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

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To me the difference between 9.4L and 9.8L is trivial esp with no difference in footprint, and there's still a good amount of difference between that and the M1's 12.6L (22%). I also think people don't go purely on volume. And Dan already mentioned he was considering extending the case 5mm. Just extend it the full 10mm to accommodate 27mm rad + 25mm fans. You can cut corners elsewhere if you can, but this is the one thing that is an absolutely essential feature in my opinion. Launching the case with 15mm fans by default is a bit crazy. I know that's harsh, but I had a true WTF moment when I read that spec, and I have great respect for Dan so I feel like I should speak my mind. It would literally be the first and only case launched with support for a 240mm radiator, but limited to slim fans only.

And on the GPU placement, I sound like a broken record, but Dan please explain what your reasoning is besides cutting $40 off the price (I don't know what the difference is between the 3M riser and the hard riser, but I'm guessing it's around there). It just seems like you're sacrificing aesthetics, functionality, and motherboard temperatures to save a bit of cost. Would you consider running a poll? Especially if you want to launch the case with windows, like you're doing with the A4-SFX, having a motherboard side and a GPU side looks much better than a hardware sandwich.

I think the exposed rad is pretty rad, pun intended, but yes you must be extra careful not to bend the fins, and you gotta pray they didn't come factory pre-bent. May be issues in transportation though if not packed well. You can also put the fans on top for that helicopter look ;). You can get RGB fans and have an insane light show. :D Possibilities are endless.

PS I'm playing devil's advocate b/c anything Dan or Necere announce gets me super excited, and my OCD kicks in.
 

ryan_c

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This covers my only concern which was being able to fit a 30mm rad + a noctua fan. I would buy one, Dan!

@ALL: Here is a small rendering to show you how the bottom cooling part looks like. For you information: The most often 240 radiator thickness is 27mm on the market. Only Corsair is with 30mm a bit higher. The current height for the AIO + FAN area is 42mm I am thinking of adding 5mm to support the following configurations:

*22mm radiator + up to 25mm thick fan
*27mm radiator + up to 20mm thick fan (Noctua A12x15 will fit)
*30mm radiator + up to 17mm thick fan (Noctua A12x15 will fit)

1k_191fdob3.jpg


Some of you wonder why I configured it with fan bushing to the bottom so they will work against thermal convection. The thermal convection in PC case temp range is very low so two 120mm fans can easily disable it. Furthermore fans that come close to a ground will lost performance and become noisy if they suck air from the ground. If the fan blows to the ground the distance can be very low and also the noise level is low.


Some of you mentioned that if you use higher case feets you can use bigger fans. This is wrong because it will collide with the outer panel.

1k_1935mos1.jpg


Blackreplica: Thank you for the idea with the pumb/res combo.

Brandonandon: You mean 10mm not 1mm ;)

QuantumBraced: I don’t think that the GPU over the motherboard will result in bad temps. With the bottom fans you a continuous air flow in the case. I think the temps will be better as in the A4. Furthermore why do you need fast access to the motherboard? A PC isn’t a refrigerator that need fast access.

Boil: You are right. Two 120mm fans total.
 

dondan

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ceski:
You are right, but as I know the heat that comes from the PSU is not very high so I think it will not be a problem. But I have to test this.


darrpara:
Two 120mm AIOs isn't possible, because the case has to be much bigger.


@migrgus:
Please read this post: https://hardforum.com/threads/dan-c4-h2o-a-water-cooled-sff-case.1944458/page-2#post-1043233781


firas:
I can compare it to the A4 but I don't want to advertise against the M1.


cowsgomoo2:
Sry I don't get your point.


galletabah:
The price will be higher as the A4-SFX and I want this new design because of the reasons I described in my first post.


readeh:
As I know custom colors are very expansive this will add $25 to every case.


pointfiveo:
If only the footprint is interesting for you the Sentry is the better choice.


Necere:
If you are afraid of bending the radiator fins by touching it while you carring the case you just add fan grills on the bottom side. You will lose 2mm with this setup. Or just flip the case 180° if you carry it ;)


@Ca11iduss:
Please read this post: https://hardforum.com/threads/dan-c4-h2o-a-water-cooled-sff-case.1944458/page-2#post-1043233781


QuantumBraced:
Please let me know why you think a 25mm thick fan is better as the 16,5mm thick Noctua A12x15? These case will only support radiators with a thickness of 12-30mm. Nearly 95% of all 240mm AIOs have this thickness. You don't need a fan with very high air pressure to get air through the fins of these thin radiators. So I don't see the point why a 25mm fan is so important. And if there is no way for you to use thin fans just get a Silverstone Slim AIO and you can use 25mm thick fans.

As you can see the price cut is between 50 and 70€ this is $60-$84. Here are two pictures so you can understand what are the difference between a hard riser and a flexible riser like the 3M one.

Hard Riser:
delock-riser-card-pci-express-x16-angled-90-right-insertion-for-htpc.jpg


Flexible Riser:
Twin_Ax_%28product_shot%29.jpg


I love the aesthetics, what is wrong with the functionality and who said that the motherboard temps will be bad with the constant airflow between all components? I will be stay with this layout, because I don't see problems with it.

Why you have to pray that the radiator comes not with factory pre-bend. Do you have mirror under your case that you can see the radiator?


Vlad502:
I will test it ;)
 
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Having all the air flow downward doesn't make much sense to me - exhausting everything through the top makes far more sense. Heat convection for one thing, and for another since there's no direction to control the exhaust at the bottom, as that warm air rises all around the case some of it will get sucked back in much easier.

But that's just my $0.02, I already bought an NCase M1 sorry. Definitely love what you're trying to do here though! I still have a bit of excess space in my M1 where I'm finding myself going "hmmmmm I could have gotten something even smaller..."
 

cowsgomoo2

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HFHuv3x.jpg


Hi Dondan, you said the outer panels block thicker fans so if you put the screws on the other side then it won't block the fans.
 
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dondan

Thank you very much for the reply. Well here are some numbers from Noctua:

NF-F12 PWM: 1500 RPM, 22.4 db/A, 93.4 m^3/h airflow, 2,61 mm H2O static pressure

NF-A14x15 PWM: 1850 RPM, 23.9 dB/A, 94.2 m^3/h airflow, 1,53 mm H20 stataic pressure

So the 15mm fan is a bit louder with a higher pitch noise, and it pushes a similar amount of air. Where they differ massively is in static pressure. The 25mm fan has 70% more static pressure than the 15mm fan. That means the 25mm fan will spin significantly slower to push the same amount of air through the fins. Is that worth a case that's 1 cm taller? I think it is. You may disagree. This is just my opinion.

So you're cutting €50-70 off of €230 to have this design. If you think that's worth it, that's fair. I think a lot of people will be happy to pay the extra money to have the dual-chamber design, which is an iconic feature of the Dan case. This is a subjective thing, if you don't think it looks worse this way, then it's easier to justify.

Re: fins, I meant if you put the radiator on top. But I don't mind it, I think it looks great. The exposed radiator is something I love about the case. Do you think orienting the fans for intake with the radiator on top would result in better CPU temperatures?

Is the top/side panels one solid piece?
 
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Blackreplica

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I’m not sure if it applies to everyone but the dual chamber design of the Dan A4 is a huge reason why I bought it. Simple, elegant and super effective. Not to mention the internals look so tidy compared to traditional case layouts.

Always dreamed of a liquid cooled A4 styled case. Basically an A4 with provision for 240mm AIOs on each side panel

Too late to consider a similar design scheme for the H2O model Dan?
 

dondan

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cowsgomoo2:
I now I understand. If I don't make the bend at the bottom the sides will not stay in position. Furthermore we will lose round corners on the bottom side this could look strange.

Vlad502
As I said I will add 5mm to the height than you can use 30mm radiator with Noctua A12x15.
If you like to use a custome water cooling solution I have a good idea:

- GPU heatsink: Alphacool Eisbär (includes pumb in the GPU heatsink)
- Radiator: EKL 240 Slimor Magicool 240 Slim
- CPU heatsink what ever you want
- Resavoir: Don't use one

For temperatures I have to do test.
 

Nanook

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cowsgomoo2:
I now I understand. If I don't make the bend at the bottom the sides will not stay in position. Furthermore we will lose round corners on the bottom side this could look strange.

Vlad502
As I said I will add 5mm to the height than you can use 30mm radiator with Noctua A12x15.
If you like to use a custome water cooling solution I have a good idea:

- GPU heatsink: Alphacool Eisbär (includes pumb in the GPU heatsink)
- Radiator: EKL 240 Slimor Magicool 240 Slim
- CPU heatsink what ever you want
- Resavoir: Don't use one

For temperatures I have to do test.

That's a great idea for custom loop to use a waterblock / pump combination unit!
edit: I just found that the Alphacool Eiswolf GPX Pro is very low profile, and should work :)
(as opposed to the Alphacool Eisbär, which is quite tall)
 
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dondan

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cowsgomoo2
Then it will look like this:

12351s1o.jpg


So you only have the rounded part on the protruding tabs.

Nanook
Yes this is the trick. If you want full custom water cooling with GPU and CPU cooling move the pump in the GPU. So you can use your favorite CPU copper block.
 
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I don't want to sound rude but technically I could refund my A4 kickstarter order (at least as far as German law is concerned there doesn't seem to be a way around this for you) and order this? Not trying to ruin your business or anything because you do awesome stuff but I would imagine quite a lot of people would want to do that.
 

dondan

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XstreamHard: No because the 14days refund right you have in Germany is only for the first 14days after the campaign ends. This is a special rule for crowdfunding.
 
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Nanook

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Nanook
Yes this is the trick. If you want full custom water cooling with GPU and CPU cooling move the pump in the GPU. So you can use your favorite CPU copper block.
Thanks!
I'm researching reviews to see if the Alphacool Eiswolf GPX Pro pump can support a second block (CPU). Most of the Alphacool pre-filled setup shows Eisbär + Eiswolf, meaning two pumps within the same loop.
 

Calrez

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It should come like this with front IO on the left side and gpu sitting (not being upside down
 

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dondan

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Calrez
I can only say it again and again that you can use the case in this way without any problems. The case supports both modes.
 
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Calrez

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Still sexy if tests prove good thermals bring this baby to life on kickstarter asap
 
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Pantera_666

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dondan
"Why 25mm fans support? Thin ones will do just fine..."

Because 25mm fans LOOK BETTER!

RGB and bs like that...

Come on Dan... Be more flexible!
 

Chapeau

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I'm doubtful whether the slim fan / bottom radiator position will prove practical fro most buyers. I've had to extensively mod my M1 to get the bottom radiator position to work to a level that I'm comfortable with, and I'd like to think I'm already quite clear with my expectations ( Priority for aesthetics over performance in particular).
With a full thickness 25mm fan it may be borderline but most folk who water cool expect silly low temperatures even if it doesn't give them any practical benefit.

The top position however will be perfect. Even if you were to focus on a top position only with a cleaner design I'm sure you'd be on to a winner.
 

dondan

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Here is a nice review of the Noctua A12x15

http://www.overclockers.com/noctua-nf-a12x15-fan-review/

The conclusion is that this fan is on the same level as a 25mm one for cooling radiators.




Maybe I have to make a poll to see if nearly everyone wants 25mm fan support for radiator usage.
I have the same feeling about 25mm fans that I have with 3.5" hdd drives. It misfit the idea behind SFF systems and sometimes you have to go new ways to see that it will also work.
And if 15mm thick fans will become more popular the industry will follow and we will see more thin 120mm fans on the market.
Furthermore if you use the "SilverStone Tundra TD02-SLIM V2" you can use 25mm thick fans with my increased design that have 47mm space for radiator + fan.
 
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theGryphon

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Hey dondan,
I like the new design language but I think the new case is too similar to the M1, not significantly smaller in footprint (which matters most) and has less to offer. So, I'm afraid it would have a hard time at Kickstarter.

I think you should consider a bolder approach and differentiate your new case significantly from what's available (that's how A4 became a success). Now open your mind and consider this layout:

Sketchfab link: 9L Dual AIO by theGryphon

Preview:
9l_dual_aio.png

  • The model here includes two 120mm AIOs to cool both the CPU and the GPU.
  • Only the front and the top are (fully) perforated, all other sides (including the back) are solid.
  • The GPU is 300mm long.
    • As you can see, it's rotated 90 degrees wrt the motherboard, so a flexible riser as pictured above is required. As you know, Corsair One uses a similar 90 degree riser.
    • Also note that the hot side of the GPU is facing the outer panel, not the motherboard.
    • There is a net 72mm clearance between a regular 2-slot GPU and the motherboard surface.
    • There is also 13mm clearance between a 2-slot GPU and the PSU.
  • The fans on top are 92x25. They are the only fans in this configuration which requires them to blow out for negative air pressure.
    • The reason these fans are used instead of 120mm fans on the radiator is this: The GPU cables on top would already require this height for the case. Now that height is efficiently used for both GPU cables and the 92mm fans. This saves precious volume and footprint (which is the main design goal) for the case.
  • Alternative configurations:
    • A 240mm AIO cooler for the CPU with a 2.5-slot GPU with axial fans. 92mm fans are blowing out for negative air pressure.
    • A 120mm AIO cooler (at the top) for a 2-slot GPU along with a 120mm fan (blowing in) on the front and a CPU heatsink with up to 70mm height measured from the motherboard surface. 92mm fans also blowing in for a positive air pressure.
    • No AIOs, instead two 120mm fans in the front blowing in, and a CPU heatsink with up to 70mm height measured from the motherboard surface. A 3.5" drive may be used on top in place of the 92mm fans (while this would obviously lower the cooling potential for the case, some people may want to use the case with not-so high-end components).
    • In all configurations, a short GPU would enable using a 3.5" drive (or multiple 2.5" drives) in front of the PSU.
  • Case dimensions are 125 (width) x 210 (depth) x 360 (height) = 9.45 litres.


Additional benefits of this design:
  • No need for internal cables
  • ... except for an internal HDMI cable to enable VR devices from the front.
 
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richiegore

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I'm not sure on the fan size question. I don't really like being locked into one fan type, what if noctua stop producing it? I know there are alternative slim fans but I don't think they perform as well.

I think the footprint on the Dan is what sets it apart from the ncase and one of the reasons I went for it. I think that is why this case is a good idea, it doesn't change the footprint. I also think allowing for 25mm fans inst that big a deal as agin it doesn't change the footprint of the design.

Definitely think it should be primarily designed to have the radiator on top though....
 

alishakyol

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cowsgomoo2
Then it will look like this:

12351s1o.jpg


So you only have the rounded part on the protruding tabs.

Nanook
Yes this is the trick. If you want full custom water cooling with GPU and CPU cooling move the pump in the GPU. So you can use your favorite CPU copper block.
Looks great, as with the original a4, i will buy this case :)
 

dansergiu

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I have to agree with Dan on this one. Pushing for 15mm fans for a SFF build is not unreasonable. The same discussion was happening 5 years ago with PSUs, and the push for SFX and SFX-L in the end made them a suitable standard and now we have options from different companies which is good for us, SFF enthusiast. And this is an SFF enthusiast product in the end. It's supposed to push boundaries and make difficult choices. If that means restricted cooler access, then that's what you have to compromise to build in this case. If that is too much for you, then don't buy it and the crowdfunding will not go through. But if the crowdfunding does go through then this validates the case and it's design choices.

Also, there isn't a prototype yet and there are no thermals measurements available. Isn't it a bit early to bash the design, the fan placement, choices, where the GPU sits, etc ? I mean constructive criticism is welcomed, but I think the tone on some of these posts is a bit harsh and I am sure Dan will test different configurations (the case is reversible from the get go, after all), different AIOs, maybe even a full loop with a small pump? There are plenty of configurations still possible in this case, and if 15mm fans work just as well with 27mm radiators, then I, personally, am sold (thermals and noise as well).

PS: I do get some of the concerns with the limited availability of fans and color schemes and lack of RGB, but in the end, these aspects might not matter as much for most of the people (I have noctua fans in an otherwise all black and gray build with RGB, and they do stick out like a sore thumb, but in the end they are the best 92mm fans around, so I still use them. I would paint them but then again, they do have a certain charm). If enough people find this a big issue that would make them not buy the case, then yes, the design should be altered to allow 25mm fans, but if enough will buy it even with this limitation, then I still think it's worth doing and pushing the fan standards towards 15mm or even smaller.
 
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It looks like you can get single 240 radiator support, with 25 mm fan clearance, in a case from Lian Li already. It is about 19 liters, but It could be cut down by a couple liters by a skilled CAD user like DAN.

http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-q38/

https://photos.app.goo.gl/3YU1ovt4X9H9Rfu32

This plate attached to the case rear with a pump and milled plastic channels to replace complex tubing is an interesting idea. I wonder if this was intended by Lian Li?

http://bbs.zol.com.cn/diybbs/d35018_399.html

The Lian Li PC-Q38 does not support dual 120mm AIO coolers, but demand for that setup may be limited. AIOs should not operate with their coolant over 60 C, so single 120 mm radiators are sometime inadequate for high-powered components.

.

I have to agree with Dan on this one. Pushing for 15mm fans for a SFF build is not unreasonable.

I would disagree, the case should support the default fans of most AIO coolers if it is going to continue the budget logic. This case is going to avoid using a $70 PCIe flexible rise to use a $10 rigid riser, so it is unreasonable to expect that buyers will want to spend $40 for two 15mm-thin replacement fans for their new AIO cooler.
 
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Quartz-1

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My initial thoughts:

The radiator really needs to be on the top, and have some protection.

USB and audio ports should be on the top at the front, like the Silverstone FT05 I'm using right now, not at the side. If there's a dust cover, so much the better. I made this point with your earlier case and having the ports on the side is a show-stopper for me.

You have the GPU inverted. I am concerned about the card coming adrift. I know it can't fall out because of the clip on the slot and being screwed in at the rear, but it seems to me that it could move just enough to cause issues.

Aesthetically, I would suggest that both front top USB ports be USB 3.1.

Good luck!
 

dondan

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theGryphon:
Thank you for your idea, but I don't like your layout because of following reasons:
- I don't like skyscraper style cases
- Your design requires a riser cable with complicated bend so I have to use 3M and this will result in long production time + high price
- Your design requires special display port and HDMI extensions that will be not up to day some years ago and will increase the price
- Two 92mm fans have to spin fast and loud to generates enough pressure

I am very happy with my current design, so changing it is not an option. Optimizations are possible as long as they refer to my design.


JackGLemmon:
I am not interested in optimization a already made design from Lian Li.


Quartz-1:
And as I mentioned just flip the case and it will be on top. The U-Frame side panel will protect it.
Changing the position of Audio and USB ports on top will make flipping the case impossible. It is not possible that the card "adrift" or sag down because it is clipped in the PCIe socket holder and screwed to the case. Also the riser is screwed to the chassis.
Changing to complete USB3.1 will be only supported by one premium priced ITX board. I don't want to limit the usage of I/O to a single mITX board.
 

masteralef

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theGryphon:

Changing to complete USB3.1 will be only supported by one premium priced ITX board. I don't want to limit the usage of I/O to a single mITX board.

To me, that's a question of what you're expecting people to do with this case and when (and when you're expecting to put it into production). First of all, Asus is set to release an AM4 board next month, so there will very possibly be a second board allowing that. Second, z390 is supposed to integrate USB 3.1 gen 2, which should mean that boards produced next year will likely have that feature much more often.

So if you're thinking this is going to go into production and be shipping by spring, and/or that most people will be reusing a lot of components, I agree with you. If you think that it's likely to take until summer or fall, USB 3.1 gen 2 might be worth considering.
 

dondan

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@All:

Before I offer the poll about fan compatibility I made a list of compatible 240mm AiOs.
The case supports radiators with the following max specs:

295mm length
122,5mm width
height depends on fan configuration

AiOs that are based on Alphacool radiators will not fit because there are 124mm in width. Also some radiators with labels on the site will not fit.
From my own experience I regocment Asetek based AiOs, because they have support for every socket and if you reduce the pump RPM they are very quiet.



22mm height (Link):

* SilverStone Tundra TD02-SLIM V2 (273 x 120 x 22) = OK


27mm height (prefered class) (Link)

* Akasa Venom A20 (272 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Antec Mercury M240 (no data) = ?
* Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 (277 x 119,6 x 27) = OK
* Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240 (275 x 118,5 x 27) = OK
* Cooler Master Seidon 240V (273 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Corsair Hydro Series H100i (275 x 122 x 27) = OK
* DeepCool Captain Series = not fit (pump height)
* DeepCool MaelStrom 240T (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Enermax Liqmax II 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* ID-Cooling Auraflow 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* LC-Power LC-CC-240-LiCo (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* LEPA Aquachanger 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* MagiCool AiO MC-A240A (272 x 120 x 27) = OK
* SilverStone Tundra TD02-LITE-V2 (273 x 120 x 27) = OK
* SilverStone Tundra TD02-E-V2 (278 x 124 x 27) = not fit (radiator width)
* Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S (270 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Cryorig A40 (272 x 120 x 27,5) = OK


30mm+ height (Link)

* AeroCool Likai 240 (274 x 120,5 x 29 ) = OK
* Alphacool Eisbaer 240 (277 x 124 x 27,5) = not fit (pump height & radiator width)
* be quiet! Silent Loop 240 (277 x 124 x 27,5) = not fit (radiator width)
* Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 (276 x 125 x 30) = maybe (maybe if you remove label)
* Fractal Design Celsius S24 (284 x 122 x 31) = OK
* NZXT Kraken X52 (275 x 123 x 30) = maybe ( I think the values are wrong because based on Asetek radiator)

(all Data are collected from the product specification pages, so there could be wrong values!)
 
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Nanook

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@All:

Before I offer the poll about fan compatibility I made a list of compatible 240mm AiOs.
The case supports radiators with the following max specs:

295mm length
122,5mm width
height depends on fan configuration

AiOs that are based on Alphacool radiators will not fit because there are 124mm in width. Also some radiators with labels on the site will not fit.
From my own experience I regocment Asetek based AiOs, because they have support for every socket and if you reduce the pump RPM they are very quiet.



22mm height (Link):

* SilverStone Tundra TD02-SLIM V2 (273 x 120 x 22) = OK


27mm height (prefered class) (Link)

* Akasa Venom A20 (272 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Antec Mercury M240 (no data) = ?
* Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240 (277 x 119,6 x 27) = OK
* Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 240 (275 x 118,5 x 27) = OK
* Cooler Master Seidon 240V (273 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Corsair Hydro Series H100i (275 x 122 x 27) = OK
* DeepCool Captain Series = not fit (pump height)
* DeepCool MaelStrom 240T (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Enermax Liqmax II 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* ID-Cooling Auraflow 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* LC-Power LC-CC-240-LiCo (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* LEPA Aquachanger 240 (274 x 120 x 27) = OK
* MagiCool AiO MC-A240A (272 x 120 x 27) = OK
* SilverStone Tundra TD02-LITE-V2 (273 x 120 x 27) = OK
* SilverStone Tundra TD02-E-V2 (278 x 124 x 27) = not fit (radiator width)
* Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S (270 x 120 x 27) = OK
* Cryorig A40 (272 x 120 x 27,5) = OK


30mm+ height (Link)

* AeroCool Likai 240 (274 x 120,5 x 29 ) = OK
* Alphacool Eisbaer 240 (277 x 124 x 27,5) = not fit (pump height & radiator width)
* be quiet! Silent Loop 240 (277 x 124 x 27,5) = not fit (radiator width)
* Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 (276 x 125 x 30) = maybe (maybe if you remove label)
* Fractal Design Celsius S24 (284 x 122 x 31) = OK
* NZXT Kraken X52 (275 x 123 x 30) = maybe ( I think the values are wrong because based on Asetek radiator)

(all Data are collected from the product specification pages, so there could be wrong values!)
Thank you for putting this together!
FYI, and for what it's worth - Corsair and NZXT seem to be VERY popular in the US
 
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