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[Build Log] Cooler Master 120 Elite Budget Build

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Pictures of the inside





Since this photo was taken the wires to the far left have been pulled up a little higher so that they are barely visible now.





Pictures of it in use





CPU: Intel Pentium G620 2.6GHz Dual-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock H77M-ITX Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive (Already owned)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case
Power Supply: SST-ST50F-P

The CPU is a stop-gap choice; later on, when I have more money, I shall upgrade to an i5. My reasoning was that I could spring for an i3 now and stay in budget, or I could wait and get a vastly superior CPU - for my needs (RTS's) - later on. The processor has surprised me if I am honest, I have played several 5000 men battles on Napoleon Total War - on ultra graphics settings, bar AA - and it has performed adequately. I have not felt any FPS drops although I will measure it later. I have also played Mass Effect and that has been fine; constant 60 FPS. The only problem was that the CPU was pretty much maxed out and the CPU cooler was extremely audible. I have just enabled the smaller, side fan to see if this has any impact, I shall test it out and get back to you with the results.

Originally I had my heart set on the Fractal Design Node 304, however, I realised that I could not put it on my shelf so I abandoned that. My next thought was to get a Sugo 05, however, after some research I found that the 450W version tended to develop a 'chirp' I looked at the 300W version but was put off by the obvious 'cheapness'. The Cooler Master 120 has turned out to be a great purchase; it does not feel like a budget case - the whole thing is painted black, even the inside; the reason why I was put of the 300W Sugo 05. There is reasonable cable management - the various cables for the power button etc. are already tied down to the floor of the case which was a nice touch. The only niggle that I have is the stock fans, they have a slight 'flutter', it is not that noticeable, but I will eventually change them, along the with CPU cooler to make the computer as quiet as possible.

I have found that placing the fan in front of the hard drive cage, closer to the motherboard, helps to keep the noise down; overall it is quieter both when idle and when the processor is fully loaded. The processor now idles at 47 degrees and the hard drives at 23 degrees, a fall of 3/4 degrees and a rise of 2 degrees, respectively.

I am not sure how the smaller, 80mm fan would fare; I have removed it as that side of the case is flush against the wall, so that it can sit on my shelf, however, I have read that it works well as an ad-hoc exhaust fan.

Next on my list of things to do are:

  • Upgrade to an i5
  • Replace my 3.5" with a 2.5" or and SSD
  • Replace the stock CPU cooler. I have kept it quiet by altering the BIOS options. Hopefully this will suffice until the AXP 100 comes out and I will replace it when I upgrade the CPU


I have tidied up the cable management in the case and I believe that I am at a point where I can no longer improve it, of course any suggestions would be welcomed.

Any questions or photo requests are welcome.
Edited by Goldentoad - 12/15/12 at 4:24pm
post #2 of 7
You've done an admirable job managing the cables from the PSU, especially since there's no dedicated place to stash excess cabling thumb.gif
 
HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
Power
910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
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Reply
 
HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
Power
910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
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post #3 of 7
Looks great man! The only thing is since you got a H77 board you limited yourself to no overclocking. So make sure if you get a bigger chip, get the best non-k series chip!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BodenM View Post

You've done an admirable job managing the cables from the PSU, especially since there's no dedicated place to stash excess cabling thumb.gif

Thank you, I am of the mindset that I don't need an ODD in an ITX build so it's a great place to shove the cables in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

Looks great man! The only thing is since you got a H77 board you limited yourself to no overclocking. So make sure if you get a bigger chip, get the best non-k series chip!

Thank you, I don't plan on overclocking in this case; even with a relatively uninterrupted airflow I can't cool the CPU well enough. I don't think that another CPU cooler will significantly reduce the temperatures that I am getting.

I am considering getting an i3 as I'm not such a heavy gamer anymore and the lower TDP would make it easier to cool. I don't play any really CPU demanding games such as BF3 or Metro 2033 and even the Total War series are perfectly happy to run on my current CPU on Ultra bar AA. The only game that I'm really struggling with is Mass Effect. What are your thoughts on the matter?
Edited by Goldentoad - 12/19/12 at 2:36pm
post #5 of 7
I have this case, the ODD tray is the only real place to store cables, haha.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldentoad View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by BodenM View Post

You've done an admirable job managing the cables from the PSU, especially since there's no dedicated place to stash excess cabling thumb.gif

Thank you, I am of the mindset that I don't need an ODD in an ITX build so it's a great place to shove the cables in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

Looks great man! The only thing is since you got a H77 board you limited yourself to no overclocking. So make sure if you get a bigger chip, get the best non-k series chip!

Thank you, I don't plan on overclocking in this case; even with a relatively uninterrupted airflow I can't cool the CPU well enough. I don't think that another CPU cooler will significantly reduce the temperatures that I am getting.

I am considering getting an i3 as I'm not such a heavy gamer anymore and the lower TDP would make it easier to cool. I don't play any really CPU demanding games such as BF3 or Metro 2033 and even the Total War series are perfectly happy to run on my current CPU on Ultra bar AA. The only game that I'm really struggling with is Mass Effect. What are your thoughts on the matter?
I'm going to assume you're running the standard Intel boxed cooler, correct? If so, basically ANY cooler will show a noticeable improvement in temps, especially if you get a CLC, like the Antec 620, Corsair H60 SE, Coolermaster Seidon 120, etc., you WILL see a difference in temps, as the radiator sits directly behind the case's 120mm intake. In regards to the i3 vs i5 vs i7 choice, I'd probably grab an i5-3570, or if your budget will go far enough, an i5-3570K and a Z77 board (like the ASRock Z77E-ITX), then have some fun tweaking and overclocking for the best performance.
 
HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
Power
910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
  hide details  
Reply
 
HP Veer
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 ASUS P5G41T-M LX3 ATI Radeon HD4870X2 OCZ 4GB DDR3 Gold 1333MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 160GB Thermaltake Frio OCK Windows 7 Ultimate 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS MW221 Razer Arctosa Silverstone Strider Plus 600W Silverstone Sugo SG09 
MouseAudioAudioOther
Logitech Performance Mouse MX Roccat Kave ASUS Xonar DGX PCIe Silverstone AP181 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Qualcomm MSM7230 Proprietary HP Qualcomm Adreno 205 512MB LPDDR 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
8GB NAND HP WebOS 2.1.2 2.6" LCD Slide-out keyboard 
Power
910mAh Li-ion 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i5-3570K ASUS P8Z77-M PRO Radeon HD 6850 Intel HD 4000 
RAMHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Corsair Vengeance 8GB DDR3 Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB LG generic SATA DVD writer Corsair H50 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Samsung 32" LCD TV Razer Black Widow Ultimate FSP Hexa Series 500W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Thermaltake Armor A30 Logitech Performance Mouse M950 Glass table. Problem? Roccat Kave 5.1 headset 
Other
5x system fans (1x 92mm, 2x 60mm, 1x 200mm, 1x ... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BodenM View Post

I'm going to assume you're running the standard Intel boxed cooler, correct? If so, basically ANY cooler will show a noticeable improvement in temps, especially if you get a CLC, like the Antec 620, Corsair H60 SE, Coolermaster Seidon 120, etc., you WILL see a difference in temps, as the radiator sits directly behind the case's 120mm intake. In regards to the i3 vs i5 vs i7 choice, I'd probably grab an i5-3570, or if your budget will go far enough, an i5-3570K and a Z77 board (like the ASRock Z77E-ITX), then have some fun tweaking and overclocking for the best performance.

I am indeed running the stock cooler. I am looking at the AXP-100 when it is released; I will swap it out when I upgrade my processor. I am reticent to opt for an AIO water-cooling system as I do not like the idea of water being so close to my components - probably irrational - and I cannot relinquish my 3.5" drive just yet. I cannot afford to change just yet.

Thank you for your advice regarding the CPU. One question, would I be better off going for the i3 over a gimped i5 such as the 3550?

EDIT: I have flipped the PSU around, so that it is drawing heat from the motherboard and exhausting it out the back of the PSU. I have gone from having the CPU idle at 55 to 40 degrees C. It is also whisper quiet, the only audible fan is the 120mm Cooler Master intake.
Edited by Goldentoad - 12/30/12 at 4:51am
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