Powerhouse In a HatNot really a hat, it's a historically reference.
The only back story to this build is that I was finally itching to get rid of my 775 lineage. My C2Q was still serving its purpose and I had just invested into a few parts but opted to go a whole new route and am now smack in the middle of a SFF gaming machine.
What really commanded the concept of this build was the recent release of some very interesting products like an SFX 450W modular PSU and a mini-itx board with all the features of a full size Z77 mobo minus a few DIMMs and PCI slots. These instantly reminded me of the Silverstone mini case that I had really been looking for a reason to work with.
Contained within the Silverstone FT03-mini will be some common affordable gaming and performance parts:
Asus P8z77 mobo
EVGA GTX 580
Samsung low-stack 32nm RAM
Samsung 830 SSD
I didnt just want an off the shelf build on this project so I decided to get ambitious and mount a 10.5" GPU in the space originally limited to 9.8" and run a compact internal watercooling loop. If it performs under my expectations I may go with a larger loop and have an external reservoir but finding space for a second radiator will negate the ability to at some point add an optical drive or second hard drive, so I'm taking baby steps for now.
The Silverstone FT03-mini is a phenomonal design, I wont go into a review here but it manages to squeeze a lot of options into a very small footprint and use a vertical cooling concept that SS first put in its Raven series (and subesequent other designs I know).
Three of the side panels pop right off after you pull the lid off and the 4th can be unscrewed simply, however there is no Mobo cutout as you cant remount the rear panel if the motherboard is mounted, thats why its screwed in. This does make it all very easy to break down for modding.
The only major cut I had to make was in the bottom of the case, between the 140mm fan mounts and over the dust cover mounting slot.
After this I could mount the Mobo. I opted to space the non I/O side a little upwards from the standoffs for better engagement of the graphics card. All I did was put two of those little red paper washers under the two corresponding mobo standoffs.
Here you can see the card sitting comfortably in the slot that was cut out of the bottom. It looks a little ugly in this shot but I have since filed the edges and will probably mount some tiny U-channel.
Horizontal projection through case and the removed material.
There was a lot of layout and speculation before I decided on a mounting position for the water block, ultimately the shown configuration maintains a gentle curve of the exchange tubes and wont disturb the PSU mounting. I did have to make a few cuts into the shroud of the 580 but no modification was need to the card or baseplate. It maintains the original chipset cooling as well.
The Asetek blocks are decent, exactly what you find on Antec, Corsair, Intel and many other AIO loops.
120X49mm radiator placement at the bottom of the case and mounting for 140mm "push " fan. Here you see the interference between the fan and GPU as well.
The 140mm fan post shaving to clear the GPU
And here's what the bottom looks like. Since I had to cut into the fan filter slot I am going to mount magnets to this side of the filter basket to keep 'er put.
More to come, Stay tuned.
Or don't, you know, whatever.
Theses first pictures were all on my phone in the evening so they are understandably terrible. When the build nears completion I will have better images available.