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After the demise of my Dell XPS L702X, I decided to cut my losses, sell the laptop carcass to the buzzards and put together a Devil?s Canyon based mini-ITX gaming PC.



The Build


CPU: Intel i7 4790K (Devil?s Canyon)
I had considered an i5 but I came from a second generation Sandy Bridge i7, so I wanted an upgrade in-line with what I?ve been used to. The code name might have had a lot to do with it as well.


CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i
I needed a good double radiator solution and could not be bothered could not afford to do water cooling the ?proper? way. Mounting this inside the case with the motherboard took nearly half a day in total before I was happy with how it was performing and how it was fitted. Unfortunately those big tubes get in the way of just about anything/everything. Also, whoever designed the clamp system must have also had a hand in the Intel Core HSF - as any stress on the CPU die is deflected onto the fitting experience.


Motherboard: Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5
I had a lot of trouble finding a motherboard that offered enough SATA ports (minimum x 5), Bluetooth 4.0+ and didn?t look like a tobacco product.
Initially, I had decided on a Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI but discovered that it had only a 4-pin CPU power socket whilst reading another review before bed. I promptly cancelled the order at undead O?clock and ordered the Gaming 5 variant. Looks pretty damned good (matt-black) and the red LED tracing for the ?audio zone? was a nice touch. Dictated my new found red & black colour scheme.


RAM: Kingston Hyper-X Beast 2400MHz DDR3 XMP 16GB (8GB x 2)
I tried to find Corsair RAM for a decent price but was unsuccessful (would have been nice to have another same manufacturer product in there). This has black heat spreaders, a decent price tag & cheaper than a lot of alternatives. Zero complaints and was running at 2400MHz right off the bat.


Storage: Many Samsung SSD?s and a lonely Intel SSD


Video Card: MSI Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 OC 2GB (Gaming Series)
Initially, I had settled for a reclaimed MSI GeForce GTX 650 OC 1GB whilst the Dell sold (which surprisingly it did). Ordered this the moment the money was in my hands.
I would have greatly preferred the reference cooler with LED support to eliminate ?thermal hot zone? issues, but no one appears to sell this new anymore. The choice was between this and the ASUS. This was ?20 less, included a free copy of Borderlands the Pre-sequel and didn?t include ASUS?s HSF reliability (which have historically died on me less than six months in on previous Nvidia & ATi products due to low quality fan construction). Red and black colour scheme requirements also met.


Case: Corsair Obsidian 250D
Initially I was set on a Cooler Master Elite 130, then I found the Corsair. A great balance between space to work with and not being a desk obelisk. Finish is nice, tough and I am happy to report that I had no issues with screw threads (an apparent common issue). The magnetic dust filters should be on every computer case.


Power Supply: Corsair CS650M
Funny thing, I ordered a CS550M and two days in ? it fell over (fan failure). I tried to reach Corsair about my new petrol strimmer emulator via Twitter, but so far I have had no response. Luckily Ebuyer were fantastic and I have RMA?ed it for a refund. This one seems to have fared a lot better.


Keyboard: Logitech Wireless Keyboard - Black
It was cheap (very cheap). Works very well with Windows and Xubuntu. Survives coding and gaming thus far. Unifying receiver is very useful to switch between all my devices (including Xbox 360, PS3, Sony Z1 via USB adapter).


Mouse: Logitech Anywhere MX
Very, very happy with this rodent (and I don?t even like computer mice). Takes what I have liked about the VX Nano, NX 80, M555b and bundles them together. Vaguely matches the keyboard too.





In progress / to do:


I need to get (ideally) a dual 80mm fan configuration for exhaust due to the shortcomings in MSI?s GTX 770 ?twin frozor? exhaust design. They?re going to need to be =< 15mm deep in order to fit between the case and the H100i?s fat pipes. I might swap the front 140mm fan to be an exhaust in the meantime although it?s a bit counterproductive.

I have decided to upgrade to some trendy LED based fans as one of the bloody Corsair LP120?s on the radiator has died:

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Obligatory Box shots










 When the components turned up in their brown boxes, I opened the larger box believing it to be the motherboard but infact it was the PSU - quite a shock!



Corsair 250D


Inside it's pleasently robust



The rubber gromit and pin design on the drive caddies however, is not





So young, so full of life



Unbeknownst to me, this will be coming back out 48hrs later...


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Loading up



Yeah, not happy about the SATA power connectors from Corsair and where they're going to have to fit. I have just ordered some short red SATA cables at this point as the shortest I have to hand is 30cm.



Gigabyte Z97N-Gaming 5 - Seen bigger mousemats!





Note to future Corsair H100i owners:

These clamping nuts actually slide to allow it to fit your motherboard. It won't mention this in the manual because they giggle to themselves as you search the box for another clamp that never existed. Yes, the manual was supplied was placed in the box to deceive you - you are supposed to be of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's lineage anyway.





Yeah, so I wasn't happy with those SATA connectors - DIY humble SATA backplane



Steel rule also in the post



Much better



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A lot of room for improvement





Streuth, that's a bloody big fan



Revisted those accursed cables for the other two drives



Much better



Installing Corsair H100i or How to move a stubborn old goat


When it comes to maneuvering the Corsair H100i, boxes are your best friends



Mounted block after a few more monkey plasters



This thing is like the Companion Cube from Portal!


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#Geekask #geekporn  #lolwhatthehellhashtag

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Continued  - How to move a stubborn old goat Part 2






Turns out it doesn't fit in the manual directed installation approach. I did say it deceives. Synergy is awesome.


Actually, it's a Gigabyte issue as their PS/2 + USB header has no business being there - but if you've worked with the H100i in a confined space, you'll love to hate it.


Time for 120mm fan-based musical chairs



The WiFi + Bluetooth board is also in the way, so I made up an insulation tape based pad for it to rest on. Shap edges, pressure, heat, rubber, electricity, coolant and time do not go well together



And it's in!






Time for a POST











This happiness was short lived as 27hrs of downloading my Steam back catalogue later, the PSU fell over




I tried to reach Corsair via Twitter:

Javascript is not enabled or refresh the page to view.

Click here to view the Tweet


Thankfully, Ebuyer were more than happy to accept the petrol strimmer emulation kit back for a refund whilst I ordered a CS650M on next-day post.






Disaster Recovery!




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I do love a good build thread with loads of pics :)

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No petrol smell so far



First attempt at sleaving



Second attempt at sleaving



Few attempts at sleaving later



Quite happy with the progress





Replacement SATA cables arrive


Excuse for more sleaving!



SSD mounting issues can always be resolved with zip-ties


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Loving this form factor.

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Exterior Photos


Window shot





On the cabinet





Next to my Silverstone GD06 (Server)






High Resolution Photos


Availible on my OneDrive:




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Needs more glow


First up, replacement single Corsair AF140 High Airflow (Blue) [Front] & 2x Corsair SP120 Low Static Pressure (Red) [Radiator]





A trip through the sleeving process





All fited and mounted up





Test fire





Should attract a few moths



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Cooling Issues Addressed


Due to the MSI HSF on the GTX 770, a lot of hot air gets dumped inside the case with nowhere to go (which do the size of the case, is quite catastrophic).


So, first I swapped the front 140mm fan to become exhaust. Secondly, I found a build of Corsair Link that actually does something productive in Windows 8.1 x64 (build 2.5.5146) as the latest build is completely cattle-trucked. This has allowed me to some something about the fan profiles and also mess around with the Corsiar logo colour.




As I was finishing testing the impact of the changes, the postman delivered some Xilence 80mm fans





The power connector requirements werw an issue because as for some reason they've opted to wire in a 3-pin and a 4 pin molex connector into the same cable. As it turned out, I was only able fit a single 80mm x 80mm x 25mm fan inside the case at the back due to the radiator hoses (an additional fan would need to be 15mm deep to clear it).


I decided to make some adjustments


















All seems to be well now and the GTX 770 has dropped from 84?C to around 68-70?C under full load for a few hours.





That's all for now and I'm deeming this build as completed.

I shall now be mostly catching up on around 5 years worth of computer games (and using Shadowplay to record some of it). :happy:




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Very nice build! Got me thinking about a mini-ITX build of my own now! Did you find the case cramped at all?

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