I'm putting together a Cerberus w/ dual GPU for 3D modeling/rendering. Looking for input!

cjsff

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May 3, 2018
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This will be my first custom built PC. Originally I was going the laptop workstation route w/ an eGPU, but after some research I decided the tech wasn't there yet and I wouldn't want to burn out my laptop on the longer rendering tasks.

So the small form factor PC fits my needs well, allowing me to pack up and travel with it if the opportunity arises. The Cerberus' size and expansion slots are perfect, not to mention sleek as hell.

I'm a beginner, so honestly I don't know what to look for - can anyone with a more experienced eye tell me if this build works/makes sense? I mostly went by ratings/prices on PCPartPicker. Also it would be great to hear from anyone who has previously built a computer with a Cerberus case. Thanks!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor ($339.69 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-D14 65.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($74.95 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI - Z370M GAMING PRO AC Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Crucial - Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($327.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($99.99 @ Samsung)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC 8G Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($549.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC 8G Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($549.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Kimera - KIC11U Cerberus Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($290.99 @ Sliger)
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA G3 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit ($129.89 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-F12 PWM 55.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($19.40 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-F12 PWM 55.0 CFM 120mm Fan ($19.40 @ OutletPC)
Total: $2441.26
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-05-03 22:57 EDT-0400
 

cjsff

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Original poster
May 3, 2018
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Here's an updated build after some research & poking around. I've swapped the Noctua for a liquid cooler, swapped in higher frequency RAM, changed SSD to m.2 and added a second one, changed the case fans to 90mm Noctua (more maneuverable on the case from what i've seen in other posts), and lastly I fixed the PSU to SFX and made it 700W.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor ($339.69 @ OutletPC)
CPU Cooler: Corsair - H60 54.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($59.56 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI - Z370M GAMING PRO AC Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($149.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($356.99 @ Newegg Business)
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($119.49 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($119.49 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC 8G Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($549.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB WINDFORCE OC 8G Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($549.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit ($129.89 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-A9 PWM 46.4 CFM 92mm Fan ($16.59 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-A9 FLX 38.0 CFM 92mm Fan ($16.84 @ OutletPC)
Other: Kimera - KIC11U Cerberus Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($290.99)
Other: SilverStone Technology 700W,SFX-L, Silent 120mm Fan with 036Dba, Fully Modular Cable Power Supply SX700-LPT ($149.99)
Total: $2849.49
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-05-04 02:20 EDT-0400
 

Phuncz

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I think you're still much better off with an air-cooler, unless you are considering the better 240 or 280mm radiators. The Noctua NH-D14 is an End-of-Life model and has been replaced by the Noctua NH-D15 which sits at the top of the charts consistently. At 160 and 165mm of height, both will be to tall to fit anyway. Maybe you meant the Noctua NH-C14S which should fit ?

The 92mm fans don't make sense, since smaller fans will move much less air at the same noise levels and be comparible in cost and space occupancy. Generally you want one or two fans on the side bracket (the CPU counts for one), one on the front and perhaps one or two on the bottom depending on the amount of airflow you need. Since you're looking at two GPUs I'm not sure bottom fans will fit (probably slim ones) and a good fan mounted on the front panel (below the PSU when mounted in the front) is going to be more important.

The new Noctua Sterrox fan (NF-A12x25) is an excellent candidate with both good airflow and pressure in relation to noise.

I would recommend the Noctua NF-A12x15 for the top panel if you are going with a handle kit for the Cerberus, as it will allow you to extract some of the heat without causing noise. Also always go with PWM versions if possible, unless your board is specifically low on PWM (4-pin) fan headers somehow, it's a better system to modulate fan speeds.

The rest looks OK considering the limitations and requirements.
 
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jmarin

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The higher frequency RAM isn't all that necessary especially for the price difference. It seems your budget is pretty high and it doesn't matter, but this Linus tech tips video was pretty informative for me regarding RAM speed


*Edit* didn't realize the price difference between the two was that little so you can ignore this if you wish
 
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tinyitx

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Jan 25, 2018
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If your traveling involves air travel, it might be a good idea to use an air cooler to avoid any possible hassle of the liquid restriction by airport security and/or airline regulation.
 
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cjsff

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May 3, 2018
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I think you're still much better off with an air-cooler, unless you are considering the better 240 or 280mm radiators. The Noctua NH-D14 is an End-of-Life model and has been replaced by the Noctua NH-D15 which sits at the top of the charts consistently. At 160 and 165mm of height, both will be to tall to fit anyway. Maybe you meant the Noctua NH-C14S which should fit?
Didn't realize the Noctua I originally listed wouldn't fit. The NH-C14S looks like it would work great though from what I can tell. I considered going with liquid cooling because of this guys Cerberus SLI build post. The 120mm radiator seems to allow for more air flow?

The 92mm fans don't make sense, since smaller fans will move much less air at the same noise levels and be comparible in cost and space occupancy. Generally you want one or two fans on the side bracket (the CPU counts for one), one on the front and perhaps one or two on the bottom depending on the amount of airflow you need. Since you're looking at two GPUs I'm not sure bottom fans will fit (probably slim ones) and a good fan mounted on the front panel (below the PSU when mounted in the front) is going to be more important.
Again going off that other guys SLI build, the two 90mm case fans was two position them better to maximize air flow. Specifically in comment #6, he mentions how originally he had a 120mm fan blowing from the front, but opted to switch it out for the 90mm in order to move it higher up and focus it on the upper card.

I would recommend the Noctua NF-A12x15 for the top panel if you are going with a handle kit for the Cerberus, as it will allow you to extract some of the heat without causing noise. Also always go with PWM versions if possible, unless your board is specifically low on PWM (4-pin) fan headers somehow, it's a better system to modulate fan speeds.
Looking over the Cerberus specs, my mounting options are:
  • One 120mm x 15mm fan on top fan bracket (120mm x 25mm possible but depends on motherboard)
  • Two 140mm fans in bottom
  • 120mm x 240mm radiator in front + 120mm x 240mm radiator in bottom (with SFX rear plate or ATX rear plate)
  • Slim 15mm fans behind front panel
The Noctua NF-A12x15 is 120x25 mm, so I'm assuming it would fit on the top next to my MATX board? Bottom fans seem like it might be tight but I'm not sure the clearance there.

Just came across this thread, which has a ton of images for configurations & more. So i'm gonna need like another hour to parse all that lol

The higher frequency RAM isn't all that necessary especially for the price difference. It seems your budget is pretty high and it doesn't matter, but this Linus tech tips video was pretty informative for me regarding RAM speed


*Edit* didn't realize the price difference between the two was that little so you can ignore this if you wish
I was recommended to up the RAM frequency since I'll be dealing with larger file size. Maybe i'd be fine with 2600 but as you said the price difference isn't terrible, as long as there aren't drawbacks. I'll take a look at the video you posted though

If your traveling involves air travel, it might be a good idea to use an air cooler to avoid any possible hassle of the liquid restriction by airport security and/or airline regulation.
I was thinking about that too. At the very least I could drain the coolant before flying? I also plan on removing the GPUs before doing any major trips as well.

Air coolers would be pretty non-hassle. I'd worry about vibrations with it though if it was getting moved around, since it's hanging off the mobo.
 
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jmarin

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Could get some foam for when you are traveling to place in the case to prevent movement. Or create a brace for the cards to prevent flex.
 
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Phuncz

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Didn't realize the Noctua I originally listed wouldn't fit. The NH-C14S looks like it would work great though from what I can tell. I considered going with liquid cooling because of this guys Cerberus SLI build post. The 120mm radiator seems to allow for more air flow?
The Noctua NH-C14S isn't their best cooler, that's a fact. A decent 120mm liquid AIO cooler will undoubtibly work well.

Again going off that other guys SLI build, the two 90mm case fans was two position them better to maximize air flow. Specifically in comment #6, he mentions how originally he had a 120mm fan blowing from the front, but opted to switch it out for the 90mm in order to move it higher up and focus it on the upper card.
I see. I guess it can help though I would also expect there to be more noise this way.

The Noctua NF-A12x15 is 120x25 mm, so I'm assuming it would fit on the top next to my MATX board? Bottom fans seem like it might be tight but I'm not sure the clearance there.
You probably looked at the NF-A12x25 (it's the new Sterrox fan) because the NF-A12x15 is 15mm thick. I know because I have one of those installed in that spot :)
 
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cjsff

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The Noctua NH-C14S isn't their best cooler, that's a fact. A decent 120mm liquid AIO cooler will undoubtibly work well.
Yep, I'm looking at the NZXT m22 now. Seems like it would fit nicely. I'm a little worried about about traveling (car/plane) with liquid cooling though.

You probably looked at the NF-A12x25 (it's the new Sterrox fan) because the NF-A12x15 is 15mm thick. I know because I have one of those installed in that spot :)
So you would suggest going with 15mm fans on the bottom?

I'm also considering NZXT g12 kits, but worried about the available space. Do you think two of those would fit together with a CPU liquid cooler? As a beginner it's hard to get an idea of space, which is why i've started to CAD out my build and piece things together that way. I'll post that here when it's farther along
 

Phuncz

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I recommend the NF-A12x15 (the 15mm 120mm fan) on the top of the case attached to the handle plate (if you choose the handle kit option). The NF-A12x25 (25mm 120mm fan) I recommend on the front side, below the PSU aimed at the GPUs. You mentioned the 90mm fans from another build, which is also possible.

Theoretically three 120mm liquid AIO coolers could fit (two on the side bracket, one on the front if enough space available) but if you are going to use airplane travel, be sure to check before with your usual airline companies considering the three watercooling loops.
 
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cjsff

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I recommend the NF-A12x15 (the 15mm 120mm fan) on the top of the case attached to the handle plate (if you choose the handle kit option). The NF-A12x25 (25mm 120mm fan) I recommend on the front side, below the PSU aimed at the GPUs. You mentioned the 90mm fans from another build, which is also possible.
Here's my latest revision of the build. Again, this is meant to be a high-end, portable, 3D modeling/GPU rendering rig:

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor ($339.79 @ SuperBiiz)
No plans to overclock
CPU Cooler: NZXT - Kraken M22 Liquid CPU Cooler ($97.89 @ SuperBiiz
From what I've read, water cooling beats out air cooling in small cases, and there's definitely not going to be a lot of room to spare in this build. Going with the 120mm if the radiator gets placed in the front of the case - otherwise I'll go with the X41 attached to the side bracket
Motherboard: MSI - Z370M GAMING PRO AC Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($146.38 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($356.99 @ Newegg Business)
3200 was recommended to me to maximize throughput to the CPU
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($117.99 @ Amazon)
m.2 was recommended to me for large file sizes and freeing up space in the case
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 250GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($117.99 @ Amazon)
Video Card: NVIDIA - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($734.99 @ Amazon)
Founders edition cards were recommended for the blower cooler, since there won't be a ton of airflow
Video Card: NVIDIA - GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Founders Edition Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($734.99 @ Amazon)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit ($129.89 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Prolimatech - PRO-USV14-WH 98.0 CFM 140mm Fan
Bottom of case
Case Fan: Prolimatech - PRO-USV14-WH 98.0 CFM 140mm Fan
Bottom of case
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-A9 PWM 46.4 CFM 92mm Fan ($16.59 @ OutletPC)
Front of case (92mm size for maneuverability, taken from this post)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-A12x15 PWM 55.4 CFM 120mm Fan ($19.95 @ Amazon)
Top of case, under handle
Other: Kimera - KIC11U Cerberus Mini MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($290.99)
Other: SilverStone Technology 700W,SFX-L, Silent 120mm Fan with 036Dba, Fully Modular Cable Power Supply SX700-LPT ($149.99)
Total: $3254.42
I'm a little worried if this will be enough power, it only exceeds the recommended PSU wattage for my build by 50w. When I'm working with large scenes and running both GPUs at full throttle things could get dicey. I might be able to put an ATX psu on the side bracket?

Since this is my first build and I'm dropping a fair amount of $$ on it, I rendered out a virtual build with all the components to see how it would fit together (not including cables). As far as I can tell there are no problems, but I have two big questions about the layout:
1. Do i put the radiator on the front of the case and the psu on the side bracket, or visa versa?
2. How should the video cards be spaced out? In this build they are right up next to eachother with space at the bottom, but this build has them separated with a drive in the middle. Why isn't the first link separated as well, for the airflow?



Lastly, a breakdown of my power consumption (wasn't sure which watercooler to select..)

 

jmarin

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Since you're not overclocking, why not just get the 8700 instead of the 8700k? Would give you a little more breathing room for the psu since it's 65W vs. 95W
 
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tinyitx

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Jan 25, 2018
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And the money saved from going to a non-overclockable 8700 might finance a bit from SX700-LPT to SX800-LTI ?

Also, Samsung just released 970 series SSD with reduced prices.
So, you might consider using 970 EVO instead of 960 EVO. 970 EVO 250GB sells at US$110.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147689

Thirdly, sinking US$1470 for a pair of GTX1080 FEs requires serious thinking, considering the prices are still at a relative high level due to mining. Also, next generation cards are 'rumored' to come out during Q3 this year. I just read that Gigabyte Laptop represenative in the UK announces that their current laptop series is not going to have 1080 because the new generation mobile GPUs are coming out by end of this year. Now, we know that new mobile GPUs usually come out a few months later after their desktop versions are released. So, this news, sort of, indirectly says that next generation desktop cards are coming out in Q3. When that happens, one usually can buy better performance cards with the same price or can buy current performance with a lower price. So, unless your wallet is fat enough, maybe you can reconsider this part.
 

cjsff

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May 3, 2018
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Since you're not overclocking, why not just get the 8700 instead of the 8700k? Would give you a little more breathing room for the psu since it's 65W vs. 95W
Good call. One of my goals was to future-proof this rig and go as big as I could on the components, and I may still decide to overclock down the line. Just worried about the temps though. The 8700 doesn't seem like a huge step down from the 8700k afterall.

And the money saved from going to a non-overclockable 8700 might finance a bit from SX700-LPT to SX800-LTI ?
Well I feel stupid, I didn't even know there was a 800w SFX-L. Definitely going with that instead.

Also, Samsung just released 970 series SSD with reduced prices.
So, you might consider using 970 EVO instead of 960 EVO. 970 EVO 250GB sells at US$110.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820147689
Awesome thanks. Added

Thirdly, sinking US$1470 for a pair of GTX1080 FEs requires serious thinking, considering the prices are still at a relative high level due to mining. Also, next generation cards are 'rumored' to come out during Q3 this year. I just read that Gigabyte Laptop represenative in the UK announces that their current laptop series is not going to have 1080 because the new generation mobile GPUs are coming out by end of this year. Now, we know that new mobile GPUs usually come out a few months later after their desktop versions are released. So, this news, sort of, indirectly says that next generation desktop cards are coming out in Q3. When that happens, one usually can buy better performance cards with the same price or can buy current performance with a lower price. So, unless your wallet is fat enough, maybe you can reconsider this part.
This part is definitely tricky for me. I need to get a computer built pretty urgently, so waiting until Q3 isn't an option for me unfortunately. Ideally prices would be lower right now, but it is what it is.

Alternatively I could go with cheaper 1080 models, but the blowers seem necessary for keeping temps down in such a small configuration. Maybe the move is to go for just one 1080, deal with the slower render speeds for now (might be a problem), then add another in Q3 when the 1160 gets released..
 

gunpalcyril

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Aug 7, 2016
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This setups of yours is also my dream 3d rendering setup, looking forward to pics.

But damn, If you are patient and keep a lookout on multiple online stores, at 1400 you could get dual 1080ti, I've seen some 1080s dropping to around 550 every now and then in the past few weeks.

I think you'll be fine with non blower style 1080's, as you have extra case fans to push the hot air out.
 
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cjsff

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This setups of yours is also my dream 3d rendering setup, looking forward to pics.

But damn, If you are patient and keep a lookout on multiple online stores, at 1400 you could get dual 1080ti, I've seen some 1080s dropping to around 550 every now and then in the past few weeks.

I think you'll be fine with non blower style 1080's, as you have extra case fans to push the hot air out.
Dual 1080ti for $1400, sign me up! I'm trying to keep a good lookout but I feel like I always just miss those deals. If I don't go with FEs then that brings the price of video cards down to around $1100.

I'll probably go with a single non-blower, get a feel for it, then upgrade down the line
 

gunpalcyril

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Aug 7, 2016
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Dual 1080ti for $1400, sign me up! I'm trying to keep a good lookout but I feel like I always just miss those deals. If I don't go with FEs then that brings the price of video cards down to around $1100.

I'll probably go with a single non-blower, get a feel for it, then upgrade down the line
Yea, I would check the subreddit r/buildapcsales, there was an evga 1080ti for 750, but that just went out of stock. Keep checking

You'll definitely get more value for non-blower style cards imo.

Also, what 3d software do you use?
 

cjsff

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May 3, 2018
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Yea, I would check the subreddit r/buildapcsales, there was an evga 1080ti for 750, but that just went out of stock. Keep checking

You'll definitely get more value for non-blower style cards imo.

Also, what 3d software do you use?
Good to know! I use Cinema 4D w/ OctaneRender, and occasionally Mudbox.
 

Kwirek

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Nov 19, 2016
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Regarding the spacing of GPU's on the motherboard, it depends on the layout of the pci-express slots. In your example above you've put one gpu in the top x16 slot*, skipped the x8 slot and put it into the x1 slot at the bottom.
The 1080 shouldn't have any noticeable throttling in games down to a x4 slot, in modelling and rendering I don't have a clue. I expect the x1 slot would be a hindrance though for the second card.
EDIT: Not that you could really put it there without modifying the slot since MSI doesn't use open-ended slots to allow larger cards to fit than with an x1 connector. If you look at the ASrock board below you can see what they look like.

So if you want better airflow you might need to look for a motherboard with the extra x8 slot at the bottom such as these ASrock, MSI or Gigabyte boards. Mind you I haven't checked them for your other requirements.

*x8 if two cards are installed, it splits the bandwidth.
 
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tinyitx

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In your example above you've put one gpu in the top x16 slot*, skipped the x8 slot and put it into the x1 slot at the bottom.
I think he plans to use MSI Z370M Gaming Pro AC, which has two PCIEx16 slots (1st and 3rd ones) and they run at x8/x8.
Do not think he will use the 4th x1 slot.
His virtual build rendering diagram is just not showing the correct PCIe slot layout.