This is my very first SFF build. Still alot of rooms to improve, but so far I'm quite pleased and enjoy the building process. I just finished this afternoon.
Before this build I used Phanteks Evolv ITX as my platform. Only for 1.5 years my interest to a real small form factor become stronger and stronger until I cant resist it.
Finally I dare myself to build one.
The initial idea was to have a tiny form factor system but running as beefiest components (CPU cooler and GPU) as it allows and it has to be air cooled. I'm a kind of average budget person, so I cannot afford the NCASE M1 as it's so expensive to finally reach my hand ($190 base price and mark it up to $314 to arrived in front of my door), and I'm not into the purchasing system it runs. So I ended up with the "Poor man's M1" version, the Cougar QBX.
Basically I just migrated some of my previous PC components inside the Evolv ITX to the QBX, and will upgrading the GPU later on, wait for what AMD will offer with their NAVI.
And this is the part list:
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K, 5 GHz, delidded with LM
CPU cooler: Noctua NH-C14S
Motherboard: MSI Z370i Gaming Pro Carbon AC
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 2x8 Gb, 2666 MHz
GPU: EVGA GTX 1060 6 Gb FTW2 DT
PSU: Corsair SF600 Platinum
Case cooling: 1x Noctua NF-R8 80mm fan front intake, 1x Cougar stock 92mm fan rear exhaust, 2x Noctua NF-F12 iPPC 3000 fans top exhaust.
I did an extensive research before I decided to execute my trigger for this kind of build.
After I decided to use the Cougar QBX, from there I start to try to find any informations as many as possible from its specs, what's the biggest components it can take based on its official specs, until to finally I found the untold specs that this case hides inside itself, and then I saw a wider choices of components to keep me consistent with my initial idea.
I was about to upgrade my GPU also along the building proccess, but life is quite rough lately, so I need to save some cash for it and the GPU upgrade is in hold for it, but I don't mind as there will be AMD to show up some new line-ups soon enough, so I stay calm and patience..
For the PSU, I was thinking about it for a month to find which SFX PSUs are available in my country. Initial plan was Enermax Revolution SFX or Seasonic Focus Gold SGX, but both models are out of stock, even Silverstone SX-G also. The SFX PSU which available in where I live is the Corsair SF, so I get this little big boy instead even the price is over my target, but I think I cant go wrong with this unit.
The CPU cooler???
Cougar stated that QBX maximum height of CPU cooler it can accomodate is only 105mm, but after extensive research it can take 145mm CPU cooler with side plate/bracket uninstalled. The trade off is I lose 2x any 2.5" storage drives mounts and 1x 3.5" HDD mounts, and 1x 120mm side fan mount. I take the trades to put NH-C14S to cool my 5GHz 8700K inside a tiny case, also since I don't need many storage drives so I can live with it.
TL:DR, here some of the pics when I built it, it's not the pretiest build, but like I said, there are still alot of rooms to improve, and also I'm sorry for the poor quality pics.
I installed the SF600 with this orientation to allow me to install 2x 120mm NF-F12 fans just to exhaust heat as fast as possible when it needed. I set the NF-F12 at constant 1000-1500 RPM up until 80C, and higher RPM for over 80C.
the front top exhaust NF-F12 is to pull out the PSU heat without leaving heat is being trapped at the gap between PSU bracket and the top/roof of the case, while the rear top exhaust NF-F12 is to pull out the CPU heat.
About the motherboard.. Initially I plan to upgrade to Asrock Phantom Gaming Z390 ITX/ac also to future proofing, but found that there is someone have problem with the NH-C14S on old motherboard inside QBX, and it makes the guy cut the heatsink to fit in there. Then it made me wonder if each motherboard has their own certain exact spot or let say coordinate of the CPU socket relative to the motherboard area and dimension. I was quite sure it has and it will affect to the NH-C14S compatibility.
I was discouraged by some opinions that saying I will be unlikely to be able to fit the NH-C14S without involving some mods. But challenge accepted, and I see a quite big risk ahead but I decide to gamble myself for it, I took the risk and move on..
I checked the Asrock vs my preowned MSI board. Crop their pics at same orientation and size, I found that Asrock CPU socket is located slightly to upper right direction, while MSI has it tend to be located the opposite direction, lower to the left. From here I cancle my decision to get Asrock and stay with my current motherboard instead.
Aaaaand this is when the NH-C14S heatsink is succesfully installed on the system.. No mod/s required.
Look how close my risk by gambling on it..
Just tiny touch perfect fit!
This is the spot where a real conflict happens..
No big deal rubber vs metal. Only the outer fin which get bent by the power cable, no worries..
a milimeter gap on the rear sector vs 25mm thick rear exhaust fan
with the NF-A14 Chromax installed..!
(I have it already from the previous build)
I was about to use NF-A15 instead because it's aestethically better than NF-A14, but the mounting clips are not compatible, tried to use the NH-D15 fan clips also not compatible, so NF-A14 is OK then, it's the same fan after all, only different style.
and with the side panel on.. Just to test the side fit.
It actually touches the side panel but only a light touch on the fan rubber pads, it doesnt even push the panel, so I still can slide the panel on and off quite easy..
No gap between the side panel and the case body by the fan vs side panel touch.. I'm safe.. It's a nice relieve..
I was planing to install the NF-A14 under the heatsink so I can install the side bracket on to be no compromise on the QBX features but the 24 pin ATX power cable doesn't allow me to do that, so here we are now..
Touch the limit not so perfect fit!
I will upload the full build when the time is right..
I'm still planing to change the sleeved cables with the custom ones and upgrading the GPU..
Any inputs and rating, comments and opinions, or any constructive ideas are greatly welcome, I highly appreciate it..
Thanks for your time and attention..