Build Process

First things first, we need a motherboard. I installed my mini-ITX board and immediately felt like I was working inside an ATX enclosure. This case feels cavernous for mITX!

It will be a bit more cramped in here once the ATX power supply is installed below the motherboard, but there is going to be a ton of free space off to the right. In designs where all storage is found behind the motherboard tray this area of the interior will be blank, unless you decide to utilize it in some way (and reservoir brackets are included if you are making a custom cooling loop).

The ATX power supply fits as you'd expect, and sits on soft pads to keep it from vibrating against the enclosure.

Cooling

Here, once again, is where we will spend the majority of our time. The Nano S isn't the largest mini-ITX design I've encountered, but it still offers ATX levels of cooling options. We'll begin with the upper fan mounts, which are closed off by default.

Removing the top cover it's a simple matter to install a double-width radiator up here, and this 240 mm Corsair H100i GTX installed without any clearance issues.

The drawback to using the top mount is noise, as removal of the insulated top cover will no doubt impact sound emination from the GPU, if nothing else.

The front fan mounts are next, and I personally recommend these over the top location if you only need to mount one cooler.

This front location is shielded with a screen filter to keep dust out, and as such you'd want to position the fans for intake. There is so much room up front thanks to the rear-mounted storage that I can't foresee any clearance issues with radiators or fans up front at all.

My full-length GPU still fit (with little to spare) with a front-mounted liquid cooler

Of course you may choose to air-cool your CPU in the Nano S, and there's plenty of clearance for that as well. I personally install a low-profile cooler for air temps in these reviews, but larger tower-style coolers up to 160 mm would fit inside this enclosure as well.

Storage

While there is a hard drive bracket located on the component side of things, on the case floor, I chose to use the primary storage mounts on the back side of the case. Here we have a great implementation of an SSD bracket for a small form-factor enclosure:

It cleverly sits over the rear motherboard cutout, and is removed with a single thumbscrew! In other similar designs I've worked with, the SSD mounts interfered with cable management to some degree. Placing them up over the rear cutout frees up additional space and makes organizing things behind the motherboard that much easier.

For traditional 3.5-inch hard drives (again, other than the floor mount on the other side) there is a vertical mount to the left of the motherboard. This offers rubber mounting points for a vibration-free installation, and the drive simply screws into place from the other side.

With the components in place it's time to see how the Define Nano S performed. We'll first review the testing methodology for enclosure benchmarks, or you may simply skip to the last page.

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