M.2 PCIe SSD: Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe SSD
Our original Kingston HyperX 5K 480GB SSD that we used for our mini ITX build served us well, but the 512 MB/s sequential read and 302 MB/s sequential write speeds as well as the 28 MB/s random 4K read and 19 MB/s random 4K write speeds really aren’t that impressive these days. We wanted something faster and we wanted to use the M.2 PCIe slot on the ASUS Maximus VII Impact motherboard. The HyperX Predator 480GB M.2 PCIe SSD (review) is the fastest readily available consumer M.2 PCIe drive on the market with sequential read/write speeds of 1400/1000 MB/s. That should more than double the performance of our old 2.5″ SSD and give us that extra snap we are looking for on application load times! We also know that Kingston will release firmware updates if they are needed and fully back this drive with a 3-year warranty if something should go wrong. There are other faster M.2 PCIe SSDs on the market(Samsung SM951), but they are OEM only and installation can be a bit tricky. At $475.48 shipped the HyperX Predator 480 GB PCIe Gen2.0 x 4 card isn’t necessarily inexpensive, but it is the safe play and one we are happy to take thanks to our experience with the original HyperX SATA III SSD! We also opted for the model with the PCIe add-in card as you never know what you’ll do with this drive years down the road.
CPU Water Cooler: NZXT Kraken X41 140mm All-In-One
Back in 2012 when we built our original mini ITX Dream PC there wasn’t a 140mm All-In-One CPU liquid cooler available on the market. We had to call up our friends over at MAINGEAR to help with our build and they graciously offered to send over one of their custom made CoolIT Eco II 140mm coolers that they normally use in their F131 custom gaming PCs for our project. The good news is that 140mm All-In-One CPU Coolers have finally come to the retail market thanks to companies like NZXT. The NZXT Kraken X41 CPU Cooler was the ideal choice for our build as it’s using the latest Asetek Gen 4 technology. It should also give us better cooling performance as the Kraken X41 has a 36mm thick radiator versus the 27mm thick radiator that we were previously using. Other key features include the fact that the NZXT Kraken X41 is the world’s first variable speed liquid cooler, comes with a pressure optimized FXV2 PWM fan and backed by a 6-year warranty! All those features make the $108.99 price tag feel like a bargain.
80 Plus Platinum PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 650 P2
When it comes to the power supply we wanted to go with a fully modular unit that had the highest efficiency and was no more than 165mm in length since we were putting this PSU in a mini ITX case. The voluntary 80 PLUS certification program is a great way for consumers to pick out a power supply that has the efficiency levels they are looking for. We highly suggest taking a look at the 80 PLUS site when picking out a power supply to see how it tested!
|80 Plus test type||115V internal non-redundant||230V internal redundant|
|Percentage of rated load||10%||20%||50%||100%||10%||20%||50%||100%|
|80 Plus Bronze||82%||85%||82%||81%||85%||81%|
|80 Plus Silver||85%||88%||85%||85%||89%||85%|
|80 Plus Gold||87%||90%||87%||88%||92%||88%|
|80 Plus Platinum||90%||92%||89%||90%||94%||91%|
|80 Plus Titanium||90%||92%||94%||90%||90%||94%||96%||91%|
There are a handful of 80 PLUS Titanium models listed (94% efficient at 50% load) in the 500-650W power range that we wanted, but good luck finding a retailer stocking China Great Wall GW-EPS550DA (94+), Enhance Electonics ATX-1850 or CFS Sales KRPW-TI700W/94+ power supplies here in the United States. While there are 26 80 PLUS Titanium power supplies on the market this very second it will be nearly impossible to find a low Watt model that is fully modular and available to purchase. The good news is that there are 353 80 PLUS Platinum power supplies (92% efficient at 50% load) on the market and companies like EVGA just announced new lower Wattage 80 PLUS Platinum models. We ended up selecting the EVGA SuperNOVA 650 P2 for our build as we know the SuperNOVA P2 series is superb and it fit perfectly with our desire to build the most efficient machine possible without sacrificing quality. With 54.1 Amps on the single +12V, 92% efficiancy at 50% load, a silent fan at modest load levels (EVGA ECO) and a 10-year warranty made this fully modular power supply the best choice from our perspective. The EVGA SuperNOVA 650 P2 runs $119.99 shipped shipped on Amazon, but there is a 10% promotion right now that brings the price down to $108.00 and that is a fair price for a high-end PSU with all the bells and whistles you’d want in your system.