This is what I want as a possibility in such small cramped mATX as I do hav ean mATX mobo - Gigabyte Z97MX, look at the concept!
I don't like the case by the way, does not float my boat, ITS THE CONCEPT!
After lurking for many years, I registered just for this post: if you make a mATX case that is as versatile and well designed as the M1 (I just bought my 2nd one recently), I guarantee I'll buy that too
It wouldn't keep it slim, though. The right angle power cable adds 20mm to one end, while you need a minimum of about 30mm for modular connectors at the other (SFX-L in the M1 has 20mm for the connectors with a long GPU, and look how tight that is). That's 20+160+30 = at least 210mm wide for a 160mm PSU.I would prefer to keep the PSU in the horizontal orientation because of the elegant and easier cable routing. Maybe Necere could limit the PSU length to 160mm to keep the case slim.
There are a few problems with that as a concept: 1) despite the width (250mm), reference-height GPUs barely fit, and it's limited to low profile CPU coolers; 2) since there's no case cooling, you have to use blowers, which means it's noisy as hell; 3) it only really looks good from that angle; the "rear" ports are exposed on the top, and to cover them properly would increase the volume.This is what I want as a possibility in such small cramped mATX as I do hav ean mATX mobo - Gigabyte Z97MX, look at the concept!
I don't like the case by the way, does not float my boat, ITS THE CONCEPT!
Layout-wise, increasing the size for ATX doesn't change things much. The added 60mm just increases the volume by 4-5L, so instead of 23-30L, it's 27-35L.There is already a large amount of mATX cases in the 23-30L range. Might as well try to make the smallest ATX case instead. This is what the market is missing currently, anyway. A 6cm height difference is nothing really.
Well, I wouldn't take that route anyway. Keep the horizontal oerientation for the PSU and use the extra width for modular mounting options in front of the CPU and GPU.It wouldn't keep it slim, though. The right angle power cable adds 20mm to one end, while you need a minimum of about 30mm for modular connectors at the other (SFX-L in the M1 has 20mm for the connectors with a long GPU, and look how tight that is). That's 20+160+30 = at least 210mm wide for a 160mm PSU.
Layout-wise, increasing the size for ATX doesn't change things much. The added 60mm just increases the volume by 4-5L, so instead of 23-30L, it's 27-35L.
It's true. There's not a whole lot of room for innovation with mATX, and what innovation is possible is of questionable value.If that ATX can be kept on the low end of that estimate, it's a far more interesting proposition than mATX at this point. Between the SG09/10, TJ08E, and upcoming Nova, it's going to take some considerable effort to differentiate and improve upon the respective designs or to fill another niche in what is quite honestly a strange form factor.
I have the same concerns with 2c, a single 120mm fan doesn't provide a ton of airflow by itself. I'd consider making the forward 3.5 HDD exchangeable for another 120mm intake fan, which would help, although it would also recycle some of the PSU's exhaust.2c is a bit radial not having WC support and possibly not feeding enough air to the CPU cooler with 2x GPU present, but otherwise seems excellent.
On that train of thought, what's the value of ATX over mATX? Because if it's for tri-SLI/Trifire, that requires a different layout strategy, since you're looking at 1000W+ PSUs at that point, and those are at least 190mm+ long. That eliminates most of the mATX layouts above.If that ATX can be kept on the low end of that estimate, it's a far more interesting proposition than mATX at this point.
On that train of thought, what's the value of ATX over mATX? Because if it's for tri-SLI/Trifire, that requires a different layout strategy, since you're looking at 1000W+ PSUs at that point, and those are at least 190mm+ long. That eliminates most of the mATX layouts above.
On the other hand, if ATX is still desirable without the requirement for 3+ GPUs, it opens up the interesting possibility of an mATX case that can accept ATX boards. By that I mean limiting the number of expansion slots, and positioning the PSU so it overlaps the bottom slots of an ATX board:
This would be a five-slot mATX case, that's also ATX-capable (but still limited to five slots). Thoughts?
3. Subcompact - PSU over CPU, 17-20L
The smallest possible layout, and the only one that qualifies as SFF by the stricter definitions of the term, this puts the PSU over the motherboard CPU area. Naturally, this reduces the available CPU cooler space considerably, and is generally more difficult to work in. The lack of any exhaust fan (aside from the PSU) likely make it a less than stellar thermal performer as well.
A basic take on the layout. The bottom space could either be used for drives, as shown, or a 5th slot for SLI/Crossfire spacing. An alternative is to move the drives to the top to keep them away from the hot GPU exhaust, at the expense of losing the 5th slot option.
+No top/bottom vents
+Easy front dust filter access
+Space for 5th slot or HDDs
+Limited watercooling support
-Restrictive airflow, no exhaust fan
-Poor PSU location
-Limited CPU height
-No window possible
Naturally, feedback is welcome, pick your favorite, make suggestions, etc.
In my opinion, ATX is the most inefficiently used motherboard format, since most default to ATX for some reason but are running a single GPU card in them with a few HDDs and maybe an SSD or two. Basically something even an mITX board could easily handle.I think we've come across a very intriguing option with this design.
While 3x GPU configurations would be of interest to some, my interest lies in connectivity options. To date, the best Z170 options to leverage the enhanced PCH lane capabilities have in fact been ATX boards - those using x2 M.2 slots (x4 PCI-E 3.0) or 1x U.2 / M.2 (VIII Extreme) and the like. In this regard, the limitation to 5 slots would make no difference.
X99 is a bit more of a tough sale though as the PCI-E 3.0 lanes are coming from the CPU to be translated to PCI-E slots, and so some would want more than 5 slots to mount additional add-in cards. Again, I personally wouldn't be affected by this limitation and could easily work around it but I can see it as a potential concern.
It does however open up the possibility to 8 DIMM slot capability through ATX - something X99 users may very well appreciate.
I was thinking more like a double-stack. Allows the stack the be placed 'below' (or above) the motherboard with a similar height to a reference GPU.So a double-wide 1U, 160mm wide by 40mm tall and 200-300mm long? It's an interesting idea, but I strongly prefer to stick to off-the-shelf hardware, and it's really out of scope for us anyway.
1a and 1b are probably my favorites, but I go back and forth. They're pretty straightforward, but there's nothing really wrong with that. I'd definitely consider a door/panel with side intakes, but you're right that it does increase the depth (+20-30mm).I like 1b the most. I don't mind top mounted power supplies. They get less dusty and help cool the system.
The extra space at the front should allow for water cooling with shorter gpus. Slim drive is good for some people and you could fit the IO under it perhaps.
The 1b layout with a door would be good. It does increase the depth but would hide the IO and optical. I have a define R5 and its really made me appreciate doors for aesthetics and noise reduction.
That would require the user to open up the PSU to flip the fan, exposing them to significant danger and voiding the warranty. So that's definitely not an option.In any case, 3A brings to mind a layout that Intel intended with the ATX and SFX standards originally - they used to have the PSU flow reversed. That is, the PSU was intended to blow onto the CPU (I'm not joking here - they reversed this in ATX 2.0, I believe), not be an exhaust fan. So, get a sufficiently powerful fan in the PSU, flip it, and run a top-down CPU cooler. It'll still be a poor layout for cooling, but it'd be better than 3A as-is, I think. And, there's always reversing the front fans, too, although then the layout becomes negative pressure.
I think you may have made the case against that layout It probably worked well enough for the time it was designed, but these days with 300W GPUs it just wouldn't have the cooling capability to perform well.Another thing to consider, although it wastes most of the advantages of Micro-ATX or ATX (other than sheer motherboard availability), is to run the slots parallel to the board. The GT3 GTR did this (pics here) to get a full ATX case into 13.6 l, with three slots. Four could be done and still have space advantages over a conventional perpendicular layout (3.2" thick stack of cards, versus your allowing 7.3" for cards), although there'd be a concern with the back of the inside card against the motherboard, and cooling. And, even six could be done and be thinner than space for a 7.3" card - only 4.8" - but it would likely end up making the case just as thick as a minimum thickness perpendicular layout (ala M1), with little benefit other than supporting taller cards, and adding significant cost (for PCIe riser cables) and thermal complications.
Of course, the GT3 GTR also used a TFX power supply, which isn't an option here. Unfortunately, the server market doesn't seem to have anything good at crazy high power outputs, unless you go proprietary, so ATX really is the only way to go, and packaging an ATX power supply into a thin system would require going extremely tall. And, a thin system also compromises CPU cooling options.
That would make it pretty wide though: 90-100mm + 86mm + 30mm = 206-216mm. Basically the same size as the 2d/SG09 layout. The PSU-over-motherboard design is not something I think most people will favor anyway. It makes a bunch of sacrifices to shave a few liters that most people will probably not find worthwhile.My preference goes with this design with maybe a few changes:
# Make it a bit taller and adding a rear/top mounted 12cm exhaust fan
# With the extra height having the option of slim optical drive
# The option to add a 24cm rad in the front with slightly shorter GPU's or two 14cm fans
# Having a 9-10cm CPU cooler height between PSU (greater range to pick from)
That's not a specific goal of mine. I think it's probably a bit too optimistic to expect for an mATX case to be small enough to fit comfortably on a table/desktop. But if you *did* want to have it on a desk, I agree with you that depth is a bigger concern than height. The thing is, we have certain hard limits. Like, the ASUS Strix cards are quite popular (based on how often people ask if they'll fit in the M1), so I'd like to ensure support for them. The GTX 980 ti Strix is 305mm long, though, and there still needs to be room for a front fan (and potentially a door/front panel). I've thought a bit about what you suggest in regards to removing one of the fans for longer GPUs, so that's a possibility. The other consideration though is that reducing the depth takes away radiator space. Room for a top-mounted radiator is just wasted space if its not used.1 - Small footprint
I think that this is the most crucial factor for a case that is meant to sit on your table.
Yeah, a 2U sized-PSU wouldn't really save any space. It's almost as tall as an ATX PSU (86mm), so the most it would do is give you some extra space for drives or something.I was thinking more like a double-stack. Allows the stack the be placed 'below' (or above) the motherboard with a similar height to a reference GPU.
Wait, that's just a 2U PSU. Not sure if there are existing mounts to allow placing two 1U PSUs into a 2U mount, but that could be an interesting route for choice flexibility.
It'd be more of a six-slot ATX case than a five-slot mATX case at that point, so may as well just go for all seven slots. The extra installation hassle and unusable slot (even if most people never use it) hardly seem worth it for a 20mm reduction in height.
I agree that a lot of the draw of the M1 (and any case) is the exterior design. And I will show some exterior design concepts as things progress. But I want to narrow down the layouts first, and I want to show people why certain decisions are made.IMO, you need to focus a bit, and see where is the market today, and where it is leading. How many designs do we have in mATX, or ATX? A heck of a lot... and many of them are space efficient and/or have a very nice design and/or are very usable. How do you plan to compete there? Not by looking at the inside of anything, I'm telling you.
So, since you aren't looking for something as small as possible (meaning, you will have a ton of competing products from all manufacturers and price ranges)... you should start with the outside of the case, as I believe that this is the #1 buying factor for most of the users at this price segment (note: high budgets). THAT is what will define the success of your product, at least in the first place.
The M1 supports long GPUs up to the specification max, though, which is 312mm. That's what I'm targeting for this case as well.a) You should disregard the as_long_as_it_gets_vga approach. Simply put: why would you put the base of your design by going above standard? You just threw out the window every single compromise you made with the M1.
That's not the only reason. I'm certainly not discounting SFX "for the heck of it." Other reasons:b) Also, I see you simply disregarded the SFX format for mATX because it doesn't cut it for uber high-end setups.
Layout 1a has room for plenty of hard drives.-Everybody has few HDD's. (This implies that nobody will choose mATX instead of mITX because they might have half a dozen HDD that require a lot more case space and sata connectors).
There are several layouts that allow for watercooling. Layouts 1a-1c have room for a 240/280 in front and a 120 rear rad. 2b has room for dual 240mm rads.c) You also assumed that people will run uber tower cpu coolers that require a lot of space, but barely assumed that people might use WC. Again, no compromise?
Layouts 1a-1c are all basically similar to the TJ08-E.I don't know. Personally, the top of the line efficiency regarding mATX is, for me, in the form of the TJ08-E. That is where I would start, if you were to keep looking at mATX.
You've contradicted yourself here by your claim I'm assuming people have few hard drives. Clearly, most of the layouts aren't designed for massive storage, so the "jack-of-all-trades" accusation doesn't hold water. If you don't see innovation, it's because there's little to be had with this form factor. All the innovating has been done. The doesn't mean there isn't room to strike a good balance of form and function within the existing paradigm. That's my goal.All in all, I don't think I recognise anything I see here when I try to compare it with the NCASE M1 that I have. Your present designs are all jack-of-all-trades, and we have several hundred products out there that do all of that. There is no innovation, no goal, not really nothing.
The LRPC is a separate discussion. But your argument about lack of innovation applies just as well there. From the inside, it's barely distinguishable from the RVZ02. Why would people choose it? You gave your answer (it looks better), which could equally apply to an mATX or ATX case.Huge IMO here: try to finish your LRPC. That design is a market leader, and what you are proposing here is a market follower... and I'm pretty sure that NCASE will fail as a market follower... let alone the fact that the LRPC looks astonishing, has a superb balance of features and compromises, and only has a little problem that I'm sure you can fix with a bit more time.
I've experimented a bit with the M1-style angled front panel on mATX layouts, but generally it doesn't look good with the proportions. Part of the problem also is the front I/O, which doesn't look right if it's not incorporated in a similar way as the M1, or if it's off-center. I think trying to keep the looks "in the family" is a bit of an artificial limitation that doesn't lend itself to good designs. Really, you want the design to work with the functional elements - the front I/O, air intakes, etc., as well as the size and proportions. For these reasons, I try to make each design the best it can be for each case's unique aspects, rather than trying to shoehorn in some "family resemblance." It ends up being awkward more often than not to do that.Do you have any exterior designs that you can show off? Assuming front intake only, how would you keep the design "in the family" so to say? I imagine the beveled front of the M1 wouldn't mix well with intakes - I remember Lian-Li has tried something similar in the past with a mid tower and it just didn't look right.
I like the PowerMac G5 / Mac Pro design queues, wonderful design. The other ones are very nicely done too, but this one stood out the most for me. I'm very confident your next case (whichever design) will again make me childishly impatient waiting for it to arrive at my doorstep.
Do you mean tall cards? I rendered all of these a while ago, and they're all actually the narrower wide, limited to 92mm rear fan/cooler. As I said in my big post though, I'm leaning more towards supporting full tower coolers/120mm rear fan, and therefore tall GPUs.#1 is pure perfection. The proportions. The colors and the contrast. The front panel. The positioning of the front panel elements. The internal layout. The feet. The window. It's perfect. Only downside for me is the limited space for oversize graphics card
The minimalism is kind of why I like it, and I think different colored exteriors could work well with the design:The solution you have found for #2 looks interesting, but the result is a front that is just a barren desert of brushed aluminium.
The front I/O and slim ODD are pushed up to the top to allow for enough room for the front fans. This design was my attempt to try to do as many things "right," i.e., not upset people by having the interface stuff on the top or side. Here's another set of renders of that design:Your front panel solution for looks nice too. Utilitarian in a good way. Could still need some work though; it looks very busy up there. That area probably should be higher with more room between the ports and buttons.
They'd just be an estimate, as these aren't mechanically complete designs, but you can get an idea from the dimensions of the layout each is based on.Make #1 or I will become a console gamer!
Can we have the dimensions for the cases please?
So the Mac Pro-ish exterior with a traditional internal layout (1a-1c)? The vents would need to be moved from the top to the front panel in that case, and the floor clearance provided by the feet would be largely unnecessary, since the airflow would be completely different. Come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure that design is even realistic; 2mm aluminum may not be sufficiently strong for the foot design, and 4mm would likely be prohibitively expensive.Edit: I would love to see a mix of #1 and #2!
I agree that a lot of the draw of the M1 (and any case) is the exterior design. And I will show some exterior design concepts as things progress. But I want to narrow down the layouts first, and I want to show people why certain decisions are made.
Look, people are initially attracted to a case based on the way it looks. So that's important. But where the rubber meets the road, it still needs to be functional and perform well. The user experience has to be there. So I have to look at the inside.
The M1 supports long GPUs up to the specification max, though, which is 312mm. That's what I'm targeting for this case as well.
As far as height, tall GPUs are where the market is moving. There's nothing I can do about that. Besides which, tall GPU support is "free" with tall CPU cooler and rear 120mm fan support. So height isn't really an issue.
That's not the only reason. I'm certainly not discounting SFX "for the heck of it." Other reasons:
- With SFX you are limited to just a handful of manufacturers, and availability can be an issue.
- Many of the current SFX power supplies are known to have various issues with noise. ATX is simply a better choice in this regard, with passive options available.
- I'm operating on the assumption that if people were interested in the smallest form-factor, they'd opt for mini-ITX, and there it makes sense to also reduce the other components as much as possible.
- Going SFX-only limits you in a way that ATX would not.
There are several layouts that allow for watercooling. Layouts 1a-1c have room for a 240/280 in front and a 120 rear rad. 2b has room for dual 240mm rads.
The LRPC is a separate discussion. But your argument about lack of innovation applies just as well there. From the inside, it's barely distinguishable from the RVZ02. Why would people choose it? You gave your answer (it looks better), which could equally apply to an mATX or ATX case.