DAN C4-SFX: The smallest water cooling case in the world

dondan

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Maybe some of you wonder if there is any progress in thes project. And I can say yes it is. Currently I validating some design and layout concepts that comes in my mind. I know some of you will think this is just waste of time and I should move with the current design in production - yes maybe but I have no time pressure and I like to evaluate this concept.

The main idea behind this new concept is a more elegant look of the case that is more minimalistic/simple. All designs features a USB-Type C and 2x USB 3.0 at the front and a rotateable design. For every designs the window panel will be optional.

Scyscraper-Layout:
The two systems on the left are scyscraper style cases, like the Phantek Shift or Corsair One. The hardwarelyout is the same of the C4 but rotated 90°. The main difference is the radiator location. For the C4 it is inside the case for this design only the fans are inside the case, the radiator can be piggybacked over the backside. This will allow to use very thick radiators. Also a usage without radiators is possible. The bigger version (410x205x127 = 10.6L) will have support for 360mm radiators, while the smaller version (360x205x127 = 9,3L) supports 240mm radiators or 2x 120mm radiatos. There will be holes on the backside of the case to route cables to the outside.

Classic-Layout
The right system is just the new outer design used on the current hardware layout of the C4-SFX. The dimensions will be 255x323x130 = 10.7L

PS: Sorry for only showing SketchUp design study if I find the time I will do some more realistic renderings.


3r2dwk.jpg


2rad52.jpg


4k3f4o.jpg


5fnf97.jpg


7dpigs.jpg
 

Woxys

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Not bad and definitely interesting. I always thought that the "Scyscraper-Layout" is kind of more space efficient because the footprint on your desk is smaller. Looking promising, can't wait for render pics and more details. I just hope the volume won't increase that much. Good job!
 

Notional

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I have no real interest in skyscraper type cases. But it could be a third case in the series: A4, C4 and S4?

As for external radiators; Lian Li tried. It did not go well:
radiator.jpg


Your method differs though, but it still makes it look very industrial, thus clashing with the sleek minimalistic look.

As for the C4 with the new design. It's not for me. A bit too boring (the ridged top looks nice, but just adds size for no reason). Front IO still looks bad and belongs on the side. I hope the old design will remain.
 

AlMiDaX

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Hmm, I don't know, the Scyscraper-Layout looks interesting but I'm a bit concerned about cables, temps, and I/O position.
I'll wait for some realistic renders (if possible).
 

Synomenon

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SilverStone has a "skyscraper" type case I think. Not a fan with one reason being that I like to place my ITX case on my desk and having the "front" ports all the way up top makes them inconvenient to use. They normally look kind of odd as well.
 

dondan

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Why I came up with new concepts?

I come up with the new concepts, because I have problems how to attach the side panels on the old design without seeing screws for the metal panel (Window Kit without screws is impossible for this design). The problem is the radiator area. I needs so much space that you can't place clips here. Having only one clip in every corner isn't enough because the panel can woble out in the area between them and this can result in many RMAs because you will directly see it if the panels do not flush with the top and bottom area. Using slide in adds 2,4mm on every side of the case so 5,6mm in total.

My passion is creating these products so my thoughts are circling the last month only about this problem. I came to the conclusion to try something different and this result in the new concepts.

What are the next steps?

While you discuss the topic I had the important "AHA moment" yesterday I am waiting for the last weeks. So I found a solution for the classical C4-SFX design to solve the attaching problem with slide in mechanism without adding many millimeters to the case.
I will give it try. But before I will draw it in SolidWorks I will do a survey later today to check if it is worth to talk about the riser topic again. So you can decide between sandwitch layout with flexible riser like the A4-SFX or hard riser like C4-SFX. The price difference will be 30$ for the final product.

What will now happen with the tower design?
I think this could be a good option for my next project, but I will put it on halt until next year.
 

dglow

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Sandwich layout, please. It’s a more elegant and visually iconic solution. An A4-like case with room for top-mounted* radiator(s) sounds perfect to me.

*(the rads must sit above the pumps!)
 

Raptor5150

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I agree completely! I loved the C4-SFX design for its minimalism and looks as well. In my use case using a AIO with my A4 would be much better with a case suited for it instead of working around the space limitations that the a4 has for water cooling.

The Ghost S1 approach with slid able panels would work wonders too.
 

dondan

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Hi guys,

I like to share with you my newest idea on how it is possible to improve the internal design of the C4-SFX. This design will be between 11 & 11,3L and will allow for using up to 480mm radiator surface inside the C4. (Keep in mind it is just an idea):

ideak2iwq.jpg


How it works:

The layout will be work around positive or negative pressure. There will be three vent openings for this design – top side, bottom side and front side. Every vent area has a surface of 120x240mm there will be no venting holes on the side panels.
There is one rule for building inside the case: ALL fans (including the GPU) have to blow in the same direction.

On this picture you see positive pressure. The two front fans pushing fresh air inside the case and it will move out through the radiators on top and bottom. On a use case with a radial fan GPU (GTX Founders) negative pressure would be better and for a axial fan GPU (RTX Founders) positive pressure. ( I know I did it wrong on the renderings)

If you like to use only one radiator you can also put fans on the mount points for the second radiator or install one or two of the included bracket (don’t visible on the rendering) to covering the not needed vent areas. Every bracket is able to cover a 120x120mm surface. Furthermore each bracket will also work as an drive bay and can hold two 2.5” drives.
A little example: You like to use only one 240mm radiator. You install it in the bottom of the case. Now is it up to you: You can install the fans at the front or topside. You decide for the front. Now you have unused space at the topside. You install a third 120mm fan at the topside and one vent holes cover to have more space for two HDD drives.
This design is very unique because it will allow up to 480mm radiator surface in ~11L volume. In a direct comparison a radiator will cool better if the fan is directly attached on it, but also this design will work very well.

For designing the front intake I have different ideas:
Between front panel and fan there will be 15mm free space to not have air turbulences and to provide space for dust filters. So now we have two options: 1) adding vent holes to the front panel itself or adding vent slots on the left and right side of the 15mm free space zone (I will visualize it).


What do you think about this design?
 

Talyrius

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This is a design idea I'm actually interested to see you persue further. I'm concerned about aesthetics though as that'll probably be what makes or breaks it for most of us. The prototype was beautiful and I foresee that being a bit more difficult to achieve with a front-vented design. On the other hand, we're getting a lot more cores on consumer processors and it's getting more difficult to keep them cool in an ITX form factor. Fitting two 240mm radiators in something this small is a very efficient use of space!

How will this design change affect the power supply and front IO?
 

dondan

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Talyrius

Yes you are right also for me a elegant outer design is important. I will visulize some ideas.

The i/o will be moved to the top side. There will be a mountpoid for the I/O on bottom and top side so the case is still possible to rotate it.
 

dondan

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Today i made a small test to check indirect cool system of the 2x 240mm radiator hardware layout. Therefor i unplugged the internal fans of my c4 prototype and installed two fans external on the top side. I closed all vent holes that would be also closed on the dual radiator layout. The only difference in this example is, that i only used one 240mm radiator

Testhardware:
2x Noctua F12 @ 1300 rpm
Ryzen 1700 overclocked @ 3700 Mhz
GTX 1070 FE
240mm AIO

These are the temps for Prime95 8k run (each 30min)

fans mounted on radiator = 64°C
negative pressure = 66°C
positive pressure = 69°C

So this could be the cool performance of the new design if you use one 240mm radiator.

Tomorrow i will test it with only one 120mm fan used this will show us the performance of one 240mm radiator in a 480mm radiator setup.

20181111_192314knce7.jpg
 

Neapolitan6th

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I absolutely love the new idea. Really fixes ITX airflow issues while allowing for CPU & GPU AIO options that users crave without turning the case into a hot box. The two 120mm intake fans are a great benefit. It gives users as much airflow as they can acoustically tolerate.

To me its worth any minor sacrifices you may have to make regarding case volume.

I'd be neat to have both a 240mm AIO for each the CPU and GPU. I hope you move forward with this design, good work!

(Shame the PSU has to interupt some of that clean airflow though)
 
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dondan

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You are right, a positiv pressure setup will be supported by the PSU airflow. On an negativ pressure setup the PSU will work gainst the airflow.
 

dondan

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As I promised - today I tested the indirect cooling system also with one single 120mm fan. The temps are different from the last test, because I lifted the complete case some mm up so there was more room between bottom of the case and ground (5mm last test, 15mm new test). I made all tests again:

Here are the results:

Testhardware:
2x Noctua F12 @ 1300 rpm
Ryzen 1700 overclocked @ 3700 Mhz
GTX 1070 FE
240mm AIO

Prime95 – 8k run (30min)

2x 120mm fan
Directly on radiator = 59°C
Negative pressure = 60°C
Positive pressure = 62°C


1x 120mm fan:

Negative pressure = 64°C
Positive pressure = 66°C


As you can see the difference between 2x120mm and 1x 120mm fans for indirect cooling is 4°C. The difference between indirect cooling and traditional cooling (case fans on top of radiator) is 1-3°C depending on negative or positive pressure. I think this is pretty decent.
 

richiegore

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How about a test with the fans switched off out of curiosity!? I do like this indirect cooling idea.
 

dondan

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Here is a preview on how the the case can look like with the indirect cooling layout. It is a early version because I need a feeling on how the dimension and proportion will look like:

test2.28643f5q.jpg


test2.287eof9l.jpg


test2.28847f2h.jpg
 
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AlMiDaX

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It's an interesting layout but I have to say that there are some things that does not convince me about this approach.

  • Why are you making this case so niche?
  • How effective can Indirect cooling be if the fans are (potentially) chocked?
  • How many people do water cool their GPU? Air cooled cards will probably have a hard time on this last design.
  • Do you actually find this design elegant? Ok, it's simple and clean, but to me it lacks the premium look of your old designs.
  • Assuming you have a couple of 240mm radiators, where are you going to fit the front I/O and the 2.5" drives?

The one thing that I appreciate is the fact that it's a different concept compared to most cases. I hope you keep coming with new ideas, but on a different thread please! :)

The old design is very well established, I don't find the need to redefine it everytime. Just iron out the remaining problems and let us buy the da(m)n case lol.
 

Diverge

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Not a fan of the front baffle for the front fans. I'd rather a proper grill that doesn't restrict fan airflow.

I was actually gonna build a system out of extruded beams w/ 2x 120 fans in the front because good air flow is important for SFF cases with high-end hardware.... then I just ordered a ghost s1, and I'll use a top hat with fans to pull air out. I hope to create some baffles to separate the intake fans from the side exhaust on a 2080TI FE card as well, so they don't recycle heated air.
 

thed00d

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while It looks kinda nice, I feel like the passive design would be better placed in a sew Series, let's say, the DAN-P4, with P for passive. - I really like, that one could put two 240mm AIOs in there, tho. (if possible, test that design with two 240s please, I want to see how the GPU performes under load being aircooled vs being passively watercooled in that)
Although having 11,3l of volume is getting too big for me personally.


If you can't find a way to attach the side-panels without visible screws, just openly communicate that and continue with visible screws. The only ones crying about that are in the german forums, iirc, which leaves the rest of the world being happy with your design. They'll have to live with it.
I'd rather have the C4 as it is, than not get it at all, because of some Screws.
 

cshard

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Is there a possibility to place the motherboard horizontally instead of vertically?
 

dondan

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Maybe some of you know that the A4-SFXv4 will get a new riser cable. This riser cable is very price attractive and in the same price range of two hard risers. So I like to discuss if you are interest in using the A4 hardware layout for the C4. (GPU behind the motherboard).

Compatibility Comparison:

Current Hardware Layout:
C4-SFX with "2.0 Slot hard riser" - CPU heatsink up to 64mm, GPU 2 Slot (41mm+5mm back plate)
C4-SFX with "2.5 Slot hard riser" - CPU heatsink up to 54mm, GPU 2.5/2,75 Slot (51mm+5mm back plate)

A4 Hardware Layout:
C4-SFX with "flexible riser cable" - CPU heatsink up to 54mm, GPU 2.5/2,75 Slot (51mm+5mm back plate)
 

kingtron

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I prefers the Current Hardware Layout.
Because it is unique, and it has no competitors.
Also in the Current Hardware Layout,,, the case can be used in horizontal or vertical positions.
 

AlMiDaX

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I'd be happy with either layout.

kingtron you have a point, but if you are using an AIO Cooler, the case can still be used horizontally I guess. It's definitely an issue for those who plan to cool the CPU with air.
Anyhow how many will use the case in horizontal position? 2-3% maybe? I have no clue.

dondan aside from the riser cable, isn't the A4 layout more expensive/complex to manufacture?
 
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dondan

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AlMiDaX No the complexity is the same. Only the back cutout is different and the mb-tray move to the middle of the case.
 

thed00d

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AlMiDaX No the complexity is the same. Only the back cutout is different and the mb-tray move to the middle of the case.
what would be important for me (and I guess others switching from the A4) is, that the cable lengths required are still compareable to those needed in the A4, so we can just keep using already shortened cables (I asked about this a while back, when you said the layout allows for reusing the cables).

Please keep this in mind when moving the MB or the GPU

As long as it won't change the reuseability of the cables, I like both designs.
The A4 one - with the GPU on the back - might be better for keeping the GPU cool while using a glass panel to get a nice view onto the CPU (with the perforated metal panel on the other side, so the GPU can pull in air just like it does on the A4)

I, for one, plan to use the C4 with a watercooled CPU and an aircooled GPU, while having a glass panel on the side where you would see the CPU and having the perforated metal on the other side.
 

Notional

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I'm ok either way. Although I do like the current version. The hard riser just seems like a more sturdy design, a bit simpler too which will help with cable management. I will have my PC on the right with the AIO on top, so I might just scrap the power extension cord and plug straight into the PSU from the bottom. Would need to cover up the hole as the case will operate in negative pressure.

But if the A4 layout results in more interest and better sales, then it's fine too.
 
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Maybe some of you know that the A4-SFXv4 will get a new riser cable. This riser cable is very price attractive and in the same price range of two hard risers. So I like to discuss if you are interest in using the A4 hardware layout for the C4. (GPU behind the motherboard).
I'd love to see the A4 layout in the C4. As long as I can have either CPU or GPU facing me on either side, I'm happy. I love my A4, but I'd love it even more if I could have it on the left side of my desk whilst seeing the GPU.
More than anything, I'd love for the design to be loved and approved ASAP... So I can buy one =)
 

dondan

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C4-SFX - Compatibility Survey

unbenannt0rk3y.jpg


Hi there,
with this survey I like get some answers on hardware compatibility, hardware layout and planned builds.

This survey will not affect the outer design of the C4-SFX. It will look like on the picture above. Core features like I/O on top, optional window kit, water cooling and the possibility to rotate the case will also not be affected.




Link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1...tqclqvOuF0l2cR1YVSa4XpbQ/viewform?usp=sf_link



Thank you for your help!

 
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AlMiDaX

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dondan finally, nice to see you here again! Anyhow what happened to Side I/O? Was it completely scrapped?

In this top I/O variant is it possible to align the stuff so it can match the position of the vent holes? The fact that things aren't perfectly aligned bugs me a little bit but that's my OCD, I guess.
 

dondan

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I wonder if the complete SFF community moved from HardForum to SFFForum?
 
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