Log NCase M1 Dual Rad Custom Loop - First SFF Build

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Case Bender
Original poster
New User
Feb 4, 2022
2
4
Hello hello!

New to the forum and to the world of SFF machines. This is my first post, but I've been lurking for a few months throughout the build process of my new rig to get inspired as to how to tackle these compact beasts.

My previous build went through a few iterations over the years in terms of hardware upgrades (originally built in 2014), but kept the same basic loop, all within a Corsair 650D.


However.. at the start of the year I decided it was massively overdue an upgrade (X79 chipset, 4930k, 16GB DDR3 etc), and a friend of mine (Louqe Ghost S1 owner) had been trying to convince me for ages that SFF was the way to go.. so bit the bullet and went for it.

Decided on the NCase M1, mainly due to OptimumTech and his videos documenting his own rig - I loved the look of the case, and whilst not the smallest, is a huge downsize from the 650D, yet allowed for a balls to the wall build if I wanted.

I managed to grab an M1 off of eBay, and whilst there are a few marks on the interior of the case, the exterior is spotless, and it was perfect for my needs.

Started collecting a few parts here and there, which then kinda snowballed into grabbing 99% of what I needed within the space of about a week (or so I thought).
I did have to wait nigh on 2 months for my Iceman reservoir to arrive however, which delayed the build somewhat.
Basic specs are;
Intel Core i7-12700k
ASUS ROG Strix Z690-i
Corsair Dominator DDR5 32GB
EVGA GTX1080 FE (will be upgraded to an RTX3090 very shortly)
Corsair SF750
Kingston Renegade 2TB M.2 SSD
Iceman Rear Mounted Reservoir for DDC
EK-Loop DDC 4.2
Barrow DDC heatsink (EK Quantum Convection would not fit without some machining - I found out the hard way)
EK Velocity2 CPU Block
EK Water Blocks EK-FC1080 GTX + backplate
EK Coolstream PE240 Side Rad
XSPC TX240 Bottom Rad
Phobya inline coolant temp sensor
Corsair Commander Pro
EK Quantum Torque fittings throughout
EK Tube ZMT matte black 16-10
Koolance QD3's (2 x pairs)
All within an NCase M1 6.1



The EK Velocity2 waterblock is a ridiculously tight fit on the Strix Z690-i board - I was using the 28mm extender to lower it into position without dropping it.


Slowly but surely parts made their way into the case (as you will tell, this build was quite heavily infuenced by OptimumTech's own M1 loop-wise - but not identical).


This gave me anxiety, knowing just how little space there was to work in.


Once the main hardware components were installed, I set about working out the loop.




Whilst I'm no stranger to watercooled builds, I'm a complete amateur when it comes to compact builds like these.
I cannot express just how many times the loop changed over the month or so I was building this machine. I swapped fittings, used different angular pieces, more extenders etc etc etc - I was spending a small fortune with OcUK. I also went through 2 and a bit metres of tubing, in my neverending mission to get the run lengths perfect.

I couldn't complete the build until I was 100% happy, as the plan was to nab my 1080 out of the old build, and plumb it into this for the interim until I replaced it with something newer. This meant that the build needed to be 90% complete before I pulled the card - as I didn't really want any downtime, so cracked on getting everything else sorted.

One annnoyance was that the Strix Z690-i does not have a temperature sensor header - as I was hoping to plan my fan curves on the water temperature in the loop (not an OptimumTech tip - promise 😅). I had an Aquaero 6XT in my old build that used to deal with all of that, but unfortunately there was no chance of using it within this build.
Say hello to the Corsair Commander Pro. It was a gamble as to whether it was going to fit or not.. but SFF machines are nothing if the fit isn't snug..


Perfect.


Yeah.. I got lucky 😂, but once wired in, looked like it was supposed to be there.
(I did have to shorten that long old SATA power - but it wasn't too much hassle with a bit of solder and some re-wirable connectors).


This build was never going to be a smooth one, and once I had the loop 90% assembled and good to go, pulled the card out of my old machine, and whacked it in the NCase.
Only to find that it was fouling on both fittings on the lower rad (a certain shorter, newer card wouldn't have had this issue!).

(this extender had a 90 degree fitting on top - I removed it to get the card in - but you get the idea).


So had to get a little creative with the tube runs here. Luckily for me I had a few £00's worth sat around 🙄



A quick leak test later.


And it was done.









Obligatory side by side comparison with the old case.
The difference in size is insane.


And that's a wrap - that is how the build stands to this day. Whilst the PSU cabling could do with a bit of a re-work to make it look more presentable, I'm super happy with how everything else turned out. From the fan controller placement, to the tubing runs and the ability to remove the side rade to get inside - I'm not sure there was anything else I would change.
Eagerly awaiting the time I finally upgrade that 1080 to something worthy of this new build - but alas, I'm in two minds whether or not to get an RTX3090 today, or wait for something from the RTX4xxx series and hope that they kept up their mantra with the short PCB designs.

I hoped you enjoyed my poorly presented journey into building my first small form factor machine - and with any luck, help anyone else that might be struggling with how to route any tubing etc, as this forum was a huge help to me.

Cheers! 😄
 

BaK

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
May 17, 2016
786
816
Great build indeed!
Especially for a first try at SFF, everything is very clean and tightly packed, you did your homework for sure!
Even an air leak test instead of absorbing papers! :thumb:
 
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Nickdot

Case Bender
Original poster
New User
Feb 4, 2022
2
4
Thanks very much for the comments guys!

Hopefully have some more updates shortly when I manage to grab myself a new GPU - will give me a chance to tidy some of the cabling as well 😎
 
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