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Louqe Raw S1 Review: the Future of Minimal Mini-ITX

The Louqe Raw S1 is more than just a case – it’s arguably a functional work of art.

Louqe Raw S1
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

We are using the following system for today’s build:

CPUIntel Core i5-9600K
MotherboardASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LPX 3000 MHz, 16 GB (2x 8GB)
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super Founder's Edition
CPU CoolingNoctua NH-L12S
 Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste
StorageCorsair Force Series MP600 NVMe SSD, 480GB
Power SupplyCorsair SF750

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

For this build, we’re leaning mostly on our usual set of Mini-ITX parts, comprised of an ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming-ITX/ac motherboard, an Intel Core i5-9600K processor, 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX memory, a Corsair SF750 PSU, and an Nvidia Founders Edition RTX 2070 Super graphics card. 

I was told by the designers of the Raw S1 that at the time of writing, the best CPU cooler to get for this chassis is Noctua’s NH-L12S (though, a little birdy told me a Raw S1 edition from Noctua is coming, much like the L12S Ghost Edition for one of Louqe’s earlier cases). So naturally I saw to it that we had a unit for use with this review. Anyone building in niche Mini-ITX cases like these generally buys the cooling that works best in said case, and as the NH-L12S priced at only $55, it wouldn’t be fair on the Raw S1 to use any other cooler for this review.

A Word On Hardware Compatibility

But there are a couple things to note here about hardware compatibility here. First, make sure your motherboard supports this cooler, and make sure you use low-ish profile memory – the Vengeance LPX modules that we used were at the very limit of what was supported by this cooler. Moreover, SFX-L power supplies won’t fit without a lot of effort, nor is there room for any 3.5-inch drives or liquid cooling. You can fit a motherboard, GPU, PSU, a 2.5-inch drive, and one case fan – that’s it. And even then, a 2.5-inch drive may fit behind the power supply, but as you’ll see later, it’d be a tight fit and I’d count my storage needs onto M.2 drives that sit directly on the motherboard.

So without further ado, lets get into assembly.

Step 1: Motherboard Installation

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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)
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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)
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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Of course, we’re skipping a few basic steps – we had already installed the CPU, memory, M.2 SSD, and CPU cooler onto the motherboard before this step. We first placed the IO shield at the bottom of the chassis and then laid the motherboard in place. As it lays on the IO shield, it was very easy to secure the motherboard with the chassis upright.

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

I then installed the PCI-Express riser cable into the motherboard, gently caressing it into place – it might support fast PCIe 4.0, but it feels delicate, so treat it as such.

Step 2: NF-A12x25 Rear Fan Install

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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)
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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

As we were using a Noctua cooler for the CPU, it seemed only equally fitting to use one of the best case fans on the market to handle exhaust. So, I grabbed a Noctua NF-A12x25 and installed it at the rear exhaust location. Don’t do this later, as the PSU will block screwdriver access.

Step 3: PSU Installation

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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)
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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

After messing around a little, I decided the easiest course of action was to first connect up the PSU cables to the motherboard and route the GPU’s power cables to the right place – and then install the power supply in its intended location. As I didn’t have a 2.5-inch drive for this build, there was a bit of space between the PSU and the spine of the chassis; I pushed the cables back there, folded them over once, then pushed the PSU into place and secured it with four screws.

If you’re having trouble, you can remove the PSU bracket, install the PSU onto it, and then install the PSU with the bracket in place. Supposedly SFX-L PSUs fit, but I wouldn’t bet my money on it – this was already very tight with the modular connectors, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the rear exhaust fan for it.

For this setup, working with the standard included cables of the SF750 worked fine, though getting rid of the slack did require all the space behind the PSU. If you want to install a drive back there or use an SFX-L PSU, expect to need a custom cable kit with cables that are exactly as long as you require to minimize slack. 

Step 4: GPU Installation

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

Installing the GPU was possibly the easiest step of this build – not that any of it was difficult thus far. I undid the knob at the IO shield area, dropped the GPU in, and spun the knob back into place. It sits at the ‘wrong’ end of the GPU’s IO, but secures it well in place. Because of course, nothing about this case is conventional, why would this be, right?

As you can see, there’s plenty of space left after installing the Founder’s Edition RTX 2070 Super GPU. In fact, there’s so much GPU space here, you can fit up to a Founder’s Edition RTX 3090 in here – a 3090 in a 12 liter ITX chassis – wouldn’t that be something to behold?

That said, if you want to install a high-TDP Nvidia 3000-series GPU in here, Louqe recommends not using a 2.5-inch drive, as it will block the flow-through cooler design, leading to worse thermals and possibly slow-cooking your precious SSD.

Step 5: Final Bits and Pieces

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

At this point, the build was already nearing completion. I was barely 30 minutes in – including photographing my steps along the way, which is possibly the quickest time I’ve ever made building a PC – let alone a Mini-ITX PC.

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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)
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Louqe Raw S1

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

To finish the build, you simply take the entire core with the system you assembled and lower it into the outer shell, with the carrying handle handily coming into place here. You then install the four securing screws, pop the power button back in place and lock it there, install the USB-C extension piece on the side of your choice and lock it – and that’s it.

Build Complete

(Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

So far, the Louqe Raw S1 has left me nothing but impressed. It’s an incredibly simple design, and you’ll have to be willing to make some – okay a lot of sacrifices to your system to use it, but this is the easiest chassis I’ve ever worked with. And isn’t it beautiful?

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.