Legit Editorial Reviews
How To Build a Water Cooled Mini-ITX SFF PC w/ Ivy Bridge & Kepler
|Product:||SFF Build Guide|
|Date:||Fri, May 11, 2012 - 12:00 AM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Building a Small Form Factor Mini-ITX computer can be challenging, but it is worth the extra work as the end result can be amazing. We managed to stuff a ton of enthusiast grade hardware into a PC case that measures just 9.06" x 12.33" x 14.29" (WxHxD)! We did our homework and planned this build out more than a month in advance to ensure we wouldn't run into any problems. We still ran into a few minor issues here and there, but at the end of the day it all worked out and the system came out just how we wanted it to. Our dream mini-ITX system was supposed to support five key features.
- Intel Ivy Bridge CPU Powered
- Intel Z77 Express Chipset
- NVIDIA Kepler Video Card
- USB 3.0 and SATA III Devices
- Water Cooled
It looks like we succeeded and were able to get every one of those features into this build!
Legit Reviews Mini ITX Dream PC Parts List:
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Processor - $349.99
- ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe mini-ITX Z77 Motherboard - $199.99
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SuperClocked - $419.99
- Cubitek Mini ICE ITX Case - $169.99
- Kingston HyperX 480GB SSD - $669.99
- Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB Hard Drive - $214.00
- CoolIT Eco II 140 Liquid Cooler (thanks to Maingear)
- Samsung Slimline 8x DVD Burner - $23.99
- StarTech Slim Optical 5.25" Drive Bay Adapter - $26.99
- StarTech Slimline SATA to SATA Adapter Cable - $8.99
- 2 x 140mm High Static Pressure Fans - $30
- AFT PRO-37U USB 3.0 3.5" Media Card Reader - $44.99
- Corsair AX 650W Gold PSU - $149.99
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit - $189.99
Our build ended up costing just north of $2500, but you can go much higher or lower than that depending on what parts you use. If you do not want to use a discrete graphics card or an SSD you could quickly shave more than $1000 off the price of this build.
At the end of the day we hope that we showed you how far small form factor solutions has come and what you can do with one. Full tower cases have their purposes, but if you can get away with a Mini-ITX solution it is the way to go these days. The amount of space you save is amazing and, to be honest, we didn't have to give up any features or performance! That was a big deal to us and our benchmark performance numbers show that. This mini-ITX 'Dream PC' that we built today scored P8649 in 3DMark11 with the Intel Core i7-3770K quad-core processor and the EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Superclocked video card. The same video card on one of our systems running the Intel Core i7-3960X processor on an Intel X79 motherboard with 1866MHz of CL9 memory scored P9002! That is just a 4% performance difference on the fastest platforms that money could buy.
Legit Reviews would like to thank ASUS, Corsair, Cubitek, EVGA, Kingston, Maingear, Western Digital and Atech Flash Technology for making this review possible today. We wouldn't be able to bring you great articles like this without the support of companies like them.
Questions or Comments? View this thread in our forums!
Page 1 - The Dream Mini-ITX Build
Page 2 - Cubitek Mini Ice - Mini-ITX Case
Page 3 - Optical Drive Issues - Slimline Optical Drive Needed
Page 4 - The CoolIT Eco II 140 & The Dremel
Page 5 - The ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe mini-ITX Z77 Motherboard
Page 6 - HyperX 480GB SSD & Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz DDR3
Page 7 - 2TB WD Caviar Black HDD & EVGA GeForce GTX 670
Page 8 - Cosair AX 650 - 80 Plus Gold PSU
Page 9 - AFT Pro-37U USB 3.0 Media Card Reader
Page 10 - Benchmarks, Temperatures & Power Consumption
Page 11 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions