• Log In
  • Register


Ncase M1: Full Hardline Water Loop

by r1ddl3


This build is the result of adding a 16mm PETG waterloop to an air cooled Ncase M1 build I did in 2016, as well as upgrading from a 1080 to a 2080. The purpose of this was mostly for the aesthetics, since an optimal air cooling setup in the M1 would probably match or beat my results. Still, my temps are significantly better than they were previously:

  • CPU Idle: 30C
  • GPU Idle: 30C
  • CPU Load: 70C (temps intermittently spike up to a max of 70, I'd say the average is closer to 65-67C or so)
  • GPU Load: 66C

These results are based on running 1 hour of OCCT and 1-2 hours of continuous gaming, with a 21C ish ambient temperature. I've removed the glass from the windowed side panel since the GPU block sticks out a little too far, which should also be helping with airflow. I don't really see a problem with this so long as I dust it out every now and then.

Something that might seem questionable is the decision to watercool a regular 6700 paired with a pretty cheap motherboard (Gigabyte H170N), given the cost of everything else. My hope was that this would allow for more effective cooling of the GPU. I also saw no reason to spend the money upgrading my cpu/mobo, since the 6700 still seems decent enough for gaming.

Here are a few other misc notes on the build:

  • I had to remove the front I/O to fit the bottom radiator.
  • I had to drill holes to mount the pump/res.
  • The bottom fan/rad setup is pulling air from the bottom, the rear fan/rad is exhausting air from the case. Not sure if this is the best configuration, but it's probably not a big deal since I removed the side panel glass.
  • I used custom cables from Solo Sleeving, the lengths were 20cm for the 24 pin, 40cm for the EPS, and 20cm for the 8 and 6 pin PCIE. The 24pin just barely fit, but other than that I'm pretty happy with the lengths.
  • The fittings are mostly 16mm OD Barrow compression fittings, with a few EK ones thrown in there. If it seems like there are a few pointless fittings in random places, that would be because I didn't order enough tubing and mis-cut a few of the longer runs. I don't mind the look of these though.
  • The build is definitely not quiet under load, in part thanks to that open air side panel. I honestly think it's still quieter than the stock cooler on the 2080 FE under load, though. That thing seemed unreasonably loud when I was testing it.
  • All 3 fans and the pump are plugged into a fan hub, which is then plugged into the CPU pwm fan header on the motherboard. The CPU fan header is set to "normal" in the BIOS, which seems to be doing a good enough job of controlling the fans/pump. They're pretty quiet at idle.
  • I got the 2080 and the waterblock/backplate used, in like-new condition, for $700. So far no problems with either.

For anyone else who might be thinking about doing a custom loop in the M1, I found these builds/posts really helpful:

Comments Sorted by:

daUnitedpotato 1 Build 6 points 1 month ago

So packed, but so clean. Never have I seen a compact build so mighty clean.

daUnitedpotato 1 Build 4 points 29 days ago

Ayyyy, you got featured. Congratulations. :)

Radox-0 5 Builds 4 points 1 month ago

Fantastic work. Great execution. Really makes me want to try my hand at a loop in a very small case like this.

pegotico 2 Builds 2 points 29 days ago

Really makes me want to try my hand at a loop in a very small case like this.

and it makes me wonder................................. :)

Radox-0 5 Builds 2 points 29 days ago

Heh, while I would love to, no more excuses to build new pcs lol :-(

pegotico 2 Builds 1 point 28 days ago

Looks like its going to be a long vacation..... maybe just upgrade components. :)

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

Thanks! Yeah, I think it's pretty rewarding seeing everything fit in there with almost 0 wasted space. Even if the temps aren't quite as good as they'd be in a bigger case.

M1AF 2 Builds 3 points 1 month ago

Nice M1.

DashMasterYT 3 points 1 month ago

This is an all around great build; the hard-line makes it even better... ...But the RAM makes me want to SCREAM

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

Thanks. Like in a good way or a bad way lol?

DashMasterYT 1 point 1 month ago

Nah, it's just the fact that in a $2.7k build, that you went for $150 RAM at 2133 MHz... you could probably get at least 3200 MHz RAM that looks better (your current RAM looks great, when I mean better I mean RGB) and is cheaper.

Anyway, whatever floats your boat ;)

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 2 points 1 month ago

Fair enough. The main components, including the RAM, were purchased in 2016 though. I think similarly, my cpu/mobo are a little out of place in a build like this. As long as the rest of the system isn't holding back my GPU performance by too much, I'm happy.

Anti-lag 1 point 28 days ago

I just got a 4000C17 kit for the same price I paid for a 3200C14 kit in 2017 :-/

mitchthomas 2 Builds 2 points 1 month ago

Ouch!! I can feel your headaches from here! Very well done getting it all in the M1

Fyremoon65 2 points 29 days ago

I see you made some compromises like leaving the side panel open due to the GPU water block sticking out but good heavens, that is some thick radiator at the back. No wonder you attached your exhaust fan at the outside rear of the case. Still a great build!

BillyBroken 2 points 29 days ago

I'm loving that thicc radiator, fills the space and covers the I/O ugliness.

Kosta_Kop 2 points 28 days ago

Wow, you must have planned this build out to the millimeter! Everything fits in excactly and with little space and in such a compact space! Great build. +1

Grabhanem 1 point 1 month ago

Daaaang that's beautiful.

gthompson0912 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

This is what I like to see!

AidanRiches 1 Build 1 point 1 month ago

how much time did this take? But wow the result is good.

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 1 month ago

Thanks. Not counting the planning, I'd say 6 ish hours spread over 3 weekends. This was my first water cooled build though, I think I could do it a lot faster a second time.

ColdConduct 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago

Great work!

HiResJunky 2 Builds 1 point 29 days ago

slow clap

ZFGeek 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago

Amazing you can fit so much in such a small case!

RayvenOne1 1 point 29 days ago

Beautifly put together build. That water loop is so clean!

polarbipolar 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago

Really clean for such a tight space! Lovd it!

jgsieve 1 point 29 days ago

i am giving up, i can't beat this, super clean. well done!

firewrath9 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago

do you think you can fit a top 120 or 240mm rad? bc that might help with noise and temps.

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 28 days ago

Definitely not a 240 because of the top mounted psu. I doubt a 120 would work either since the RAM is in the way. A slim 92mm might work, if that's even something that exists lol.

firewrath9 1 Build 1 point 28 days ago

there are fat 92mm (40mm), but no slim (<25mm) ones.

CooproxXo1 3 Builds 1 point 29 days ago

Awesome custom loop!

Flying_Dutchman 1 point 29 days ago

Very clean build for a mini ITX. You utilize the limited space available very well. I also like the white and blue color scheme. Personally I'd never invest 700$ only to get a 20% gpu performance increase but 700$ for a GTX2080 and waterblock/backplate seems like a good deal especially if you can sell your old 1080.

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 2 points 28 days ago

Thanks! I did sell my 1080 for $350. In the end, I think I spent about the same as I would've to upgrade to a 1080ti, if you consider that the block/backplate sells for over $200 new. Probably not the best value, I agree, but neither is the waterloop itself lol.

diypartsjoy 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago

I have never seen a Mini ITX build be full water hardline cooled. +1, really deserved that feature.

tane779 1 point 29 days ago

Why get an old i7 with half the amount of cores but have top of the line gpu

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 2 points 28 days ago

The cpu/mobo/etc were parts I already had. I agree that maybe I should have spent a bit more to upgrade those. But still, I don't think the 6700 should be bottlenecking the 2080 in games or anything.

lazyfatcat 1 Build 1 point 29 days ago


RoyalSovereign 1 point 29 days ago

Such a commitment and effort... I tip my hat to you sir.

beardedmisfit 5 Builds 1 point 29 days ago

Kudos! Nice cable management, nice bends, and just a dope setup! Congrats on feature! +1

KorruptkSwades 1 point 28 days ago

Very nice compact design. Is it me or the temps on the cpu a bit high for a locked & liquid cooled cpu ?

HasakiKid 1 point 28 days ago

O M G :O :O :O

Maraco 1 point 28 days ago


Maraco 1 point 28 days ago


Seducer 1 point 28 days ago

Form over function?

A non-overclockable CPU with a custom loop?


r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 28 days ago

My priority was gpu cooling. I already had the 6700, so I didn't want to spend more on a cpu that would be generating a lot more heat. My radiator setup is already a little less than you'd want for these components.

Yea, I'd argue that most water cooled builds are at least a little form over function though. I wouldn't have done this if I didn't care about the aesthetics.

Z9CS- 1 point 28 days ago

How do you add custom water cooling things like you did? I can't find any option that allows that.

thutzell13579 1 point 28 days ago

There is no water cooling section. What the builder did was hit "Add custom part" at the bottom of the build page.

thutzell13579 1 point 28 days ago

And to configure your own loop, go to this website https://www.ekwb.com/custom-loop-configurator/

thutzell13579 1 point 28 days ago

Props on the build. It's probably one of the coolest builds I've ever seen. It's awesome to see that much packed in such a small form factor. I was wondering though, do you notice any bottleneck between the RTX 2060, and the 6700k? I believe the 6700k is slightly more powerful than a R3 2200g. An awesome build nevertheless.

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 1 point 28 days ago

It's a 6700 non-k and an RTX 2080. But no, I don't notice any obvious bottle necking. I think the 6700 is still an above average CPU for gaming, if anything. I've mostly played Apex Legends since finishing the build, and I average over 100 fps at 1440p and high settings, which seems consistent with other 2080 benchmarks I've seen.

SeeamKhan 1 point 28 days ago

Dude, this took hella paitecnce, something i dont have!

Somedumbguy 3 Builds 1 point 27 days ago

Love the "Business in the front-Party in the back" cable management.

nk8432 1 point 27 days ago

Cool little computer (cool geddit)!

C3156 3 Builds 1 point 27 days ago

Automatic upvote for NCASE M1. Currently working on my own M1 water loop and understand the frustration of trying to get everything to fit. I doubt mine it will look as nice as yours, but I can always hope. My only critique would be the mass of wiring detracts from the otherwise stellar build.

blank1234 1 point 27 days ago

Nice feature on 3/23/19! +1! Nice water cooling loop!

Samidare1989 1 point 26 days ago

Hello man! I just want to say I really appreciate what you have done here. This thing is an art and a masterpiece.

I have also one question and I will be very thankful for a detailed answer. I have the same CPU as you and I've been wondering if you notice any bottleneck there. I would go for 2060 if anything (or 2070 eventually) but all the bottleneck calculators I check show me up to 20% bottleneck there. I would use them for playing at minimum 1440p up to 4k.

Thank you so much and good job on this one!

r1ddl3 submitter 3 Builds 2 points 26 days ago

Thanks. I haven't noticed any bottlenecking. The one game I've tested is Apex Legends - I'm getting around 105 fps average (just based on the in game fps counter) at 1440p with almost maxed settings, which is about the same as the Gamers Nexus benchmark results. I haven't noticed my CPU usage getting anywhere near 100%.

I'm pretty sure those bottleneck calculators aren't very useful, so I wouldn't take what it's telling you too seriously. It would probably take a lot longer than 3-4 years for a regular desktop i7 to start bottlenecking midrange GPU's in games lol. Like, the 1080 was out at around the same time the 6700 was, and the 1080 and 2060 perform very similarly. And the 1080ti performs about the same as a 2080. The 6700 wasn't bottlenecking any cards when it was new. I think it's still a decent cpu for gaming.

Uziduzit 1 point 19 days ago

So beautiful, so sublime. One of the best hardlines I've seen - KUDOS!

I love those skinny fans at the bottom.

jacobsamdal 8 Builds 1 point 17 days ago

This is probably one of the best builds I have seen on here in a while. Looks so clean and props to you for having the patience. That would have drove me insane working in such a small form factor. Those are some of the best builds though! Check out my water-cooled build as well! Look forward to seeing more from you!