M3A2 Beta Project: Discontinued

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Small update: the vendor will be sending the proper USB3.0 panels later today. And for their mistake they said keep the panels they sent. The wrong panels include an eSATA panel mounted port and a 2xUSB2.0 panel mounted port. It didn't show in their drawings, but they are currently mounted to a PCI bracket. And not being one to waste, I'll be including one of these sets with each case until I run out.
2013-04-08173729.jpg
 
Small updates:

  1. I've just reduced the front-to-back dimension by 12mm. The current outer dimensions are 328 (width) x 308 (depth) x 90 (height). That's 9 liters pretty much on the nose.
  2. Though not modeled yet, the USB3.0 ports are further apart. Waiting on the parts to come in for accurate measurements to model from.
  3. The Ultra-mini is available upon request. If enough are interested I'll add it as a perk to the Indiegogo campaign for a little less than the full-size M3A2.

Is this the official size of the beta cases? You might want to update the first post and indiegogo if that's the case :)
 
Hi, here is my design proporsal for the mini version.

slimtowerlaydown.jpg


slimtowersidea.jpg


slimtowersideb.jpg


We're looking at a truly small PC. Avantages:
-Space saving 'tower' form factor.
-Most plugs are on the back like regular PC's
-Vents are back and on sides, preventing dust from bottom and spill from top.
-Stylish slim profile 2/1 ish. Rather than cubes, or 4/3 ish ratios.
-It's so damn small, can be carried by one hand.

Only cons might be 3.5" HDD (It actually may fit, next to PSU above SDD. Depending on GPU length) or ODD. And a short length graphic card. Thinking about Zotac GTX 660, GTX 650, and its variations; and Asus GTX 670 Mini. Since here we're aiming at the smallest possible case, It shouldn't be an issue really choosing an also small GPU.

What do you think?
 
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Is that not already the design? Except actually smaller because he's not going with sfx, but hopefully tfx? Or was the psu going to be up in front too?
 
Is this the official size of the beta cases? You might want to update the first post and indiegogo if that's the case :)
Updated, thanks for catching that!

Hi, here is my design proporsal for the mini version.

snip... [ sketchup models ] .... snip

We're looking at a truly small PC. Avantages:
-Space saving 'tower' form factor.
-Most plugs are on the back like regular PC's
-Vents are back and on sides, preventing dust from bottom and spill from top.
-Stylish slim profile 2/1 ish. Rather than cubes, or 4/3 ish ratios.
-It's so damn small, can be carried by one hand.

Only cons might be 3.5" HDD or ODD. And a short length graphic card. Thinking about Zotac GTX 660, GTX 650, and its variations; and Asus GTX 670 Mini. Since here we're aiming at the smallest possible case, It shouldn't be an issue really choosing an also small GPU.

What do you think?
Very neat idea! It would be a real eye-catching design for sure. That's the cool thing about custom cases, there is about a million ways to rearrange things :)

Is that not already the design? Except actually smaller because he's not going with sfx, but hopefully tfx? Or was the psu going to be up in front too?
It bares some resemblance to the proposed miniaturatize version of the already small M3A2. The smallest using picoPSU and middle-sized one possibly using TFX. Anyone have a dead TFX they want to donate?
 
I've been looking for a case like this for so long that I was getting ready to build and design one myself! Roughly how heavy do you think the finished M3A2 case will be?
 
Most decent video cards require 2 slots. Will the M3A2 MINI require a one slot video card? Picture seems to suggest so. Love that super small form factor.

Minimum requirements I'm seeking is one hard drive, one SSD, one optical drive, one decent video card. Currently it looks like only the M3A2 STANDARD meets those requirements. In addition, these mid range video cards require like 500W so I'm guessing TFX or 1U power supplies aren't gonna hack it.

Before I discovered this thread, I was looking at the CoolerMaster Elite 120. Even tho the M3A2 is still smaller, the 120 is pretty small. 9.4" x 8.2" x 15.8". The 120 is probably the smallest case that houses a standard ATX, 5.25 optical and full size video card. Ncase M1 compares pretty well, but a lot of space was made for OC gear. Since I'm not planning to add water cooling, it's wasted space for me. Would love to see all 3 of them in a side by side size comparison.
 
Before I discovered this thread, I was looking at the CoolerMaster Elite 120. Even tho the M3A2 is still smaller, the 120 is pretty small. 9.4" x 8.2" x 15.8". The 120 is probably the smallest case that houses a standard ATX, 5.25 optical and full size video card. Ncase M1 compares pretty well, but a lot of space was made for OC gear. Since I'm not planning to add water cooling, it's wasted space for me. Would love to see all 3 of them in a side by side size comparison.
The M1 is 2/3rds the size of the Elite 120, and actually uses space very efficiently. It was designed with flexibility in mind, so while you can mount a dual rad, you could instead use the space for drives, or an ATX PSU. It's up to you. The M1 will actually be the smallest case available, AFAIK, that will fit an ATX PSU at all (granted, with certain limitations).

Elite 120: 20L
NCASE M1: 12.6L
M3A2: 9.4L

 
That's interesting. I was looking at Nvidia 660 card on Newegg which stated it needed at least 450W PS. Another one, AMD 7850, requires 500W PS. I assume the numbers vary cuz of other components and the need to have some leeway.

You'd be surprised how little power many video cards actually use:
 
I actually also mentioned besides standard ATX PS, a full 5.25 optical drive so Elite 120 is still probably the smallest for that configuration. But definitely the M1 is sexier albeit at a higher price.

For me to pay the price premium, I would rather go for the smallest size, M3A2. I don't think making a M1 lite would be a good choice since M3A2 is pretty much as good as it gets if you are gonna get that small.

I'm a proponent of NAS servers. Got a Qnap 2-drive RAID which is tiny. At some point, storage will move away from the main PC, making them smaller.

The M1 is 2/3rds the size of the Elite 120, and actually uses space very efficiently. It was designed with flexibility in mind, so while you can mount a dual rad, you could instead use the space for drives, or an ATX PSU. It's up to you. The M1 will actually be the smallest case available, AFAIK, that will fit an ATX PSU at all (granted, with certain limitations).

Elite 120: 20L
NCASE M1: 12.6L
M3A2: 9.4L
 
I've been looking for a case like this for so long that I was getting ready to build and design one myself! Roughly how heavy do you think the finished M3A2 case will be?
Based on solid model estimates its around 2800 grams, or just over 6 pounds. Heavy for its size, but that's what you get with 3mm and 4mm thick panels. It'll be a solid case, that's for sure.

Most decent video cards require 2 slots. Will the M3A2 MINI require a one slot video card? Picture seems to suggest so. Love that super small form factor.
The Mini is still up in the air, but it will more than likely have two slots.

The M1 is 2/3rds the size of the Elite 120, and actually uses space very efficiently. It was designed with flexibility in mind, so while you can mount a dual rad, you could instead use the space for drives, or an ATX PSU. It's up to you. The M1 will actually be the smallest case available, AFAIK, that will fit an ATX PSU at all (granted, with certain limitations).

Elite 120: 20L
NCASE M1: 12.6L
M3A2: 9.4L
Currently the M3A2 is actually 328 x 308 x 90, for a total of 9.0 liters, but close enough :)
 
6lb is nothing. I like that it will have a substantial feel.

If the only options for the Mini is TFX or 1U, then it may be better just to have Ultra Mini and Standard. TFX PS don't get bigger than 400Ws. That's borderline for standard 2 slot GPUs.

Based on solid model estimates its around 2800 grams, or just over 6 pounds. Heavy for its size, but that's what you get with 3mm and 4mm thick panels. It'll be a solid case, that's for sure.


The Mini is still up in the air, but it will more than likely have two slots.


Currently the M3A2 is actually 328 x 308 x 90, for a total of 9.0 liters, but close enough :)
 
Pfft.. well whose fault is that, I just grabbed the dimensions from the OP:
:p
Oops, you're right. Fixed the OP.
6lb is nothing. I like that it will have a substantial feel.

If the only options for the Mini is TFX or 1U, then it may be better just to have Ultra Mini and Standard. TFX PS don't get bigger than 400Ws. That's borderline for standard 2 slot GPUs.
Substantial is a good work for it :)
Just looked at the IndieGogo page again, is the IR window no longer an option?
Yes, the IR window is still an option. I've got one guy requesting an ASRock CIR motherboard specific IR receiver. There is also an Intel CIR and the universal internal USB.
 
I was greeted was a nice little package today. Some of the aluminum extruded profiles came in today. There is many more to come, but I've got enough to make two (2) cases. Nice and thick, 4mm. Solid, baby :D
 
I was just previewing SFX PSes on newegg.com. The biggest one that they have is 450W. Is this gonna be an issue if I get an AMD 7850 GPU? I'm talking about the M3A2 standard.
 
That's interesting. I was looking at Nvidia 660 card on Newegg which stated it needed at least 450W PS. Another one, AMD 7850, requires 500W PS. I assume the numbers vary cuz of other components and the need to have some leeway.

I was just previewing SFX PSes on newegg.com. The biggest one that they have is 450W. Is this gonna be an issue if I get an AMD 7850 GPU? I'm talking about the M3A2 standard.

No, it won't be an issue. The SilverStone 450W SFX PSUs are quality units and can easily power a 7850.

The reason video card manufacturers list such high power requirements in their specs is to account for cheap PSUs that don't deliver anything close to their rated current on the 12v rail, which is the important one for video cards. An off brand PSU might say it's 500W, but it might only deliver 250W@12v, so might actually be inferior to a quality 300W rated unit. Make sense?

There's not much you can even fit in a typical mini-ITX sytem that a quality 450W PSU can't handle.
 
Thanks I was googling it and it seems a number of small mini-itx systems have been built and run with 450W sfx power supplies with no issues.

The reason video card manufacturers list such high power requirements in their specs is to account for cheap PSUs that don't deliver anything close to their rated current on the 12v rail, which is the important one for video cards. An off brand PSU might say it's 500W, but it might only deliver 250W@12v, so might actually be inferior to a quality 300W rated unit. Make sense?
 
I was greeted was a nice little package today. Some of the aluminum extruded profiles came in today. There is many more to come, but I've got enough to make two (2) cases. Nice and thick, 4mm. Solid, baby :D

That's some nice looking aluminum. Can't wait to see some more of it.
 
Hello all!

The original goal was to make 10 beta cases for the first run. I ordered enough materials plus some extras for defects/mishaps, and I've now reached my order limit for the time being. Thanks to the Indiegogo campaign and website sales we have reached that number! Yay! Thank you all for your contributions so far and spreading the word!

If anything changes and cases become available in the mean time I will make it known here and on the website.

Now that some of the more critical aluminum parts are coming in and the machine is almost ready I should be able to get rolling on these cases very soon!

First, I'll be cutting a test panel to tune the machine and demo how certain components will mount, how the vents look and show the engraving capabilities. Hopefully all goes well and any issues that come up (and there are always a few) can be resolved in a timely manor. :)

And of course I'll be posting my updates and looking to you all for input, feedback, advise, trolling, compliments, nay-saying, intellectual input and otherwise creative criticism. :D
 
If you could allow the case to accommodate a few mm taller HSF that would be great, even just 66mm as using the Noctua NH-12 with a 120mm lower fan pretty much beats the competition in that size, although big shuriken 2 is pretty close:

Reference: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1267-page3.html
As is it should have about 68mm CPU cooler clearance. I may have to get one the Noctua coolers, looks like a good low profile hsf option.
 
That's interesting. I was looking at Nvidia 660 card on Newegg which stated it needed at least 450W PS. Another one, AMD 7850, requires 500W PS. I assume the numbers vary cuz of other components and the need to have some leeway.
As he said, very few cards use that much =P. You can pretty much ignore what manufacturers recommend. They do that so save themselves, if anything goes wrong, they'll tell you it's your PSU hah, among other reasons.

6lb is nothing. I like that it will have a substantial feel.

If the only options for the Mini is TFX or 1U, then it may be better just to have Ultra Mini and Standard. TFX PS don't get bigger than 400Ws. That's borderline for standard 2 slot GPUs.
Borderline? Well I for one am looking forward to the mini, with TFX. The entire point of it IMO is to have more modest components, so that you don't even need 400W in TFX. You'd be hard pressed to find parts that need more than 400W and that are remotely close to fitting in the mini. If 450W SFX can power full sized ATX components, I'm sure 400W TFX can handle SUBSTANTIALLY lower power parts.
 
As he said, very few cards use that much =P. You can pretty much ignore what manufacturers recommend. They do that so save themselves, if anything goes wrong, they'll tell you it's your PSU hah, among other reasons.


Borderline? Well I for one am looking forward to the mini, with TFX. The entire point of it IMO is to have more modest components, so that you don't even need 400W in TFX. You'd be hard pressed to find parts that need more than 400W and that are remotely close to fitting in the mini. If 450W SFX can power full sized ATX components, I'm sure 400W TFX can handle SUBSTANTIALLY lower power parts.

isnt TFX slightly bigger in total volume than SFX? i mean its got a smaller footprint on the back panel, but a quick google and some math tells me SFX is .788L and TFX is .945L.
 
Based on solid model estimates its around 2800 grams, or just over 6 pounds. Heavy for its size, but that's what you get with 3mm and 4mm thick panels. It'll be a solid case, that's for sure.

So why are you using those mm panels? Shouldn't an aluminum case be lighter?
 
So why are you using those mm panels? Shouldn't an aluminum case be lighter?
I think he's asking why you're using such thick Alu ;)
Ah, of course. I could have gone with thin aluminum sheets, but wanted to go with a rigid bolt together design. The solid build should also cut down on noise and vibration. Not too mention the feel of a nice solid machine piece is nice.

So that's why indiegogo said my thing didn't go through for the beta case... Guess I just missed the cutoff
The cases moved quickly between the website and Indiegogo campaign so I had to kill the perk on Indiegogo early due to availability. There may be one or more available sometime in the near future.
 
As someone who has an aluminum case with much thinner panels than this one, I'd have to say durability would be one. My lian li case managed to get pretty banged up with normal use. As soon as I saw the panels that he was using, he just sold himself another case whenever he can make more, lol.
 
Well if there is, I'll buy it. I'm really impressed and I tend to go out of my way to buy domestic products too, so this is a win-win
 
Are you planning using anodized aluminum? Would it look look apple-style anyways?
The campaign page says 'Natural brushed aluminum' wihich I suppose is raw aluminum and 'Textured black powder coat' which I don't know what it is.
 
As someone who has an aluminum case with much thinner panels than this one, I'd have to say durability would be one. My lian li case managed to get pretty banged up with normal use. As soon as I saw the panels that he was using, he just sold himself another case whenever he can make more, lol.
Keep an eye open and maybe one or two more may become available in the near future.
Well if there is, I'll buy it. I'm really impressed and I tend to go out of my way to buy domestic products too, so this is a win-win
And I appreciate that you do!
Are you planning using anodized aluminum? Would it look look apple-style anyways?
The campaign page says 'Natural brushed aluminum' wihich I suppose is raw aluminum and 'Textured black powder coat' which I don't know what it is.
At this time I won't be doing anodizing. Powder coating offers a durable and elegant finish. And it's a process I can easily perform in my shop.
Natural brushed aluminum:
CR-UhYmQ18zel.jpg


Textured black powder coat:
harley_transmission_cover_fine_texture_black.jpg
 
From the pictures Natural brused looks ok, but Textured black powder looks manufacture-like finish. Cool. None of those are actual pictures of yours, but I suppose you can achieve those looks so you post them.

So, after this batch, then follows the mini? or how are you scheduling this?
Campaign only says "Already in the works is a miniature version of the M3A2 design for single slot low profile cards, perfect for mini gaming systems or home theater PCs."
For single slot cards I'd rather consider the Silverstone ml05, which I'm not, but's going to be like 50 bucks on Q2.
 
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Keep an eye open and maybe one or two more may become available in the near future.

And I appreciate that you do!

At this time I won't be doing anodizing. Powder coating offers a durable and elegant finish. And it's a process I can easily perform in my shop.
Natural brushed aluminum:
CR-UhYmQ18zel.jpg


Textured black powder coat:
harley_transmission_cover_fine_texture_black.jpg

I'm just going to have to check everyday I suppose, oh darn! Haha
 
In for $20 contribution. :D

For those who are getting a case, please upload detail pictures once you've got the case up and running. Since this is beta, I would like to know the tolerance/fit of the components.
 
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