Some weeks ago I sold my Asus GTX760 DC2OC to a friend so I was without a GPU for this time. Thankfully the NVidia Maxwell series arrived, so I knew that it was time to update my mini rig :)
Sadly the GTX980 is out of my budget so the GTX970 was picked (it's best value for money anywayz).
Now to the tricky part... WHAT GTX970 is appropriate for my SilverStone SG06 case?
First of all, there are plenty of stock versions of GTX970 (non overclocked) from different hardware vendors that would work just fine out-of-the-box. These are the following:
I decided not to buy the entry level from any hardware vendor (not because I have any problem with entry level, but mainly because I don't like overclocking, so a little boost by default would have been better).
With that decision I had 5 things to consider:
- Length (max length that can be used ~10" as it is, and 10.75" if you cut the front frame)
- Height (Well normally you don't have to worry but if you use the combo DVD/drive bracket) height is an issue especially with power cables needed for GPU
- Depth (I certainly don't need more than 2x card depth. For example some huge 2.5x or 3x coolers don't let the case close!
- Temperature control
- Fan noise
After a long of research and reviews through the forums... I had the following info and choices:
- Asus Strix: This was my first choice mainly because I love Asus, but also because it has the best cooling imho. Sadly though... it's TOO big for my SilverStone SG06 case. Even cutting the front frame (a classic mod for people putting larger GPUs)... at 11" you can't do anything more. Also the height with the heatpipes might get in the way of the bracket of 3.5"HD/Slim CD combo.
- EVGA ACX series: FTW model seemed sexy enough and certainly fits based on height and length. After checking some reviews saying about higher noise for my taste, and some issues based on the ACX cooling solution, I didn't fell for it
- Gigabyte G1: Awesome card but nothing more to say except that it's length is a massive 12"... so a certainly no no!
- Zotac Amp Omega: It seemed legit, but for some reason I don't like it much and it's cooler seem like it has more height than the SG06 might support with the HD/DVD combo bracket. It's depth is certainly bigger than the case can support so I don't see it coming anyway.
- MSI Gaming: Lovely card and logically it could fit (ofc with cutting the metal frame on the front) as it's 10.6" but it's huge on height making it a tight (or no fit at all) if using the combo bracket as well
- Gainward Phantom: What a lovely and beasty card! It's silent, good looking, and height and length is awesome (even without cutting the frame). Only thing I worry is that it will be tight or no fit on depth as the cooler makes a depth of 2.5 cards. SG06 has some more space but still I can't know for sure it fits (without modding).
- Palit JetStream: Ok this card met ALL the requirements as it'is rather nice and fits just fine (without mods). Height and Length (9.72") are just fine and Depth is something more than 2x but checking from review pics is 99% ok. Some reviews said that it has awesome silent behavior although increased temps based on that favoritism. Thankfully I can change that from the utility. I just wish it was red to mach my ROG mobo but you can't have it all :)
Ok Palit was the safest and wisest choice... so after some days.... IT ARRIVED!
Damn that box felt huge (although it doesn't feel so big in the pictures).
Some close-ups from the GPU for means of reference
I had to dismantle a lot of stuff from my previous setup, as the card gets tight but can't be powered (2x 6pin connectors) or be installed in the PCI-E bus without removing the HD/DVD combo bracket. After putting things back together and some cable management... here it was in it's full glory :)
With that cable management, the airflow from the front 92mm Noctua fan is enough. LOL you can't see anything from the other side as the GPU+Fan is blocking whole side.
One view from the top, where you can see some minor cable management stuck on the empty sides near the slim Bluray drive. It actually look better than the photos although there aren't much things you can do without a modular PSU. I'm rather happy with the 450W-80 plus SFF PSU though.
Last but not least, some photos with the case closed and ready to rock!
After seeing how tight everything fitted, I can say almost with certainty that Gainward wouldn't fit based on depth since my Palit is so tight that it barely touches the external chassis (thankfully not having any issue).
Also I find it rather difficult, for MSI or Zotac to fit based on height as well (although I can't prove it).
EVGA would fit rather nice (being 9.5") though.
OFC if there was a reference GTX970 would have been awesome (like for example the GTX980 OC of EVGA) but despite many users asking for the reference design, no vendor approved or thought about releasing it yet.
Anywayz... after 2 hours of testing... the GPU just rocks!!! Totally silent and every game set on Ultra at ease. Fun times ahead \o/
I hope you like it despite not being retr0 :)