Does this work? | PCSPECIALIST

Does this work?

neeb

Member
Hi all, I'm in the unusual situation of looking to get a gaming PC although (for all practical purposes) I'm not a gamer. I use something called Zwift, which is (to quote Wikipedia) a "massively multiplayer online cycling and running videogame and physical training program that enables users to interact, train and compete in a virtual world". An indoor road cycling ap attached to a bike trainer, basically. This PC will also be my main home computer desktop (for which purposes I have no particularly unusual requirements but will need the usual capabilities including WiFi and sound etc). It'll be attached to the peripherals I already have, including a widescreen TV.

Zwift will run fine on pretty low spec systems, but for the best graphics / VR experience a gaming system is recommended. I've read that for top-notch performance the ideal graphics card is an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti. I've ended up here because I'm very attracted to the small form factor systems that you can configure that don't look like gaming PCs.. ;-) . But I've little idea about what else to specify to make a good all-round system.

See below for my draft spec. Particular things I'm uncertain about:

- Do I need 16GB RAM or would 8GB be fine?
- What's the best storage solution? I need at least 1TB storage and 2TB would be useful, so I specified a single 2TB SSD. But what would be the pros and cons of running a smaller SSD together with a larger HDD drive?
- What is "Intel optane memory"?
- I haven't a clue about what I'll need regarding power supply and cooling. Obviously I don't want anything to melt, and as the PC will be running full time in my living room it would be nice if it was as quiet as possible (at least when doing normal stuff such as streaming video - I don't really mind if it's noisy when I'm Zwifting!).

The only significant interface the user has with the PC while playing Zwift is through the bike trainer (which communicates by ANT+ wireless), on-bike power meter, and heart rate monitor (also ANT+). Keyboard and mouse are only used for menu options so fast communication there is not important. Sound will be provided by my SONOS soundbar and subwoofer through the TV (HDMI).

Thanks in advance for any tips...


Case
THERMALTAKE CORE V1 GAMING CASE
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i5 Six Core Processor i5-9400F (2.9GHz) 9MB Cache
Motherboard
ASUS® STRIX B360-I GAMING: Mini-ITX, LGA1151, USB 3.1, SATA 6GBs
Memory (RAM)
16GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 2400MHz (1 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
6GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1660 Ti - HDMI, DP - GeForce GTX VR Ready!
1st Storage Drive
2TB PCS 2.5" SSD, SATA 6 Gb (520MB/R, 470MB/W)
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
NOT REQUIRED
Power Supply
CORSAIR 350W VS SERIES™ VS-350 POWER SUPPLY
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
STANDARD CPU COOLER
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN PORT + Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi excluded on H310I-PLUS)
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 4 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KK3-00002]
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
Windows 10 Multi-Language Recovery Image - Unlimited Downloads from Online Account
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365 (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
BullGuard™ Internet Security - Free 90 Day License inc. Gamer Mode
Browser
Firefox™
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 12 to 14 working days
Price: £969.00 including VAT and Delivery
 

neeb

Member
Second post - I think I included too much informtion last time and put people off.. ;-)

Is this spec OK? I don't know anything about cooling and what I might need to specify for that. What's the difference between the ASUS ROG STRIX motherboard and the non-ROG one?

Thanks.

Case
THERMALTAKE CORE V1 GAMING CASE
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™ i5 Six Core Processor i5-9400F (2.9GHz) 9MB Cache
Motherboard
ASUS® ROG STRIX Z390-I GAMING: Mini-ITX, USB 3.1, SATA 6GBs
Memory (RAM)
32GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 2400MHz (2 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
6GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1660 Ti - HDMI, DP - GeForce GTX VR Ready!
1st Storage Drive
512GB PCS 2.5" SSD, SATA 6 Gb (520MB/R, 450MB/W)
2nd Storage Drive
2TB SEAGATE BARRACUDA SATA-III 3.5" HDD, 6GB/s, 7200RPM, 256MB CACHE
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
NOT REQUIRED
Power Supply
CORSAIR 650W TXm SERIES™ SEMI-MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
STANDARD CPU COOLER
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN PORT + Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi excluded on H310I-PLUS)
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 4 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KK3-00002]
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
Windows 10 Multi-Language Recovery Image - Unlimited Downloads from Online Account
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365 (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
BullGuard™ Internet Security - Free 90 Day License inc. Gamer Mode
Browser
Firefox™
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 12 to 13 working days
Welcome Book
PCSpecialist Welcome Book - United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland
Price: £1,093.00 including VAT and Delivery
Unique URL to re-configure: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/saved-configurations/intel-sff-gaming/ueYaYRA4A0/
 

SpyderTracks

Huntsman
Moderator
For just gaming?

what’s your max budget?

what monitor are you pairing it with? What resolution and refresh rate or make and model if you’re unsure?
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
I moved the original post into this as it explains what the PC is wanted for.

The info wasn't offputting, it's necessary, I just haven't had the time to work through it and suspect likewise for other forum members

A "mini" PC is probably not the best way to go in general - look at "regular" size PC cases like the Fractal meshify C which is not much larger than many so-called mini cases.

An AMD R5 / R7 build is probably better value, whereas an Intel i7 build would be better if absolutely the most single threaded performance is needed.

32gb RAM will be a waste

But like I say, it's a tricky one and will need a bit of time to go over, at least for me :)
 

neeb

Member
Thanks! :) I'm happy to wait.

The mini form factor is actually a big draw for me if it's possible... I've got limited space and the place I want to put it has a maximum height of 320mm. I also like the aesthetics of the Core V1 and it's going to be part of my livingroom..

Happy to go with 16GB RAM.

Here's the generic advice for hardware for running Zwift:
Clearly the spec I'm looking for here is only needed to be able to use the top-notch graphics options, but I do want to do that (if you scroll down on that page it has a table of performance options for various hardware, as well as a paragraph on gaming PCs).
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
I've got limited space and the place I want to put it has a maximum height of 320mm.
Where's it going exactly? One thing you don't want to do is stuff a PC with powerful hardware into a small space where it is going to be bathing in its own hot air (and trying to cool itself with that).


Also as above, what resolution is the TV (1080p? 4k?) And what refresh rates, just 60hz? You mentioned VR - what VR kit do you use?

There's a good chance you'll want better than a 1660 ti for VR
 

neeb

Member
Ideally I'd like to put it on a bookcase shelf that's quite tall (320mm). I can clear that shelf of other stuff so that there will be air on either side, and one side of the bookshelf is open (supported by two metal poles).

Here are the specs of the TV:

I might also sometimes connect it to an old monitor, just for web browsing / email / word processing etc. Currently my laptop is connected to the TV with HDMI and the monitor with an old D-Sub.. The monitor does have HDMI capability too though:

Sorry... I was using the term VR very generally just to mean that Zwift is a "virtual cycling" environment. I won't be using a VR headset or anything.
 

Nursemorph

Grand Master
Will the bookshelf allow space at the back? Rear room is more important than side room as that is where the exhaust fan expels the warm air
 

Nursemorph

Grand Master
You really should have more room than that as the hot air may not have enough room to dissipate (I have read that 10-15cm would be the minimum recommended but the more the better)....the smaller the gap, the hotter your PC may run which would affect efficiency and the life of it.
 

neeb

Member
Another option would be to put it underneath the TV, on the TV stand. Then it would effectively be open on all sides (except for the bar of the stand at the rear, which is about 18cm wide, curved/convex and would be 10cm back from the rear of the PC). But then I really would want a nice looking, compact case like the Core V1 as it would be on full display.. Would have the advantage that I wouldn't need to run the HDMI cable under the rug.. :)
 

neeb

Member
Another advantage of that is that I could dovetail the electronic and the organic cooling.. Just as processors need cooling when they are working flat-out in enclosed spaces, so do humans. ;) I have a massive floor fan pointed at me when I'm using Zwift, and with the PC under the TV that would effectively be drawing air away from the PC while in use!
 

Nursemorph

Grand Master
The TV stand option sounds much better to me as it would allow air movement and so help keep everything cool...and the rear clearance is much better
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
What are the max dimensions of a case that could be used on the TV stand?

I don't play(?) Zwift; I have looked at it before but not for a while so wanted to do some fresh reading.

I'd recommend an AMD R5 3600 build over the i5 9400F. Performance should be similar or better, and the AMD CPU and platform's options are superior in every single way. e.g. for faster RAM with an Intel CPU you need a ludicrously expensive Z390 motherboard, whereas AMD support faster RAM on B450 boards (Intel equivalent B360, which does not). Buying a Z390 motherboard with a 9400F is like buying £3000 curtains to do up a cardboard box.

I note the article mentions issues with the 3600 and allegedly not detecting an Nvidia GPU. I don't even know how that works (there is no other GPU for it to detect) and, unsurprisingly, lots of people on the Zwift reddit are running it with a 3600 and no problems.

The 3600 is ahead of the 9400F in just about every single game, and in the huge majority of non-gaming uses. If and when Zwift gets an engine update, or you use other games/software/indoor cycling trainers, the R5 3600 will have been the more futureproof purchase.

The RTX 2060 has recently taken a price cut, and if you were going to get a GTX 1660 ti then the RTX 2060 gives a good slice more performance for little more cash.

The case (just looking at Mini ITX, pending info on the space available) is tricky. The V1 has only 1 radiator mount point - the front, which will replace the included 200mm fan - that fan arguably being the point of the case. The Corsair 280x is more expensive but will let you have a radiator up top (in fact it supports 240mm radiators so you should ask PCS to fit a Cooler Master Lite 240 or an H100x in there).

With a "mini" case I wouldn't really recommend the stock air cooler if possible.

32gb RAM seems way excessive - 16gb will be more than fine.

Get a faster, M.2 SSD.
 
Last edited:

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
This is about £70 more than your quote, most of which comes from the case (~£+39), and the AIO cooler (+£63).
The savings come from not paying through the eyes for the motherboard.
It sports a better CPU, a better GPU, a faster SSD, and should have better thermals. It will also have better dust filtration, especially protecting the GPU.
With the Core V1, you either suffocate the GPU by putting it up against an acrylic panel, or you do the sensible thing and put the honeycomb grille next to it, which means it gets air but 0 dust filtration. And then you get to dust it all the time. But at least the PC doesn't melt (unless you don't dust it).

So a different case would seem preferable.

Case
CORSAIR CRYSTAL SERIES 280X RGB GAMING CASE
Processor (CPU)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600 Six Core CPU (3.6GHz-4.2GHz/36MB CACHE/AM4)
Motherboard
Gigabyte B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI (DDR4, USB 3.1, 6Gb/s)
Memory (RAM)
16GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3200MHz (2 x 8GB)
Graphics Card
6GB NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2060 - HDMI, DP - VR Ready!
1st Storage Drive
2TB SEAGATE BARRACUDA SATA-III 3.5" HDD, 6GB/s, 7200RPM, 256MB CACHE
1st M.2 SSD Drive
512GB PCS PCIe M.2 SSD (2000 MB/R, 1100 MB/W)
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
NOT REQUIRED
Power Supply
CORSAIR 550W TXm SERIES™ SEMI-MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET
Power Cable
1 x 1 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
Processor Cooling
Corsair H60 2018 Hydro Series High Performance CPU Cooler
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
ONBOARD 6 CHANNEL (5.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
Wireless/Wired Networking
GIGABIT LAN PORT + Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi excluded on H310I-PLUS)
USB/Thunderbolt Options
MIN. 2 x USB 3.0 & 4 x USB 2.0 PORTS @ BACK PANEL + MIN. 2 FRONT PORTS
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64 Bit - inc. Single Licence [KK3-00002]
Operating System Language
United Kingdom - English Language
Windows Recovery Media
Windows 10 Multi-Language Recovery Image - Unlimited Downloads from Online Account
Office Software
FREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365 (Operating System Required)
Anti-Virus
BullGuard™ Internet Security - Free 90 Day License inc. Gamer Mode
Browser
Microsoft® Edge (Windows 10 Only)
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Delivery
STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND (MON-FRI)
Build Time
Standard Build - Approximately 12 to 13 working days
Price: £1,163.00 including VAT and Delivery

Unique URL to re-configure: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/saved-configurations/amd-sff-gaming/p2HJBkrets/
 

neeb

Member
That's brilliant, thanks very much!

The only issue I have is with the case... Are there any other sensible options? The size might just about be OK, although the 351 depth would leave less than 5cm distance at the back from the TV stand. Also, I really, really don't like the aesthetics... I assume that the glowing roundel things could be turned off, but still.. It may seem trivial but it doesn't exactly compliment my Edwardian living room and if it's right under the telly it'll be a bit of a brooding presence! ;)

Photo of the TV stand attached, with dimensions.
 

Attachments

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
he size might just about be OK, although the 351 depth would leave less than 5cm distance at the back from the TV stand.
That would be fine. If it was a solid wall, not so good, but there's plenty of space around it.

assume that the glowing roundel things could be turned off
Tempered glass and RGB lighting is the vogue for PC case design at the moment. RGB fans can generally be turned off. But if you can't stand the look of the rest of the case either that's probably not much good :)

Would the Coolermaster H100 case work?
That has the same thing with a radiator and front fan, also it is extremely limited in the GPUs it can accommodate. With a radiator at the front it would only have 180mm clearance (!) for a GPU.

This is the catch with mini PCs. We want them to have the same hardware as a regular PC...

The Meshify C ATX case is an option. Fractal's aesthetic is Scandinavian minimalist and it'd probably be coherent with the TV and soundbar. The depth is 395mm, but the feet aren't at the very front, so it could always poke its nose a few cm over the edge of the stand to make sure the cables have room at the back.

Video so you can see it a bit more in the flesh:
The height is 453mm including the feet so should fit under the soundbar
 

neeb

Member
Thanks again. That case looks OK but it's a pretty big box..

I'm actually thinking that I might be able to put up with the Corsair case after all, if I can just permanently switch the lights off on the fans.. That's the main thing that would annoy me about it. The size and shape would work much better in that space. The transparent side panel is also not really to my taste (especially if there are any internal leds or other illumination), but I huess I could stick something onto it to make it opaque or semi-opaque.
 

Oussebon

Moderator
Moderator
The 280X has a "Lighting Node Pro" included, which means you can software control the fans. Including turning the RGB lighting off:

The Gigabyte B450 I AORUS PRO has a few RGB LEDs underneath the right side of the PCB. But these can be turned off with Gigabyte's RGB Fusion software as far as I know.

Otherwise, unless you specifically add RGB hardware, the only internal LEDs visible through the side panel would be tiny, tiny ones on the motherboard denoting that it's working / receiving power, etc. They would be tiny, tiny fraction of the size and brightness of the on/standby LED on on your TV for instance.

It's possible the GPU might have an illuminated brand logo, but again that can usually be turned off e.g. using EVGA Precision X1. But tbh I'd be a bit surprised if your 2060 even had that.

--

If going with the 280X I'd suggest asking PCS if they can fit a different CPU cooler than the H60 - i.e. a 240mm one. The mini ITX configurator only offer a very limited selection of 120mm AIO coolers because most of the cases don't support much more than that, but the 280x does. The H60 isn't very good value - a Cooler Master Lite 240 would be as good as if not better for a lower price, while the H100x would be much better for little extra cash.

Don't underestimate the size of the "mini" cases though:
Fractal Meshify C: 440 mm x 395 x 212
Corsair 280X: 398mm x 276mm x 351mm

I.e. the Meshify is only 4-5cm taller than the Corsair and the Corsair is a good 6cm wider.
 
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