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Lian Li, Mini ITX build

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So, I got bored and built another server. This one is strictly for linux and zfs, but same compulsive behavior for buying hardware, so I thought to share.

 

It isn't a new design. Several have done exact builds, but it's a mini itx, I5, 16gb memory and 6 we 3tb reds. I also stacked in 4 Samsung 840 500gb ssds and a single 256gb 840pro as pool cache.

 

Running two raid 5 pools, and right now toying with raid 10 on the ssds, though they will likely come out. Attached are some incomplete photos. Need to put psu in still and 1015 controller.

 

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uploadfromtaptalk1378270858836.jpg.65912ba1812aa78d1b5625ee0e5e2abf.jpg

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My HTPC build uses the same Lian-Li case along with a SilverStone Strider Plus (SST-ST50F-P) modular PSU and damn that thing is loud!

 

I love the case design but if you want something silent i would probably look elsewhere. My biggest gripe was choosing a suitable PSU that fits the case (the PSU length is very limited, ~14 cm's, so that you still have room left for cable routing).

 

Today i would probably have gone SFX (although i'm not sure how noisy those PSU's are in general) or a CX430 even. The latter is non modular but the reviews are generally quite good as noise is concerned. The cable routing should be a nightmare for less talented people like me though ;D

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My build uses the same case and a Corsair CX430. I also replaced the two case fans with Noctua fans. While the build is not silent, it's damn close. It's certainly far from what I would call loud. The stock case fans weren't much louder to be honest, still a pretty quiet setup even with the stock fans.

 

SFF PSU's in general tend to be extremely loud. Yes, they give you a lot more room in the case, but IMO are not worth the noise.

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I also replaced my case fans by Noctua's (3 in total, 2 in the case plus 1 in the CPU cooler) and while they're silent, the PSU fan largely overcomes everything else.

 

It's bloody annoying really, i think i'll just buy a CX430 and get over with it.

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I also replaced my case fans by Noctua's (3 in total, 2 in the case plus 1 in the CPU cooler) and while they're silent, the PSU fan largely overcomes everything else.

 

It's bloody annoying really, i think i'll just buy a CX430 and get over with it.

I would recommend going for the CX430M instead of pleain CX430 and you will get modularity with a reasonable price. Just built one to this same case and though being a tight fit I had no problems and the cable management is a breeze. I'm also building a second system using Silverstone SST-ST45SF-G SFX power supply. I just got the final piece and will start the build  likely tomorrow. In the first build I used all stock fans and the CPU fan on the AMD A4-5300 is way too loud, the case and PSU fans aren't too bad. I'm going to use the following fans and CPU cooler from Noctua in the second build:

- NH-L9A CPU-cooler

- NF-A15-PWM 140 x 150 x 25mm case fan

- NF-S12A-PWM 120 x 120 x 25mm case fan

 

The idea is to drive the case fans also PWM-based from a single MB fan-socket, let's see how that works... The Silverstone SFX PSU is probably not too much quieter than the Corsair CX430M at least according to specs. But I'm waiting a dramatic noise reduction from the CPU cooler. We will see how it handles the AMD A10-5700 APU. I will be doing comparison benchmarking on these two systems for Plex Media Center usage.

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I've built several systems with this case -- one for me and a couple for others.    A couple thoughts r.e. the power supply ....

 

=>  As already noted, the CX430 fits, but is a VERY tight fit.

 

=>  The modular version of the CX430 does NOT fit.

 

=>  The Silverstone SFX is by far what I will use in all further builds I do with that case.  It fits VERY nicely;  is VERY quiet (perhaps even quieter than the CS430, although they're both so quiet it's hard to say);  and provides for a much cleaner look and much better airflow.    You can use either the non-modular or modular version => I've used both.    If I was building a new system today, I'd use the non-modular version and simply cut off the PCIe auxiliary power feed.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256063

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=>  The modular version of the CX430 does NOT fit.

 

The CX430M fits fine. I use it in my own Frankunraid build.

 

It's got to be REALLY tight -- the CX430 non-modular barely fits.  I know both dirtysanchez and I removed the sticker from the side to slide it in (it could probably be forced without doing that) ... and there's VERY little space at the end => the specs on the M version show it 0.8" longer than the non-modular ... so if it "fits" it certainly has virtually no extra clearance !!  Lian-Li does sell an "extender" that you can mount on the case that allows longer power supplies -- if you're going to use an ATX unit, that would be a good idea, as it would at least provide a little bit of airflow space.

 

In any event, the build is FAR nicer with an SFX supply.

 

 

 

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Well I bought a CX430M after work today to use in this case because I was under the assumption that it would be an easy fit. The Frankunraid picture looks pretty convincing, but I suppose I can be the tie breaker.

 

I've used the Silverstone SFX PSU in another project and it really is fantastic. It amazes me that they can fit so many watts into such a tiny form factor, and it's pretty quiet and efficient. But it's twice the price of the CX430M, so if I can get that to work, I'm doing it.

 

I doubt I'll have time tonight for all of that, though. Hopefully I can get to it tomorrow or this weekend.

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It will work -- it's just VERY tight.  I've built 4 systems with this case ... one with a CX430, and 3 with the Silverstone SFX units.    I'd never use another CX430 ... just too tight a fit for my taste.    IMHO the extra cost is easily worth it for the cleaner build and better airflow.    Considering the total price of the case, motherboard, CPU, memory, PSU, UnRAID license, and 6 drives, the difference is really trivial.

 

 

 

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I'm tempted to get the gold version of that PSU just to get modular cables, but it's hard to justify the cost.

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The Gold modular version is nice, but it's not really necessary.  The non-modular has almost exactly the set of cables you'll use -- the ONLY cable that's extraneous is the PCIe auxiliary power cable that you would use if you had a video card that required it.    Since it's a virtual certainty that you will NEVER need this cable in a PC-Q25B setup, I simply cut this cable off using wire snips ... works very well, is very neat; and makes it a virtual perfect power supply for this case.

 

I did use the modular version on one build -- but there's no advantage to that compared to what I did on the other two with the non-modular version.    [i suppose Gold certification is a minor advantage]

 

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... and I'm still tempted to use that Lian Li PSU extender. It's not very elegant, but its cheap, and I already have a pretty darn good PSU just sitting around.

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Thoughts on this little guy?

 

http://www.istarusa.com/xeal/products.php?model=TC-350PD3

 

It's really not any less than the Silverstone SFX, but it's a novel approach, and I figure that if iStarUSA is targeting business applications then they can't afford to suck.

 

That's small only in its length -- it's an ATX size supply.  In fact, it's actually slightly wider than the ATX standard [the standard ATX dimensions are 5.9"w x 3.4" h -- the depth can vary).  This unit is 6.0"w x 3.4" h ... it's only 4.65" deep, which is why it's advertised as "compact".

Note the CX430's are 5.9" x 3.4" x 5.5" (non-modular)  and  5.9" x 3.4" x 6.3" (modular)

For an ATX unit, however, it IS a better choice than the CX430's, as it at least allows an inch or so of extra space at the end for airflow.

 

 

An SFX unit is still a much better choice.  [The Silverstone is 4.92" x 2.5" x 3.94"]

 

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... and I'm still tempted to use that Lian Li PSU extender. It's not very elegant, but its cheap, and I already have a pretty darn good PSU just sitting around.

 

Agree -- the PE-01 extender lets an ATX unit work fairly well in that case, as it "moves" the PSU effectively outside the case a bit, so there's more room for cable routing and additional airflow.

http://www.coolerguys.com/llpe01.html

 

... and aside from making the PSU stick-out in the rear, it's actually not bad-looking.

    [although personally I'll still spring for SFX supplies with this case  :) ]

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Regarding the iStarUSA PSU, isn't the length the only dimension that's an issue? That's really what ATX PS/3 PSU's are - shorter PS/2's. The biggest issue I find with them isn't their form factor. It's just that it's such an unpopular form factor that their are very few reputable (if any) companies in that space - similar to SFX before Silverstone showed up.

 

Regarding the extender, I wish it were just half the length that it is. I really only need a little bit of space. I prefer not to have a third of the PSU sticking out the back. In fact, they should probably ship this case with such a shorter extender.

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... and you do face your PSU fan towards the CPU or the case wall? Mine is currently pointed towards the CPU.

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... and you do face your PSU fan towards the CPU or the case wall? Mine is currently pointed towards the CPU.

 

Towards the case wall, so it doesn't interfere with the designed airflow in the case.

 

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Regarding the iStarUSA PSU, isn't the length the only dimension that's an issue? That's really what ATX PS/3 PSU's are - shorter PS/2's. The biggest issue I find with them isn't their form factor. It's just that it's such an unpopular form factor that their are very few reputable (if any) companies in that space - similar to SFX before Silverstone showed up.

 

Regarding the extender, I wish it were just half the length that it is. I really only need a little bit of space. I prefer not to have a third of the PSU sticking out the back. In fact, they should probably ship this case with such a shorter extender.

 

Yes, it's effectively just a "short ATX".    But in this case it's only shorter by 0.85", so it's not a lot of difference.  Note that the 430CX is almost that much shorter than the modular CX430 (0.8").  But all of these really fill the case compared to the SFX units.    But if you use the extender you gain a nice bit of internal space, and a significant improvement in internal airflow.

 

Bottom line:  This case really begs for an SFX PSU, but if you want to use an ATX unit, it works very well with the extender.

 

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I had originally had the PSU fan facing the wall, but it put the mobo cable in an awkward spot so I flipped. I pretty much knew it was wrong, but I also figured I wouldn't be keeping that PSU in their forever.

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I had originally had the PSU fan facing the wall, but it put the mobo cable in an awkward spot so I flipped. I pretty much knew it was wrong, but I also figured I wouldn't be keeping that PSU in their forever.

 

If you ever put in a Silverstone SFX unit, you'll never use anything else :)

It simply works SO much nicer than an ATX unit.    Lian-Li should really ship an extender with that case if they're going to claim compatibility with ATX units !!

 

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I had originally had the PSU fan facing the wall, but it put the mobo cable in an awkward spot so I flipped. I pretty much knew it was wrong, but I also figured I wouldn't be keeping that PSU in their forever.

 

If you ever put in a Silverstone SFX unit, you'll never use anything else :)

It simply works SO much nicer than an ATX unit.    Lian-Li should really ship an extender with that case if they're going to claim compatibility with ATX units !!

Oh, I've used one in my desktop build, and I do love it. I just keep flip flopping on the price.

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Towards the case wall, so it doesn't interfere with the designed airflow in the case.

Don't want to start an argument but where did you get this information?  The only "official" information I could find was from the Lian-Li site where they have a picture of a PSU to be inserted into the case and the fan is facing CPU: http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-q25/

 

Also my own logic says that you should get as much hot air away from the CPU area as possible and PSU fan will help in this. If the fan was facing the wall it would in my mind interfere with the logical air flow since some of the air coming from the front fan would have to somehow diverted to that side and not going straight through the drive cage and to the CPU area and towards the top fan.

 

Just my opinion, no hard facts. Google picture search on build pictures gives you ~ 70/30 ratio between CPU / wall facing. Would be nice to know for sure since I'm going to building several of these. My CX430M is facing the CPU...

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Towards the case wall, so it doesn't interfere with the designed airflow in the case.

Don't want to start an argument but where did you get this information?  The only "official" information I could find was from the Lian-Li site where they have a picture of a PSU to be inserted into the case and the fan is facing CPU: http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-q25/

 

Also my own logic says that you should get as much hot air away from the CPU area as possible and PSU fan will help in this. If the fan was facing the wall it would in my mind interfere with the logical air flow since some of the air coming from the front fan would have to somehow diverted to that side and not going straight through the drive cage and to the CPU area and towards the top fan.

 

Just my opinion, no hard facts. Google picture search on build pictures gives you ~ 70/30 ratio between CPU / wall facing. Would be nice to know for sure since I'm going to building several of these. My CX430M is facing the CPU...

If you've got a very small CPU fan or a passive CPU heat sink, then I could certainly see pointing it towards the CPU. I think it becomes a little less clear when you have a large CPU fan.

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