Hi, it was time to replace an old Intel NUC ESXi homelab with something more powerful so ended up building this.
It had to be CPU+RAM focussed, but GPU doesn't matter too much. Because it sits next to me it has to be quiet and as it will be running at 100% 24/7 for the next bunch of years, has to be robust + dust filtered and filters easily cleaned.
The primarily purpose is for supporting different virtual machines mucking around learning stuff on, but in the background other virtual machines will be left running BOINC projects to help universities out with maths. That means it will spend it's life at 100% on CPU, so needs as low a wattage as possible to save electricity over the years, but also as there isn't much space here has to be compact.
The Silverstone Sugo SG13B case was about the right size, but the dust filter is internal and not easy to get at requiring the front of the case be removed. Plus the fan mount was not near the front of the case so I modified it so it should work more efficiently, and replaced the Silverstone internal dust filter with external demci ones.
Ryzen 9 3950x
Gigabyte Auros pro wifi mITX
Silverstone Sugo SG13B
Demci Sugo magnetic filters kit
MSI GTX1650 Super - because fans stop when not hot enough, and low power current gen chip
Silverstone SFX platinum 700W
1TB PCIe drive + 1TB SATA SSD + 64GB Ram
Noctua NH-L12S cooler
Noctua slim fans for intake
Because the Demci filters are really fine and clog up with dust (which is their job), I shifted the fans up to the front of the case so that they will suck air through the demci filters better, rather than circulate it around the inside of the case not really cooling it as much. It's easy to grab them every couple of months and give them a wash and because they are on the outside it's easy to know when it's cleaning time. The slim Noctua fans fitted really well mounted on the opposite side of where they would normally. This was in the space where the old Silverstone internal air filter used to be. Part of the front of the case had to be chopped out to fit them. Not pretty but not visible, and functionality is the aim ?
Then a quick spray paint of anything that had a grille to make sure there is less chance of it rusting over the upcoming years, because so many cases have rusted there in the past. It might take 3+years but often rust forms around where metal has had holes punched through it so don't want to take chances of having rust dust blown through box in future years. Would look better if I had satin paint so it matches, not just matt black - but close enough, and will be covered by filters anyway ?
Next was fitting the fans in front of the normal space for them in the case, so they are squeezed up against the front of the SG13B case where the plastic shroud for the old silverstone filter used to be. Normally they are mounted on the other side of the metal plate, instead of being squashed inbetween it and the very front of the case. Having the fans right against the front of the case should help them draw more air in. There was space for a couple of slim 4cm fans as well, plus glued clear plastic sheet over anywhere the air could be pushed back out around the fans, so hopefully they will be as efficient as possible as pulling air into the case. Was super lucky as the 4cm fans fitted so tightly they hold themselves there. Very cute and any extra assistance forcing air into the case would be welcome to keep the CPU temps down.
Everything fitted in ok, with clear space in front of intake fans for getting the airflow across the CPU, which will be good because it is a 105W CPU fitted with a 100W cooler.. Possibly it will thermally limit itself and downclock a little but this is OK. Maybe I will downclock it and undervolt it at some point depending on how hot it runs and how well it gets the heat out of the case. I later cable tied the power lead to squeeze it up thinner.
All done with filters in place - all easily accessible unlike the original one. When I work out which way the air is flowing out the case I will experiment with removing that filter.
ESXi loaded without any fiddling around or modification for drivers!
Hopefully it will remain cool enough and be quiet enough while running at 100% for a bunch of years ?