This is a refresh of my previous LOUQE AIO build. I was not fully satisfied with the Thermaltake case fans, AIO, and air-cooled GPU so I finally took the plunge and installed a custom loop.
How to (tastefully) RGB an overclocked small form factor (SFF) case with parts future-proofed for the next 4-5 years.
This build must meet these requirements:
- Near highest-end gaming parts at time of purchase
- Overclocked for performance at reasonable temperatures
- Small form factor; it must fit into a small shelf
- Aesthetically pleasing inside and out
Despite the 6 month wait for my case, the Ghost S1 is the best SFF case (in my opinion) that best meet these requirements. I considered the DAN-A4 but it does not fit a 240mm AIO. Raijintek Ophion EVO was another contender but there were cooling concerns. Sliger's SM570/580 is still in development.
One advantage of waiting, I saw other S1 builds and planned my build on what I visually liked and disliked. I religiously read the S1 spec sheets and took my best guess on fitting each part. For SFF builds in general your use case will determine your chassis, what parts to fit in, cooling (active/passive), and cable management.
The build was completed as planned but the building was mostly trial and error. Without going into detail, I assembled my case in the following order:
- Motherboard (be sure to support the case spine to prevent bending)
- CPU pump, block, and heatsink
- Bottom fans and radiator
- Top fans and radiator
- Fittings and soft tubing
- GPU and wiring
- RGB adapter and wiring
- PSU and wiring
- Case fan cable management
Having gone through several rounds of cable management in the previous build, assembly was easier than anticipated. On the GPU block the low-profile fittings must point down. This was unexpected and I altered the length and orientation of the tubes as a result.
The Ghost S1 is not a novice build, though with planning and patience you can finish with an extremely rewarding showpiece. I am happy to have switched to the Riing Trio fans which gave the case a brighter, cleaner look. For now, the case will remain open, but I will install glass side panels once they are available.
Overall I'm pleased as I met each requirement without sacrifice or compromise. I learned a lot on this build, and will graduate to custom water cooling in my next build.