Layout idea for a truly ITX case

theGryphon

[H]ard|Gawd
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I've been reading from quite a few people about a need for a minimalist case for ITX size GPUs and I may have a good idea for a case layout that hits the target. I put this description on another thread but I figured I'll make a separate thread to see what people think.

I am not at the capacity to draw a detailed model, nor build a prototype, but if any of the fellow case designers (Necere, Aibohphobia, dondan, SaperPL, etc) want to pick up the idea, please be my guest.

I had intended to do at least a Sketch up model of the layout, but I'll put a wordy description for now:

1) Imagine a vertical orientation.

2) Place an SFX size PSU under the ITX mobo such that its fan is facing to the right, where the back of the mobo is facing. PSU is flush with that right side panel. Of course, the mobo has the standoffs. I'm thinking of a solid right side, no panels, no CPU cutouts, just to keep it minimal.

3) Place an ITX GPU on the backside of the PSU, so that theyare back to back, with about 10mm between them. This way, GPU's fans will intake on the left side, same as the CPU fan. GPU is to be connected with a flexible riser, which would route through between the PSU and GPU.

4) I would perforate all sides, except for the front and bottom. This way, you don't need any case feet but just very low profile non-slip stick-on rubber.

5) If my description was sufficient, you can see that the internal dimensions of the case are about 305 (H) x 175 (D) x 100 (W), and I believe the whole case should be around 310x185x105 = 6.0 Lt.

6) Case should have space for two 2.5" drives, and CPU coolers with a total height of 85 mm. SFX-L PSUs should fit just fine.

7) I can imagine a screw-on side bracket to accommodate 120mm AIO liquid coolers. It would be tight, granted, but doable.

I really believe there's nothing like this out there. Notice especially the tiny footprint...
 

Aibohphobia

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I came up with more like 7L but it's an interesting idea

TheGryphon_mockup_15-01-13.png


An 120mm AIO may fit but the the tubing would be very difficult to deal with.
 

Screes

Limp Gawd
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I'm always leery about putting components back to back like that. The backside of components get very hot as well (and typically have no heatsinks), and typically there is nothing behind them and they get adequate cooling, but not in scenario's like this.

This vs the "normal" LRPC layout, you gain extra space for a CPU cooler, but at the cost of shorter GPU requirement and likely higher GPU temps. Both have around the same volume with similar dimensions. Idunno... maybe.
 

SaperPL

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There's a lot of heat coming out from the GPU on the back side of VGA PCB. putting it too close to metal might cause some overheat.

Also note that if you were to put a flex riser between card and PSU, the question is: Will it melt? :D

Finally ask yourself where the drives will go.
 

Bieberfever

Weaksauce
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Build the case so there is a piece of Acryllic between them. Thermal conductance of Acrylic is really low. Make it like a Parvum IMO
 

XcPNehVYlE4A3C

Limp Gawd
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for a slight bit of extra width you could cut the height in half. essentially SG05 with the front cut off. (SG05 has enough empty volume in front to hold an atx psu when using a short GPU) Like a PCQ02 or the Osmi. I don't think theres a better possible size/power configuration than that when using an itx gpu. believe me i've been looking :-D
 

iFreilicht

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Some of us REALLY hate power bricks, and I'm one of those people.
I'd say this is an interesting idea, I think it has potential, but why not swap GPU and PSU? You'd need air intakes on the right side anyway, and putting the GPU there will reduce cost and complexity, as you could just use a regular 1U riser instead of a flexible one. The downside would be that you couldn't use a window to show off your components, but if you're going that small, components aren't really that show-worthy to begin with.
 

Necere

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2) Place an SFX size PSU under the ITX mobo such that its fan is facing to the right, where the back of the mobo is facing. PSU is flush with that right side panel. Of course, the mobo has the standoffs. I'm thinking of a solid right side, no panels, no CPU cutouts, just to keep it minimal.
So the PSU intake is drawing air from directly behind the GPU? I'm not sure that's the best idea.

An 120mm AIO may fit but the the tubing would be very difficult to deal with.
Yeah, I definitely wouldn't want to attempt that. I can be trying in the M1, and that's 40mm wider than your mockup, and 60mm more than the OP concept. 100mm wide wouldn't work with an SFX PSU anyway; 63.5 (PSU) + 42 (GPU) is already over 105mm, and you still need room for the PSU intake and chassis bits.
 

Zap

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Some of us REALLY hate power bricks, and I'm one of those people.

Preach, brotha!

I understand their need for battery operated devices, but IMO it is just a psych out for a small PC because you are just putting bulk elsewhere. With the use of optical drives dying out, what use is there for a PC on the desktop at all? Just run monitor cable and a USB cable to the PC and only peripherals + USB hub on desk. You can even run a remote power switch.
 

rawrr

Gawd
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Preach, brotha!

I understand their need for battery operated devices, but IMO it is just a psych out for a small PC because you are just putting bulk elsewhere. With the use of optical drives dying out, what use is there for a PC on the desktop at all? Just run monitor cable and a USB cable to the PC and only peripherals + USB hub on desk. You can even run a remote power switch.

I kinda understand, but what's the problem with moving some of the bulk elsewhere? As far as I'm concerned, this brick - which I would cleanly hide under my desk, out of sight - just removes volume and heat from the actual case that I actually see on my desk. And why do you call it a 'psych out'? Is there something fundamentally wrong with what I'm doing?

I mean, I understand that you may have a dislike for bricks, but I don't think you've considered the advantages.
 

Stevo_

Limp Gawd
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I kinda understand, but what's the problem with moving some of the bulk elsewhere? As far as I'm concerned, this brick - which I would cleanly hide under my desk, out of sight - just removes volume and heat from the actual case that I actually see on my desk. And why do you call it a 'psych out'? Is there something fundamentally wrong with what I'm doing?

I mean, I understand that you may have a dislike for bricks, but I don't think you've considered the advantages.

I'm pretty sure most of the brickophobes would rather whine about their Silverstone PSU whine, going by the length of those threads. ;)
 

iFreilicht

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F*** SFX, FlexATX+80mm Fan is the way to go. Those are server-grade PSUs whose only problem is the noisy fan. And when you replace that, you have a smaller and - from what I've heard - quieter package than SFX. I understand that many wouldn't want to go through the hassle of modding their PSU like that, though.

So the PSU intake is drawing air from directly behind the GPU? I'm not sure that's the best idea.

If I understood it correctly, then the PSU should pull air in from the opposing side of the GPU. But he said he wanted to make that panel solid, so I'm kind of confused, too.
 

theGryphon

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By solid, I had meant "no panel doors". Both sides must be perforated, as I also said, and the PSU fan is facing the right side, not the GPU.

Why do you need 42mm for the GPU?

I figured dondan could place the SFX PSU and GPU back to back and achieve 110mm case width, so it can be done.

Also, those who mention potential heat problems, did you do the same for dondan's case? He places a full size, potentially hotter GPU behind the mobo and PSU, and everyone seems to think it's alright. In this case, pun intended, a less powerful GPU is placed only behind the PSU, which should be cooler than the back of the CPU/mobo. Come on guys!

One can further insert a thick 3-4mm plastic guide/panel behind the GPU to keep the heat away from the riser and PSU.

I guess one can interchange the locations of GPU and PSU, and use a short rigid riser. I thought this would cause larger dimensions in both width and height, would it not?
 

theGryphon

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About the 120mm AIO here, did you not see people do it in RVZ01, a case with only 105mm width?
Is it tight? Sure. Is it for the novice? Nope. Are we here because we're novice? I'll let you answer that...
 

Necere

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By solid, I had meant "no panel doors". Both sides must be perforated, as I also said, and the PSU fan is facing the right side, not the GPU.
That makes more sense. I understood "solid" to mean non-vented, so my objections were partly based on that.

Why do you need 42mm for the GPU?
because the GPU bracket is 42mm wide. Here are the dimensions of a reference GPU from the rear:

xQc29sL.png


Aside from width, it's also worthwhile to keep in mind the short "ITX" GPUs are often taller, with the ASUS models coming in about 1cm over reference.

I figured dondan could place the SFX PSU and GPU back to back and achieve 110mm case width, so it can be done.
Yes, SFX+dual slot GPU can be done in 110mm, but not in 105mm. That 5mm makes all the difference. One thing to note is that his layout has more room for the riser, since it's sandwiched between the motherboard and GPU. The motherboard rear I/O cutout is only 44.5mm, vs. the 63.5mm width of an SFX PSU. I think the gap between the PSU and GPU is too narrow to run a flex riser at 110mm total width. Even if it could physically fit, it would block off any air gap and be contacting the back of the GPU - something you really don't want.

Also, those who mention potential heat problems, did you do the same for dondan's case? He places a full size, potentially hotter GPU behind the mobo and PSU, and everyone seems to think it's alright. In this case, pun intended, a less powerful GPU is placed only behind the PSU, which should be cooler than the back of the CPU/mobo. Come on guys!
In general, I have two concerns with this layout:

  1. Heat and airflow at the backside of the GPU.
  2. The risk of the PSU or riser contacting the backside of the GPU.

For both issues I think the simplest thing to do is just allow for an adequate gap at the backside of the GPU. For #1, some forced airflow is likely beneficial (which Dondan's A4 does to some extent with the bottom 92mm fan). I will say I'm still a bit skeptical of the A4, however.

I guess one can interchange the locations of GPU and PSU, and use a short rigid riser. I thought this would cause larger dimensions in both width and height, would it not?
It would. With this layout, the GPU will overlap the motherboard to some extent, so it would need to be taller if the positions were switched (and in particular, to make room for the PCIe power connecters).

About the 120mm AIO here, did you not see people do it in RVZ01, a case with only 105mm width?
You're right, though I believe it can only be done using a slim fan. With the tubing cutting off much of the airflow, and the poor static pressure of slim fans, I would question the value of doing it, however.
 

iFreilicht

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I have to agree with Necere, it doesn't make sense to strip every single millimetre you can. I wouldn't say that the GPU really needs forced airflow beneath it, but a bit of breathing room is to be desired, especially considering that the PSU will be placed back-to-back with it, and placing the GPU too close not only risks the underside of the GPU touching the casing of the PSU, which could easily lead to a short-circuit, but also heating up the PSU indirectly when the hot air from beneath the two can not go anywhere.

Air is a pretty good insulator, but the thinner the layer, the worse the insulation, and PSUs are a lot less tolerant when it comes to heat. If that SFX unit gets heat from the GPU, the fan is going to spin up quite a bit.

Still, I don't know how much of an impact one or two millimetres make, but if I remember correctly, the relation between distance and heat transmission is exponential, so if you are only a mm away, it might make sense to go one or two mms further.

One question I do have: How much thickness is added by a backplate on GPUs? Because you should factor that in, too, the ASUS DirectCU 970 has one of those, so you'll probably have to give it a bit more space. TBH though, with a backplate you don't have to fear the riser touching the back.
 

theGryphon

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To insert between the riser+PSU and GPU, I suggested a thick plastic divider. This divider can be made in L-shape to run around the PSU and it would keep some, if not most of GPU's heat away from the riser and PSU.

The clearance for the riser to fold at the bottom is a concern. I'm not sure how much that would need to be. If 10mm wouldn't cut it, do you think 15mm would? With 15mm, the case width would go to 125mm, still reasonable I think. 315x185x125 = 7.3 lts.
 

Zap

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I kinda understand, but what's the problem with moving some of the bulk elsewhere? As far as I'm concerned, this brick - which I would cleanly hide under my desk, out of sight - just removes volume and heat from the actual case that I actually see on my desk.

If you want to remove volume and heat from your desk, why not "cleanly hide your computer" under it? What do you actually need on your desk? Speakers/headphones, mouse/keyboard, monitor, maybe some USB ports, power switch. Why not just extend all these ports to reach your desk? With many users foregoing optical drives and leaving computers on all the time, what part of a desktop PC does one actually need access to on a regular basis above the desk?
 

jeremyshaw

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^^I've been doing that for the past 4 years, lol. Just stuffed my PC behind a cabinet, and only use the ports my monitor gives me + KB (well, and DAC/AMP + external drive). Though the FT03 trashcan is quite adept to being stuffed behind something.
 

rawrr

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If you want to remove volume and heat from your desk, why not "cleanly hide your computer" under it? What do you actually need on your desk? Speakers/headphones, mouse/keyboard, monitor, maybe some USB ports, power switch. Why not just extend all these ports to reach your desk? With many users foregoing optical drives and leaving computers on all the time, what part of a desktop PC does one actually need access to on a regular basis above the desk?

Well for me part of the reason I would choose an attractive case and put effort into making it look pretty and clean is that it would look good on the desk.

Its not uncommon for these smaller cases either. From what I've seen, most people with M1's have them on their desk.
 

veryrarium

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Someone was making a case similar in its internal layout to what suggested by theGryphon two months ago, except the orientation of the PSU/GPU and the depth being unnecessarily longer for a short GPU. I didn't think PSU and GPU fighting for air was a good idea and suggested flipping both of them but he didn't bother, saying he was using 750Ti so that the heat wasn't much of a concern. A slim ODD is stuck in behind a mobo.
Ni8NFDZl.jpg

WJ7OztGl.jpg
 

Screes

Limp Gawd
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If you want to remove volume and heat from your desk, why not "cleanly hide your computer" under it? What do you actually need on your desk? Speakers/headphones, mouse/keyboard, monitor, maybe some USB ports, power switch. Why not just extend all these ports to reach your desk? With many users foregoing optical drives and leaving computers on all the time, what part of a desktop PC does one actually need access to on a regular basis above the desk?

Biggest reason i can think of: Dust.

Especially if you have pets. Having the enclosure with the fans in it in a location with adequate cooling (off the carpet), and generally out of reach of pets makes maintenance and dust much less of a hassle.

But i agree, if you don't have an optical drive, and you don't need the front usb ports regularly, you don't really need it on your desk, but you should still keep it off the floor.

Lately I've been thinking of some vesa type mount to suspend a small computer to the back of the monitor.
 
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