Before asking NCASE about Micro-ATX...

Phuncz

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I'm happy to see so much interest in the 2B design. But it does need the sculpted feet to stand out. Maybe another design could work but just regular discs won't cut it.

The suggestion of rotating the board 90 degrees so the rear I/O is on the bottom, also seems appealing, allowing to manage cables. But it would also mean most of the airflow needs to come from the front.
But a perforated black front panel might be a nice solution, hiding the holes visually, a little.

Necere, I have a PowerMac G5 within arm's reach if you need any measurements or high res photos. Just send me a PM, I'd be glad to be able to help out.
 

Urelure

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@necere

I think the S340 intake solution is worth considering for the half G5 design. Haven't really read up on the S340, but if it works there, it should work here. With the intake under the case by the feet, which i really like btw, the solid front panel can be kept and the case could look exactly like on the renders on the outside but with front-back airflow interior design. Maybe there could be a way of incorporating a top inlet as well in the same way?

I am worried that that design with perforated front panel wont be as nice because from all discussions about aluminum case panels on this forum, it seems like hole punching a whole panel will make it warp, and that design would really need the front panel to be evenly and fully punched. The alternative is some sort of mesh, which would probably cheapen the design quite a bit.

I'm liking the last layout. Not exactly a revolution, but 280 (front) and 120 (back) rad support, 5 PCIe slots and the possibility to sacrifice HDD for PSU length is a winner in my book.

I think at this point, the millimeter game is a very unproductive game to play. There are both smaller and bigger cases out there for mATX anyway so size will not be a selling point. I think a beautiful design and possibility for full WC of main components, meaning at least 3x120 rad support should be the main concern
 

Necere

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Something like this was suggested yesterday:



1b layout
380x195x380mm
5 PCIe slots
2x140mm front
1x120mm rear
 

Necere

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The "half mac" is far and away the best visual design thus far. I definitely echo the sentiment on the side vents—they look dated. The feet look elegant, but if they were dropped for M1 style feet it could still be a pretty case if there are issues with thickness.
Personally I'm not such a fan of the M1 feet on a design like that.

I really like the half-mac case look a lot as well, but I doubt I'd dig it as much with standard case feet. Can you give a rough estimate of the cost if you were to make the whole outer shell out of 4mm aluminum?
I couldn't say TBH.

@necere

I think the S340 intake solution is worth considering for the half G5 design. Haven't really read up on the S340, but if it works there, it should work here. With the intake under the case by the feet, which i really like btw, the solid front panel can be kept and the case could look exactly like on the renders on the outside but with front-back airflow interior design. Maybe there could be a way of incorporating a top inlet as well in the same way?
I'm not sure how to manage that in aluminum, though. I mean, imagine the front panel of the S340 made just from a sheet of aluminum. It would seem flimsy. The S340 has a plastic back piece on the front panel, which isn't something we can do.
 

Urelure

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I'm happy to see so much interest in the 2B design. But it does need the sculpted feet to stand out. Maybe another design could work but just regular discs won't cut it.

The suggestion of rotating the board 90 degrees so the rear I/O is on the bottom, also seems appealing, allowing to manage cables. But it would also mean most of the airflow needs to come from the front.
But a perforated black front panel might be a nice solution, hiding the holes visually, a little.

Necere, I have a PowerMac G5 within arm's reach if you need any measurements or high res photos. Just send me a PM, I'd be glad to be able to help out.

I agree with the sculpted feet for that design.

Wouldn't bottom connectors require very high feet for the cables to clear the floor/desk? And wouldn't that high clearance make it difficult to make the cable management look good? Or am i not seeing something here. Also, plugging and unplugging stuff could be a nightmare, having to tip the case over to manage.
 

Urelure

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Something like this was suggested yesterday:
----
1b layout
380x195x380mm
5 PCIe slots
2x140mm front
1x120mm rear

The front does work, but it would look way better if the front panel was one instead of two panels I think.
EDIT: And with the design like this I think the idea of having the ODD on one side, in the actual vent and pushing the I/O further up would be a good idea. Because now there would be room for the ODD in the vent, right?

Also, to me it looks a bit too top heavy with the window to the bottom like that. It would look more balanced with the entire side being one panel and the window being symmetrical. Also 1c would be a better looking layout as the GPU(s) which really stand out in a windowed case like this would be more centered in the build.

I'm not sure how to manage that in aluminum, though. I mean, imagine the front panel of the S340 made just from a sheet of aluminum. It would seem flimsy. The S340 has a plastic back piece on the front panel, which isn't something we can do.

True that. Seems I didn't think it all the way through;)
 
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Necere

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The front does work, but it would look way better if the front panel was one instead of two panels I think.
The reason it's split like that is so the bottom part can be removed to access the filter/screw in the front fans. Otherwise the panel would take the whole front I/O with it, which would be a pain.

Also, to me it looks a bit too top heavy with the window to the bottom like that. It would look more balanced with the entire side being one panel and the window being symmetrical. Also 1c would be a better looking layout as the GPU(s) which really stand out in a windowed case like this would be more centered in the build.
Yeah, I was thinking about that too. This was just a mod of the other design.

EDIT: And with the design like this I think the idea of having the ODD on one side, in the actual vent and pushing the I/O further up would be a good idea. Because now there would be room for the ODD in the vent, right?
Actually no, not unless there's cable management space behind the motherboard (which there isn't), because the optical drive needs to extend behind the motherboard and there's not enough space for it currently.
 
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Phuncz

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Wouldn't bottom connectors require very high feet for the cables to clear the floor/desk? And wouldn't that high clearance make it difficult to make the cable management look good? Or am i not seeing something here. Also, plugging and unplugging stuff could be a nightmare, having to tip the case over to manage.
Personally I wouldn't prefer it over the current 2b design but it might be something that's possible. It would indeed need some space for connectors, but the feet with recessed I/O would make it possible.
 

jalex3

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Something like this was suggested yesterday

I really like this. 1b layout is very much my preferred layout. The front of this looks very nice. I like the air intake and the IO is much nicer that the M1 style.
 

vipz

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I'm not sure how to manage that in aluminum, though. I mean, imagine the front panel of the S340 made just from a sheet of aluminum. It would seem flimsy. The S340 has a plastic back piece on the front panel, which isn't something we can do.

The M1's front panel is damn sturdy. Maybe something like the M1 front panel but minus the beveling and bottom cutout?

I like the new design from today in general. I'll second what Urelure said about the 2 piece front panel and using layout 1C instead.

Would it still look good if you narrowed the intake on each side by say a third but also add intakes on the top and bottom edges?
 

Necere

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The M1's front panel is damn sturdy. Maybe something like the M1 front panel but minus the beveling and bottom cutout?
I didn't say it would be flimsy, I said it would seem that way. Lacking in thickness and solidity, you know?

Would it still look good if you narrowed the intake on each side by say a third but also add intakes on the top and bottom edges?
I had it around the entire perimeter at first, but I didn't care for it. Note the intake is only on the sides below the I/O; the top section is blocked off. Also at the bottom the front fans can be mounted all the way down almost to the floor, so the panel needs to extend down to cover it.
 

bhtooefr

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Otherwise the panel would take the whole front I/O with it, which would be a pain.

My employer (a major PC company) has products with a one-piece (plastic, though) front panel with holes in it for the front I/O to remain attached to the chassis when the panel is removed, so it could be done.

However, I could see other problems with a large front panel without so much as a cutline on it to break things up visually (and, the products I'm thinking of are 26.3 liter Micro-ATX business minitowers, with quite a lot going on in the front panel styling-wise, so it doesn't look one-piece). The M1 works with a (mostly) featureless front panel because it's so small, in my opinion, whereas this wouldn't be particularly small.
 

vipz

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I didn't say it would be flimsy, I said it would seem that way. Lacking in thickness and solidity, you know?

I'm not sure I understand. The S340 front's plastic backing is usually only visible from the top - is that what you're talking about?

kcFnvQ8l.jpg


If so would it work if we basically take M1's front and top panel, and enlarge the top's ODD slot to resemble the S340's top front intake?

I had it around the entire perimeter at first, but I didn't care for it. Note the intake is only on the sides below the I/O; the top section is blocked off. Also at the bottom the front fans can be mounted all the way down almost to the floor, so the panel needs to extend down to cover it.

Makes sense.
 

Necere

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I'm not sure I understand. The S340 front's plastic backing is usually only visible from the top - is that what you're talking about?
Yes. It gives it the impression of solidity, where using just a big hole cut in sheet aluminum doesn't.
 

Sverebom

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Something like this was suggested yesterday:

1b layout
380x195x380mm
5 PCIe slots
2x140mm front
1x120mm rear

I like that one as well. Looks very robust and utilitarian too me. However, I have feeling that the Mac-style design with the perforated black front you have shown early (the one with the full-size ODD in the top) would have a greater mass appeal.

Very happy with the dimensions and glad to see another design based on the variant 1b. The front I/O with the slot-in ODD looks very harmonic.
 

Urelure

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The reason it's split like that is so the bottom part can be removed to access the filter/screw in the front fans. Otherwise the panel would take the whole front I/O with it, which would be a pain.

It looks to be the same I/O as the M1. Like bhtooefr said. Couldn't it be screwed in from the front, onto maybe the same panel as the fans, so that the front panel holes just lines up with the button and connectors?
Anyway it's not that big of a deal if the issues with the side panels were sorted out.

Also this. Think i edited my post after you read it:
EDIT: And with the design like this I think the idea of having the ODD on one side, in the actual vent and pushing the I/O further up would be a good idea. Because now there would be room for the ODD in the vent, right?

And also, pushing the I/o up as far as possible might help with flexibility inside the top front of the case if the cables are more out of the way.

And lastly:
Yeah, I was thinking about that too. This was just a mod of the other design.

That design is very attractive as well. My main gripe with it is this exact issue.
 
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EdZ

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My concern with it, as I've expressed, is that 2mm aluminum may not be sturdy enough for the design of the feet. 4mm would, but that would likely be cost-prohibitive to make the entire out shell out of, and we can't punch the vent holes in the top.
Composite feet, maybe? Feet and shell out of 2mm, then have an extra 2mm (or 4mm, for extra sturdy at the expense of visual symmetry) 'arc' that locates within the foot 'loops' to add strength.
 

Urelure

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The more I look at it, the more I'm starting to lean towards this one with a 5 slot 1c layout.



Not that i want a red case, but the pure minimalism of this is very very attractive. I think it would be very beautiful in silver, both with or without a window. It also solves the issues with the feet nicely. Though the side vent is very similar to old Antec cases and more recently Fractal Design Define series its sleek enough to stand out in the crowd.
 

Siba

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Looks like an matx version of my old lian li pc-a10

With the Mac-styled case, are you worried about the case being unstable on carpet, especially with a fully loaded set of components and watercooling parts?
 

whakojacko

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Just my random 2c, but have you considered a slimmer case with mounting space for a 240mm rad on the side similar to the m1?

Obviously that means no big window, but I agree with other folks that the mATX case space has been much more well developed and just being better looking and easier to work with might not be enough for a lot of folks to justify the big cost premium. A slimmer (~170-175mm?) case that intentionally ditched support for the big air towers while still being easy to work in would be much more unique, although maybe not what the market wants :)

Edit: I missed you talking about more in the 3rd page, its an understandable approach, just very similar to everything else out there. Best of luck regardless :)
 
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The more I look at it, the more I'm starting to lean towards this one with a 5 slot 1c layout.



Not that i want a red case, but the pure minimalism of this is very very attractive. I think it would be very beautiful in silver, both with or without a window. It also solves the issues with the feet nicely. Though the side vent is very similar to old Antec cases and more recently Fractal Design Define series its sleek enough to stand out in the crowd.
A thousand times this.

I will also say, generally speaking, that windows, high-gloss black, and blue LEDs all need to die in a fire.
 

Vittra

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Something like this was suggested yesterday:


1b layout
380x195x380mm
5 PCIe slots
2x140mm front
1x120mm rear

Comparing this against the M1 style, both are aesthetically pleasing in different regards. The I/O portion of the M1 style looks out of place mostly because we are used to it being on the bottom and not the top - perhaps the shaping of the angular cutout for the I/O needs to be tweaked or removed to look more aesthetically pleasing while atop the case. I do, however, like the chamfered design rather than the above's attempt to hide the vents.

On that note - I would state that this particular design, while effective in black, may not translate well to a silver design - from my recollection the idea of this was to hide the vents visibility with an optical illusion (shadow) - but that illusion is dependent on the case being entirely black.

Personally, I'd prefer no window on any design that does get the green light for a go-ahead. Any photos taken will be with the side panel off anyways, and I don't need to see the components once they are in. Additionally, windows placed on the inside as per this design also take up space - 3mm is the average thickness of an acrylic panel to provide sufficient rigidity - that has actually proven the difference between some tower coolers fitting cases between their windowed and non-windowed versions (FT05, S340). I would imagine you've already taken this into account, but I thought I would note this for those who aren't aware.
 

Urelure

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I do, however, like the chamfered design rather than the above's attempt to hide the vents.

I very much disagree on this, but I guess it comes down to personal taste anyway, so no point in going into a discussion about that at this point.

On that note - I would state that this particular design, while effective in black, may not translate well to a silver design - from my recollection the idea of this was to hide the vents visibility with an optical illusion (shadow) - but that illusion is dependent on the case being entirely black.

The way I understand the design, the slit with the vent slots would be black no matter what color the rest of the case is. If it works for red it'll work in silver. And it really works in red in my opinion, apart from the red, that is;)

Personally, I'd prefer no window on any design that does get the green light for a go-ahead. Any photos taken will be with the side panel off anyways, and I don't need to see the components once they are in. Additionally, windows placed on the inside as per this design also take up space - 3mm is the average thickness of an acrylic panel to provide sufficient rigidity - that has actually proven the difference between some tower coolers fitting cases between their windowed and non-windowed versions (FT05, S340). I would imagine you've already taken this into account, but I thought I would note this for those who aren't aware.

I think I'd prefer without a window too, but offering a window would probably still be a very smart move. If it was an option, you wouldn't loose any compatibility with a thin aluminium panel, and would have the choice of making that compromise if you wanted one.

By the way, @necere, In this red design. The radius of the bends at the top/bottom front/back edges looks very small, and i really like it that way. It sets it apart from all the rounded edge cases out there. Do you know if there are any limitations in production of doing it as you've designed it here?
 

Sverebom

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Just a crazy thought: What about flat-angled chamfered side panels instead of a chamfered front panel? Mmmh, propably to complex to build
 

iFreilicht

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Just a crazy thought: What about flat-angled chamfered side panels instead of a chamfered front panel? Mmmh, propably to complex to build

So you mean they would wrap around the edges towards the front panel? Because that actually sounds like a cool idea and could be used to hide vents and an ODD in the front if the resulting gaps between side and front panel were made a little larger than needed.
 

Sverebom

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Was just talking about the sidepanels.

VcH0J9f.png


Of course you could combine that with Necere's most recent design, which could look very cool too. I'm afraid though that the internal frame would become a very complicated (and thus expensive) construction with diagonal bars, and it might not be the most space efficient design. I find chamfered surfaces extremely cool though.
 

Lord_Vale3

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The more I look at it, the more I'm starting to lean towards this one with a 5 slot 1c layout.



Not that i want a red case, but the pure minimalism of this is very very attractive. I think it would be very beautiful in silver, both with or without a window. It also solves the issues with the feet nicely. Though the side vent is very similar to old Antec cases and more recently Fractal Design Define series its sleek enough to stand out in the crowd.


I also really like this design
 

Urelure

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Was just talking about the sidepanels.

[top view]

Of course you could combine that with Necere's most recent design, which could look very cool too. I'm afraid though that the internal frame would become a very complicated (and thus expensive) construction with diagonal bars, and it might not be the most space efficient design. I find chamfered surfaces extremely cool though.

I think this would look a bit off in practice. Corsair did something kind of like this with the Graphite T-series, but that is acompletely different design laguage that i dont think would work well here. I'm afaraid it'll make it look kinda overweight.
 

veryrarium

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Sorry I haven't caught up with the thread so I'm going back to refer to Necere's post from a week ago:

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?

There were such cases 10 years ago though it's not so SFF, was quite popular in my country where they were sold:
card_space.jpg

sfx.jpg

(the second case is a special edition of the first allowing an ATX/SFX PSU combo or an SFX PSU with an extra 3.5" HDD cage installed where the ATX PSU holder is.)

Back to reading up...
 
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bhtooefr

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One problem with that particular layout is that the width increases both volume and footprint a lot - it's 203 mm wide, producing a 30.6 liter case, it appears.

However, without the dual PSU support, that might help.
 

Necere

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The more I look at it, the more I'm starting to lean towards this one with a 5 slot 1c layout.



Not that i want a red case, but the pure minimalism of this is very very attractive. I think it would be very beautiful in silver, both with or without a window. It also solves the issues with the feet nicely. Though the side vent is very similar to old Antec cases and more recently Fractal Design Define series its sleek enough to stand out in the crowd.

A thousand times this.

I will also say, generally speaking, that windows, high-gloss black, and blue LEDs all need to die in a fire.

I also really like this design
It's honestly the one I want to do the most. It's not immediately eye-catching the way the Mac-like designs, but that's kind of the point: it doesn't need to be. It just fits in, clean and unobtrusive. The functional elements are reduced to the bare minimum and tucked away, easily accessible, but not distracting. And when you do notice it, it's all premium-feeling materials and construction. This to me is the ideal of good design.

This subforum may not actually be the most fitting demographic for a case like this, given the overall volume we're looking at for the design. At close to 30L, it's actually still on the lower end of the size range for a mostly full-featured mATX case, but not that appealing for SFF purists. It may well hold more appeal for the silent crowd, or just anyone who wants an unobtrusive, premium-quality medium-small case that can take pretty much whatever you want to put in it (excepting 5.25" devices).

There's also the possibility of scaling the design down to ITX, which would be fairly easy to do. It wouldn't be the smallest ITX case out there - probably around 20L - but it would fill a similar niche, I think, for people looking for a nice balanced design that can still pack some decent hardware. A 240 rad in a case under 20L is still somewhat of a rarity, so along with a window option, that could be appealing to some people.

Just a crazy thought: What about flat-angled chamfered side panels instead of a chamfered front panel? Mmmh, propably to complex to build
I've played around with this a bit. It can look okay from certain angles, but not so much from others. The problem is working with sheet metal you're limited to how you can bend things, typically restricted to one axis, so you end up with things like a big flat top panel with no bends. It's not bad on the M1 since it's on the smaller side and breaks it up with vent holes, but on a bigger case with no features on top it looks off.
 
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Vittra

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Aesthetically it's my favourite design as well. So long as it's a slightly modified 1c that incorporates a 5th slot rather than the original 4 slot design, I'm all for it.

The SFF section is the best place on [H] regardless of it's size, especially with NCASE/M1's roots being here. The general cases section is quite dead... you'd have to expand to other forums for further feedback.

Note regarding down-scaling the design to ITX - The Fractal Core 500 is 20.2L (including feet, etc). It can fit a 280 or 240mm rad - that would potentially be the direct competition for such a design.
 

Necere

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Aesthetically it's my favourite design as well. So long as it's a slightly modified 1c that incorporates a 5th slot rather than the original 4 slot design, I'm all for it.
I think that makes the most sense, yeah.

Note regarding down-scaling the design to ITX - The Fractal Core 500 is 20.2L (including feet, etc). It can fit a 280 or 240mm rad - that would potentially be the direct competition for such a design.
In terms of raw specs, the Core 500 would be better. The layout with front PSU + boxy proportions can't really be beat for space efficiency under 20L, and is what allows for full CPU tower cooler, ATX PSU, and 280mm rad support.

In contrast, I envision an ITX version of this concept as scaled down in all dimensions, and supporting smaller hardware: SFX PSU, 92mm-class coolers/rear fan, 240mm rad. Here's an image I made (a few months ago, actually):



As you can see, this is a 3-slot concept that actually supports an mATX board in much the same way as the mATX version supports an ATX board. This does limit it to using an SFX PSU, however. The dimensions of this are 310x175x370mm.
 

Urelure

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That is just brilliant. Matx in itx makes som much more sense than atx in matx. X99 suppot will be much wider, a lot less ram limitation, and the possibility of adding a pcie ssd along side the gpu. I havent checked them all, but all the matx X99 boards i have checked offer direct cpu lanes on the third slot so bootable nvme is good to go. And the design is very scalable.

I can easily se the possibility of ncases first case series here. First matx, then itx(kinda matx) and then maybe even a full blown ethusiast grade atx. This could be good.
 

Sverebom

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I agree with Urelure. That combination is way more interesting for the small form factor market than the mATX/ATX hybrid. The only problem is: Why should people buy that case, apart from superior look?

Necere, what are your thoughts about the direction of this discussion? Which internal and external design is your favorite at the moment?
 
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Urelure

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To be clear. I wasn't saying the matx case didn't make sense. Just shoehorning an atx board in it.
 
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