Log SMALLEST ATX CASE : CERBERUS-X (Complete build log)


Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
Spoiler alert : Cerberus-x is reaching cooling pinnacle...:D

I've worked all day to update/improve in a major way my dear & sweet KI Cerberus-X...as I'm exhausted (and I want to run more benchmarks..:)), I'll leave only some photos...consider them as trailer..:D

Stay tuned..:D


King of Cable Management
Oct 13, 2016
So is it counting the percentage OC over stock clocks then?

Or a weighted score with that and or other factors? I suppose I should do some reading on the HWbot site.

As soon as I get a CPU cooler upgrade I will submit more stuff for the team with my Taichi and 1700.

Keep on trucking @MarcParis !


Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
Update 09th August 2017

Here is long awaited major update of my KI Cerberus-X..:D

Aim of this upgrade was mainly to use reverse side panel as it's the best cooling setup for my GPU : MSI GTX 1080ti gaming X that exhauts its hot air on the side of the case.
However, while placing side panel with vents on bottom, this is removing all intake of fresh air on aircooled CPU.
Thus I've decided to try again my original setup (at least the one planned before my pump failed), using watercooling and a 240 radiator located at the bottom of the case to cool cpu.

On top of that, I've upgraded my Corsair SF600 SFX psu to Silverstonetek SX800-lti SFX-L. This upgrade was mandatory as my SF600 was too loud while gaming, where full system can use 450w+. My previous tweak on airflow was pretty effective while using GTX 1070, but it's far from being enough while using GTX 1080ti.

Let's jump into details.

First, here is the sum up of my setup :
  • Motherboard : Asus Crosshair VI Hero
  • CPU : AMD Ryzen R7 1700X, OC @4025Mhz, @ vcore : 1.525v
  • RAM : G.Skill Flare-X 3200Mhz C14 (Samsung b-dies), OC @3467Mhz, cas 16 (@1.40v)
  • Storage : M.2 nvme Samsung 950 Pro 512go
  • PSU : SFX-L Silverstonetek SX800-lti (800W, Titanium)
  • CPU Waterblock/Pump : Swiftech Apogee Drive II (using AM3/AM4 bracket). Combination of Apogee HD waterblock + full laing DDC pump (MCP35X)..:)
  • Radiator/Reservoir : Swiftech MCR H220 radiator, 240mm radiatoir used in H220 AIO (back to 2013). You can use Swiftech MCRx20-QP as alternative
  • Radiator fans (Intake) : Dual LEGENDARY Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP15 (1850rpm, managed through DC)
  • Rear fan (exhaust) : Noctua NF-B9 Redux PWM
  • Side fan : Noctua NF-A9x14 PWM
  • Tubing : 10/13mm Rajintek RAITUBO-T3 (transparent), length between 35-40cm each
  • Fitting : XSPC straight
  • Clamps : Phobya
  • Liquid : Demineralized water+EK Cryo Red (250ml approx in total)
Let's start build log..:)

1st Step : Create watercooling setup

My approach of watercooling has been always towards compact system, whit good maintenance capabilities. Thus I dislike using standard components with separate elements. I didn't want to use AIO as, from my experience, their pump power, noise & efficiency are not really good...not even speaking of their radiator with aluminium fins (thanks to Asetek to bring AIO market down....)
Hopefully, Swiftech Apogee Drive II survived this Asetek/Swiftech legal conflict..because this is my masterpiece! Indeed this represents the exact combination of Apogee HD waterblock AND full Laing DDC pump with PWM customised by Swiftech (MCP35X). This is bringing one of the best watercooling components in a compact form factor!
Reservoir has always been space consuming...but vital when you need to remove air bubbles from a loop. That's why Swiftech combo Radiator/Reservoir are so great for compact watercooling.
For my setup I've recycled my old Swiftech MCR H220 (out of stock), but you can use Swiftech MCRx20-QP, that @Aibohphobia tested inside Cerberus.

Normally I'm using some quick disconnect from Koolance...I wanted to stay simple. My only aim was to be able to remove my GPU while keeping watercooling setup in place...

Globally my choice of watercooling components is leading to the best of two worlds : compact with high end performance.

When creating a customed loop with compact watercooling loop, the most difficult part is to bleed air bubbles out of the system. To do this, you need both an air trap and a powerful pump..:D

With MCP35X + reservoir, it was quite fast and effective..:D (about 10minutes at pump full speed, ie 4500rpm)

2nd Step : Replace PSU

This step is straight forward, except if you don't have a long and thin philips screwdriver (my case..:)). To replace SFX PSU, i need to remove front PSU bracket (1 screw on side, 1 screw on front, on each side).
Not too complicated either way...:)

3rd Step : Full assembly

Now it's time to put back all components inside Cerberus-X..:D
I've placed 240mm radiator on bottom with dual Gentle Typhoons AP15 in pull configuration. This is best setup for dust cleaning..:)
Thus bottom radiator is acting like air intake, and GPU that is located above is acting as exhaust.
Rear 92mm fan is placed as an intake. I still wonder if I'll put some dust filter on it, as my cats don't go often behind the case..:D

As expected (and required), I can remove/add GPU while CPU watercooling setup is in place..:D

All fans are managed through Corsair Commander Mini, located on front panel.

4th Step : Optimize CPU area airflow

As I have freed a lot of space about CPU, using watercooling, I discovered that SFX PSU is generating quite a lot of heat on its back side. This hot air needs to be cooled or/and exhausted.
Currently I've tried several possibilities :
  • Noctua NF-A14 PPC or standard fan on side bracket

However this solution is putting too much stress on tubing
  • Noctua NF-A9x14, either 15mm thick 92mm fan from Noctua on side bracket
This is my current solution, but I'm not completely satisfied, due to color scheme and fan orientation (it's not fully horizontal..:))

So I'm still working on this area, and I will keep you informed..:D

5th Step : Let's play!

Well I've run some intense CPU benchmarks...and they are all disappointing...almost...:D
With my new setup I'm able to reach a stable and safe OC of 4.025Ghz with vCore @1.525v (set in Bios)...By comparison, with my Noctua C14S i was able to reach only 3.900Ghz stable and safe (I was able to get higher clocks but not safe enough on temperature).

What about temperature then?..:) Well CPU temperature is reaching a maximum of 68°C under Prime 95 (large FFTs, 10min), X265, 4K compression.
This temperature is achieved while MCP35X pump is spinning @1200rpm (really, really, really quiet) and Gentle Typhoon @1000rpm (really quiet also)

Such, computer is really cool & quiet under heavy CPU load..:D

Silverstonetek sx800-lti PSU is pretty impressive also, and it's clearly quieter than SF600 under load..:D No coil whine to report on my sample.

ONE last point to note is that I was able to put back on ALL my GPU overclocking setup (Power +117%, core +60Mhz, vram : +350Mhz), and I prepared you some 4K60 sample videos of gameplay, with a tons of informations about system...:D
Please pay attention to GPU power usage...:)
  • Classical 3D gaming load at 4K : Doom Vulkan, max settings
  • Extreme 3D gaming load at 4K : Mass Effect Andromeda, Havarl (GPU power ~320W)

6th Step : Special Photos
Before giving you access to imgur gallery, I wanted to share some special photos..:)
Long live Apogee Drive II..:D

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Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
That what i exactly did in beginning of 2017, selling my full gaming computer to prepare cerberus-x..:)
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Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
Finally I've redone my CPU heat/stress test as I feared I didn't wait long enough.

As explained in this video, in watercooling, you have to wait for heat spreading around liquid...that is taking longer than in heatpipe of air cooler..:)

So I waited for 10 minutes...but temperature bump is occuring at 5min around, moving from 57°C to 68°C (approx)...not bad at all as my Gentle Typhoon AP15 fans are only spinning @1600rpms (R7 1700X OC @4.025Ghz @1.525v vCore).

Here are photos of torture/stress test with timer...:D

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Chassis Packer
May 4, 2017
Very nice build. The non-X is smaller, no?
My desktop is currently a full-tower, the CM MasterCase Pro 5, and the non-X is what I plan to get. When it goes into production.
IF it goes into production.

So I saw you doing WC and wanted to ask a few questions. Sorry if this goes on for a while. I have no custom WC experience and don't know how far I can push things in terms of OC overhead or space in the non-X case.

So essentially my internal parts are going to stay the same, except going from an AIO on the CPU and aircooled GPU to a full custom water loop, and replacing my efficient but hideous Antec EarthWatts non-modular 750W PSU to probably an SFX. With custom-length cables, obviously. My single 980ti might get upgraded to a 10-series, though at this rate we might see the 11-series released before we see Cerberus.

ANYWAY, the board is the ASUS Strix Z270G with some low-profile RAM, and I want to OC the 7700k to 5Ghz, and maybe push the GPU a little bit, hoping to get a little extra encoding performance. I also have a single-slot Elgato HD60 Pro for streaming/recording consoles. I also will have some difficulties with clearance in there since I have 2 3.5" drives (one for games and another for mass storage) and the boot drive is an M.2.

I know it's kind of making it harder for myself, but I really want the side-panel window on the bottom to show of the WC and RGBUV lighting with my channel logo as a UV-reactive decal, and then use the side mount as an intake for a rad so that in the future I could use RGB fans for some added bling.

In your opinion, would I be able to get the components to fit, and reach the performance I'm aiming for? And if so, do you have any specific advice for me?


Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
Thanks for your comment!

If i sum-up properlly, you want to put in Cerberus non X the following components :
  • Asus z270g
  • 7700k well oc (will you delid it?)
  • Single high end gpu
  • Dual hdd 3.5"
  • Sfx psu (advice for cerberus non x is to stay at sfx, like sf600 or sx650g)
My answer is yes, you can put everything inside, but, with one 140mm radiator (either cpu or gpu).

You can reach 5ghz on i7 7700k (delidded) with a noctua c14s with 140mm 2000rpm fan.
For gpu, you can choose reference board and add some nzxt or evga watercooling kit.

I'll let @Aibohphobia confirm all that..:)
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Spatial Philosopher
Original poster
Apr 1, 2016
I would like to share with you a new software that eased considerably my stability test.

It's Intel Burn Test, featuring linpack test that is able to stress a lot the cpu..:D
Compared to Prime95, it's way faster to detect unstability
Compared to OCCT, heat generation is maximum (like Prime95 heat test)

I did 10 runs at High stress level on my Cerberus-X setup to make sure on its stability...and bim...my system @4025Mhz was unstable..:)
  • IntelBurnTest R7 1700X @4025 @1.525v + Ram @3467===> Failure

Well I tried to downclock to 4Ghz and it worked first run, but not second..:)
  • IntelBurnTest R7 1700X @4000 @1.525v + Ram @3467===>OK, 1st run, Failure on 2nd Run

To make sure Intel Burn Test was working well I tried my "robust" OC @3900Mhz...it worked on 1st run but failed on second...
  • IntelBurnTest R7 1700X @3900 @1.425v + Ram @3467===>OK, 1st run, Failure on 2nd Run

In fact, as Intel Burn Test is fast, I figured out that instability could be caused by RAM and not CPU itself. Thus I've redone tests with 2933Mhz ram speed...and test @4Ghz and @3.9Ghz were fully stable..:D

As far as I remembered, DDR4 is having some "stability" holes. That means it could be stable @3200Mhz and @3600Mhz but not at @3467Mhz.

Thus I've reapplied, one of the first OC I've done in my Cerberus-X, using BCLK : 4020Mhz on CPU and 3520Mhz on RAM...unfortunately it failed..:)
I tried then 4006Mhz and 3508Mhz on RAM...and Intel Burn Test was successful 2 times..:D
  • IntelBurnTest R7 1700X @4006 @1.525v + Ram @3508
  • IntelBurnTest R7 1700X @4006 @1.525v + Ram @3508-v2

Thus I was able to acheive 1819 on Cinebench R15, tweaking RAM up to 3667Mhz (not stable on Intel Burn Test...but fully stable on Cinebench R15 ..:))

I hope this will help you!