I wanted a quiet, clean & powerful pc, that would be at the same time small to fit in the living room. Something that would also allow room for some upgrades...
I chose x99 because of more cores for programming, virtual machines, docker. Gaming is not my primary interest. Video editing once in month or so.
I avoided mini-itx motherboards because only asrock had one motherboard on this form factor with x99. So in case of issues with mobo, I could not go with different brand.
I took a look at several cases and only this one (Raijintek Styx) offered enough options for big PSU, space for ventilation and eventually a dvd slot - although this last option seems very unlikely to be used, as I could not find any "proven" slot-in internal dvd unit - so better to get an external unit if really required.
Why these components:
Intel 5820k + noctua d15s - cheapest 6 core, effective + high compatible air cooler
asus x99-m ws - seems a reliable/feature rich micro atx with x99, but only time will tell.
corsair lpx 32gb 2400 - ironically, it was cheaper than the 2133 version (hope not due to a quality reason)
corsair rm850i - black friday offer on amazon-uk - first component bought from this build. Kind of long PSU (180mm). The length of this PSU reduced a lot the options for compatible small cases, but I don't regret it that much, since it's a very good PSU (tier 1).
evga gtx 550 ti (yes, it's so yesterdecade, because it was reused from another PC - will be upgraded some time)
samsung 850 evo + sandisk ssd + hdd wd
raijintek styx - this was the most minimalistic case I could find, that can host the noctua d15s and still offer good ventilation. Comes with one fan (3 pin).
3 noctua s12a pwm fans - for silent operations
Some words on CPU cooler and case airflow in Raijintek Styx
Why not choosing water cooling? AIO's might make more noise than air cooling. However they provide slight better temps (e.g. the models with 2 fans or 3 fans) over top air cooling. But there's risk of leaking and I'm personally not willing to check every once and awhile for leaks. I found that water cooling requires more maintenance. The hassle-free of air-cooling is totally worth it for me...
In the Styx case, putting the rad on top (the only reasonable place to fit a 240 AIO) meant that no dual GPU will ever be possible, because no space would remain between 2nd GPU and AIO. So not an option.
Important note: Styx was designed with 180 degrees rotated mobo position (CPU at the bottom, GPU at the top).
So among the best air coolers that would fit this case are D15, D14, D15S. I chose D15s for better compatibility in this crammed build.
I will explain below how to fit the components in this case (order is important).
1) Fit CPU and RAM into the motherboard, outside of the case. Fit MB I/O shield in the case.
2) Place MB into the case, screw the MB in place.
3) Fit cables (power ATX + CPU) + cable fans into the motherboard. Route the cables properly (e.g. CPU cable x2 , behind the bottom case FAN) so that their ends are in the power supply connectors region.
4) Fit fans into the case. 2 X Top (intake), use the rubber grommets from noctua. Bottom (exhaust) and back(intake), just one screw for now, since you might need to take them off later.
5) Fit SSDs on the side (even if you are not planning now for all SSD/HDD, it's better to have the cables fit into the Mobo and routed into the positions, for future use - otherwise you will have to work in tight space, to fit them later which might make the task impossible). Route nicely the sata data + power cables :)
6) Apply thermal paste + Fit the Noctua Cooler. Remove the back case fan from the screw, fit the Noctua CPU fan, fit back the back case fan.
7) Fit the Front I/O (via asus easy connector). Fit HD audio from case to motherboard.
8) Fit the PSU + connect the cables (ATX, CPU, SATA). Fit Corsair Link cable + any other fan cables, etc)
9) Tighten the cables. Fit all the fan's screws. Fit PSU screws.
10) Fit GPU, connect the PCie power cable. Tighten further the cables.
11) Fit the sata data + power to the HDD, fit the HDD tray.
12) Close the case with the side panels - if you can :)
Notes: 1) As a good practice, you will build first outside the case to confirm that components are working. Then you will proceed with the build inside the case. This will save the frustration in case components are not booting up, so that you can investigate properly...
2) The Asus x99-m ws supports 1 CPU fan + 1 Optional (via 2 x 4 pin connectors). Back case fan was fit in OPT CPU fan. MB does not control separately the CPU fan from OPT, so back case fan (intake) will follow the CPU cooler fan which is good, since you want more case air intake as the CPU get's hotter and CPU fan works harder.
Idle temps: 30C CPU package. 25C MB 50 GPU Room temp 20C
Full load temps after 10 minutes load (no overclocking): 50C CPU package 40C MB 77C GPU Room temp 20.3C
Temp measured from the sensors; room temp measured with room thermometer.
Few let-downs: 1) long PSU means no way you can fit 2 HDD on the side panel of the case. Only the one on the horizontal plate, at the back, is available.
2) no way to fit the HDD at the bottom back, if using the fan at the bottom. Probably also there might be issue depending on the MB layout, if having any power connectors there (usually the CPU 4x2 are located in that area). Even if it will fit, it will be hard time to route the cables to that HDD.
3) the only place for cable management is on top of the PSU, close to the Front I/O plates. There might be some pressure applied there, so work carefully. The cable management at the SSD area is just enough (~10-11mm) to allow passing the Corsair RM850i ATX power cable (sleeved, rounded).
4) Would not suggest this case if working with regular size components and expecting to fit all the possible HDD's and fans. My GPU is 21 CM long, with PCIe cable adding to the length extra 2-3 CM's. A slightly longer GPU will hit my PSU. A slightly taller GPU will hit the HDD on the horizontal plate. So a GPU upgrade will be most probably limited to Asus/Gigabyte Mini GTX 970. If working with a 15-16cm long PSU, then this issue is somehow avoided. But don't you think that you can fit a too long GPU, because you will hit the PSU cables anyway.
Hope this guide helps somebody... Alex