Description

I've always had a love for SFF builds, but hadn't found the case to push me back to it for a while. I used to use a Fractal Design Node 304, but it didn't impress me with how large it was for what I wanted. I really wanted to try out a sandwich style case and was never fully sold on the looks of the Dan Case A4. When I found out about this case I loved the look at the idea behind the build and spine based structure. I use this for a living room PC gaming setup as well. All I play is single player games so this setup work well for me. It's setup next to my PS4 Pro.

Build turned out pretty good. Cable mod cables did their job. Noctua fans kept things cool, quiet, and beautifully colored. I'm using a Logitech K400 Plus wireless keyboard and touchpad combo to get this thing setup with steam big picture mode. Things run hot, but not too hot or too loud given the size. Under full gaming load, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, CPU hits low 80C and GPU hits 78C. No throttling. Where's the blue? You have to believe it's there.

Some things of note on some of the items in the build.

The Case

Overall, the look of this case is great. It definitely nails that aspect. Minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. The case itself though has many bizarre design choices and issues. At this point I cannot recommend this case. Get the Dan Case A4, the NCase M1 if you need more room, there's also the Sliger SM5xx series, and lastly the dr zaber sentry 2.0 if you managed to get one or want to wait if general availability is a thing. These so far from reviews and people's builds are better cases and aren't plagued with fulfillment issues and quality control issues. I personally have a sentry 2.0 secured to arrive later this year.

To begin with, the finish on the case is a fingerprint, skin oils, dust, crap, etc magnet. It constantly looks dirty and it's fairly impossible to make it not look like that.

Next up is a the video card mounting. As can be seen from the pictures, the card is not directly mounted to anything on the case. Instead, screws and small plates are used to squeeze the pcie bracket into place. It ends up being pretty secure, but it's cumbersome to use and feels weird when tightening things down as there's nothing providing actual support other than the pcie slot from the riser cable. The part that secures the top of the pcie bracket is also built with no area for give. This means that if the thickness of the pcie bracket isn't exactly right, the mounting piece on the case will interfere with the top grill. This is the case for any founders edition rtx 20 series card as I found online. The solution? Grind a mm or two from the piece. This can be seen in the picture as there is some unpainted silvery colored things visible. I happen to own a dremel, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but still not an issue that should even be a thing especially at this price point.

The side panels can only be secured from the bottom, which means that when all is said and done, the top parts of them are always loose and flop around. The venting on the side panels also doesn't allow much air through. The location of the venting also doesn't line up well for the video card side as the very top part of the fans on my card are above where the venting ends.

The top grill is very thin and sits very low in the case. So low that it actually touches the riser cable. This was done to minimize the footprint of the case, but in some situations, depending on manufacturing inconsistencies in the riser and because of how thin the grill is, it may bow out in that area because it actually cannot properly sit flush from the beginning with the case even in an empty state. The top of the case does have magnets in it. This allows the grill to be mounted on and have it moderately secured. This is where the leather pull tag comes into play as otherwise it would be pretty hard to pull off. Much of their promotional pictures only shows it sitting on it in this way. If you do want to secure it they do include screws. However, due to how thin the grill is, the screws sit on top and are not flush, which aesthetically is unfortunate given how slick the rest of the look is.

The feet are useless if you want to use the bottom fan mount as you'd have a few mm of clearance for it. Luckily, they're stick on feet so they may fall off while you're moving it around anyway and give an incentive to get some new ones.

The power button feels like a mushy mess when you use it. Feels like it may break whenever it's in use and it has broken on some.

The motherboard mounting area is questionably designed. The rear IO shield area is far too large. Most people's IO shields are only being held in place by the fact that the motherboard is there not allowing it to fall out. In my situation it's only in place because it's preinstalled onto the motherboard. They allegedly did this to accommodate these motherboards with preinstalled IO shields, but it seems odd how I've never had issues with these motherboards in other cases. Feels like this is a standard that you just spec to and it should work. One thing that is also a standard is motherboard stand offs. In the first batches of these cases they choose to use their own custom made stand offs which were too narrow. This meant your motherboard may go through them and potentially get damaged because of this. They allegedly addressed this in newer versions, but it's still a baffling oversight and is hard to believe how they tested builds in this case without noticing this. The stand offs are also permanently fixed to the spine of the case, which means there's no replacing them. Luckily, some washers can fix it.

Motherboard

This thing looks great and has the features I wanted. That rear IO cover heatsink combo will get in the way for most larger cooling solutions though. It's also very expensive for no real reason other than the Asus name.

CPU Cooler

Full copper. This thing's very heavy and impressive for it's size. The original fan is very loud though and wouldn't even properly fit in my build somehow. It would interfere with the ram. Luckily, you can find 3D printed adapters online for cheap and I mounted a trusted noctua fan. Very quiet.

The backplate is huge. Instead of going with multiple backplates they went with an all in one. The problem I had was the rear conflicted with the rear m.2 slot on my motherboard, which I needed. My dremel came into play again and I grinded off the excess. They include some washers as an alternative, but the point of a backplate is to relieve pressure and the extreme forces being applied on the socket over the backplate. This doesn't happen with the washers and things look sketch.

PSU

I cannot recommend this enough. It provides 750 watts of power, platinum efficiency, and comes with some decent braided cables. It's even got a passive cooling mode and under full gaming node you can't hear it. The video card is the loudest thing by far in any of my builds. There really isn't any reason I can think of to get a full sized PSU even in a larger build at this power rating if you don't need more connectors than what this provides. The cables are pretty long and not very flexible though. I'd recommend some custom cables in any truly compact build.

CableMod Custom Cables

The modflex cables are great and one thing to note. The minimum size of their cables are all 150mm even if not selectable in the configurator. You just have to send them an email in their customer support saying you want some smaller ones. This is how I got a 150mm short 24 pin cable.

Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10

I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to use an xbox one controller on their PC. It's a much stabler connection than I've experienced with bluetooth.

SteelSeries Arctis 7

This headset sounds pretty good, it's wireless, has a reasonable sounding mic, and is fairly comfortable once I replaced the ear pads. I mainly wanted something that was wireless as I really don't want a wire attached to my head. I know I can get some better sounding wired setup, but I'll pay the audio quality drop in going wireless.

Comments

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

Nice build and great run down of the case, I backed the Ghost initially and backed out after 6 months of waiting and no delivery date set and bought an A4 instead - disappointing to hear you're having so many issues on a case that costs that much!

In the end though at least you have a great looking system with awesome specs! Great work :)

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

OOF

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

Nice build and nice review on the case.

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

This deserves a feature.

  • 3 days ago
  • 1 point

Great build! Was thinking of going with the Ghost S1 myself but this is giving me second thoughts. Appreciate the review.