I've always had a love for SFF builds, but hadn't found the case to push me back to it for a while. I used to use a Fractal Design Node 304, but it didn't impress me with how large it was for what I wanted. I really wanted to try out a sandwich style case and was never fully sold on the looks of the Dan Case A4. When I found out about this case I loved the look at the idea behind the build and spine based structure.
Build turned out pretty good. Cable mod cables did their job. Noctua fans kept things cool, quiet, and beautifully colored. Things run hot, but not too hot or too loud given the size. Under full gaming load, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, CPU hits mid 80C and GPU hits 78C. No throttling.
Some things of note on some of the items in the build.
Overall, the look of this case is great. It definitely nails that aspect. Minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. It also has the best looking riser cable I've ever seen.
The case itself has some bizarre design choices and issues though that hopefully get ironed out in future revisions. The finish on the case is a fingerprint, skin oils, dust, crap, etc magnet. It constantly looks dirty and it's fairly impossible to make it not look like that. The video card mounting is a bit strange. As can be seen from the pictures, the card is not directly mounted to anything on the case. Instead, screws and small plates are used to squeeze the pcie bracket into place. It ends up being pretty secure, but it's cumbersome to use and feels weird when tightening things down as there's nothing providing actual support other than the pcie slot from the riser cable. The part that secures the top of the pcie bracket is also built with no area for give. On my case I had to grind the top off a bit in order to get the top to fit. The side panels can only be secured from the bottom, which means that when all is said and done, the top parts of them are always loose and flop around. The venting on the side panels also doesn't allow much air through. The location of the venting also doesn't line up well for the video card side as the very top part of the fans on my card are above where the venting ends. The top grill is very thin and sits very low in the case. So low that it actually touches the riser cable. This was done to minimize the footprint of the case, but in some situations, depending on manufacturing inconsistencies in the riser, it may bow out in that area. The top of the case does have magnets in it. This allows the grill to be mounted on and have it moderately secured. This is where the leather pull tag comes into play as otherwise it's annoying to pull off. Much of their promotional pictures only shows it sitting on it in this way. If you do want to secure it they do include screws. However, due to how thin the grill is, the screws sit on top and are not flush, which aesthetically is unfortunate given how slick the rest of the look is. The feet are useless if you want to use the bottom fan mount as you'd have a few mm of clearance for it. Luckily, they're stick on feet so they may fall off while you're moving it around anyway and give an incentive to get some new ones. The power button feels like a mushy mess when you use it.
This thing looks great and has the features I wanted. That rear IO cover heatsink combo will get in the way for most larger cooling solutions though. It's also very expensive for no real reason other than the Asus name.
Full copper. This thing's very heavy and impressive for it's size. The original fan is very loud though and wouldn't even properly fit in my build somehow. It would interfere with the ram. Luckily, you can find 3D printed adapters online for cheap and I mounted a trusted noctua fan. Very quiet.
The backplate is huge. Instead of going with multiple backplates they went with an all in one. The problem I had was the rear conflicted with the rear m.2 slot on my motherboard, which I needed. My dremel came into play again and I grinded off the excess. They include some washers as an alternative, but the point of a backplate is to relieve pressure and the extreme forces being applied on the socket over the backplate. This doesn't happen with the washers and things look sketch.
I cannot recommend this enough. It provides 750 watts of power, platinum efficiency, and comes with some decent braided cables. It's even got a passive cooling mode and under full gaming node you can't hear it. The video card is the loudest thing by far in any of my builds.
CableMod Custom Cables
The modflex cables are great and one thing to note. The minimum size of their cables are all 150mm even if not selectable in the configurator. You just have to send them an email in their customer support saying you want some smaller ones. This is how I got a 150mm short 24 pin cable.
- 24 pin: 150mm
- 8 pin eps: 200mm
- pcie (dual 6+2): 200mm, 100mm, do note this one's tight, not too tight though
Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10
I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to use an xbox one controller on their PC. It's a much stabler connection than I've experienced with bluetooth.
SteelSeries Arctis 7
This headset sounds pretty good, it's wireless, has a reasonable sounding mic, and is fairly comfortable once I replaced the ear pads. I mainly wanted something that was wireless as I really don't want a wire attached to my head. I know I can get some better sounding wired setup, but I'll pay the audio quality drop in going wireless. Additionally I use Dolby Atmos Headphone for this and it helps the sound greatly.
This is an Uplift Desk. It's an electric height adjustable desk and it's size is 48x30 inches. The top is the ash grey laminate finish with the metallic industrial style frame. I could've gone with a wider desk, but I really don't want to get a huge desk as I don't need the space. Keeping with the compact, but usable, overall setup. This desk would allow for up to a 38 inch ultrawide if I wanted with enough space behind the monitor for the pc, headphones, controller, etc. Plenty of room. Perfect for an SFF build.
It's a Herman Miller Embody. Probably the best chair money can buy and your body will thank you. Given how glued I am to my PC setup at all times it's well worth it to have a chair that will help my body from destroying itself from sitting too much. Not much more to say.