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

CINEBENCH CPU 1632
CPU-Z SINGLE 593
CPU-Z MULTI 4368
PASSMARK CPU 18490.7
GEEKBENCH SINGLE 6246
GEEKBENCH MULTI 27980

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

TIMESPY 7506
FIRESTRIKE 19645
PASSMARK 3D 14847
PASSMARK 2D 1235.8
CINEBENCH OPEN GL 182.11
VALLEY 6013
143.7 avg fps
278.1 max
55.2 min
HEAVEN 3094
122.8fps
276.9 max
38.9min

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)

AVG FPS MAX FPS 1% LOW
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)

IDLE 34C
GAMING 60-64C
RENDERING 89-92C
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)

IDLE 33C
GAMING 59-63C
RENDERING 79-85C
100% LOAD 82C

GPU Temperatures (1943MHz)

IDLE 31C
GAMING 74C
RENDERING 58C
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
GAMING 255W
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.

28 COMMENTS

  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?

    Thanks.

    • 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?

    Thanks,

    Clement

    • 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.

  6. Nice build.
    Maybe you could still push the OC capabilities if you could fit some watercooling, though its hard to tell from the video/pic what radiator could fit.

  7. It’s not immediately clear from the video, but just so everyone is aware, his storage is laid out as follows:
    2x M.2 SSDs in the M.2 slots on the motherboard (stacked like a bunk bed under the silver heat sink w/ logo between CPU socket and GPU slot)
    2x M.2 SSDs inside what appear to be StarTech M.2 SSD to 2.5″ SATA III Adapters (attached to LZ7 HDD docking panel) and cabled to SATA ports on the motherboard.
    This took me a while to figure out as the M.2 slots on the motherboard are not visible in the video, and only 2 M.2 adapters are ever seen installed.

    I hope that help!

    • I believe you can only have the power button on the right side. You wouldn’t be able to install a GPU with it on the left side.

  8. Hi, Jay.

    I’m quite impressed with your itx plataform building videos. Nice job, dude!

    I wonder if u can do a sequence video like the one u made named “Versus Ep 1: NFC S4 Mini vs. Logic Supply MC600” comparing the NFC S4 mini vs Lazer 3D?

    Also, could u explain why choosing Intel i7-8700K instead of AMD Ryzen 1700/2700?

    I watched your video with Biostar itx AM4 X370 and also wanted u to coment about the new ASUS ROG Strix X470-I Gaming, since u said it would be nice to upgrade from Biostar mobo.

    • Hey Robert, I do not have a versus planned at the moment but if I get the new S4M I may do one.

      I chose the 8700K because its still the best overall consumer chip at the moment. It still offers better gaming performance, and for rendering it is a beast.

      The Asus ROG X470-I is the best mini-itx Ryzen motherboard. Similar to their Intel boards, the amount of features they pack into these boards is second to none.

  9. Hi, I’m quiet new to pc building

    I have several questions about compatibility.
    Would this also work with Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz C15 Desktop Memory Kit – Black (CMK16GX4M2B3000C15) instead of your RAM?
    I also want to cut on the storage, is it possible to get a fast ssd 250 Gb and 2TB hdd in it, and what would you recommend?
    As last, does the link of your case already has the right configurations?

    Thanks in advance

  10. Hi, could you tell me what is the weight of this compact PC ? (case with all components inside).
    Looks great and actually I am looking for something like this since I travel too much in my job.
    Thanks for reply 🙂

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