Motherboard and CPU
At this stage of Project: Red Iron, I could not mount the components or do the water cooling loop as the most important pieces had yet to be purchased, namely the motherboard and CPU.
There’s were a few factors I had to take into consideration for these 2 parts:
- The motherboard had to have similar colors to the project (red, gold, black)
- I did not want to wait for Kaby Lake as an mini-ITX motherboard would take a little while longer to be released
- I wanted to do a little overclock with the project
- Takes DDR4 RAM
So with this in mind I settled on a Z170 chipset motherboard paired with an Intel Core i5-6600K CPU as I’ve always had great results with these. But this still leaves me with which Z170 mini-ITX motherboard to get. In Hong Kong, we only have these options to pick from:
…not too much to choose from. Looks-wise it was a choice between the ASUS boards, the Gigabyte one, and the MSI one. In the end I went with the MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC motherboard…….as somehow the shop advertised it for only HK$930, nearly half price.
Not a bad looking board, and the color scheme matches the internals of Project: Red Iron. (I’ll get round to doing a review once the build is complete).
Here’s the CPU already in position. Notice I’ve already put in place the Bitspower CPU water block’s back bracket, this is one of the most straight forward ones I’ve come across to mount. At this point I used from Cooler Master Maker Gel as thermal paste between the CPU and bottom of the water block.
Here’s the CPU water block mounted into position.
Surprisingly, there is a lot of real estate left within the Elite 110 around the motherboard, which will come in handy for cable placements, and LED lights.
The motherboard was secured to the frame of the chassis using Jonsbo hex M3 screws and red grommets to give it a little more highlight.
The I/O back panel doesn’t look too shabby either.