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Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by wahaha360, Oct 6, 2015.
Use thicker pannels for the case?
That adds a lot of costs. Not necessarily in material costs, but tooling and handling.
I was thinking about this last night and couldn't you find a thinner panel? It might not be as sturdy as an s340 but this is more of an accessory right?
Thicker panels aren't really viable, mainly because of the ventilated front. Punching through thicker material increases tooling wear, and could lead to a higher reject rate, as well as potentially more uniformity issues.
It could increase the cost of shipping, as well.
I was talking with w360 about this, and he might have a solution using a glass/polycarbonate sandwich material, which would allow for a thinner full window panel. Apparently it's quite an expensive process though, with a very preliminary quote of $80+ just for the window. I can't imagine too many people going for something like that, so my inclination is towards a typical inset window into the stock side panel, for a more modest price premium. We could still make it glass, it just wouldn't be the full glass side panel that some people want.
Considering most full glass panels have 2-4 inches of black edge I'd say that is a good compromise. I personally like the tempered glass look, hopefully that will be a possibility!
This glass is basically a variant of gorilla glass / screen protector for a cellphone, given the the surface area is 10x larger than a cellphone, $80 is a bargain.
It is a sexy solution at a reasonable price for the right person.
I do understand for production it's not ideal.
Necere Could you post the comparison pictures with the M1 here, as well?
Wow! Looking very good. I can't wait for this case to come out. Even the feet mesh well with the distinctive "Ncase" look.
Have you thought more about mounting locations for SSDs and/or HDDs?
So the ATX/mATX case, where am I with this? Well, I haven't worked on the M5 version lately. Real life stuff, and also feeling a little dissatisfied with the whole thing. Thoughts and things:
W360 doesn't like the "M"-style, just in general. It doesn't blend well with furniture, he says. I kind of agree. He would prefer a more rounded style, something more like the first style I showed. I think the M style has it's place, but I also might like the rounded style a little more in general. However, I don't think the rounded style works very well for a windowed/show-off case, like, at all. To the point where I really wouldn't want to offer a window even as an option. That's where I think the M style works much better.
However, a full side window (glass or otherwise) - which seems to be want a lot of people want - may not work well with the M-style. Why? Well, because of how the panels extend past the back of the chassis for easy removal, as they do on the M1. Also, the difference in thickness between the glass and the aluminum sheet is going to cause the window to not sit flush where it meets the front panel. That doesn't make me happy. Alternative is a window-in-panel, but I feel like that's not enough for people anymore. The full side window is the thing now, people want that, plus the RGB lighting and whatever. It's the trend, and quite honestly I feel a little disgusted by it. Not the window or RGB per se - I don't hugely care one way or another - but feeling like I have to follow the trend with my designs, or they won't appeal to people.
So that's the thing. Why am I doing this? I know I'm compelled to work on things that I feel inspired to work on. Things that I actually want for myself. And that changes over time. Like, I don't actually have any need for an ATX/mATX case right now. What would I use it for? I have two ITX-based systems, both in M1s. They do everything I need. But, I've also been looking for a monitor upgrade for a long time - something high-res, high-refresh. If I get something like that, then maybe multi-GPUs might make some sense (though they still seem too finicky - maybe with DX12?). I don't really see myself doing a big custom water loop anytime soon - for my purposes it seems totally unnecessary, and seems like it's really more for looks than anything these days. Air cooling is more than sufficient, and much less hassle in general.
So that leaves the M5 in an uncertain place for me. It's not really what I want, what I personally have use for. And that's most of what drives me to work on things. Making people happy is a good secondary driver, and making money... is what it is - necessary, but thankfully not urgent for me. Either way, those latter two aren't primary drivers for me.
It's not all grim though; like I said, mATX is still something I'm at least a little interested in for future upgrade reasons. And so to that end, I was recently working on a new mATX design - something less ambitious and capable than the M5 concept, without water cooling support, and unlikely to support a window. It's smaller (~20L), air-only, and only supports mATX boards (no ATX). Style is rounded, with less ventilation (solid top), and fewer places for fans. Very purpose-built, with not too many different configurations possible (vs. the broad build flexibility the M1 and M5 have). Some may wonder what the point is, to which I would say, well if you want the same thing I want - a small, good looking, unobtrusive, quiet, low maintenance system - then maybe it's the case for you. If it sounds interesting, I can post some WIP pics.
I have an 38“ monitor with horizontal 4K resolution and had the same thoughts. It turned out, that multi GPU support varies in the games I play. It worked very well with very few games like Witcher III. Other games do not utilize the GPUs to a degree, where it makes sense to have two instead of one. Too often SLI is not supported by games, or even worse: they crash if you do not deactivate one GPU manually.
That‘s why I „downgrade“ from dual 1080 to single 1080 Ti at the moment.
In all honesty, that's disheartening to hear.
Sounds like an opinion of someone who wears an iMac as a pendant...
I, for one, couldn't care less about side windows. And something tells me that I'm far from being the only one.
While I do realize that ideas come and go, and that inspiration should not—and cannot—be rushed, this project has been posted on a public hardware forum, which would imply that you have at least an intention to see it through. If that's not the case, maybe you should have posted it in a personal blog instead, tagged with, say, "Musing of the day"?
And what happened to the notion of microATX "being neglected by motherboard manufacturers lately, with most new enthusiast boards either ATX or mini-ITX"?
I have no idea, either...
Now, don't get me wrong: I'm not bitter, I am disappointed... Because the M5 seemed to be pretty much the only PC case that could meet my requirements; everything else out there is either too big, or too small (not to mention that most cases are poorly designed, and tend to be made from cheap materials). In fact, this project is the main reason I decided to register here.
Skip the stupid window (and led) crap, but keep the ATX support and the M-style design. That would be pure win.
You know my secret
But why iMac though, wouldn't Mac Pro or Apple Watch make more sense?
I *also said we could make both. In fact, I suggested you sending me the files, and I take 100% responsibility for the design and execution of the rounded version - so it doesn't take away your focus on the M5.
I just want to clear up the fact I'm made an effort for things to move forward.
I posted a similar thought yesterday on SFFN, just before I made the post above. But understand: this wasn't just a "musing;" a larger mATX/ATX case has been something that's been under consideration for a long time, as evidenced by this thread. The questions that haven't been fully resolved are 1) what makes sense technically and design-wise, 2) what makes sense for the market, and 3) what makes sense for me. The last part is important, because to be a truly good designer you have to get inside the head of the people that are going to be using your product so you can better understand, and what better way to do that than if their needs are your needs. Plus, of course, it helps immensely to be working on something I actually have a personal interest in.
That certainly seemed to be the trend when I posted that, but more recently we've seen some better mATX options. Maybe manufacturers consider mATX as a secondary market and were just delaying the boards so they could push the ATX and ITX boards out. I don't know.
Regardless, since the boards are available, and since I've reconsidered my owns needs (don't need watercooling, the space for which in the M5 is partly what allowed for ATX support), mATX makes more sense to develop for.
So I haven't put a whole lot of work into this yet, but here's what I have so far:
Dimensions: 320x170x365mm, 19.86L
CPU cooler: ~140mm
Motherboard: microATX, mini-ITX
Drives: mix of 2.5" and 3.5"; shares space with expansion slots so exact number varies depending on card use
PSU: SFX, SFX-L or ATX (up to 140mm)
Fans: 140mm front intake, 2x92mm rear exhaust
This is a functional, minimalist design that doesn't try to do anything fancy with watercooling support or anything else. Just a small case that tries to do the essentials well: front-to-back airflow w/dust filtration and no unneeded ventilation holes (front and back only), decent component support without wasting any space. Just simple, clean, compact, efficient.
It hasn't changed as much as people seem to think. Here's how I'm perceiving the current market.
- Z370 mATX boards are as lackluster as Z270 were, and the lack of PCI-E lanes on consumer CPUs is worsening with PCIE/NVME gaining traction. Additionally, we're not seeing flexible PCI-E slots tied to the chipset like with Z170, we're seeing more M.2 slots. ITX can already do that.
- There are excellent compact ATX cases now on the market making a X299 mATX options highly questionable.
- X399 mATX boards don't exist.
That leaves B350/X370?
At any rate, the M1 wasn't designed to appeal to trends and neither should your current project - whatever form factor you decide to go with. If you have no interest in windows, don't do them. I certainly won't miss them.
That stand with a cable-management hole makes the iMac look like something you could put on a necklace (albeit a fairly heavy-duty one). Mac Pro seems like a better candidate for a headgear. And Apple Watch would make too much sense to be even remotely funny.
Thanks for the link. A dedicated thread for random designs sounds like a good idea.
Could resolving the first two questions decide the answer to the third one, I wonder?
Still not the case for the AM4 platform, unfortunately, as there seems to be not a single microATX board with two proper PCIe 3.0 slots in ×8 mode.
No CPU intake or PSU exhaust?
I might be an outlier but I'd rather see a simple unobstructed front-to-back airflow, PSU at the bottom (or top if inverted mobo), 4/5-slot but ATX-mobo-compatible layout, even if that adds a bit in height (and hence volume).
Needs PSU exhaust
Needs CPU intake
It's so close to the 142mm needed for a Noctua C14s with the fan on top (especially because it looks like that's the heatsink that you're using). 140mm is just rough.
imo it's a step backwards from the ATX case you had earlier. I'm also not a fan of the rounded front, I much preferred the NCase style.
I don't like the cooling on that atm either, I'd rather hang an SFX PSU at the back parallel to the IO port, with a side panel intake for the PSU cooler, ventilation holes on top, and use a 240mm AIO to cool the CPU / front air intake. The PSU at the front of this restricts too much airflow imho.
Good points all. The other thing that completely slipped my mind with this is Threadripper and Coffee Lake, and how much cooling they need. They practically require a dual rad AIO solution, so by not supporting that, it'll be a significant handicap. I'll have to do some thinking.
I have been observing your creations step by step and really like your simple elegant designs. I currently have a V5 M1 almost completely built except I'm waiting for the 7800k to arrive. I have fitted the m1 with a GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid (requiring short cables) as the pcb is longer then reference cards. The 120mm radiator is side mounted and the hoses are very tight between the radiator and psu but it fits. The CPU will be air cooled using a Noctua D9L but the next upgrade would be a case that can fit a little more for watercooling. I like the idea of an MATX case that can also accommodate a custom loop ITX setup. Most wouldn't mind a little extra volume for greater quieter cooler performance.
1. Minimalistic (The design with sharp edges similar to the M1 design creates a unique design language for all Ncase products.)
2. Small Form Factor build without compromise
3. Aluminum Construction
4. Integrated Water-cooling design
5. Tempered Glass windowed GPU and CPU area (Honestly, I don't think most consumers would care for a full windowed side panel and much rather prefer a cleaner framed window around the aluminum side panel for a more flush fit and areas to hide wiring/etc.)
6. Magnetized Dust Filters all around (Top, Front, Bottom)
My ideal case would be the Ncase N1 with about an additional few mm up top to cram inside a 40mm rad with 25mm fans up top with and optional for an additional slim rad and 15mm fan below.
65mm is more than a few additional mm...
Not sure if this is something anyone has looked into, but I'm curious to learn what's the absolute minimum width of a case with each of the following:
125mm CPU cooler height restriction (Noctua U9S, Cryorig M9)
140mm fans at the front
bottom ATX PSU compatibility (is 150mm + thickness of side panels feasible without too many compromises in other areas?)
bottom SFX PSU overlapped with the bottom of an ATX mobo
...assuming 2mm thick side panels.
Honestly if you look at the M1 case internals, there is some space above the Mobo and PSU that can account for 15mm or so within the case's current design also if you removed one of the three PCIe slots and shifted the entire rear IO down a slot there is additional space for a top mount. This sort of setup would allow for all the heat to be exhausted from the top and also provide a cleaner internal view with the window. I don't want to go off on a tangent but a top mounted can be accommodated with just a few mm of additional space up top. Please refer to this modified case build for a DIY solution:
My suggestions was to not recreate the M1, as its Ncase's SFF solution and the goal is to keep the internals dense and compact yet have enough room for decent thermals and installation. The suggestions were to incorporate a watercooled ITX layout in the mATX version for individuals who appreciate SSF and simple design but are looking for higher performance (either by additional GPU or room for OCing quietly via water).
There's actually only about 10mm between the top of the motherboard and the top panel, and even less over the PSU (have to leave room for the power cable, remember). Moving everything down a slot only frees up 20mm at the top - not nearly enough for a rad. You'll note that build actually moves the motherboard down by two slots (40mm), so it's no longer possible to use a dual-slot card at all. The reality is in order for this layout to make sense as a commercial product, the space at the top would need to be increased by the thickness of the rad+fans you'd want to support - so pretty much the full 65mm as previously mentioned (or 45mm if moving the motherboard down a slot - but then you could no longer have any kind of rad on the bottom).
Quite a few people have found the M1 a bit too restrictive for proper watercooling, and it was addressing that which brought me to the M5 design (along with mATX+ support). It's twice the volume, sure, but with space for up to 280+240 rads, watercooling support is much better than the M1. And not just for the rad support; airflow is just as important. While you can technically do 2x240 rads in the M1, the performance of the bottom rad is far from optimal owing to the limited space for airflow.