Building the System Part II
Next up is selecting and installing a storage drive. As previously mentioned, the mounting bracket provides spaces for up to two 3.5" and three 2.5" drives. The hardware kit includes rubber washers to prevent vibration from spinning drives, and it's an unexpected and welcome extra.
The hard drives mount accross the bracket, and are held secure with four screws beneath each drive.
Up to three SSD's (or 2.5" notebook hard drives) can be installed on the other side of the bracket:
I did run into a small issue with the height of the 2.5" mounts on the bracket. A standard SATA power cable is too thick to fit squarely against the bracket, so the cable must be forced into place.
It exerts enough pressure against the drive's connector to be a concern, so I just loosened the front screws holding my SSD to alleviate this. Another work around would be to simply use some small washers as spacers below the drive. Unfortunately the included washers for the 3.5" drives were too thick to be used here.
The Finished micro-ATX Build
The case has enough room with an mATX motherboard to keep the build process relatively painless. I was worried at first about the lack of cable routing, which is especially challenging due to the storage bracket's front location (and required power and SATA cables up front). Fortunately, there's no windowed side panel here to expose an untidy build.
The placement of the PSU in particular hampers organization, even with the flat modular cables of CX750M, but it is possible to rout things around a bit.
The mini-ITX Experiment
After running some tests with the completed system it was time to try a mini-ITX build. I have to say, there’s a lot to like with the smaller form factor in this case! As I mentioned in the introduction, with mounts for an ATX power supply and the option of using a standard optical drive, the micro-ATX Colossus could be a cost-effective option for building up an mini-ITX system (even though BitFenix offers a mini-ITX version) since a builder could reuse existing parts to experiment. Additionally, the extra space gained within the enclosure with the smaller motherboard footprint allows for more flexibility with the cooling solution. There are additional cable routing options with a sizable amount of the CPU cutout exposed as well.
While either size motherboard technically allows for a top-mounted 240mm AIO cooler like the pictured Corsair H100, the smaller board made installation painless.
There is even enough clearance available to install push-pull fans if desired, while still leaving room for a multi-slot graphics card.
With either form factor motherboard, the addition of an optical drive leaves only one of the 120mm upper fan mounts available. It's up to the individual whether they can live without an optical drive just yet, but there are always external solutions.