Log First SFF Build and Advice(mostly to do with cooling)


Caliper Novice
Original poster
Jan 4, 2021
Hi Guys,

Any thoughts and advice are welcome!

I am currently looking up the parts and am hoping to set up a new SFF soon based on the below core components:
Rysen 5600X​
Asus Strix B550-I​
Asus 3060 TUF(I would go for a 2060 if I could find a new unit locally)​
Corsair SF750​

This system will be on my TV console(hence I would like it to be compact) and will be used for light gaming, home entertainment, and also for work(mid-high graphics requirements for 3D modelling, Photoshop, etc)

While I am still browsing around for a case(currently considering a ZS-A4 or a AKLLA A4), I have been reading up extensively on the best coolers and have gathered that without going all out custom WC loop, a mid sized AIO will most certainly not fit into 1 of the smaller cases like the T1 or Ghost(clone or equivalent), that air cooling is the "best" way to not go overboard with the build. For Air cooling, if I were to limit myself to ~53mm height, I keep coming across recommendations for the popular L9a, Black Ridge, AXP-90? Apart from these, are there any other more current options?

I understand that the L9a will be a simple solution, but was also rather curious about the Black Ridge with a 120mm fan and was wondering(yes I've tried searching for blackridge+VLP posts but couldn't really find a definitive answer) what the compromises I will be dealing with if I were to compare a L9a with standard profile DDR4(3200Mhz?) vs a blackridge with 2666VLPs. I have come across posts that suggest that ram speeds are important for gaming, but considering that I will likely be gaming <50% of the time, i'm not sure if the compromise to ram performance is worth better/more efficient cooling the blackridge+VLP offers?

My old X99+5820+970+240X AIO rig(which is being used by my wife for work daily) used to give me heating issues with a slight OC in a case with a gazillion fans and that is why I am a little hesitant about building a smaller rig with lesser cooling capacity. It is also one of the main reasons I opted for a 65W TDP CPU, and now just a little baffled with all the different cooler height limitations.