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a7xforever11

K39 Mini ITX College PC Build

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I will be returning to school in person this semester and with the strict quarantine policies my institute is implementing, I realized my time spent partying will be at an all time low and gaming will be replacing most of my usual weekend plans. I decided to sell my MSI laptop and make a dedicated gaming rig for school. I go to a military college and the amount of space we have is incredibly limited (I have a small desk and a locker and that is it). I decided it would be fun to build the smallest pc i physically could, and settled on the K39 mini ITX case. It seemed to be a really good alternative to the more expensive and harder to find Velka 3. Unfortunately I was too excited to take pictures during the build process but I must say this was one of the most fun builds I have ever done (only being beat by my very first build when I was 13). Below are pictures of the finished product as well as some of the issues I ran into and unique quirks that this build entailed.

 

The parts:

K39 Mini ITX case

Ryzen 5 3600

Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX

Corsair Vengance DDR4 3600mhz cl18

Asus Phoenix OC GTX 1660 Super

Silverstone FX350-G Flex ATX psu

Noctua l9a-AM4

Noctua NF-A4x10

WD SN550 500gb SSD

 

The Build:

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The build process was significantly easier than I expected, Though it did take some patience as tolerances were tight. The first thing I did was replace the power supply fan with a noctua 40mm. I never even tested what the OEM fan sounded like but the entirety of the internet has said its unbearably loud. The noctua has a very low hum and is near silent with the back of the case facing away from me.

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The remainder of the build went incredibly smoothly. I was originally going to go with a B450 mobo but the more budget oriented boards were out of stock and Micro Center had a $20 discount bundle with the cpu. I won't be taking advantage of any of the B550 features as the likelihood of upgrades to this computer are slim to none, but I don't really have any regrets going with this board. 

 

I was actually very surprised with how easy cable management was. The psu has molex and sata cables which are going unused and they were easy enough to tuck underneath the GPU. The 24 pin was a little tough to squeeze along the side of the ram and does cause a slight bulge with the side panel installed, however this is very minor and really only noticeable because I know its there.  

 

The largest issue I had was fitting the GPU into the case. There is a small lip on the side of the IO shield that the case didn't seem to account for. I had to use quite a bit of muscle to fit it in and now The shield is crammed into its spot so tight I fear damage to the GPU if I were to try to pull it out. Below is an image of the damage I have already caused by using pliers to jam the card into its spot.

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I have spent the past couple days playing around with this rig and I am unbelievably happy. It crushes any game at 1080p. It is so impressive to think that the frames are being pushed by a PC I can hold with one hand! There is one problem that I am a little disappointed with, and that's sound. BOY THIS THING IS LOUD. I knew going into this build that this was not doing to be a silent machine but I am still a little surprised with just how loud it can get. The l9a is a little louder than I expected from noctua but its sound profile is a smooth hum that I can tolerate. The GPU is significantly louder and more annoying than I expected. There may be something wrong with the fan bearings because at higher RPMs this thing cries like a toddler! With some undervolting and fan adjustments I have gotten the sound to tolerable levels while maintaining performance and thermals I am ok with. This card used to hit its thermal limit with 100% on the fan after a few minutes but now it likes to hang around the 78 degree mark with some jumps to 80 at 60-70% fan speed. On the point of thermals, The CPU idles a little warmer than I would like, sitting around the 55 degree mark with jumps into the 60s, But in game it rarely exceeds 70 degrees and the fan isn't yelling at me while doing this so I guess Ill just put up with the higher idle temps. I plan on updating this post once I get to school with my complete setup as well as the thermals that I experience. Our rooms have no AC and Virginia is still muggy and hot through September so we will see if this thing can handle the heat! I am very happy with my build and the total cost was only about $50 out of pocket as I was able to make a pretty penny off of the old laptop. 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Sorry for no pic with a banana for scale! I haven't gone shopping in a while and didn't realize I was out. I will provide a banana for scale once I return to school.

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