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

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

  1. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Right, if you buy a dual GPU Nvidia card you are running SLI, presumably each chip is using x8 lanes. However, if you set up SLI yourself I think you have to be using an "SLI-cerfitied" board from this list: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/sli/motherboards

    Notice how there aren't any mini-ITX boards there...

    As for crossfire, these days you don't even have to buy a bridge anymore, everything operates over the PCI-E bus and any motherboard will work.

    Am I right about this? I'm hoping SLI is possible without needing an approved board...



    EDIT: Here's some funky way of getting SLI working on a non-SLI certified motherboard:
    http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/hypersli-enabling-sli-on-non-sli-motherboards.153046/

    Seems pretty funky. Is this really necessary?? Or is this obsolete info?
     
  2. SaperPL

    SaperPL [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's most likely obsolete since it's from "core 2" era when north bridge(including pci-e host controller) was still on the motherboard and not integrated. Note that since "core i" era there's no nvidia chips onboard anymore to support SLI.

    EDIT: there ain't any mITX boards on the certified list since you can't usually fit two cards into one slot :p
     
  3. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Ah that makes sense. There is more recent tool called differentSLI: https://github.com/EmberVulpix/DifferentSLIAuto

    But presumably this would just be needed if you're trying to SLI a GTX 970 with a GTX 960 or something? Or maybe two different brands of the same model.

    Ha, and yes, that does make sense why they wouldn't usually be certified

    EDIT: Well anyways, maybe in 2016 I'll be using an A4 with 2 GTX 1070 pascal mini's or something ;)
     
  4. SaperPL

    SaperPL [H]ard|Gawd

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    http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/sli-with-different-cards.158907/
     
  5. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    It's this statement that has me worried. Presumably it would just work if SLI certification didn't matter. However, as you mention, this could be a carry over from the Core 2 era
     
  6. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    While this splitter idea has me swooning, I'd prefer just getting the next dual GPU card to come out... the only problem is it probably wouldn't fit in the A4. Or even if the card itself does, the included water-cooling solution probably wouldn't. :D
     
  7. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Yeah I agree, definitely much better to just pick up a dual GPU card! I'm just concerned that we won't actually see one the right size, of dual GPU cards that exist now:

    1. The Titan Z is three slots
    2. The Fury X and R9 295x2 both have water coolers that are probably not going to fit

    This would make me think that whatever Nvidia has planned for dual GPUs might continue to be three slot, and that the dual Fiji X in the works from AMD will continue to feature a water cooler...
    I'm really hoping that Nvidia makes a GTX 990 type card... the GTX 690 would fit in this case, it just is a little out of date now...
     
  8. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    Quick, someone rip off the A4 and make a version that fits either triple-slot graphics cards or has room for a radiator! Oh, and you have to do it without making the case any bigger. :D
     
  9. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Yeah haha. The point is to keep it small!! I'm just dreaming of possibilities to cram even more hardware into the 7.25L design...
     
  10. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    The A4 is just so amazing. I mean, the freaking Mac Pro is barely smaller, 5.55 liters (well, I used the cylinder formula given its height and radius. I guess since it has rounded edges its very slightly smaller than that.)

    But the Mac Pro costs $3000 just for the entry-level and and extra $1000 if you want their best AMD crossfire'd GPUs which still aren't as good as a 780 TI. With the A4, you can just put standard components in it and still have a computer that easily fits in a backpack. :D
     
  11. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, AND you can now actually get more CPU performance with X99 ITX than you could in a Mac Pro, which is running on Ivy Bridge-E I think.
     
  12. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    They really need to do a refresh. Not that I would get it anyway because of the high cost. Granted, it's not supposed to be a gaming PC anyway. :p
     
  13. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    Yeah they definitely do–– I suspect the reason why they don't refresh as frequently is that each refresh requires more substantial changes for them than just dropping in a new processor. Everything about the Mac Pro is all custom, the logic board, the board for the Fire Pros, and even the mezzanine connector that links the GPUs to the PCI-E bus.

    Lucky for them intel also slow at updating their server chips, it seems like they might skip over Broadwell-E and go right for Skylake-E.

    And yes, I certainly wouldn't buy one either! Especially if you can fit more power for a third the price in an A4.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
  14. Vexel

    Vexel n00b

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    I just read the reasoning behind the decision to have ONLY ONE usb slot and lack of jacks on front panel - "not aesthetic"........ Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?? Seriously?

    C'mon, people need those things. I don't believe anyone would be like: "Oh my god! it has TWO USB ports! And audiojacks! I'm not buying it!", - that would be surreal. The ones who buy tiny compact things , made compact with no compromise, won't give a damn about aesthetics to that point - only practicality. On the contrary, lack of so needed usbs ports for so many usb devices would negatively affect the buying desire. And if there would be a competitor which offers those ports with the same compactness - he would be the winner for sure.

    The ones who want aesthetics buy quite different things like those bigger slim cases with wierd forms and colorful backlighting
     
  15. jb1

    jb1 Limp Gawd

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    There was a poll for these options and the current configuration won. I think the biggest market for this case, at least initially, are the users on this forum, so it makes sense to design around their desires!

    And yes, I do see your point, I don't think it would be too bad to have a second USB port. On the other hand, USB as we know it might become defunct eventually for USB-C. If you're still using this case, then having two large holes for a USB type A port could be an eyesore.
     
  16. Mackan

    Mackan Limp Gawd

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    Uhm, I care about aesthetics and compactness. And I guess a lot of other's do as well. We might still have differences in what we think look aesthetic, though. I am perhaps on the extreme side of things, since I really dislike that flimsy plastic sheet in the case. While others can't believe I make a buzz out of that (since we can't see the sheet anyway when case closed).

    Overall, this is probably a 90% perfected case for me. For really perfected, I would have to do it myself I think. That means to replicate in drawing, and pay huge amount to some manufacturer. I don't have that kind of economy. We should be thankful that Dondan is bringing this case to manufacturing. The design is probably settled for this revision.
     
  17. Vexel

    Vexel n00b

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    Mackan, yeah, I know its all over now and set in stone. I just wanted to share frustration that might hypothetically influence/ result in future, additional different version of this case or even someone else's initiative who'll create the same kinda case but with additional ports. Because it is a matter of fact, nowadays the world is full of numerous useful usb devices people use DAILY.

    I personally use:
    - usb connector for wacom tablet
    - usb gamepad
    - usb mouse
    - usb keyboard
    - usb headphone
    - usb router
    - usb for portable flashdrives
    - usb for charging phone and mp3 player

    That what I use constantly, who knows what else usb device I might add from time to time. Deciding to rid off USB port because soon in coming YEARS, usb-c might appear is incomprehensible, its not like all the normal usb devices would evaporate into air, people would still continue using them, just like me. Folks had a lot of butthurt about apple's decision for only one usb port in some their devices, probably for aesthetic reason; - but all that aesthetic reasoning went into crapphole when people had to carry around a usb splitter constantly connected to that device - now imagine how that looked.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  18. pgabor

    pgabor n00b

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    Thank God, some people invented that thing, whats it called? Oh yes, its called the USB HUB! Too bad it costs a fortune... Oh wait... it only costs a few bucks!
     
  19. jhcpw

    jhcpw n00b

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    Except for the USB sticks and phone charger, wouldn't you be putting those other devices in the back of the computer?
     
  20. Siba

    Siba Limp Gawd

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    Just my opinion, but doesn't the aesthetic aspect already go into the craphole with 10 wires (of different diameter, different stiffness, different aesthetics in general) sticking out the back of a small case?

    A good 7 port hub that looks decent should be easy to find, as well as wire management surrounding the hub to where you only had to deal with 1 usb plug going to the PC


    There was a big stink earlier in the M1's design phase about the optical drive slot, enough that they made it an option to remove through an accessory top panel that nixed it
     
  21. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    I realize this way is less functional, but consider the following:
    The front panel looks like its talking in binary! The power button looks like a 0, and the USB port looks like a 1! That just seems cute to me, and I feel like adding more stuff like a second port would look worse with the current aesthetic. Maybe if the button and port were laid out differently.

    That said, I am a little disappointed because I constantly use both front USB ports in my M1, and at least like the option of an audio jack so I can understand why people are upset.

    For me personally this isn't a big deal because the computer is so small that I can literally just pick it up, turn it around, and plug in what I need without too much hassle. Plus I have a big ol' powered hub that I plug most things into anyway, including my headset, so it's all a moot point for me. Come to think of it, I should probably just move the hub to one of the back ports in my M1. I keep it in the front because I used to switch between my MacBook Pro and my PC a lot. So I'd plug my keyboard, mouse, and headset into the hub. Then whenever I wanted to switch to the macook, I'd plug the hub into it,plug the MacBook into my monitor, and just switch inputs on my monitor. :D But I don't do that much anymore.
     
  22. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    Disclaimer: I know it's a dead issue, this is just idle discussion. :) But I like front ports on a case like this because this type of case (e.g. a clean minimalist little powerhouse) would likely exist in my living room in my entertainment center, where for a variety of reasons it's not as simple to just reach around the back of the case. Also if you do have a any power hungry USB devices plugged in that means a powered hub, that means another plug in my crowded outlet. BUT with that said, it's a small price to pay for a very clean front.
     
  23. yoyo55

    yoyo55 Limp Gawd

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    July 8th was professional pics day......where are the pics??
     
  24. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    Yes, I want pics as well! It's so sexy...
     
  25. khan613

    khan613 n00b

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    I'm buying 3 of these babies on launch day.

    My brother is interested on a semi portable rendering powerhouse.

    I want to replace my node 304
    and I need to replace my old Thermaltake HTPC/Gaming box with this tiny thing.

    Where are the pics? :)
     
  26. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    At this point I'm 90% sure I'm getting one on launch day as well. The other 10% is because I might still go the mATX route and go for the Nova so I can have two graphics cards. But provided I stay with mini ITX, I'm getting this.
     
  27. khan613

    khan613 n00b

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    I've gone the SLI/Crossfire route before. I've also OC'd my previous CPU's

    But I've learned that a decent factory overclocked non-reference card provides best bang for buck.

    I no longer watercool my cpu's and SLI just makes power requirements unreasonable (for a mitx build anyway)

    So this tiny console killer is going to be great! :D
     
  28. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    On 8. July we did all the pictures. I will get them on 28. July and then I will publish some of it here. All pictures will been shown in august on my brand new website, with the possibility to subscripe to get informed when crowdfunding is ready.
     
  29. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    YES! Thanks, that's big news! I can't wait!

    Yeah, for me the size factor is huge. The A4 is the first real console killer, it's literally less than a tenth of a liter bigger than the Xbox One (unless I did something wrong). If you throw in the kinect 2.0, the A4 is actually smaller overall. Plus, it arguably looks nicer.

    You make a good point about the single non-reference card. If I did mATX / SLI I'd probably have to get reference-style cards because I don't want to blow hot air between the GPUs... and so I wouldn't be able to overclock as much. Plus, SLI doesn't scale perfectly to begin with. I mean, sure I would have two GPUs which is undeniably better. But from a cost standpoint, it'd take me some serious saving before I'm willing to spend over $1000 on graphics. So, any decrease in performance due to scaling or overclocking headroom makes that less appealing. Plus, I might have to buy a new PSU to support that too. I don't know, I've got a 600w SFX PSU so that might be good enough, but it'd make me nervous.

    And the thing is, all I care about is that I have a great VR experience that I can take with me to friends' houses and stuff. Which, even if a single 980 TI can't deliver that (and I bet it would be fine), the pascal chips coming out next year will probably make up that gap to the point where I wouldn't be left wanting, at least for this generation of VR. But dang, that size would make all the difference to me... I could just take it with me everywhere in my backpack, I'd still be able to fit quite a bit of other stuff in there too (unlike with the M1). Nobody would even know it's in there. I'd just go to like a lan party, everyone's pulling laptops out or lugging around huge rigs, I pull a full desktop out of my backpack that performs just as well because I'm cooler than them. Anyway that really appeals to me because I'm weird. :D

    I'm going to keep thinking about this but I'd say I'm to the point where if this case were to go on sale right now, I'd just buy it and not look back.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  30. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't think there is something like a console-killer PC, there just PCs capable of replacing a console for some users. Maybe I'm taking the phrase a bit too seriously, but PCs generally lack the cohesion console ecosystems do. Not that that's generally a bad thing, but PCs are too different in usage to be replacing consoles for everyone any time soon.

    But yeah, the Xbox One is comically large. Rather than add the size of the kinect, though, why not add the size of the CONCRETE BRICK of an external PSU the Xbox uses. Because that actually comes inside the package with the A4.
     
  31. superblockio

    superblockio [H]Lite

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    Yeah, when I said console killer I was only referring to size in that context (well, I guess performance given a similar volume to be precise.) I know console vs PC is a complicated subject. But yeah, good point about the power brick, I didn't know that. ^_^

    (Sorry for all the edits btw, trying to dial back my PCMasterRace tendencies a bit :p)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  32. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yeah tell me about it. I'd always defend the PC to be the better platform, and it is in so many ways, but a lot of people just want it to work, and that's something PCs simply can't offer.
     
  33. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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    Great news I will get the production pictures tomorrow my photographer is faster as expected.
     
  34. Xan-Z

    Xan-Z [H]Lite

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    Yaaay :D

    So i guess this week we can see them
     
  35. CarbonVirus

    CarbonVirus [H]Lite

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    @Dondan
    -If the first iteration of this case is successful (and I mean nets enough of a profit that you are quite comfortable) how likely is there to be a version 2/3/4/etc.? Also will the released incremental versions reflect user input?
    -Would it be possible to offer any updated parts (that don't require a new mounting interface e.g. new panel design for better airflow that uses the original/previous mounting system) at a discount for original backers?
    -Also, are you going to be having Lian-Li manufacture extra pieces to provide replacement/spare parts available though the afore-mentioned website you are building?
     
  36. dondan

    dondan [H]ard|Gawd

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  37. Xan-Z

    Xan-Z [H]Lite

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    I think some people will try to skip the crowdfunding phase in order to get newer versions of this case, an v2.

    Maybe you should reward first customers with something special, and therefore foment the crowdfunding of the first version.

    I still think that serial numbers would be nice to get more attention and getting more founds in the first version.

    The DAN A4 itself its a masrterpiece, so i don't think anyways there are going to be any problem in the crowdfunding phase. Just triying to help.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  38. psurge

    psurge n00b

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    I don't know whether I am representative or not... but I am planning on buying a v1 whether or not there is a backer reward.

    Anywyay, off in lala-land, am I crazy to want this case in stainless steel?
     
  39. Xan-Z

    Xan-Z [H]Lite

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    Yup, i agree with you. I want to go in the crowdfunding phase anyways, regardless the backer reward, the Dan A4 SFX its more than enough. Easily the best ITX case ever. Don't get me wrong.

    But i know/read people in this thread who dont want to crowdfounding because they prefer to wait to a newer version (v2) because there is no back reward or a serial number.

    (And i was thinking that maybe we could do something special in order to make them decide to help the first version of the project)

    Anyways, those who really want to crowdfound the case are going to do it for the case itself.

    Imho if someome needs a reward for helping this project is completely wrong.

    Maybe i didn't expresss myself properly in my previous message.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  40. pointfiveo

    pointfiveo Limp Gawd

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    Yes. Steel is a cheapo material compared to aluminium.