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

1911Shootist

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A quality 450W PSU, like the ST45SF-G are capable of running any current nvidia card including the 680, so I'd say they're good enough. Full ATX would be nice, but not needed - I think the name of the game when going SFF is to decide what is nice vs what is needed and make concessions accordingly.
 

Nemesis429

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Render test:



Rendered in Octane Render in about 8 minutes using two GTX 260s. GPU-accelerated rendering is a beautiful thing :cool:

edit: and another-

Make this, not sure why you have two holes in the back, don't really like that.
 

DOOMHAMMA

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My word Necere. Excellent work. I am a fan of ditching the ODD. I kind of like the duct idea for the cooler. Would an AIO water cooler mount to the top in that model if you chose? Or is it possible to mount it to the duct?
 

WiSK

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I don't think there are any SFX power supplies that are good enough for an enthusiast build. Silverstone has the ST45SF-G, a 450 watt gold rated PSU. But is that good enough? I think I would prefer a bigger power supply where there is more choice to get a decent one. If there were more high end SFX power supplies it would be great for this case though.
Overclocked i7 @ 4800MHz, overclocked GTX680, maximum draw from the wall: 372W. http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/08/29/gigabyte_gtx_680_super_overclocked_edition_review/10
 

Reckie

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Love the rendered version but im a bit biased since I was in the process of modding a PC-Q25 and put the PSU at the front intake. Will skip that and keep on following this thread, great work Necere.
 

Necere

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Alright, you asked for smaller (some of you anyway), smaller it shall be. I had to get pretty unorthodox to get everything packed in, but I managed to cover all the bases in terms of the most asked for stuff. A single 3.5", two 2.5" drives, 10.5" GPU - it's all there. The big thing though is the cooling: you can either go for a nice top-down heatsink, or... a dual 120mm radiator. Yep - you could stuff a Corsair H100 in this case. How awesome is that?

I did have to relent and go with vents on the side panel, but that's how it is. Going for performance in this small a package requires some sacrifices. The dual 120mm fans centered in the side panel don't look that bad after all, really.

The front panel design is basically the same as concept 3.1, because I'm unoriginal like that. Also, because it's hard to make sheets of aluminum look interesting.


Concept 4

  • 160 x 320 x 230mm (240mm w/feet), 12.3L
  • 10.5" GPU
  • 1 x 3.5" drive
  • 2 x 2.5" drives
  • 2 x 120mm side mounted fans, dual radiator capable
  • Supports top-down coolers up to ~105mm
  • SFX power supply


Pics (WIP)(imgur is being a bit of a crank tonight, so if the pics don't show up, that's why):
















What do you think? Better or worse than 3.1?
 

extide

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Well, my 7970's are pretty much exactly 10.5" long, so yeah, I like that one. I was only planning on using an H80, but I do have an H100 as well...
 

ekuest

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necere you are a goddam genius. i have never seen anything even remotely like that, and it all makes complete sense. would be a little bit costlier to make but it would fit a very good variety of hardware. couple questions: is there any way to make that bracket compatible with a double radiator like the H100 OR two single radiators for CPU+GPU closed loop coolers, maybe if they are rotated 90 degrees? also are you sure there's adequate room for cabling? and finally, is there any space left for a pump, or would a double 120 rad have to be an AIO cooler?

my god i love that design, way to think outside the bun. ;)
 

1911Shootist

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Wow, that is a sweet design! Both have their merits, I don't know if I can pick a favorite.
 

Necere

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i have never seen anything even remotely like that, and it all makes complete sense.
Well, not exactly the same, but miahallen managed to stuff a dual rad in a SG06 with a lot of custom work.

couple questions: is there any way to make that bracket compatible with a double radiator like the H100 OR two single radiators for CPU+GPU closed loop coolers, maybe if they are rotated 90 degrees?
No chance I'm afraid. The end chambers push a single rad up to ~160mm long; there's just enough space for the width of a 120/240mm rad (~128mm max).

also are you sure there's adequate room for cabling
Cables will have to go wherever they can fit. There's space between the PSU and fan, though that would block some airflow. There's some room at the front of the case between the fan and the front panel - a bit less than a 3.5" drive's worth, even with a rad mounted.

and finally, is there any space left for a pump, or would a double 120 rad have to be an AIO cooler?
You could do an Apogee Drive II if the motherboard socket placement allows it. There's enough clearance, so long as you're using a slim rad. As far as a res goes, you'd either have to forego one for a T-line, or maybe an external tank bolted to the rear. I'll probably add tubing openings to the rear for that purpose + external WC.

my god i love that design, way to think outside the bun. ;)
Heh, thanks. Always fun to venture outside the box a bit ;)
 

cowsgomoo

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Hot damn, it's now 12.3L.:eek:

This might be a silly idea, but with the mods people do to SG05/06 to allow longer cards, why not just make an extendable drawer for those that may go longer than the case?
 

Machupo

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:eek:

that's quite impressive!

Another benefit: if you didn't go w/ a dual rad (but instead a single AIO on the rear position) you could have a whole mess of 2.5" drives lined up in front of the PSU intake.

[edit]You may also want to ventilate that back panel (by the IO panel) for those not using watercooling :)[/edit]
 
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fixitman

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Damn, that is sweet! even though its still slightly bigger than the case in my head, it is WAY nicer overall.
Dunno why some case manufacturer hasnt hired you yet! Or some other design house anyway.

Clean, without being boring, and looks user friendly too.
Genius.
 

DG25

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That's another great design (not for me though, as it's way too big and i don't need all that cooling capacity, as i don't ock anything).

But i could give a suggestion for this "concept 4":

Move the mobo so you make room behind it for hdd(s) (that 3.5" and 2.5"). Move the PSU a bit lower (the 3.5" hdd has now been placed behind the mobo). Turn the PSU with the fan in the other direction, so it sucks air from behind the mobo, cooling it along with the hdds. This way you will cut some inches from the top of the case.
 
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Necere

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Hot damn, it's now 12.3L.:eek:
Actually, 11.8L if you measure without the feet, which is how every other manufacturer does it. That puts it within spitting distance of the SG05 (10.8L) and SG06 (11.1L). That extra liter gets us room for a dual rad and 10.5" GPU support out of the box. Oh, and the footprint is 16% smaller than the SG05.

This might be a silly idea, but with the mods people do to SG05/06 to allow longer cards, why not just make an extendable drawer for those that may go longer than the case?
The real problem is not whether longer cards fit inside the case or not, but actually getting them in and out. Technically, an 11" card might fit inside, but I don't know if you could get it in.

Besides that, the front I/O ports sit right where a "drawer" would go.

Another benefit: if you didn't go w/ a dual rad (but instead a single AIO on the rear position) you could have a whole mess of 2.5" drives lined up in front of the PSU intake.
Maybe, though if you didn't want to block the airflow (i.e., have the drives oriented so air flows through them between the fan and PSU), you'd have to use a slim fan. Even then it's quite tight.

That's another great design (not for me though, as it's way too big and i don't need all that cooling capacity, as i don't ock anything).
"Way" too big? It's 9% larger than the SG05, with a smaller footprint. I mean, if you want 10.5" dual-slot video card support, 10 liters is about the practical lower limit (without resorting to PCIE risers, at least).

Obviously, if you have no interest in a high-end video card, yeah, you can go quite a bit smaller. But that's clearly not the the intended audience for this case.

But i could give a suggestion for this "concept 4":

Move the mobo so you make room behind it for hdd(s) (that 3.5" and 2.5"). Move the PSU a bit lower (the 3.5" hdd has now been placed behind the mobo). Turn the PSU with the fan in the other direction, so it sucks air from behind the mobo, cooling it along with the hdds. This way you will cut some inches from the top of the case.
Unfortunately that would 1.) completely block airflow coming through the front half of the radiator, 2.) limit cooler height and lose Apogee Drive support, and 3.) preclude full-cover GPU waterblocks from being used (due to the ports). Also, the PCIE power connectors wouldn't have room to plug into the video card.

So I could maybe save 10-15mm of height (bear in mind the height w/o feet is already only 230mm - just 8mm more than than the corresponding dimension on the SG05 - 222mm), but the case would have to be made 25mm wider to compensate. It ends up larger, volume-wise, than the current design.


Thanks for the suggestions and feedback, all.
 

CMadki4

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Necere, 2 question for you: What do you for a living? And where are you getting the PC component models for SW?

Great work on this. A lot time and thought being put into this.
 

adjas

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That is a very original looking case, incredible. You should patent that layout and try building it. Great job Necere.
 

Necere

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Necere, 2 question for you: What do you for a living?
Nothing design or engineering-related, if that's what you're wondering. No, I'm just an amateur at this stuff.

As a kid, though, I spent a lot of time designing lego spaceships, and drawing meticulously pencil-shaded plasma rifles, so thinking up cool designs is something I've kind of always done.

To be honest, I'm not sure I'd really want to do this for a living, or be any good at it. I've found that creative ideas and problem-solving inspiration comes in spurts, separated by long periods of non-productivity. On top of that, in my experience the second something becomes an obligation with the attendant pressures to perform and deliver, it completely kills my creative drive, to the point I can't even focus on the problem. So yeah, I'd make a pretty lousy employee doing this, heh.

Not to get too political here, but given my personal understanding of what it takes to maintain an environment that's conducive to creative expression, I can understand why artistic types tend to lean more liberal. Worrying about the stresses of daily living can really kill one's creative drive. It's not surprising, I suppose, that artistic types are likelier to engage in certain types of substance use, e.g., to mitigate stress and 'disconnect' from reality. Not a big substance abuser myself, just an observation :p

And where are you getting the PC component models for SW?
Some I model myself, the rest are from either the Sketchup Components Collection or the 3D Warehouse.

Great work on this. A lot time and thought being put into this.
That is a very original looking case, incredible. You should patent that layout and try building it. Great job Necere.
Thank you.
 

DG25

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Unfortunately that would 1.) completely block airflow coming through the front half of the radiator, 2.) limit cooler height and lose Apogee Drive support, and 3.) preclude full-cover GPU waterblocks from being used (due to the ports). Also, the PCIE power connectors wouldn't have room to plug into the video card..
You're right, didn't thought about #3, that's the main problem.

But.....if you lose the 3.5" inch hdd support, you could lower the psu a bit and make the case a little bit shorter in height (so the top of the case meets the edge of the mobo). And if someone really needs 3.5" hdds, they could w/c the video card, making it 1 slot, and placing two 3.5" hdds at the bottom of the case. Or, and i'm not sure about this, maybe place it somewhere over the cpu waterblock, parallel to the mobo. But it would be a tight fit and not very good for the airflow in that area.

And isn't 15 cm wide enough for the GPU waterblocks? I'm sure it is for the pcie power connectors, but i don't know for the waterblocks. Maybe you could shave that 1cm, from 16cm. Just asking...




Anyway, i think your design is great, as i said before, considering the dual rad and huge video card. But for me, as i don't plan to water cool, or use 3.5" hdds, i'm leaning towards something smaller, like this:
2x 2.5" hdd
10.5" GPU
SFX PSU
Thermalright AXP-140-RT with 140 x 25 mm fan.

Dimensions: ~ 270mm x 140mm x 220mm (without feet), +/-0,5 mm
Volume: ~ 8,3 L (without feet)

 

Nick0matic

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Joining after lurking just for this case! :D

And if someone really needs 3.5" hdds, they could w/c the video card, making it 1 slot, and placing two 3.5" hdds at the bottom of the case.
So if one needs to use a 3.5" drive, you want someone to spend money on a full blown WC setup?

That doesn't seem all too balanced. I understand smaller is better, but I believe maintaining general compatibility for the sake of size is the best way to go if we are to get enough units for this to be produced cheaply enough. Necere's most recent setup, a size very similar to an SG05, is arguably the best so far.

Plus, it looks unlike any current ITX cases.
 

Necere

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And isn't 15 cm wide enough for the GPU waterblocks? I'm sure it is for the pcie power connectors, but i don't know for the waterblocks. Maybe you could shave that 1cm, from 16cm. Just asking...
PCI cards, per the spec, are 126mm from the bracket tab to the top edge of the pcb. My PCIe power connectors need about 25mm to be comfortable - i.e., the cables aren't bending too much or pressing too much against the side of the case. You could probably get away with 15 or 20mm, but I wouldn't really want to on a production case. So that's already over 150mm.

Full cover blocks, AFAIK, typically extend out 22-30mm. So here, 150mm really is too little.

Another thing to consider is the 3.5" drive: if you're mounting it crosswise like I have it, it absolutely requires right angle SATA connectors, since the drive is 145mm long all by itself. The right angle connectors add 7-8mm to that, IIRC. So again, up over 150mm right there.


Looking at your model, I can't see how you could realistically fit a 267mm long video card into a 270mm case. Especially considering that's just the length of the PCB - the actual card, including bracket, is 280mm. You'd have a hell of a time getting it in. You know the case needs flanges and stuff, right? Making it that much more difficult to fit a card in. Actually though, thinking about this problem just now gave me an idea on how to address it... so thanks for that, heh.

So I would say a more realistic size for your layout is 275 x 150 x 220mm. Basically an SG05 with an inch off the top.
 

DG25

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So I would say a more realistic size for your layout is 275 x 150 x 220mm. Basically an SG05 with an inch off the top.
More or less, yes. :) But as i said, i want something as small as possible, without resorting to smaller gpu cards, pcie extenders or smaller cpu air coolers. But i'm not saying you should build this case for me, lol. As i see, i'm in a minority here. And besides, your design is more special than mine, considering the components used. But i'll still lose that 3.5" hdd there. :p

3.5" hdds are meant for bigger cases or nas boxes. 1 TB 2.5" hdds are not uncommon anymore and WD announced for next year 2.5" 7200 rpm hdds, with bigger ssd cache integrated, similar to the Seagate Momentus hybrid drives. And as i said before, if someone is [H]ardcore enough to go for gpu w/c, then he'll have the space for one or two 3.5" hdds. And i'm pretty sure most will, because your case is built for this complete w/c setup. And if not, they could use a shorter GPU, and place one 3.5" hdd in front. 660 nvidia cards are very short and quite powerful. I even saw some short 670 cards out there. The future is smaller components and more energy efficient, so i wouldn't worry too much about this.
 
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Necere

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Turns out a 3.5" drive mounted crosswise won't fit under 160mm. Right angle power connectors extend ~15mm past the drive at 147mm, so ~162mm total... factor in 3mm for the side panels, + a couple mm breathing room, and it's pushing 170mm. That's what I get for not checking both the data and power angled SATA cables. Going to have to go larger or come up with something else...
 

DG25

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Can't you place it at the rear-top of the case, mounted horizontally? Or behind the PSU, mounted vertically?

That's why i hate 3.5" hdds, they take too much damn space. :( And they vibrate a lot and require cooling. Hate them with passion.
 
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Necere

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Can't you place it at the rear-top of the case, mounted horizontally? Or behind the PSU, mounted vertically?
I thought of that, but I'm afraid the drive wouldn't get any airflow back there. There's really not enough space for that anyway - using a 30mm thick rad, there's just 33mm between it and the PSU. Moving them closer together to fit the hard drive back there is going to eat up pretty much all of that space - which is also where the PSU cables run through, I should add.

The top of the case needs to stay open for airflow.

I could move the 3.5" drive to the bottom of the case, sitting lengthwise under the video card. But that would require increasing the height by 10mm.

So it's a choice of 10mm more width, or 10mm more height. The latter results in slightly less volume and a smaller footprint than the former. It also simplifies the drive mounting. I guess I'm leaning that way at this point... either that or drop this whole dual-rad concept and go for something more like your idea.
 

DG25

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I could move the 3.5" drive to the bottom of the case, sitting lengthwise under the video card. But that would require increasing the height by 10mm..
Take that 1cm from the top and add it to the bottom. :) Now you can do this because you can move the PSU a little bit lower, where the hdd was. And if this works, you could also try to remove the feet, and make some intake air slots on bottom of the two side panels (where the gpu, and now the hdd, sit).
 
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Nick0matic

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The design you have now offers the most in the least space, with the least compromises. It's almost everything that every other ITX case doesn't have.

Using 3.5" drive(s) shouldn't be an issue. If you hate 3.5" drives, that doesn't justify another necessary $100 just to fit a hard drive in a case for me. Hard drives still aren't close enough to pre-flood levels to call them cheap; and until they are, sacrificing a small amount of volume to lose compatibility is not worth it.

The case is already almost as small as a Sugo, offers the same hard drive capacity as a Sugo, arguably more room, and includes the space for a full tower cooler or a 240mm radiator.

All by losing a DVD drive and adding ingenuity.

Until I see something better from Necere's creativity processor, I think this design is the best of the thread thus far.
 
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DG25

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If you don't plan to w/c the gpu, then the whole 240mm rad for the CPU is a bit overkill, imo, because you sacrifice too much space and ocking today's CPUs has its limits anyway, especially on minitx boards. Even if you don't make the case smaller, you could use that additional space for two 3.5" hdds, in addition to the ssds, if you really need all that storage.
 

Nick0matic

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If you don't plan to w/c the gpu, then the whole 240mm rad for the CPU is a bit overkill, imo, because you sacrifice too much space and ocking today's CPUs has its limits anyway, especially on minitx boards. Even if you don't make the case smaller, you could use that additional space for two 3.5" hdds, in addition to the ssds, if you really need all that storage.
It's a feature, not necessarily a limitation. Perhaps, should only an H60 or 120mm radiator be used, adding a vertical rack which mounts onto one of the 120mm slots could be possible.

120mm of width is certainly capable of supporting a 3.5" hard drive, and the depth of ~60mm for the width of both radiator and fans combined should allow a hard drive to fit.

Thoughts?
 

Necere

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Take that 1cm from the top and add it to the bottom. :) Now you can do this because you can move the PSU a little bit lower, where the hdd was.
I'm already doing that. Or rather, moving the motherboard up. Which is the same as moving the PSU down, relative to the motherboard. The point is though, there still isn't enough space for the hard drive at the bottom, thus the need for the height increase.

The raw numbers look like this:

Top of motherboard I/O shield to bottom of dual slot card bracket: ~204mm
3.5" HDD height: 25mm

So 229mm. Add material thickness, mounting hardware, breathing space, you hit 240mm.

One point in its favor is this could reintroduce the flexible space idea from the earlier concepts - i.e., using that bottom inch for a choice of HDD, fans, or even a triple slot video card.
 

Necere

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It's a feature, not necessarily a limitation. Perhaps, should only an H60 or 120mm radiator be used, adding a vertical rack which mounts onto one of the 120mm slots could be possible.

120mm of width is certainly capable of supporting a 3.5" hard drive, and the depth of ~60mm for the width of both radiator and fans combined should allow a hard drive to fit.

Thoughts?
Yeah, there's space for it.
 

Nick0matic

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Yeah, there's space for it.
Would the distance between the power supply and the fan mount allow for even two 3.5" drive mounts? If the drive cage is a removable accessory for those who want 240mm cooling, I don't see why not.
 

Necere

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Would the distance between the power supply and the fan mount allow for even two 3.5" drive mounts?
Yeah, probably. I mean, technically there should be enough space - it just depends on designing the brackets for it. Oh, and the 2.5" drives would have to be moved from their current location.
 

DG25

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Those 2.5" drives would fit at the bottom, sideways, i think. And one more where currently there are two, near the PSU. One 7mm SSD could fit there, between the top of the case and the rad. Maybe even a normal 2.5" hdd.
 

fixitman

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DG25, your not alone :)
While I adore Necere's latest design, yours fits my design philosophy for my current builds, and is actually very similar to my current thinking on the custom build I will be starting soon.
 
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