ITX Installation Experience Summary

I've been delving into ITX since the end of 2019, and it's been over four years now. Throughout this time, I've assembled and disassembled rigs, encountering quite a few pitfalls along the way. In this blog post, I'll summarize the experiences I've gained in PC building.

Dust Filters

If your intake or exhaust vents are like the perforated panels found on the C24 case, I recommend using nylon or nylon mesh as a dust filter. You can find these on Taobao for just a few yuan per square meter, with a 60 mesh count being sufficient. The mesh count refers to the number of threads within 2.53 centimeters; dividing 25.3mm by 60 gives you the diameter of the small holes. Simply stick them onto the aluminum panel using double-sided tape. Avoid buying PVC perforated filters; since the perforated panel itself reduces ventilation area, adding a PVC filter would further impede heat dissipation. I used a 0.8mm PVC dust filter previously, and I couldn’t feel any airflow when placing my hand over the exhaust vent—it turned my ITX case into a stuffy container. After replacing it with a mesh filter, the idle temperature of my C24 dropped by 3 degrees Celsius, and the heavy load temperature dropped by 7 degrees Celsius.

For cases like the Rider R2 5.0, which feature mesh panels on all sides, there’s no real need for additional dust filters as the mesh panels themselves serve that purpose.

Also, remember to only install dust filters on intake vents; there’s no need for them on exhaust vents, as installing them would only trap dust inside the case.

PVC Dust Filters.webp
Nylon Mesh.webp


For a guide on purchasing fans, please refer to 野兽仙贝 SUPERODD on NGA.

Dirise Thermalright’s fans—each one is garbage, and their marketing is truly insane. I once fell for their nonsense and bought a Dirise Thermalright’s fan to install on my CPU cooler. Within less than a year, the bearing broke, and it made a rattling noise at low speeds, sounding like a tractor—very annoying. At high speeds, the bearing behaved like a wild dog off its leash, swinging eccentrically with great amplitude. Touching it felt like touching a jackhammer, and it even made the table vibrate. I was afraid it would shake my motherboard to death. Upon removal, I found oil seeping from the back of the motor, so I threw it directly into the trash.

If your fan is suspended, I suggest going straight for double ball bearing ones. Nowadays, budget FDB oil-bearing suspended fans are bound to fail sooner or later, and the noise they make after failing is much louder than that of double ball bearing ones.

If you’re aiming for an all-white build, it’s best to buy all the fans at once. Don’t add them separately over time because white plastic tends to yellow gradually. Fans installed at different times will have color differences, which is quite unpleasant. The Arctic white fans I bought before have already yellowed compared to the new T30 fans I bought; they are completely different colors.

If your case is like the C24 with a graphics card directly inserted structure, and the graphics card is very close to the bottom of the case, then there’s no need to install a fan at the bottom of the case. Installing one will only disrupt the airflow, leading to higher temperatures. After removing the bottom HF1215 fan from my C24, the idle temperature of the graphics card increased by 2 degrees Celsius, from 49 to 51. There are two monitors running at idle, with Wallpaper Engine at 30 frames per second. However, the temperature decreased during simultaneous CPU and GPU stress testing, which is very counterintuitive. Additionally, this bottom fan disrupts the airflow of the top front intake fan, causing the CPU to absorb exhaust air from the graphics card. Removing it also lowered the CPU temperature.


Fan Hub

For ITX setups, fan hubs are utterly useless. Most cases can’t accommodate them. I bought a SC790 from Deepcool, which is magnetic, but there’s simply no suitable place to attach it. Moreover, its build quality is questionable. When I tried to remove it, I pulled the PWM signal wire by pressing the clip, and ended up pulling the plastic off the base.

Inside the C24 case, the only place it can stick to is the power supply, but sticking magnets to the power supply causes interference, leading to all sorts of strange issues.

Fan Mounting Screws

Please do not use the self-tapping screws that come with the fan. Self-tapping screws are half a turn thicker than the holes in the fan, and when you screw them in, they create threads on the screw holes. This process causes significant damage to the plastic frame of the fan. My HF1215’s frame deformed, and the plastic around several 8025 fan screw holes became warped.

I recommend using rubber screws or locking screws, with locking screws being the best option. Rubber screws struggle when fixing heavier fans. Additionally, rubber deteriorates over time, leading to a gradual reduction in shock absorption. Most importantly, locking screws look better. After installing rubber screws, you have to cut off a large portion of the end, and mine looks like it’s been gnawed by a dog—very unsightly no matter how you look at it.

Currently, I’m using nickel-plated locking screws with rubber washers. When searching on Taobao for locking screws, avoid adding keywords like “computer.” You can buy 20 of these screws for four or five yuan, but if you include “computer” in your search, you’ll only get four for over ten yuan.

Rubber Screws.webp
Locking Screws.webp

Silicone Fan Anti-vibration Mounts

Pretty much useless, a product with a flawed design. It’s too soft; twist a screw a few times, and it’ll deform into a spiral. Completely impractical.

There are some experts on Chiphell who have designed 3D models themselves. You can get them 3D printed at JLCPCB for about 10 yuan each. These are much more reliable, and with the frame constraint, the airflow won’t go haywire, preventing situations where the exhaust fan’s airflow gets sucked back in by the intake fan.

Silicone Fan Anti-vibration Mounts.webp


It’s best to buy all RGB components at once, preferably from the same company. For fans, try to get them from the same product batch to avoid color discrepancies, which can be quite unpleasant.

Pay close attention to the motherboard manual. It will specify how many LEDs each RGB header can support at once and the maximum current. If you connect too many devices, the subsequent lights might not illuminate properly or appear dim.

The most crucial point is distinguishing between 12V RGB and 5V ARGB devices. Connecting them incorrectly can cause damage.

GPU Brackets

Those rotating stick-style brackets are simply overpriced. I bought the VC20MINI from Jonsbo for 20 yuan, but essentially, it’s just an advertising pin. You can find similar items by searching for “advertising pins” on a certain Chinese e-commerce platform, and they cost only a few yuan for a bunch.

Of course, if you want to save money:
Best value for money product: Disposable chopsticks
Most premium product: Stack of coins

GPU Brackets.webp
Advertising Pins.webp


If your case space is extremely limited, or if you have a side panel window that requires aesthetic consideration, I recommend replacing the power cables with custom-made soft silicone ones. In other situations, sticking to the original cables is still the safest bet. After all, original cables have no drawbacks apart from being rigid, and in case of any damage, you can still rely on the manufacturer’s warranty. If custom cables cause hardware damage, you’re out of luck.

Once you’ve purchased custom cables, I suggest comparing their wire sequences with the original cables. Incorrect wiring sequences can lead to burns. Additionally, you can check the wire sequences and connector definitions on the PC MOD website.

If possible, consider replacing SATA cables, USB 3.0 cables, and case jumpers with flat or flexible ones. It’ll make cable management much easier. The original USB 3.0 cable in my C24 case was thick, stiff, and long. It took a lot of effort to manage it neatly. When replacing them, pay attention to the screw hole spacing on the case panel, as there are variations from 20mm to 26mm used in different cases.

Custom-made Soft Silicone Cables.webp

CPU Cooler

When buying a CPU cooler, don’t rely solely on the maximum height limit specified by the case, as many of these measurements are inaccurate. My C24 case claimed a maximum height limit of 130mm, so I bought the Jonsbo CR1400EVO, which was advertised as 130mm tall. However, the top cover protruded by less than 1mm, preventing the glass side panel from closing. In the end, I had to use magnetic strips to raise the acrylic side panel. If you don’t mind the look of magnetic strips, theoretically, you can raise it to 160mm and fit 99% of CPU coolers (XD).

Before purchasing, make sure to ask customer service or check the comments section thoroughly to see if the mounting hardware will conflict with the motherboard’s armor. For example, the CR1400EVO conflicts with the solid-state heatsink vest on the Asus B460i motherboard. If forcibly installed, the mounting hardware will be raised. Also, some coolers’ backplates may conflict with electronic components on the back of the motherboard.

If you’re using a downdraft cooler, pay attention to the orientation of the fins. It’s best if they align with the direction of airflow in the case to ensure efficient heat dissipation.

Bottom Intake Fan

If your case has a bottom intake fan, I recommend raising the case to increase the airflow. You can find cheap riser blocks on Taobao.

Cable Management

For cable management, I suggest using Velcro instead of zip ties. Zip ties are difficult to remove, and when you need to clean dust or remove a fan later, you’ll have to cut the zip ties to take the fan out. (If the cables aren’t visible, just stuff them in haphazardly.)

Zip Ties.webp

Touch-Up Paint

During the assembly process, it’s inevitable that the case will lose paint, especially around the screw holes. Exposed metal can easily rust, especially on steel cases. It’s not worth spraying paint for a small area of exposed metal. Nail polish is a more cost-effective solution. You can find the cheapest option on Taobao, and if you have a girlfriend, it’s even simple (wink).