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Fully Clothed & Wet NCase M1 - Top-hat, Skirt, and Window Mod Under Water!

rarskies

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 12, 2020
10
8


More Pics:

Filled Loop w/ LEDS

Beauty Shots + Build Log

Intro:

Went all out with this build, if COVID hadn't come along I don't think I would have had the time for the planning and modding! Basic plan was to make something handsome, quiet, cool and small. Usually you can only hit 2-3 or three of those in a build, unless you spend a heck of a lot of $$$. I also didn't want to irreversibly mod the NCase in case I used it for future projects or wanted to sell it on. Additionally, I picked parts which would allow me to run MacOS as my daily driver and Windows 10 for games!

I scored a second hand NCase M1 v5 on ebay after having eyed it off for a long time and boy can I say this case is a pleasure to build in. The removable panels make it much easier to work with than other SFF cases I've used and you can feel the quality of design. Only wish I could have got my hands on the V6 for the removable bottom panel!

While it is possible to power my hardware (9700k & 5700XT) with one 240mm radiator, I preferred to have slightly more thermal headroom so I could overclock and run the fans slower for noise reduction. Alternatively, I have seen Ncase builds that include two 240mm radiators with one on the side bracket but IMO these are a bit tight and look ugly/hard to maintain. I have also seen ingenious builds on the net which use a large top-hat solution, but my fear was that in my build it would look a bit un-balanced if there was only a hat on top. My solution was to add two timber ‘hats’ (40mm) which add 4L to the build – which brings the total volume to 17.5L. At the same time the desk footprint is the same, and the skirt doesn't actually add much 'perceived' volume as the angular feet make it seem a bit 'lighter'. By putting two Noctua fans on the underside of the case, it allows more clearance between the bottom rad and GPU which might help with some of the choking that bottom rad builds experience.

Parts:
  • Case: Ncase M1
  • Mobo: Asus z390-i
  • CPU: Intel 9700k
  • Graphic Card: MSI Mech 5700XT
  • Ram: 32GB Trident Z RGB
  • SSD: Sabrent Rocket 1TB NVME drive/Intel s660 500GB
  • Power Supply: Corsair SF750 Platinum

Water Cooling Bits/Fans:
  • 2 x Noctua A12-25
  • 2 x Noctua A12-15
  • Various Barrow fittings
  • Barrow 14mm PETG tubing
  • Bykski GPU block & Flow indicator
  • EKWB Supremacy CPU Block
  • XSPC 240TX Radiator (on top)
  • HWLABS 240GTS Radiator (on bottom)
Mods:
  • Top-Hat containing 2 x Noctua A12-15s, XSPC TX240 Ultrathin radiator and original NCase side bracket. I had to route the top edge down to ensure the bracket sat as flush as possible with the top. I also needed to a drill a few holes for the top panel push pins to sit it, and in the end decided to use sticky hooks to hold them together.
  • Skirt containing 2 x Noctua A12-25s and a couple of dust filters I later added.
  • Window mod made from 2mm glass with black spray painted trimming. It's not perfect but I'm happy enough with it! It is attache via thin sticky hooks which were needed to allow clearance of GPU block and pump fittings.
  • Custom Pump Mount - Used some generic 1mm zinc brackets from Bunnings (Australian Home Depot) as well as a couple of bolts and nuts. I did this to avoid having to drill into the front of the chassis. I may want to do another build down the track or sell this case on (though hopefully not for a few years).
  • Hidden Broadcom Wifi card under z390-i VRM heatsink w/ washer mounted antenna mounts and extra internal antenna. The BCM94360CS has 3 pigtail connectors and is required for native bluetooth/wifi on MacOS.
  • Added thin strips of sticky hook to the underside of the GTS240 to create a seal with case floor and direct airflow. This is important as the radiator and fans don't line up do to mounting hole and conflicts with front IO.
Water Cooling:

It was my first time using hard tubing so runs are far from perfect. I'm considering redoing the rear side GPU-Top Rad run and the Bottom Rad-CPU run as they are not quite straight, although they are pretty close. I found out that is is quite hard to do tight 90 degree bends in small spaces, and I don't think my 'tall' 4 o-ring fittings helped. I also had 3 leaks :eek: from fittings connected to rads that had been jingled too much putting the tubing in - I got a bit cocky here I think.

Where to next:
  • I have some custom length unsleeved cables the mail which I will install when they arrive, freeing up a bit of space near my PSU and behind the front panel.
  • I have a Bykski frosted acrylic CPU block coming in the post which will help me match the lighting with other parts in my build. I will also install a Bykski controller to Mobo adaptor so I can control CPU block, GPU block, flow indicator and led strip from the motherboard!
  • I plan to create a vented wooden backplate out of some spotted gum veneer (same wood as skirt/top-hat). This will likely take me some time and I will install it when uni is finished for the semester!
  • Considering re-organising the loop as currently the drain port is pretty ineffective, there is a small piece of tubing within the pump which stops the water turbulence, however this also stops the reservoir from draining properly when the case is positioned on its front side (reservoir pointing up). Could also reduce the number of fittings needed around the flow indicator for a cleaner look!
  • Overclocking the CPU and GPU :)
Temps:

Tested temps with OCCT large file - Heaven 4.0 1080 - 40 minute - fans sets to standard.
  • CPU package 58 average, 63 max // GPU 47 average, 53 max // noctua fans ~1400 RPM
I also tested just the single GTS240 rad with soft tube (see last pic) under the same conditions
  • CPU package 64 average, 69 max // GPU 52 average, 58 max // noctua fans ~1600 RPM
I am currently running a fan curve based on water temperature where CPU sits around 60 and GPU around 50 but the fans max at around 1200 RPMs for quiet performance! This will still leave some room for overclocking too, even if I have to 'jack' the fans up to 1400 RPM again :)

Thanks for reading, fire away with any questions/suggestions!
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
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I like it ! But you made it bigger. So I don't like it. But secretly I still do.
 

rarskies

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Apr 12, 2020
10
8
I like it ! But you made it bigger. So I don't like it. But secretly I still do.
Yeah it was difficult deciding to destroy the beautiful dimensions and scale of Ncase M1. I was vain and wanted to show off some water-cooling bits. Then only other way to have sufficient cooling power for overclocking and window was to do an external rad setup and get rid of the Top-hat, in the end I decided I'd rather have it all in one bit for simplicity.
 
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