Compact cases can been difficult to build in at times. Over the years I have built a lot of small form factor PC’s. From my original low power builds, to my more recent S4 Mini builds, I have always found myself making some sort of compromise, typically using low power CPU’s and GPU’s.

I wanted to build a compact system that didn’t have any of the performance limitations normally associated with small form factor builds. For me this meant a top of the line overclock-able CPU, with at least a GTX 1080 level GPU.

The system also needs to stay relatively quiet. There is nothing worse then a crazy loud PC sitting on your desk annoying you all day.

Component Selection

mini itx build componentsI quickly realized that the biggest issue became finding a case that was both very small, and also capable of cooling high end components. I looked at a ton of different case options, finally settling on the Lazer3D LZ7. The LZ7 stands out because it offers a crazy amount of ventilation and airflow, in an ultra compact form factor. It also has 70mm of clearance for CPU coolers in its stock configuration, which is much more than typical small form factor cases.

Next it was time to select the rest of my components. I wanted parts could handle high end games, and rendering duties without breaking a sweat. I also need a decent amount of fast SSD storage for video files and games.

I chose the Intel Core i7-8700K and Gigabyte GTX 1080 Mini. The Gigabyte 1080 Mini is the most powerful sub 9-inch graphics card available on the market today. Zotac makes a mini 1080 and 1080Ti, but they are slightly longer, preventing them from fitting in cases like the LZ7 or original S4 Mini.

The 8700K is a 6-core 12-thread overclock-able beast. It is currently the best processor on the market for gaming, and handles rendering tasks with ease as well. Check out the full component list below.

System Components

CPU Intel Core i7-8700K
RAM 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 3000MHz
GPU Gigabyte GTX 1080 Mini
Motherboard Asus ROG Strix Z370-I
HDD 1 x Samsung 960 EVO 256GB
2 x Samsung 850 EVO 500GB
1 x Intel 600p 256GB
PSU Corsair SF 450
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-L12S
CASE Lazer3D LZ7

You may see 4 hard drives and be confused… understandably so. Due to my unique storage needs this is the best configuration for me. I use my drives in the following configuration.

Storage Setup

Samsung 960 EVO 256GB Boot Drive/Program Installs
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB Premier/After Effects Files & Media
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB Steam Game Library & Local Media
Intel 600p 256GB Adobe Scratch Disk & Browser Downloads

This is not a typical setup, but it works really well for me. Separating the media, and cache files helps maximize performance in Adobe programs. Installing all of my games on their own SSD also makes it easy to reinstall windows. Something I do pretty regularly.

Case Size Comparison

lz7 size comparisonThe Lazer3D LZ7 is an ultra compact case. It is in the shape of a cube. Its much smaller than the Phanteks Evolv shift case pictured. The S4 Mini on the right is about 1/3 of the height, but longer and wider.

Build Process

Building this system in the LZ7 was pretty simple. All the components fit perfectly as if they were custom made to fit inside this case. For the full build process and details check out the video below.

For more information, and complete information on the build process, watch or read my review of the Lazer3D LZ7 Mini-ITX Case.

System Benchmarks

I had more fun bench-marking this system than any other I have built in the past. For testing I pushed the system to its limits. I overclocked all three of the main system components. The system clocks were set to the following for all tests.

i7-8700K 5.0GHz – 1.36v
GTX 1080 Mini 1943MHz
Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz

With every component overclocked I was able to get some truly impressive scores on both CPU and GPU tests. Its incredible how much performance you can fit into this tiny case.

Synthetic CPU Benchmarks


The 8700K at 5GHz flew through my suite of CPU test, scoring in the 99th percentile in most cases. Asus’ Z370-I BIOS makes overclocking a simple process. The system was stable throughout testing.

Synthetic GPU Benchmarks

PASSMARK 2D 1235.8
143.7 avg fps
278.1 max
55.2 min
276.9 max

The GPU was almost as impressive as the CPU. Posting some really high scores across the board. I saw a noticeable bump in performance from my test scores in the old system featuring a non K i7-8700.

Gaming Frame-rates (1440p)

Overwatch 126 180 95
Batman: Arkham Knight 121 170 80
Shadow of Mordor 125 194 95
Metro: Last Light 120 219 84
PUBG 79 88 55
The Witcher 3 85 101 63

All gaming benchmarks were run at 1440p. Every title tested was able to hit 60fps comfortably. With this configuration you can even game at 4K in some titles depending on graphic settings.

CPU Temperatures (5GHz)

100% LOAD 90C

About 95% of the time I run this system at 5GHz. For rendering I created a second overclock profile in the Asus BIOS that lowers the clock speed to 4.7GHz.

While the system was stable at 92C, I don’t want to hit those temperatures consistently. The chart below shows the temperatures for the secondary rendering profile.

CPU Temperatures (4.7GHz)

100% LOAD 82C

GPU Temperatures (1943MHz)

100% LOAD 79C

Noise Levels

system noise levelsThe noise levels were very completely manageable. At idle, the system is whisper quiet. Its audible when gaming or rendering, but not loud to the point that its annoying. You don’t need headphones to cover up the sound coming from this PC like some compact systems I have had in the past.

IDLE 33.7db
GAMING 45.9db
RENDER 47.8db
100% 50.1db

System Power Draw

Using a 450 Watt power supply may not seem like enough on paper to power these components, but it is. Even at 100% load on the CPU and GPU you will still have a significant amount of headroom. Below you will find the avg wattage pulled from the wall for each CPU/GPU state.

IDLE 47.5W
100% 350W

Final Thoughts

lazer3d lz7 build on deskI set out to build an ultra compact, but powerful PC. What I ended up with was even more impressive then I thought it would be.

The Lazer3D LZ7 is an incredible case. The flexibility it offers in such a small footprint can’t be beat. Being able to run an 8700K at 5.0GHz with an overclocked GTX 1080 Mini is simply amazing.

This build has become my do everything portable PC. The only question is, how will I top this build.


  1. Great build, eager to see the performance results. If possible please share with us the cost of the whole thing 😀

  2. Looks good, just watched this on youtube and had a quesiton…

    What OS/Skin/Theme are you using in that video?


    • I am using Rainmeter with the following plugins…

      Date/Time: Connections
      System Stats: Circuitous
      Weather: Mini Weather
      Folder Launcher: Thomas Was Alone

    • 2 m.2 drives, 2 m.2 drives with SATA 2.5″ adapters. It allows me to future proof my hard drives.

  3. I saw your wonderful PC for my mom video and was thinking about building something like that but with a ryzen 3 2200g build. Do you think the Realan E-W60 would work with the included power supply and stock stealth cooler which is 54mm tall? The case is 56/60 according to the website? Would really appreciate your help.

  4. Thanks for your video and build,

    I’m currently looking at a similar setup. Mainly for the portable powerful and almost silent side.
    I have a be quiet dark base 800 i7 5960x gt 980ti 32gb ddr4 ram setup that’s just huge to move around. I’m OK to sacrifice some performance for portability. But not too much on the almost silent side.

    Im doing sometimes heavy after effects stuff (plug-ins) , and using other Adobe suite software. I’m really annoyed by fan noises.

    I can’t really relate to your dB measurements, so I have to ask, under heavy Ae / ps work, is your build OK to live with when you work 10 / 12 hours next to it?



    • Under any workload but rendering it is pretty quiet. It’s not silent though, if you are looking for a silent system this is not it.

  5. For those wondering, as of today, this build costs 2485.08$. Thats without the case fan that’s mentioned.
    A little expensive for my taste but like the build.


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