Before asking NCASE about Micro-ATX...

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by wahaha360, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    My guess would be everything for the M1 would likely fit this case CPU-wise, so look at the community doc on google with all the notes about what fits/etc: Link to the user-contributed Google docs spreadsheet (edits are public and affect everyone - be careful!)

    Also refer to the M1 threads to see what is most popular.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  2. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    The open area with this hole pattern is about 40%. Same as the M1, and Lian Li more generally, uses.

    Would a more open pattern be less restrictive? Sure. I think this pattern offers a nice balance of aesthetic appeal and performance, though.

    Apart from the coolers compatible with the M1, there are a few shorter tower coolers right around the 145mm height limit that use 120mm fans:
    The H7, in particular, seems like an ideal choice, with a thicker heatsink than the other two.
     
  3. rfarmer

    rfarmer [H]ard|Gawd

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    I like the idea of being able to use the FrozenQ reservoir since I have one for my M1, but like Boil said it would sit really low. I know if I was watercooling in this case I would use a Single GPU and have a res/pump combo in the bottom left. Either mounted on the floor or using one of the fan mounts. Looks like there would be plenty of room there as long as you aren't using it for the PSU.
     
  4. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap 2[H]4U

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    I've been kicking myself for a couple months because I bought a new mATX board instead of ITX and then decided not to go SLI but now I can't build an Ncase M1 either.

    I think making an ATX case "possible" but with trade offs is not a bad idea but I think only allowing sfx power might be a mistake. A lot of people go mATX to build a compact system with the most powerful components available. Maybe a 700/750W SFX will support a top end CPU and dual top end GPUs but I would worry it's cutting it close. An ATX power supply option is a good idea - even if it cuts into expansion slots or something like that.

    Also, the slot loading drive is one of the best features on the M1, it would be nice if it was an option on the new case - if nowhere else, perhaps a rear facing slot like on the original Enthoo Evolv mATX (but just a slot, not a full bay).
     
  5. workshop35

    workshop35 Gawd

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    Maybe i missed it, but what are the plans for hard drive locations?
     
  6. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    In principle the flexible mounting system could support an ATX PSU with an additional bracket. It would come with trade offs, though: mounted at the top, in addition to taking up 4 (of 8) expansion slots, it would limit the case to microATX motherboards only. Alternatively, mounted at the front, it would take up at least one of the front fan locations, depending on the length of the PSU. This pic shows a 160mm long PSU almost fitting with a single 120 rad just above it at the front:

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately there's really no place for an ODD anywhere in this case. At best, installed at the rear like you describe, it would block the top rearmost fan/PSU mounting location.

    Any reason you'd still prefer a (awkwardly accessed) rear-facing ODD vs. an external drive?

    TBD, but a 3.5" drive cage could be designed to be attached to the top and front rails just like the PSU.
     
  7. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    A couple of size comparison mockups:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. rfarmer

    rfarmer [H]ard|Gawd

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    That really puts the size in perspective, amazing you will be able to get an ATX motherboard in there. I remember when the Prodigy was first released I thought it was a cool case, now I look at it and think what a god awful design.

    ATX PSU is a nice option but if you have full support for SFX-L I can't see any reason to use one.
     
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  9. Nanook

    Nanook Limp Gawd

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    These side by side comparison sold it for me.
     
  10. OmenemO

    OmenemO Limp Gawd

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    Any chance at all this could be a 2017 christmas present?
     
  11. danny.nguyen

    danny.nguyen n00b

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    For top panel, it would be nice to make horizontal lines, so is the front panel. Not dot holes. What do you think?
     
  12. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    Necere Here are my myriad of thoughts for your consideration. I don't expect you to read/address all of it, but I just had to organize it into one giant post. ;)

    1) I MUCH prefer the M1 styling (#2). It immediately gives the case character and a unique look, not to mention it keeps with the M1 aesthetic. For the M1, that angled front makes the difference between a box and a sexy design. I'd take it one step further and move to I/O down to the cutout as well. Not so much to keep with the aesthetic, as for practical reasons. Bottom I/O is easier to access for USB and permanently plugged-in things look better there than awkwardly sticking out the top. Also, it is much better for audio to have your 3.5mm jack connected to the lower front than having it fountain out of the case and putting lateral pressure on the jack. This will be a niche, expensive product for enthusiasts, and enthusiasts don't generally keep their cases on the floor regardless of size. It's not even that big, 24L still qualifies as SFF. I think almost certainly more than 50% of people will keep it on their desks.

    2) I understand that the inverted ATX design is for the sake of space efficiency. However, aesthetically it isn't the best look IMO. It makes no real difference to me, but out of curiosity, how much bigger would the case be if you did right-side-up ATX design, but still kept the radiator on top? With no side vents, I hope you're planning a side panel window option, then orientation may be more relevant.

    3) I definitely think you should include ATX PSU support despite the tradeoffs. All you'll need is a bracket. There will definitely be people who will only use a single rad.

    4) I'm unclear on rad/fan/PSU clearances. I guess it depends on rad thickness and length of graphics cards. So a few specific questions on that:

    - If using a 30mm rad+25mm fans at the front, what is the maximum graphics card length?

    - Can you fit a 30mm rad+25mm fan on the top with SLI if using a motherboard that allows for 2 cards to be installed adjacent to each other?

    - From your render it seems that if you want to use both radiators, the top fan of the front rad has to be 12mm unless you have the top rad's fittings at the rear?

    And a few thoughts on PSU placement:

    - With 2 radiators, the PSU has to always be mounted to a radiator, sometimes being the only fan for that location depending on clearance.

    - With a top rad the PSU almost always has to go in the front, unless you are going single GPU and want to mount it to the top fan+rad stack -- seems like it would be too much weight for the bracket?

    - If you go front-mounted PSU, and you have a 25mm fan +30mm rad + SFX PSU, will the PSU encroach on the motherboard space? If so, you may have to do rad+fan on top and use the PSU as the bottom intake? One good thing about this design is that the PSU will always intake filtered air.

    What do you think a good reservoir location would be?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  13. Boil

    Boil [H]ard|Gawd

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    The design also allows for the PSU to be mounted over the MB...
     
  14. OmenemO

    OmenemO Limp Gawd

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    This'll probably be the hardest thing for Necere to decide on.

    Personally I would have this case sitting under my desk, ergo my opinion on IO ports completely differs to yours:

    Top mounted IO ports are much more appealing accessible. to me than front mounted. Talking about permanently plugged in devices seems odd, as they would be in the rear IO anyway. Top mounted 3.5mm jacks put minimal strain on my headphone cables etc. etc.
     
  15. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Five months? Not too likely. Lead time on certain parts (e.g., front I/O cables) can be two months or more alone.

    I can try it, but for strength and EMI reasons it's not the best idea.
     
  16. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    How can resist? :p

    I've also got a thread on SFFN, and I've already addressed some of your questions over there. Nevertheless:

    The M-style definitely looks like the favorite, and the one I'll be proceeding with at this point.

    Regarding I/O placement, this was my response on SFFN:

    "I/O placement is a bit tricky with this, because I know some people don't like upward facing ports. OTOH, I/O at the bottom like the M1 are borderline unusable if the case is on the floor. Forward facing I/O at the top is a possibility, and would probably offend the fewest number of people, but IMO the aesthetics of that aren't great."

    Well, much of the spatial efficiency comes from being able to utilize the space next to the last two or three slots on the motherboard, right? So by flipping the board and keeping the rad support at the top, we can no longer take advantage of that. Right now there's about a fan-thickness of clearance above the motherboard, so effectively whatever rad thickness you would want to support is about how much taller the case would need to be (plus a few mm for clearance). So, say a minimum of about 35mm taller, or 385mm from the current 350mm.

    The one thing that makes me hesitant is communicating to people the trade offs that entails. I just know people will see ATX PSU support listed and go ahead and just use one in their build, not realizing that it's more than likely going to cause them problems.

    At the moment about 295mm.

    Sorry, I neglected to post this here, but it should answer most of these questions for you:

    [​IMG]

    In addition to being able to mount the PSU anywhere on the front or top, the plan is to be able to swap out the 92mm fan mount for a bracket that allows for SFX mounting at the rear, over the motherboard. I don't see mounting the PSU to the rad as being that viable (or easy to do).
     
  17. rfarmer

    rfarmer [H]ard|Gawd

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    Nice I didn't realize mounting the PSU in front of the motherboard was an option, although cable management might get interesting. It does free up space to use 2 radiators. I am guessing there is enough room between the PSU and the motherboard for a cpu block and tubing/fittings?
     
  18. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Something like that, yeah. It's around 70mm currently between the CPU IHS and PSU, which should be enough.



    BTW, acquacow would you mind editing your post to change it to a link to the google doc instead of an embed? It's making my browser hang every time I load the thread.
     
  19. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    Weird, I copied the URL right from the M1 thread where it was linked... I guess [H] has a script that does the embed on paste.

    I'll re-link manually in a min.

    Sorry
     
  20. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Thanks (y)
     
  21. wahaha360

    wahaha360 Gawd

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    Style #2 is a design / brand pigeonhole. I don't think it makes sense for this new layout to be similar to the M1 unless function demands it .

    To keep the series separate, I think style #1 is the better choice.

    Disclaimer: I prefer and therefore partial to the rounded corners on style #1, and I don't want to make same looking case, it feel like we are not moving forward.
     
  22. acquacow

    acquacow Limp Gawd

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    I think the style is probably very important to maintain from the first case to the next.

    Styling is a very big part of branding, keeping the two similar, just in different size goes a long way.
     
  23. workshop35

    workshop35 Gawd

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    From a creative standpoint I can see wanting to do something different, but I much prefer the m1 style. And like aquacow stated, continuing with a style has its merits.

    Having said that, if you choose a different style path, something with hard lines rather than the rounded would be preferable.
     
  24. wahaha360

    wahaha360 Gawd

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    For the same series of cases, I agree. I *was under the impression this will not be part of the M series. I rather save the look should we release another M series case.

    Maintaining style from first case to second is the pigeonhole I fear.

    Another idea I mentioned to Necere internally was to have the outer panels interchangeable, so that you can switch between the styles. However, prob not possible with current iteration.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  25. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    I should have definitely read the SFFN thread before asking. Thanks.

    Your logic makes sense. Even if most people put it on a desk, bottom ports are too inconvenient for people who put it on the floor. Upward-facing on top is definitely the best option then, as top front would look atrocious in my view. Another option is top left or top right on the sides of the front panel, but I think that would look bad as well. The biggest issue for desk people would be the headphone jack, unless they use an angled jack. But I guess it's impossible to please everyone on this, so I think the current design is the least inconvenient on average.

    Okay, so that would add 2.3L to the case for a total volume of 26.3L. Just playing devil's advocate -- you would guarantee use of all the board's slots, and I think most people would prefer right-side-up for a windowed version. However, I am a sucker for space efficiency as would be most people interested in this case, and there is actually aesthetic value in space efficiency too... Plus it makes for a unique view. So I don't know. I would prefer your current design, but it may be worth running a poll in the future, unless you are totally set on this. This is obviously only relevant for people planning to go with a windowed side panel, but I think that would be a majority.

    Yes, but that was the case with the M1 too, yet it didn't seem to confuse anyone. Just list immediately after ATX support the tradeoffs. I think builders considering water cooling are knowledgeable enough to plan their builds in advance and understand the tradeoffs. I think it's wrong to limit functionality for the sake of simplicity for a product like this, one of the M1's major appeals is its high flexibility to fit all kinds of needs and builds. ATX has a real use case here -- if you just want to go top rad for your CPU (or air cool it) and a single or dual air-cooled GPU and/or a hybrid GPU with a 120mm rad, then ATX PSU makes a lot of sense.

    Ohh, I totally missed that the PSU could be mounted over the motherboard. It definitely won't look super pretty, but it's functional for dual rad support + active exhaust. Though to be honest, if I am going custom water cooling with dual rads and a side window, I would rather mount the PSU to one of the rads than conceal my water block, RAM and most of the bottom of the board with the one thing people don't generally want to show off + cables. I guess then you don't have an obvious spot for the res/pump if going dual GPU, but... maybe then you could use a block/pump combo and/or a rad/res combo. Another option is to use short cards, then you'd have more space in the front.

    What is the maximum CPU cooler clearance if you put the PSU over the board, for the one guy who will use an air cooler in that config? :D

    In this render, are all the radiators mounted with 25mm fans??

    On an unrelated note, I really like these feet. I think they would look great on the M1 too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  26. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    One thing I suppose I should mention is it would need to be ~45mm taller for the PSU to be installed at the top in a flipped orientation. Though I suppose it could be installed at the bottom adjacent to the PCIe slots, as well, since the PSU doesn't need airflow clearance on both sides the way a radiator does.

    My desire to avoid those kinds of tradeoffs partly comes from my experience with the M1. It's not even that many people have had a problem with it, so much, but moreso that I get tired of explaining it whenever someone asks for build advice :dead:

    Also it'd be nice to actually be able to get the case listed on PCPartPicker. They won't add the M1 precisely because of how many conditional parts restrictions there are - it doesn't work with their compatibility engine. They don't list water cooling parts at all, so I figure if the conditionality is limited to those, it should be okay.

    Here's yet another option:

    [​IMG]

    This would only work with regular SFX, and it complicates the tubing some, but should be totally doable. Performance-wise, I don't see it being more than a minor downgrade to substitute one of the 120mm rad sections with a 92mm.

    Alternatively, if you use a microATX board the 120mm rad can be rotated, which then leaves enough room for SFX-L:

    [​IMG]

    Currently about 70mm. Can't imagine why anyone would ever do that, though.

    Yes.

    They'd need to be molded plastic, which isn't super cheap to get tooled. OTOH, they're relatively small, and as feet precision/finish aren't critical, so it might not be too bad.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
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  27. Aluminyum

    Aluminyum Guest

    Hmm... What if both are already occupied with radiators?
    Ah, here you are, old codger...
     
  28. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    wahaha360 is an Apple Product Owner so he prefers round corners when he can get them :p

    Also he has an irrational need for front/back asymmetry, which #1 (rounded) has and #2 (M-style) doesn't.
     
  29. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    Thanks for your response. Yeah, I think the right-side-up config is too much of a sacrifice in size/space efficiency to have the "correct" orientation. Plus with water cooled graphics cards, there's no upside-down inscription. And it is a unique look, I mean it's a super subjective thing. The more I look at it, the more I like it. It doesn't work in every case, but it does in this one.

    Could you just kindly direct them to the website? It seems to me all you need is a really well-designed guide where it's all explained, maybe even an interactive graphic, like Sentry has. I realize that's not free and not easy to do, but it would solve your problem. You can have the manual there too, and just include a small piece of paper in the M1 packaging that directs people there. I think we've had a similar exchange before -- you make valid points, but I just don't think it's justified to limit functionality so the case will be easier to understand/list on PCPartsPicker. Excluding ATX will limit your audience -- this is an ATX case after all, and ATX PSU is actually a very good option for (semi) air-cooled builds so it just makes no sense to me, being honest. If the M1 didn't support ATX or 3.5" drives a good number of builds wouldn't exist. You may have gained some exposure if it'd been listed on PCPartsPicker, but you would have lost some customers and some praise from reviewers. Also, people like to have options, even if they never avail of them. Just knowing that you COULD install something makes you like the product more. So... not sure how it all adds up. I've said way too much on this. :pigeon:

    I dig the triple rad setup. It's complex, but that would also make for a cool look with lots of tubing.

    So you're generally opposed to mounting the PSU where the res is in your render? Why would that be bad? You can make the bracket work for both 140 and 120mm, and then just mount the PSU on the other side of the rad - it gets airflow and it works as a push-pull for the radiator - win-win...? Then one could potentially fit a small reservoir (like M1's) or res/pump in the 92mm mount. Seems cleaner to me. But all are good options. Are you concerned it would intake warm air? If you have dual rads then the air won't be that warm... I think? Depending on TDP of course.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  30. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Maybe we could offer an ATX bracket separately. That way we could say the case doesn't support ATX PSUs by default, but if people REALLY want it, they have still the option.

    There are a few problems with mounting the PSU directly to the front rad:
    • The PSU will impinge on the motherboard keepout zone, potentially conflicting with things there. It'd only be by a few millimeters (depending how thick the rad is), but it could still be a problem.
    • The screw holes on the rad are threaded, but so are the holes on the bracket. If you try to thread screws through both, you will have problems. A way around it would be to put some clearanced holes in the bracket in addition to the threaded holes, so not a total dealbreaker.
    • Installing it would be a pain. Consider: you must install the bracket to the rad outside of the case, then install the PSU into the bracket, then install the whole thing into the case. You'd probably need the motherboard already installed, too. Not a fun time.
    That said, the only change needed would be to add the clearanced holes on the bracket, so it's something I'll consider.
     
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  31. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    That seems like a good compromise! You can gauge demand as you go along.

    Impinging on the motherboard can definitely be a problem. I see what you mean about the threading. I didn't realize the bracket had threaded holes. It makes sense, so you can mount it to the rail without a nut. One way to do it would be to use a thinner screw and a nut that can fit under the rad's mounting holes (if that's possible). But yes, a non-threaded hole would be ideal. How would that work though, wouldn't it have to be in the same place as the threaded one? Out of curiosity, how much space would there be between the rad and the PSU in that config?

    I just buried you with questions today. I'm legitimately excited about this case even though I won't be buying it as I am content with my ITX M1 build. That's when you know you have a good product, when people who aren't even interested in purchasing are getting excited.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  32. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    The holes on the bracket would need to be offset. And actually, the existing holes wouldn't work with a front 280 anyway, because they're spaced for 120mm fan mounts. The bracket needs to be a little longer/wider to accommodate 140mm fan holes.

    The distance from rad to PSU would probably be ~6mm.

    Hey, I'm glad someone is. They're good questions though, and you bring up points I probably wouldn't have thought of. So I definitely appreciate the interest.
     
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  33. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    I think that would be perfect for the bracket, to have 2 sets of holes for both 120mm and 140mm.

    And thanks!
     
  34. flyingflock

    flyingflock n00b

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    #1 looks amazing

    What are the chances of doing 2x USB-A and 2x USB-C on the top? Couldn't buy this without USB-C :(
     
  35. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    At least one Type C is likely. Two would be more forward-looking, considering there aren't any(?) motherboards with more than a single internal header for front Type C.
     
  36. wahaha360

    wahaha360 Gawd

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    Rounded corner tend to blend in better with my furniture.

    Style #1 has allows for more vents for intake than Style #2 no (no sure how much temp difference it makes)?
     
  37. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Yes, but it doesn't really matter because the gap between the front panel and the fans is so small.
     
  38. QuantumBraced

    QuantumBraced Gawd

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    It's not obvious from the render, but will the panels have the same rounded edges as the M1, and will the front panel tuck underneath the side panels as in the M1?

    I'm guessing the front panel will use push-pins and the side panels will use those slide-in things? Will the panels be flush with the back or have some additional length to help lift?

    Are you planning on including a top dust filter? I know it's an exhaust, but because it's at the top, dust can settle in while the system is turned off.
     
  39. Boil

    Boil [H]ard|Gawd

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  40. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Nothing's close to final at this point, but the idea right now is for the front panel to have the same grommeted sliding studs as the side panels use, but on the sides of the front panel such that you're able to pull the panel away from the front. Take a look at the image above and note the keyhole slots open to the front. That should give you the idea.

    The top isn't necessarily exhaust only - particularly with a PSU mounted at the top drawing in air. So yeah, the plan is for a top filter in addition to the front.
     
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