mATX Rebuild

LunarMist

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I built a system about 4 years ago with a 6700K on a Z270 micro board with 16GB of RAM and a 250GB Samsung 960. The user was adamant about keeping the Windows 7, which I painfully migrated from an older computer. Now Windows 7 is obsolete and I'm thinking about the upgrade plan. There are fewer choices now in mATX and none with 4 PCIe slots like the old board. If I get the Z590M board like the MSI MPG, can I have the removable SATA drives in the BIOS as with my AMDs? (The manual is rubbish.) I was using an add-in card for the 2 bay drives in the current system. It's either that or maybe lose the internet Ethernet, sincer I need an RJ45 for one NAS. The other NAS would be on the Aquantia SFP+ controller (4x) PCIe 3.0. Are there any limitations on card use in the first slot that is usually for video? I would be using the 11700K and some kind of reduced capacity Nocturnal cooler that fits the 5' height case. Thanks.
 

Chewy509

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So how many of the following do you need:
  • PCIe x16
  • PCIe x8
  • PCIe x4
  • PCIe x1
  • PCI
  • USB 3.0 (rear and/or front)
  • USB 3.1 (rear and/or front)
  • USB 3.2 rear type-C
  • USB 3.2 front panel headers
  • M.2 slots
  • SATA ports
  • DIMM slots (or total capacity).
The problem is a lot of motherboards will trade PCIe slot connectivity for additional M.2 slots due to the limited number of PCIe lanes from the CPU and the chipset, hence why your not seeing mATX boards with more than two PCIe x16 slots. Typical mATX layout is either a single PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 slots, or two PCIe x16 and two PCIe x1 slots, but the second PCIe x16 slot may only be 4x electrical.

Any preference for either Intel or AMD?
And is hot swap on the SATA a hard requirement?
 

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SATA in AHCI mode, other than the boot drive, should always be removable and there's no technical reason that you have to put a video card in a different slot, but as Chewy said sometimes motherboards do funny things if you are also trying to use nVME. If a board is keyed for m.2 SATA as well as nVME, that might not be an issue.
 

LunarMist

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The constituent storage parts are 2x fixed SATA HDD, one optical, two removable drives in a combo 2.5/3.5 bay w/ power switch and one NVMe OS drive. It is necessarily to power down the drives and replace with other drives without Windows going whack. It is also necessary to have the 10Gbe SFP+ and a GbE for the other NAS that is not shearing bandwidth with the internet. USB shouldn't be an issue. I don't want a video card. I assume that Xeremis graphics in the Intel 11th CPU should be good enough for the Eizo 2560x1440. It has to be better than whatever was in the Sky Lake.
 

Chewy509

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So, you need:
  • 5x SATA ports with at least 2x being hot-swap enabled.
  • 1x M.2 NVMe slot (assume PCIe 3.0 is fine)?
  • 1x PCIe x8 for the 10GbE adapter (assuming Intel X520 or similar)?
  • 1x 1GbE for NAS
  • 1x 1GbE for Internet.
  • Integrated gfx is fine.
So a desktop board with dual RJ45 LAN, 6x SATA ports, integrated gfx support via HDMI, a PCIe x16 slot or PCIe x4/x8 slot and an M.2 slot for OS drive.

Let me find one for you...
 

Chewy509

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It's a bit of a short list, but:

Consumer orientated boards:
Gigabyte W480M Vision W - https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/W480M-VISION-W-rev-10#kf

Workstation:
ASRockRack W480M WS - https://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=W480M WS#Specifications

Both Tyan and Supermicro have solutions, but are either based on the older 9th Gen Intel or come with embedded Xeon CPUs. (Note: Some of the supermicro boards come with dual SFP+ headers, dual RJ45 LAN, and 12Gbps SAS - like the X10SDV-7TP4F - https://www.supermicro.com/en/products/motherboard/X10SDV-7TP4F?locale=en , but they all have AST based video adapters, so will need to find a PCIe x8 GPU to work with them).

Please note, all the above boards at US$350+ and are targeted towards workstation usage.
 

Chewy509

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Thinking about it more, all you should need is a mATX board with 6 SATA (that doesn't share with the M.2 - this will be in the manual) and two PCIe x16 slots. There are quite a few boards out there... (Newegg shows at least 8 options).

It's only if you want dual 1GbE LAN on the motherboard, do your options drop down to the two options I listed earlier.
 

LunarMist

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The Gigabyte W480M seems nice with the dual LAN (one 2.5GbE) and four slots. Presumably it is built fairly well. OC is not necessary. The only concern is that there is nothing about Windows 11 compatibility.
 

LunarMist

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I must this week. I hope it does work in the BIoS but was confused about the TPM header and modulus that is not available.
What are your thoughts on the cooler? The case is small so I doubt it would handle more than a Nocturne 9 series (92mm fan), but some reviews are not so good. It seems the only choices are the 125W or 65W and not a 95W CPU as before.
 

Chewy509

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What case have you got?

If you can't fit a 120mm based HSF in there (eg max height is less than 150mm), typically, it'll be the Noctuna HN-D9L series, be quiet Pure Rock Slim 2, or something like the CoolerMaster H410R or H411R.

That's correct, current Intel desktop offers are typically 65W or 125W, and most 65W CPUs are only that way due to tuning in the BIOS in regards to power limits. For example, the Intel 11400F on an B560M with power limits disabled should be treated as a 125W CPU in regards to cooling solution.

For Intel 500-series, there should be an option in UEFI called fTPM, (aka Firmware TPM), that needs to be enabled. With this enabled you don't need a standalone TPM 2 module.
 

Chewy509

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If you're considering the Gigabyte W480M, page 33 of the manual mentions support for "Intel Platform Trust Technology (PTT)", this is Intel's version of Firmware TPM, just set this (PTT) and TXT to enabled to enable TPM 2.0 support via the chipset. (That should be it for Windows 11 compatibility).

Also Page 35 of the manual mentions you can enable/disable Hot Swap support on the SATA ports as well.
 

LunarMist

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As usual the Corvid has messed up plans. All must be same supplier and delivery in a time window for the user, so the amd will be used instead. I hope not to have wasted too much of your time. She should be ok with 5700G, B550M Mortuary, 32GB crucial 3200 RAM, 10 Pro. According to the reviews a 5700G has decent video (user is not a gamer) and it has some kind of supplied cooler that should easily fit the old Aztec horizontal case. I will put the OS on the 500GB 980 Pro.
 

LunarMist

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Can I use an older power supply for testing? It is a Corsair HX650W with specs of ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92.
 

Chewy509

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The motherboard manual should list the power supply required, but in general that Corsair PSU should be fine for testing.

However confirm its age, anything that has exceeded its warranty period then should be checked first. (High Quality units should be ok for 7-8 years of usage, but beyond that I would probably get a new unit to be on the safe side). From what I can see, the HX650W was released 10yr+ ago, and has a 7yr warranty...

LTT has a PSU tier list, pretty much just stick to the Tier A or B list and you'll be fine.
 

LunarMist

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Thanks. My concern was about the ATX spec number, since I don't see anything in the mainboard manual about a minimal ATX number level.
I also found a Seasonics ss700HM, which has very little info. It is in a case with a Z97 (Devil Canyon 4790K) and probably not new back in early 2015, but I'm not sure. It was in use through 2019.
 

LunarMist

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The BIOS must have been archaic, because it would not output any video at all.
 

LunarMist

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Can I repurpose a 6700K on a Z270M for Win 10?
This would replace a 7500T Optoplex that is crapping out.
 

LunarMist

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IIRC at the time the 200 series chipset arrived it and the 7700K were designed for 10.
I'm sure it does need an update as the user would never do it and the system was assembled in Q3 2017. I may have avoided the BIOS update due to the Meltdown "virus."
 

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I think it should work fine as long as you give it enough RAM?
I have a T440s (anno ~ 2013?). It was unbearable slow with 8 GB but got much better with 12 GB.
It doesn't say much, bit it is much faster than my work laptop (4 year old HP with 8 GB).

And if I remember correctly I believe I upgraded a bunch of computers on 200 chipsets to Win 10 back in the days. (but I might have upgraded the BIOS).
 
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LunarMist

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My work laptop has only 16GB of RAM, so I think that is enough. I'm going to finish the Ryzen G build and then ship it for use until the Xmas break. Then I will rebuild the 6700K with 10 pro and swap cases Can I use the code from a legit DSP DVD to activate Win 10 that was installed from a USB? I'd rather not buy any more retail 10 Pro if not necessary.
 

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My work laptop has only 16GB of RAM, so I think that is enough. I'm going to finish the Ryzen G build and then ship it for use until the Xmas break. Then I will rebuild the 6700K with 10 pro and swap cases Can I use the code from a legit DSP DVD to activate Win 10 that was installed from a USB? I'd rather not buy any more retail 10 Pro if not necessary.

Windows 10 and 11 will BOTH activate from any retail or OEM key for any Windows Edition that matches the product type you've installed, for any version of Windows after Vista. I have tested this many times. I've used keys that were on the bottom of laptops I found at my local recycling facility. The rules are unbelievably lax.

I've also recently discovered that VERY old keys for old products (eg Office 2010) that I have activated in the past and told that I could not reuse, are now allowed to be activated again.
 
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LunarMist

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You are correct! I was able to use a brand new Win 7 Pro OEM disc w/sticker that I had in storage to activate 10 Pro on the 5700G. I have another one left to use for the 6700K. I will leave the TPM off to prevent Windows 11 for now. The little 5700G is a pretty good CPU and the Wrath of cooler is just fine.
 

LunarMist

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Coming up on 2 years later the GPU is a necessity. The user is very interested in the DXO and other sftware of the AI variety and the 5700G sucks for that. The mATX case is rather small and short with the walls just barely allowing edge SATA use with a right-angled adapter. I'm thinking about this RTX 4060, which should fit. Thoughts?
 

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You may find that the bang for the buck on the AMD 6700XT vs. a 4060. The 6700XT has 50% more RAM and is very slightly faster for about $20 more than the 4060. It's a tough call there, because a lot of GPU capabilities are only optimized for nVidia, but the 6700 is a slightly better general purpose package.
 

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Also, as of this week Microsoft is no longer allowing activations of legacy Window keys. No more using a Windows 7 or 8 key on Windows 10 or 11. Bogus.
 

LunarMist

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You may find that the bang for the buck on the AMD 6700XT vs. a 4060. The 6700XT has 50% more RAM and is very slightly faster for about $20 more than the 4060. It's a tough call there, because a lot of GPU capabilities are only optimized for nVidia, but the 6700 is a slightly better general purpose package.
Cost is not an option, but it has to be short to fit the case, hence the MSI 4060. I know that some of the U-Tuber freaks are complaining about the price relative to the performance, but not about the product. A 4060 at 115W seems like a low amount of power that will not overheat the case or overtax the power supply. A 6700XT at 230W would probably require a new power supply or at least create a lot of heat. I'm not even seeting any in the 8.5" range.
 

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PCPartPicker.com allows for searches of video cards by their length if you're looking for more options by specific length.
 

LunarMist

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I guess it did not like my privates browsing. There are no shorty AMD cards, but several 4060 and even 4060 TI cards that are in the size range. The 4060 TI is more power and dollars. I hope the 4060 is adequate for 20-24MP files on the PS or DXO.
 
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LunarMist

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Now there will be a dearth of USB due to the video card addition, so I have no other ideas but to use a hub. Some reviews on the Amazonians mention hubs frying the motherboards. Are there any USB 3.0 A hubs that are safe and recommended?
 

LunarMist

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Are there any USB 3.x PCIe 1x cards that are PCIe 3.0 or 4.0? It seems most cards use only archaic PCIe 2.0 chips which operate at the speed of a single USB 3.0 port (<500 MB/sec.) even if there are a bunch of ports. The faster cards are all using PCIe 4x, but I don't have a free 4/8/16 slot on the µATX board. There are only spaces for four slots in the case and now two are lost to video. I'm hoping to replace the GbE card with the USB card and then use a USB NIC for the internet. The built-in 2.5GbE is used for the NAS where the faster speed is important.
 

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There ARE such cards. Startech and Inateck are brands I've known to make them for years, with many less expensive cards from weirdo Chinese brands promising much better specs and features for around half the price.

USB hubs are fine for a lot of things. The places where they fall down are cases where you have multiple high bandwidth devices plugged in to the same interface. You don't want a flash drive, card reader or portable HDD attached to one. I have a $160 Plugable Thunderbolt 3 dock for my workstation since the physical machine is in my closet, which is certainly one way to skin the bandwidth cat. It has a full speed card reader and some extra HDMI ports on it if I care to use them, and it also gives me a half dozen USB ports where I want them. I MOSTLY use them for input devices (mic, Logitech transceiver, webcam, et al).

But, OK, hubs are nifty if for example you need one port for USB C charging and then a couple for input and one flash drive. If that's the config you're dealing with, you're set. They're fine. My go-to USB hub is just a plain old $20 Amazon Basic guy with 3 ports and an Ethernet port.
 

LunarMist

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Can you point out a specific PCIe 3.x card for W10? Every one I search that has a known chipset is PCIe 2.x or other issues.
 

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Do you have a 10Gbps USB 3.x device that you're worried about? PCIe 2.0 will give you 8Gbps, which is plenty for everything but a new SSD or card reader.

Here's this guy. He's in Belgium, but that's 1x 10Gbps type A port on a PCIe 3.0 1x card with an ASMedia 3142 controller. My experience is that almost every add in board for USB is ASmedia, though.
 

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Here is a PCIe 3.0 x1 card to supply 7 USB 3.0 ports and here is one that supports 5Gbps USB 3.2.
If you're dead set on getting external access to a high speed interface, you might need to look at a thunderbolt adapter + dock instead.
 

LunarMist

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Isn't it only half of that, 500MB/sec.? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express#History_and_revisions
PCI 3.0 would be ~1GB/sec. per lane.
I don't need more than the basic USB 3.0 per port, but If the total is only worth one port then I couldn't put much on it without a real slowdown.
The only other options are maybe to buy a heavy duyty drill and try to get the wires out of the case. It's an old, thick steel case and I'm not very good with the tools like that.
 
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