Before asking NCASE about Micro-ATX...

vipz

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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.

Your reasoning makes perfect sense to me and I agree.

This is based on the 2b layout.

This is my favorite. Reminds me of the FT02, which IMO along with the FT03 are by far the most stylish entries in the series. I love the two tone front. I think it would look the best if vents could be incorporated along the perimeter of the front panel, like the NZXT Source 210 but minus the weird angles. I vastly prefer that approach compared to the slots on the sides seen on the other designs.

Also 1c.
Something about how the bottom vents "hide behind" the side panels really stands out to me, in a very good way. Not saying this needs to be incorporated into the the final product if it is based on the first design, just something I want to call out.
 

vipz

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I have to say no to a straight Mac Pro ripoff. The top handles just don't do it for me.
 

Necere

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True, but it does so without compromising the design. Unless I'm missing something the way the psu sits by the motherboard, there is no way you can't mount such a long vga there... but I don't think it was because you wanted to have such compatibility... but it simply happened because of how the psu and the motherboard are located. Or did you have other things to put where the end of the vga lies?
Well, if you look at most of the mATX layouts, the depth isn't just due to the GPU. In 1a-1c, the drives sit in front of the PSU, so the depth is needed for the drives and the cables exiting the PSU. There really aren't any other good places to put them. You and I may be over 3.5" HDDs, but lots of people still need the capacity they provide.

I didn't mention anything about height because yes, taller than normal gpu's seem to be the norm, and I doubt they will go away.
And the fact is a lot of the tall GPUs are also long. Maybe not the full 312mm, but not far off, either.

I wasn't referring to the designs not allowing watercooling... I was referring to the fact that, again, there is no compromise. They allow anything, which means that they are flexible... and, because of that, the dimensions of the case will be pretty much the same as any other case.
You're not wrong, but at the same time, what would the value in compromising be in this case? I've given my reasons for why I think things should be a certain way, so if you think things should be otherwise, please explain why. And I mean beyond, "it's not different." There's no value in being different for different's sake, IMO. There needs to be a compelling reason to compromise, otherwise it's just a waste.


Suggestions: I like the LRPC looks... meaning: try to escape the traditional case formatting. AKA, make the case slimmer than standard. This implies using 92mm fan for the rear... but, imo, the case looks much much better, and different from where the rest of the market is going. At the same time you should have enough space for taller gpu's, and big enough heatsinks or AIO.
What's "big enough?" The M1 doesn't support many taller GPUs, and the CPU cooler height is limited to 130mm. Adding 10-15mm opens up the options a bit, but at that point it's only another 15mm until it supports full tower coolers and a rear 120mm fan, which gets you significantly better cooling for the CPU, as well as providing better system cooling by removing more of the GPU exhaust.

Have you ever experimented more with the A4 style with risers?
Yes, quite extensively. But I don't think they make sense for form factors larger than mini-ITX.

I would switch to mATX for this case, wow dude.

Stunning.
Thank Jony Ive and/or Dieter Rams :p

I have to say no to a straight Mac Pro ripoff. The top handles just don't do it for me.
Yeah, it wasn't something I was seriously considering anyway. Just a design exercise.
 

Necere

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This is the most recent design I've worked on:



The concept was inspired partly by cellphone design. It's using the 1a layout, with full 165mm tower cooler support and rear 120mm fan. Dimensions are 360x200x420mm/30.2L, so squarely in TJ08-E territory.
 

onegaynerd

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If you like that, I've got even more an oldschool Mac Pro ripoff for you:




This design looks stunning. The side panels (assuming they use the same snap on method) could easily be swapped for windowed versions too, though I like the solid look personally. If this design made it as the mATX NCASE, I would buy it and use my M1 for a bookshelf HTPC and build a beastly rig with this.

Also Necere, have you considered using a bracket of sorts similar to the M1/Prodigy side brackets? Could add mounting points for fans, drives, the PSU, or other things.
 

astheria

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That last case looks fantastic. Love the contrast, window, and clean looks.

I know making a case that works with many possible part combinations is hard. I'm curious how much thought has been given to what can be done with some restrictions? For example, 1 or no HDDs, no optical drive, and/or some limitations on oversized GPU's.

The biggest reason to look at micro-ATX for me (and I would assume others) is largely the ability to SLI GPU's. With the ever increasing affordability and capacity of SSD's (not to mention M.2's ability to remove drives and sata connections from the mix entirely, it seems opportunity is there to do something smaller or more radical than other manufacturers who are attempting to support as many configs as possible.

Excited to see what you come up with.
 

Necere

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This design looks stunning. The side panels (assuming they use the same snap on method) could easily be swapped for windowed versions too, though I like the solid look personally. If this design made it as the mATX NCASE, I would buy it and use my M1 for a bookshelf HTPC and build a beastly rig with this.
I feel like if we did that design, we'd get constantly flamed for ripping off the old Mac Pro. It's a nice design, but it's a nice famous, iconic design. At least when Bitfenix did it it wasn't quite so blatant.

Also Necere, have you considered using a bracket of sorts similar to the M1/Prodigy side brackets?
Not really, but it's an idea. Like if you weren't using a tall CPU cooler or GPU, you could fit more storage... I don't know. It seems a little awkward to me.

That last case looks fantastic. Love the contrast, window, and clean looks.

I know making a case that works with many possible part combinations is hard. I'm curious how much thought has been given to what can be done with some restrictions? For example, 1 or no HDDs, no optical drive, and/or some limitations on oversized GPU's.
Look at the 3a layout, it's more or less the layout Aibohphobia is doing with his case with an ATX PSU mounted. If you really wanted to limit things (CPU cooler/GPU height/length), you could get down to 15L or so.

A tightly packed 2c could slide in under 20L:

KLxyFrA.png
 
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Curiositie

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I really dig that layout.

Is there any way to hang the PSU over the Ram slots, maybe mount drives behind it?
Dunno if that would help anything or not.
 

Necere

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I really dig that layout.

Is there any way to hang the PSU over the Ram slots, maybe mount drives behind it?
Dunno if that would help anything or not.
The PSU's modular connectors would run into the GPU, so it's either 1) restrict PSU length to 140mm; or 2) increase the distance between the GPU and PSU, either by increasing case height ~20mm, or by dropping the 5th slot.

chVEEEP.png
 

osirus35

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Own an m1 and love the renders so far for this project. Have you ever thought about doing a dual chamber design like the Corsair 240 with the PSU on its side but less 'boxy'
 

Necere

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Have you ever thought about doing a dual chamber design like the Corsair 240 with the PSU on its side but less 'boxy'
How would you do that though, realistically? The boxiness is kind of inherent in the design... by putting the PSU behind the motherboard rather than over, under, above, or in front, the case becomes 86mm wider and 86mm shorter, which is what leads to the boxiness.
 

Curiositie

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Ah, I forgot to consider the connectors.

Would work with SFX/L PSU's, but having the option to mount ATX PSU's is definitely good, especially in mATX where people would be less willing to compromise with SFX.


Rotating it 90* to the left with the connectors hanging over the board probably isn't a great option either because the AC port and cables interfering with CPU coolers. Yeah?
 

Necere

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Rotating it 90* to the left with the connectors hanging over the board probably isn't a great option either because the AC port and cables interfering with CPU coolers. Yeah?
Right, it's considerably longer in that direction: 20mm for the angle plug, 20-30mm for the modular connectors, makes a 160mm long PSU over 200mm long.
 

updawg

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The PSU's modular connectors would run into the GPU, so it's either 1) restrict PSU length to 140mm; or 2) increase the distance between the GPU and PSU, either by increasing case height ~20mm, or by dropping the 5th slot.

chVEEEP.png

If you had feet on the bottom of the case you could use the same style plug that is in the M1 but have it run on the outside. That way the psu you could be flush with the bottom.
 

Necere

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If you had feet on the bottom of the case you could use the same style plug that is in the M1 but have it run on the outside. That way the psu you could be flush with the bottom.
Like the British say, that'd be rather naff. Besides, the feet are 10mm, but the plug is taller than that.
 

hyperdoggy

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Would it be possible for any of the said layout to adopt mounting for Dual 180/200mm radiator? I seen them more common as of late, and they seems to be more space efficient than using a 240mm loop.
 

hyperdoggy

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Or under, like the Silverstone FT2. i believe that's the case that started the dual/triple 200mm fad.
 

Sverebom

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The minimalism is kind of why I like it, and I think different colored exteriors could work well with the design:


After thinking about it I came to the conclusion, that I like this concept the most. I love the edges, that gives it a monolithic appearance, and the little details like how the outer skeleton enframes the side panels or recessed sidepanel vents. However, the I/O panel shouldn't be on the side of the case, although it looks great. That limits the compatibility of the case, and the only reason I haven't bought the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv yet is that I cannot use it at my workplace due to the position of the I/O panel.

Another obvious problem with that design is the outer frame, that looks as if it was made from one large piece of aluminium. That would probably be very expensive. Maybe we can reduce the cost a bit and bring back some of the design elements of the M1.


0dWNUbI.png


xmVpSon.png



Move the ODD to bottom section of the case. That would allo you to integrate the ODD into the front panel I/O and bring back that characteristic design element of the M2. Plus: The necessary and unavoidable cut in the oouter shell would be integrated into the design. Two more cuts would be possible in the back panel where the side panel handles overlap the rear of the case. That would significantly reduce the size of the frame components and thus hopefully help to reduce the cost. The diagonal elements in the sidepanel are just an idea.
 

Sverebom

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This is the most recent design I've worked on:



The concept was inspired partly by cellphone design. It's using the 1a layout, with full 165mm tower cooler support and rear 120mm fan. Dimensions are 360x200x420mm/30.2L, so squarely in TJ08-E territory.


That is another fantastic design that I like very much and that I could see becoming a product. I appreciate the compatibility for large coolers and GPUs and I think that putting the PSU into the top (like in the good old days) is actually a good idea to reduce the amount of vents and fans.

However, there are a few things I would change:

1 - It's waaaaay to deep. That makes it unnecessarily hard to fit it on a table, not to mention that the proportions look odd to me. I think that a case should always be higher than it is deep, unless it is an (ITX) shoebox.

2 - It looks as if there was plenty of place in the top section. You could probably fit four clunky 3.5''-HDDs in that section if you'd get rid of the the full-size ODD and replace it with a slimline ODD (as always slot-in preferred for the aesthetics).

3 - Maybe you should really get rid of 3.5''-HDDs and focus more on compact drives. With a modular mount it would still be easy get one or two 3.5''-HDDs into the case.

4 - Once the clunky 3.5''-HDDs are out of the way, you could make the case much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much, much shorter and maybe even put it into the 350mm range which I would consider perfect for a "tabletop PC"

5 - With a depth of ~360mm you could still fit an R9 Fury and a thin 280mm radiator inside the case. I assume that you want compatibility for full length GPUs and massive radiators, but honestly, how many people use a GPU that is significantly longer than 300mm, and how many of these people would install such a monster GPU into such a small case? Draw the line somewhere! Make sure that an R9 Fury Strix can fit into the case and you have 90+ percent of the enthusiast market covered.

6 - The front and side panel don't harmonize well with each other. That cut in the side panel runs directly into the upper end of the front panel vents, and the entire front I/O section looks a bit cramped (mainly because of the 5.25''-bay, which needs to go anyway if you ask me).

7 - Maybe you could bring back the front panel cutout of the M1. Rotate it by 180°, put it right under the top panel and place the slimline ODD behind it in a slightly recessed position. That would even allow the use of much cheaper "tray type" slimline ODDs without destryoing an otherwise clean front panel.

8 - Maybe place a second cutout at the bottom as handle for easier removal of the front panel. Or just make the ODD cutout deep enough so that it can also function as handle.

9 - With the all the drives moved to the top section, you could also split the cable routing from the rest of the system for cleaner cable management. Furthermore you could also gain an easier access to the drive section by just removing the top cover (instead of having to remove both side panels to gain access to both the drives and the cable management).

10 - Keep in mind that you need unique selling points. A nice exterior alone probably won't do it. Many manufacturers build these large cases with the drives (or support for overly massive radiators) in the front section, and given the price we can expect for your design, people would quite likely rather get a Silverstone case or the Enthoo Evolv. But if you do something new with the drives and get them out of the way, you could shrink the size of the case without losing performance and design an cooling powerhouse with just three fans that produce a massive "air tunnel" for the performance components, and all that in a small footprint. I can't think of single case that does that with style.

Plus: A smaller case (thanks to a more efficent use of the internal space) means less material and a more attractive price point (right?).




Made a quick sketch. The dimensions are 360x360.

aBbzP87.png



1 - Like I said the ODD would be recessed behin a cutout that also functions as handle to remove the front panel.

2 - Room for PSUs up to 200mm. I would actually limit it to 180mm and use that space more efficiently for various drive configurations though.

3 - There can fit at least two 3.5''-HDDs with plenty of space between them, or three 3.5''-HDDs with probably too little space between them (0.5mm). I would probably reduce the cage to two 3.5''-HDDs and offer additional mounts at the bottom for people who really need them.

4 - I would design a modular solution for the drive section that allows a wide range of different configurations of drives and form factors.

5 - Enough room for a 300mm GPU and radiator in the front. It won't be a water-cooling beast, but the average AiO-cooler will fit into this case.
 
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D

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I have a dumb question.

Why is there such a stubborn insistence on supporting multiple 3.5" hard drives?
I mean, for an SFF-ish case, I could see ONE 3.5" HDD.
But for everything else wouldn't surface-mounted SSD (or 2.5" drives) make more sense?
 

Sverebom

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I have a dumb question.

Why is there such a stubborn insistence on supporting multiple 3.5" hard drives?
I mean, for an SFF-ish case, I could see ONE 3.5" HDD.
But for everything else wouldn't surface-mounted SSD (or 2.5" drives) make more sense?

That's something I don't understand either. Most people store their games and programs (that require the speed) on SSDs anyway, and for everything else a 5400RPM 2.5''-HDD is enough. I'm sure that there are people who need the 7200RPM for some reason (video artists for example, who move huge amounts of data all the time), and there certainly are people who don't want to replace a good HDD with a smaller form factor just because the case requests it, but it is not difficult to give them one or two mounts for their clunky drives. A drive cage that can hold four 2.5''-HDDs can also hold two 3.5''-HDDs, which is enough for most people (and if necessary you can always offer additional mounts in the bottom)

Guys, let's finally phase out 3.5''-HDDs and build really interesting cases! 2.5''-HDDs aren't that expensive anymore, especially not when you can afford 500 Dollar GPUs and 300 Dollar CPUs.
 

Urelure

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That's something I don't understand either. Most people store their games and programs (that require the speed) on SSDs anyway, and for everything else a 5400RPM 2.5''-HDD is enough. I'm sure that there are people who need the 7200RPM for some reason (video artists for example, who move huge amounts of data all the time), and there certainly are people who don't want to replace a good HDD with a smaller form factor just because the case requests it, but it is not difficult to give them one or two mounts for their clunky drives. A drive cage that can hold four 2.5''-HDDs can also hold two 3.5''-HDDs, which is enough for most people (and if necessary you can always offer additional mounts in the bottom)

Guys, let's finally phase out 3.5''-HDDs and build really interesting cases! 2.5''-HDDs aren't that expensive anymore, especially not when you can afford 500 Dollar GPUs and 300 Dollar CPUs.

Though I personally will never put a mechanical drive in a computer again, there is still a lot of people using them, so it isn't outdated yet. I also think that if supported, there should be support for 2 for redundancy. I think 4 is a bit unnecessary though.

I think a bracket like onegaynerd suggested over the GPU's and CPU area would be a good compromise. Either tall GPU and CPU cooler, and visible internals, or 2x3,5".
 

Sverebom

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Well, yeah, of course I can see why people wouldn't throw away a good 3.25''-HDD as long as it is still doing its job. Even I would probably not replace my current 2TB 3.25''-HDD if I don't have to. But what I really want to abandon are these somewhat classic old school cases with mounts for four to six 3.25''-HDDs. We should finally get over that. A drive cage that can hold two 3.25''-HDDs plus two optional mounts in the bottom should be enough to cover all people.


I think a bracket like onegaynerd suggested over the GPU's and CPU area would be a good compromise. Either tall GPU and CPU cooler, and visible internals, or 2x3,5".
For Necere's most recent design I have a better idea I think with a drive cage that can hold two 3.25''-HDDs in horizontal orientation or up to four 2.5''-HDDs/SSDs in vertical orientation plus (in both configurations) one or two 2.5''-drives attached to the outside of the cage. That cage would fit between the front panel and the PSUs and not obstruct the airflow for the other components. And for those who really need that many 3.25''-drives there could be mounts in the bottom. So there could be up to five 2.5''-drives and two or three drives in the bottom. That should really cover all eventualities and the case wouldn't have to be absurdly large (just to fit more drives).
 

Urelure

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Have you thought about some sort of rail system like the new Streacom F12C chassis? Incorporated the right way you could utilize whatever space you're not using to put HDD's, SSDs, Fans, Rads, Pumps... anything really.
Caselabs Cases has something as this too.
Imagine the entire front of the case being mesh. Along the inside on each side there's a rail. On this rail there could be shelves for stuff or brackets for fans that could be moved up and down.
There could for instance be 2 sets of fan brackets for 120 or 140mm fans. They could fit both but have to be adjusted in height depending in size of fan. And there could be 2 L-shaped shelves with the possibility of either having 1x3,5" inch drive in the classical "cage orientation" with the connectors facing sideways, or however many 2,5 inch drives you could fit on their side, only fastened on one side.

This way you could sacrifice airflow and GPU support to include however many drives you wanted, or disregard drives altogether. You could have a few drives in the bottom front, sacrificing GPU support or on the top like Svereboms last drawing.

...am I making sense at all? Could always resort to MS Paint;)
 

Urelure

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Something like this:

kmDU83A.png


Rails in front (black), brackets in purple... ah you get it.

Oh.. and no. This is not to scale.

Edit:

You could even do this:

SJcGH7M.png


It would possibly make you able to make it smaller an let people make their own compromises, much like with the M1.

Edit2: This could work well with the red solid front panel design too
 
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Phuncz

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If you like that, I've got even more an oldschool Mac Pro ripoff for you:

While that design could indeed be called a "rip-off", that name wouldn't hold up against that design I referenced earlier. I'm not a fan of the former, but I'm extatic for the latter. To me the design with the black solid front feels more like a hefty wink than a design grab. And it would also feel more Ncase instead of a random Chinese knockoff brand. Also because the setup is completely different (airflow), yet some of the typical Mac Pro details are there. I have a Mac Pro case within arm's reach so I compared very dilligently :D
 

Vittra

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This is the most recent design I've worked on:


The concept was inspired partly by cellphone design. It's using the 1a layout, with full 165mm tower cooler support and rear 120mm fan. Dimensions are 360x200x420mm/30.2L, so squarely in TJ08-E territory.

If going this route, I would strongly recommend ensuring a 200mm rad+fan can fit in the front without the HDDs mounted. The dimensions are already there, and while the TJ08-E accomplished this accidentally the 80/200mm rad support radically changed what the case was capable of.

Is the top panel removable in this design? It would allow for ease of use of a bay reservoir for filling/draining/bleeding, and cable management of the PSU.

Edit - Giving some thought to Sverebom's comments about GPU lengths, there is the real possibility that the R9 Nano was a preview of what may become the norm for Arctic Islands and Pascal. If the respective lineups actually employ smaller PCBs throughout the range (at least in terms of length) due to HBM2, it would be worth considering the implications - either in reduction of size of certain case designs, or in how that space can be effectively used so it doesn't end up wasted. The problem is we are still too far out, so it is mere speculation at this point.
 
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Sverebom

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If the respective lineups actually employ smaller PCBs throughout the range (at least in terms of length) due to HBM2

I don't necessarily see that happen, at least not because of HBM2. The current GPU formats are well established. I don't think that AMD and Nvidia would limit their power and thermal layouts (and thus the performance of their GPUs) to a 19cm PCB when most customers accept much larger graphics cards. And even if they both release much shorter reference cards in the future, most manufacturers would still design "enthusiast cards" with large coolers. Most people would rather buy the larger (and quieter and cooler) cards than the smaller reference cards since already have the cases for these cards anway. Therefore I don't see graphics card becoming smaller in the near feature, unless the market will demand it (which I think won't happen).
 

Siba

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How does a 200mm radiator compare in performance to a 240mm rad? Are there any high static pressure 200mm fans that work well with radiators at low noise levels?

I think in a larger case, I'd want to be able to fit 2x200mm radiators if the case width was already there.
 

Necere

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After thinking about it I came to the conclusion, that I like this concept the most. I love the edges, that gives it a monolithic appearance, and the little details like how the outer skeleton enframes the side panels or recessed sidepanel vents. However, the I/O panel shouldn't be on the side of the case, although it looks great.
I touched on this in my layout post. Some people have a real problem with side I/O, some people don't.

Another obvious problem with that design is the outer frame, that looks as if it was made from one large piece of aluminium. That would probably be very expensive.

That was an earlier render when I was roughing out the concept. If you look at the other pic I posted, you'll see that the front panel is now a separate piece.


Maybe we can reduce the cost a bit and bring back some of the design elements of the M1.

0dWNUbIm.png


xmVpSonm.png


Move the ODD to bottom section of the case. That would allo you to integrate the ODD into the front panel I/O and bring back that characteristic design element of the M2.
This is a good example what I mean when I say you shouldn't try to shoehorn the M1's design elements into a different design. It doesn't look right, and the slim ODD can't possibly work in that location.


That is another fantastic design that I like very much and that I could see becoming a product. I appreciate the compatibility for large coolers and GPUs and I think that putting the PSU into the top (like in the good old days) is actually a good idea to reduce the amount of vents and fans.

However, there are a few things I would change:

1 - It's waaaaay to deep. That makes it unnecessarily hard to fit it on a table, not to mention that the proportions look odd to me. I think that a case should always be higher than it is deep, unless it is an (ITX) shoebox.
Layout 1b is the reduced depth version of this layout.

2 - It looks as if there was plenty of place in the top section. You could probably fit four clunky 3.5''-HDDs in that section
There really isn't that much space, particularly in the shorter version. Two, maybe three 3.5" HDDs max.

5 - With a depth of ~360mm you could still fit an R9 Fury and a thin 280mm radiator inside the case. I assume that you want compatibility for full length GPUs and massive radiators, but honestly, how many people use a GPU that is significantly longer than 300mm, and how many of these people would install such a monster GPU into such a small case?
Based on how often people have asked about such cards in the M1, plenty. People buy big, expensive, high end hardware to put in an expensive case. I can't ignore that.

Draw the line somewhere! Make sure that an R9 Fury Strix can fit into the case and you have 90+ percent of the enthusiast market covered.
My target at this point is the GTX 980 ti Strix, which is 305mm long and 153mm tall.

7 - Maybe you could bring back the front panel cutout of the M1. Rotate it by 180°, put it right under the top panel and place the slimline ODD behind it in a slightly recessed position.
I don't think it works well on this design.

9 - With the all the drives moved to the top section, you could also split the cable routing from the rest of the system for cleaner cable management. Furthermore you could also gain an easier access to the drive section by just removing the top cover (instead of having to remove both side panels to gain access to both the drives and the cable management).
That was actually what I was planning with this design. It's another reason you can't completely pack the top with drives - there needs to be enough room for cables.

Made a quick sketch. The dimensions are 360x360.

aBbzP87m.png
If you want to make mockups, it's much more useful if you use accurate part sizes. Here's my sketchup file if anyone wants to use it: Case layout planning Sketchup file

I have a dumb question.

Why is there such a stubborn insistence on supporting multiple 3.5" hard drives?
I mean, for an SFF-ish case, I could see ONE 3.5" HDD.
But for everything else wouldn't surface-mounted SSD (or 2.5" drives) make more sense?

That's something I don't understand either. Most people store their games and programs (that require the speed) on SSDs anyway, and for everything else a 5400RPM 2.5''-HDD is enough. I'm sure that there are people who need the 7200RPM for some reason (video artists for example, who move huge amounts of data all the time), and there certainly are people who don't want to replace a good HDD with a smaller form factor just because the case requests it, but it is not difficult to give them one or two mounts for their clunky drives. A drive cage that can hold four 2.5''-HDDs can also hold two 3.5''-HDDs, which is enough for most people (and if necessary you can always offer additional mounts in the bottom)

Guys, let's finally phase out 3.5''-HDDs and build really interesting cases! 2.5''-HDDs aren't that expensive anymore, especially not when you can afford 500 Dollar GPUs and 300 Dollar CPUs.
Well, like I said in my layout post I'm targeting two 3.5 HDDs as the baseline. Most of the layouts I presented only have room for two drives. The four drive design is based on the 1a layout and can easily be shortened to the two-drive 1b layout.

The reason for supporting 3.5" HDDs at all is because people still use, want, or need them. 2.5" HDDs max out at 2TB, while 3.5" HDDs are hitting 8 and 10TB. You could build a system with a bunch of 2.5" drives, of course, but keep in mind every drive needs two cables and a free SATA port. That's a lot of extra clutter. There's something to be said for that much storage density in a single drive.

It sounds like the responses so far are leaning heavily away from the 1a layout, and more towards the 1b, so I'll focus on that (or another two-drive max) layout going forward.

If going this route, I would strongly recommend ensuring a 200mm rad+fan can fit in the front without the HDDs mounted. The dimensions are already there
200mm wide does not imply that a 200mm fan/rad will fit. The chassis needs space to either side for fasteners etc., so it would necessitate a width increase to 215-220mm.

Is the top panel removable in this design? It would allow for ease of use of a bay reservoir for filling/draining/bleeding, and cable management of the PSU.
These are concepts, not mechanically fleshed-out designs, but that was my intention.

Giving some thought to Sverebom's comments about GPU lengths, there is the real possibility that the R9 Nano was a preview of what may become the norm for Arctic Islands and Pascal. If the respective lineups actually employ smaller PCBs throughout the range (at least in terms of length) due to HBM2, it would be worth considering the implications - either in reduction of size of certain case designs, or in how that space can be effectively used so it doesn't end up wasted. The problem is we are still too far out, so it is mere speculation at this point.

I don't necessarily see that happen, at least not because of HBM2. The current GPU formats are well established. I don't think that AMD and Nvidia would limit their power and thermal layouts (and thus the performance of their GPUs) to a 19cm PCB when most customers accept much larger graphics cards. And even if they both release much shorter reference cards in the future, most manufacturers would still design "enthusiast cards" with large coolers. Most people would rather buy the larger (and quieter and cooler) cards than the smaller reference cards since already have the cases for these cards anway. Therefore I don't see graphics card becoming smaller in the near feature, unless the market will demand it (which I think won't happen).
Even if the PCBs get shorter with HBM, it doesn't necessarily follow that overall card size will get any smaller. TDPs may still be high, requiring the same oversized coolers.
 

Sverebom

Weaksauce
Joined
May 11, 2014
Messages
88
@Necere
Sorry, I got so deep into this topic and all these ideas (while having my head wrapped around another unrelated topic) that I forget your initial comment where you explained your thoughts and considerations in great detail. You have already covered all my thoughts, and variant 1b is the result of that. I feel a bit stupid now for wasting your and my time with thoughts that you had already answered with your initial post.

I would like to see variant 1b with your most recent design. I also think that you should add that fifth slot for people who need it or for people who want to mount additional fans or HDDs at the bottom. It would also elevate the components a bit, which makes them more visible through a window. Furthermore I don't think that the lack of a dedicated fan intake for the PSU is a problem. We do worse stuff to PSUs these day, and they can take it well.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
642
Personally, I would very gladly buy an MATX version of the M1. What I'd like to see is just an extension of the current design. Slight bigger chasis in order to fit the board, compaxt ATX PSU support, and support for 180mm height cpu air coolers and 140mm water coolers.
 

Aircoookie

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 6, 2015
Messages
375
As Necere stated before, that isn't as easy as it seems. The motherboard is not only taller, but also wider, which lowers the free space between m/b and end of GPU where you could put a psu, therefore it's not space/airflow/compatibility-wise advisable to enlarge the M1 layout
 

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
Personally, I would very gladly buy an MATX version of the M1. What I'd like to see is just an extension of the current design. Slight bigger chasis in order to fit the board, compaxt ATX PSU support, and support for 180mm height cpu air coolers and 140mm water coolers.
It wouldn't be "slightly bigger" though, that's the thing. Take a look at this layout again:



Do you see room to reduce that any more with those components? Not likely. So a case based on this layout could be expected to be at least 320x360mm (including bottom clearance for air intake/exhaust), and for 165mm tall CPU cooler support it needs to be a minimum of 190mm wide... 320x360x190 = 21.9L. That's 62% larger than the M1 (at 13.5L overall). And that's not including the 180mm cooler or 140mm radiator you mention.

To be clear, I'm not opposed to this layout. But it's important to understand the implications of what you're asking for, and keep your expectations in check. A mATX case only "slightly bigger" than the M1 isn't a possibility, unless you're willing to accept major compromises to get there (e.g., PSU over motherboard with max cooler height limited to <65mm).
 
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andgo

Weaksauce
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
99
The idea of allowing the case to fit an ATX board is very interesting, it doesn't matter if the bottom slots are not actually usable. It would make the case more flexible without sacrificing height. It would just be an mATX case that also fits ATX boards.

I also hope that you ditch the 5.25" bay and the optical slot (or make it optional like in the M1).
 
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