What's it for? This PC is built for an incredibly small study space, but still needs to be capable of 4K HDR gaming @ 60fps.
Background I'm relocating into a room that I converted from a bathroom that is 4.2 square metres(45 square feet) in area. I require a "large" amount of desk and shelf space for various things, so had to look at the smallest size PC I could reasonably build in.
I initially built this system on air, with a kraken x52 AIO and the stock 2080ti cooler. With 2 fans intaking from the bottom, temps were ok, but the system howled under load.
I inquired with SFFLabs about getting a glass side panel for the case, but they didn't sell them individually and I didn't really want to chop my existing panels up.
Then I stumbled across tekm's build, and decided that with a few modifications, this was the build for me.
I'd read that placing the radiator at the bottom of the case required the removal of the Front IO. This was a deal breaker for me, as I wanted to preserve the case without hacking it apart. I looked into the current slim fans, and while they're pretty good for what they are, they just can't hold a candle to powerhouses like the Noctua A12x25. Additionally, placing the 15mm fans underneath the bottom radiator instead of on top wouldn't give enough clearance for the front IO anyway. I decided that I needed to get as slim a radiator as possible for the bottom position, which led me to a toss up between the XPSC TX240 and the Nemesis 240GTS. I selected the TX240 as it was a few mm thinner and my local store had it in stock. This allowed me to place the bottom radiator fans as intakes underneath the radiator instead, clearing the IO.
For the side radiator, I chose the XSPC EX240 as for a full size 240mm radiator it is still relatively slim and it was in stock! Side mounting in this case is no major drama, but I needed to make sure that I had sufficient space to route the tubing, so the slimmer the better. As this is a performance oriented build, I still elected to go for a full core radiator as I really want to push the components in this build.
The CPU Waterblock also had to be the pump as space is already ultra tight. This restricted choice to the Swiftech Apogee Drive II or the Alphacool Eisbaer Solo. The Apogee seems to be out of stock everywhere, but I messaged Swiftech and they managed to find one. As it was also my preferred option, that made me super happy!
For the GPU, I saw that the other builds people had done using the EK Vectors couldn't close as the waterblock protruded too far out. The EK Classic is several mm shallower, which turns out to be exactly right for the case without rubbing on the panel.
I tossed up using quick disconnects for ease of maintenance, but the combination of price and availability made me think about alternatives. I decided to just route the tubing in such a way that I can easily remove the side radiator and lay it flat for access. I may revisit this idea later, but my preference would be for Koolance fittings, so I'd have to order them in.
Filling and purging the loop was actually pretty easy using this arrangement.
One other thing that no Ncase M1 build is complete without is cable routing. I looked into custom cable kits, but once again availability in my area was a problem. I decided to try routing the included Corsair PSU cables and found that being very careful and with 3 spare hours, you can feed every cable into a space where it isn't getting in the way of anything. A big headache for a lot of people in this case is the big fat USB header cable. I found that with the bottom radiator elevated, there is space to route this next to the bottom fans at the back and it's then completely out of the way.
Required Modifications The only modification that I had to do to accommodate this build, was to cut into the shroud of the TX240 radiator where it comes into contact with the plugs for the EK 2080ti GPU block. This required removing 1-2mm of shroud so that the block wasn't being flexed. I also had to remove the lower section of the Z390I's heat shield to fit the EK backplate, but this just unscrews.
Conclusions Running very slight fan curves using Qfan on the motherboard, results in this system running very quiet under load. I haven't undervolted anything at this stage, but I do intend to, as well as overclock as far as is practical. I think the choice to go for larger fans to improve airflow through the radiators was the correct one, for this application at least. It's not the neatest build, but it's not intended to be a showcase, rather the build was dictated by my required functionality. Overall I'm extremely happy with the outcome, even though the watercooling itself added a grand to the already high price tag of this build!