DTX Lives! Four Double-Slot Cases For ITX Gaming Machines

Test Setup

Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-2600K: 3.4-3.8 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache, Stock
MotherboardZotac H67ITX-A-E: Intel H67 Express PCH, BIOS 2.02.1205 (12/15/2010)
RAMG.Skill F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1600 at DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24
GraphicsGigabyte GV-N560SO-1GI: 1000 MHz GTX 560Ti GPU, 1.0 GB GDDR5-4580
Hard DriveWD WD3000HLFS: 300 GB, 10 000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerSilverStone SST-ST45SF: 450 W, ATX12V v2.2, 80 PLUS Broze, SFX
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 266.66
ChipsetIntel INF

A powerful CPU is required to push high-end graphics cards to peak performance. Intel’s Core i7-2600K fits that bill perfectly.

Here’s where our build will befuddle many up-and-coming enthusiasts. Our processor doesn’t care how small the case is, and will operate at full performance as long as it’s kept at or below 98° Celsius. Lacking a small enough performance-oriented CPU cooler to fit within the tiny confines of our smallest case, we were stuck with Intel’s retail-boxed unit.

Had we a high-end, low-profile cooler, it may not have fit our motherboard. Zotac’s H67-ITX is packed with features, but any CPU cooler wider than 100 mm will block its PCI Express slot. We’ve noticed that this problem is consistent across Asus and ECS products also.

Since we never got a chance to review Zotac’s board, we thought it prudent to include the full set of images above. This board does not support manual memory adjustments, but does include the additional memory voltage controls needed for certain modules. The third BIOS image is more important, as users must manually increase the fan speed limit to 100% in order for the Core i7-2600K to operate normally with its stock cooler. We have no idea why Zotac would artificially lower the maximum CPU fan speed by default, since its “smart controls” prevent that limit from being reached unless it’s actually needed.

G.Skill's DDR3-1600 CAS 8 modules defaulted to DDR3-1333 CAS 9. We were hoping for DDR3-1333 CAS 8 at least, since our motherboard’s BIOS doesn’t support manual configuration.

Thermal testing requires a constant, high-load level that’s hard to reach with most of today’s performance graphics cards. That’s because most of the latest enthusiast-oriented products respond to a constantly high load by dropping their clocks to cope. The only current-generation high-end card we had on hand that doesn’t exhibit this behaviour is Gigabyte’s GV-N560SO-1GI.

Many builders might think we're crazy for using a 450 W power supply in today’s configuration. Yet, SilverStone was certain its SFX form-factor ST45SF would be up to the task. Our non-overclocked CPU contributed to a combined CPU and GPU full load power draw of 420 W, which means the unit was only being tasked with a 374 W output according to its 80 PLUS report.

The ST45SF includes a PS/2 form-factor adapter plate.

Our motherboard didn’t include any right-angle cables, so we dug a pair of SilverStone’s 90° cables out of our collection.

Two of our cases required slim optical drives, so we ordered Samsung’s low-cost SN-S083 DVD writer, along with a store-brand mini-SATA adapter cable.

Benchmark Configuration
Prime95 v25.864-bit executable, Small FFT's, 7-threads
FurMark 1.6.5Windowed Mode, 1280x1024, 8X AA, Stability Test
Minimum and maximum temperature
RealTemp 3.60Highest core reading at full CPU load (60 minutes)
Highest core reading at 30 minutes idle
Galaxy CM-140 SPL MeterTested at 1/4 m, corrected to 1 m (-12 dB), A-weighting
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  • Stupido
    This "Tank" case from Cubitek looks interesting. Though if I was the designer, I would have moved the top 140mm fan bit forward.
    The reason is that in such a case it would be very interesting to install self-contained water cooling unit like Corsair's H50/60/70 or Antec H20...
    so either installed to draw air in or out, the 140 mm fan would aid the expel/intake much better is it is bit further in the front than closer to the rear fan.
  • LePhuronn
    Check out MAX11L for some insane builds using the Sugo SG05 (identical to the SG06 except for the plastic face).

    With a wee bit of patience and cutting a hole in the case, the guy got a GTX 480 AND a Corsair H70 in there!

    Good to have the confirmation of the Sugo SG05/06's maximum internal size for a graphics card (without modding) as I'm speccing a Sandy Bridge gaming rig paired with a Sapphire 6950. Silverstone declined (WTF) to give me internal dimensions so I've had to do a bit of guessing!
  • doive1231
    My builds are getting progressively smaller. I'm currently on a mATX with the smallest case that will accept a full size graphics card. Mini-ITX should be next with cases like these.
  • Griffolion
    This review forgot the SG05B-450, the even smaller brother to the SG06B, it also has an open front fan grille, not that closed fascia look which improves airflow. It also has an inbuilt 450W Silverstone PSU designed for a gamer rig.

    Otherwise, an interesting article. I think ITX gaming should be pushed more by the companies as a means for people to get into PC gaming even if their desk real estate is confined.
  • mi1ez
    The two side bits on the mini-tank look like they should be gun turrets. But I like it! Surprised to see it do so badly on the cooling front though.
  • regis_57
    That is good to know the dimension are good for the video card, however you do not say nowhere it is running well, without power outtage of the whole system.
    Please let me know if it is fine to run with top game settings this video card (560 TI OC) using the 450w PSU provided.
  • System Analysis Program
    SG07 FTW