My first build using the ITX form factor took place in a Silverstone SG13 in early 2017, and I fell in love with the form factor after that first build. At some point in the middle of 2017 I began to itch for an upgrade to my desktop (a 4790k ATX build) and I set out to begin looking at parts. What a journey it has been.
The first step for me was deciding which case I wanted to use. I know that people have divided opinions on the current craze of tempered glass and RGB - so apologies to those folks, but I like the look. I spend a lot of leisure time on my computer and I wanted something that would be pleasing to look at, a work of art of sorts. The number of ITX cases that also offer tempered glass is somewhat limited, but when I found this case I was amazed. It was beautiful, sleek, compact - just the things I was looking for. The front tempered glass panel of course had a significant tradeoff of cooling capacity, so I had some trepidation at first. I kept looking, and considered the Fractal Design Mini C as well as some mATX In Win cases. I came very, very close to going with the Mini C because it would offer much better thermals and was absolutely beautiful as well, but the challenge of building in ITX was just too alluring. After weeks of agonizing over the decision, the Lian Li cases went on sale, and with about $70 in savings for this case, I could say no to her no longer. This case is absolutely incredible. I think it's one of the most beautiful cases in existence and I am tempted to get another for a different build. I would absolutely buy it again.
The next challenge I dealt with was how I wanted to cool my components. I knew that air cooling wouldn't be ideal in the case, and I liked the aesthetics of water cooling more than air cooling anyways. I've never done custom watercooling before, and taking the plunge was a difficult decision to make (both due to fear and finances). I was debating just using an NZXT Kraken X52 in this build and calling it a day, and in fact I had the X52 in my shopping cart more than once, ready to check out. But something inside me never let me settle for it. I'd thought about watercooling more than once before, and after staring at some of the other incredible Q37 builds here on PCP, I wanted to give it a shot.
My inexperience is obvious in multiple places in this loop, but overall I think it turned out okay. I love the folks at Singularity Computers and their pump top and pump cover were some of the first parts that I ordered. I chose the D5 pump because I wanted a powerful pump that would have zero problems with any components that I wanted to include in the build. In hindsight, I really should have just used a DDC pump because the extra space that I would have saved would have been incredible. You'll see in one of the first pictures I have the reservoir mounted directly to the pump top, which is how I had envisioned the build in my head. Singularity Computers offers a 100mm reservoir as their smallest size, which is not compatible with the other components I had due to space limitations. For that reason, I ordered an 60mm EK reservoir. Unfortunately, when I first assembled the loop and had a massive leak between the reservoir and pump top, I learned that these two parts are not compatible. Then, I detached the reservoir from the pump top and oriented it horizontally, and it just barely fit. I thought about just using a T-Line instead of a reservoir, or mounting the reservoir in the back chamber, but eventually went with this because I liked the look and utility of having a reservoir. I wanted to mount it in the front compartment because I think part of the joy of having a water cooled build is being able to show off all of your cool components :). Unfortunately, having all of the components in the front compartment creates a distinctly NOT ideal loop order, and makes it an extremely tedious and difficult job to bleed the loop of air. I'm not sure I'll stick with it, but I'll give it a week or so and reevaluate.