Description

This build updated in May of 2018 to an Asus Strix X470-i, 2700X, Cryorig C7 Cu & IC Graphite thermal pad. None of this was available when I built this the first week of May, 2017. Previously it used an 1800X & then a 1700 with a Biostar X370GTN, Cryorig C7, Noctua NF-B9 fan and Arctic MX4 paste. I left a photo with the Noctua on the aluminum C7 to help others who were looking for examples. Comments prior to May 2018 are referring to that build.

Intended for software development work, SteamLink streaming using 8-thread CPU encoding instead of NVENC and some desktop gaming.

Temps are really good, I have them listed for the CPU/GPU. The CPU idle temp of 32C is with 12GB of memory in use from a dozen active programs running at once. I haven't tested from a cold boot to watch it, but I can't imagine sub-30C lasting with any activity at all. The GPU runs a little hotter than the CPU but not a lot. In desktop usage, noise levels go from inaudible, set to 1900RPM to max fan speed of 2800RPM@60C+ during gaming or other productivity use. This is with the case being 2 feet from my face.

If building this again today, I wouldn't change anything. Updates I'm planning may include a 2080Ti & 8K VR headset, whenever those are released. I like the C7 (both the Al and Cu versions) in the Node202 because it's the tallest on the market that fits with a 25mm fan so you have a lot of options.

Measurements are 47mm for the C7 heatsink and another 25mm for the fan coming to 58mm which is the maximum height you have with the air filter in. You have about 65mm to work with if the filter out.

Part Reviews

CPU

This is the best CPU on the market. No Intel Meltdown woes, for my work I was seeing up to a 30% performance deficit with IO intensive work on Intel. For Ryzen processors, I had the 1800X and 1700 in this system before putting in the 2700X.

CPU Cooler

I had the C7 Al before this and this is better, but not worth it if you're on a budget. I'd buy this again myself. It needs a high pressure fan to take advantage of the copper so I'd try to use the stock fan if possible.

Motherboard

I've mostly been using Asus motherboards for 20 years now, and they're not perfect but overall they're the best. They're wavering in quality a little bit these days. I got this one because it's the only X470 ITX board with front-mounted M.2. I wouldn't have M.2 on an ITX board with an M.2 on the back of the board, they get pretty warm if you track the temps.

Otherwise, the AI Charger software isn't really included as Asus advertises. If you download it from the site, it's either not implemented correctly or they have the wrong upload listed as AI Charger on their site. Unacceptable fail for a $220 board.

Memory

Dual-rank Samsung B-die memory. I swapped a FlareX 16GB kit (F4-3200C14D-16GFX) for this because I use more than 16GB of RAM on a daily basis. The FlareX is a single-rank kit so you might get better speeds with it. With the GSkill I use the XMP profile and get the full 3200MHz and good timings without having to knock the frequency down to AMD's official Ryzen spec for dual channel, dual rank memory (2666 on X470, and it's 2400 on X370). I recommend you use either the XMP profile or bone-stock default settings if you want a rock solid stable machine. That's what I do these days because my stuff has to work with zero issues.

Storage

Fast storage with a 5 year warranty with high TB write limits. I've always bought MLC memory drives such as the 960 Pro, as I needed what was going to last the longest, be the most reliable and not let me down.

Video Card

Cool and quiet. Founders Edition because I wanted the hot air out of the case and want the premium build quality. More GPU power than I needed, but was the lowest end Founders Edition that they made. The Founders Edition cards all use Samsung memory, which is the highest quality available. This means better overclocking and higher resale value if you ever get rid of one.

Case

This was my favorite case on the market, but I would now by the Cryorig Tatu. I'm tired of towers after 20 years of them, and wanted to return to my 1980s roots with a true desktop. This case isn't as good of quality as my preferred brand, Lian Li, but it does work. I'd prefer they made it a little higher build quality, tweaked the oddball design choices, made it just a bit taller to fit 65mm coolers such as the Noctua NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 with the filter in and raised the price. Consider about 58mm your max heatsink/fan height in this case with the filter.

Power Supply

Cool and quiet. Corsair has great warranty service and this is a solid PSU for SFX.

Monitor

These are decent monitors for work and play. They're IPS and 24" 1080P is the best size. I've had larger 1080P monitors (27") and they look horrible. Gamers will want higher refresh than this, but work is priority for me over gaming. NV Surround (triple monitor) gaming is fantastic though.

Keyboard

I've had this keyboard for a number of years now, it's my favorite on the market. Clicky MX Blue switches with volume scrolling and just the right media keys. Very well done by Corsair. I have 0.4mm dampeners on this to prevent some of the plastic clacking.

Mouse

As a lefty, I can easily use the Logitech Trackman Marble on the left side of my keyboard to give my right side a break. This does the job well.

Mouse

I'm a Zowie diehard, best mice on the market. ZA13 is perfect, give it a try.

Custom

Not perfect, but if I didn't do any competitive gaming, I would only have this and the Logitech Trackman Marble. Much easier on the wrists longterm.

Custom

As long as you don't use wifi, which no self-respecting PC gamer should use, this is a very underrated piece of hardware to pair with your elite gaming rig.

Custom

Removes the clack from mechanical keyboards as the plastic keys hit the base, while leaving the click from the switch intact.

Custom

It's a mousepad, I've always used Steelseries pads because you can get old school thick rubber mats like this one just like we had in the 80s and 90s.

Custom

Lets you use the two USB 2.0 headers on this motherboard. I use those two ports for my Bluetooth and Steam Controller adapter. You want to put any wireless adapters on USB 2.0 ports to reduce interference from USB 3.0+ spec and increase your range.

Custom

One of the few class 1 Bluetooth adapters on the market. That means it's the high power spec, something around 100ft range vs 30ft. Works well for me, but I also have it on a USB 2.0 port and isolated from other components inside my case.

Custom

These are just the best gamepads to use with a Steam Link. No cheap build quality as Microsoft's Xbox gamepads have and the d-pad is in the right spot.

Custom

These are good gaming headphones, because using the mic puts the audio into a lower quality mode due to bandwidth issues.

But they are incredibly handy for every other purpose. The features are great, you can plugin a second set of headphones into these so someone else can daisy-chain and listen to what you are (great for traveling), they have a serviceable microphone and if the battery dies you can plug them in with a 3.5mm cable. Strong Bluetooth reception enables me to be listening to a podcast and walk into another room, putting walls between these headphones and the computer without issue.

Custom

I love this. Temps the same as good pastes like IC Diamond, but reusable. This is the reason I'll be buying a Ryzen3 to replace my 2700X. No mess, adding this was easily worth it when I did my 2700X/X470/C7 Cu rebuild in May 2018.

Custom

This is my favorite gaming headset. Tough to find good sounding, open back headphones for a good price. These are it. They have the same 60ohm Koss driver from the KSC75. It's not the exact same one as the one in the PortaPro, but still good. These sound similar to the Koss UR40, a headphone that unfortunately isn't popular enough to be a good reference point.

Koss headphone fan for decades. If you've never tried the PortaPro, you're missing out on some of the best bang for buck audio that there is. I do prefer the GMR-545 over-ear form factor rather than on-ear of the PortaPro.

It does help to have a little amplification, my Asus SupremeFX does a good job but they sound good without it too.

Comments

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

im not sure about that, but i think one day you're going to regret putting that much of paste. +1 for a fellow node user.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks. You're right that when in doubt, less is more with paste. Pretty much a golden rule. I have really good temps tho, from the same CPU/case I haven't seen anyone with better results. Paste fails will show up in temps. One person had the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 and was within 2C, which is margin of error or measurement differences. As far as going over the CPU heatspreader, it didn't, I checked closely to see. Not that it would matter, it's electrically non-conductive so no worries with spills. I did use a little more than usual since Ryzen has 8 cores split across a larger than usual hot spot under the IHS.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

This is one of those builds I feel a strong affinity for. I'm attempting a similar C7 modification. The RVZ02 has similar cooler height restrictions. I originally used unbent paper clips to mount a 92mm BGears fan that is a mighty air mover but at the cost of sounding like I'm ready for takeoff in a B-17. I've got an NF-A9 waiting in the wings for a good time to install. I'm trying to coordinate multiple jobs at once before downing the machine for maintenance. It was really good timing that I came across your build page. I appreciate your putting it up and giving me assurance good results can be obtained with this method. I was debating whether or not I should replace the C7 heatsink or just the fan but the L9x65 didn't seem like enough of an improvement to justify the cost (plus, it's probably too tight a fit). Again, thank you for sharing your build.

Random thoughts: Wow, does that monitor setup look nice. I like having Wi-Fi on my Gigabyte mITX board since it gives me flexibility if I were to move it around to the TV or something. Plus, I don't really game online. Your vision for upgrading is pretty ambitious. VR is something I'm not sure is worth it for me yet. I'd try the Koss headphones if I hadn't thrown all my (portable) eggs in the IEM basket.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I appreciate the compliments. I knew there would be lots of like-minded people out there who would find what I did to be valuable to their own setup. I'm like you, where something like this, or what you have, being the ideal setup. I run the NF-B9 at fullspeed now (~1600RPM) and it's still quiet enough for me. It was more the fans spinning up and down that I think was bothering me. Just as a snapshot right now the CPU is at 34.5C with plenty running in the background across 2 desktops or 6 screens worth of programs (I use Win10's virtual desktop to separate play from work). Agreed, if not gaming, wifi is fine. I enjoyed getting some digs in on wifi on the build description. On the headphones, I surprisingly like them a lot. They're not the best but I don't really need the best in that regard, I mean, they're limited in quality at a point by just being Bluetooth, low point of diminishing returns, so going too crazy highend in the Bluetooth space is probably not very wise.

We'll see on Ryzen2/8K VR/2080Ti. I'm probably one of the older people on this site so I'm not financially limited. This system is exactly what I wanted at the time, form factor being most important to me. I'd probably go for a Ryzen 2400G with the Noctua NH-L9A-AM4 in a Node202 if I were building today, and that would be a pretty nice system for anyone looking for something for school too, with great CPU/GPU upgrade options. My system doesn't see a lot of gaming other than through my SteamLink, I might play some Resident Evil 7 there or 2-player Overcooked. A 2400G would probably have worked fine for me. My competitive FPS days are mostly behind me in the 90s.

I tried to cover most questions/concerns that people might have, and preempt a few things I thought people might miss if going in the first time on SFF in the details, but if you have any questions or theories I'll be happy to try and help. I'm roughly familiar with the market right now. I tend to research heavily, build, then fall off the scene for years till its time for something new.

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

The fan clips I requested came in yesterday (coincidentally enough) so as soon as I can find the time, I can roll into figuring out how to change things. I may take this opportunity to change out my SATA cables for something with appropriate bends, so that may push things back a bit.

On the subject of APUs, my next plot is to see if my brother would want a super-portable build based on the 2400G. He's into some video editing stuff so he could make use of the cores and I'm assuming I can make it happen for less than a similarly-specced laptop. Of course, I'm assuming that he's not doing much intensive work in class. I also figure that troubleshooting/maintenance is simplified but other logistics are still more difficult I suppose.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, We have slightly the same build. I found out your when I was looking for changing that noisy Cryorig C7 fan. I was definitely about to choose Noctua again for the CPU fan (after 2 120mm fans near the GPU slot) but I was not sure if 25mm was too much tall because I wanted to keep the air dust filter. Noctua has only 2 different 92mm PWM fans A9 and B9 and even if A9 exists also in 14mm thickness I feared it doesn't cool enough. Finally I choose B9 for noise level 1600 rpm "sounds" better than A9's 2000rpm haha.

When I looked at the NF-B9 I received I had no idea how to mount it on the cryorig heatsink, thus your build helped me a lot as I didn't think about the tie cables to hold it, so I used mine from mobo or power supply. Do you think it will be an issue, will they melted? Still the build is running fine now.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad to hear it. I revamped this system recently, same basic idea but with a 2700X, Asus X470-I and Cryorig C7 Copper heatsink. I don't think you'll have any issue with the heat for the cable ties, I used ones rated for high temps but it should be ok. If you're worried, I have a screenshot of the ones that I used.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

So have you done some underclocking? I have the same board, cooler, cpu, and case and my temps are not even remotely close to that. I'm running at 4ghz with 1.2 volts and have idle around 47c and under load mid 80s.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Couple things here, temps went up on more recent UEFI releases for me. I got in on the very first batch of these and have noticed an increase with updates. I've also noticed an increase in temps with moving my RAM from 2666 to 3200 (IMC on CPU & more voltage). My temps have gone up significantly with these changes. I'm not too happy about it, because it used to run pretty cool but I'm not putting things back as they were.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah it's pretty toasty, I'm running the CPU right now at 3.8ghz with 1.075 volts and during gaming still pulling 74-78C, the GPU is sitting around 75-80c. It's not awful, but it's deff hotter than I'm used to. At least it's manageable right now, I'll tinker with it more this weekend and see if I can reduce the heat more by a few other tricks etc.,

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

are you running the 2700x stock? ill be using the same processor (2700x) motherboard with and same Cryorig cooler C7 (copper) inside of the a different case (cryorig taku) which will have a little more airflow vents and was wondering if you undervolted. what specific settings you use. itll be my first time doing this and i would like as much info as possible

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi! Nice build!

While I am doing a similar one, just got my hands on C7 Cu and ASUS B450i mobo. It looks like you have almost the same combo in term of physical layout (B450i and X470i appear to be nearly identical). Did you leave the original backplate on the mobo? The plasticky one supplied by Cryorig doesn't seem to fit — it'd touch some components on the back of the mobo. A picture of your build that shows the backplate seems to be taken with the Biostar board.

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

That image is an old one with the Biostar. I used the backplate because it's more stable. It does touch some things, but being plastic it's not a conductor. I haven't had any problems, and used the plastic plate on both the Biostar and Asus. I'd recommend it unless you think it'll damage your board.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Or should I look for spacer-nuts somewhere in a packaging?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Answering my own question: there are 4 plastic washers in a bag with a yellow piece of paperwork, apparently easy to miss :) When put between a backplate and a mobo they provide just enough clearance.

  • 21 months ago
  • 0 points

Interesting to see a 1060 in a Nvidia Surround setup. The 1070 Ti, if it was priced reasonably, might be better for frame rates in surround.

Also, when I saw your title, I saw buff Summer and Rick in my head.

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for commenting. I don't actually use Surround that much as this is mostly used for work, but it's less intensive than it seems as it doesn't render as much on the side displays. Still a lot of pixels for sure. I needed a new machine when I put it together, from a gaming perspective my idea was to get an 8K VR headset and put in a "2080" Volta at that point. Both will be fun for sure, still waiting on those!

  • 21 months ago
  • 0 points

That might be Ansel, the Nvidia proprietary rendering tech, doing it's work to lessen the load on the GPU in surround.

  • 15 months ago
  • 0 points

about the m2 on the back comment, NAND is actually better to be warmer during writes, only the controller should be cooled (& i guess the pcb)

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 18 months ago
  • 1 point

35C all the time working on the desktop, about 32C or so with nothing open at all. Gaming usually goes to about 58C, in all the temp recordings I've done, I don't think I've seen it go above that.