Joseph Evans
Joseph Evans

Software Engineer

Lead Web Developer

Joseph Evans

Software Engineer

Lead Web Developer

Blog Post

ITX Build

June 9, 2020 Other
ITX Build

As some of you may or may not know, I’m an all round tech enthusiast, not just in the typical sense where I love video games & not much else. I can honestly say that I love every aspect of technology, even if it’s something that I have little knowledge of.

To cut to the chase, I’m very enthusiastic about computer hardware, specifically computers that fall into what is known as the SFF category. To give a very high level overview to those that don’t know, SFF is abbreviation for small form factor. These days I’d possibly go as far as saying that it’s blossomed from a challenge into a very enthusiastic community. A lot of people that are into building SFF systems usually do it as a challenge to build some system that has as much power as possible, but also takes up as little space as possible. An example of a very popular case that SFF enthusiasts go to is the Dan A4. This case is pretty much as small as it gets before you have to make some major compromises, at least that’s my two cents on the matter.

Dan Cases A4-SFX build, with fanless PSU | Overclockers UK Forums

A part of the issue with these smaller system builds is that there are a lot of ITX systems that don’t fall into the SFF category. This is typically due to the fact that cases have prioritised compatibility with a larger array of hardware or they’ve prioritised cooling & such. Usually it makes sense why certain cases are larger, a popular example being the NZXT H210, this is essentially your typical PC, but smaller than your typical PC. But as you may have guessed, you can in theory get better results with cooling int he H210 compared to the Dan A4, not to mention that in theory you can also fit more powerful hardware in the H210.

I’ve personally brought myself to an analysis paralysis situation where I’m contemplating in trying to build something that falls into the SFF category, but that means that you’re limiting your entire build to a total volume of 20 litres or less. But there are a few cases that I think are a happy medium, an example being the Lian Li TU150. It doesn’t quite fall into that SFF category, but it’s not far off with a total volume of roughly 23 litres, but at the same time, for the most part you can get quite a good cooling setup & pretty powerful hardware in there. The only limitation so to speak is that you’re forced to use an SFF/SFX power supply, but in my eyes that’s hardly a big deal, since you can get SFF/SFX PSU’s that have a rating of 800W, so it’s unlikely that you’d hit 100% utilisation there. At the same time, with this case specifically, you get a funky little handle to go with it & from what other people have said, it’s quite a sturdy handle too.

Lian-Li Launches TU150 SFX Chassis

I’m not quite sure if others are all that interested in the SFF approach, personally I am because there’s just no/little need for large tower PC’s these days. I mean with the TU150, you can fit in a good cooler, some decent 120mm fans, a powerful & efficient PSU, not to mention that you can fit in a 3 slot PCI-E card. Realistically, for most, you just don’t need much more than that, even if you were to argue about having more storage, personally I’d go for NAS/DAS solutions. I find such solutions more appealing since the data on those drives can be accessed via other devices also then.

That’s why I’ve decided to use such a case for my next build, all round it’s a solid option, in my opinion it looks nice & clean, none of that RGB nonsense. Since I’m also a power user & someone that enjoys a silent system, I’ve decided to go with 2x Noctua NF-12A fans, based on what others in the tech community say, you just can’t go wrong with Noctua fans. To power my system, I’ve decided to go with the Silverstone SX800. Since I’ll probably be going with an i9 10900k CPU, I’ve decided to use another product from Noctua, the NH-U12A, apparently this cooler is so good that it’s practically one of the flagship CPU coolers on the market to date. Regarding other specs such as the GPU, RAM, etc, I’ve not dedicated myself to anything specific, at this moment in time, I’m thinking about sticking with my GTX 1070 since I’m hardly a hardcore gamer & it does the job without any problem(s). I’ve also thought about using 32GB of low profile memory, in addition to a total of 5TB of storage with 2x 2TB M.2 SSD’s & 2x 500GB 2.5″ SSD’s. I’m still not 100% certain about any specific piece, except from the case, the fans, the PSU & finally the CPU cooler.

Anyway, that’s all from me today, this has been a bit of a different one, since I typically talk about work related content or something a little different. Hope that anyone else that’s into building computers has enjoyed reading this! 👍

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