BUILD & FEATURES
The build for the FC5a took a little longer then expected due to our component choice the fact this is our first fanless chassis.
For the review of the FC5A we used the Fatal1ty ASRock E3V5 Gaming/OC motherboard, 2 x 8GB sticks of Patriot Viper Extreme Performance DDR4 as well as two PNY XLR8 PRO SSD’s. The size of a full ATX board is rather unnecessary for the limitations of the chassis. You don’t need anything larger than a m-ITX as there is only one PCI-e slot anyways. However, The E3V5 fit fine, we ran into issues when we got to putting the CPU cooler on.
We had to remove the red armor plate as the copper pipes did not fit over top of it. This is a VERY IMPORTANT fact to consider when looking at this chassis. The included manual walks you through the installation of the cpu cooler and heatsink assembly and does so quite well. Included are two tubes of thermal paste which seems like lots but you have to use the majority of it as there are a total of nine surfaces that need it for proper assembly. There were no issues installing our heatsink past the removal of the motherboard armor. Includeed is the proper mounts for both Intel and AMD mobo’s so you’ll have no issue suiting this chassis with either.
Next you have the PSU to install. As we mentioned earlier we received the Nano 160W Psu from Streacom. The nano PSU is a small piece which includes a cable pre-connected which extends out the back of the chassis and then connects to a larger power block.
Included also is a cable which connects directly to the 24-pin PSU chip and allows for two sata and one molex connection to the PSU. Once again you’re going to have to consider your parts as our E3V5 24-pin port makes the cabling for the PSU face inward messing with space for your RAM, using the A1/B1 ports for ram we were able to free up some of the space but the A2/B2 spaces don’t work with this set up without compromising the integrity of the PSU chip. Now, some of you won’t have this issue as your motherboard may support opposite facing then the E3V5. You wont’ have to worry then, also some may say that you can fully use the slots but pushing the cables a little more but soldering is sometimes touchy and we don’t want to wreck the $100+ PSU over trying to force Ram in the system. Once you have the 24-pin set on your PSU you may run into the cable management issue we did where we had to sloppily run it over our board, once again this issue won’t arise with an m-ITX or even a m-ATX board.Next you have the PCI-e slot at the rear, which will fit a single size Video card but you’re going to run into a few issues:
First, given the height of the chassis you’re going to have to mount your VGA parallel to your motherboard, this means purchasing a PCI-e extension which allows you to do so. Click the link and Amazon will show you prices varying from as low as $7. If you happen to have the extension you’re now going to run into the issue of support. There is only the slot that extends out the back that you’ll secure your card bracket to the sheer weight of the VGA will leave it balancing on your motherboard or stressing the bracket.
Second issue is going to be overheating. There is no room nor airflow for the VGA to sufficiently cool. Most graphics cards have small fans or some sort of cooling that assists the card internally but it’s preferable to have a little more airflow at the very least to keep it from becoming stagnant.
Third you’ll have to cater to the Molex connector coming off of the PSU for powering your graphics card or have a Motherboard that has power on board for your VGA.
Now with all that in mind don’t get us wrong it is possible to have a great running machine that works just great you just have to really do your research before the purchase of your parts and this chassis in general as you don’t want to have to return or switch out parts mid-build. There is nothing more annoying than that.
Let’s talk storage. As you can see here we have partially installed two PNY XLR8 PRO SSD’s. This is the only way we could manage to fit two SSD’s comfortable in this chassis with the ATX board. not that it is an issue but having them face each other is the only way the cable provided will reach both SSD’s we tried having them both face the left and the cable doesn’t reach that distance if they are this far apart and if they are placed one after another the provided cable doesn’t allow for them to reach the screw holes properly on the bottom. This combination will work just fine though as you could have one SSD for your boot drive and then a second larger one for your storage on your HTPC. With smaller board you’ll have more options for drive placement but power is a continuing issue and there are only two SATA power ports with the including cabling.
The two USB 3.0 ports one seen on either side of the chassis allows for easy access to USB regardless of placement and unless you have some weird USB cable the majority will fit fine right between the fins to make a snug connection.