Building A Liquid-Cooled MicroATX Gaming Monster

Lightening The Load With Crucial And Seagate

When it comes to running real-world benchmarks, SSDs don't make a big impact, which is why they're  generally given a lower priority in our System Builder Marathon series. But we know they have a much bigger experiential impact than the numbers give them credit for. So, with no budget cap on this PC, we decided to go with the parts list that'd yield top-end usability, and that includes an SSD.

Storage guru Andrew Ku’s tests have shown that we can’t go wrong with Crucial’s 256 GB m4.

Of course we couldn’t get by with just 256 GB, as this machine was made for more than just games. Video and large image files would require at least one conventional hard drive.

A pair of Momentus 750 GB drives give us the option of super-fast 1.5 TB RAID 0 or redundant 750 GB RAID 1 arrays. This 2.5” drives would increase airflow and reduce weight compared to their 3.5” siblings, and we still have a BD-R upon which to dump any accumulation of old files.

We were extremely pleased with the performance of LG’s external drive, but disappointed by its selection of interfaces. The interface problem goes away when you install a drive internally, so we were even more pleased to find the internal version for $80. BD-R performance isn’t among today’s benchmarks however, so we substituted the new drive for a used part we had laying around.

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  • tranzz
    The final power rating seems a little out. Drawing 875 at 88% gives 770w used. If you use 98% efficiency it gives a similar number to as stated.
  • PsychoBat
    I really love this build and would like to build my own rig with Maximus IV Gene-Z and Fractal Design ARC Mini but I'd be getting 2xGTX 580 without liquid cooling. Would it be possible to sufficiently aircool these cards or should I drop the idea and go for a larger case?
  • graemevermeulen