(Gaelic for 'small, but mighty')
So first off, I didn't double check the size of my parts and got extremely lucky (part of the reason for the name). Second, see below the build list for why.
The images above are the post-build on the day of. Illumination is picture without the darkened glass pane and while still vibrant the lighting is much more muted in its brightness and looks great on a desktop. I had originally bought a kit of diffused red LED bars to light the interior as well, but after several different placements I decided to go without them as between the positioning and contents of the case it never looked good.
I'll also preface this with a downside. Due to the overly large GPU installed in the system, a custom watercooling loop would not be practical. However with the AIO and plenty of breathing room for the AORUS, I'm not too broken up about it.
CPU: Newest Intel core, not much to say here. Running great and while AMD was an option I had no reason not to go Intel from my 7700k either.
CPU Cooler: Pretty standard choice for the community. RGB logo is well lit, simple to configure and great performance.
Motherboard: Originally planned to build a standard sized ATX rig with a ASUS Strix Z370-F but opted for something a bit smaller due to my case choice. Searching through the other ASUS options allowed me to happen onto the Strix Z370-G and the added Bluetooth and Wireless capabilities for future convenience were nice additions with few (other than a fan header, buy a splitter!) sacrifices needed. However, this will not be a Micro-ATX build for those that would want to run dual GPUs or a lot of expansion cards.
Memory: Had first planned on some tried and true Ripjaws V series, but in the interest of saving money on the build I pulled half the RAM from my previous build and used that instead. This also led to being able to tie into the Red illumination theme for the build that I had going.
Storage: As listed, 2 2.5" SSD, one pulled from my previous build and the other bought during a sale which I also included. Plus a 250GB M.2 for the OS, essential programs and possibly the 1 or 2 games I may play very frequently with other games going on the non-OS drives and a 4TB HDD for non-gaming storage, programs, and media.
GPU: I've generally been an EVGA consumer in terms of Nvidia brand cards. They always seemed to have that extra bang for the price and top of the line improvements in cooling designs and tech. However, upon researching a suggested card which both ran cheaper and provided higher output this time, I decided to run with the Gigabyte Aorus 1080 Ti which has proved to be absolutely great and doesn't even break a sweat on most games at max settings without needing to manually OC the card.
Case: As I said, I had originally intended to build myself a standard form factor ATX rig. The first case that was suggested to me was Fractal's Meshify C Mid Tower. It had struck all the right cords for what I wanted, including the added filters in all intake and resting dust collection areas as I have pets (including a Husky mix) and hair has always been a concern with computer builds. While looking around at other cases that would check all the boxes for me, as I didn't want to simply commit to the first case that did so, I stumbled on the Mini version of the case that included a dark tinted tempered glass pane and immediately fell in love. It had all the reasons I liked the original case plus the darkened window and a smaller foot print in terms of height while sitting on my desk while also sharing the theme of a black frame and black/darkened tempered glass surfaces.
PSU: Again, another suggestion that I decided to roll with after being suggested it. I generally run with the well reviewed Corsair PSUs but decided to give the SeaSonic brand a go having also read their positive light from the community as another brand to compare between and fill my needs.
Case Fans: I first thought of going with full RGB fans and while many RGB and single color fans are out there I tried the exterior mounted single color LED options in my last build and weren't really happy with them. So upon doing a lot of research about the available options, Thermaltake's Riing fans caught my eye both in terms of their LED style and noise levels. The Riing Plus may be more desirable for some but the single color choices fit my needs perfectly while saving cost on the 5 fans I was buying. They also lent to a cleaner look over the interior/exterior lit fans with their ring design over the traditional 'blade highlighting' style.
My only personal thought on them in terms of lighting is that more LEDS or a better dispersion method around the ring would be a worthwhile upgrade for a mid-line step between the Riing and Riing Plus models, as well as a basic switch between a handful of preset colors in contrast to the either single or full RGB choices.
Monitor: While not purchase yet, my planned monitor is the ASUS ROG SWIFT 27" monitor. The model I have in this list may be wrong though. I will be going with the IPS panel version of the monitor, as watching a bit of testing on the monitor seemed to result in slightly better performance over its TN panel counterpart.
On to why I got lucky.
The RAM, AIO, and GPU were a VERY tight fit together on this motherboard.
First, my GPU is resting right below the bottom of the DIMM slots on the motherboard. Not uncomfortably so but there is no hope of having a custom or watercooled backplate that take up any more room on this card. While a bit concerning at first, it is not touching the DIMMs and neither the GPU or DIMMs are having issues after almost two full weeks running.
Second is the AIO, which the case has a wonderful selection of various positioning solutions to accommodate other hardware. That being said, the sticks of RAM with their large fins was an issue and required me to both move the AIO as close to the window as I could and still shave a bit of plastic off the side of one of the fans to prevent it from resting directly on the stick. This leads me to suggest that the combination of an upper AIO mount and this motherboard/case is a must to find lower profile ram tan the RGB-Z.