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Air Cool i9 12900KF Build

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Gecko 320 is my latest case that's designed for mini ITX board and 120mm fan tower cooler which is usually shorter than 160mm. In addition, this case is build with extra strength for traveler. It's only 17 liters in volume and can be a carry on luggage because it has no water in the cooling. (Some airport allow water cooled PC to carry on board but some don't )

The main board that I use is MSI MEG Z690i Unify. The reason that I choose this board is it has 2x Thunderbolt 4 with DP port pass through. So I can connect to a portable monitor with just one USB-C cable and it also connects to USB-C monitor with full refresh rate and maintain G-Sync or FreeSync functionality.

On upper left corner you'll notice a small fan attach to VRM heat sink. But I never seen it spinning even when I run stress test.

This board also support not 2 but 3 M.2 SSDs. Two are located at the top and one in the back of mainboard. 2 of which will run at PCIe Gen 4 speed and another one is PCIe Gen 3

The CPU that I'm using is Intel Core i9 12900KF and when it's paired with this main board it will pull 260W in CB R23. Personally, I use this rig for work, both single and multicores so I will need a really good cooling. But even I use 360mm AIO, the CPU temp. is still too high, it will touch 95C in no time and throttle eventually.

For multicore usage, I'll need to under volt the CPU to not exceed 220W. With this level of power, I can cool it easily with Noctua NH U12A and the CPU temp. will never exceed 86C without scarifying its performance.

NH U12A is suitable for mini ITX board, one of the fan doesn't sit on the RAM module and it has constant height of 158mmm. The width of the cooler is also not excessive, I can easily mount and dismount the fan from the heatsink without removing the GPU.

In the picture, I use XPG LANCER DDR5 6000MHz RAM which is 44mm in height. There's no interference with the cooler's fan at all.

I'm still using my old trusty Silver Stone SX1000 PSU. Even though it's SFX-L that's 30mm longer than SFX but the cable management is easy.

At the bottom of the case I have 2x NH A12x15 for pushing in the cold air for the GPU. I set the fan speed to 1000 rpm, faster than this would make more noise and no performance gain.

This case will pull cold air from the back and exhaust to the front and side of the case. This method is suitable for mini ITX board because the position of the tower cooler is closer the back of the case and it can pull cold air directly from the back without sucking in the hot air released from the GPU.

At the front I have slim NH A12x15 fan put just above the GPU. This fan will directly pull out the hot air release from the back of the GPU.

On the other side, I've made large opening to expel hot air from the GPU. Because mini ITX board doesn't block the under side of the GPU, making this opening will help a lot with GPU temp.

Even though, this Red Devil 6900XT use 300W of power, the maximum temp. is only 70C (27C ambient temp.) All the hot air that's released from the card will be pulled out of the case quickly.

From thermal images above, you can see that the hot air is pushed out from all sides.

This's a 3 slots card, there's 5mm gap between GPU and the fan. I put a small piece of form to prevent GPU movement while transporting. For user with 2-2.5 slots card, there will be anti sag bracket, same one used in Gecko WXL.

I choose 4mm thick aluminum as main material for this case and I also add 4 additional fixing points to the side panel. So this case has almost zero flex under load. Even with 50 kg pressure, the side panel will deflect just 0.87mm and when you stag this case with other luggage the panel won't press against the internal components.

This case alone weight 3kg and when include with all component it weights 9.5kg. That's heavy for some, depend on your arm's muscle.

The included large handle is also design for strength. It's composite PETG and aluminum material and it can carry load over 50 kg.

The protective sleeve is also included with the purchase. So you won't have to worry about the small bump and scratches make it a perfect companion for your travel.

Gecko 320 is available for order now here. Gecko 320 | Mini Computer (

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