Complete System – With Mini-ITX Upgrade
To achieve a dual motherboard design, we’re going to need the Phanteks ITX upgrade pack, we also have a HDD bracket, which I don’t actually need for this build, but it’s nice to see what other kinds of options you’ll have at your disposal for your build.
The hard drive bracket is simple enough, it comes with the same drop n lock systems as the other stealth drives mounts, but adds support for 3.5″ drives for those that need more than just SSDs in their system, without the use of the main hard drive cages.
The really cool part is the new backplate for the chassis; it adds a second motherboard I/O, revised ventilation and an SFX PSU mount.
The build quality is just as great as the main chassis and comes with two ventilated expansion slots for an additional add-on card such as a GPU.
The motherboard mount comes with the stand-offs pre-installed and is mounted into the chassis with three included screws.
There’s a small cut-out at the top edge to allow 4/4+4 pin motherboard cable pass-through.
Two systems in one chassis? You’re going to need a second front panel! Fortunately, the kit comes with one included and you’ll find native USB 3.0, HD audio and power buttons on this 5.25″ compatible add-on.
All the cables you would need are here, USB 3.0, front panel headers, audio, etc.
Total build time was about 20 minutes for the main Micro-ATX system, then another 30 minutes to accommodate the Mini-ITX components. What I really loved, is that you don’t have to remove any components from your main system to make this upgrade, making it a very easy process.
The downside is that you need the SFX PSU in the base. You have two options here, you can run the cables directly up to the motherboard, or through the cable routing behind the micro-ATX board. This presents you with two sets of problems, cables on show or issues with short cables. Both can be overcome with a mixture of cable extensions, cable ties and more, but it’s worth taking into consideration early in your planning and building stages.
There’s room for a large graphics card here. Yes, I know we’ve got some parts missing, but I’m not normally equipped to build two systems at a time, let alone in the same chassis, but you certainly get the general idea of how all this works.
It certainly looks strange configured like this, but the concept is a great one and it’s very well executed to allow room for water cooling, air cooler, high-end hardware and much more for both of the systems.
As you can see, the tall fan/radiator mount is now reduced, but you can still mount a 120mm fan on the back.
The 140mm fan that was pre-installed has had to be removed, but there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t install it in another fan mount within the chassis.
All panels back in place and you get a great view of both systems, so there is certainly some motivation to make each build look their best. Fortunately, the good cable routing and storage options available do make that a fairly easy task.
Let’s not forget the final addition to this build, the second front panel! It blends in nicely and now that I think about it, it’s really up to you which motherboard uses with I/O panel, the one on the chassis or the 5.25″ drive bay one.