Inverse: A Highly Versatile Steam-Box Design

Daemos

Limp Gawd
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Just so we know what we can place on top of the case, what is the weight that can be supported by the top of the case?

I'm asking for those with larger monitors.
 

SaperPL

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Just so we know what we can place on top of the case, what is the weight that can be supported by the top of the case?

I'm asking for those with larger monitors.

I wouldn't put anything bigger than a blu-ray player/SAT decoder/console on it unless the covers were somehow strengthened to not bend.

Either external or internal structure has to be able to withstand such weights as monitor and it doesn't look like any of them will from the photos.
 

QinX

Limp Gawd
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I wouldn't put anything bigger than a blu-ray player/SAT decoder/console on it unless the covers were somehow strengthened to not bend.

Either external or internal structure has to be able to withstand such weights as monitor and it doesn't look like any of them will from the photos.

I'd change the OP then, because you show of the case with a monitor on top.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Just so we know what we can place on top of the case, what is the weight that can be supported by the top of the case?

I'm asking for those with larger monitors.

Having the case support the weight of a monitor is one of the design goals, so we'll definitely try our best to get it to work.

The first prototype was made from all aluminum and would not safely support the weight of a monitor.

The second prototype will have steel interior and a thicker aluminum exterior. There is also extra support built in so that weight is better distributed. The current renders reflect the interior design of the first prototype, which is outdated. We are working on updated renders right now, and I'll shoot out a notice when we get it done.

Once we get the second prototype, we will test the weight it can hold, as well as component compatibility.

I wouldn't put anything bigger than a blu-ray player/SAT decoder/console on it unless the covers were somehow strengthened to not bend.

Either external or internal structure has to be able to withstand such weights as monitor and it doesn't look like any of them will from the photos.

Sorry, the internal renders are out-of-date. We are working at the updated renders, and they should be up soon.

I'd change the OP then, because you show of the case with a monitor on top.

I think you mistook saper for me :p
 

SaperPL

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The second prototype will have steel interior and a thicker aluminum exterior. There is also extra support built in so that weight is better distributed.

I didn't mean the materials, though a really thick sheets of aluminium on the outside might work but the interior in general looks like a really fragile thing. That extra support needs to be a huge change of for the internal design to work for such big monitors.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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I didn't mean the materials, though a really thick sheets of aluminium on the outside might work but the interior in general looks like a really fragile thing. That extra support needs to be a huge change of for the internal design to work for such big monitors.

The new design has more support bars to help with holding the weight. Also, 1.5mm steel is quite a bit stronger than 1.5mm aluminum, so the change in material also makes a big difference.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Update 08/09/2015:

Updated internal renders to reflect the newest design.

Second prototype is now ready for surface finishing :)
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Update 08/18/2015:

The second prototype is complete! ...kinda. All the surface finishing are done, but our manufacturer made a mistake on one of the parts, so we're having them redo that part before sending the complete package over to us.

For our second prototype, we have two different surface finishing for comparison: Brushed Aluminum and Powder Coated Aluminum. Please do this very short survey and let me know which you prefer!

Edit: Images

7B8ebMo.jpg


k71DkyI.jpg


qHVMq2s.jpg


nsSNFiq.jpg


dRxpLDX.jpg
 
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esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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I still don't get it - why is the power button on the bottom side?

Basically, there's no place to put it in the front where it doesn't look ugly. The side could work, but some people have said to me that they would prefer not to have a bright LED flashing at them, so I put it on the bottom.
 

fullvietFX

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I want this NOW. You had me sold with the photo with all the drives, exactly how I would use this.
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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I understand that the GPU is partitioned away from the rest of the system--would it be possible to do the same with the radiator? I'm thinking radiator pulling in air through a filter, and all that air being pushed straight out the vents on the side/back. All else fails, I guess I could 3d print a partition myself.

Would be nice if the case fit a 280mm radiator too, which would pretty much allow two 120mm radiators because of the extra space necessary, but I guess it's understandable with how small you're trying to make this case.

Also, looks like (although it'd definitely be a tight fit) I could fit a custom loop in there with a 240mm rad, if I used a SSD positioned as close to the PSU as possible and put the pump in the remaining space. Or, if the gpu partition could be used as an alternate mounting location for 2.5" drives, that'd be perfect.

...oh, the possibilities. :D
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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NAS/Media Server/HTPC and no RAID card.

There should be a lot of space for hard drives if you don't use a raid card. Some people have been asking for extra mounting spaces for 3.5" drives at the end of the GPU compartment for extra storage when you have a RAID card or a short GPU. I'm not sure if that is possible. Maybe if I changed the design on a support bracket.

I understand that the GPU is partitioned away from the rest of the system--would it be possible to do the same with the radiator? I'm thinking radiator pulling in air through a filter, and all that air being pushed straight out the vents on the side/back. All else fails, I guess I could 3d print a partition myself.

Would be nice if the case fit a 280mm radiator too, which would pretty much allow two 120mm radiators because of the extra space necessary, but I guess it's understandable with how small you're trying to make this case.

Also, looks like (although it'd definitely be a tight fit) I could fit a custom loop in there with a 240mm rad, if I used a SSD positioned as close to the PSU as possible and put the pump in the remaining space. Or, if the gpu partition could be used as an alternate mounting location for 2.5" drives, that'd be perfect.

Having an extra partition for the radiator is definitely possible. I'm wondering if I should include that with the "default" package though.

I really want to include 280mm radiator support too, but it just makes the case way too big. I've been thinking about the possibility of a custom loop, but it's going to be a tight fit as you say, making the choices very limited. I want to attempt something like that in the prototype just as a test of idea if I can scratch together some money :)

I think the GPU compartment already has mounting locations for 2.5" drives.

...oh, the possibilities. :D

Yes, this case isn't about the smallest form factor. It's about trying to cram as many options and possible configurations into the smallest space possible :D
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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I think the GPU compartment already has mounting locations for 2.5" drives.

I was actually talking about on the wall itself, since I would still be using a discrete GPU in that area if I used this case. You'd probably only be able to fit one drive, since it'd be right next to the motherboard, but it'd be nice to have the option.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Any updates when you'll be ready to sell them to the public?

I was actually about to make an update! The second prototype shipped out of China yesterday and should arrive at my place next week. We also just bought all the parts for testing within the prototype, so I'm eagerly awaiting all sorts of packages to appear at my front step :cool:

I can't comment on the date for the crowdfunding stage yet, since that will depend on how well the prototype holds up under testing.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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215

Jvdjg9r.jpg


What's this?

gzbdBdN.jpg


Is that an !nverse Prototype #2 I see?

Dken0r3.jpg


It's finally here!!!!!!!

qBsJvbK.jpg


BEWhj0Q.jpg


So now that I have the prototype in my hands, I will be doing a bunch of tests in the next few weeks. There is a mountain of new PC components sitting in my room, ready for testing of every configuration. I will be doing some temperature tests and possibly some noise tests.

Some initial thoughts:

1) This thing is solid! I was worried that my design was too flimsy, but it definitely felt like I can throw a few 45 lb weights on it. Monitors and stuff should definitely be fine on top. I think I can actually reduce the thickness of the 2 exterior aluminum panels and it'll still be fine.

2) There are some parts that employ sliding mechanisms. Our manufacturer was concerned with how difficult they are to use, but they feel fine to me.

Also, a note on the fitment of AIO coolers within this case, I just received my cooler master AIO coolers with FEP tubing and I can confirm that they fit fine. AIO coolers without FEP tubings will most likely not be supported due to the larger bend radius of the tubing.

That's all for now. Super excited to start building in this thing!!

 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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Looks great--I'd love to have one of those under my monitor on my desk...different color, though. :p
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
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What's up with the 2 dents along the bottom front edge?

It's where the top panel is attached to the frame most likely. that's also on the renders.

I'm wondering how cpu coolers upside down will run in general. I checked the iFreilicht's idea for our case to turn it upside down and the intel fan makes chirping noises that way.
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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Just flip the fan. :D
Some fans just aren't designed to run upside down. :/
 

SaperPL

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Yeah, I know. I mean for those like box cooler where you can't switch sides.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Looks great--I'd love to have one of those under my monitor on my desk...different color, though. :p

No worries, we'll have a few colors available for the kickstarter, plus some other goodies ;)

What's up with the 2 dents along the bottom front edge?

It's where the top panel is attached to the frame most likely. that's also on the renders.

Saper is exactly right.

I'm wondering how cpu coolers upside down will run in general. I checked the iFreilicht's idea for our case to turn it upside down and the intel fan makes chirping noises that way.

Interesting. I hope this is just a quality of the intel stock coolers and not a universal thing. I will check with a few other low-profile coolers. Air cooler tests will probably come later though; I want to do water cooling tests first :D
 

SaperPL

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Interesting. I hope this is just a quality of the intel stock coolers and not a universal thing. I will check with a few other low-profile coolers. Air cooler tests will probably come later though; I want to do water cooling tests first :D

I'm no expert at how this works but I think those coolers's bearings are designed to spring the fan bit down/to the center of bearing so it makes less noise. And if you go upside down you get the mass and counterforce of sucking the air combined and it internally goes out of designed range.

BUT it could also mean that my fan is making those weird noises because the bearing is already deformed for the position it's been working in for all that time and going upside down need some time for material to work.
 

Screes

Limp Gawd
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367
Am i the only one who's OCD is going crazy over those "random" holes on the front.

The ones on the side aren't as bad, but i'd still prefer some sort of symmetrical order to the hole pattern.
 

cowsgomoo

Gawd
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547
Am i the only one who's OCD is going crazy over those "random" holes on the front.

The ones on the side aren't as bad, but i'd still prefer some sort of symmetrical order to the hole pattern.

While I'm not OCD about the randomness, I'd prefer a higher density of holes for better ventilation because it can get really constricted when filters are added. And the shape of the GPU holes is telling me not to use a triple fan GPU.

Edit: I just notice the GPU holes are for additional 120mm fans, so please ignore what I said about the GPU holes. They are awesome.
 
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cowsgomoo

Gawd
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547
Hi esplin2966,



The holes here are a bit wasted because they are right up on the wall of the PSU.

On the other hand,

this area has a wasted space that could be used for the exhaust/intake of the AIO.
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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I don't think the holes next to the PSU are wasted--there should be at least 5mm of space there, which is plenty for a fluid to squeeze through (fluids are funny like that), but I'm not an expert in these things, so I could be wrong. I agree that maybe the ones on the front shouldn't end so abruptly, but I'm not sure that they'd really help that much, and it may not look as good.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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Some pictures of the interior for you guys! I just started building in it, so cellphone pictures are all I have.

Once you remove the red top and bottom panels, the !nverse case decomposes into something that looks like a test rack, shown below:

jHmf1wJ.jpg


In my early interviews with builders, they all stated that one of their biggest frustrations with building in a mITX case is that there is almost no room to build in. That, along with the adage that you always want to build outside of the case first, gave birth to this design.

Vvmc2uJ.jpg


This way, you can test individual components while building within the case, all with ample space for your hands to reach everywhere.

qnevaWH.jpg


Now you just attach all the wires, flip them over...

PcB95WH.jpg


...and then you have a completed PC block that the red top and bottom panels can attach to. Note that in this picture, I'm using a 120mm AIO cooler instead of the 240mm AIO cooler in previous pictures. This is because I found out after I took the first 3 pictures that my Cooler Master 240M is defective, so I had to switch it out. Hopefully I can get a replacement soon so I can show you guys how a 240mm AIO cooler fit in the case.


Hi esplin2966,



The holes here are a bit wasted because they are right up on the wall of the PSU.

On the other hand,

this area has a wasted space that could be used for the exhaust/intake of the AIO.

Hello!

I'll have to test to see if the design of bigger and less-dense holes will lead to high temperatures. Hopefully I can address your concern in that area in the next few weeks.

There is a 10mm space between the PSU and the outer wall due to the curved shape of the case, so it's not completely wasted. I completely agree that it's inefficient use of the vent holes, but I mainly kept them there for aesthetic purposes. Having a truncated set of holes on one side doesn't look very good.

The reasons for not having holes beside the AIO are two-fold:

1) I don't want to line the entire front side with holes, since it doesn't look good.

2) I want the air flow to go from the radiator, and then go through the rest of the motherboard/hard drive area to cool other components too. If I have the hole beside the AIO radiator, then the air will just exit right away, leaving the rest of the components "high-and-dry".
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Messages
215
I don't think the holes next to the PSU are wasted--there should be at least 5mm of space there, which is plenty for a fluid to squeeze through (fluids are funny like that), but I'm not an expert in these things, so I could be wrong. I agree that maybe the ones on the front shouldn't end so abruptly, but I'm not sure that they'd really help that much, and it may not look as good.

I agree with everything you said, but I just want to add that the holes on the front aren't random, and they end so quickly for a reason. The front hole design is the word "!nverse" written in braille, mirrored and then inverted.

The meaning of the side holes are a secret for now ;)
 

SaperPL

[H]ard|Gawd
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When put together it looks okay but I actually don't like the idea of mounting half of the components on the panel that's detatched. There'll be a lot problems with too long cables going into fan areas and general cable management because of that.

That's of course if you don't have some fancy idea on how to tackle this. Otherwise you'll end up with multitasking the cable management while putting this panel on.

I know we have to compromise somewhere when building in this format but this part of cable management that makes cables clear of the fans is crucial since you're going to screw this all up together and then upon firing it up you'll need to reopen the whole thing.
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
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I think a channel for cables to run through would be nice, but it's not really necessary--some cable tie mounts and double-sided tape should be fine for cable management. It looks like you should only need about five inches max for fans over the video card, maybe 10 inches for the radiator fans, with that panel on it's side next to the bottom panel. You'll probably need extensions for the fans, and long sata/power cables for your drives, but if you run all of your cables along the panel (rather than floating in air) and your cables are long enough you shouldn't have a problem with cable management.

What would be a concern for me is whether the clc's block would reach the cpu and be easy to put on while balancing the panel--I don't think there's an easy work-around for that. Looks like there's enough room for an EK XLC Predator, or loops like that--it might not be an issue if you use QDCs.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Messages
215
When put together it looks okay but I actually don't like the idea of mounting half of the components on the panel that's detatched. There'll be a lot problems with too long cables going into fan areas and general cable management because of that.

That's of course if you don't have some fancy idea on how to tackle this. Otherwise you'll end up with multitasking the cable management while putting this panel on.

I know we have to compromise somewhere when building in this format but this part of cable management that makes cables clear of the fans is crucial since you're going to screw this all up together and then upon firing it up you'll need to reopen the whole thing.

I think that building in any steam machine style case requires the builder to think about cable management while building, so it's a question of the relative difficulty of doing it in a two-piece versus a one-piece chassis. Having put together this build twice (once for 240mm AIO, once for 120mm AIO), I don't think it's more difficult to cable manage across two pieces of the frame compared to cable managing within a cramped space.

The way I did it was place the two parts side-by-side vertically, mount all the components, and then connect up all the wires before closing the sandwich. I was able to move any outlier cables while I closed the sandwich. It definitely wasn't worse than building in my Minibox M350, which always cause me break out in a fit of cold sweat struggling to reach places.
 

esplin2966

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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I think a channel for cables to run through would be nice, but it's not really necessary--some cable tie mounts and double-sided tape should be fine for cable management. It looks like you should only need about five inches max for fans over the video card, maybe 10 inches for the radiator fans, with that panel on it's side next to the bottom panel. You'll probably need extensions for the fans, and long sata/power cables for your drives, but if you run all of your cables along the panel (rather than floating in air) and your cables are long enough you shouldn't have a problem with cable management.

What would be a concern for me is whether the clc's block would reach the cpu and be easy to put on while balancing the panel--I don't think there's an easy work-around for that. Looks like there's enough room for an EK XLC Predator, or loops like that--it might not be an issue if you use QDCs.

Cable tie mounts are a good idea, and I am planning on including them in the final package. Still trying to figure out which one to use though.
 

SaperPL

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The thing I think that saved you from the problems is the water cooling on cpu. I'd like to see how did the sata cables fold inside the motherboard area and all other power connectors.

Also you probably should to check out SFX-L psu with 450mm modular cables fitting inside of your case :)
 
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