One note before we get started. I am aware the Ncase M1 is Aluminum but the name got stuck in my head while building and here we are. Onto the main event.

This is an upgrade to my previous build, Blackbox ( ). Most of the components were purchased back in September of 2018, hence the inflated GPU and RAM price. Microcenter hooked me up once again with the motherboard/CPU combo as well as the monitor. All the storage was hauled over from my old tower and is probably next on the upgrade list.

Overall I'm really pleased with the build, and the fact that I have finally built into the Ncase M1, a case which I have lusted after since the indiegogo campaign in 2013.

Part Reviews


This CPU is a great package, 8 core 16 thread without breaking the thermal or fiscal budget. AMD showed some improvements with clockspeed over the first gen Ryzen and it shows. Zero troubles in my (albeit anecdotal) experience with photo editing, CAD, some gaming, and the occasional video editing project. Even the included cooler is great if you're not overclocking, which is something that can be debated for team blue. Overall recommended.


A Mini-ITX Mobo that has most all the features I was looking for ( including optical audio out) at a great price. The wire connectors are in generally thoughtful positions, and it has the all-important third fan header, somewhat of a rarity on ITX boards. BIOS is perfectly adequate, supports 3200 RAM, and have not ran into any issues in the 6 months of ownership thus far.

Video Card

A great choice if you don't want a complete reference cooler but still need a blower style GPU. The performance is nothing to sneeze at, but benchmarks will tell you if this will be the best bang for your buck, especially with newer cards coming out in 2018/19.

The only real drawback that i've seen is the noise, although it is inherent with a blower style cooler. When gaming or under other strenuous loads, the fan does keep the card cool-ish (79 C in my anecdotal testing) but at the cost of fan noise at high RPM. There is also a slight coil whine, but only when loading certain game menus, and certainly not during everyday use or while playing the game.

I originally went with this card in September of 2018 because i wanted variable frame rate support, and wasn't willing to pay the G-sync premium to get that with team green. Of course, team green has since adopted supported freesync but I am definitely not switching just because of that.

Overall a well-performing card with good specs, and if you need the form factor like I did it is a great choice.

Power Supply

A fantastic little package of a PSU. The fanless mode before significant load is a nice touch, the efficiency is fantastic, and the included cables are individually sleeved. The cable might be long depending on what case you're building in (assuming this is for use in a SFF case). I wouldn't detract anything just based on that, as it's better to have some extra slack (within reason) than having cables not reach where they need to.


Hands down the best value performance monitor in my book.

After days of searching for a new monitor, this nonchalantly ticked every box on my wishlist and for a great price at my local Microcenter. 1440p, 144Hz, IPS Panel, Adjustable stand, USB 3.0 ports, and a huge Freesync support range (30-144Hz!).

It might not have the '1ms gamer response time' or 'A++ Panel', but none of those were anywhere close to dealbreakers. Sure, the speakers are utter crap, but if you're dropping 500+ on a monitor, there's a good chance you have headphones/speakers already. If you can find it at a good price, it's a surefire hit.

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  • 14 months ago
  • 2 points

Lovely M1.

  • 14 months ago
  • 2 points

a light in the attic

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build, would there be anything (other than storage) you would change now in April 19? Also did you need to use any thermal paste on the CPU, the Noctua fans seem to do a pretty good job right?

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Just about to build the same system so hoping you haven't pulled the plug on keeping the components in the M1 with the temps at 79. :-)

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build, I'm planning something quite similar

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