Impossibru NASE M1 4K build

I'm trying to put together a 4K capable SFF. All that I have already purchased is the NCASE M1. I really really don't want to swap the chasis for something bigger but I feel that the M1 is making the build kinda impossible.

So what do I need? The machine needs to be able to run 3D modelling software and render some still images. I use SolidWorks and Rhinoceros at the moment and plan on learning to use a few others in the future. Only official render license i own is for Flamingo raytrace.

And this brings us to the screen resolution. I would love to have the extra work area that 4K offers, but I'd also like to do some gaming. It seems thou that no single card setup will run games at 4K smooth enough. Also the current lineup of 40" Korean monitors is not quite there yet when it comes to response times and FreeSync support.

I really wanted to buy an AMD GPU, but even the Fury X is not going to be enough. Some of the Tek approved Korean 4K screens do offer FreeSync support but I'm not sure would I still be better of with an Nvidia card? Maybe 980 Or 980ti? Asus Strix series has the looks and silence I'm after but the newest DirectCU III cooler won't fit inside the NCASE...

I'm pretty much set on getting the new Asus Impact VIII motherboard. I like the looks and the new colour scheme and it's got pretty much all features I've been waiting for to go ahead with this build. Including built-in wifi and decent onboard audio. M.2 would have made it perfect.

For memory and SSD storage I'll pick something that's on sale at Most likely Kingston 16GB set and a Samsung 850 Evo 500GB.

For the CPU I'm going back and forth between the 6600K and 6700K. I'm not sure if hyper threading is going to be worth the extra money as I'll be mostly just modelling things. Rendering images and other CPU intensive stuff is probably not going to be done daily. For Cooling, If I can fit it in with the rest of the stuff, I'm going to go with the Corsair H100i AIO.

One huge limiting factor is the NCASE's PSU compatibility. SFX-L and ATX PSUs will fit only if paired with a very short GPU. Also the only 600W SFX I can get my hands on is the noisy Silverstone 600-G. Oh yeah, did I mention that the build also needs to be dead silent? And that I wan't to OC the crap out of the CPU and the GPU? :D

So if you bothered reading this far, I guess what I'm asking is: Should I go for 4K and forget about gaming? Or forget 4K and just get a smaller resolution gaming monitor?

Summary of possible components:

MOBO: Asus ROG Impact VIII
CPU: 6700K or 6600K?
CPU cooler: Corsair H100i
GPU: ???
Memory: Kingston 2x8GB DDR4-2666 CL15
SSD: Samsung 850 Evo 500GB (x2 maybe)
PSU: Silverstone SST-SX600-G?? (fan swap and voiding warranty)
Case fans: Noctuas or Scythe Slip streams depending on the GPU Cooler dimensions
All the above stuffed inside an NCASE M1. Wish me luck.

The 390's would probably work for you if they could fit in the case. I've seen Titan's fit in small as hell shoebox sized silverstone cases.

Elite 130?

An SFX-L PSU might actually fit. They list SFX-L PSUs as compatible if you use the v3 or later bracket. There are also some pics of SFX-L PSUs in M1s with long graphics cards that prove that it's possible. You might want to wait for the Silverstone SX700-LPT if you have the v3 or v4 bracket (that's what I'm going to do).

The higher mid-range AMD GPUs don't really OC at all and seem to run quite hot. Is there really any benefit in getting an AMD card with the MicroBoard B400 monitor? FreeSync support looks to be really buggy at best.

GPU length is really no issue, as the case supports cards up to 12.5" (317mm). The limiting factor is width (or depth, depending how you look at it) as the NCASE is quite narrow and will fit cards only up to 5.5" (140mm). Reference cards will fit with ease, but I wan't something quiet.

The SX700-LPT has been re-scheduled to end of the year release with no exact date, and I'm not really willing to wait any longer.

Getting a new case is the last option, and at that point I'm switching to M-ATX or ATX. But i'm not yet willing to give up on the M1.

Asus should be coming out with the MARS IV soon (for the 9xx series), which is essentially 2 GPU's in one and should be 4k achievable.

But is 2 970s or 2 980s?

Because this already exists, The Power Color 390x2 GPU and it's only 800 bucks

and it comes with a 100 dollar mouse I guess as a bonus

Not sure if N1 can support 3 slots but yeah, use that.

I think you'd have like modify an existing ITX case to fit the last vent, the Elite 130 could maybe do it, there's a bit of space past the 2nd slot

You could.... watercool :D it would only take 2 slots:D

Haha, the idea of a 390 X2 stuffed inside of the puny M1 made me chuckle. It is a three slot case, so I'd just have to mount fans under the case, rise the top for ATX PSU clearance and most likely ditch a side panel. Otherwise I see this totally doable :D

But to be realistic. Heat and PSU clearance are the two major problems. SFX-L will fit with many longer cards, but backplated ones will make cabling not ideal if not impossible. The 600W Silverstone SFX ramps up the fan speed on higher loads, producing unwanted noise from 300W upwards. SFX-L doesn't give any more headroom, as I have yet to find one with more than 500W output power. So I'd need to go either ATX PSU + shorty card or SFX PSU + efficient and powerful unicorn GPU.

It can

The R9 Nano and Fury X are fairly short and small and with some finagling might fit with an atx PSU
But the SFX-L 500w is enough to power my 980 in my mini itx system so....

Also if you end up not using said Ncase M1. I am currently running my machine on a carboard box waiting for new ones to come back into stock, and would gladly take it off your hands

I have a similar build in an M1 and went through the same dilemma. Ultimately, I decided to buy a 4K monitor but game at 1080p. For me, 40" 4K is completely transformative for my work, yet single-card performance is just not quite there on either the Nvidia or AMD side. Yes, you can play games at 4K with a single 980 ti or Fury X, and some even quite well at that, but I still think we need another generation or two before you'll get solid 60 fps+ in new AAA titles at ultra settings. If you are satisfied with the 4K performance of a single 980ti or Fury X, go for it. Me, I have a 970 for the moment and will wait around until a more powerful single-card solution appears to spend bigger bucks on a GPU. I am happy with my solution, but you may feel differently. Perhaps I should note that I spend 95% of my time on my machine working, and only 5% or so gaming.

A few notes:

You are correct that the reference 980 tis are noted for being a bit noisy in the M1 and also tend to throtttle in that small space. I haven't seen any Fury X M1 builds, but if you can squeeze it in there, it might fare better, although then again, there still seem to be some pump noise issues, you only get 4 GB of VRAM, and you would have to give up on the H100i as you likely won't be able to fit both it and the 120 mm cooler on the Fury X. The EVGA hybrid 980 ti would be another option. I would be wary of the axially-cooled 200W+ cards in the M1, as the case has trouble exhausting that much heat without a creative solution. The best solution in terms of noise and performance, of course, is a full custom loop. A hypothetical upcoming dual-Fury or similar card from Nvidia might offer you the performance you want, as long as you can feed it enough power and exhaust the heat.

I used to run an H100i in my M1, but switched to a Noctua NH-C14. The C14 lets me run the same OC, but is far quieter than the H100i. I wanted less noise, but the H100i may be a better choice if you really want to squeeze those last few MHz from your CPU. User XelNika over on the M1 thread on Hardforums ran some tests comparing these two coolers, and came up with [some interesting results][1]. They are both decent coolers; more options to consider.

There have been a lot of complaints about the Silverstone SX600-G, but I have been perfectly satisfied with mine. Perhaps I just got a golden sample or have terrible ears, but I have no noise issues with mine. The only time I ever hear it is when it switches from fanless mode to normal operation. The fan spins up, and that's it. Mine sits on my desk less than a meter from my head. If you can hold out for the 700W SFX-L unit, that will likely be even better.

One last thing I will say is that you might at least consider going with a 5820K and the ASRock X99E-ITX/ac. It's not quite clear from your post just how much rendering and compute you will be doing, but those extra two cores and threads will come in handy in almost any multithreaded task, you would get an M.2 slot, and depending on where you shop and what mobo you choose, the 5820K platform may not be much more expensive than a 6700K setup. If gaming is your first priority, the Skylakes will give you a tiny bit more performance, but the tradeoff might be worth it.


Downscaling to 1080p while gaming would probably be the wise move here. I just really had my goals set on a high-end build, now that I could finally afford it...

Mostly this build is for work. I haven't played any games since 2012, when I got my current Macbook Pro and parted out my PC. Before that I used to play Counter Strike and TF2 way too much. I guess I'd just like to be able to try out some of the newer titles with decent graphics settings. So 95% work and 5% gaming might be quite accurate for my usage scenario too.

For me rendering is a secondary priority. I'm an industrial designer, currently driving a delivery van for living :D Right now I'm looking to get into 3D printing and maybe start a small business around that. So I would need to be able to render out some designs surely, but mostly I just need a machine to do modelling in SolidWorks. Plus some Photoshop and Illustrator work.

Would the 970 still be the way to go?

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Difficult to say. "[T]he way to go" means different things to different people. If, as you say, you just want to try out newer titles and don't mind tweaking settings and dipping into lower (30, 40ish fps) frame rates, a single Fury X or 980 ti would probably be enough. These are both great cards, and you can game at 4K if you compromise a bit, especially if you watercool your card and really crank the OC. In my case, I chose to wait for better performance from a single card, but that may not be the best solution for you. If you want to go all-out and you have the cash, more power to you.

If you decide to skip the top-tier cards and live with 1080-1440p-ish performance, you have several options. From a pure price-to-performance perspective, the 390 beats the 970. However, the 970 is a 145 W card and the 390 is 275 W, nearly double the TDP. In a mid-tower case with good cooling, no big deal, but in the M1 with a 600 W power supply, that is a significant difference. Unless you watercool, the 970 is going to be a lot easier to work with in terms of thermals, and probably noise as well depending on the particular card. I agree that the Asus Strix cards look best, but alas, they don't fit in the M1 without modding the case. I chose an MSI 970 Gaming on the recommendation of other M1 builders, and it has been a terrific performer so far: powerful, cool, and quiet. The zero RPM mode is great; it's dead silent at idle. And the low TDP means that you can use an axial cooler in the M1 instead of a noisy blower or exotic watercooling. Call me lazy. The 980 would also be a good choice, if you can get a good deal. 1080p on a massive 4K screen is nothing to sneeze at, as is 21:9 (3840 x 1600) on the same screen.

These are the kinds of mental acrobatics you go through as a mini-ITX enthusiast, which some people enjoy and others hate. For me, what it comes down to is this: despite the protestations of the SFF community and marketing departments at Nvidia and AMD, it is my opinion that high-powered 4K gaming and mini-ITX are just not a great combination at the moment, unless you are willing to make significant compromises or throw a ton of money at it. If you want 4K gaming right now, go with a bigger form factor and it's simple: SLI or Crossfire two high-powered cards and you're there. If you want to stick with mini-ITX, you need to compromise or wait.

I'm slowly and unwillingly starting to lean towards the 970 and 1080p option. Gotta face the facts. As much as I'd like to get one of the high-end cards, the current lineup just won't cut it at 4K. And I think 980ti or Fury X would just be a waste of money at 1080p gaming.

Maybe the next generation cards will do better. So I guess I'll be updating my PSU, GPU and getting a second monitor with proper G-Sync/FreeSync support sooner than I'd hoped for. Well It's only money, eh? :D

So the NH-C14 has no clearance issues? What about the NH-C14S? I'd rather get a good air cooler than WC, even an AIO. Had a custom loop once and it's just too much maintenance with not that much better cooling. I was just going to play it safe with memory clearance, as the Corsair pump-block unit should be easier to fit on the mobo.

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I would go with nvidia for sff unless you go fury x or nano. Less power and heat to deal with. Also the makers of ncase suggest rear exhaust blower cooler for cards above 150tdp.

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It sounds like you're agonizing over trying to shoehorn your computing needs into this particular form factor. Believe me, I understand with the M1; it is a marvel, and the kind of case that inspires devotion. Nevertheless, experienced builders will usually advise you to think the other way around, i.e., decide what kind of performance you want first, pick out the parts, and only then choose a suitable case that will house them comfortably. That way, you can avoid all of these headaches. If blissful, full-on 4K gaming is what you're after, that is totally achievable today with two or more cards. There are several handsome mATX cases on the market and some promising-looking ones on the horizon such as the Kimera Industries Nova, and there's a reason why good 'ol ATX has dominated for twenty years. NCASE itself is looking into creating an mATX enclosure. I use ITX because I essentially have to; my job and my teensy living space mean that it's either that or a giant laptop. Plus, for me, gaming is just a fun side hobby, and whether it's 1080p or 4K doesn't make a huge difference. It sounds like graphics performance is important to you, and if that is so, would it really be that much of a loss to move to a slightly larger enclosure? 4K gaming is awesome, and it would be a shame to try to talk yourself out of it "slowly and unwillingly" simply for the sake of a computer case, unless you have a really compelling need for that form factor. Also, the M1 has certainly made waves in the industry, so if there's no perfect mATX case for you today, you could go with a cheapo $50 case now and upgrade when your ideal enthusiast boutique crowd-funded beauty inevitably arrives.

Finally, the powers-that-be at AMD and Nvidia are well aware of the rapidly growing mini-ITX enthusiast community, and there are huge amounts of energy and cash going into developing that magical SFF-friendly single-card 4K solution. The 395X2 was close, the 980 ti and Fury X closer, and the Nano perhaps closer still. We'll get there soon, perhaps very soon with a dual-gpu card. In the meantime, if you're set on 4K, you could get one of these great existing cards and have the best possible single-card experience, and sell it when that truly magical card arrives.

Sorry, I don't mean to keep mixing you up with all of these options, but I honestly think any of them would be good. Any of them--even the 970/390 option--will likely smoke your Macbook Pro for both gaming and work.

The OG C14 is one of the best air coolers for the M1 because of its unique dual-fan design. If you use it in "high-clearance mode" with one 140 mm fan on top and possibly a 120 mm on the bottom, you get plenty of clearance for memory DIMMs, and the top fan will sit essentially flush with the M1 side panel, so it can do double duty as a case intake fan and a CPU cooler. Your proposed Kingston kit should be fine, but double check the measurements just to be sure. The only potential issue is that you cannot use the C14 simultaneously with the optional M1 3.5" HDD bracket, but since it looks like you will be using either single or dual 2.5" SSDs anyway, that should not be a problem for you. The new C14S has different dimensions that prevent the top fan from fitting in the M1. The H100i does put less torque on the CPU as the weight of the rad and hoses mostly bears on the side panel, so it would be better if you are going to be moving the machine around a lot, but the C14 is easier, quieter, smaller, and more elegant in my opinion, especially when paired with PWM fans.

Got home and took pictures of my ncase build.

It was a harder build but you can fit a flagship class card in it. It was designed to get the most out of a small space. The only limitation is the sfx psu hence going nvidia.

I just have a 960 now but when i have more cash and i feel its worth it i will upgrade to a flagship. Also considering water cooling just for the fun of it.

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