DAN A4-SFX AIO Build v 0.2.3
A small form factor build for some work, gaming and VR. Since ordering the DAN A4-SFX case I have been following the discussions on what coolers to fit and the performance of those on various forums. Intending to put a Core i 7 7700K into this build I was dependent on good cooling performance. Having already tried the processor with a modded air cooler in a Node 202, I wasn’t to keen on trying another setup with an air cooler. So I decided this build should be cooled by an AIO… At this point the DAN A4-SFX case didn't have official support for the mounting of an AIO.
The case is a DAN A4-SFX case. I was looking for a case that was as small as possible, one that had great looks and would fit all the hardware I wanted to put into the case. Really glad I found this awesome small case. Great layout in terms of the two separate compartments. Besides a few tricky parts when it comes to cable management (as always in a small case like this) it was really simple to build in. Quite a few smart choices have been made while planning this case.
The motherboard is the “MSI Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon AC” which I found to be an excellent fit for the case. The layout works good in the case and I´m able to keep almost the entire motherboard area clear of cables. Giving the CPU and the other components enough space to breath. One other important aspect I had to consider, was enough high speed USB port to support my Oculus Rift with three sensors.
This build uses the new Intel Kaby Lake Core i7 7700K. Probably a overkill for this build, but I just wanted to have one :) Running at stock speeds and delidded.
Delid / re-lid:
For the delid i used the Rockit88 delid tool from Rockit Cool. A very easy and straight forward procedure. I used Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra between the CPU and IHS. I then used the re-lid kit from Rockit Cool to reattach the IHS. Small amounts of black silicon from Permatex was used to glue the IHS back on. Liquid Ultra was also used on the heatspreader and the AIO pump.
This is the BIG one in this build. Initially it seemed like this would not be able to fit. But I took a chance, ordered the Corsair H60 and tried it out. The included 25 mm fan does not fit, but I was able to take one of my Deepcool Gamer Storm GS120 20 mm fan and mount it between the radiator and PSU. The fan is mounted in a pull configuration. Exhausting air through the PSU or beneath the PSU. In a earlier version of the build I had the fan mounted on the outside of the radiator in a push configuration. This gave me a 2° C temperature advantage, but with much higher sound levels. The current setup seems to be a good compromise. Although it doesn't look quite as nice. First I mounted motherboard and the GPU. Did most of the cables before putting in the fan, radiator and attaching the pump onto the CPU. I tried to keep as much of the cabling underneath the radiator so it would not block it to much. While I´m waiting for custom length cables I routed as much as possible over to the GPU side. The plastic separator between the two compartments was folded together and pushed behind the GPU. So that the air can travel as freely as it can in this case. The tubing is routed alongside the bottom of the CPU side in the case. In the end the PSU was flipped and mounted in it´s position. There is some airflow through the case and some through the PSU, with the PSU fan helping when really under load.
The GPU is a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G. I needed a small and short GPU in terms of fitting the radiator for the AIO. This seemed like a great fit and I haven´t been disappointed yet. Seems to run quiet and cool. The small fan has really surprised me. I expected it to make far more noise than it actually does. Although the card runs a little hotter than the GTX 1070 Mini. While performance of the card seems slightly below that of a decked out GTX 1080 it works more than good enough for me so far. Max temperatures at heavy gaming are around 75° C. 80° C under heavy benchmark load.
3 hours with running these benchmarks: CPU never got over 74° C and GPU never over 80° C.
I have ordered custom length sleeved cables. Getting those should clean up the cabling in the case considerably. Partly done. Still missing new shorter cables for the GPU. Delid and relid the CPU. Hopefully lowering the cooling load by a few more degrees.
Maybe adding some form of case cooling above the PSU and the motherboard / GPU chambers. I have ordered some slim 80 mm fans that might fit here. It is specially the motherboard compartment that gets hot under long gaming sessions / stress testing. Maybe a fan above it will help decrease the temperature a little.
Upgrading to a Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1080 Mini.
There have also been suggestions over at [H]ard|forum to buy a SFX-L PSU, remove the fan and mount it with a 120 mm fan between the PSU and radiator. This is a suggestion I might follow up.
While it might not be something I will do in the near term future, I might like to try out exchanging the PSU for a smaller dc-dc PSU. Making room for a lot more space around the radiator. With some modifications to the case itself, one could center the radiator more and attach two 25 mm thick fans on either side for a much better performing push pull configuration. This solution of course has several drawbacks, mostly the supported wattage (max 400W as far as I can see) of the dc-dc PSU´s and the added ugly power brick. But it is a theory that might work.