Cougar B450I Mini ITX

I've been planning a Mini ITX machine for a few years. I finally pulled the trigger last week. It's slightly bigger than a typical small form factor build but it is still manageable. Finding a case to carry this box may be a bit difficult.

Gear

Purchased from Scorptec

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3700X @3.6 Ghz
  • CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism
  • Memory: G.Skill 16GB DDR4 @3600 Mhz
  • Motherboard: ASUS B450I Mini ITX
  • Storage: Intel 660P 2TB M.2 NVME SSD
  • Power Supply: Corsair SFF600
  • Power Board: Arlec 4 Plug Power Board + Surge Guard
  • Fans (Intake): 2x Noctua 120mm Slim, 1x Noctua 80mm
  • Fan Controller: Silverstone PWM 8-to-1 Controller

Purchased from Mwave

  • Case: Cougar QBX
  • Fans (Exhaust): 1x Cougar 92mm

Already In Inventory

  • Fans (Exhaust): 2x NZXT 120mm
  • Graphics: Gigabyte GTX 1660 Super

I'll link PC Part Picker URL later.

I think I'll go with wireless mouse and keyboard this time as I don't want to muck around with wires when I leave the office. Just pull the power cable, DisplayPort cable for the monitor out and I can take my box with me.

I'm also looking for a backpack or duffle bag to lug this thing as it is kind of awkward to leave the office every day with it.

Wishlist

  • Keyboard: Corsair K63 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, alternative being Coolermaster's SK630
  • Mouse: Wireless mouse
  • Networking: 2x Draytek WLAN 5Dbi Indoor Omni Directional Antennas to replace ASUS GO Wifi Antenna Fin
  • Fans (Exhaust): 2x Noctua 120mm NF-S12B Redux PWM to replace the 2x NZXT fans which are quite noisy! It spins like jet turbines!
  • Transportation: Backpack or Duffle Bag. Found tradie's tool bags at Bunnings, but the one at the right size won't have a top cover due to the nature of the bag. It needs to be at minimum fit L 400mm : W 180mm : H 290mm which is the rough dimensions of the Cougar QBX. A hard plate and reinforced walls at the bottom will help with structure too.
  • UPS: Cheap backp power supply.

Preparing The Case

Everything is prepared for the build.

First up is stripping down the case and installing the fans.

The Noctua intake fans go on the bottom. The mounting hole was an odd size on the case. Initially I zip tied the fans to the case but then I realised it wouldn't work because of the rails at the bottom of the case.

I resorted to using smaller screws from my last build.

Noctua fans came with these noise dampening silicon lances but it didn't work for this case. No matter how i try to push them in it wouldn't keep the fans in place. I'll keep them for another build later.


Installing The Parts

So the parts include the B450I motherboard, CPU, Air Cooler, Memory, SSD. I had huge trouble on Saturday because I nearly stripped the motherboard screws.

I called Scorptec tech support, and their technicians asked me to bring the board on site for their staff to look at. Luckily their staff was helpful and I was able to continue the build without having to RMA the board. Essentially my precision screwdrivers weren't the correct size so it was exerting too much force on the screw, disintegrating the tiny screws on the motherboard. I've kept them very loose. I don't want the screws to be damaged any further.

My air cooler seating was absolutely terrible but I jammed it down anyway. Hopefully there's enough thermal paste to fill the gap between the CPU and the Air Cooler base plate.

There isn't a lot of room remaining at the top of the case.

After I seated the GPU into the PCIE lane I discovered that I had forgotten to install the RGB LED and USB2 cable for the wraith prism air cooler. Those ports can be seen just below the black HD Audio cable and above the copper heatsink tubes below.

The power supply is tiny though, so there's lots of room to route cables and even a fan controller.


Finished

The moment of truth is the first time you turn the computer on. YAY IT WORKS!

The CPU was very hot at idle. 55 degrees Celsius? Then I found out that ASUS by default enables Core Boost Overdrive. Turning this off immediately took 10 degress Celsius off the temperature at idle.

I didn't intend for the machine to be overclocked even though it can be overclocked should the need arise. I much prefer the machine to be quiet.

After plugging the box in at work I found that the machine hums along at about 40 degrees Celsius. I took off the two NZXT exhaust fans. It was too noisy and the temperature in the case so far hasn't warranted it.

It's a little heavy for Small Form Factor but not impossible to take home each day. A good carry pack will be useful.


Carry Bags

I spotted these tool bags at Bunnings. The 400mm bag was exactly what I need for my box, it's a sling bag, but it doesn't come with a cover (my case is too tall for the zipper to close).




2020, journal