NCASE M1: a crowdfunded Mini-ITX case (updates in first post)

Machupo

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laptop drives to save space , 10 inch card max . low profile heatsink or watercooled

Jen
Just out of curiousity, how small would you two want it to be? Just big enough for, say, a 10" GPU and a couple 2.5" drives? Would you need it to have a 3.5" HDD? What about CPU cooling, would something really low profile, like, say, the Kozuti or that new Noctua (i.e., ~40mm tall max) be enough?
Ditto to Jen's comments; I really like the PSU in front of the mobo, I am surprised more case makers don't do this to minimize space / maximize cooler possibilities (I mean, the case is going to be at least that long anyway due to the video card).

No rush on the next design, though ;) I'm building a one-off box that is pretty darn small and should cure my SFF bug for at least a few minutes :p
 
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nickbudi

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Yea I'm in no rush and won't get ahead of myself :p
I planned on putting these parts into a SG05 anyways

I agree with showing this case to other enthusiast forums! Get the word out!
 

DG25

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Those comparison shots are interesting, it looks very slim. Somehow i imagined it to be bulkier. :) Good luck with this. Personally i would like Silverstone to pick up this case, as they already have the best sfx PSU on the market, atm, and they could sell it with this case.
 

Nick0matic

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Those comparison shots are interesting, it looks very slim. Somehow i imagined it to be bulkier. :) Good luck with this. Personally i would like Silverstone to pick up this case, as they already have the best sfx PSU on the market, atm, and they could sell it with this case.
It all depends on who can build it cheaper.

But maybe Silverstone could, by including a PSU with these cases, decrease the overall price of the two. A combo deal, if you will. I can't imagine they'd sell an SG05 for $40 without the power supply, $80 of which is what the power supply sells for alone.
 

CMadki4

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As it is now, the design is inherently Lian Li. Details, which can of course be changed, like the screwless side panels, the keyhole fan mounts and the front panel I/O are ready-made at Lian Li who is already tooled to make it with little to no additional tooling. SilverstoneTek could of course make this case without issue, but it stands to reason that the path of least resistance for mass production with this design is through Lian Li.
 

imode

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Any idea on how much these would cost? I imagine a low run custom build from Lian Li won't exactly be cheap.

Signed up after monitoring this thread for some time now. That final design looks amazing and I'm ready to throw some money at it!
 

Necere

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Any idea on how much these would cost? I imagine a low run custom build from Lian Li won't exactly be cheap.
No, probably not.

Now that the design is pretty much nailed down we'll submit it to Lian Li to see what they say. We'll probably have a cost estimate from them within a week, at a guess.
 

crazjayz

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So here's the deal. You need either Lian Li or Silverstone, OR ANY COMPANY to do this. I would pay up to $300 for this case, especially if it used premium materials. It literally has everything.

Ideally, you would have 2 versions. One out of aluminum for ~$200.

And a limited edition carbon fiber one for ~$500-600. Just because.

It's kinda nice seeing the design come to life. I've designed a number of cases by hand (pencil/pen and paper), but I was never good enough with the rendering to bring them to life. My last case design is almost spot on with your version 4.1, except it's rotated 90* and vertical. I really do like the vertical venting and smaller desk profile.
 
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Been following this thread for a while and generally creeping most of [H] and this is the first potential case that I'd be willing to shell out the big bucks for.

I was just wondering if it'd be too much to add space for one more pcie slot so the more mod inclined might attempt shoehorning a full matx board in there? Granted, it becomes more of a SG09 but not as thick but I think it'd be a good option to consider since it opens up a lot more potential motherboards to fit inside and maybe sli/xfire
 

Necere

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And a limited edition carbon fiber one for ~$500-600.
Carbon fiber is really a completely different animal. It'd have to be completely redesigned from the ground up for it. And, really, there'd be little point in it and little market for it, considering the cost. If you want the look, there's always DI-NOC.


I was just wondering if it'd be too much to add space for one more pcie slot so the more mod inclined might attempt shoehorning a full matx board in there? Granted, it becomes more of a SG09 but not as thick but I think it'd be a good option to consider since it opens up a lot more potential motherboards to fit inside and maybe sli/xfire
It's not just a matter of more PCI slots. MATX boards are just a lot bigger in both dimensions - see this pic from earlier in the thread:



MATX is almost 3 inches deeper than ITX and, currently, the PSU is right up against the front of the board. It'd have to be moved. And if you wanted to run SLI (well, worthwhile SLI), you'd need to step up to an ATX power supply, which would be even harder to find room for than SFX. It'd also be a rather poor idea to put a pair of air-cooled video cards in anyway, considering the lack of chassis airflow in the bottom.

The total case height is also less than the height of a MATX board, and you need extra space at the margins for the chassis fixtures. It'd have to be 20mm taller, at a minimum. The "make it smaller" crowd would have a fit.

So the short answer is no. :p
 

crazjayz

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Carbon fiber is really a completely different animal. It'd have to be completely redesigned from the ground up for it. And, really, there'd be little point in it and little market for it, considering the cost. If you want the look, there's always DI-NOC.
True. In reality, the process wouldn't be too difficult after you have the original version. Even if it still kept the aluminum chassis and just had CF panels and stuff.

Anyway, keep up the good work!
 
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CMadki4

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True. In reality, the process wouldn't be too difficult after you have the original version. Even if it still kept the aluminum chassis and just had CF panels and stuff.

Anyway, keep up the good work!
CF flat side panels would actually be quite easy. But any carbon fiber structural members or brackets are going to be very labor intensive and very cost ineffective.... but really bad ass. Necere is correct. A full carbon fiber makeup would require a different approach entirely.

ps: di-noc is awesome.
 

M4rk

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This whole project is totally cool. I'm a bit of a PR guy, so if you folks need publicity to push the inevitable Kickstarter over the hump, I'd be happy to help out. I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a limited-run custom t-shirt production last year. I know how tough it can be to hit the tipping point. ;)
 

Leopardog

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Really liking this case design. I've been looking for a more updated design to replace my SG05.

I would positively buy this. So count me in if you need more on board.
 

doh boy

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I have never seen DI-NOC in person, but I know it is possible to get real carbon-fiber veneer applied on aluminum. In fact, most of the carbon fiber 'look' you are used to seeing is from a final sheet of cosmetic CF, as the underlying, structural CF can look pretty messy.

Just another idea. Hopefully, cheaper than making entire panels out of CF.
 

foremi

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Count me in if its not too expensive and is of typical lian li quality. I wasn't too happy with how big my prodigy build is.

If it can fit a slim 120 dual rad with full thickness fans I'll be happy, even better if you have room for another slim 120 just for extra cooling capacity, even if its fanless.
 

cowsgomoo

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I guess this is going to take a few months to execute, and what will the distribution method be like? Just wondering if those outside of the US can actually get their hands on it.
 

Nick0matic

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And now the wait to hear back from Lian-Li?

Years have already passed in my head. The only competitor, to me, is the Lan-gear Infinity, and it's already been 2 years without any real release.
 

wahaha360

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And now the wait to hear back from Lian-Li?

Years have already passed in my head. The only competitor, to me, is the Lan-gear Infinity, and it's already been 2 years without any real release.
We are in discussion with Lian Li now.
 

Necere

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Great to see all the interest this has generated.

If it can fit a slim 120 dual rad with full thickness fans I'll be happy, even better if you have room for another slim 120 just for extra cooling capacity, even if its fanless.
I was going to say not a chance, but then I thought about it and you actually could potentially fit a slim 120mm rad in addition to the dual rad, but you'd have to use a slim fan (no point in no fan IMO) and most likely a short card (e.g., GTX 670) with a thin fullcover block:



The fan mounting holes aren't in the right place for it currently, so it'd be a small mod job to do it... or I suppose I could just put them in. It'd be one of those things hardly anyone would ever do, though.

The viability also depends on whether they can design the I/O module to keep the cables out of the way.
 
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I just registered to this forum cause of your designs of the case Necere. I just love it. I had the same idea with the dual-rad at the side and would love one more dual-rad at the bottom. Would that be possible? With 2 slim-fans it should work. Would you please make one design with this? I have a GTX680, maybe you could include that.
 

Necere

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It could be done, but you'd be leaving very little space between the card and the fan - like 5mm. And this is with a 30mm rad + 12mm fan. Airflow would not be good at all.



I put in the mounting holes for a single rad in the bottom, just because it's no big deal. But the holes for the back half of a dual rad would sit over the feet, so I'm not going to include them. I might extend the vents a little further back though.
 
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Thank you so much!

I guess it's important to cool down the rad and push the hot air to the outside of the case. I would try it out. I'm in love :D

€: The GPU is not that wide as the rad is. Could you maybe do some topview just of GPU and rad?
 
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foremi

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It looks awesome. I am using those scythe 12mm fans currently on my prodigy (so everything is inside the case) and they work well enough. Im cooling a 3770k at 4.0Ghz and a GTX560ti 448 on a slim 120x2 and slim 120x1. The single has one regular fan and the dual has only slim fans.

But from what I've seen, if you mount a rad on the bottom you cant mount a 3.5" drive.

Ill go over your pics again to look for ideas..

Thanks though, this case looks awesome and I will try to have some money put aside for it when the time comes.
 

stalkerte

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Necere;

Have you thought of the possibility of providing mounting options for a top mounted dual rad? With a modular shroud, maybe? Could be aftermarket too, reducing the cost for those not interested in adding it.

Here's to hoping LL can come up with a viable quote for your design. Fantastic work sir!
 

Necere

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€: The GPU is not that wide as the rad is. Could you maybe do some topview just of GPU and rad?
There's not much to see. The GPU sits nearly dead center and the rad extends about 10mm past each side.

But from what I've seen, if you mount a rad on the bottom you cant mount a 3.5" drive.
Right. It's quite a small case - less than half the volume of the prodigy (without the handles) - and already pretty packed, so you have to expect to give something up if you want to fit more in.

Necere;

Have you thought of the possibility of providing mounting options for a top mounted dual rad? With a modular shroud, maybe? Could be aftermarket too, reducing the cost for those not interested in adding it.
A modular radbox is definitely a cool idea:




It would be awesome to offer it as an option, but it's not going to be as part of the initial order. If there's enough interest, maybe we can do it down the line.
 

foremi

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Im not a huge fan of the external rad idea, but then I prefer simplicity over added functionality.

Still, love the case, and maybe at the cost of sound a single rad could cool my machine, if not Im sure I could find a use for it.
 

crazjayz

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There's not much to see. The GPU sits nearly dead center and the rad extends about 10mm past each side.



Right. It's quite a small case - less than half the volume of the prodigy (without the handles) - and already pretty packed, so you have to expect to give something up if you want to fit more in.



A modular radbox is definitely a cool idea:




It would be awesome to offer it as an option, but it's not going to be as part of the initial order. If there's enough interest, maybe we can do it down the line.
Your rendering brings up a very interesting concept of a "modular" case. If you make the radbox also compatible with a full sized ATX psu, then you can also throw on a mATX mobo.

In this configuration, the "floor" of the case would be removable, and the radbox can go on the bottom. With no "floor" in the main case, an mATX mobo would fit just fine, and a full-sized ATX psu can be used as well. All you would need are larger side panels to make it all look like 1 larger tower.
 

CMadki4

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The modular idea is great. A lot like may Mountain Mods or Case Labs? I believe they take a modular approach. Very effective on larger form factors. Having a small form factor case with expansion options is something I've considered recently as a good idea. It's not really in line with Lian Li's approach to case design, but if they'll put a train case out there they'll probably do just about anything! Haha :)
 
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I wasn't too happy with how big my prodigy build is.
Ya, the Prodigy case is CRAZY BIG for a mini-ITX case. There are a variety of smaller micro-ATX cases (let alone mini-ITX cases). If there was a "Mini Prodigy" I'd consider it. I want a small mini-ITX case that looks like a shrunken Mac Pro for a Hackintosh project, but the BitFenix Prodigy is just too much of a porker.
 

1911Shootist

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Not to be a downer, but the 3rd slot is pushing my taste for an ITX case. If DTX were common, it would be great, but adding that much more room to a case that is supposed to be SFF, and an evolution of the smallest of high HP SSF's, seems counter to the name and original intent. I love the layout of 4.1, but if it grows in size for the purpose of water and gets a bunch of holes in it for radiators, I will completely lose interest. Might as well be a Prodigy then.

Isn't part of the allure of water cooling a SSF case that it is not easy or ready-made, and the final product looks like it should not have been possible?
 
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Necere

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Not to be a downer, but the 3rd slot is pushing my taste for an ITX case.
Then don't think of it as a third slot, think of it as where the 3.5" drive goes. Because that's why the case is the size it is. If you look a few pages back, I was faced with either increasing the width by 10mm or the height by 10mm in order to fit the 3.5" drive. I chose the latter because it allowed for more flexibility - including the third slot. The third slot is a bonus; I just added it because it fit. The case is not any bigger because of it.

And it's not growing in size. Between 4.0 and 4.1 the case height increased 10mm. That's it. If you think 12.3 liters is too big for a mini-ITX case, I don't know what to tell you.
 

Necere

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With the addition of the 3rd slot, would graphic cards like the ASUS GTX 680 DirectCU II fit?

http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GTX680DC2O2GD5/
If the length on that page is right - 11.8" - then no. The front I/O module eats up the last inch and half or so of the bottom slot, limiting cards to about 11" (though we won't know for sure because this part depends on what Lian Li can do with the front I/O).

I'll tell you what might work though is if you removed the shroud and fans from the card and then installed fans on the bottom 120mm fan mounts to blow across the heatsink instead. Might even be quieter/cooler than stock.
 

1911Shootist

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For me, the 3rd slot may be handy if the case is used as an HTPC to house a tuner card (assuming you could get a PCI extension cable from a mini PCI slot to the card) or for a sound card. But, for me, going SFF is about deciding what you can live without and trimming everything that is not necessary.

I'd still love to see an SG05 chopped down ~1/2", eliminating the ODD, moving the PSU to the front, and tipped on its side. Stuff 1 or 2 2.5" drives somewhere and call it mint. Make 10.9L look big :D
 
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