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Mighty Mouse (X99/mini-ITX)

by Mike2015


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

June 16, 2015

Date Built

June 14, 2015

CPU Clock Rate

3.3 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.216 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

7.01 GHz


When my HP computer died, I decided that it would be fun to build my own computer. In the past, the most I have done was install a new hard drive or install new RAM in a computer; I have never built a computer from scratch.

Currently, I’m not a “gamer”; however, I do plan on getting into some gaming in the near future. Other than “future” gaming and the standard e-mail, internet, Word and Excel, my needs for a computer are some light video editing and my work sometimes involves use of some very large actuarial spreadsheets. Also, this computer will probably get very few upgrades over the years and will probably last me 8+ years, so some of the parts I picked are to “future-proof” as much as possible (if that is even possible).

After doing a lot of research, I decided that I wanted to go with either an X99 system or wait for Skylake later this year. I figured that I could build an X99 system for around $150.00 – $200.00 more than a comparable Z97 system. Most of the rumors on Skylake mention “greater efficiency” and “better graphics” which don’t really matter in a desktop, so I decided to pull the trigger on an X99 system.

After reviewing a lot of builds on PCPARTPICKER, the mini-ITX systems intrigued me. I knew that I would never have more than one video card, so I figured why have some huge half empty case sitting on my desk. So when ASROCK announced a mini-ITX X99 motherboard, I was all set.

Part selection: i7-5820K – Micro Center had a special on this processor for $299.99 with in store pick-up. There is not a Micro Center near where I live; however, my sister does live near one and I picked this process up when I was visiting her in Chicago.

ASROCK X99E-ITX/ac – This is basically the only choice for a mini-ITX X99 motherboard. I believe ASROCK also makes a server grade mini-ITX X99 motherboard as well, but it lacks some features.

G. Skill RipJaws – Since X99 supports quad channel RAM, but the motherboard only supports dual channel. There are not a lot of RAM kits with two sticks in them. This seemed like good brand with a good price. 8 GB would have probably been enough, however, 16GB was only slightly more and since I was going “high-end” on the chip, I thought I would go ahead and get the 16GB of RAM.

Samsung 850 Pro – The Samsung SSD seems to be a very popular SSD on PCPARTPICKER and they also get good reviews. At the time of purchase the 850 Pro was $39.00 more than the 850 Evo, so I went with the Pro. I have a raid NAS drive for all of my primary storage, so this is mainly for the operating system and other odds and ends.

EVGA GeForce GTX 970 – The 970 seems to be the “go-to” card on PCPARTPICKER for mid-range builds. I went with this version of the EVGA 970 due to the back plate and a new display output configuration over the older 970 cards.

Thermaltake Core V1 – The case was probably one of the hardest decisions. I knew that I wanted a mini-ITX case; however, I wanted a case that was small but also easy to work in (so I didn’t want too small). I also wanted a case that would take a full size power supply (this ruled out the EVGA Hadron Air case). I did like the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX case; however, the case is rather larger for a mini-ITX build. The Thermaltake Core V1 met all my requirements.

EVGA 850W Power Supply – I know 850 watts is way overkill for my build; however, when the power supply is under a small load, the fan doesn’t spin or spins slower than when under full load to keep the computer quieter. Also, at the time the 850 watt was cheaper than the 650 watt or 750 watt. I wasn’t sure if I was better off with the “G2” version or the “GS” version. The “G2” version had a better warranty but I decided to go with the “GS” version since at the time it was $20 cheaper than the “G2” version and both power supplies rate about the same in performance and are both considered tier one power supplies.

Windows 8.1 – I don’t particularly like Windows 8.1 for a desktop, so I will be updating to Windows 10 when it comes out.

Surprisingly, I didn’t run into any real big issues with the build. At first I didn’t think that the supplied CPU cooler had any thermal compound on it, but then I eventually realized that the checkerboard pattern on the bottom of the cooler was in fact the thermal compound and not just a design. Also, I’m still not sure if the CPU cooler is on in the right direction. I’m not sure what direction the fan is blowing and I just installed it based on the pictures in the motherboard manual.

Now that everything is up and running everything seems to be working great. I know my cable management could be better. The motherboard’s USB 3.0 header is near the middle of the board so that I why I have the one big wire coming straight up. My only negative about any of the parts that I have selected is 1) the supplied drive bays that came with the case and 2) the supplied CPU cooler that came with the motherboard. The drive bays are very flimsy, bend easily and have some edges that are sharper than I’d like. The CPU cooler is louder than I would like it at idle.

Future plans: 1) possible adding two 80mm fans at the back of the case and 2) finding a new quieter CPU cooler. All my prices shown are after any mail in rebates but do not include any shipping and/or taxes if applicable.

Since this is my first build, all comments and/or constructive criticisms are appreciated.

Comments Sorted by:

erickdiaz84 3 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

I will echo your comments that the power supply seems excessive, and their are some more appropriate wattage, lower noise options on the market now, but as long as your temps are good and it fits in the box it shouldn't be an issue, and it does afford you the option of putting in a beefier video card later if you so desire. (Although give the single pcie slot on the board, you'd be hard pressed to find anything that would tax an 850 watt supply from this generation, or presumably later. Even a titan wouldn't hit your power ceiling, maybe if they come out with a 990.)

Nice parts selection other than the PS though. May it bring you many hours of productivity and fun!

TechyinAZ 14 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Cool! Your build is the first (I think) with that X99 itx mobo that has been posted here.

Stupidmouth 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Love itx builds! Was going to go itx myself but decided not to, reason being theres no option to SLI/Crossfire down the road. I supposed a new gpu can just be bought if needed. +1 my dude!

ElJuego1977 7 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Wow! Great build, ITX is awesome to so how much power/features can be packed in a small space, X99 no less! I used the Core V1 and its easy to work with. I added 2-80mm Noctua Redux pwm fans and they are very quiet and go with the case better than the brown versions.

Jake762by39 6 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Ohhhh man, you gotta tell me how you like that board. I believe this is the only build on here that currently uses it.

Mike2015 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

So far the board has been great. I haven’t done any overclocking yet (since I don’t really know anything about that at this time) so I can’t comment about that. The UEFI has a nice interface. The only negatives I can say are 1) the USB 3.0 header is near the center of the board which makes managing that cable a little hard 2) the front panel audio header is underneath the graphics card (but the graphics card seemed to plug in okay) and 3) the supplied CPU cooler is a little louder than I would like at idle.

Eggz 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

Ahhhh, finally! I have such a nerd boner that there's a build with the X99E-ITZ/ac motherboard on PC Part Picker!!!

Great to see! Nice first build. I hope I get to do one soon too.

ocd 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Swiftech makes quiet cpu coolers. Nice build. Curious how it benchmarks compared to i7 4790k and Z97 mini itx.

Mike2015 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 46 months ago

I would love to use a Swiftech CPU cooler; however, this board uses the narrow socket (not the square socket) which limits what coolers will fit. See this page that explains the difference: http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=faqs_single&faqs_id=87 Noctua does make some coolers that will fit the narrow socket and fit in the V1 case, so I may go with one of them.

Regarding benchmarks, there have been a lot of reviews already on this board and every one that I have seen so far give the board high marks. I don't recall any direct comparisons between the i7-4790k and i7-5820k.

ocd 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

Go check out m1 v3 build wolffboy212. He managed an organized build appearance, in an M1 case. Amazing feat.

DTF1129 2 Builds 1 point 46 months ago

That's crazy your first build was a mini ITX lol, especially X99, it seems like it would be more complicated. I know I didn't consider that my first time. But anyway nice build man, I really wanna build a tiny power house

sc0ch 1 Build 1 point 46 months ago

This is my upgrade board when I can afford it. Good to see it in action!

leonccyiu 1 Build 1 point 44 months ago

Awesome build, I have the same Thermaltake case as you but unfortunately just a Pentium G3258 and Z87 mb. The Asrock intrigued me as I'd really an X99 system in my case although I question if I'd be better off with skylake and if I really need all those cores.

Do you run the 200mm fan that came with the case at the full 800rpm? I find it quite noisy. Mine broke and I've been using it without since then.

I personally find the case quite big myself and would like to build in something more compact in future, or more stylish like the Inwin 901 or EVGA Hadron.

Mike2015 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 43 months ago

Yes, I'm still running the 200mm fan at the front that came with the case. I'm at work right now so I can't check but isn't the 200mm fan a PWM fan that you can control via the Bios and slow down if you want? My 200mm fan is running around 650 rpm. I am currently using the CPU air cooler that came with the motherboard and that cooler has a very load fan on it so I don't really notice the 200mm fan at all. When your fan was working, was it making loud wind noise or was it the fan itself?

Regarding the case, I would like a slightly smaller case, but for my 1st build, I didn't want to go too small. The reason I didn't go with the Hadron, is that I read some reviews and the case can run hot and also you are stuck using the PSU that it comes with since it is a special size. I've also read that the fan on the PSU can also be quite loud at load. With the Core V1, a was able to pick out what PSU I wanted. My PSU fans do not run at all at normal load.

leonccyiu 1 Build 1 point 43 months ago

I definitely agree that as a first build, this case is easier to work with and more spacious. When things go wrong, it's much easier for me to remove a panel and re-attach the reset cords to the reset button (I unplugged it as I accidentally pressed reset a few times, and windows 10 has a problem with black screen and cursor on start up but can't do anything else).

I've heard similar things with the Hadron although I need less power than you. The Raijintek Metis looks nice but very cramped. Still looking at my options in future such as Silverstone.

The 200mm fan only has three pins and doesn't have pwm control. Oh I think Asrock motherboards have voltage control, I am using MSI, so that's maybe why yours is running slower. My fan when it was working had an audible hum.

Now my PC at normal loads is practically silent, I probably won't bother replacing the front 200mm fan unless I install and AIO liquid cooler in future.

Kreuzer 2 Builds 1 point 37 months ago

Nice, I got the same case wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl !

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Mike2015 submitter 2 Builds 2 points 46 months ago

Thanks. I haven’t done any stress testing but under normal use the CPU temperatures are between 37-41o C. The only issue is that the supplied CPU cooler is louder than I would like, even at idle. I’m looking into replacing it; however, the board uses the narrow CPU socket so finding the right cooler is not easy. Also, the RAM slots are right next to the CPU so the cooler would have to clear the RAM or stay within the parameters of the socket. I haven’t done any over clocking yet since I don’t really know much about that. I do plan on over clocking in the future if that cooler can handle it.

Tobi_Kenobi 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I was about to ask about the noise levels with your stock cooler. Despite the slight noise, you've done a great job with optimal efficiency for what you use your system for. You do have overclocking potential BUT it's definitely not necessary for what you do as you already know. The 970 is a wonderful card, still. It was my first high end card and was well worth it for the price, served me well in rendering.

Tobi_Kenobi 1 Build 1 point 24 months ago

I recommend 3D printing some custom brackets if you want to update your cooler. Shapeways is fantastic for that. If you don't have time or know how to design it, there are tons of freelance 3D modelers that you can commission. PM if you are interest, I know a modeler that might be to do able to that.

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