Build Process

The build process begins with the motherboard installation, and at this point you can see that an air cooler (the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO) has already been installed for demonstration purposes (I will cover liquid cooler support below).

There is indeed extra room below the motherboard thanks to that fifth expansion slot, and the grommeted cable routing cutouts look very generous and should facilitate a clean build.

Now, onto the cooler support.

I again direct attention bottom of the case, which is actually the top of the PSU shroud. This is not a solid panel, as there is a section on the right side that can be removed with a couple of screws, revealing access to the lower fan mount.

There is a significant tradeoff with this greater cooling support: the hard drive cage must be removed.

There is support for a hard drive to be mounted directly to the case floor without the cage installed, and it's also possible to leave the cage installed, but simply slide it over along the tracks in the bottom of the case – but that will depend on the depth of your power supply. In any case, if your primary storage is of the SSD variety, the three 2.5-inch mounts help mitigate the loss of the added 3.5-inch storage with the cage removed.

I used a 240 mm Corsair H100i GTX liquid cooler to test fit up front and on top with the system components installed:

With a fairly large GPU installed (my XFX Radeon R9 290X DD) there was just enough clearance for the radiator and fans up front (we're talking millimeters, but it still fits). Any smaller GPUs will have no trouble with a front-mounted cooler.

Up top the cooler fit without issue, but the limited space above the system means that motherboard VRMs and memory sticks with very large heatsinks could pose a clearance issue.

The motherboard (EVGA X99 Micro2) cleared the bottom of the radiator with a little room to spare, and my memory sticks have only average-sized heatsinks and were not a clearance issue, either.

Now we'll look at storage support, beginning with the 3.5-inch hard drive cage.

The cage offers a pair of sleds, which feature soft rubber mounts for the bottom screws securing the drives.

SSD storage is, as mentioned, located on a tray behind the motherboard. This tray is easily removed with a single thumbscrew, allowing full access to the CPU cutout and cooler installation.

Finally, I'll cover the power supply.

The chamber has four foam pads to cusion the PSU and prevent vibration, but it is rather cramped – however, the PSU is actually installed from the back, and it's a painless process.

Next we'll review the test setup and methodology, or you may skip to the last page to see the finished build and performance numbers.

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