Cramming a 120mm AIO into the Mini-ITX SilverStone FTZ01

After recently downsizing back to Mini-ITX, I hit a snag when it came to my current CPU and its thermal performance. To cool my i7-7700K, I utilized the be quiet! Shadow Rock LP that I had purchased for my 2015 Mini-ITX build. In 2015 that build contained an i5-6600K and the Shadow Rock LP had no problem keeping that cool.

Unfortunately, the i7-7700K is a notoriously hot running CPU and the Shadow Rock LP simply couldn't keep up. Especially with the limited airflow of the FTZ01. I was thermal throttling even at stock speeds. Putting the CPU under heavy AVX loads like HandBrake encoding made that very apparent. Not to mention the fan noise from the cooler running at 100% to keep things cool became rather annoying.

Prior to downsizing to ITX I initially had the i7-7700K under a be quiet! Dark Rock TF cooler which performed well at keeping the i7-7700K under check. With the i7-7700K, the only way to truly wrangle in the temperatures (especially if overclocking and without modifications) has been to throw tons of cooling at it. If you REALLY want to make an impact and drop the temperatures, you can try delidding the CPU and applying a better thermal interface material than what Intel included from the factory.

With my now smaller build and enclosure I had two options to get temperatures under control. 1) Throw more cooling at the CPU or 2) Go the delidding route. I didn't want to delid the CPU because I wanted to retain the warranty until that has expired, so I began revisiting the idea of mounting a 120mm AIO into the FTZ01.

I'm happy to report that I was able to pull it off with the help of some Reddit posts and forum posts. Below you'll find a gallery of images on how I mounted in my build.

SilverStone FTZ01-B With 120mm AIO Liquid Cooler

I chose the Corsair H55 Quiet Edition as it was one of the few "basic Asetek" design units available nowadays. It's a snug fit but I'm glad I was able to pull it off as my temperatures have greatly improved and so have the noise levels. Check out the full review below.

★★★★★ (5 out of 5)

  • Flexible tubing and routing options
  • Easy to mount and install
  • Quiet (Can't hear the pump at all, can't comment on the fan because I'm not using it)

  • None

Other Thoughts
I purchased this because I required a very specific combination of pump design and tubing materials to cram this into my SilverStone FTZ01 on the side panel. In order to fit I had to route the tubes in a very specific fashion and utilize a slim (15mm thick) 120mm fan. The flexibility of the tubes coming out of the pump allowed me to pull it off.

Prior to this cooler I was utilizing a be quiet! Shadow Rock LP but my 7700K was thermal throttling at stock speeds. With this cooler not only have I dropped operating temps by around 10-20 Degrees C but I was also able to easily overclock my 7700K to 4.8GHz (haven't tried higher yet) without issue.

I was skeptical that this wouldn't provide significantly better cooling than the ShadowRock LP but I am very happy that I was wrong! I'm pleased with the performance of this cooler even with the slim fan mounted to it. It performs significantly better than my previous cooler and operates very quietly as well.

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