My boss is a practicing architect, and needed a new CAD/rendering workstation. She didn't want to sacrifice valuable desk real estate for a tower because she's transitioning from an iMac. I offered a compromise: bleeding edge performance in a case the size of a shoebox. She liked the idea so I made it happen! Enjoy my latest creation, Espresso Shot. This might be a valuable resource for those looking for creative professional-level PC hardware in a small form factor, so I'll go through the important part choices and how I came to choose what I did.
Case: the NCASE M1 was the only tiny tower choice I that felt comfortable putting professional hardware inside. Its cooling potential is quite impressive for the size. The DAN Case A4-SFX is tempting, but it definitely makes everything inside run hotter with such little breathing room for the components.
Motherboard: we prefer our workstations to have 32 GB of RAM with the ability to expand to 64 down the road if needed. This ASRock board was the only choice that fit that criteria in a mini-ITX form factor.
CPU: we need 6 core, 12 thread CPUs for running renderings from time to time. That isn't our primary workflow though, so we didn't need anything more than the 7800X.
CPU Cooler: Using a liquid AIO was tempting, but I read the tight space of this case puts unnecessary strain on the motherboard with all the tubing stuffed in there. I went with the Noctua NH-U9S, which utilizes the available space inside well. I could overclock the CPU if I added a second fan on the back of this air cooler and relocated the M.2 to the rear of the motherboard. The front M.2 connects into the motherboard with a riser card, which interferes with the space needed for the extra fan. In my opinion, this is the most flexible cooler for professional use to choose for this case at the moment. Other options definitely exist if your criteria are different though.
GPU: since architectural Revit models don't benefit from Quadro-level hardware significantly, we went with a GTX 1060 to provide enough vRAM to carry this workstation well into the future. It gives us enough horsepower to navigate complex Revit models and detailed CAD drawings without being overkill. If you're an engineer who works with complex part assemblies in programs like Solidworks, you may want to consider swapping this choice for a Quadro.
PSU: I chose an SFX power supply from Corsair as they seem to be the most reliable manufacturer of these. Using an SFX PSU is necessary if you're trying to fit a full-size video card inside, which I chose to do so I could use one with a blower-style cooler to exhaust more hot air from the system. You can use a shorter full-size PSU if you also have a short GPU to go with it. I'd recommend adding an exhaust fan if you go that route, possibly at the rear of the case near the I/O panel.
That covers the critical part choices! If you have any questions, feel free to comment!