Before asking NCASE about Micro-ATX...

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
With the PSU over the CPU design, do you intend to have all of the expansion slots available? Or still limiting to 4/5?

Yeah, all slots available when psu is over cpu but the last one only for single slot. Once again - it's about dual config:

1) - Air cooled, only one card, or two cards cramped one to another (this motherboard cad model don't have the first pci-e slot)

GCb3eVm.jpg


2) - Water cooled, multiple cards, all slots available except for last one (outer wall just after the end of the ATX footprint)

IKXxQdL.jpg
IT could be made like ATX psu mount over the cpu area that would let you mount ATX psu only with water cooling block but you'd have SFX adapter bracket that is letting you mount the SFX in there or instead of last three slots

EDIT: Scratch that idea of supporting SFX over pci-e slots. ATX over motherboard is simply enough to make a proper case. I did a quick layout concept and it looks so obvious.
Actually making 17L ATX case with ATX psu over the cpu is quite possible even with water cooling. I did the draft assembly and it looks so obvious to do. Why noone is making this?

eM4wYcY.jpg

NvGLMdT.jpg

AwWeF4m.jpg

8X7mP46.jpg

WoeUrKP.jpg

mTHXUNl.jpg

Case dimensions would be 330 x 305 x 168 mm

Coolers/blocks up to 55m tall. 280 rad mount in front of the case that would fit with fans when gpu's have water blocks.
 
Last edited:

Urelure

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
459
But are there 999 other people out there who would be willing to pay double the price or more than a TJ08-E / KL06? While I'm speculating, I assume Necere / Wahaha360 can't afford to just keep ~500 of these cases sitting around, slowly being sold. Not if they want to move on other projects too.

Good question. I would think so, but what do we know, really?

Necere isn't interested in competing against Aibo's design nor is this the original objective of focus, though..

I know. That was kind of where I was going with that;)

What I meant is that top AMD chips run properly only on full ATX boards, there were hardly any boards to support 125W 8core FX's. Add 4 or even 8 sticks of ram to that and making a ATX case that's not for the sake of SLI make sense again.

I see. So basically if ATX has limited support then this would be covered.

I think that good idea might be a combo of two ideas...

Though I am personally not that excited about AIO coolers or WC in general this post of yours goes far in implicating the benefits of compromising air cooler support.

EDIT: Ah. You've already shown it:)
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
I actually think that, even if you don't want water cooler inside this setup, you still could go for some passive server grade radiator and the front fan would pump the air from the front through it. There's 55mm clearance between the socket cap and the ATX psu wall - should be enough for either passive cpu cooler or stock intel 65W cooler.
 

Urelure

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
459
I actually think that, even if you don't want water cooler inside this setup, you still could go for some passive server grade radiator and the front fan would pump the air from the front through it. There's 55mm clearance between the socket cap and the ATX psu wall - should be enough for either passive cpu cooler or stock intel 65W cooler.

Well the stock intel cooler is horrible. I am unsure about the passive heatsink getting enough incidental airflow. You would need a pretty high rpm high airflow fan to achieve airflow that is focused enough to make this work, if it's even possible. Of course there's always ducting, and that should work. But then you're on light modding again, so not really relevant in coming up with good designs. I would be more comfortable going AIO with a laypout like that, even though i'm not a huge fan. Too many moving parts.
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
In this class of hardware It might be reasonable to enforce the use of AIO to get the space savings.

Theoretically for the mATX it should be quite possible to make it 12L case with only SFX psu, 2.5" drives and 10.5" cards or 13L with full length cards.

I like this approach in general. If Necere decides to go for it then it would be awesome :)
 

Urelure

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
459
In this class of hardware It might be reasonable to enforce the use of AIO to get the space savings.

Theoretically for the mATX it should be quite possible to make it 12L case with only SFX psu, 2.5" drives and 10.5" cards or 13L with full length cards.

I like this approach in general. If Necere decides to go for it then it would be awesome :)

If this is the route that they end up taking I think you're right. I don't really see how to do the "either 7 expansion slots or have a PSU over the bottom ones" in practice though. The only way i see this working would be a modular back panel, which again would involve fabricating more metal than any single user needs, increasing cost.

One thing this design will impact though is the exterior design. Necere has stated that he wants solid side panel. This layout doesn't lend itself well to that. Of course if CPU cooling is limited to AIO then the PSU could be flipped, and the side fan removed. The straight back to front airflow should be enough to properly cool everything within reason. This would actually be full ATX support. Not limited.
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
Yeah, with psu getting air from the inside it could do quite okay too.

I have no idea though whether it's better for it to be full ATX or mATX since with mATX it can actually still be a SFF 12L mini tower while ATX makes closer to 20L.

I also dropped the idea of swapping psu location since it doesn't give too much and overcomplicates things.
 

3leven

n00b
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
9
In this class of hardware It might be reasonable to enforce the use of AIO to get the space savings.

Theoretically for the mATX it should be quite possible to make it 12L case with only SFX psu, 2.5" drives and 10.5" cards or 13L with full length cards.

I like this approach in general. If Necere decides to go for it then it would be awesome :)
The whole point was to NOT use SFX in this design...
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
Oh yeah, I forgot.

SFX-L was kinda idea for alternate setup but obviously SFX-L is not a good idea for multi-gpu.
 

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
The problem with PSU-over-CPU designs is they they block most of the interior, and people who show off their builds are the ones most likely to be interested in spending $200+ on a case. You absolutely could design a very compact case with reasonable cooling performance if you didn't care about being able to see inside.

---

Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:



340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

Basically the same layout as the Prodigy M and Raijintek Styx, but not as wide, sacrificing taller CPU coolers and rear 120mm fan mount. The foot accounts for 1.3L of volume by itself, so the case proper is only 20.7L. The shrouded front intake likewise accounts for 1.2L of the total volume. I know some people aren't fond of the vent style, but it was about the best I could come up with to fit this design.

Watercooling support is limited - a 240mm rad could be mounted in the top, at the expense of the top three slots. Alternatively, that space could be used for 2x 3.5" drives. The bottom could at best support something like the Silverstone TD03-Slim (37mm thick). Given the restrictions, watercooling isn't a primary focus.

There's little room for cable management, with no space allocated behind the motherboard. The modular connectors on some 160mm PSUs might conflict with the front fan as well, though most keep the connectors far enough from the edge, and 140mm PSUs would be fine.

What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?
 

Curiositie

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 4, 2014
Messages
465
I'm feeling like it may not be worth it, I feel like mATX has been pretty well explored so you'll need to find a niche to try to fill.

On the other hand:

I love inverted ATX, and you're definitely right about people who are willing to spend 200+ on a case not wanting to obstruct the view of the components, I've personally skipped over several cases because the PSU is over the motherboard, and don't use the side bracket in my Ncase so that I can see inside better. ;)

Edit: herp derp formfactors
 

Phuncz

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
Messages
2,630
340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

Watercooling support is limited - a 240mm rad could be mounted in the top, at the expense of the top three slots. Alternatively, that space could be used for 2x 3.5" drives. The bottom could at best support something like the Silverstone TD03-Slim (37mm thick). Given the restrictions, watercooling isn't a primary focus.

What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?
I'm still very inclined towards the "red-case" and the "mac-pro-redux", I feel these make better compromises towards flexibility and cooling (gut feeling, I didn't compare 1:1) and I personally like the designs much more.
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
The problem with PSU-over-CPU designs is they they block most of the interior, and people who show off their builds are the ones most likely to be interested in spending $200+ on a case. You absolutely could design a very compact case with reasonable cooling performance if you didn't care about being able to see inside.

Here's the catch - make the build with psu over cpu look cool with a window. For example put ssd's over the back of power supply that is in front of the window to present them nicely.

You still can normally show-off every other component except for motherboard and huge cpu cooler. Those showing-off will most likely want cpu water cooled as-well, I think.

Rather than going for "it's 3L/12% smaller than every other mATX case and has a window" go for "holy shit - they packed three-way sli with water cooling inside something smaller than mATX cases".

Good point though about the fact that layout need to be presentable.
 

Dra1c

n00b
Joined
May 8, 2015
Messages
47
The problem with PSU-over-CPU designs is they they block most of the interior, and people who show off their builds are the ones most likely to be interested in spending $200+ on a case. You absolutely could design a very compact case with reasonable cooling performance if you didn't care about being able to see inside.

---

Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:


340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

Basically the same layout as the Prodigy M and Raijintek Styx, but not as wide, sacrificing taller CPU coolers and rear 120mm fan mount. The foot accounts for 1.3L of volume by itself, so the case proper is only 20.7L. The shrouded front intake likewise accounts for 1.2L of the total volume. I know some people aren't fond of the vent style, but it was about the best I could come up with to fit this design.

Watercooling support is limited - a 240mm rad could be mounted in the top, at the expense of the top three slots. Alternatively, that space could be used for 2x 3.5" drives. The bottom could at best support something like the Silverstone TD03-Slim (37mm thick). Given the restrictions, watercooling isn't a primary focus.

There's little room for cable management, with no space allocated behind the motherboard. The modular connectors on some 160mm PSUs might conflict with the front fan as well, though most keep the connectors far enough from the edge, and 140mm PSUs would be fine.

What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?

I personally like the design direction very much. The layout is very clean and offers options to use most hardware you would like to do with mATX. For myself I would love a bit more height to have room for a radiator without such a harsh tradeoff, but I understand this is the best way for a small mATX that fits most peoples needs.
 

Sverebom

Weaksauce
Joined
May 11, 2014
Messages
88
Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:
I'm not a fan of inverted layouts. They simply look wrong to me with everything upside down. I like how the vents are integrated in the side panel though.


What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?
Not with that design. There is no room for tall tower-style CPU-coolers and AiO-watercoolers are difficult if not impossible to use. I strongly believe that you should give people at least one of these two options, preferably the option to install AiO-watercoolers because that allows for more compact designs without sacrificing cooling performance.

Acceptable tradeoffs:
- Limited support for air-coolers if full support for (240mm) AiO-watercoolers is provided (or vice versa)
- Limited support for tall GPUs as long as support for full length GPUs is provided (if necessary by removing a front fan).
- Limited space for cable management (sucks, but there are options to reduce the cabling mess like 140mm PSUs and/or short cable kits)



Since we are talking about "space saver" layouts and you apparently don't shy away from top vents, I would got with the 2a layout and do the following:

1 - First of all use the 2a layout with support for a 240mm AiO-watercooler in the top. I know that you are not a fan of adding space that people might not use, but in the case the extra height would add more space for the PSU and cable management.

2 - For people that don't use a 240mm AiO-watercooler in the top you could design a bracket that allows them to mount on or two HDDs in one of the top fan mounts, probably while still maintaining compatibility for an 120mm AiO-watercooler in the other mount.

3 - Keep the case slim. No space for cable management behind the mainboard. Support for ASUS DC3 coolers would be a plus.

4 - The Lian Li PC-Q17 has a separate chamber for the PSU, effectively dividing the layout. That is a nice solution to keep the PSU and the cable managemement out of the way. You could use the extra "walls" for decals and/or mounts for 2.5''-HDDs (like Lian Li did with the PC-Q17).

5 - For additional cable management every surface that is not covered by the mainboard could be elevated (by maybe 15 millimeters) route cables around the mainboard while keeping them hidden.

6 - Add some space below the mainboard so that people can use a 3-slot graphics card in the bottom expansion slot or install extra fans below the mainboard (for the GPU and a positive pressure airflow) or mount additional harddrives. With the extra hide a 140mm front fan would become an option too.

7 - If you are still concerned about open top vents, you could design the case with a solid top panel and add some space between the internal the chassis and the top panel. Then just add some vents to the top section of the side panels as exhaust. With such a top panel you probably don't even have to add an internal power cord and you would have more room for the PSU and cable management.

8 - The large feet might become obsolete with that design.

9 - Personally I would still prefer it if you would follow your "Mac Pro redux" design with a silver chassis and a black, perforated front panel without side vents. Keep the lines more "egdy" though and rotate the shape of the feet you have used in your most recent design by 90 degrees to hopefully solve the stability issues.


The resulting internal layout:

FNBSyht.png
 
Last edited:

Urelure

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
459
Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:

I don't know. First off I think the more traditional layout makes it easier for different cooling solutions and the loss of big tower coolers is kind of a let down. the 15mm loss in with isn't worth it imo. Secondly i think the feet design makes it look a bit too chunky. It's a nice way to divide the hot air exhausting from the PSU from the air inlet fan feeding the CPU area, but visually I am not a huge fan. It does give a nod to the M1 with the angles along the side though;)
 

iFreilicht

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,348
While I do agree with Urelure, I have to say that foot looks really good. Shame that it takes up so much space, though.

Maybe we could use a bit of creativity in that regard. For example, if the side panels were to extend over the front and back parts of the foot, leaving only the middle open, you could move the SSDs and PSU into the foot a little bit, giving you either the option of decreasing the height a little or getting more SSDs to fit plus a 140mm fan in the front instead of a 120mm one.
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
I like how the stand is made itself (visually) but the whole point of space saving is lost by putting the power supply up front then by placing the hard drives and the stand.

I also don't like the inverted config.
 

Vittra

Gawd
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
905
The problem with PSU-over-CPU designs is they they block most of the interior, and people who show off their builds are the ones most likely to be interested in spending $200+ on a case. You absolutely could design a very compact case with reasonable cooling performance if you didn't care about being able to see inside.

---

Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:


340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

Basically the same layout as the Prodigy M and Raijintek Styx, but not as wide, sacrificing taller CPU coolers and rear 120mm fan mount. The foot accounts for 1.3L of volume by itself, so the case proper is only 20.7L. The shrouded front intake likewise accounts for 1.2L of the total volume. I know some people aren't fond of the vent style, but it was about the best I could come up with to fit this design.

Watercooling support is limited - a 240mm rad could be mounted in the top, at the expense of the top three slots. Alternatively, that space could be used for 2x 3.5" drives. The bottom could at best support something like the Silverstone TD03-Slim (37mm thick). Given the restrictions, watercooling isn't a primary focus.

There's little room for cable management, with no space allocated behind the motherboard. The modular connectors on some 160mm PSUs might conflict with the front fan as well, though most keep the connectors far enough from the edge, and 140mm PSUs would be fine.

What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?

Is there enough room to get a secondary 120mm fan in the front with a SFX PSU installed? If so, the mounting points should exist for such a scenario.

Beyond this.. I've spent a few hours thinking this design. Initially I was opposed, but the secondary 120mm fan mount on the floor of the case does alleviate the potential concern of the CPU heatsink not getting enough air in 2x GPU setup. Again, is it possible to have a secondary 120mm mounted in the bottom where the 3.5" bays reside, provided the 120mm can be moved slid back and forth slightly, in this case slightly towards the PSU? Again, think SFX PSU here if not a full ATX.

It's unfortunate that the design deviates from the solid bottom and top panels, but I suppose that can't be helped - trying to think of ways to instead maximize the inevitability of that fact.

If I were fully aircooling with 2x GPU in this case, I would likely experiment with the 120 at the front and 2x 92's at the back all being intake, ignoring the bottom 120 intake, and comparing against using both 120mm intakes and eliminating the 92's entirely (push/pull on heatsink instead).
 

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
I'm feeling like it may not be worth it, I feel like mATX has been pretty well explored so you'll need to find a niche to try to fill.

I'm still very inclined towards the "red-case" and the "mac-pro-redux", I feel these make better compromises towards flexibility and cooling (gut feeling, I didn't compare 1:1) and I personally like the designs much more.
I hear you. I just thought I ought to explore this layout a little bit, since it meets my requirements for airflow: positive pressure, easy-access dust filters, no vents on sides or top (the latter is optional). Plus it's small and has a window option.

Here's the catch - make the build with psu over cpu look cool with a window. For example put ssd's over the back of power supply that is in front of the window to present them nicely.
Yeah I've thought about that, but that's still not as good as full motherboard viewing - particularly with watercooling. SSDs aren't exactly exciting to look at, and where they might have been considered somewhat exotic in the past, I feel like they've become pretty commonplace at this point.

Rather than going for "it's 3L/12% smaller than every other mATX case and has a window" go for "holy shit - they packed three-way sli with water cooling inside something smaller than mATX cases".
That's what w360 thinks we should do too, just because it's more likely to get attention and therefore funding to meet MOQ. But my thinking is, what's the point if it's so restrictive on component choice, you know? Like in your mockup, you basically have to use reference-height GPUs if you want to use that 140mm exhaust fan. And you'd have to watercool the CPU, or else have pretty substandard cooling with a low profile cooler. Plus there's nothing to see with a window. It's not well suited to a quiet build, or a build with more than one or two drives. I just don't see it as a very balanced or flexible approach. So while it might be a cool idea, it doesn't necessarily translate into a good product.

Not with that design. There is no room for tall tower-style CPU-coolers and AiO-watercoolers are difficult if not impossible to use. I strongly believe that you should give people at least one of these two options, preferably the option to install AiO-watercoolers because that allows for more compact designs without sacrificing cooling performance.
Big top-down coolers would probably be the best performing option in this design in lieu of a 240 AIO in the top.

Since we are talking about "space saver" layouts and you apparently don't shy away from top vents,
It's not visible in the renders, but the top panel is actually solid. A ventilated top panel could be an option if people want to use a rad on top. Mainly I don't want to use a layout that depends on top vents for proper airflow, which this doesn't.

I would got with the 2a layout and do the following:
Aside from the mandatory top vents in 2a, the other issue is the PSU vents being open to the top, which is a potential hazard as I discussed in my design post.

2 - For people that don't use a 240mm AiO-watercooler in the top you could design a bracket that allows them to mount on or two HDDs in one of the top fan mounts, probably while still maintaining compatibility for an 120mm AiO-watercooler in the other mount.
I don't favor 3.5" drives on top like that due to heat and noise. They're in the exhaust airflow path, and being right under the top vents you'll be able to hear pretty much any noise they make.

4 - The Lian Li PC-Q17 has a separate chamber for the PSU, effectively dividing the layout. That is a nice solution to keep the PSU and the cable managemement out of the way. You could use the extra "walls" for decals and/or mounts for 2.5''-HDDs (like Lian Li did with the PC-Q17).
It also has a bunch of space behind the motherboard for cable management. Also, I'm not even sure how you're supposed to access modular connectors - it seems like you need to install the PSU with everything plugged in already. Not the most convenient.

7 - If you are still concerned about open top vents, you could design the case with a solid top panel and add some space between the internal the chassis and the top panel. Then just add some vents to the top section of the side panels as exhaust. With such a top panel you probably don't even have to add an internal power cord and you would have more room for the PSU and cable management.
The difference between a right-angle power cable and a regular one is huge - the latter needs at least 60mm, vs. the former's <20mm. Plus where would the cable exit? Having it hanging out the back and removing panels to unplug it seems awkward.

I don't know. First off I think the more traditional layout makes it easier for different cooling solutions and the loss of big tower coolers is kind of a let down. the 15mm loss in with isn't worth it imo. Secondly i think the feet design makes it look a bit too chunky.
If you think it looks chunky now, you'd hate it 15mm wider. The proportions start to get pretty ugly when you go short+wide.

While I do agree with Urelure, I have to say that foot looks really good. Shame that it takes up so much space, though.

Maybe we could use a bit of creativity in that regard. For example, if the side panels were to extend over the front and back parts of the foot, leaving only the middle open, you could move the SSDs and PSU into the foot a little bit, giving you either the option of decreasing the height a little or getting more SSDs to fit plus a 140mm fan in the front instead of a 120mm one.
Yeah, I considered that, but it kills the design. The foot forms an area for the PSU to exhaust, so if the panels come down they need to have vent holes, which doesn't look good. Also that gap in the foot provide the point where you pull the panels to remove them.

Is there enough room to get a secondary 120mm fan in the front with a SFX PSU installed? If so, the mounting points should exist for such a scenario.
The difference between ATX and SFX is 86-63.5=22.5, so It's just a few mm shy of the space needed for a front fan. Is there much point in that, though? The fan would be almost entirely blocked by the PSU.

Beyond this.. I've spent a few hours thinking this design. Initially I was opposed, but the secondary 120mm fan mount on the floor of the case does alleviate the potential concern of the CPU heatsink not getting enough air in 2x GPU setup. Again, is it possible to have a secondary 120mm mounted in the bottom where the 3.5" bays reside, provided the 120mm can be moved slid back and forth slightly, in this case slightly towards the PSU? Again, think SFX PSU here if not a full ATX.
Those are 2.5" drives - 3.5" won't fit due to the AC power cable. There's technically space for a 120mm fan there (with the lower 92mm fan removed), but the problem is accessing the screws and filter for it. The stand would need to be removable for that, which complicates things and is inconvenient.
 

Sverebom

Weaksauce
Joined
May 11, 2014
Messages
88
Big top-down coolers would probably be the best performing option in this design in lieu of a 240 AIO in the top.
Talking about the 2c layout I agree with you of course. However, you know how people are. They want to mount the best and biggest components, no matter if they need them or not. I think you should give them either support for full-size tower coolers or 244mm AiO-coolers. And I think it would be smart to favor one of these two options and sacrifice the other one (instead of adding compatibility for both options resulting in a typical "Jack of all trades" case) and design a case around that decision. Personally I would prefer a layout that favors AiO-coolers because they offer the best cooling performance (at the cost of pump noise though) and open interesting layout options while people who don't want to use AiO-coolers could still use massive top-down coolers instead.


Aside from the mandatory top vents in 2a, the other issue is the PSU vents being open to the top, which is a potential hazard as I discussed in my design post.
Which is why I have suggested a closed top-panel with side vents (see the NZXT H440 for reference).


I don't favor 3.5" drives on top like that due to heat and noise. They're in the exhaust airflow path, and being right under the top vents you'll be able to hear pretty much any noise they make.
I have suggested top-mounting bracket as an alternative for people who would rather install many HDDs instead of a 240mm AiO-cooler in the top. Most people would probably fill the optional HDD-mounts in the bottom or the HDD-mount between the PSU and the mainboard first. And enthusiasts will mount a 240mm AiO-cooler anyway.


It also has a bunch of space behind the motherboard for cable management.
I mentioned the Lian Li PC-Q17 because of the separate chamber for the PSU and not because of the space behind the mainboard. I even suggested to not offer any extra space behind the mainboard.


Also, I'm not even sure how you're supposed to access modular connectors - it seems like you need to install the PSU with everything plugged in already. Not the most convenient.
A full length graphics card covering the PSU connectors isn't exactly convenient either, not to mention the resulting mess of cables. Yes, this layout heavily favors shorter PSUs (140mm), but that's the same with all the "space saving" layouts, including the 2c layout. The PSU-chamber doesn't change much about that, but it would help to organize the cable and keep everything clean.


The difference between a right-angle power cable and a regular one is huge - the latter needs at least 60mm, vs. the former's <20mm. Plus where would the cable exit? Having it hanging out the back and removing panels to unplug it seems awkward.
That was not the main point of my suggestion, only a possible benefit (looking at the right-angle connector that is plugged to my PSU). But I agree that you shouldn't force the customers to get a right-angled power connector, which makes an internal power cord necessary.

But that wasn't the point of my suggestion anyway. Just a quick summary of the possible advantages of a separate top panel:

- The top would be closed. No dust or liquids could enter the case the through the top while waste heat could leave the case through side vents.
- More room either for larger PSUs (up to 180mm) or for cable management (probably up to 60mm underneath the PSU).
- You could add small handles to the PSU-bracket that make it easier to remove the PSU from the case.
- A fairly clean design without any perforated panels (except for the bottom).


One last thing: On page three of this thread you have given us an elaborate summary of all the possible different designs with their pros and cons. We are now on page thirteen and I have the feeling that we have spent the last ten pages of this discussion to go through all the different variants just to reinforce what you have already summarized in your comment on page three. Are we actually going somewhere with this discussion?

I have the feeling that we are looking for the perfect layout that has only advantages but no disadvantages. That layout doesn't exist though! Whatever result might come out of this discussion, it will have disadvantages like limited yet sufficient access to the PSU connectors. And we have already talked about several layouts that combine very interesting features with only negligible disadvantages.
 

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
Talking about the 2c layout I agree with you of course. However, you know how people are. They want to mount the best and biggest components, no matter if they need them or not. I think you should give them either support for full-size tower coolers or 244mm AiO-coolers. And I think it would be smart to favor one of these two options and sacrifice the other one (instead of adding compatibility for both options resulting in a typical "Jack of all trades" case) and design a case around that decision.
I can agree with that.

Which is why I have suggested a closed top-panel with side vents (see the NZXT H440 for reference).
So there are two issues with this: 1.) shrouded/indirect ventilation increases the size, and with the 2a layout you'd have it on both the top and bottom, driving the total height up to ~390mm and adding probably 3+ liters, 2.) how to manage it aesthetically, because I've never come up with a good approach for that.

I mentioned the Lian Li PC-Q17 because of the separate chamber for the PSU and not because of the space behind the mainboard. I even suggested to not offer any extra space behind the mainboard.
Sure, but those cables need somewhere to be, and in the Q17 there's basically no space in the PSU chamber so it's useful to have the space behind the motherboard. What would be the point of a PSU chamber if it had no room for cables and they were all just hanging out in the case anyway? I guess you imagine the PSU chamber to be long enough so that there's some space (though still not very much, really), which I think would necessitate doing away with the front 120mm fan support.

A full length graphics card covering the PSU connectors isn't exactly convenient either
But it's surely more convenient to remove the GPU to access the connectors than the entire PSU. And that's only with a long GPU; with a shorter GPU (<=10.5"), the connectors are easily accessible. Meanwhile, with a PSU chamber the connectors are equally inaccessible regardless of GPU.

One last thing: On page three of this thread you have given us an elaborate summary of all the possible different designs with their pros and cons. We are now on page thirteen and I have the feeling that we have spent the last ten pages of this discussion to go through all the different variants just to reinforce what you have already summarized in your comment on page three. Are we actually going somewhere with this discussion?
Well, the fact that we've been going through them is evidence that my summary wasn't convincing on its own :p I want for it to be totally clear why certain decisions make more sense than others, and involving people in the process is a way to do that. So at the end of the day, if we go with a design with a conventional layout, people can understand why we did that.
 
Last edited:

updawg

Gawd
Joined
Mar 20, 2010
Messages
609
Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:



340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

I like this layout because if I was to make a custom cable set all the cables would be super short which is a plus!
 

Hudbox

n00b
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Messages
28
l4j3N2Fl.jpg


I love the design of this case, reminds me of a mini mac pro.

I've been considering a upgrade on my v1 Ncase, I'll keep an eye on this thread for future developments.
 

Sverebom

Weaksauce
Joined
May 11, 2014
Messages
88
So there are two issues with this: 1.) shrouded/indirect ventilation increases the size, and with the 2a layout you'd have it on both the top and bottom, driving the total height up to ~390mm and adding probably 3+ liters,
The top panel and the extra space at the bottom were just suggestions. Without the extra space in the bottom and a plain floor (maybe with an optional mount for a HDD) you would end up with a height of ~330mm. Which I think could look quite odd with a design that has a front panel and reaches a depth of ~390mm. I would add the top panel for a cleaner look, nicer proportions and to have more space for the PSU.


2.) how to manage it aesthetically, because I've never come up with a good approach for that.
Use the same vents you have used for the front. Rotate them by 90 degrees and move them to the top. Did a quick mockup in Photoshop (unfortunately I haven't saved it) and it looked quite good to me.


Sure, but those cables need somewhere to be, and in the Q17 there's basically no space in the PSU chamber so it's useful to have the space behind the motherboard. What would be the point of a PSU chamber if it had no room for cables and they were all just hanging out in the case anyway?
That's why I suggested to elevate the entire area around the mainboard by maybe 20mm. With a case of that size you would gain ample space for clean cable routing inside that "double wall". The remaining space inside the PSU chamber would only be an extra buffer before you route the cables around the mainboard.


I guess you imagine the PSU chamber to be long enough so that there's some space (though still not very much, really), which I think would necessitate doing away with the front 120mm fan support.
No, you wouldn't lose the front fan. With a top panel you could even gain enough room for a 180mm PSU or a 140mm front-fan.


But it's surely more convenient to remove the GPU to access the connectors than the entire PSU. And that's only with a long GPU; with a shorter GPU (<=10.5"), the connectors are easily accessible. Meanwhile, with a PSU chamber the connectors are equally inaccessible regardless of GPU.
Again, how often do you actually touch the connectors again after you have finished your build? Once per year to disassemble your build for cleaning? In a worst case scenario you unfasten the PSU bracket and push the PSU out of the case a little bit. Most of the cable management will happen in the "double wall" between the component chamber and the right panel anyway.

The PSU-chamber was just a minor suggestion though. You could just route the cables directly into that "double wall" of course. The separate chamber would just open a few more options for additional HDD-mounts and cleaner cable management.
 

Vittra

Gawd
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
905
The difference between ATX and SFX is 86-63.5=22.5, so It's just a few mm shy of the space needed for a front fan. Is there much point in that, though? The fan would be almost entirely blocked by the PSU.

So a 15mm (slim) fan would fit without any modification to the case dimensions, provided it has the mount points. Not a particularly effective fan on it's own, let alone with the restriction of the PSU blocking it, but still an option.

The 25mm requiring a re-working of the dimensions - even such a small amount - doesn't sound particularly reasonable based on the results it will provide.

Those are 2.5" drives - 3.5" won't fit due to the AC power cable. There's technically space for a 120mm fan there (with the lower 92mm fan removed), but the problem is accessing the screws and filter for it. The stand would need to be removable for that, which complicates things and is inconvenient.

Yes, I had actually meant 2.5" - made a typo there. Although there are potential workarounds for the issue (Z or L shaped screwdrivers) to mount the fan, this is also inconvenient, as well as there still being no easy way to access the filter.

Personally, I don't find myself thrilled with this design, hence the poor attempts at offering alternatives while staying within the scope. The case lends itself quite well to those looking for a 1x GPU setup and different items in the remaining pci-e slots - which, perhaps surprisingly based on my negative tone - is the exact setup I would be running. I'm not so sure those running 2x GPU setups will be happy with the cooling restraints they will have to work with.

Aesthetically, I'd make one point - the window should end at the GPUs if they line up with the PSU as per the third photo. There's no need to see the PSU at all.
 

anak85

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
221
The problem with PSU-over-CPU designs is they they block most of the interior, and people who show off their builds are the ones most likely to be interested in spending $200+ on a case. You absolutely could design a very compact case with reasonable cooling performance if you didn't care about being able to see inside.

---

Switching topics, I've been doing a bit of work on a design based on the 2c layout:



340x175x370mm, 22L
5 slots
CPU cooler up to 145mm
ATX PSU up to 160mm
2x 120mm intakes (front, bottom), 2x 92mm exhaust (rear)
3x 2.5" drives

Basically the same layout as the Prodigy M and Raijintek Styx, but not as wide, sacrificing taller CPU coolers and rear 120mm fan mount. The foot accounts for 1.3L of volume by itself, so the case proper is only 20.7L. The shrouded front intake likewise accounts for 1.2L of the total volume. I know some people aren't fond of the vent style, but it was about the best I could come up with to fit this design.

Watercooling support is limited - a 240mm rad could be mounted in the top, at the expense of the top three slots. Alternatively, that space could be used for 2x 3.5" drives. The bottom could at best support something like the Silverstone TD03-Slim (37mm thick). Given the restrictions, watercooling isn't a primary focus.

There's little room for cable management, with no space allocated behind the motherboard. The modular connectors on some 160mm PSUs might conflict with the front fan as well, though most keep the connectors far enough from the edge, and 140mm PSUs would be fine.

What do you think? Are the tradeoffs worth it for the smaller size here?

It looks damn sexy!

Here some food for thought:
- If the case is 175mm wide, it would be great to have 140mm fans instead of the 120mm. Helps the noise reduction and temperature build up.
- Swapping the GPU to the bottom / PSU to the top would allow the PSU to vent its heat out the top of the case. Now it's trying to vent the heat downwards which would lead to an undesirable accumulation of heat
- Would you have exhaust holes on the roof of the case? Because the exhaust of 2x 90mm fans is quite little in comparison to the two 120mm fans for the intake.
- I love the angled front design of the M1 (which obviously also has a technical purpose). Maybe it could be incorporated in this design as your trade mark style? ;-) Anybody can do a flat front...

Keep going and look forward to your new ideas!
 
Last edited:

andgo

Weaksauce
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
99
I really like the looks and the layout of the "2c" case you just posted. I actually prefer the flat look more, I do not really see a reason to add angles unless you gain some functional advantage from it.

I'm a bit sad it looks like it does not fit ATX, as I thought that idea had some potential. The case even looks tall enough for it, but I guess that might be a consequence of the inverted layout. I had just gotten in my head that it could be done (almost) without sacrifices. A 22L ATX case would be insane (as in good).
 

anak85

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
221
I really like the looks and the layout of the "2c" case you just posted. I actually prefer the flat look more, I do not really see a reason to add angles unless you gain some functional advantage from it.

I'm a bit sad it looks like it does not fit ATX, as I thought that idea had some potential. The case even looks tall enough for it, but I guess that might be a consequence of the inverted layout. I had just gotten in my head that it could be done (almost) without sacrifices. A 22L ATX case would be insane (as in good).

Well, you get the option of the optical drive / hidden SSDs with less cables in the main part of your case, like in the M1.
 

andgo

Weaksauce
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
99
I don't really see a need to hide SSDs (beyond what you are able to using M.2) and optical is a dead end (to me at least)
 

anak85

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
221
I don't need an optical drive either, but you could see on the order forms that many still ordered the M1 with the slot in the case.

I am just planning a hackintosh with 2 operating systems so need 2 SSDs plus 2 3,5 inch drives for backup / time machine. The fact I can place SSDs in the front frees up a lot of space inside the case for fans and reduces cabling.
 

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
@Sverebom

Here's a mockup incorporating your suggestions:



I left space at the top for a 65mm-thick rad+fan, since that's how thick the Fury X AIO is, and to me dual Fury X's seems like a compelling use case. For a 240 rad, there's about 285mm of length, which covers most of the rads on the market (excluding some like the EK Predator).

The power button and front ports present a bit of a problem in this layout if the case is narrower, because with the PSU in front there's not enough space to the left or right. I've addressed this by moving the ports below the PSU, and the power button above it, but the latter limits how far up the PSU can be, and would interfere with one of the PSU screws and potentially the power cable. Increasing the case width could solve this issue, as would finding somewhere else for the power button.

This layout is inherently negative pressure unless bottom fans are used, but again, that would necessitate an additional ~20mm ground clearance.





I'm not sure how I feel about mixing vent styles like this, but what do you think?

Aesthetically, I'd make one point - the window should end at the GPUs if they line up with the PSU as per the third photo. There's no need to see the PSU at all.
Well, that would entirely depend on the GPU length. The GPUs in the render are only 10.2", so a 12" GPU would definitely fill the window.

It looks damn sexy!

Here some food for thought:
- If the case is 175mm wide, it would be great to have 140mm fans instead of the 120mm. Helps the noise reduction and temperature build up.
It's more a matter of height (for the front fan) and depth (for the bottom fan), rather than width. With a 140mm long PSU a 140mm fan would be possible in front. Bottom 140mm might work, but I'd have to enlarge the center section of the foot.

- Swapping the GPU to the bottom / PSU to the top would allow the PSU to vent its heat out the top of the case. Now it's trying to vent the heat downwards which would lead to an undesirable accumulation of heat
Well, the PSU exhausts out the bottom of the case, and the foot design provides a barrier to reduce the amount that gets sucked back into the bottom intake. Flipping it also has implications as far as front I/O placement and the concern about the PSU being exposed from the top, as we've been discussing.

- Would you have exhaust holes on the roof of the case? Because the exhaust of 2x 90mm fans is quite little in comparison to the two 120mm fans for the intake.
I envision an optional perforated top panel or removable section for top ventilation. One of my goals is positive pressure, which is why there's more intake than exhaust. Keep in mind the intakes will be somewhat restricted compared to the 92mm exhaust fans due to filtration and indirect airflow, so it wouldn't be a huge imbalance.

I do have some concerns about heat accumulating in the top of the case with a solid top, though. The claim is often made that once you've got a fan or two in a case, the "heat rises" effect becomes a moot point. Nevertheless, I have to imagine that with large amounts of heat, you'll still get an accumulation in the top - especially with no exhaust vents there.

- I love the angled front design of the M1 (which obviously also has a technical purpose). Maybe it could be incorporated in this design as your trade mark style? ;-) Anybody can do a flat front...
The angled front panel doesn't work with this design. The foot, for example, can't be bent to match. With sheet metal, the aesthetically optimal design IMO is to keep all the major exterior panel bends on the same axis, if that makes sense. An angled front panel is bent on a different axis than this design.
 

Sverebom

Weaksauce
Joined
May 11, 2014
Messages
88
@Sverebom

Here's a mockup incorporating your suggestions:

<snip>
Well, first of all thank you for doing that. After thinking about it all day (and now that I'm seeing it in a mockup) I finlly agree that the PSU chamber needs to go. Without it you could add a 140mm fan and radiator underneath the PSU depending on to length of the PSU and the position of the connectors. Just do that thing with the double wall for cable management between the component section and the right panel.


The power button and front ports present a bit of a problem in this layout if the case is narrower, because with the PSU in front there's not enough space to the left or right.
Probably make that the case is wide enough to fit the front I/O next to the PSU. Or ... <wormhole> ...


This layout is inherently negative pressure unless bottom fans are used, but again, that would necessitate an additional ~20mm ground clearance.
Isn't there enough space for optional 120mm fans in the bottom without increasing the height the of the case?


I'm not sure how I feel about mixing vent styles like this, but what do you think?
... </wormhole> ... you keep the front panel with the side vents (which was my idea anyway for the side vents). That would probably allow you to mount the front I/O somewhere in front of the PSU or you could do that thing with the side mounted front I/O again (preferably with a solution that allows the user choose the preferred side and orientation).



I should probably tell you that while I have defended the 2c layout abive, I strongly favor the 1c layout. The reasons are obvious (I hope):

1 - Extremely clean, simple and straightforward design that should be fairly inexpensive to manufacture.

2 - With a cleverly designed HDD-cage up to three 120mm fans in the front. Positive pressure would be easy to achieve.

3 - Straightforward support for 280mm, maybe even 360mm radiators.

4 - The heavier components would be located mostly in the bottom, which increases stability.

5 - The "show off" components would be elevated, resulting in a nicer window setup.

6 - Cooling for the performance components couldn't be better (without mounting fans everywhere).

7 - Could have an extremely small footprint (maybe just 160x360mm) depending on your design choices.


Downsides:

1 - Might become tall with a height of at least 360mm (but I prefer tall over a large footprint)

2 - ODD-support not easy to achieve (but most people can survive without an ODD these days)

3 - No fifth expansion slot (adding one would offer some interesting options that justify an even taller layout).


Looking at the (possible) advantages and the downsides I actually start to wonder why we are still looking at other designs and why the 1c layout wasn't crowdfunded yet. I really hope that the discussion will return to the 1c layout at some point and that we will then start to refine that layout into a powerful almost-SFF air-machine.
 
Last edited:

Necere

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,755
Just do that thing with the double wall for cable management between the component section and the right panel.
Don't worry - the double wall thing was already something I've had in mind for a while. The only thing is, if we end up going with a narrower or shallower design, there wouldn't be much to it because of the holes to pass through cables, and/or not leaving enough room for front rads.

Isn't there enough space for optional 120mm fans in the bottom without increasing the height the of the case?
Yes, in place of the 5th slot. But it still needs another ~20mm of ground clearance for bottom fans. The M1 only has 10mm of clearance and people find it makes a significant difference to double that. For the M1 it's not a major concern, since the side is the primary intake, and the bottom secondary, but for a case where the primary is on the bottom, it needs to be less restrictive.

... </wormhole> ... you keep the front panel with the side vents (which was my idea anyway for the side vents). That would probably allow you to mount the front I/O somewhere in front of the PSU
The front I/O takes up a surprising amount of space - about 30mm from the tip of the USB/audio jack to the end of the plastic housing, plus at least 10-15mm for the cable to bend. We could also get them made with the cable coming out at a right angle though, which could be useful in certain situations. Still, I don't typically go quite that deep with the shrouded intake (though I suppose I could).

I should probably tell you that while I have defended the 2c layout abive, I strongly favor the 1c layout. The reasons are obvious (I hope):
And really, so do I. But I want to make sure we sort of work through the other options so people can see that we considered them, and at the end of the day they don't necessarily make much sense.

1 - Extremely clean, simple and straightforward design that should be fairly inexpensive to manufacture.
You might think so, but not necessarily. I'm pretty particular about edge management (i.e., where bends should be seen or not), and that can increase complexity and cost.

3 - Straightforward support for 280mm, maybe even 360mm radiators.
Not likely 360 rads, since that would push the height well over 400mm (360 rads are 395-405mm usually).

3 - No fifth expansion slot (adding one would offer some interesting options that justify an even taller layout).
I think 5 slots with ATX motherboard support is still a very compelling option, but it does require the case to be wider. I don't have a problem with that, personally, since it means supporting full-size coolers/rear 120mm fan, and therefore enables quieter or higher performing builds, but it does mean more volume.
 

Phuncz

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 12, 2009
Messages
2,630
I think 5 slots with ATX motherboard support is still a very compelling option, but it does require the case to be wider. I don't have a problem with that, personally, since it means supporting full-size coolers/rear 120mm fan, and therefore enables quieter or higher performing builds, but it does mean more volume.
I agree, this makes it very interesting by opening up a lot more options. You might remember me being quite vocal on not giving in on 10mm here and there on the M1, in this project I would say the amount of compatible hardware, flexibility and cooling capacity should outweigh a few dozen millimeters here and there.

This case should be like the M1 in a few respects but mainly: show how better design allows for a more efficient and flexible case, without the need to resort to massive size increases. Allowing ATX in a case size that most manufacturers wouldn't even think mATX was possible, is just that.
 

psurge

n00b
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Messages
17
A few random disconnected thoughts:

Aesthetically, I really like the bent metal foot on your latest 2c render - it is vaguely reminiscent of radiator fins (and it really made me wonder what it would look like if there were more contact points with the ground).

Just as a data point... there was a poster saying that people would not spend ~$200 for "just" a nicer looking case that doesn't have any new/special capabilities. I would. I would prefer not to have a window, and not to have an optical slot. I also don't care about the case being as small as possible, given the motherboard form factor.

Lastly - by the time this project is realized, would there be USB C ports in front, and would that make the size of the front IO internals any more manageable?
 

vipz

Gawd
Joined
Apr 11, 2005
Messages
818
Still not a fan of those vent slots - they remind me of the vents on the old VW bug above the engine cover.

Y6LsKBEl.jpg
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
1,819
Yeah, those looked okay to me when the front wasn't perforated but now it's straight VW bug :D

It's just that now the design's all over the place.
 

anak85

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
221
Necere said:
I envision an optional perforated top panel or removable section for top ventilation. One of my goals is positive pressure, which is why there's more intake than exhaust. Keep in mind the intakes will be somewhat restricted compared to the 92mm exhaust fans due to filtration and indirect airflow, so it wouldn't be a huge imbalance.

I do have some concerns about heat accumulating in the top of the case with a solid top, though. The claim is often made that once you've got a fan or two in a case, the "heat rises" effect becomes a moot point. Nevertheless, I have to imagine that with large amounts of heat, you'll still get an accumulation in the top - especially with no exhaust vents there.

The top with the perforated holes makes a lot of sense. That is where all the heat accumulates and needs to be pushed out of the case. It would work well I think with the slits along the front side. The perforated front is not a very calm design for me personally.

Necere said:
The angled front panel doesn't work with this design. The foot, for example, can't be bent to match. With sheet metal, the aesthetically optimal design IMO is to keep all the major exterior panel bends on the same axis, if that makes sense. An angled front panel is bent on a different axis than this design.

Then I think keeping the feet is a better idea, as they really do look very stylish! Hopefully they could fit a 140mm fan between them on the floor.

Necere said:
Well, the PSU exhausts out the bottom of the case, and the foot design provides a barrier to reduce the amount that gets sucked back into the bottom intake. Flipping it also has implications as far as front I/O placement and the concern about the PSU being exposed from the top, as we've been discussing.

Understood, but the heat in the PSU in fanless mode would be going nowhere. Hence the heat build up would be causing the fan to spin up quickly -> more noise.
 

Pat-Roner

Weaksauce
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
74
One of the most frequently asked question is about if we are going to do a Micro-ATX project.

Instead writing the same response for the "X" time and to save my email inbox, let's start a new thread.

2015-10-15 Update: More concepts



2015-10-10 Update: Some design concepts for different layouts


This is based on the 2b layout.

I like these two very much. I like the way you recessed the grill on the first one.
I don't like the colour, but the way the vents are recessed makes them really nice.

I also like the rounded shapes and feet of the second one.
As many people have mentioned it reminds alot of Powermac G5.

A lot of people like the case which is nearly identical, but that is because the design is iconic, and a really good design.
I do not think that case should be an alternative since it's way to similar.




@Sverebom

Here's a mockup incorporating your suggestions:


Imo this is the best layout. This can work with the PSU fan turned inside (as I have in my ncase now, and I se excellent temps.)
But the best would be if it pulled in fresh air from the front.

Regarding front intake i think the best design is either the front design like you have on the red case, where you can also hide the connectors and power buttons on the side.

I think lenovo did a good job hiding the fact that the front is intake on this case.

medias


And phantek did a really cool job hiding top vents(it also pulls air from the back.)

Evolv_ATX_3.jpg



I find this project really exciting and have wanted a ncase quality mATX case for a long time.
 
Last edited:
Top