Mini-ITX Gaming Rig – Part 2

Continuing on from my last post then, all parts had arrived by Tuesday therefore that evening was build time. All in the build took about four hours, most of that time spent trying out the Corsair H60 in various mount points to see which would be the best fit. It turns out the first one, with the radiator and fan mounted on the rear is the best.

bitfenix Prodigy

Despite my concerns about the AX750 fitting the case it seems fine to me. So long as you’re careful with your cable routing you’ll do little damage to the cables. You do need to push pretty hard to get it in there though as the sleeving on the cables makes the whole thing less pliable. A lot of modding forums show people using the individually sleeved cables you can buy separately but I didn’t particularly want to spend an extra £50 for the pleasure.

AX750 installed
AX750 installed

The build went as expected once I had decided where I was to put the radiator. I did have an OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD in my old machine that I intended to use for the system drive until I could upgrade to a Crucial M4 but it turns out that drive is dead. Unfortunately it’s also out of warranty now so in the bin it went.

Unfortunately the only other drive I had was the 500GB Seagate Momentus XT Hybrid which has been gathering dust since I RMA’d it last year. So for now it’s running with a 120GB partition which I’ll move to the new SSD in a few weeks.

Windows 8 installed quickly but I got the system stuck slightly by installing the latest Nvidia driver before Windows had finished properly installing the WDDM drivers which resulted in a screen just flashing on and off repeatedly. Booting in to Windows 8 recovery and “refreshing” the install fixed that, and it was finally done.


System Details
System Details

The WEI score is so low because of the hybrid. Default settings for RAM and CPU score at 8.4 and the GTX 460 scores at 7.3. Ultimately these numbers are fairly meaningless but they are a handy quick benchmark.

On Wednesday I decided to do some overclocking, for now just to test the H60’s capabilities. First impressions are that it’s excellent for such a small radiator, though the overclocks I tried were not exactly extreme.

Using an application called CoreTemp I monitored the temps inside the CPU while trying several overclock speeds. In a default configuration the i7 3770K idles somewhere between 20°C and 30°C, my first instinct was that this wasn’t great but Ivy Bridge runs a little hotter than Sandy Bridge. Stressing the CPU using Prime85 shows the quality of the H60 (remember this is a default configuration in a small form factor using the lowest end of the Corair H series of liquid coolers), temps max out at about 55°C.

The first overclock was gentle, pushing the CPU to 4.1GHz, at 100% load the temps were 58-59°C with occasional hits up to 62/63°C still well within tolerances. So time to up it some more, 4.4GHz at 100% load and the temps remained very close to the 4.1GHz overclock, excellent performance from the cooler.

Before resetting back to default, which I plan to run the system at for a little while before applying an overclock, I decided to use the software supplied by Asus and apply the “Extreme” overclocking to see what it would do. It put the CPU up to 4.6GHz in a heartbeat, it tested as stable so I left it at that and stressed it. 100% load was hitting 70°C +/- 4°C again an excellent performance from the H60.

I’m pretty happy with the build. Still some improvements to make though before I’m completely happy. As is always the way with these types of projects!