Installation, Take Two: Intel Mini-ITX Slim Case
Well…that didn’t go as planned. To be frank, FX processors are NOT the intended use case for this unique slim AIO cooler. Sure, it could probably work on something like an FX-6300 or a lower overclock on one of the FX-8 series, but one of the benefits of liquid cooling is unlocking that extra potential…
Of course, the main benefit of this particular AIO kit is the slim form factor. Let’s leave the AMD testbed behind for now and install it in a more relevant case: the SilverStone FTZ01. Switching sockets is pretty simple – flip over the backplate and swap the mounting posts into their new locations.
Easier said than done, as right away I experienced some issues with the TD03 Slim. Two of the plastic tabs on the backplate, designed to keep the notched mounting posts from turning, broke with the torque during the install. I had to use a pliers to keep the posts from turning so I could remove the TD03 Slim from the FX CPU! While this issue could be avoided by being extremely careful during the install/removal, it’s bound to result in a large amount of RMAs for SilverStone… This portion of the backplate would do well to be revisited or strengthened somehow.
Strangely enough, it appears the Intel side uses thicker bars to prevent the mounting posts for turning. I didn’t experience any problems during the Intel install. The backplate itself is stamped to make it easy to pick the correct side for your particular socket, although it can be confusing at first (the easiest way is to place the appropriate stamp – AMD or Intel – “closest” to the processor itself. The stamp will be on the inside/facing the CPU after the backplate is installed).
The pump housing covers a few capacitors on the Gigabyte GA-Z97N-WIFI motherboard shown here – the cold plate itself was right up against them, but narrowly missed. It seems the cold plate follows Intel’s “keep out” zone, but the plastic housing itself may not. Thankfully, it didn’t affect the contact with the CPU as it was raised enough to clear the capacitors. It may not be an issue on many ITX boards, but it made me a bit nervous on this one.
With the TD03 Slim mounted I had to find a spot to place the radiator in the narrow FTZ01. Initially, I thought right above the motherboard would work – the math seemed to add up, but finding a way to route the hoses quickly…hosed…that plan (I’m so sorry). With the perfect position it might work – the hoses were in grave danger of becoming kinked no matter what I tried, so I began to consider other options.
There was really only one other location that would work – the front GPU intake fan mount. The hoses just reached – some swiveling barbs on the radiator would do wonders for this particular layout (and could potentially open up even more mounting options).
You’ll need to be careful with your GPU selection – the Nvidia reference cooler pictured here was practically resting on the radiator. There wasn’t anything blocking any fans though, so I went ahead with the installation. Besides, while I wasn’t excited about shedding the heat from the CPU directly into the intake fan on the graphics card, it’s a vastly better option than the stock Intel cooler!
I was surprised to find everything else buttoned up pretty nicely. I had to clear off some space over the PSU compartment to route the hoses, but with some dedicated effort the side panel closed quite nicely. I couldn’t help but think how much easier this part would be with some swiveling barbs on the radiator – it works, but it could be even better with more options to route the hoses. It’s in though – and that’s no small feat, in a case this tiny. Let’s see how it performs!