CPU Why are all SFFPC cases nowadays mostly watercool / sandwich?

Analogue Blacksheep

King of Cable Management
Dec 2, 2018
@Skripka - I liked the idea the Intel NUC compute element and I do think the concept will be revisited someday in the future, but having had a Skull Canyon in the past I wasn't able to reuse much of the parts (maybe the SSD's) in a traditional desktop setting. It's proprietary eco system and I'm not sure if people want to end up in that. You could build a Velka 3 or a K39 for less with a bit of skill and not be stuck in a proprietary system.

Do agree with the point about GPU's though. It's a pity that it looks like we won't see new LP GPU's for sometime and the ITX ones are impossible to buy. On the other hand, if OEM's went for efficiency over raw performance they would probably get flack for it getting similar benchmark scores to the previous generation.


Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Oct 19, 2018
@Phuncz - Yeah, I caught the tail end when those cases were coming into public focus. It was the video Linus and Luke did with the Dan A4 back in 2016 that got me into SFF.

I think Flex ATX/1U is the one with the most realistic potential right now for interesting ideas (In the context of ATX/SFX PSU alternatives). There's a good number of cases here (Velka, ZS A4S, Pure X, Hutzy XS Concept - going back to 2016) and elsewere (Taobao, Aliexpress) that use it. You can get a 600W Enhance from GEEEK or Velkase or maybe one of the ones from FSP or Silverstone. Just needs a sensible appoarch to modular cables and the noisy 40mm elephant in the room dealt with. Just needs a Corsair, a Seasonic or an EVGA to be convinced, but as you say that might still be seen as too risky.

Then again, SFX has made drastic leaps and bounds over the past few years.

I would really like stuff like HDPLEX 400 to be built better - heard many stories of people's HDplex dying. Otherwise, I would've bought one for an even smaller form factor build.


Efficiency Noob
Mar 10, 2022
I actually went the exact opposite way, from a custom watercooled sandwich layout to a traditional layout sunmilo c01s

I agree with a lot of what you said and the reason I went this route is because of the effectiveness of deshrouding w/ 120s + CPU cooler clearance, I got tired of maintaining the loop, wanted something with thick 120mm fans the main cooling for CPU and GPU, aircooling sandwich layout is out of the equation

This case is around 11.5L with mods, even though I have 2x 80mm in this config I run them pretty slow, still waiting for my silver arrow 130 but I believe this setup gives me the perfect balance of size and noice + thermals without having to go back to watercooling (AIO or not)

Not to mention the lack of pcie4.0 riser headaches

Once I get my cooler I don't think there will be any negative space left, it will just be bare heatsinks and fans

First sorry for the one year later response, and you allready have moved away from water-cooling, but it can be useful for others.

You could simply have made your water-cooling maintenance free.

I'm water-cooling computer since 18 years now, and usually i only flush my system every two or three years, when i make a change into the computer or the loop, and since i added quick disconnect, it's even less often.

My current computer which is now 12 years old has been flushed 3 or 4 times. (it's only starting to hit 90% cpu usage to run the most demanding games, the time to change is coming and this time it will be SFF instead of a giant tower)

You made a water-cooling show case build, but show case build, while nice, are not meant to be kept on the long term, most show case build you can see on the internet, are taken apart after the video or photos are made, or after a few month of showcasing.

Or they are fucking painful to maintained.

How to make a hassle free customs loop:
- Do not use dye (while a few dye can be used on a long term build, most of them don't and will clutter your loop if not flushed every 3 to 6 months)
- Use only distilled water (for the safety of your hardware) with eventually an anti corrosive and anti fungal additive.
- Use quick disconnect to be able to disconnect your cpu block or gpu block from the rest of the loop without flushing the loop.
- Use a water tank, to trap air, and reduce the frequency of refill.
- Eventually install a fill port at the top of your computer with a tubing going directly to a T on your loop (this make a small water tank) or to your water tank to make refill more easy to manage (other trick are possible like an external water tank etc...)

After you fill your custom loop, there is still air trapped inside your loop and in your water due to the filling process. This air will slowly make bubble that will be catch by the tank, and during the first 3 to 6 month, you will need to top your loop on a regular basis until all the air has been removed from your loop. after that you loop will only suffer of water evaporation due to tubing porosity. But you will need to top your loop maybe one time a year or less depending of your tubing quality and size of your water tank.

At this point you see where come from, the looping maintenance hell, that some people experience with water cooling.

Using short lived dye cause you to flush your system regularly, which is painful, but each time your refill your loop you need a long time to bleed all air and so your continuously draining and topping your loop, just to have a colored water, instead of enjoying your build without colored water and all this work .

You can see this on optimum tech channel, the show case build he made for his video, are with dye and clear tubing, his personal build, he really use, are made without dye and with the black non porous tubing for a low maintenance loop.