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Build

LZ7 v0.2 - Sub 7 Litre Custom Case with GTX 1070 ITX OC

by Lazer3D

58
32 Comments

Details

Date Published

Sept. 20, 2016

Date Built

Sept. 10, 2016

CPU Clock Rate

3.2 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

27.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

50.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.531 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.008 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

44.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

69.0° C

Description

I posted a build last month of a custom case I have been working on that got a lot of positive feedback, thankyou to everyone who commented and I hope you enjoy this one just as much! Some minor improvements have been made to the design and here is the updated build in the new prototype.

BACKGROUND

I wanted to build a gaming PC that takes full advantage of short length ITX Graphics Cards, but with a limited choice of off the shelf cases, most of which have poor thermal performance, I decided to design my own case instead. I wanted to take the classic cube/shoebox form factor and shrink it down to its absolute minimum for fitting true ITX components, yet provide efficient cooling so I can game quietly.

The project started in late 2015 with cardboard mockups, an i3-6100 and a GTX 950 to prove the concept was possible. This quickly moved onto a wooden prototype and an upgrade to an i5-6500 and GTX 960. The temperature results were great so I decided to move the design into something I could have made professionally. I settled on laser cut Acrylic panels with 3D printed corner pieces and the design progressed into a nice and compact 7 litre case.

The first Acrylic prototype went together perfectly and thermal performance was great achieving the quiet system I was after, however Gigabyte decided to release their ITX version of the GTX 1070 shortly afterwards which was a dream come true for this case. But, it turned out that Gigabyte couldn't resist making the card massively tall, so I adjusted the proportions of the case to fit this card and retain the sub 7 litre volume, the second prototype was ordered and here is the result:

LZ7 v0.2 UPDATED BUILD

The aim of this build is not to provide top of the line Titan level OC type raw performance (even though a 1070 is actually more powerful than a last gen Titan!), but instead a moderate gaming machine that you can comfortably play the latest games in max settings, enough power to satisfy the average gamer.

Some people might say that a GTX 1070 is overkill for the average gamer, especially if you're gaming at 1080p, but I wanted to see what the case was capable of (heat wise) if the most powerful ITX card available today was fitted, the Gigabyte GTX 1070 OC ITX.

I've stuck with same core components of the Intel i5-6500 and GTX 1070, however because the case has been increased in height it means that I could now pick a taller CPU cooler. The Scythe Big Shuriken 2 seemed like the best choice with its large heatsink and 120mm fan, 10 heatpipes and a height of only 58mm. I upgraded the Scythe 120mm fan to an Akasa AK-FN078 as I found the Scythe fan to be quite audible at low RPM, the Akasa fan was much better and ran practically silent.

For system cooling I went with a Prolimatech Vortex 140mm Slim fan, and to power everything a Corsair SF450 SFX fully modular power supply.

PERFORMANCE

Testing the case went very well, I used Prime95 in combination with Unigine Valley for full system load over a 2 hour duration before recording temps.

The Shuriken achieved some surprisingly low temperatures under full load with a max CPU temp of just 50C at a CPU and System fan speed of around 900 RPM, taking the CPU fan up to 1500 RPM brought that temp down to 45C at full load.

The Gigabyte GTX 1070 also did a great job with cooling, overclocking itself (automatically) up to a stable 1810 MHz. This was achieved with the 'silent' fan profile resulting in a quiet fan speed of around 1530 RPM to maintain its thermal target temp of 83C. Changing the GPU fan profile to 'Auto' reduced the max GPU down to 69C and the boost clock increased further up to 1848 MHz. I don't think that's too bad for a 150W TDP card being cooled by a single 92mm fan in a sub 7 litre case!

Overall the system ran very quietly during the stress testing considering the load it was put under.

GENERAL USE

In its idle state the CPU runs at 27C thanks to the Big Shuriken and Prolimatech Vortex system fan combo.

To get an idea of more real world type performance I used the system to play quite a bit of the Battlefield 1 Beta and some good sessions Star Citizen, both games were played on max graphics settings running at 1080p, both games ran flawlessly and looked amazing.

The Battlefield 1 Beta was so much fun, I can't wait to get the full game when it's released in a few weeks, although I think l need to upgrade my monitor to a higher resolution model to make full use of the GTX 1070.

During Star Citizen gameplay I checked the Gigabyte monitoring software and it showed the GPU was only using about 45% of its potential, the fan was barely on to cope with the heat, the only sound coming from the computer was a faint hum from the Prolimatech system fan.

PHOTOS

You may have noticed from the photos that the case has some different configuration options. There are a few different side panels that allow you to tailor the build to your personal preference. For aesthetics there is a slot vented window panel for the GPU, for dust protection you can add a standard 140mm dust filter onto each side, and for all out airflow performance you can fit a 120mm metal fan guard providing minimal resistance.

I've experimented with some laser cut wooden veneer panels, I'm hoping that these optional add on panels will give the case a more 'living room friendly' vibe.

One of the photos is comparing the case size to a Raidmax Element which measures 16 litres.

There are a few screenshots near the end of the gallery showing the temperature performance in different scenarios.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My original goal was to build a really small gaming machine that doesn't sacrifice thermal performance. I think this second prototype has successfully achieved that goal and I'm very happy with the result!

Comments Sorted by:

WirelessCables 1 Build 3 points 29 months ago

I can't decide if I like the black or white better... +1.

Instead of using the fan grille / magnetic filter over the GPU, what about something like This wire mesh at Amazon (Painted flat black) for a dust filter / guard. Maybe a 120mm Corsair AF120 at the front for a splash of color?

Regardless, it's always nice to see custom components.. Great work! How long did it take you to plan and make the case?

Edit :

+1111111111111.....

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 3 points 29 months ago

Thanks! The mesh type material is certainly something I will look into for future revisions. I've updated the build log with some background information on how the project started and timeframes

WirelessCables 1 Build 2 points 29 months ago

No problem! =-)

Maybe pull a Cooler Master and have some 3D printable templates / guides?

eb122333 3 points 29 months ago

Nice case! Hope you are planning to mass-produce them! +1 for the amazing build and designing your own case!

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Thanks allot! I'm getting a small batch of them made shortly, search Google for Lazer3D LZ7 and the website should show up.

memewaffle 1 point 29 months ago

can i have one these look dank

quzar469 1 Build 2 points 29 months ago

nice, it think this should be featured 10/10

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Thanks, I appreciate the support!

noodlebird 2 points 29 months ago

+1 +1 +1!! This would make such a neat feature build. Such a turn away from the super ridiculous and extra builds that you often see here. Have you considered making these to order?

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

Thanks! That's exactly the point of this build, enough power to max out the latest games at a semi affordable cost. With regards to selling them, yes I'm hoping to have a small batch of them made shortly. Keep an eye on www.lazer3d.com for updates.

WillieNelson16 2 points 29 months ago

From what I've read these won't be available in the US... My heart is broke if this is true :'(

Truly magnificent to see such a small, powerful computer.

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Once they go on sale you should be able to buy from any country in the world, it just all comes down to shipping costs to your specific country. I am based in the UK. Shipping to EU should cost in the region of £18, and to the US in the region of £25 depending on speed of shipping service.

WillieNelson16 1 point 29 months ago

Ah thank goodness! I appreciate the response and will be one of your customers soon hopefully.

TLW918 2 points 29 months ago

Ive seen this case progress on reddit! WHEN WILL YOU SELL THEM???

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

Thanks for the support! I'm working on getting a small batch made that should be available in November kind of time frame.

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Preorders are now available on the Lazer3D website!

Fasulos 7 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

Absolutely love the case. I mean... wish I could mash the +1 button good.

Darn do I ever want one though.....

nakaman 4 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Gud job are you planning on upgrading ram?

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Do you think I would see much of improvement to gaming performance if I went from 8Gb up to 16gb?

WirelessCables 1 Build 2 points 29 months ago

Unless you want to 'Future -proof' your build, there's not much point if you're gaming.

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

That was my thinking behind the 8Gb, I'm sure I read an article about a year ago that tested a load of recent games with different amounts of RAM, the conclusion was that going above 8Gb did not make hardly any difference to game performance, in fact they found that 4Gb only reduced performance by a small amount. But that was a year ago, not sure if the same would apply to the latest releases today. I know Dice have just released the minimum requirements for Battlefield 1 asking for 8Gb of RAM minimum. But they have also asked for a minimum of an i5-6600k, whereas I ran the beta with this i5-6500 and the game ran beautifully.

WirelessCables 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

That's true..

nakaman 4 Builds 2 points 29 months ago

My motto is "ram is power" but that's just me but I've gamed since ram was power, but 8gb to 16gb all depends on frequency not exactly the amount of memory you have so 8 gab will be fine for now. But when games get more demanding 16 would be nice to have.

SlowMindPleaseAdvise 1 Build 1 point 29 months ago

I wonder if you could squeeze in liquid cooling like the Nuclear Shoebox... hmm...

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 29 months ago

Unfortunately there isn't space to fit a radiator inside the case, but in theory you could mount a 140mm AIO Rad on the outside of the case on the system fan side panel, you would just need to cut a small cutout to feed the water pipes through.

phantommaggot 1 Build 1 point 28 months ago

I'd love to have one of these cases for some spare parts I have laying around.

you gonna produce them?

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Thanks for your comment! Yeah they have just gone up for preorder at www.lazer3d.com expected to ship in December.

phantommaggot 1 Build 2 points 28 months ago

Awesome man. This would make a neat case for the PC I want to build for my little girl.

Eren662 1 point 28 months ago

Do you think the 450w psu is enough?

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 1 point 28 months ago

Yeah the Corsair SF450 I would say is the perfect match for an i5-6500 and GTX 1070 combo, so much so that the fan doesn't even kick in when gaming, I highly recommend this power supply.

FurryJackman 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Will this case once it becomes a final product be "IKEA" buildable from the package?

It would be very nice to receive a case with a very small box footprint. Might even save on shipping costs.

Lazer3D submitter 2 Builds 2 points 18 months ago

Yes it comes flat packed, going on sale at Overclockers UK from this Friday (August 25th)