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[BUILD LOG] CM Elite 110 APU, F2-A88XN, Enermax Liqtech 120X, HyperX Beast

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Going SMALL for this build. The goal is to pack a bunch of components into the 15 L volume of the Cooler Master Elite 110--if they'll all fit!--and then see how fast they'll go. Just like everybody here, right? thumb.gif

First post is for discussion and reviews of components, second is for assembly, and third is for benchmarking. I will update them with pics and results as I make my way through this one.

The boss is paying, so I got myself some sweet new components for this one. The requisite box picture comes first:



First off, the processor: I went with an APU because I've had a blast overclocking the A8-3870K. I like the challenge of balancing CPU and graphics OCs in the same TDP, and they really reward a good memory overclock as well. Chose the 6800K because it just doesn't seem like Kaveri is ready for prime time yet with almost nothing able to leverage HSA, and I like the higher clock speeds in Richland even if IPC and efficiency are a little worse. The Gigabyte FM2+ mobo is so I'm ready for a Kaveri APU if/when I feel like it.

Here's my baby:



The case was dictated by necessity. I'm in a small house and this is a second computer primarily for work (actually more like a 10th but the others are all bench mobos in the attic tongue.gif ) and my main rig is in a Fractal Design Define R4 next to my desk, so for space and domestic tranquility I needed it to be really small. I chose the Elite 110 because I wanted something that could take a full size PSU, a radiator for a CLC, and an HD 6670 for dual graphics (since I happen to have a used Sapphire Ultimate available, seen in the pic above on one of the boxes), but would be no bigger than absolutely necessary.

Unboxed:



It's good--simple and understated. The depth is a little deceptive, as you can see that there are overhangs out the back for the PSU and card brackets:



The PSU is the Corsair AX760i:



Nice kit with this one. It includes a 14 AWG AC power cable rated for 15 A, a good selection of modular cables, mounting screws, several cable ties, and the Corsair Link for software monitoring of the digital power parameters. We'll see how that does. Some hilarious touches: love the black velvet bag, makes me feel like I should be getting a bottle of Crown Royal with it. And there are 2, count 'em, TWO floppy power adapters! Ready for anything, this one. laugher.gif

I went with the Liqtech 120X for the closed-loop cooler as it's one of the best out there for its size:



Man, that radiator is THICK. Here's a profile shot. Hope that translates into some nice temps on the OC:



That may pose some problems with fitment, but we'll see. Nice kit with this one as well: all the necessary AMD/Intel mounting hardware including plenty of screws, two 120 mm fans with a PWM splitter cable, and a tube of thermal grease. The block plate looks great:



The RAM is Kingston's HyperX Beast 2x8GB kit, rated for 2400 MHz at CL11. No experience with HyperX, I've always used the excellent G.Skill TridentX 2400 MHz CL9 kit in my Haswell bench rig, so I'm very curious to see how this kit stands up. It's certainly got some style, though, not that anyone will see it:



Mobo is Gigabyte GA-F2A88XN-WiFi. I haven't been able to find any good reviews on this one, so we'll see how it does. I was limited to a single vendor because this was a work purchase, and this was the only mITX FM2+ board they had with adjustable voltages, so there you go:



Unboxed, this board doesn't have a particularly impressive kit, but I guess I can't really complain at less than $100. Just a manual, WiFi antenna, back plate, and 2 SATA cables:



I'll admit I'm a little dubious. But the GA-A75-UD4H is a monster Llano OC board, so I'm hoping that the pedigree is passed down to this one.

Lastly, the add-ins. The Samsung 840 Pro 256GB needs no introduction and is probably the best SSD on the market pound-for-pound. And the HD 6670 for Dual Graphics when we get there. I also have a passive HD 7750 I might try with it just to see if I can dual it as well even though it's not officially supported.

Okay, time to get started!
Edited by MrBreeze - 10/1/14 at 8:12pm
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post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
So on to assembly...I love this pic because it shows everything that has to go in this thing:



And now after a short vacation delay, we're building! Here's the disassembled case with the front panel:



A 120 mm fan (part no. A12025-12CB-3EN-F1) is included with the case, seen attached on the left. It's a seven-blade fan very similar in appearance to the Blade Master 120s that are used with the Hyper 212 coolers, but it is 3-pin only and runs at a fixed 1200 rpm. A pass-through Molex adapter is included. I will likely use the Enermax (ELC-LT120HP) fans instead. They have 9 sickle-shaped blades, look like they'll move more air, and use a combination of a 3-position speed switch at the fan hub and PWM to run between 600-2500 rpm.

There is also a removable plate that runs across the top of the case that helps with rigidity and can mount 2 x 2.5 in drives, as we'll see.

Here is the empty cage with standoffs in place (included):



And here is the mobo with the RAM, CPU and cooler back plate installed, ready to drop in:



First test fit:



At this point, it looks like everything will fit. But this is without cabling or the 6670, and there may or may not be clearance for the second fan inside the case.

Now we're dealing with cooler installation. The Enermax Liqtech 120X is well supplied with accessories and instructions. But the back plate is a bit of a pain to install.

It uses a plastic square spacer for the back side of the socket with four screws that pass through the back plate with flat areas on one side of each shank at the base so that they will not spin when you tighten them down from the other side. These are passed through from below, through the back plate and then the motherboard, and then held in place by friction with plastic spacers attached from above--those black cylinders placed over the screws in the shot of the mobo.

But the screws are finicky and move around a bit because the back plate does not sit flush against the board, and it's tricky to get them to pass through smoothly and stay in place. Once you do and tighten them down with the black plastic cylinders, everything is kosher.

But why not just use the same friction mechanism to hold the screws in place within the back plate? So you just push the screws through and then they stay. It would make it go much more smoothly. Two other coolers I've used recently, the Thermalright Macho rev. A and the Antec Kuhler 620, both use this, and it's much more convenient. It wasn't such a big deal with a little ITX board, but I could see it being more of a pain with ATX.

The cold plate/pump assembly attach to the back plate screws with two metal brackets. As you can see in my initial picture from the first post, the Intel brackets are attached by default. To change them, you need a sturdy Philips #0 screwdriver; a standard #2 will be too big. I say sturdy because I snapped the tip off one changing them out. The screws are that tight at first.

After that, it's pretty straightforward: drop the pump assembly onto the four screws and tighten down four spring-loaded nuts to snug it into place. Here we are ready to drop it in:



I used the included Enermax thermal grease. I've never used it before, but it got a great result in the round up over at Hardware Secrets.

Attaching the radiator was a little trickier. There are aluminum brackets that run along the top and bottom of the radiator, with holes to use long M3 fan screws to attach the fans. Unfortunately, two of the eight screw holes were drilled too small. So I had to use one of the (thankfully steel) screws as a tap to widen out the holes before the screws would thread properly. See those shiny screw holes on the bottom bracket in the pic?



Originally they looked like the ones on top, covered with black paint. Now the aluminum is exposed after I've tapped them out. So yeah, maybe some quality control issues with Enermax's product.

Once that was dealt with, I also had problems lining up fan, case, and radiator holes to get them mounted together. I tried for probably 30 minutes to horse them into place together unsuccessfully before stupid me realized that the radiator brackets are adjustable. See that profile pic of the radiator and fan I showed in the first post? I'll repeat it here for reference:



Those are screws at either end of the Enermax logo. They can be loosened to adjust the position of the fan screw holes, then tightened back down later. Which is what I did after I figured it out... doh.gif

That dealt with, the cooler is in:



And the PSU still fits! I'm leaving the second fan out for extra space until the cables are in. Which brings us to cable management, which is going to be the devil with this build. devilsmiley.gif

One nice thing is that the Elite 110 has many tie down points for cable ties. There are a total of seven surrounding the motherboard on the floor of the case, visible in the pic above, and several more on the front behind the front panel cover. The case and the power supply include several small black zip ties, so I am well supplied.

The first thing I did was to install the motherboard power cables and then route the front panel cables into the case. I routed the front panel header cables (power and LEDs) along the outside of the case front beneath the cooler fan. The fan cable went along with these into the right front side of the case. I routed the USB 3.0 cable (wow are those things a pain) into the left front case opening and then beneath the radiator over toward the right side of the case in the pic below. I routed the front audio cable straight back into the case with the USB 3.0 cable and then down the left side toward its header:



Not a great pic but it gives an overview. Here's a better one zoomed in a little:



So it's definitely looking chaotic in there. Next, I added a PWM splitter for the single remaining fan header (the other one is powering the Enermax pump) and the Corsair Link cable to the USB 2.0 header. Not sure why that cable is in two parts when it all just needs to connect to the PSU anyway. Different cables for different PSUs maybe, with the same link module? Anyway, here's a shot showing the Link and the right side of the case:



I routed the Link and cable back beneath the radiator and over to run with the EPS12V cable up to the PSU on the left because things are definitely crowded now on the right.

And then I hit my first major setback. The second fan doesn't fit. I attempted to place it at this point, and those cool heat spreaders on the HyperX Beast that no one will see once this rig is closed up are just a few mm too high for the inner fan to line up. So that sucks a bit and will probably limit my max OC. Here's how close it was:



You can see the RAM on the right just pushing that fan up a leettle bit too high. I can always open it up later and add some lower profile RAM with the second fan if there's need.

Still had to add SATA cables as well (I dropped in 2 in case I want to add a drive later). Those were placed next, and then I zip-tied the exterior cables into place and attached the front panel. Once I had as much slack as I was going to need or get in the case, I looped zip ties around the cable groups inside the case in preparation to tie everything down permanently, seen here:



And then, before zipping everything down tight, I test-fitted the HD 6670. And it fits with plenty of clearance for the power supply! With room to the left to mount an 80 mm fan if it's needed for cooling down the road:



Arrrgh, my second setback. madsmiley.png I put too much pressure on the USB 3.0 cable to try to route it with the others, and I forced the plug out of the socket, bending a pin. When I tried to bend it back, of course it snapped off.

Plug fixed now though, so we're back in business. And the build is done! I added a second fan for better cooling, 80 mm PWM on a splitter over the HD 6670, this was a max 3800 RPM from the parts bin, I think a Nidec or something along those lines. It is secondary on the splitter with the

Final steps were:
1. Zipped down cables with enough slack on the power cables to attach them to the PSU.
2. Attached the SSDs to the overhead rack for the drives.
3. Slid in the PSU and hooked up the cables.
4. Screwed down the PSU and the overhead rack.

Here's a final assembled pic before dropping on the case cover:



And here it is all badged up and running!



Everything fits with the case cover on, and it POSTed right up, so that deserves a drink! cheers.gif
Edited by MrBreeze - 10/15/14 at 6:27pm
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
And benchmarks when we're ready!
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
USB pin fixed (I think). Pulled the broken pin, put it partway in the corresponding socket of the USB 3.0 plug, and then attached the plug to the header. Don't know if it's making contact with the board or not, but the front panel USB ports are working fine, so I guess we're okay. rolleyes.gif
Edited by MrBreeze - 10/1/14 at 8:07pm
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
OS installation is done (Windows 7 Enterprise, it's for primarily work after all wink.gif ). The Liqtech fan sounded like a vacuum cleaner at full blast, but with Gigabyte EasyTune 6 installed the PWM slope is fully customizable and I have it running at 10% PWM at idle, and it's whisper quiet. Corsair Link is also working and reporting hardware info and power parameters nicely. So here are some initial vital signs at long idle:

Stock BIOS:
Temp 34 deg C
Vcore 1.344V
VDDR 1.620V
Bclk 99.85
Freq 4094.3
Mem 2130.3

ET6:
Core temp 30 deg C
MB temp 50 deg C
Vcore 1.368V
VDDR 1.620V

CPU-Z:
Bclk 99.80
Freq 4091.7
Mem 1064.5

GPU-Z:
HD 6670 temp 33 deg C
8670D temp 42 deg C

HWMonitor:
Core temp 51 deg C
MB temp 50 deg C
SSD temp 33 deg C
Vcore 1.356V
Vuncore 1.256V
120X Fan RPM 662 (10% PWM)

Corsair Link:
Pwr in 82W
Pwr out 68W
Eff 83%
AX760i temp 34.5 deg C
AX760i RPM 0

Notice that the AX760i fan is off at low temps and power draws, and the other two fans are almost inaudible (the 80 mm accessory fan blowing on the RAM and GPU is at about 1000 RPM based on the percent max of the Liqtech 120X fan). The difference between EasyTune and HWMonitor in CPU core temps is hard to figure out, but it seems like APUs just universally have this issue; iGPU temp splits the difference at 42 deg C. Not bad for a tight case with virtually silent operation...but maybe not so much headroom for OC.

This was with Bclk set to 100 and CPU pegged at "stock" multiplier of 41x, all Turbo Core and power-saving features disabled. Memory was at the stock max multiplier using the HyperX Beast XMP2 2133 profile. Next we'll see how some benches do!
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Intel Core i5-3570S Ivy Bridge CPU ASUS P8P67 Deluxe MSI R7970 Lightning Sapphire Radeon Vapor-X HD 7970 OC 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
G.SKILL F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM Samsung 840 Pro Seagate Barracuda ST3808110AS HP Lightscribe DVD-RW 
CoolingOSOSOS
Silverstone Heligon HE02 Windows 10 Enterprise 64-bit Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit Windows XP Professional 32-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
NEC EA275WMi Corsair Strafe Cherry MX Red Corsair AX860i Fractal Design Define R4 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech G400 Corsair Gaming MM300 Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Core i7-5820K ASUS X99-A Crucial Ballistix Sport Sandisk Ultra Plus 
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Corsair H105 Windows 7 Enterprise Windows 8.1 Professional Samsung 206BW 
KeyboardPowerCase
HP Elite Wireless Rosewill Capstone 750W Dimastech Easy V3.0 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Builds & Case Mods › Build Logs › [BUILD LOG] CM Elite 110 APU, F2-A88XN, Enermax Liqtech 120X, HyperX Beast