The Great Indian NCase M1

A Machine based on the NCase M1 case that I have built for my personal gaming and professional use. This article\Pictures are for my own records as well as anyone out there who may find it useful.

A Powerful Gaming\Workstation Build

A Machine I have built for my personal gaming and professional use. This article\Pictures are for my own records as well as anyone out there who may find it useful. I have been meaning to do this build since a long time now. Even before I heard about the NCase M1, the smallest case to allow for a full size gpu. I kept doing my research while working at a day job. I finally found time to build it when I took a break. Most of the parts were ordered from Amazon US. Some came from Japan through a friend 🙂 (Quite tempting prices there!) and some were bought locally here in Mumbai, India. At the time of making, I’m the only one in my country who has ordered, customized and built an NCase M1 PC. Feels proud thats why the vain title. 😉


My first priority is portability. I mean International portability, one where I can carry this through the airport. (I’m done with laptops. No matter how powerful my Alienware M17x R2 is). Secondly, a powerful gaming machine. This also serves my 3d work needs as I’m into animation. I need the power to develop heavy assets in Maya and other packages. Third and not the least, my machine needs to be quiet. I don’t mind a little bit of noise, I’m used to it frankly. But as this is my Best built Machine yet, I want quiet. No compromises.

I will start with listing the components first, giving a bit of my word/thoughts on each. I will also post some alternatives I looked at.

Let’s start.


I believe everything starts with the case. Before even thinking of hardware, decide on the case first according to your space requirements and comfort.
I wanted the smallest case I could find with the capability to have a full-length graphics card. And possibility of above-average cooling.

I decided on the NCase M1 due to its customizability inspite of its size and because it would be a real challenge to build a PC like this. (I love challenges) The smallest case yet which can accommodate the components I needed. Brilliantly engineered. Believe me, this case IS the smallest you can find unless you want to be restricted in hardware. This case started as a crowd-funding campaign by two moderators from who thought their idea of a truly compact gaming case wasn’t available in the market yet. This campaign ran successfully and we are at the third revision now. Know that this case is only available till stocks last. I’m sure they would do another run, but it would be months or even years so get it if its available.

Here are some reviews:
LinusTechTips Video Review
HardwareCanucks Video Review
TechPowerUp NCase M1 Review

NCase M1 –
25.1 x 33.3 x 16.0 cm

Corsair Carbide Series® Air 240
397mm x 260mm x 320mm
If portability is not a priority, you should check out this case. Lovely looks and functional aesthetics. The two-partition layout of the case makes sure your wires are hidden from view from the transparent side-panel window. Make sure you get some good looking colour matched components. Some led-lighting may work wonders too.

Graphite Series™ 380T Portable Mini ITX Case
If your priority is style with no compromises, you may want to look for this. Components may need to be carefully chosen for this case but there would be a smile on your face at the end. And make your friends awe-struck.

Corsair Obsidian 250D Mini ITX

Silverstone SG10 (or any of the Sugo series)


The only decision I had to make was between i7-4790 and i5-4690. The simple  reason I went for an i7 was my work. 3d animation packages (rendering specifically) can make use of multi-threading (or hyperthreading) and I personally use Maya extensively at home. The i7 has hyper-threading, the i5 does not. So if you aren’t in this field, go for an i5 as its the best option for a Gaming build. It will be cheaper and the i5 would never be a bottleneck.

Intel Core i7-4790K CPU Processor

Intel Core i5-4690K CPU Processor


The meat of the system. Yes this was a long and often changing journey for me. Simply because the options were more and the feature lists and comparison took a long time. Price and availability too a defining factor. The M1 only supports mini-itx boards. In the end, I narrowed it out to two motherboards: the Asus Maximus VII Impact and the Asus Z97I-Plus.

Asus has always had good bios, its one of the reason I wanted to buy it. Their UEFI bios and cooling control on bios is really good.Between the two Asus’s, I would have gone for the MI7 were it not that I’d had already purchased the Kingston M.2 Sata-based SSD drive which is incompatible with it. MI7 only supports the high-end M.2 PCie SSD. Those ssds have exorbitant prices not to mention the price of the MI7 itself is on the high side. I would like to mention the Z97I has a very nice M.2 slot on its back which is awesome design.

Other things to note:

  1. MI7 beats the Z97I i on its sound capabilities though. Z97I has average sound output.
  2. Z97I-Plus has some last-gen support like vga-out, PS-2 mouse ports etc. The MI7 chucks those out in favor of more hdmi and usb slots. I kinda like the Z97I-plus for that.

Special note on MSI motherboards: I didn’t go for the MSI ones because their power/fan headers are not on the edges but in positions where it would create overlapping wires and look like a mess. The NCase M1 has no wire-management at all due to its small size and I didn’t want to complicate it any further.
You can try ASRock or even Gigabyte (Their support in my country is pathetic.) But they didn’t have M.2 at the time.

ASUS Z97I-Plus Mini-ITX

Asus Maximus VII Impact

Note: If going for MAtx boards, look at the Asus Maximus Gene series.


Another Big decision. This is the first thing I bought. Nvidia 9xx series is THE card to go for as AMD has yet to catch nvidia here. 9xx series has a new maxwell architecture providing low power consumption among other advantages. If you are a little deeply inclined, you can read about it on the web as I did.

Just a quick bit of history: a decade ago, getting a high-end gpu was impossible on my wallet. Before I started working and even after that. I used to lap up reviews in all the magazines and the web, forging tech dreams. Further on, when I actually could afford getting one of those monster GPUs, I found myself in another country working on a job I liked but where having a pc was inconvenient. A high-end laptop was my only option and I spent my relocation house money on getting one, a Alienware M17x R2. 🙂 Wasn’t that great! Haha. That lasted 4 years and I yearned for a desktop.

So, coming back to GPU decision making, obviously I wanted the 9xx series as I had recently heard about it. GTX980 went out as an option when I found the GTX970 had a great performance comparing performance and the cost was almost amazingly half of the 980.
There are three options I considered for the 970(model details below). Between the Gigabyte, Asus & MSI, I went for the MSI as I’d done my homework, read good things about it. Specifically, in my personal opinion it was better that the Strix. Some will argue Gigabyte being a better option, though it was out of question as the length of the card would be an hindrance inside my small case.

Other advantages of the MSI are:

  1. Best for overclocking
  2. Even with heavy benchmarks & full overclock (I haven’t done), the temp never goes crazy
  3. Its really quiet. You can’t hear it unless you are running heavy benchmarks
  4. It is way shorter than the gigabyte, so it helped fit in the case. (In my case barely but comfortably)

MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming 4G

Gigabyte Windforce GV-N970G1

Asus Strix GTX970 (Does not fit in the NCase without case modifications)


PSU was a no-brainer as it was the highest powered PSU in a small form factor made by only one brand, Silverstone. The other option was a lower 450W PSU from the same brand. My choice is obvious.

Silverstone SX-600G – 600W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular SFX Power Supply

Silverstone 450W ST45SF-G

Note: I also got the Silverstone Short cable set just in case. It has some shorter cables than the ones that come with the PSU. Also this contains the Slimline SATA to SATA power adapter for the Bluray Drive which is not included with the PSU.


I plan to upgrade the ram in some time. I had these lying around from my earlier build.

G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory


The best part about my selected motherboard above is the fact that on the back side is a M.2 slot for an SSD. Hell, I don’t need to mount drives on drives in this case for my storage needs. Every bit of space saved in this small a case is important. The M.2 SSD is tiny, it mounts effortlessly, my OS is loaded on it and it’s so out of the way, its genius! Check the pictures.
(First saw this on silentpcreview – )

Kingston SSDNow 240GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive

Crucial M4 512GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive

Additionally got these super-cool ultra-thin cables to save space in my precious box.


Wanted a Bluray Drive. Read good things about this. No more thinking. Its working great!

Panasonic UJ-265 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer


Never in my life I had used or even thought about water-cooling. When i was a kid (I still am but i’m talking age-wise here) water-cooling was something I’d only read and dreamt about. It was out of reach. It didn’t help that I was living in a country where getting experimental, non-mass-market components was impossible.
When I started to look into cpu-gpu cooling solutions, I found out about the AIO(All in One) Water cooling systems which are now consumer-grade products and not limited to enthusiasts or extreme geeks anymore. Technically they are like the middle-men. Awesome and second only to full water-cooling solution blocks. Of course there are similar efficient Air-coolers e.g Noctuas. Do your research on what you prefer.

Corsair H100i Liquid Water CPU Cooler

Corsair H80i Liquid Water CPU Cooler


I’ll admit: I splurged money on this. This product soothed my geeky inner demon. Noctua, PWN, industrial, 2000rpm, one of the few non-brown product from noctua, sleek. I mean what more do you want? Go for it if you have the monies.
I got a Noctua 92mm for the back of the case to install as exhaust but sadly couldn’t fit it due to the radiator of the H100i cpu cooler and the fact that I have two ssds installed on the front of the case.

Noctua NF-F12 industrial PPC-2000 PWM 71.7 CFM 120mm Fan

Noctua NF-A9 PWM 46.4 CFM 92mm Fan


I had these parts from my earlier pc, so I saved some money. Maybe, later on I will put some cash on 16 or 32 gigabytes of ram.

Logitech Wave Pro Desktop Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard w/Laser Mouse


Here are some work in progress photos while I was building the machine. My whole work area was a mess (That means “clean” for a geek like me). Loved it.

It’s a beauty, ain’t it?

Check out the whole gallery on Flickr:

A Full parts list to view and download is also available on PcPartPicker:

If you like my pc build, the pictures, the useful links or my sense of humour. :), please leave your comments here. And on Flickr, if you like a picture too much.
Appreciate your time reading, have a good day to you, friend.


  1. I was looking into building my own system, this is a great resource! Great computer you got there men. How do you find the node 304 case?

    • @thasanty:disqus Thanks. In regards to node 304, they are not available here so I dont have any experience with them. But it IS an interesting case. From what I have heardread, Fractal Design cases are good & engineered well. Check out Silverstone’s too. Avoid the ProdigyM from bitfenix if you can but you can check out their Phenom Mini-ItxMAtx.

      • I built a gaming rig for my son this past March and the experience gave me the building bug. I ended up making a gaming rig for me in a tiny Rajintek Metis (which i am in the process of replacing with this N-Case M1… the temps are within it’s limits but i find them too high long term) but i also recently built a NAS and used the Node 304. No where near as small as the M1, the Node 304 is a really nice case, especially if you plan on adding lots of storage.

        Nice build by the way.

  2. First off, beautiful rig.
    How is this holding up as for a workstation? How are the temps? Also where is the Bluray drive?
    I was planning on building one with this case because the small form factor appeals since me and my wife are living in a small space (we move a lot). I was going to use it for photo/video editing (part-time photo/videographer, use cs6 PS, LR, and Premiere Pro) and some gaming. I was planning on on using a Noctua CPU cooler though.

    • @lelovisuals:disqus Thanks!
      Holding up quite good as a workstation. The temps are very stable. The only time I heard the fans and felt heat (when I put a hand over the gpu side) was when I was running a gpu benchmark. The average cpu temps are around 35-41 and the gpu around 42. If you want any specifics, let me know what test(and app) you want me to run and if possible I will give you the results. (No plans for overclock)
      The Blu-ray drive is in the front, vertically placed. Opening’s at the top.
      I’m using CS6, LR without any issues. 🙂
      Noctua too would be nice, no issues. Just check on hardforum what model is preferred. I would say go for it! (Remember to remove the cooler and graphics card before moving on a long journey as you don’t want to risk breaking due to major shocks.)

  3. I’d like to see some photos of your cable management from the side, with the radiator unmounted and out of the way. If you could set your f-stop higher so that the depth of field isn’t as shallow as in these other photos, it would help a lot.

    • Yes, theoretically the CorsairH100i GTX should fit as there are only minor differences between these models.
      – The radiator is 3mm thicker than the H100i.
      – The tubes are coming out from the top instead of the side of the cooler base. Also they are a little thicker as they are sleeved.

      In my setup I have placed the tubes in a spiral (works better). Here’s some pictures:

      My only minor concern is the tubes would be a tighter fit because of the changes. But nothing major. Good luck!

      Note: NCase M1 google doc also has some info:

    • Yes, theoretically the CorsairH100i GTX should fit as there are only minor differences between these models.
      – The radiator is 3mm thicker than the H100i.
      – The tubes are coming out from the top instead of the side of the cooler base. Also they are a little thicker as they are sleeved.

      In my setup I have placed the tubes in a spiral (works better). Here’s some pictures:

      My only minor concern is the tubes would be a tighter fit because of the changes. But nothing major. Good luck!

      Note: NCase M1 google doc also has some info:

      • Hey thank you for the quick reply.

        One more thing 😉

        Did you experience any heating problems with the m2 ssd? Since I am going with the ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming I am having that option too. In my case i would replace the Samsung SSD 850 Pro 512GB with a Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB M.2 would save some cables and room. Obviously there is enough space so only concerns I am having right now is the heating and limited transfer speed du to to high temperature.

        You can find several sources saying that ssd performance drops if getting to hot and since we can not get any airflow to the back of the mother board I fear that s SATA SSD might be the better choice.


  4. Awesome build… I went even smaller with even more stuff in it. same processor and same motherboard but. 2-4tb hard drives in raid 1… one m.2 ssd drive and another regular ssd… full size cd bluray drive… gtx 970 nvidia reference card (blower cooler is the way to go with small machines with no air flow)

      • No issues at all with with the m2 temps… I have a dual boot… windows 10 on the ssd (which I use for gaming) and windows 7 on the m2 which I use for work. The only issue I was having was with a gigabyte gaming gtx 970 card… the card would throttle and it is supposed to have the best cooler from all the brands… fixed it by buying a reference card with blower fan based cooler. Thats when I learned you cant have third party coolers for graphics cards in cases with bad air flow or no air flow at all… which is the case of a lot itx cases.

  5. What are the temps like with that MSI card? You’re build list is nearly identical to mine, actually :p This looks spectacular, by the way 🙂

  6. hi there. is the SilverStone PP05-E Short Flat Cable Set, really shorter than those included with the SST-SX600-G power supply? is it worth the buy?


    i found the answer on silverstone website, its not really detrimental to the build. ill take the liberty to post for those who might be wondering as well.

    SST-PP05-E Connectors :
    1 x 20+4pin ATX connector (350mm)
    1 x EPS/ATX12V 8pin(4+4) connector (350mm)
    2 x PCI-E 8pin(6+2) connector (350mm)
    2x PCI-E 8pin(6+2)+PCIE 6Pin Connector (350+50mm)
    1 x two (2) SATA 90˚connectors (350+50mm)
    1 x two (2) SATA 180˚connectors (300+150mm)
    1 x two (2) 4pin +1 x Slimline SATA connectors (300+100+100mm)
    1 x two (2) 4pin + floppy connectors (350+100+100mm)
    1 x three (3) SATA 180˚ +1 x Slimline SATA connectors (300+150+150+150mm)

    included on SST-SX600-G:
    1 x 24 / 20-Pin motherboard connector(300mm)
    1 x 8 / 4-Pin EPS / ATX 12V connector(400mm)
    2 x 8 / 6-Pin PCIE connector(400mm / 150mm)
    4 x SATA connector(300mm / 200mm / 100mm / 100mm)
    2 x 4-Pin Peripheral connector (300mm / 200mm)
    1 x 4-Pin Floppy connector(300mm / 200mm / 200mm)

  7. Hi Harshad, I’m really interested in getting this case but have never imported anything from a foreign website so I’m wary about placing the order. What’s the risk involved, and would like to take your advice on this before jumping into anything. Please respond to me on this

    • There are no risks involved with buying online internationally. The only thing you should take note of is import duties. Do prefer amazon when buying anything else, I had a good experience with them.
      Import Duties: Many products, specially electronic products have import duties when importing to your native country. Amazon does an awesome job at this, they charge a fee at checkout for the import duty so that you don’t have to pay later (You get to see the fee at checkout). If there is a difference, they return the difference money back to your card.

      Cost: Compare costs with alternative products which are available in your country though. There are some good cases available. The NCase is a tad expensive. Just my opinion, didn’t stop me from getting it though. 🙂

      As far as I remember there were no duties in the import of this case, so go ahead. (It took some time to deliver at my address because of local post issues though. But it came in perfect condition nonetheless.)

      In comparison, when I ordered the Demci Filters from South Africa though, I ended up paying double the cost as import duties just for these tiny filters 🙁

      • First off, thanks for the reply. The case isn’t available with amazon u.s, and the duty calculator the Ncase website linked to said it would be an approx of 4k duty on the case that would otherwise be 14k. Have a few questions, since you have experience ordering from them

        Once the order is placed are we given a shipping/ tracking number (Or did you have any means of contacting them to inquire on the delivery status) , and once it reaches India where does the customer pay those custom duties ?

        The Ncase support team had replied saying the local postal service would take over once it reaches the country, so i assume you got the package delivered by India post ?

        Also how long did it take for you to get it, and how much did you finally pay in rupees ? You said there were postal issues, can you elaborate

        As for comparing with other cases (We’re from the same country aren’t we ? ;p) there are good ones by Nzxt and corsair, the Nzxt S340 is only 5-6k.

        • hi, i bought the product last week of December 2015, it arrived in the Philippines around first week of February 2016, it takes a long time to ship and it got stocked in our Customs department for a while, it is easy to track shipping and Ncase send emails every time the item ships from one location to the other. really a great product to consider.

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