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Thread: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

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    Poor graduate. Ulti's Avatar
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      • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
      • Memory:
      • Team Group Delta 32GB DDR4
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      • Graphics card(s):
      • Palit GTX 1070 8GB GameRock
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      • SilverStone SX500-LG V2.0
      • Case:
      • Jonsbo UMX3 Tempered Glass Version
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    Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Feel free to post! Slowly updating this thread now!

    Introduction:
    I've always been a computer nerd and I suffer from upgradetitus but luckily I don't aim for flashy LED lights or for massive e-peen anymore. Instead, I've been facinated by small ITX systems which run cool and quietly whilst being just enough for the job and not being too underpowered or overpowered.

    I decided on a project to shrink the size of the computers in the house this year as big, clunky ATX powerhouses were unneeded and small is the new big.

    For myself, I've been pretty busy with life and uni so I don't game anymore and don't do any intensive tasks on the CPU so I've been trying to look for the right mini ITX case for the whole year now but I've been unable to find something but I thought I'd post my journey through ITX cases for people to enjoy (or run away from!).

    I did contemplate getting something like a Mac Mini or a nettop but the price of nettops and lack of upgrade paths for a Mac Mini put me off them. Tbh, I reckon I could just buy a Mac Mini and get used to using OSX and call it the end there, but I actually like searching for the right case and watching how technology changes and upgrading. I guess it's just the nerd within me. I was actually very close to buying a Mac Mini due to the form factor and the price (surprisingly enough it's actually been cheaper than all the nettops I've seen but that's probably because it uses mobile chips rather than the full desktop chips but it would have been enough power for me along with the 6630M).

    I'm going to tell you now that this thread won't be in chronological order at all but I'll try to at least make it relatively coherent and organised.

    Fast forward to June 2012. I've just finished my exams, I've just broken up with girlfriend, the only thing I can do is get absorbed into my hobbies, which meant photography and gaming. I saw Diablo 3 on sale at Tesco (well £27 isn't really a "sale" but yeah..) and ordered it and as I played Torchlight a few years back, this refreshed the experience as I've always been a RPG type fan (especially MMORPGs - but they're the biggest timesinks in the world and I'm too old for that now!). However, I had upgraded to a 1440p monitor, meaning I could only get Diablo 3 running on 20fps. Very doable, but when it went into some of the more graphically demanding places, that dipped to 10fps which was not tolerable anymore.

    That meant it was time to build a budget summer gaming computer! (Well I guess it's an excuse lol).

    I saw a thread on the case in these two places (here and here) and decided to go for it as it looked VERY good for a case at only a little over £30 and combined it with some other bargains that I had seen and then picked up the rest of the gear for the build.

    Budget Summer 1440p Gaming Build + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX review:
    Built in July 2012.

    So hardware list first:

    Case: Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case (CCL)
    CPU: i3 2100 (eBay)
    Motherboard: Asus P8H61-M PRO (PC World)
    RAM: 8GB Samsung Green DDR3
    SSD: Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD - £99 (Thanks to MrNeil's excellent spot!)
    Graphics: MSI GTX460 768MB Cyclone OC (eBay)
    PSU: XFX Core Edition Pro 450W (eBay)
    CPU Cooler: Xigmatek Thor's Hammer (eBay)
    Accessories: Xilence 120mm Fan (Sapient Computers)

    Group photo!



    You may notice that the hardware list and the hardware inside the photo don't match up and this is because I made changes through the build. I also sneakily photoshopped the PSU in as it came much, much later.

    I originally started with a Celeron G530 (photo shows a Pentium box as I took the wrong box to photo!) but switched to an i3-2100 as I felt the G530 was bottlenecking the graphics card. It didn't help that the G530 only supported up to 1066Mhz speeds either which was not something I realised until I looked at the spec sheet after getting the i3-2100 and realising that I could finally set the memory to 1333mhz, I thought I had a faulty CPU!

    Well first up, the case, Ace Ecco 250:



    Very simple case that somehow looks quite elegant to me. Probably the minimalist look. On the other hand, it teases at me as I feel it lacks a little something on the case but I'm not sure what. I guess it's a love hate relationship with this case.

    When I first pulled it out of the box, I was a bit confused as to why there was a DVD blanking plate missing and came to a conclusion that it must have been to cut costs as I couldn't find it in the accessories bag or in the box. We'll see later that it wasn't the case.



    At first I thought that having the PSU at the top isn't very good, but I think it's all part design. Having it at the bottom would mean that the PSU intakes air through the base, and that would produce noise. Having it at the top probably also allows for the airflow to go straight through from the front to the back as the case isn't very deep.

    I'm really surprised that for a case this cheap and small, it still manages to hold 3x 120mm fan with 2 on the front and one on the back.

    Here's the case with the two HDD brackets taken off:





    Didn't quite set the contrast/WB on my camera correctly so I was missing a lot of details (I only shoot JPEGs) so I photoshopped it a bit and tried to get the details back, hope the photos aren't too bad!

    Each bracket is slotted into the bottom of the case and then screwed in with a small screw at the bottom and two thumbscrews at the top. There are handles to hold the bracket as it may get a bit heavy as it supports either 2 x 3.5" HDDs or 3x 2.5" HDDs. There are lots of rubber grommet things included to reduce the vibration from the hard drives, once again brilliant for this price!



    The accessories include all the screws you could ever need (I assume so anyway - unfortunately I don't have 6x 2.5" HDDs and whatever else to fill up the PC. They've also included 4x red right angled SATA cables which is pretty rare as SATA cables are usually bundled with motherboards. I won't complain about freebies though! There are even more extra rubber grommet things too in the accessories bag. There's also an instructions sheet informing you on some of the steps to build your PC.



    Apologies for the out of focus photo. The case features a tool less design for the 5.25" drives and PCI slots but my brain was malfunctioning and I failed to realise how to open the PCI slot and brute forced it, breaking the tool less mechanism. Technically, it doesn't affect it as you do screw into the PCI slot anyway to further tighten the tool less mechanism but I still felt stupid after breaking it. I may super glue it back on one day but not sure if it's worth the hassle.



    Remember the missing drive cover? Well when I pulled off the front panel I found it! I found it mildly amusing that it managed to fall down inside of the case, during shipping, between the front panel and the actual case.

    The front panel is quite well design, the buttons aren't stuck to it so the front panel comes away without the risk of ripping cables as there's nothing attached to the front panel. It's pretty much empty as it's simply to allow air to enter the case. It's pretty much the only place for the air to enter too so fortunately there's a metal mesh over the fans to prevent dust from entering. Unfortunately though, the case only comes with one 120mm fan preinstalled to the back and to install a front fan, one would need to remove the mesh which is slotted into 8 slots (2 on each side) which is a little fiddly to fit back in. You can't install the fan from the inside of the case so you can't avoid this step unless you decide to go fanless. I decided to install one Xilence 120mm fan as I'm a cheap skate and didn't want to order another one. I was also unsure of the noise levels of the fan so didn't want to risk building a machine that sounds like a plane on take off.

    Fortunately the fan is relatively quiet when tuned down via motherboard fan settings and it still pushes enough air (I planned to go fanless for the CPU cooler). One annoying thing about the Xilence fan is that it has both the 3 pin header along with the 4 pin molex connector wired together so it's rather messy inside the case as 4 pin molex connectors are pretty fat but I guess one can't complain when it's pretty much the cheapest fan at only £3 delivered.

    The preinstalled fan is another story though, on normal speeds it's definitely audible and on lower speeds there's noticeable motor whine. Luckily with the case on the floor it's almost inaudible over ambient sound levels though.

    The walls of the case (this means the two side panels, the roof of the case, the floor of the case and partially the back of the case have a layer of sound insulation, which is probably why the PC is so quiet regardless of load levels for me.

    The quality of the case is superb for this price and I didn't see or meet any sharp edges at all. I recall reading that the paintwork on the case was poor and that it scratched easily somewhere but I feel it's excellent, perhaps I've just not had a premium steel ATX case yet to notice the difference and I didn't scratch the paintwork at all or feel that it was poorly coated. The front plastic bezel is also very strong and doesn't bend under strength.

    Now onto fitting the hardware....



    Here's the motherboard, the Asus P8H61-M PRO. Got it on a special offer from PC World at a brilliant price and it, along with the case, is pretty much the sole reason that I decided to do this budget build. The board supports SATA3 but as the H61 chipset itself doesn't support SATA3, it meant Asus had to add their own SATA3 chip and they did so with an ASMedia® ASM1061 controller to provide 2x SATA3 ports. I've run some SSD tests and unfortunately the controller is nowhere near as fast as Intel's controller but it's comfortably over SATA2 speeds so it's better to have it than to not have it. It's almost equivalent to SATA2.5 IMO. I could have bought a more expensive motherboard with a native SATA3 controller, but the SSD is plenty fast enough for me anyway. Surprisingly I haven't had any problems either which is odd considering it's not a native SATA3 controller combined with a SF SSD.

    The board also has a button/switch to overclock the integrated graphics but as I had a discrete graphics card, I didn't test that function. The BIOS allows for most settings but it refuses to boot with memory speeds that aren't support by the CPU, no matter the voltage or timings. This was rather frustrating when I was trying to run 1333mhz and 16000mhz before I realised the G530 didn't support them and I got stuck on a black screen and had to manually reboot the computer to get it out of the black screen.

    Here's the cooler:



    A full size 120mm fan tower cooler that unfortunately doesn't come with any fans as it's aimed at the fanless market. It does come with fan mounts for up to two fans for push pull config if one chooses to go that route. As it was an old cooler, I wasn't sure if it supported socket 1155/1156 but the seller told me it was newer stock and so it was refreshed with support for the socket. When I received the cooler I was happy to see that there was a sticker mentioning the support and opened it immediately to take a look at the accessories.

    However, there was only one bracket that supported socket 1366 and socket 775. I then looked at the supplied pushpins..



    Xigmatek were lazy. They didn't bother to make a backplate for socket 1155/1156 and decided to just make pushpins instead... I'm pretty sure most of you hate the pushpins as much as I do if not more so I won't tell you how terrible they are.

    Installing of the pushpins to the cooler was relatively simple and only required four screws.



    I fitted a 140mm fan (Thermalright TY-140) just to test the fan mounting system and it wasn't too hard, it was more fiddly than using the simple wire clip mounts though. Here the fan mounting system it uses includes little rubber tabs that fit into the fan hole and then slide onto a slot in the cooler, reducing vibration from the fan onto the cooler.

    Well here's the cooler setup on the motherboard, looks pretty dominating!

    Last edited by Ulti; 10-08-2012 at 05:57 PM.

  2. Received thanks from:

    Domestic_Ginger (14-08-2012),Pob255 (12-08-2012)

  3. #2
    Poor graduate. Ulti's Avatar
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    • Ulti's system
      • Motherboard:
      • AsRock B450M Pro4
      • CPU:
      • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
      • Memory:
      • Team Group Delta 32GB DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Palit GTX 1070 8GB GameRock
      • PSU:
      • SilverStone SX500-LG V2.0
      • Case:
      • Jonsbo UMX3 Tempered Glass Version
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • AOC Agon AG322QC4 31.5" QHD
      • Internet:
      • Plusnet Fibre Extra 80/20

    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco mATX Case review

    As the PSU hadn't arrived yet, I installed the motherboard in first and it went in simply enough without removing any additional parts of the case and the cooler just fit with only several mm of clearance. The GTX460 went in without issue too as it's quite a short card.



    I decided to go for this GTX460 as it was a pretty good price and reviews said it was quiet and cool, even though it was overclocked!

    The PSU finally arrived and I took it to the photo studio:

    It's a very short PSU at only 140mm long and has a 120mm fan which is very quiet. I decided on this PSU as it was 80PLUS Bronze rated and had 2x 6 pin PCI-E power cables which I need for the GTX460.



    Unfortunately when I received it, it didn't actually have 2x 6 pin PCI-E cables and only had one. Oddly enough it was a 6+2 pin PCI-E cable which makes no sense as they usually only come together with 6 pin cables as no graphics card requires 8 pin PCI-E cable for power on its own. The box also confirms this and says it has 1x 6/8 pin PCI-E cable. Not sure why this is the case as on XFX's website it also states that there are meant to be 2 PCI-E cables. Checking again, there seems to be a mistake, it states:

    Cable Connectors
    Fixed FDD:1
    Fixed Peripheral:3
    Fixed 6+2-pin PCI-E:1
    Fixed ATX12V / EPS12V:4+4 pin
    Fixed Motherboard Connector:20+4 Pin
    Fixed SATA:6
    Modular 6+2-pin PCI-E:1
    Modular 6-pin PCI-E:1
    I guess the modular part wasn't meant to be there, causing all the etailers to list the PSU as having 2x PCI-E cables.

    To install the PSU, one needs to remove the two support bars, the one running along the case from the front to the back and the one going from side to side.



    A bit fiddly but it doesn't take too long and the two support bars improve the overall strength of the case a lot. With the PSU installed, the tentacle monster has returned!

    After a bit of thinking and attempts at cable routing, I felt I did a good job:



    The two cable holders built into the case also help a lot with the cable routing and again, I was amazed at how this case could be so cheap but offer so much.

    Here's the SSD attached to the bracket:



    I just screwed it on directly as SSDs don't vibrate anyway so there was no need for the rubber supports.

    Here's the final build pic with the DVD drive and the right HDD bracket installed.



    I loved the placement of the right HDD bracket as it simply covers all the cables, even if you make a mess! Brilliant design IMO.

    And the final shot of the back:



    Not much to see as this ain't a car or a girl.

    The idle temperatures are roughly 30-40 degrees for the CPU depending on ambient and 50-60 on load for the CPU and 40-50 idle for the graphics and up to 80 degrees load on a constant 40% fan speed. The BIOS of the graphics card has a pretty sensitive fan profile and spins the fan up to around 75% when it reaches 60 degrees which is really cool anyway so I setup a fan profile myself in MSI Afterburner as I'm comfortable with the graphics card running between 70-80 degrees during load in order to ensure that my PC still stays silent during gaming. The reason for the large ranges in temperatures is because the weather in London has been all over this place this summer with lows of around 15 degrees and highs of almost 30 degrees. I'm pretty happy myself with the temperatures as the build is very quiet and inaudible from my normal sitting distance. I could probably add another Xilence 120mm fan, or two, to improve the temperatures further without more audible noise.

    Well here's the conclusion for the case for those who don't want to read so much:

    Pros:
    -One of the cheapest mATX cases
    -Soundproofing preinstalled
    -Can support up to three 120mm fans and comes with one preinstalled
    -Supports most of the biggest tower coolers
    -Tool less installation
    -Black interior
    -Supports long graphics cards
    -Lots of accessories
    -Build quality and structure seem strong

    Cons:
    -Using a big cooler prevents the use of one of the HDD brackets and a big graphics card could potentially cause a tight fit with the second HDD bracket
    -Fiddly to install front fans as you need to remove the mesh
    -No holes to route cables behind motherboard tray.
    -Some may prefer a bottom mounted PSU to ensure that the PSU draws cool air in
    -No instructions on how to use the tool less PCI slots

    As you can see, there aren't any major flaws with the case at all and there are so many things going for it. At the time of writing I only know of one other budget mATX case and that's the Fractal Design Core 1000 and on paper this easily beats it due to the fan support and sound proofing. The Fractal Design probably won't allow for the bigger tower coolers that this case supports either.

    I do have to mention that you can also have one 3.5" HDD on the case floor so if you have trouble installing the right HDD bracket for any reason, you can still use one HDD.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well that's the first build log finished, hoped you enjoyed the photos. For those interested, these photos were taken with my Panasonic GF3 with a 14mm f2.5 lens (it's my only lens at the moment) with white vinyl backdrop and a white hardboard for the floor for durability. As I'm a noob at photography I've only got two 55W daylight lamps with one lighting the background and the other for lighting the subject. Not bad for a camera that I paid £150 for and a lighting setup that cost less than £100 I feel. I used the dodge tool in photoshop to make the background a uniform white in the photos. I would love further tips to improve my photography so any criticism is welcome!

    The photos in the next few posts won't have all been from this camera as I only upgraded recently and before that I was using a more simple camera, the Samsung EX1 which was a normal digital compact with only a slightly bigger sensor and so some photos won't be so sharp or the colours may be more off than usual but I've tried to correct the photos using photoshop.
    Last edited by Ulti; 09-08-2012 at 01:43 AM.

  4. #3
    Poor graduate. Ulti's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
      • Memory:
      • Team Group Delta 32GB DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Palit GTX 1070 8GB GameRock
      • PSU:
      • SilverStone SX500-LG V2.0
      • Case:
      • Jonsbo UMX3 Tempered Glass Version
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • AOC Agon AG322QC4 31.5" QHD
      • Internet:
      • Plusnet Fibre Extra 80/20

    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco mATX Case Build + Review

    Sibling's ITX 1280x1024 "gaming and homework PC":
    Built in April/May 2012.

    This was the choice of hardware:

    Case: Lian Li PC-Q07 - £20 (Thanks to watercooled!)
    CPU: Celeron G530 - £34 (Scan)
    Motherboard: Biostar TH61 ITX - £43
    RAM: Mushkin 1333Mhz 4GB CL9 - £12 (Thanks to yamangman!)
    HDD: Samsung F1 500GB - Reusing (£32 Jul 2010 Scan)
    Graphics: Sapphire HD4670 512MB - £20 (2nd hand eBay)
    PSU: Seasonic S12II 330W Bronze PSU - Reusing (£34 Dec 2010 Scan)
    CPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 11 LP - Reusing (£17.50 Mar 2011 envizage)
    Accessories: USB3 Header Cable for front - £4.81 (eBay)

    Total cost exc OS: ~£217 if I've not missed anything out.

    Here are some pictures of the parts:




    You've probably all seen this little Lian Li PC-Q07 case before as it's been out for years now, but I love the design and shape of it. I'm not too fond of Lian Li's newest offerings. Lian Li have always been style over functuality though along with a high price tag but this was one of the cheapest cases at roughly £40-45 if I remember correctly.

    I love the brushed black aluminium:


    It really does remind me of the PCQ-11 that I had before.



    Many of you probably haven't seen the Biostar TH61 ITX board though and trust me, I researched every single H61 and H67 ITX board and this was one of the cheapest and although it doesn't have SATA3, it has USB3 at least, which was perfect as I won't be giving a SSD for my siblings to use any time soon. As they don't do homework they have plenty of time to wait for the PC to boot and for applications to load anyway. I don't want to rant but it seems like being the younger ones in the family is always the easiest. Obviously you lose responsibilities and choices but oh well, you can't have everything in this world.

    Anyway, back to the motherboard! I don't understand why Biostar always make their boards multicoloured; they have black, white, blue, red, orange. I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to make a rainbow coloured board! Similarly to most, if not all, other H61/67 ITX motherboards, the CPU socket is very close to the graphics card again. I wonder if it's really that hard for them to move it as everyone seems to just use that stock design for the CPU socket placement.

    As you can see though, I'm only running a single stick of 4GB DDR3 RAM as being a student, I can't afford to spend money getting 8GB of DDR3 RAM for every PC even if it's at it's all time lowest in price.



    Sorry for the blurry shot above! Didn't take another shot of this part I'm afraid so I'll have to use that photo. I installed the CPU, RAM and cooler outside of the case as ITX cases are so packed you can barely fit one hand in there, let alone work with two!

    The cooler itself has two heatpipes and I waited ages for it to first hit UK retail back in 2011 as it was one of the first low profile coolers that were relatively small and allowed the use of graphics card and regular RAM. I ended up paying a bit of a premium for the cooler as I could not stand the Intel stock cooler and when I got this I was very happy with the sound levels. Nowadays there's a lot more choice with stuff like the new Noctua low profile cooler and Coolermaster's GeminII M4 cooler.



    As this is the predecessor of the PC-Q11, the motherboard is mounted the same way onto the right side panel. IIRC I left the side panel on and just put the motherboard backplate in and placed the board down and screwed it in with no issues, I think it may cause fitting/alignment issues if you unscrewed the side panel and mount the motherboard outside the case.



    Unfortunately once a 3.5" HDD is installed, you have almost no space to fit the graphics card. Lian Li.. Why do you make such beautiful cases so impractical?

    This meant I had to remove the HDD cage and unfortunately for me, it was riveted on... I had no drill so guess what I did? I use several different sized screwdrivers and turned into it for half an hour just to get four rivets out. Not sure if it was a good idea or not because although the rivets came out cleanly, I broke two screwdrivers and the palm of my hand hurt for a few days after that.

    In the photo you can also see that the front USB header cable was not actually long enough to reach the motherboard headers... Fail again Lian Li. Luckily I found longer USB3 replacements for only £4.81 on eBay from a seller in China. Oddly enough it turned up on my doorstep a couple of days later and I noticed it had been sent from an address in the UK. Quite odd but I won't complain about that. 5 stars to that seller.

    I ended up supergluing the hard drive cage to the front of the case as I didn't want to spend money on different solvents and the superglue I had was meant to be good for everything too (it's called Loctite Super Glue). I put the HDD in to weigh down the hard drive cage to allow the joint to bond together and it did turn out quite well as you can see here:



    I actually planned to use a HD4770 that I had but unfortunately it wouldn't fit as it was too long and it would hit the USB header cable so I had to sell it and get a HD4670 instead. Thankfully at 1280x1024, it was good enough for the games my brother plays (I think he plays Minecraft, SD Gundam and a load of other random stuff). Theoretically I could remove the USB header cable and move the HDD slightly up to allow the use of a longer graphics card but front USB ports are very useful and moving the HDD further up would make it almost impossible to connect the SATA data and power cables.

    It still looks rather roomy for an ITX case actually. That is until you put the PSU in...



    Here are the final shots:









    (Cropping fail on the last photo )
    Last edited by Ulti; 09-08-2012 at 01:38 AM.

  5. #4
    Poor graduate. Ulti's Avatar
    Join Date
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    • Ulti's system
      • Motherboard:
      • AsRock B450M Pro4
      • CPU:
      • AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
      • Memory:
      • Team Group Delta 32GB DDR4
      • Storage:
      • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Palit GTX 1070 8GB GameRock
      • PSU:
      • SilverStone SX500-LG V2.0
      • Case:
      • Jonsbo UMX3 Tempered Glass Version
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 10 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • AOC Agon AG322QC4 31.5" QHD
      • Internet:
      • Plusnet Fibre Extra 80/20

    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco mATX Case review

    Parent's web streaming, browsing and general office work ITX build.
    Built in May 2012.

    As usual, hardware list first...

    Case: Antec ISK100 - Reusing (£62 Sep 2011 Scan)
    CPU: Pentium G620 - £35 (Thanks to DDY!)
    Motherboard: AsRock H67M-ITX Reusing (£70 Sep 2011 Kikatek)
    RAM: PNY 1333Mhz 8GB CL9 - £20 (Play)
    SSD: Crucial C300 64GB - Reusing (£46 Aug 2011 Crucial Refurb)
    Graphics: Onboard Integrated HD2000
    PSU: Included with case
    CPU Cooler: Gelid Slim Silence iPlus - £22 (CCL)
    Accessories: 2x RAM Heatsinks - £1.58 (eBay)

    Seems rather empty in the picture...



    And here's the case:





    The meshed design along with vents on two of the four sides means that airflow will be excellent here.

    The case itself is mostly made of plastic with only an inner steel frame, explaining how Antec manage to sell this case along with the PicoPSU and adapter for only £62.



    Here you can see there's very little material at all in the actual case. Being such a small structure means that it's strong though. One thing you may notice straight away is that the cables are absurdly long, surely Antec could have shortened them?

    Here's the PicoPSU board along with the power adapter:





    The PicoPSU board is rated for up to 80W itself, whilst the adapter is rated for up to 90W. This means that the maximum load you can run would be 80W without the PC shutting down straight away.

    There are two SATA connectors, a 4 pin connector, the 24 pin connector, along with a molex connector - enough for any hardware in this case. The adapter is quite small, much smaller than my 120W counterparts at least and is made by Delta electronics which is one of the better power adapter OEM AFAIK.

    I got very lucky with the RAM as I bought it off Play thinking it was a misprice but decided to try my luck anyway. Was rather surprised when my order was accepted and when the RAM turned up on my door.

    However I was rather worried when I saw this:



    Yup, the RAM was simply packaged in cardboard and placed in a jiffy bag and sent to me... When I put the RAM in and booted up the PC fortunately it worked fine, but I noticed only 4GB of RAM was recognised so I restarted the PC and the same thing happened. I then decided to reseat the RAM and that seemed to fix the problem and I did some stress testing to be sure. I guess I was lucky.

    For some odd reason, the RAM was running hotter than any other DDR3 RAM that I've used before and I did check that it was on 1.5V too. This prompted me to get some cheap RAM heatsinks which I found for £1.58 on eBay luckily and they arrived a couple of weeks later. I can barely post anything for £1.58 in the UK!

    Anyway, here are the heatsinks:



    4 clips and 4 sides of metal with the thermal sticky pads already applied.



    Was a bit fiddly to install as the clip would only tighten the top and not the bottom initially, but it didn't take much more than a few minutes to fully fit them.



    Not bad for 8GB of DDR3 RAM totalling £21.58!



    This case can hold up to two 2.5" HDDs, so that's one SSD and one storage drive for most people but my parents don't really store much data so a 64GB SSD is enough for them. Just saw the Kingston 128GB SSD for £50 over at eBuyer too but I don't think they really need more space anyway.





    Here's the motherboard setup with the CPU, RAM and heatsink. I love how tidy everything is without anything sticking out. The CPU cooler is only 28mm tall! Roughly the same height as the standard RAM next to it.

    It's not as quiet as the Arctic Cooling one, but it's quieter than a 120mm running at 1000RPM (or any fan for that matter). Not noticeable unless you put your ear next to it.

    Here's everything fitted inside the case:



    Unfortunately there's a widespread QC issue with the case in which the motherboard backplate doesn't correctly align, causing problems with fitting the motherboard in and lining up the screws for the standoffs. Fortunately I can force the motherboard in without too much strength but I'm surprised how the cases passed QC with such a big issue.



    When zoomed in the wires look a total mess, I might consider getting a PicoPSU that doesn't require a board but the PC runs fine anyway so I guess I'm just going a bit over the top.



    You could say I used the space in the case pretty well, there are barely any gaps to fit anything else in the case! Fortunately air can still flow though fine though.



    The side fan is very quiet once I've setup the fan control, and although it doesn't push much air, it keeps everything in the case cool as it blows over everything.

    All in all, not the easiest case to work in due to the small size, but it's a brilliant budget case and is good for low powered users as a PSU is included and airflow won't be a problem due to the side mounted fan and the ton of vents/holes.

    Unfortunately I think they've discontinued this and instead changed the stand to a VESA mount and called it the ISK110 (I assume they fixed the motherboard alignment issue too) and they've also kept the same price. Probably customer demand but I like to be able to reach my PC easily on my desk, rather then go behind the monitor to turn it on or to get to a USB port.

    Besides the backplate alignment issue, I would definitely recommend this case.
    Last edited by Ulti; 10-08-2012 at 09:27 PM.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco mATX Case Build + Review

    Journey of ITX cases

    Size comparisons!



    The ATX case above is actually one of the smaller ATX cases as it's a cheap budget case from eBuyer that I bought back in 2009 (IIRC).
    Last edited by Ulti; 09-08-2012 at 01:50 AM.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Modding

    Future post.
    Last edited by Ulti; 15-01-2013 at 02:46 AM.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    The pictures don't load!


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    The pictures don't load!
    Ah seriously? I switched to using SkyDrive but perhaps I'm doing something wrong... Guess I'll reupload with ImageShack.

    EDIT: Can anyone tell me if the photos work now?
    Last edited by Ulti; 09-08-2012 at 11:05 AM.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Working now, read half of it, will read the rest later. Very interesting read

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Nice read, thanks for taking the time to post your log.

    Lovely builds there mate.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    I saw this and just had to post a few pics up Not quite finished my HTPC (I need a PSU and a case but whilst testing I was blown away!!)

    I had to buy a few things for both of them so after a little shop at Scan:



    Now for a replacement... In with the new and out with the old....



    There's just such a difference between them, its soooo like chalk and cheese!!
    Here we go with the new server....











    Now for the case... Something I've had a long time... I think since I have joined this forum and a bit longer as well I think!!







    Now for a few built up shots....







    Now we had a Thermaltake 650w PSU in there to begin with, but now I've swapped it out for an Enermax 350w.. I needed a few more hard drive connections and got that all connected up.. It currently looks something a little like this...
    Extra SATA power connections, PSU and some more ram:







    And now for the rest of it....







    I think it might need some short SATA cables rather than using the 30cm ones, so if anyone has some small ones or knows where I can get a few cheap, then I'd appreciate it!!
    Now the one of the biggest things for me was about power consumption on both PC's I've built and whilst having the 650w in there, the wattage that it was pulling from the socket at Windows 7's desktop was around the 70 to 75w mark. With this new PSU put in, it was hitting just 25w for the same setup.. For the Command and Conquer game I play online, it hits just 60w at a push, were as before it was sometimes touching over a 100w. Now it might not sound a lot but if I was too leave the rig on a lot of the time, these savings would definitely make for me a big saving on my electric bill...

    Now I am just so happy with this build, its doing everything I wanted it too and more besides!! Its also very damn quiet so its even nicer to leave on during the day when I've worked nights or at night when I'm home... Now, onto the HTPC....

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    The HTPC rig...

    Originally I was going to use this setup as the Server, but after a bit of thought and such, I decided this would be best of doing what it's built for... Extremely low power consumption!! Here's a few pics of the hardware....













    As you can see with the power meter, in the bios running with just using 22w... I thought that was impressive since it was being powered but a 650w unit!!
    Now when I was originally testing it as before, I was using a 650w PSU (a different one to whats in the server) and it looked really good for how much power it was drawing.. I had an older 350w FSP that I was going to use for a socket A rig but that quickly became null and void when I had a AMD 64 rig spare, so that's now used instead!!
    Anyways, whilst testing the difference in the PSU's was a bit amount.. I'll go into details if people are interested, if not, lets just say the 650w seemed very energy efficient.. When the 350w was plugged in, it did make some differences.. When it was on in standby (turned on at the plug and PSU but not turned on like showing a screen etc) it was pulling just 10w... With everything thrown in it (which was - 8Gb ram, SATA 1Tb Sammy F3, Crucial M4 64Gb SSD, Asus D2X PCIE sound card it was using around the 45w mark at the Windows 7 desktop..
    Now again putting the Enermax in, again with the same configuration, it made a massive difference... With it turned on at the plug and not in bios/booting up etc, it was using 17w. But when it was turned on, it was using just 16w at the Windows desktop.. I have seen it draw as little as 14w in Windows...
    Now since it had to play back a Blu Ray, I tested it breifly with Iron Man and wow was I impressed... To run it whilst the film was on it was pulling just 22w to 25w... I've no idea what my PS3 uses to play back Blu Ray's but I will test it out and let you all know if you want to know...

    Anyways, here's a few more pics of it:





    I need to get a case for it, as at the moment I haven't got one for it, so it'll be staying on the test bench... If there's anything you'd like to ask, for me to test or whatever, just drop me a line!!

    I'm extremely happy with both rigs and I will post up a spec list for each, when I can remember what the heck is in them both!!

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Great thread and builds, going by pics (will read properly later)!

    Trying to get a compact case tidy is near impossible; as long as it works, you're not blocking any fans/breaking anything and it's cool enough, just leave it be!

    I don't understand why the front panel cables need to be so massive in the Lian-li!

    Oh and pics seem to be working fine for me BTW.
    Last edited by watercooled; 12-08-2012 at 11:11 PM.

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Great builds Ulti

    I know this might be a bit tricky but can you do a close up photo of that mesh?

    I've seen a few "dust filters" like this recently and I've yet to see a really good one, the solid materiel between holes tends to be quite large (rough estimate is under 50% of the area is holes) and to make it worse the holes tend to be quite large.
    This all means they can be a bit restrictive on air flow and only protect against fluff not actual fine dust.

    I'd like to see what that one is like

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    I have managed to read all of these, and I have enjoyed all of them. Pics all appeared fine.

    The Lian Li case does look the most elegant imo, but judging by a few of the difficulties that you had when building it do say that it is a little 'style over substance'.

    My favorite build has to be the Antec ISK 100 build. It baffles me how you managed to squeeze all of the components in, and looking at the pics that cabling must have been an almighty pain to configure!

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    Re: Mini ITX Builds + Short Ace Ecco 250 mATX Case Build + Review

    Quote Originally Posted by UseItNow View Post
    Nice read, thanks for taking the time to post your log.

    Lovely builds there mate.
    Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed them.

    Quote Originally Posted by phill8800GT View Post
    I saw this and just had to post a few pics up Not quite finished my HTPC (I need a PSU and a case but whilst testing I was blown away!!)

    -Snip-
    Thanks for taking the time to share your build! Your build is definitely worthy of it's own thread though as it probably won't get all the views it could be getting in here.

    You could probably find 15cm SATA cables but I'm not sure where the cheapest place would be as most places charge delivery. Might be worth checking places like eBay, Amazon or Kikatek.

    It's amazing how much difference the right PSU makes! I think I've got a bit too much power but at least that allows for upgrades. 350W is probably find for my build but 450W isn't too overpowered (it's really the Seasonic 520W though!).

    I'm not too fond of your massive tower case but as it's something you had I can't really say anything, nothing better than a free case! It really is lovely how quiet a system is when it doesn't have a graphics card and case fans and other stuff. When I first turned on this PC I realised I had almost forgotten how a real PC sounded like as I could always hear the graphics card when gaming.

    Quote Originally Posted by phill8800GT View Post
    The HTPC rig...

    -Snip-
    Oo, where did you get the test bench from? Did you build it yourself?

    Have you considered getting a PicoPSU btw? They're pretty efficient and they're tiny and silent too! PSUs are pretty silent now but one less fan does help with noise levels.


    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Great thread and builds, going by pics (will read properly later)!

    Trying to get a compact case tidy is near impossible; as long as it works, you're not blocking any fans/breaking anything and it's cool enough, just leave it be!

    I don't understand why the front panel cables need to be so massive in the Lian-li!

    Oh and pics seem to be working fine for me BTW.
    Thanks for checking it out! I'm really OCD with having tidy builds, I even soldered and sleeved my own cables for the PicoPSU as you'll see later. (Will update when I have time!)

    I've always wanted to do a watercooling build but it's far too expensive and probably even more time consuming but they do look very neat and tidy IMO.

    Lian Li always like to make things hard for the builder for some reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Great builds Ulti

    I know this might be a bit tricky but can you do a close up photo of that mesh?

    I've seen a few "dust filters" like this recently and I've yet to see a really good one, the solid materiel between holes tends to be quite large (rough estimate is under 50% of the area is holes) and to make it worse the holes tend to be quite large.
    This all means they can be a bit restrictive on air flow and only protect against fluff not actual fine dust.

    I'd like to see what that one is like
    Thanks Pob.

    Sure, does this help?



    That was shot with my 14mm lens and I wasn't quite in focus so it's not the best photo. I've actually just received my new 45mm lens and I could take a closer up photo if you would like?

    Perhaps I could put a ruler next to it and take a photo as there's nothing to compare it to in terms of relative size.

    Do you reckon these mesh filters work better or the sponge filters? I remember in my old old NZXT M59, it used sponge filters and the case never really got dusty (but I always changed hardware around as I found parts on eBay) whereas all my other tower cases have had these mesh filters and they've gotten dusty. Are there other types of dust filters?


    Quote Originally Posted by Zerox View Post
    I have managed to read all of these, and I have enjoyed all of them. Pics all appeared fine.

    The Lian Li case does look the most elegant imo, but judging by a few of the difficulties that you had when building it do say that it is a little 'style over substance'.

    My favorite build has to be the Antec ISK 100 build. It baffles me how you managed to squeeze all of the components in, and looking at the pics that cabling must have been an almighty pain to configure!
    Cookie to you sir for reading everything! Glad you enjoyed it.

    Happy to hear that the pics are working now. It seems I have to set them to public view on SkyDrive and then everyone can see them, didn't know it was set to private by default. That's good for security and privacy though.

    I've always been a fan of Lian Li cases due to the brushed aluminium look, but they've never been perfect to me. I had the PC-Q11 and it was more practical than this PC-Q07 though, but it was the successor so I guess Lian Li did listen to some people's opinions. I wish I had the PC-Q11 now though just to compare sizes. I could have done a gaming PC with the PC-Q11 again, but it's much cheaper to go with what I chose. ITX boards still aren't as cheap as mATX boards and the cases are roughly the same price still, if not more expensive.

    The Antec ISK100 is probably the smallest case I've worked in, I'll need to do some quick calculations in terms of size with the cases when I next update this thread.
    Last edited by Ulti; 14-08-2012 at 01:00 AM.

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