Description

EDIT: I've since upgraded this build with an MSI RX 570 8GB Armor OC - Now we're talking!

I'm going for a low to mid-tier gaming PC that doesn't look like one. It needs to be in my (shared) home without drawing attention (from my better half), as well as being easily transportable for LAN parties / gaming nights. This can be approached multiple ways since technically even full towers are "transportable" and can be made to look like speakers with enough creativity, buy my criteria are as follows:

1 - Small and discrete: Easily carry-able, no annoying fans, no flashing lights, no micro furnace "feature"

2 - The budget should be between 800€ and 1000€ (otherwise we get into gaming laptop territory)

3 - All red build... because I can.

First off is the case. I kind of fell in love with the micro-tower idea after researching the different ITX forms, there is somehow something more elegant about them than the average cube. In the end I went with the Silverstone ML08 since it has an optional handle, is super thin, and has a separate GPU and MoBo compartment. As a bonus, the windowless version has this sort of industrial, Thinkpad-esque look going for it. Other contenders that came close are the Silverstone RVZ01-based series (thicker, more fans needed, worse cable management), the Thermaltake Core G3 (mATX, but hit-or-miss GPU riser cable quality and a holey gamer design), and the Fractal Node 202 (different design, smaller, but harder to build in... Might switch to this if things don't work out with the Silverstone).

Next up is the MoBo, that was a no-brainer when ordering since... When there's only one candidate, there's only one choice! (That being the Biostar X370GTN, also: vote Marley). Sure there might be some older AM3 options available but why waste a good Ryzen now that AMD is back in the race.

Thin case plus a brand new platform means I had one heck of a time finding a cooler that doesn't fight with the ram slots, is low-profile, and is AM4 compatible... Turns out Ryzen actually comes boxed with such a cooler namely: the Wraith Stealth™. Coincidentally the Ryzen 5 1400 is currently the only chip chip that includes the Wraith Stealth™ cooler so once again, when there's only one candidate...

RAM was also a bit tricky to guess what might fit and run. In the end I went with the Corsair LPX 3200 since they are low-profile, plus they have been proven to work with AM4 (at least with lower frequencies) in early review rigs, let's hope I will reach rated speed some day.

The rest is more-or less preference. The Corsair SFX PSU got top ratings for silence and size, I've had good experience in the past with Samsung drives plus the Evo is quite affordable, and I took the cheapest Radeon I could find in stock within walking distance since evil Etherium miners and Ebay scalpers have gone and bought up all the mid-tier graphics cards, almost doubling the prices of what's still available. Damn. Guess that means I'm waiting for Vega(s), baby!

-Also naming this build sleeping dragon. Alternatively would have been muzzled dragon since the other option at this price point was a GTX 1050

...And this is where I stop for now. The building process went well but I need to play around with it for a few days to get some performance/temperature results. Will post details later, right after these annoying ads:

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GFX update: I went with the RX 570 since the Vega series turned out to be mini furnaces. From what I've read the 580 (and now the 590) are just overclocked, hotter versions of the same board whose performance gains might not be worth the throttling in an SFF case. With this little champ I run my games at 1440p with mid-high settings. When in doubt I turn down the anti-aliasing a bit rather than going down to 1080p since it seems to make less of a difference at the higher resolution. So far there haven't been any thermal issues like crashes or fan noises outside of games.

TEMPS update: When it comes to dust I've noticed that the main problem seems to be having the PC on the floor, so I've taken off the top filter to give the GPU more fresh air but left the CPU vents covered. After testing a bit with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at 1440p, recommended quality the setup gives me the following temps while gaming:

CPU: ~42° C while occasionally peaking at 48° C

GPU: ~55° C while occasionally peaking at 71° C

SSD: 48° - 53° C

The SSD is a bit high, but it doesn't change much during use and is still way below the official max temp of 70° C. Considering that I was expecting the M.2 to be a problem without any case fans I think this turned out pretty well.

Part Reviews

CPU

Full 5-stars for this little champ. The included cooler is usually dead silent and doesn't whine or anything at high RPMs, plus it's a perfect fit for SFX setups as long as you don't have RAM spacing problems. While it is only 20eur cheaper than a 1500x, you end up saving another chunk of 30-50eur by avoiding an after-market cooler.

Motherboard

The internet is quite divisive on this. Apparently reviewers find that it's a minimal but solid MoBo, but many users give it a lot of hate for having a messy BIOS menu and for being a Biostar board.

I've personally not had any problems yet with BIOS navigation which might be because it's been 7 years since my last build, so my expectations were quite low going in. Previously I've found after the initial setup you just forget about it anyway so I guess that will happen quite soon.

My board needed a bit of tweaking out of the box since my RAM defaulted to 2133Mhz and the CPU cooler was running on 100% all the time, but once I activated an XMP profile and ran the fan PWM calibration everything was hunky-dory. Haven't tried overclocking the CPU yet though since it looked like a lot of manual work.

Memory

These were basically one of the few low-profile, high-frequency options available that weren't overpriced (due to people buying up all the Samsung B-die confirmed kits) and are confirmed to work with Ryzen. After flashing the new AGESA 1.0.0.6 bios update I have them running stable at 2933mhz using the preset XMP profile. -1 star since the system crashes if I try running them at the actual rated frequency, hopefully this will change with future updates.

Case

This case really turned out to be everything I had hoped for. It is super-easy to build in and, as long as you stick to mid-level components, also very quiet and cool. The small form factor and carrying handle make it very portable for both carrying around and when cleaning around the desk.

All-in-all I am very pleased and don't regret the hours of extra research needed to find fitting components.

Power Supply

Not much to say here, this PSU has gotten top reviews for its quality and silent operation, which I can only confirm.

Comments

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

AMD is on the ryze

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice work! +1

Does the case have the option of standing horizontally?

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, it does! There is even a set of 4 stick-on rubber feet included to put some space underneath for ventilation. Only caveat with that though is you should probably aim for a low-mid tier build, since high-end gaming components might heat up too much when placed horizontally. This was found in a review on a very similar chassis here: https://www.bit-tech.net/reviews/tech/cases/silverstone-raven-rvz02-review/4/

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

One thing is for sure, i'm not into ITX cases and mobos, but your build is awesome!

Love the effort and detail put on the description [read it all], and now i get every purpose on your hardware and your situation. For sure one of the best descriptions here☺

As soon as i saw price on Euros, well... What country are you from? How far are you from Portugal? :P (Sorry, just curiosity)

P.S: Vega is already out (at least Frontier edition). Waiting for RX version or go for the Frontier edition? Or none of the 2?

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm waiting for RX actually, since frontier is a bit pricey at 1000eur+ and isn't actually meant for gaming anyway. So if the RX series is meant to start at 300 - 400e then I hope there will be some deals available by Christmas. I ordered everything from mindfactory.de and the shipping from there is 40e to Finland but should be the same for the rest of Europe as well.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice ^_^

Thx for the info!

Once again, awesome build! I forgot to give an +1 XD here you go!

I hope RX Vega brings the competition Nvidia needs

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

That think pad keyboard is

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I love the build! But maaaan the 1050 ti is sooooo much better for around the same price!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

What is the device that you have next to the monitor on the first image? It kind of looks similar to a nintendo switch based on shape/design?

Beautiful design btw. I've always loved small builds and went for a RVZ01 myself as there weren't other good options at the time. :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

definitely a switch!

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

K. :) I was wondering since I haven't actually been able to see one out in the wild outside review articles due to out of stock so much... lol

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Indeed, just need an HDMI selector now for toggling between karting & fragging

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I built something similar earlier this month, and went micro ATX. Really wish I had gone mini ITX! Nice build!