FormD T1 Build Guide & Review Part 2: RTX 3080 FTW3 AIO Build

Picking up from our FormD T1 Build Guide Part 1, after assembling the T1, now we are building with an EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra and a 240mm AIO liquid cooling unit. Let’s dive right in!

formd t1 build guide

Parts List:

Here we are with an open T1. First we will install the rear IO shield. Always important to install this first so you don’t forget it later. However, many high-end motherboards these days have the IO shield installed on the motherboard, saving a step in the building process.

formd t1 build instructions

Rear IO shield installed.

formd t1 rear io plate installation

Next we added our ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming ITX/ac motherboard complete with the i7-8700K and 32GB of Patriot Viper RAM. Also installed on the motherboard is a 1TB WD Black NVMe M.2 SSD and a 512GB ADATA Gammix S40 NVMe M.2 SSD.

formd t1 motherboard installation

The next step was to plug in the riser cable. This can be tricky and it will seem like the riser cable is not long or flexible enough but it will stretch over the motherboard to plug in, you just have to work with it.

formd t1 riser cable installation

Here’s a side angle shot showing how the riser cable is routed through the spine strut.

formd t1 riser cable bending

I removed the side strut to make the rest of the install on this side a bit easier.

formd t1 build process

Now is a good time to install your GPU. In our case, the massive EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra. This card is no joke and the fact that it fits in the FormD T1 is a testament to the ingenuity that went in to the design of this case.

formd t1 gpu installation

Here is the GPU. You will notice that it sags quite horribly. We will remedy this by adding the GPU support bracket and securing it via two screws.

formd t1 gpu sag

Now that we’ve secured the GPU, it sits comfortably, without any lean or stress one way or the other.

formd t1 gpu secured via bracket

Our first problem of the build was the Patriot Viper Steel RAM we used. The heatspreader was way too large and it was preventing the AIO tubes from sitting properly.

formd t1 ram clearance

After removing the heatspreader, you can see the difference in clearance.

formd t1 ram

Next, I removed the power button and unscrewed the locking ring on the other side so the power button would sit flush when reinstalled.

formd t1 power button ring

Here’s the locking ring removed.

formd t1 vandal switch

You can see the power button flush as it is supposed to be.

formd t1 power button installed

I ran the power button wire between the motherboard and riser cable down to the corner of the motherboard where the front panel headers are located.

formd t1 power button cable routing

Our trusty Corsair SF750 power supply was installed next. To secure the power supply in the T1, simply use the screws that are included with the PSU.

formd t1 psu screws

Make sure the power cable is routed between the GPU and the front panel like this. Also make sure before you screw the PSU in, that you power cable in the position shown here so that it can be connected later.

formd t1 build psu installation

Here is the PSU installed. Now, pull the excess cable through the hole and plug in the power cable.

formd t1 power supply

Our second and the problem most difficult to overcome in this build was the stock sleeved cables that come with the SF750. While they are great for larger cases, they’re simply too stiff and long for a tiny case like the T1. Here is what I was left with when I built with the stock cables.

formd t1 evga rtx 3080 ftw3 fitment

I couldn’t close the other panels.

formd t1 evga rtx 3080 ftw3 fitment issues

The GPU side was terrible too because the additional 6+2 pin connector was too stiff to bend.

formd t1 evga rtx 3080 ftw3 compatibility

Enter PSlate custom length unsleeved silver cables, specifically created for the T1.

pslate formd t1 cable set

These things are amazing. Not only are they beautiful to look at, they are very well-made. Here is one of the 8-pin GPU cables. An interesting and useful option is to have PSlate cut the connector where the wires plug in, making them more flexible.

pslate formd t1 gpu cables

The custom length 24-pin cable vs. the stock sleeved Corsair SF750 cable. It’s less than half as long which makes a monumental difference in cable management as you will see later.

pslate formd t1 24-pin cable

Here’s a custom PSlate SATA data cable vs the stock dongle.

pslate formd t1 silver unsleeved cables

CPU power cable is also much neater.

pslate formd t1 silver cables

Finally, the GPU cables compared to the stock Corsair cables. An important distinction here is that PSlate made three individual 8-pin PCIe cables compared to two 6+2 pin + 6+2 pin cables. First, eliminating the +2 pin on each cable makes them much easier to plug in as you don’t have to line up the two sections. This is also the case on the 24-pin cable and the 8-pin CPU power cable.

pslate formd t1 unsleeved cables

Secondly by using three wires instead of two (each with two connectors at the end), it creates much cleaner and more manageable cable runs. Here they are connected to the GPU. The PSlate cables are super flexible and while it may be difficult to tell in the pictures, they have a much lower profile than stock sleeved cables.

formd t1 gpu power cables

When the cables are routed to the PSU side, you can see how neat they turn out.

formd t1 evga rtx 3080 ftw3 ultra

Plenty of room to stow them away on the side of the GPU and again, keep in mind that this is on the very extreme end of GPUs. Most other 3080s and 3070s, etc. will take up much less room.

formd t1 evga 3080 ftw3 ultra

Getting ready to plug cables in.

formd t1 psu cables

Here I added the 24-pin cable.

formd t1 custom length cables

Now the 8-pin CPU power cable is in.

formd t1 pslate cables

This is the 24-pin cable plugged in to the power supply. PSlate made it just long enough to fit in. There is no excess.

formd t1 corsair sf750

Here’s the stock cable for scale.

formd t1 corsair sf750 cable comparison

Simulating plugging in the stock cable. That much extra length, in this case, combined with a massive GPU makes it nearly impossible to close the side panels and top panel. In my case, I could never get it to work. I could not have finished this build without PSlate’s cables. Huge thank you to him!

formd t1 corsair sf750 24-pin cable

A shot of all the cables plugged in: 24-pin, 8-pin CPU and three 8-pin PCIe cables.

formd t1 cable management

The EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 is such a beautiful card and it looks perfectly at home in the FormD T1!

formd t1 evga rtx 3080

The custom cables made by PSlate are very flexible and allow plenty of room for bulky cards like this one to fit without issue.

formd t1 3080 build

Next up is the Corsair iCUE H100i RGB Pro XT 240mm CPU liquid cooling unit. The H100i is one of very few AIOs that will fit in the FormD T1 and we chose it due to Corsair’s design and reliability. I’ve used several H100i units in other builds over the past decade and they’re all still running strong.

formd t1 cpu side

A few things to keep in mind with AIOs… In our build we used Noctua NF-A12x15 chromax.black.swap low profile fans which are extremely quiet. Position your fans in such a way that the cables are routed to the front of the case for the forward fan and the back of the case for the rear fan. The NF-A12x15s come with a fan cable extender which makes routing the front fan cable much easier.

formd t1 corsair h100i rgb pro xt

We ended up removing the screws that secured the fans to the radiator and removing the rubber pads from each fan to close the top panel.

formd t1 noctua nfa12x15 pwm

Here you can see how we routed the front fan cable. Near the front panel and on top of the GPU to the back where we plugged it in to one of the cables that is attached to the CPU block on the H100i.

formd t1 aio build

Even with removing the screws and rubber pads, we still have a slight bulge on our top panel. It’s very minuscule but it’s there.

formd t1 aio

Here you can see the back of the case with the top panel installed.

formd t1 corsair h100i

I was going to remove and reinstall the plastic piece with the Corsair logo but my screwdriver stripped the tiny screws on the unit…

formd t1 corsair h100i aio

A cable tie was used to secure one of the AIO tubes to the frame. The other is behind the 8-pin CPU cable.

formd t1 corsair h100i build
formd t1 liquid cooled
formd t1 power cable

A few final shots:

formd t1 black side panels
formd t1 build rear io ports
formd t1 mesh side panels
formd t1 silver
formd t1 review
formd t1 side

Conclusion

The FormD T1 is a phenomenal case with stunning build quality. You simply will not find a true ITX chassis that is this well constructed by any common case manufacturer. The level of detail is impeccable and the compatibility with everything from custom liquid cooling setups, to massive air-cooled GPUs like the EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra, makes the T1 truly special.

Its understated appearance is a huge a plus for me as I seek products with minimal branding and maximum quality. The T1 is a case you will want to take your time with. The best builds in this case take proper planning, down to every part. The fact that you need to assemble the case beforehand, is a fun way to extend the build process. Along the way, you’ll understand how PC cases work and I personally felt a great deal of accomplishment after successfully assembling the T1!

performance computer editors choice award

The T1 is now, without a doubt, our favorite ITX case. The quality is through the roof and parts compatibility is expansive for such a tiny, tiny case. You can set it up in two different orientations and set the inside spine to two different configurations as well. Custom water cooling support is present and some the builds that people have crafted are truly unreal.

We can’t recommend the FormD T1 enough and happily award it our Editor’s Choice award! If you are fortunate enough to purchase one of these cases, you will love it!

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