Why this Build?
1) I'm a big fan of small form factor (SFF) builds and mini/micro ATX builds.
2) Loved the look of this case
3) Wanted to try a custom water cooling loop in a case with a Window
Put these together, and that's where I was at pretty much. This case is amazing to work in, and in my opinion, the best available for an SFF custom water cooling build.
I've never done a custom loop before, so I'm sure I made plenty of mistakes. Constructive feedback is appreciated.
I didn't want to put a Rad up top, because I like the look of the case with the top cover on, and I thought it would be too noisy with the top off.
Once I change out the fluid in the loop, I'll probably just remove the ball valve. It was a good idea on paper, but it doesn't serve much purpose in it's current spot, and I couldn't really fit it anywhere else.
I may add a fan controller sometime in the near future.
This build was heavily influenced by JayzTwoCents custom loop build in the same case, and I recommend watching his video if you want a custom loop in this case. It helped answer a lot of initial questions I had. I didn't follow his build exactly, but it convinced me to use glass tubing with 90 degree fittings, as well as a Liang DDC pump/top combo with a topfill/pushdown tube reservoir. On that note, as you can probably see from the build log, the prices of all those fittings can add up quickly. I wasn't quite expecting that, and maybe would have changed my mind about going this route if I knew that initially.
As you can also see, I went pretty much Alphacool everything. It was a decision I made early on in the build, and I'm stubborn so I stuck to it, no matter how painful it was at times. If I didn't make that early decision, I probably would have gone bits power on my fittings and EK on my blocks.
If you know a little bit about this Motherboard, you know that it uses a Narrow ILM socket, which is primarily used on servers as I understand it. This greatly limited my CPU block options, to basically EK blocks only. However, using the EK Narrow ILM bracket, I was able to have a custom bracket made that fit the Alphacool CPU block that I wanted to use. Once the bracket was made I just had to paint it. I did have to widen the bracket a bit so that it would fit with the orientation of the block the way I wanted, but it was pretty painless and works great. (Also if you don't mind the default sideways orientation, there's no need to widen the bracket, just make the hole bigger).
If you know a little bit about the GPU Block, you know that according to Alphacool, it is not compatible with Mini ITX motherboards. I took a chance on this one, and lucked out. It fits just fine on my board, though I can see why they say it's not supported. There is not much clearance between the backplate and the audio ports on the Motherboard. The only reason mine fits, is because on the Nano (and only the Nano?), the backplate just happens to be flatter on the section that fits next to the audio ports. On this same GPU block for other cards, that's not the case, and the backplate will not fit.
If you watched the JayzTwoCents video, you probably heard him mention a 120 rad won't fit in the back. Well, in my case (no pun intended) it does fit, however because of the thickness of the window trim, It didn't allow me to put the side panel on without it bending a bit. I plan to cut part of the trim so that the panel will fit flush. I'll post a picture of it once I do.
I chose the power supply because it was a 140mm length PSU and I was concerned about a longer PSU covering the grommet holes. I've seen builds of people using longer PSUs though, and it didn't seem to cause much of an issue. YMMV.
On cable management... get a short cable set. That's all.
Other than that, everything else was pretty straight forward. I thought I was being clever by using a cross-flow radiator to get me closer to the connectors, but honestly in the end it just made the build much harder because tight turns are way harder to deal with when you're not bending tubes. You have to rely more on angled connectors (which can be a pain in tight spaces).
Hope this helps.