I've been roaming this site for a while now. A lot of useful information on here that enabled me to choose the correct parts. I thought I'd share my experience with this build, in case it helps others decide on their next project.
The main components were purchased back in 2017. I was initially building a system with a budget in mind, but would be easy to upgrade in the future. Kind of an "on going" project, so to speak.
The initial build consisted of the Core i5-7600 Kaby lake CPU, MSI B250I Pro AC, 8GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2400 Ram and a MSI GTX 1050ti. I had SSD's laying around that could be used. The case I chose was originally the "Bitfenix". Can't really remember the model. All I know was that it was an ATX full tower and it would be temporary until I can afford the mini-ITX case I wanted. The fans it came with didn’t even work out of the box. So I had to pick up new ones. I decided on 2 x Corsair ML120’s.
All in all, I had a very capable gaming system for the minimal amount of money I had to spend. (New father's will know what I mean).
Fast forward to Sept 2019, I managed to secure a weekend that I could dedicate to upgrading my PC. I decided to take advantage of local sales and managed to acquire the NZXT H210i, NZXT Kraken M22 Liquid Cooler, NZXT AER RGB 120mm fans, NZXT USB 2.0 hub and 8 GB of additional ram. I also picked up a sweet deal on a Samsung 860 1TB SSD.
I was now set and eager to get everything build the way I originally imagined it.
The main idea I had from the beginning was to spec out a mini-ITX build. Some of the reasons why I thought this would benefit me:
- Don’t have much room in a shoe-box condo.
- Have a 2 year old that likes to destroy everything in his path.
- Wife doesn’t like clutter. Especially a massive ATC case sitting next the our couch.
- Mini-iTX builds look awesome.
The build start with removing all my parts from the crappy Bitfenix case. I believe this thing was about 25$. It provided nothing but a metal casing to bolt the motherboard too. Once all the parts were carefully removed. I started organizing and laying out my components. This was a great opportunity to give everything a really good clean. Dust buildup was removed and older CPU thermal paste was cleaned off the CPU.
The NZXT H210i case provides great instructions and was easy to remove the necessary panels. Installing the components was a breeze and you could really tell the difference a good quality case makes. I really recommend the “I” case over the H210. Comes with a pre-installed LED strip and the Smart Device V2. Which allows 3 case fan inputs and 2 LED inputs. This is great for people wanting to use the RGB fans as you don’t have to splurge on the “starter pack”. I just ended up buy two individual RGB fans. It saved me money in the end. (Note: If you buy the H210 non “I” model and want RGB, it’s better to just go with the H210i).
After installing my previous parts, it was time to install the Kraken M22 liquid cooler and RGB fans. The M22 fits very nicely in the case. I heard the other models (X52) can fit just fine, although I didn’t have the budget for such a monster. (Canadian dollar really hurts us). With the pre-applied thermal paste, the installation of the back plate and front mount went smoothly. Again, NZXT provides clear instructions. If you can read, you should be able to install this without an issue. I decided not to use the fan included with the Kraken, since I already had 2 Corsair ML120’s I purchased. The ML’s are high performance and are magnetic bearing. Having 2 of them meant that I could install both on the front with the M22. Next came the RGB fans. These NZXT fans are glorious. The fit the H210i very well and come with clear instructions on how to daisy chain the fans to the Smart Device. One Corsair ML120 was mounted on the Kraken and one just beneath it. (Both behind the front filter).
The cable management was a breeze. This case really allows you to clean up the cables well. You can fit 2 SSD’s and one M.2 behind the motherboard, which comes with a fancy tilt panel if you need access to the back of your motherboard. I absolutely love the SSD display at the front of the case. Not that the Samsung 860 is special, but it displays the SSD elegantly while still keeping cables hidden. Once she was powered on, I installed the CAM software and began playing around with the lights.
This is where I ran into problems. (Note, this has nothing to do with NZXT at all, it was due to not doing my research properly).
My two front fans were not turning on. This meant that the Kraken was not getting properly airflow into the radiator. The mini-itx motherboard on has 1 system fan header, which is used for the Kraken cooler. So, I had the fans connected to the SMART device, but they were not powered. Seems that only NZXT fans work with the smart device. I had to use an adapter that ran from my modular power supply. The fans run full blast but, luckily they are quiet.
I found that the NZXT logo on my CPU cooler was not showing up in the software at all. Neither were my RGB fans lighting up. They were running, just weren’t lit up or displayed in CAM the software. After doing some research, I noticed that my MSI motherboard only had one USB 2.0 header. You need one for the H210i Case and one for the Kraken Cooler. To over come this, I purchased a NZXT USB 2.0 internal\external adapter. This allows me to connect all my USB 2.0 cables to a single adapter (up to 4 I believe).
So, for all of you mini-itx builders who want a similar setup with RGB, ensure your mini-ITX motherboard has more than one USB2.0 header. If it doesn’t, you can purchase the USB 2.0 HUB like I did. If you have no more system fan headers left to power non NZXT fans, you can use a splitter from your power supply to power them. I would recommend getting a fan controller if you are worried about them running full blast. (I will be doing this in the near future).
All in all, temps are fantastic with this case. It looks awesome and best of all, I can fit it on my shelf which keeps it out of reach of a 2 year old.
Thanks very much for reading along. This site helped me so much and thought I’d owe it back for anything looking for information.
All the best.
The only issue I have with this board: there's only 1 USB 2.0 and 1 System fan header. Might be troublesome when hooking up multiple fans or USB 2.0 devices.
Great ram. Stable, Fast and never had an issue with them.
Very fast SSD if you are able to get it for a good price point. The 1TB option is worth it for under 180$.