This year at Computex we announced our second mini-ITX case, the Graphite Series 380T. I decided to use a lot of high end components for this build to show off the power you can have in a small form factor case. The finished product will be a highly portable gaming rig that can keep up with most full towers.
Lets start with a list of the components:
Case: Graphite Series 380T
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Impact
CPU: Intel i7 4790K
CPU Cooler: H100i
Memory: Dominator Platinum 2400MHz, 2x 8GB w/ light bar kit
SSD: Neutron GTX 480GB
GPU: EVGA GTX 780
PSU: AX 860i
Now before everyone tells me that I don’t need 860 watts to power this system, let me explain why I decided to go with the AX860i. It is true that this system will not require that much wattage, but using a PSU that has more headroom than you need, will mean that the PSU will run more efficiently, and in this case since the AX860i has a fanless mode when operating at lower loads, it is likely that the fan will rarely spin up, which means it will stay cooler and quieter than using a similar 500-600 watt unit.
With a small form factor (SFF) system you need to plan your build a little bit more carefully than when doing a full size system, since there is less room to work with. In this case, we will start by installing the PSU, but before screwing it into the case, I figured out which cables I will be needing and plugged them in.
The 380T has a PSU bracket which needs to be installed onto the PSU before installing it into the case. Once the bracket is screwed on, you can slide the PSU into place and then use the thumbscrews to secure the PSU to the chassis.
The 380T has a good amount of extra space for cable routing for being such a small case, so for now, we will pull the cables out of the side of the case so we have more room to work with.
With the PSU installed, I will get the rear I/O shield popped into place and prepare the motherboard for installation. With the SFF case it’s a good idea to do as much as you can outside of the case, since there is little room to work with inside the case, so that means we will get the CPU installed, and get the CPU cooler backplate (for the H100i) installed onto the motherboard. With those in place, we are ready to screw the motherboard down to the case.
With the motherboard installed, let’s get the front I/O cables plugged into the motherboard while we still have some room to work with. The 380T will have a cable for USB 3.0, front audio, and your power, reset, HDD LED, and power LED.
Also you will find that there is a 3 way fan controller built into the front of the case which we will use to power the front and rear case fans. The fan controller has it’s own molex power connector which we need to power as well.
Now we are ready to install some of the bulkier components like the H100i. I am actually going to set up the fans to exhaust air through the radiator and out of the case, so I can pre-install the fans to the radiator before I mount it into place.
With the fans mounted to the radiator it is a tight fit to get the H100i into place, but there is just enough clearance to make it happen.
At this stage we will hook up our Corsair Link cables for both the H100i and the AX860i and work a little bit on our cable management before going further.
The hardest part of this build is over, and now we just have get our SSD installed into the tool free 2.5 inch drive cage and get the SATA data and power cables plugged in.
Next we will plug in our Dominator Platinum memory modules which have already had the light bar kits installed.
And lastly, we just need to install the GPU and get it powered with our PCI-E power cables.
Now the system is built and ready to be powered on for the first time. Success!