DAN A4-SFX: The smallest gaming case in the world

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by dondan, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    [​IMG]


    Introduction

    The A4-SFX case is a one-man project with the goal of creating the smallest case possible while still using high-end standardized components, such as Core i7 processors and powerful full-length GPUs such as the GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

    The result is a unique product that is much smaller than all competing cases. This case is perfect for SFF (Small Form Factor) enthusiasts, those who need a highly portable system, developers who require a case with a smaller footprint due to limited desk space, and gamers who want a high-end PC experience in their living room.



    How it works

    A number of creative ideas were needed to create the case. Using a PCIe extender allowed for the most prominent design feature of this case, which is the location of the GPU behind the motherboard. The A4-SFX will come with the highest quality PCIe extender on the market, made by 3M, which allows for PCIe Gen3 and Gen4 support.

    The case allows for easy mounting of either SFX or SFX-L power supplies. The PSU is located in the front of the chassis.

    Depending on the size of the PSU, up to two 2.5” HDDs or SSDs can be mounted in the drive bay. This drive bay could potentially be mounted with rubber spacers to reduce vibration. A third drive can be mounted behind the front cover.

    Every component is able to cool itself by getting fresh air directly from the outside. Hot air in the case will move to the top and then outside without the need of an extra fan. This principle works perfect and results in an amazing cooling efficiency compare to other cases.



    Specification

    Case Dimensions (H x W x D): 200 x 112 x 317mm, 7.25L
    Overall Dimensions: 205 x 112 x 327mm (including feet and rear protrusions)
    Weight: 1,25 Kg

    Graphic cards support: Dual-Slot up to 295mm length
    Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
    Power Supply support: SFX, SFX-L

    Drives: 3 x 2.5" HDD/SSD

    Front ports: 1 x USB 3.0 (internal 20pin plug)
    Power button: Premium-grade button

    Material: 1.5mm aluminum, brushed exterior
    Sidepanels: Easily clippable with Lian Li Push Pin technology

    Colors: Anodized black or silver exterior, matte black painted interior

    Risercard: Includes the 3M Twin Axial 300mm riser cable
    PCIe Gen3+ support, Link: 3M product page



    Gallery

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]


    Download

    [​IMG]
    (click on Image for view)



    FAQ

    When will it available again?
    End of May 2017 on Kickstarter.

    How much will it cost?
    230€ + shipping + tax (depending on where you are located)

    It is possible to get the case with dust filters?
    No they are not included, but I will try to make them buyable with Demiflex.

    Why does it only have one USB 3.0 port on the front?
    After much discussion, I have decided that one port is enough for most users as having more ports on such a small case will hurt the aesthetics of the case.

    Where do you ship?
    Worldwide

    Does the case includes a manual?
    Yes, every case includes a manual paper in two languages (German & English).

    How do you ensure that the backside of the GPU does not make contact with the metal motherboard tray and SFX PSU?
    The motherboard tray and PSU will have a non-conductive shield attached in order to ensure that the back of the GPU does not come into contact with bare metal.


    Cooling Tests

    GTX 10x0 Compatibility list
    Asus (measure the height from bottom of PCIe Socket to top)
    • Asus GTX 1080 Turbo = fit
    • ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC = fit (2mm over dualslot isn't a problem)

    EVGA (measure the height from bottom of slot bracket to top)
    • EVGA GTX 1080 = fit
    • EVGA GTX 1080 ACX 3.0 = fit
    • EVGA GTX 1080 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 = fit
    • EVGA GTX 1080 FTW GAMING ACX 3.0 = fit

    Gainward
    • Gainward GTX 1080 Phoenix = incompatible in width
    • Gainward GTX 1080 Phoenix GS = incompatible in width

    Gigabyte
    • Gigabyte GTX 1080
    • Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 = fit
    • Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Extreme = incompatible in width

    Inno3D
    • Inno3D GTX 1080 HerculeZ Twin X2 = fit
    • Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 1080 X4 = incompatible in width and length
    • Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 1080 X3 = incompatible in width and length

    KFA2
    • KFA² GeForce GTX 1080 = fit
    • KFA² GeForce GTX 1080 EX OC = fit

    MSI (measure the height from bottom of PCIe Socket to top)
    • MSI GTX 1080 AERO 8G = fit
    • MSI GTX 1080 AERO 8G OC = fit
    • MSI GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G = could be to high (too high power socket)
    • MSI GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G = could be to high (too high power socket)
    • MSI GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G OC = could be to high (too high power socket)

    NVIDIA
    • NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founder Edition = fit

    Palit
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock = incompatible in width
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 JetStream = incompatible in width
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Super JetStream = incompatible in width

    Zotac
    • Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! = fit
    • Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme = incompatible in width

    GTX 1080 Ti Compatibility list
    • Nvidia 1080 Ti FE
    • ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti
    • ASUS Turbo GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC2 Gaming
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition Gaming
    • EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Gaming
    • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aorus Xtreme Edition 11G
    • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aorus 11G
    • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC 11G
    • Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Twin X2
    • Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC
    • Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChill X3 Ultra
    • Inno3D GeForce GTX 1080 Ti iChill X4 Ultra
    • KFA² GeForce GTX 1080 Ti EXOC
    • KFA² GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
    • MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G
    • MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Armor 11G OC
    • MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aero 11G OC
    • MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Armor 11G
    • MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aero 11G
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti JetStream
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Super JetStream
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock
    • Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium
    • Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme
    • Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP
    • Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Blower

    Window Kit Preview
    Example Configurations
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
    javidan likes this.
  2. NeuroticTurtle

    NeuroticTurtle n00bie

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    p-p-put your pixels in it. (all links go to thumbs and not bacon!)
     
  3. BBA

    BBA [H]ardness Supreme

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    I like it.
     
  4. DrakonSan

    DrakonSan Limp Gawd

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    Remarkably similar to an idea I got some help with here http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1040424470&postcount=41

    I knew I couldn't be the only one with this idea

    Can you really power a 780 or r9 on only 380w?
    How does the riser cable work for you?
    Insulation or supports between the MB and GPU?
    Maybe squeeze in or mount externally some 92mm rads?

    I am so excite!
     
  5. CMadki4

    CMadki4 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Looks pretty slick!

    But holy crap dude, host your pics someplace else. I don't even want to click through the pictures from all the popups and crap that come up. Lame!
     
  6. CHANG3D

    CHANG3D [H]ardness Supreme

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    I would love one of these!

    My friend and I are building a case very similar to yours, but we're using a regular SFX PSU, which makes makes it wider (positive if someone wants more space for HDD/SSD/ODD). We've never thought about using a dc-dc powerboard.

    Holy smokes. That Pico-Box X7-ATX-400 is $999!
     
  7. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    The price is only so high because pico-box-factory has no x7 in stock. The normal price is 80$
     
  8. illli

    illli [H]ard|Gawd

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    nope, not the only one. I saw something similar in this topic here http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/titan-itx-status-placeholder.156077/page-2#post-2527068

    i never thought it would be possible to actually see something a reality though b/c it would be hard to 'fold' the video card underneath w/o some custom parts
     
  9. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    At the end of the article i add a spoiler with all pictures in full size.


    By the way: You can use google-translate to translate the german review about the dc-dc-powerboards. Maybe i translate and puplish it in this forum. But my english istnt the best.
     
  10. CMadki4

    CMadki4 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Awesome!

    I really like the old and new layouts. Looking forward to the prototype of the new folded design!
     
  11. marka211

    marka211 [H]Lite

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    I think that $999 is a misprint. The transaction history shows $80 a piece.

    US $80.00 x 3 pieces. And the reviews on it, also say $80 a piece. i would say $80 would be about right. The 200W one is $29-31.
     
  12. Alted4

    Alted4 n00bie

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    Dondan is correct about the $999 being there only as an indicator of being out of stock. I came across their page a few months ago and noticed the same price discrepancies. I messaged them and they confirmed that that is what they do.
     
  13. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    I attached some more pictures of the old one in the last spoiler.
     
  14. Black5Lion

    Black5Lion Limp Gawd

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    pretty slick! :)
    I think it would look much better with no front usb ports tho. I mean you could have 6 on the back and if you need more you could always get a hub.
     
  15. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    I thought about this too, because i also like a clean front without any ports, but most of the customers want a usb port.
     
  16. CMadki4

    CMadki4 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Agreed. The ports won't actually show up that much on a black case. Besides, depending on your application, a USB dongle for your keyboard/mouse will get better range in the front port than on the rear and will look better than a hub. For example if you're using this case in home theater setting. Based on experimentation, it is best to have the USB dongle in the front than in the back.
     
  17. Black5Lion

    Black5Lion Limp Gawd

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    I can't believe you put the power button on the back! :D

    I really like everything about your case! I even had the same thinking of power/frontpanel on the back (see here: http://imgur.com/a/V91KY#10) granted that is only a modified sg05, I really believe having the power button on the back is pure genius! :D

    It looks much better, no argument there. And it makes better use of space :D

    I applaud you kind sir, for you have made THE perfect case! :)

    Now we just need more powa! >:)


    ps: sorry for (what I'd consider) the wall of text :)


    edit: if possible maybe you could make some kind of modular front panel, so you could could swap it around (brushed aluminum solid, brushed aluminum with ports, vented brushed aluminum, solid acrylic, vented acrylic, acrylic with ports, etc...).
    It should allow more customization, since one can simply buy a plain front and paint it to their liking. And the option with a solid or vented front ie: no ports, should give you a little more room for the gpu. : <--- never mind that I guess I wasn't looking very well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  18. Poser001

    Poser001 n00bie

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    I like it, however I would love it if you extended the depth enough to seat an sfx 450 in front of the mb and figured the airflow out. I'd buy a prototype today. I need a gaming case that can fit in a flatter style backpack for when I take the motorcycle to work.

    Keep up the good work
     
  19. CMadki4

    CMadki4 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd actually like to see the project move forward with that 400w picoPSU. Something different. And if works and is stable I could see a lot of great DIY cases and new case designs based around it and the latest short 170mm graphics cards. Ultra compact power!
     
  20. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    A good idear. Maybe it would be a option for the kickstarter campaign.

    Maybe in a later edition, because i want to revolutionize the psu scene with the dc-boards. They have a higher potentional than sfx because they are much smaller, running cooler and help to reduce the noise level. I think the biggest problem is that only dell have a external psu on the market with over 300W. My dc-board review shows that all dc-board can handle a 2500k clocks to 4x4,4ghz and a overclocked GTX 670 running Prime95 and 3D Mark simultaneous (380W). A combination of a default i7 4770k and default GTX 780 ti need 340W of power. So you can put the maximum of hardware in my case. Sombody can say:" how is that possible the dell can only provide 330W". This is wrong the dell shuts down after pulling more than 420W
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
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  21. JoanTheSpark

    JoanTheSpark Limp Gawd

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    Very inspiring and minimalist.

    Looking forward to see your design in the flesh. :)
     
  22. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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    A 150mm riser cable looks to be just long enough that you can flip the GPU and have it intake from the outside. Have you looked into that?
     
  23. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes i did but the length must be 220mm and with such a length you get problems with the pcie signal only the 3M flex cables can handle this and a 250mm 3M shielded pcie cable cost 70$.
     
  24. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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  25. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  26. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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  27. Machupo

    Machupo Gravity Tester

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    Ausgezeichnet!

    I can't wait to see how this comes out :)
     
  28. MaSsAcRe

    MaSsAcRe [H]Lite

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    Very impressive case. Excited to see a prototype.
     
  29. Zap

    Zap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I disagree (my personal opinion). The PSU probably takes up similar volume. You just aren't "counting" it mentally because it is physically (the brick part) not inside the computer case.

    Heck, why not take it to extremes and use external optical drives and even external eSATA hard drives, just to knock off some more volume? Also, if someone figures out an easy way to do graphics cards over Thunderbolt, why not put that separate as well? Then the "computer" can be barely larger than the ITX board itself, and just thick enough to hold the CPU cooler.

    To me, a big external power brick is like this image.

    [​IMG]

    I would much rather have everything inside the one box.
     
  30. Poser001

    Poser001 n00bie

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    I'm 50/50 with the power brick. I don't mind using one, or transporting it. Until it decides to die like the bricks with my xbox 360 and a dell XPS laptop back in the day. It's your project and if your dreams to revolutionize it then go for it.
     
  31. Machupo

    Machupo Gravity Tester

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    lol, the first car I bought myself (rather than using the family '72 super beetle when available) was a 1985 volvo turbo wagon (brick) :D
     
  32. Drown Babies

    Drown Babies Gawd

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    Is it possible to get black USB 3 ports? That would really ensure that they don't stand out.

    The only non-blue ones I've seen are the ones on Macs and the black port on the Surface Pro, but I assume those parts aren't sourced through regular channels.

    I like the case a lot though. It's an interesting way of addressing two of the main concerns for small form-factor designs: where to put the GPU and how to power it.
     
  33. Topweasel

    Topweasel [H]ard|Gawd

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    I get what your saying. But he isn't adding an external connection. You are already running a power cord to a PC. Does having a big fat brick in the middle of the cable make that big of a difference?

    In the end moving internal components to external devices can help tons in situations where you have a very small area to put the PC. The external devices can be moved into other areas. An example being a power brick sitting on the ground next to the outlet with a small power cable going to the PC.
     
  34. Ulti

    Ulti Limp Gawd

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    Wow, that is awesome, let me buy your prototype please!
     
    Ca11idus likes this.
  35. Drown Babies

    Drown Babies Gawd

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    I'm wondering if it's possible (or desirable) to more completely separate the GPU from the rest of the case. I'm thinking of a thin aluminum (or maybe some other material) sheet with appropriate cutouts.

    That would keep air from the two compartments from mixing and maybe help a little with heat coming from the back of the GPU.
     
  36. Phuncz

    Phuncz 2[H]4U

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    The problem is you're moving an internal component to "save space", by which he points towards other "space saving" solutions. The problem is this:

    [​IMG]

    It's almost as large as a mainstream GPU. And it is expensive, more expensive than going the way of using a SFX or 1U PSU internally. They also don't have the best reputation for lasting long.

    That just moving the problem, not solving the problem. If you don't have space to put a small PC, then getting a very small PC with a bunch of add-ons (needing power bricks seperately maybe) each in a different enclosure isn't more efficient. Then get a laptop and stop kidding yourself that shrinking your computer to the point you're throwing out stuff that you need externally is solving a problem, it's just doing something different.

    I don't mind this case and it sure has a good reason to exist, but don't consider an external power brick as a positive aspect, it is not.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  37. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    @Zap or Phuncz: I agree with you i don't solve the problem but i hide it. I think the psu under the desk is better than a psu in a big case on the desk. It is a normal thing for small systems like HTPCs, notebooks or flatscreens to use external psu's. Even if i add the volume of the external psu 0,85 liter to the casevolume it has overall 6,25L much more less as any other case on the market. :)

    Could be very difficult to find black ones and many people could think the case has only USB 2.0.
     
  38. DG25

    DG25 Gawd

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    Someone actually did something similar: http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=230816 I would have used a SFX psu, though...

    The problem with these builds is that risers/extension cables are tricky, some are expensive, some are not, some work, some don't. For example, the modder in my link had some problems with his extension cable.
     
  39. CMadki4

    CMadki4 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Very true. Sourcing a good extension cable or riser card is troublesome. I personally had trouble finding a riser/spacer combo that was stable. Finally found some that were good except for a report of errors when used with a Titan (functional but still errors, no further detail provided by end user).
     
  40. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have no problems with my risercard.

    Three rules for choosing the right flexible pcie cable:
    - a good shield around the cable
    - no small bend radius
    - not longer as 180mm or use 3M cables.