Building the System: More on the ATX PSU

Continuing the build with an ATX power supply produces some pretty crammed results. After installing the CPU a choice of cooler had to be made, and wanting to go with an AIO liquid solution (and being limited to a 120mm model with the big PSU in the way) I pre-mounted a Corsair H60 to the removable bracket outside the case first.

The AIO cooler needs to be set aside while final connections to the board are made

I found it necessary to install the memory and front panel connectors, and then carefully rotate the H60 into place to make everything fit properly. It took some patience, and I'm not used to having the entire build done before the CPU cooler is installed. All-in-one coolers are going to need special care in coiling the hoses during installation as well, as the shallow depth of the case is going to make it difficult not to kink them. A lower profile air cooler would make a great option here, though I was able to mount the AIO liquid cooler without kinking by tucking the hoses in next to the PSU.

I was so worried about my AIO cooler install and managing the ATX power supply that I forgot about a hard drive! Literally as an afterthought I mounted an SSD on the floor of the case below the motherboard, which was the easiest option with the ATX PSU anyway (HDD or SSD both fit here). We'll look at all of the storage options a little later.

Even before adding a dedicated GPU to this setup we can see that space is at a premium, but everything does fit with some room to spare.

There is a channel between the power supply and motherboard that allowed for the thicker cables, and kept things at least under control (though by no means beautiful!).

The graphics options were limited to shorter cards (or simply using the integrated GPU cores on this build's 7850K APU), and I opted for a single-fan R7 260X as a good short graphics option for an example, though an NVIDIA GTX 750 would be perfect here, too.

My ATX PSU comes down too far to allow for a longer card

At least there are options for decent performing parts within this size limitation, and it kind of makes sense to use a shorter card with and ATX power supply anyway, considering the cost savings with both (a good SFX power supply is not cheap!).

Is it worth building with ATX?

If you didn't notice from the photos, my cable management in this case is pretty terrible. The shortest ATX power supply I had on hand was the Corsair CX750M, which is modular – but not fully so. To provide a clean appearance something with all flat cabling (and perhaps shorter cables) would be in order. In fact, as I finalized my build with the ATX PSU, I realized that while it definately works, this is really not what the M1 was designed for. It's great that we have the option, and granted the cable mess wouldn't be visible with the panels back on, but it totally changes the dynamic of the build and restricts graphics and cooling options in the process.

One last note on the ATX power supply: it is technically possible to make an ATX PSU work with a full length GPU, but this would require a 140mm, non-modular model (the modular connectors would make the PSU too long). From the photos it's clear that my CX750M was a little too long for a full-length graphics card, and I was more interested in going the SFX route after finishing this build so I could make use of a 240mm cooler!

Starting over…

After doing a little research I decided on a fully modular SFF-specific power supply from SilverStone, and ordered their optional cable package which offers shorter (and flat) cabling for all connections.

$120 is steep, but it buys a very small solution with a lot of power

On the next page I'll start the build over with this SFX PSU, and we'll see how much more can be done with this case!

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