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Boston, City of champions
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Yes that's a Mass Effect 3 reference.

Of note, my first build was an Athlon XP 1.33Ghz when it launched on socket A, circa 2001. I had that paired to an ATi Radeon, the first Radeon. This machine is replacing my 3.2 GHz Phenom II x6, r9 280x which I built last time AMD was competitive circa 2011. It has been a long wait.

TheDarkness is primarily a gaming machine. My wife does a fair amount of digital art when i'm not playing games.

CABLE ROUTING; this mobo puts the 24 pin at the top, weird, but doable. The 2.5" mounts are hidden behind the mobo and all the other wiring can be done over the top and behind the back plate. I build mITX machines because I enjoy the challenge, but I wouldn't recommend this to a first time builder. I recommend taking time to map out this kind of build rather than just start plugging stuff in. often the easiest way is to place the small cables first.

USB 3.0; A noteworthy additional challenge is the usb 3.0 header for the front of the case... that thing is stupidly tall. as far as I've seen they're all the same across the industry, but that alone would've prevented me from using the top mount for the radiator on this build because gigabyte put the header at the top of the board and the plug is stupidly tall. I actually emailed fractal's support about it. there's only one header extender cable I know of online and people that've used it have reported trouble because its not shielded. its a problem unique to this case/mobo combination most likely, unless other mobos put that header at the top too.

NO 5.25 DRIVE: not a problem, used media creation tool with USB for windows, downloaded drivers directly after that.

AIRFLOW: as mentioned, the USB 3.0 case plug is too tall to mount the Celsius s24 radiator to the top, so I mounted it at the front. I added the exhaust fan that came with the case to the radiator in a pull position. I used 2 older fractal fans I had from the phenom II rig to replace the exhaust and provide a floor intake to feed Vega. Since the reference blower on Vega positions its intake fan directly over the floor mounted fan I have solid cool air flow which I couldn't have accomplished with a multifan cooler, there's minimal clearance above the PSU. The exhaust fan is plugged into the mobo header, the pull fan on the radiator and the floor intake fan are powered by adapter to molex. Since there are really no vents without fans its difficult to tell what pressures really are with the smoke test, though I suspect that pressure is positive when system is idle, and equal or slightly negative when Vega is maxed out.

SOUND: not a problem most of the time, this case is well constructed and the fans silent, except Vega's blower under gaming load, that sounds like a turbine because I opened up the RPMs all the way. I game with headphones so It doesn't bother me. If the sound ever bothers me i'll consider a custom loop, but that will probably wait for Zen 3/Arcturus in 2020.

OVERCLOCKING: CPU; So far I've only experimented a little, the 1600x was perfectly stable at 3.85 ghz on all cores even on this board, and as others have noted, the heatsink on the 6 phase VRM is rather weak sauce, unless you're using a top down cooler. After building, i read and watched a dozen reviews, most of which agreed that the heatsink on the VRM is insufficient for the cooling job, and I've measured it to be <11mm taller than the capacitors it hovers over. I have an FM2 mITX mobo on my other machine with a 6 phase vrm and a cooler >3x taller, which i might try swapping. If anyone can suggest a cooling replacement for the VRM i'd love to hear it.

GPU; It seems I won the silicone lottery when It comes to Vega. Using Wattman, all I've done is max the wattage and fan speed, and the card regularly clocks to 1560 without touching voltage or manually increasing frequency. I'm going to try undervolting since I hear this card responds well to it.

Let me know what you think of this build either way.
Color(s): Black Red
RGB Lighting? Yes
Theme: Color
Cooling: AIO Cooling
Size: Mini-ITX
Type: General Build


$ 125.00
AMD - Ryzen 5 (1600X)
Socket: AM4
Cores: 6
$ 218.86
Gigabyte - Gaming (Wi-Fi) (GA-AB350N)
Chipset: B350
CPU Socket: AM4
Size: Mini-ITX
$ 47.00
G.Skill - Flare X (3200MHz)
Type: DDR4
Capacity: 16 GB
$ 479.00
Sapphire - Reference
Chip Manufacturer: AMD
Chip: Vega 56
$ 169.99
Samsung - 860 EVO
Form Factor: M.2
Interface: M.2 (M)
Capacity: 500 GB
$ 44.09
SanDisk - Ultra II
Form Factor: 2.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 240 GB
$ 125.00
Seagate - FireCuda
Form Factor: 2.5 Inch
Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s
Capacity: 2 TB
Seasonic - Focus Plus
Wattage: 650
Form Factor: ATX
Efficiency: 80+ Gold
$ 102.60
Fractal Design - Define Nano S, Black
Type: Mini-Tower
Side Panel: Window
Case Fan
$ 24.19
$ 110.32
$ 79.00
$ 74.00
$ 19.70
$ 329.99
Acer - XG270HU Omidpx
Size: 27 Inch
Panel: TN
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Corsair - K70 RGB
Interface: Wired
Key Switch Type: Cherry MX Red
Type: Full Size
$ 94.96
Logitech - G602
Interface: Wireless
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