Before you begin your installation it is strongly recommended that you take a look through that thorough manual. While it’s not impossible to build in, it is in many ways much more difficult than a typical installation. We would not recommend this case for a first time builder. It’s fantastic to look at, however extraordinary shape creates some restrictions and a very specific build process.
The first thing we want to do is install the power supply. As mentioned we went with an SFX power supply to ensure compatibility with the PSU shroud. Luckily Silverstone has one of the most broad ranges of SFX power supply offerings available, we went with the SX800-LTI giving us plenty of power in this tiny form factor.
First we need to remove the two thumb screws on the back side of the case allowing us to remove the PSU shroud. Next pull the foot panel from the bottom of the case to gain access to the screw holes.
Place your PSU over the fan intake cut out and secure with four screws. We found that the PSU wouldn’t easily align with the holes but if we pressed hard into the case the metal would flex allowing us to get the screws installed. With the power supply secured you need to plug in the cable extension and switch it to the on position. Because the power supplies back panel is hidden in the base you won’t have easy access to the switch later. We ran into another fit issue when plugging in the extension. The plug has a 90° connector which interferes with the female end. We had to really jam the plug into the PSU. An off center port would have been helpful.
Switching to the opposite end of the case we install the motherboard next. Start with the I/O shield of course. There are several types of screws included with the Shift X. To secure the motherboard you want the ones with the small flange. The smaller head screws that look like they are typical motherboard screws are too small of a diameter for the standoffs.
Before we can install the GPU we need to remove the bracket and install our CPU cooler bracket. If you install the GPU first you will soon discover that unlike a traditional case it completely blocks the entire back side of the motherboard.
This is only necessary if you have a cooler that requires a back mounted bracket. Begin by removing the two screws at the top of the bracket using a Phillips head screwdriver as well as the thumb screw on the motherboard side. The thumbscrew is located at the back of the cable tray. With the screws removed the bracket can be removed from the case.
With the motherboard squared away, decide which orientation you would like your card to face and then install it the same way you would in a traditional case. If you want to reverse the mounting direction simply remove the post screw that the thumb screw attaches to and thread it into the bracket on the opposite side.
The bracket for the GPU slides right back into place and is then secured again with the two screws at the top and the thumb screw on the motherboard side. Thread the ribbon back to the motherboard and install the PCIe riser in the single slot on the edge of the board. To remove the slack from the riser ribbon we left the screws for the GPU bracket somewhat loose and slid the bracket until the ribbon was sufficiently tight then tightened down the screws. We also attached the USB 3.0 cable and the power switch at this time.
Working in the same area we went ahead and installed our 2.5” SSD. Both 2.5” brackets are located on the back side of the case were they can be popped off their locking mechanisms. Using the same screws that we used on the motherboard we secure our Crucial SSD in the bracket and install it in the inside of the case. You must orient the drive so that the ports are facing the top of the motherboard (in our photo it is backwards). Installing them in the opposite direction interferes with the back glass panel when you attach the cables.
With the main components installed we’ll go ahead and install our CPU cooler. We are going with a Corsair H115i PRO. It should add a little in the RGB department as well as provide good cooling; plus we happen to have one handy. The radiator installs easily on the front panel with plenty of room to work. Cable running is going to be an issue in a case that is as exposed as this so we are sure to run our fan cables to the back side.
The tubing is located nice and close to the socket allowing us to make a nice loop to the left side of the case where it tucks behind the edge of the frame. As you can see all the wiring for the H115i PRO makes a quick mess of the situation as the routing options are limited. The flip panel with the Phanteks logo does help with this quite a bit though giving you easy access to the area behind it.
All of our hardware is installed and it’s time to wire the whole thing up. Our SFX power supply intended specifically for a SFF case runs into issues with cable length. Specifically the 8 pin CPU power cable is not nearly long enough. Luckily we have some extensions on hand. Most of the cables are run up the outside of the back of the case and then in and along the cable trough and out to where they need to go. Like most Phanteks cases there are plenty of tie downs in all areas.
Installing the PSU partial shroud is a bit of a trick. Some of the cables had to be run on the inside of the case due to length. There are is a hole and grommet in the front of the shroud to accommodate these. The trick is that you must run the cables through the hole prior to attaching them to the PSU or vice versa in the case of a non modular PSU. Before securing the shroud be sure to also plug in all the power cables coming from the back side of the case.
From here you’ll simply be tidying up cables as you can and reattaching the panels.
The last the we did was install a Phanteks RGB light strip. This is an item sold separately but is nice as it plugs right into one of the open connectors in the top of the case. You can then cycle the color of the LEDs with the second button on the top panel.
Once complete place the case where you’ll be using it and feed the cables through the back port into the top section of the case. This went fine for most of our cables aside from a rather large Dual-Link DVI connector. This cable both has a large connector and fat cable. Combined they prevent the top of the case from closing. We will have to find an angle adapter to try to make this work.
The case is pretty quiet even with four 140mm fans, an air cooled GPU, and a pump installed. We imagine this to be partially due to the largely unvented design. Being so closed off we expect things will get quite toasty inside. This is to be expected, the Shift X is more show than go.