The Asetek-supplied installation kit included with PNY’s XLR8 VCGGTX580XPB-LC-CPU graphics card sandwiches the motherboard between a base plate and top plate. The base plate is drilled for LGA 775 in addition to 1155/1156 and 1366, but the top plate is only compatible with the later standards.
Four threaded inserts fit marked holes on the base plate, while the top plate uses snap-in plastic spacers to align mounting screws.
Four fine-thread screws hold the base plate to the top plate. The CPU water block twists into place (so leave these screws loose until the water block is positioned correctly). A thermal interface material is factory-applied to the water block, negating the need for thermal paste.
Fractal Design’s six drive trays support both 2.5” and 3.5” form factors, though smaller drives mount without noise-dampening grommets. We used three of these trays for our build and removed the center drive cage entirely for increased airflow.
Another option to increase airflow would have been to mount the center drive cage parallel to the motherboard, but doing so would have forced us to remove its trays for added graphics card clearance. The idea of mounting a cage without its trays seemed pointless to us.
PNY’s XLR8 VCGGTX580XPB-LC-CPU cooling system uses a matched pair of fans in a push-pull configuration. We removed the unmatched Fractal Design rear fan before installing PNY’s dual fans and radiator in its place.
The thinner XLR8 VCGGTX580XPB-LC radiator was then installed in the front half of the dual-120 mm radiator top mount. Had the thicker radiator been mounted on top, it would have blocked access to DIMM slots.
We may have removed the case's original rear fan, but we were still able to put it to good use. A gentle pull on the front panel snapped it away for easy access to its empty bottom fan mount, and the left-over rear fan just as easily snapped into that mount.
Removed from the top panel during XLR8 VCGGTX580XPB-LC installation, the Arc Mini’s 140 mm top fan also fits the empty vent on its side panel. Putting it there prevents the side panel from closing, however, since the rear-mounted VCGGTX580XPB-LC-CPU cooling system overlaps its mounting space.
Asus provided two USB 2.0-based Wireless N adapters to complete our build. We chose the model USB-N10 for its lower profile, even though network performance is not among today’s benchmark set.
- Maximum Performance From MicroATX
- The Impetus: PNY’s Liquid-Cooled GeForce GTX 580 Graphics In SLI
- The Smaller Footprint: Fractal Design’s Arc Mini
- Overcoming Overclocking Ordeals: Asus’ Maximus IV Gene-Z
- Lightening The Load With Crucial And Seagate
- Busting The Remaining Barriers
- Hardware Installation
- Test Settings
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Benchmark Results: Crysis And F1 2010
- Benchmark Results: Just Cause 2 And Metro 2033
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Getting More Performance From A Smaller PC