[SFF Network] How Small Can You Go? Part 1


John Morrison. Founder and Head writer SFF.N
Original poster
SFF Workshop
Editorial Staff
Jun 19, 2015
Small Form Factor is a challenge to a large part of the community – how small can you build? I set out to find out (with the help of Sketchup) how small can you really build with M-ATX? M-ITX? Let’s go…

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Chassis Packer
Jul 18, 2016
For my last build (just completed), I wanted to go Mini-ITX. It seemed to be the smallest size yet still capable of monster performance in PC gaming for my son and me. When I saw the Ncase it was love at first sight.

I went with the Ncase M1 v5. I bought most of the components in August and just finished the rig several days ago! I have been a PC home-hobbyist and PC gamer since @ 1993.

I've built my last 5 or 6 comps over these years. But this build I found quite difficult. Extremely tight fit for nearly all components and cabling. It reached a point where I was avoiding working on it, as I still had my previous rig. It was trial & error for installing each item and cables in a certain/particular order. If you messed up something, you had to nearly pull out everything and start over. I ended up removing the Corsair H100i v1 AIO cpu cooler as I had problems trying to bend the hoses to fit properly in the case.

Oh, and did I say there is no manual with the case!! (It's a Lian Li). I used the Ncase M1 thread at HardForums as a guide and help.

These are the components I have used, as an all-out PC gaming rig:
Ncase M1 v5
Asus Z170i Pro Gaming MB
i7-6700k CPU
Noctua C14 HSF with one lower fan
Corsair DDR4-3200 (started w/ 16GB, now at 8GB... issues with compatibility)
nVidia 1080-FE
Corsair SF600 PSU
2 Vardar 120mm fans exhausting out on side panel
Acer 27" XB271HU monitor (IPS, 2560x1440, @165Hz, GSync)
External hard drive
M-Audio AV40 speakers (2.0, powered)... for music & gaming when the wife isn't home
Sennheiser PC360 headset... when she is home
Audio Engine D1 DAC

I've gone from a huge Corsair 600T case to this very small Mini-ITX... It seems worth the effort at this point, but for me it was difficult as my build skills are not up to the level of most folks who do this, imo. The case looks amazing on my desk... fits easily.

We are in heaven in terms of it's performance... playing Battlefield 1 on 'Ultra' settings... the graphics candy is awesome with a super-quick frame rate as well. I need to get the RAM issue corrected...

EDIT > I'm going to copy this post to the build log section.... sorry.
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