  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Stunning. Thanks for the cable lengths!

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem! Sorry I just saw this comment (haven't logged on to this site for a while)

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build, well done. Couple of questions - what was the ram clearance like with the cryorig? have you checked temps with/without those bottom 120mm intakes? Cheers :)

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

The RAM clearance is pretty good but you definitely want to install RAM before the cooler.

I have not checked temps without the 2 bottom intakes.

Sorry I just saw this comment!

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

What's your monitor stand?

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

it's VIVO brand. You can find it on ebay/amazon. I can't locate the exact model number, though

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

Can I ask if your ram works well with XMP enabled? Is the model F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW? I have purchased the same motherboard/cpu and I am looking for the fastest ram available. I checked G.skill and Corsair compatibility for this motherboard, and neither of them list ram with 3200Mhz and tighter timings than 16-18-18. Your build is the only one here with faster ram. Looking for 16GB or 32GB.

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the super late response (I'm sure you probably don't need this info anymore) but my RAM works well with XMP enabled.

The model is F4-3200C16D-16GTZKW

Sorry for the late response

  • 39 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 I love it!

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! :)

  • 38 months ago
  • 1 point

What about the cryorig C1 ? I am have similar build with that cooler because I figured it would be better than m9i or comprable, especially with the second fan on side bracket and rear exhaust

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

The C1 is good but it doesn't really fit with some ITX motherboard http://www.burningnorth.com/2016/03/05/ncase-m1/

This guy had to modify the fan to fit it in

  • 37 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you use the backplate to mount the M9i? Or did you use the other kit with washers instead?

  • 35 months ago
  • 1 point

I use the backplate.

I basically saw off some thickness from the backplate to fit it in.

Kinda annoying but that was the only issue i had.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Really awesome build of the ncase m1. I am looking forward to receiving mine, but I wanted to ask the length of the LED strip that you bought.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

This is the exact LED I got: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B014J8L6LU/

Good luck with the build!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

came here from version 3.2 and noticed i only upvoted and didnt comment. looks good!

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