Building the System: Motherboard and CPU Cooling
Ready for a build
First things first, we need to install the mini-ITX motherboard.
This is mounted easily, but there's one oddity here, with a recessed I/O cutout the I/O backplate is somewhat precariously positioned until the board is attached, and then it holds it in place. The motherboard backplate isn’t connected at the top or bottom – just the sides. Not actually problematic, just a little unusual.
Like all of the mini-ITX cases I've looked at recently, the 901 has a motherboard cutout that's basically the size of the entire motherboard.
There is a large gap between the motherboard I/O and the removable back panel, and this design does help with managing the connections considering the panel will be blocking access by default.
And speaking of the back panel, next we'll look at the unique way IN WIN makes use of this!
Let's talk about self-contained liquid cooling options for a moment. They're popular, they look cool – er, rad – no. Never mind. But fear not – with the IN WIN 901 these ever popular AIO liquid coolers are supported, though it might not be clear exactly how this is possible at first. To answer this we just need to think back to what Obi-Wan once famously said: "Use the … removable back panel … Luke!" (Or something very similar, if I remember correctly…)
Since the rear fan mount is not big enough at 90mm to support an AIO cooler, and the only 120mm mount in the case is down below the hard drive cage (and without necessary space around it for this purpose anyway), we look outside:
Turns out IN WIN hasn't forgotten about AIO coolers with the 901. They might not be allowed inside, but they can at least hang out at the back door.
The removable back panel serves as the external mount for AIO coolers
The rad is attached with the help of some included washers, which are needed due to the fact that no proper screw holes exist on this section. Definitely feels like a mod, but it works well.
The hoses on the Corsair H75 in use here have enough length to easily pass into the case, though for AIO liquid coolers in general things will be a little tricky since the hoses are of course pre-attached to the waterblock. The waterblock/pump on the Corsair H75 used here was easy to pass through the rear fan cutout, and installation on the processor was easy.
There is a cutout above the fan opening which provides a proper space to tuck the hoses out of the way, and I was able to attach a 92mm fan here without issue.
While the hoses on the H75 were just long enough to complete the installation with the barbs at the bottom of the radiator, this isn't actually the correct method, as it turns out!
This might not be the "recommended" way to route the hoses, but it raises another possibility…
With the hoses routed through the lower opening intended for the I/O cables on the removable back panel of the case, the height of the radiator is not limited to 120mm. That's right – 240mm is possible here! Here I installed a Corsair H105 just to see how it fit:
Add 240mm support to the list (if you don't mind your PC looking like it's wearing a jetpack)
The "correct" way to install the radiator is like this, using the intended upper cutout on the removable back panel to route the hoses straight into the case:
This installation method is well implemented and allows coolers with shorter hoses as well.