NCASE M1 improvements/suggestion thread

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by Necere, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    This thread is for suggesting changes/improvements that may be incorporated into future versions of the M1. Please note the following:
    • Changes should maintain parts compatibility between versions. In general this means they can only be relatively minor things - i.e. no changes to overall dimensions.
    • A windowed side panel has been requested many times, but is not being considered because the layout was not designed for it, and it would prevent use of the side fan bracket, breaking much of the core functionality of the design.
    • Front panel USB Type C is something we're considering for a future revision, though at present there are so few mini-ITX motherboards that have a Type C header onboard that it wouldn't make sense for most users currently.


    M1 changelog


    M1 v5:

    • Front USB 3.0 ports cleaner look (removed port edges flanges).
    • Motherboard tray is now fastened with screws instead of rivets to facilitate replacement or modding.
    • Later batches only:
      • Front USB 3.0 ports color changed from blue to black.
      • removed #6-32 screws for ATX PSU mounting (some users were incorrectly using them in M3-threaded holes, stripping the threads. Apologies for any inconvenience their removal may cause.)

    M1 v4:

    • Fan bracket changed to steel and magnetic filter is now included
    • Fan bracket mounts changed to allow 2mm of additional travel (allows 140mm fan w/120mm mounting holes to be used alongside a 120mm fan)

    M1 v3:

    • Braces added to bottom corners of chassis for increased rigidity/decreased probability of wobbling
    • 0.3mm decrease in side and front panel height
    • Extra QC for wobbling & panel uniformity
    • SFX bracket raised 2mm and flange trimmed for better SFX-L support (CAUTION: SFX-L is still a very tight fit with long GPUs, even with the revised bracket)
    • Additional motherboard standoffs added for compact mATX boards (226x173mm max w/SFX bracket; see thread and google docs spreadsheet)
    • Slightly increased CPU cutout size

    M1 v2:

    • Enlarged CPU cutout upward on motherboard tray
    • Additional cutouts at bottom of motherboard tray
    • Move rear 92mm fan and tubing holes down 2mm
    • Additional 3.5" HDD mounting location at forward bottom of chassis
    • Cable tie holes on chassis bottom reduced from 10 to 5
    • SSD stacking brackets modified to allow stacked 7mm thick SDDs closer
    • ATX PSU bracket moved back to allow more clearance behind chassis front
    • 3.5" HDD cage fixed to work in upper fan bracket position
    • ODD bracket screw holes reduced for better M2 screw fit
    • No top panel screw
    • More SSD mounting screws
    • Extra side panel clips
    • Dome head M5 screws changed to flat head M5
    • Shortened internal AC cable, changed to left angle
    • Threaded inserts at side bracket mounting points
    • Sub-millimeter increases to exterior panel dimensions to mitigate panel warping
    • Feet color changed to black for silver cases
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    {NG}Fidel likes this.
  2. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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    Maybe add a cutout on the mobo tray towards the bottom to make cable management under the video card easier?

    And also, maybe a second PSU AC extension with the plug facing the other direction?
     
  3. Hanakuso

    Hanakuso [H]ard|Gawd

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    Please dont make it too big. I like placing rubber squares behind the PCIe slot to prevent PCB flex

    I like this idea. Not sure if the compromises are worth it but I think the weak point in this case is the heat getting to the PSU.

    [​IMG]
    I like the original setup. This setup is uglier and currently you can fit a small pump on the bottom which is a nice idea if you're going WC. Basically I rather have the 3 PCI bracket setup.
     
  4. mute92

    mute92 n00bie

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    You can also fit an entire rad on the bottom, which is what I did.

    I've never designed anything but I've built and rebuilt in the case trying to squeeze more into in. What that render you did on the right...you maybe could lower the res and fan holes into it. Move the serial plate into the new space above the I/O sheild, and maybe fit the SFF PSU there....vertical to try and maximize the cpu cooling. But even so you give up the ability to fit a 240mm rad on the side, but could put a 120 where the PSU was along with more HDD.

    So...you get to cool your PSU. But you mess CPU coolers up in the process, unless everyone that wants to use the case is going to water cool.

    So I just typed a bunch of letters that really didn't accomplish anything now that I'm staring at it.
     
  5. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    This was for people asking to be able to move the motherboard down one slot, so both the original configuration is possible, and the lower mounting. Get it? So the default config is the same and you can still fit a pump on the bottom (or drives, fan, etc.). But it's moot, since the tradeoffs are not worth doing it.

    The goal here is relatively small improvements to the design, not major changes to the structure or layout.
     
  6. OverRated

    OverRated Limp Gawd

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    I still think a fan mount over the PSU is worth it all that needs to be done is a small change to the SFX bracket.
     
  7. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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  8. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    The problem is it would depend on the PSU plug being in the orientation shown in the pic, otherwise there's no clearance for a fan. The (likely) upcoming 600W SFX from Silverstone has the inlet flipped relative to the ST45SF-G, and designing any feature to one specific piece of hardware is a poor idea in any case. It's not future-proof.

    Moving the PSU down is an option, but then you're even more cramped for cable space at the other end. Plus, the thicker the fan you want to use, the more the PSU has to move down to make room. Even making enough room for a 15mm thick fan is going to cramp the cables a lot, let alone 25mm.

    The baffle on the side of the bracket also serves a dual function of directing airflow and mitigating air recirculation, and providing cable tie holes.
     
  9. theGryphon

    theGryphon [H]ard|Gawd

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    I never had a chance to use the NCASE M1, but wouldn't it be better (for the system overall) to have the radiator fans to pull air from inside the case? This would probably increase the CPU temps a bit, but not by much. However, it would probably make a big difference in VRM/mobo/PSU temps... Any thoughts?
     
  10. okwchin

    okwchin Limp Gawd

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    (1) Access Hole Under Mobo Cutout
    I would like to suggest a few holes in the back plate frame piece, in the area under the PCI slots. 2 holes around 50mm wide to facilitate;
    1) finger access to the area under the mobo for cable management
    2) Allowing a little pathway between the back plate and side panel for hot air to go out from the GPU to the side panel vents, for those with blower GPUs. (I acknowledge that its only a 1mm thick space, so probably not significant, especially when there is 5mm? between the mobo and the back plate.

    With the supposed losses being
    1) Increased weakness in the back plate, allowing more flex and movement of the mobo, especially when mounted with tall heavy CPU coolers, like a C14, or heavily loaded tubing with WC units.

    Structural strength is probably a priority here. This could possibly be counteracted by increasing the size of the doubler plate used to affix the motherboard standoff, and extending that to the full height of the case.



    (2) Top Panel Screw
    The screw for the top cover was added to prevent accidental opening of the top panel while lifting the case, and to mitigate the risk of bending the top panel.

    In my practical use of the case to date, I have found myself not bothering with this screw as it is more convenient to leave the screw off for access. I have not had issues with bending of the plate as I use that as the primary means to remove the top plate, and thirdly, I cannot accidentally lift the case by that end, as the force required to lift the case is far greater than the force to remove the plate, so I can never actually lift the case by that edge. The cover would come off before the case was able to be shifted off the surface. The only way it could be dangerous was if that case were to be passed to someone who then grabs it by the edge.

    I also remember that discussions were on about the merits of the screw for safety, weighed against the aesthetic minimalism of a smooth surface. For both sliver and black, the screw is the wrong colour for a silver case, and a black case will have a black screw which inevitably has some chipping and loss of the black surface.

    I would like to hear what the general consensus is with regards to the functional need for the top screw, vs the aesthetic considerations. If the screw has saved someones case, then it would be a worthy thing to keep. I am tending toward the concept of removing the screw and having the clean top surface, but its not a deal breaker, and a small thing in the scheme of things.


    (3) Taller feet?
    I have seen dramatic improvements in temps with an additional 5mm of thickness on the case feet. Weighed up against the aesthetic value and increased dimension on a surface. Adding thickness is easy enough for me to do, but if supplied with thicker feet, getting the thinner feet will be an additional effort and cost. Have enough people seen value in additional airflow for bottom case fans to justify the extra few mms in case ride height?

    I am happy enough to suggest that this can be left to the end user to modify, but something I will be doing to my cases.


    (4) Reduced Airflow Restriction to the bottom
    Extra few holes in the bottom aluminium plate where the hdd mounting holes are, to reduce the blockage of airflow. Again, a small thing, but is there a way to reduce the amount of metal coverage where the mounting holes are for the hdd? Such as extending the slots to get closer to the hdd cutouts, Vs the strength of the metal. Unless these slots are because of a fixed die dimension, and different dimensions require new dies.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  11. ashaw

    ashaw n00bie

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    Can we please have shorter cables, the current ones are just ridiculous.
     
  12. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo Gawd

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    They're just right for me actually. I think the amount of excess length is dependent on what motherboard you're using, what components you have and how you route around them.
    If the USB 3.0 cable were any shorter i wouldn't be able to route them around my 120mm case fans on the bottom and reach the USB header which is located near the backplate in the case of my motherboard (Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe).
     
  13. okwchin

    okwchin Limp Gawd

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    I would agree the the cable lengths are designed with the possibility of having connectors on the far side of the motherboard + routing. Its not excessive like the prototype, and has enough leeway, but not too much that cable management becomes too difficult. It hasn't occurred to me as being unreasonably long? (of course, mine could be shorter for my motherboard, but for the masses, its a fair length.
     
  14. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo Gawd

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    Yeah, the USB 3.0 header is located at the front for your motherboard. For me it's all the way at the back. I pity the person who use a motherboard with the USB 3.0 header at the top left of the motherboard.
     
  15. OverRated

    OverRated Limp Gawd

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    Yes i can understand that but you could always make the fan bracket changeable so you can use it on ether side of the PSU which would be future-proof, Also it should only support a slim line fan the extra air flow from that alone would help a lot.


    The cables in the case should be cut in half and extensions included with the case just in case people need the extra length.
     
  16. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    Well, no, not actually. Look again at the pic of the Enhance I linked. The connector is flipped, meaning the cable will block placement of a fan.

    You mentioned that you were having heat-related shutdowns. Are you sure that's the cause? I ask because looking at your build log, it looks like you have the PSU intake on the right, where it should be getting cooler air. During my testing, I had the PSU intake from inside the case, where it was getting warm air from the 7970, and I never had shutdowns. I have had shutdowns that were caused by something tripping the ASUS anti-surge protection on the motherboard, but those have happened in configurations where the PSU was getting plenty of cool air, so I doubt it's heat. That can be disabled, I believe, if that's the problem. Edit: nm, I see WiSK mentioned that already in your thread.

    If it is heat, it's possible the Noiseblocker fan you modded in can't push enough airflow to keep the PSU cool. Did you get the Demcifilter for the PSU? That might be exacerbating the problem, since I know they're kind of restrictive

    Then you'd have the extra bulk of the connectors hanging around the case. Can't please everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  17. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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    One possible way to solve the cable length issue is to have detachable cables like with the SG05/06.

    [​IMG]

    But personally I'd rather just have an easy way to tie up excess cables under the video card.
     
  18. WiSK

    WiSK 2[H]4U

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    Please also consider threaded inserts for the screw holes on the expansion slot :)

    With the Noiseblocker I cut out the PSU fan grill entirely for extra airflow when using Demciflex filters.

    It's a good idea, but those aren't detachable. At least they aren't on the model I have (2011). I desoldered the audio connectors on the little PCB and replaced with shorter wires.

    I think OverRated's idea has merit. Make all front panel cables quite short (say 15cm), then include two sets of USB and audio male/female extension cables: one of 10cm long and one of 15cm long. So the user can join them together for 4 options: 15cm, 15+10, 15+15, 15+10+15. That should cover all possibilities and ease cable management for everyone.
     
  19. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo Gawd

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    The audio extension cable is fine but the USB 3.0 connectors are really bulky like Necere said. That's just shifting the cable bulk problem from one group of users to another.
     
  20. OverRated

    OverRated Limp Gawd

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    Yes i did look at the Enhance unit and the cable will only block the fan if you run it over the PSU you could just bend the cable in a U shape to avoid the problem or use PSU cable shaped like this but rotated so the plug is the other way around.

    ASUS anti-surge protection is triggered if there a high change in voltage normally created by ripples which happen on high load and high temps, I got the ASUS anti-surge protection once in BF4 after 6 hours of game play after dropping my OC down i never got it again, The problem im talking about is a sound loop where it will repeat the same 1 millisecond of sound constantly and the whole system will lock up this happened after 8 hours of game play, The Noiseblocker works just fine pushes a load of hot air out but having a push/pull config would direct the air more for better flow.

    Yes i guess or just make them removable and supply 2 lengths of cables and increase the price by $10.


    As you can see there's room there to support a fan the bracket would need to go over the top to support it.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  21. WiSK

    WiSK 2[H]4U

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    It's a fair point about the bulky USB3 :)

    It's a pity because USB3 connectors aren't bulky inside. It uses a 2x10 row 2mm pitch connector. It's actually physically smaller volume than the USB2 connector. The problem is that they put this large construction over the top of it with two double-shielded cables. That's probably all needed if you have two high speed devices plugged in at the front, but you can also make very low profile ones with a ribbon cable. Anyway, I digress.
     
  22. PolarBear

    PolarBear n00bie

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    Not related to modifications to the unit itself more for the campaign, Panel packs as a perk. PLEASE
     
  23. wahaha360

    wahaha360 Gawd

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    It's in the works ;)

    No guarantees though, it's a Minimum Order Quantity problem.
     
  24. okwchin

    okwchin Limp Gawd

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    Case panels would be nice. Difficulty is ordering enough to meed MOQ, and then ensuring that all are sold.

    [​IMG][/URL]
    [​IMG][/URL]

    Not sure if this is to the taste of many? but its fun! Might help meed MOQ targets ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  25. AFD

    AFD 2[H]4U

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    Even a bare aluminum panel kit would be nice for those considering a custom paint job, anodizing or hydro-dipping (while leaving their original panels 100% untouched, in case their custom work doesn't turn out right). Though black & silver kits would be helpful for those willing to attempt a custom window job or something similar.
     
  26. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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    I could very well be wrong, especially for the USB connectors, oops. I'll check my own SG05/USB3.0 when I get home.
     
  27. AFD

    AFD 2[H]4U

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    Actually, your 2-tone silver/black M1 would really match nicely with Dell's new 2-tone UltraSharp monitors..

    [​IMG]
     
  28. vipz

    vipz Gawd

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    I think for the two-tone setup to look perfect, the top panel should have a different finish than the sides.
     
  29. wahaha360

    wahaha360 Gawd

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    I see you got the panels.

    Was the package for the panel set damaged? Do you have pictures?

    I want to get a sense on how beat up they were for future shipping reference.
     
  30. Proglin

    Proglin Limp Gawd

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    Quote from another topic:
    It seems to be good start.

    If someone is using option on the right (slots 2 and 3 only) probably they will have a long GPU so there is no problem with awkward gap of the expansion slot.

    But I dont know yet how to solve "natural looking" in top gap (with slots 2 and 3 only) or the gap between slot 1 and backplate with option using all 3 slots.
     
  31. illli

    illli [H]ard|Gawd

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    should not be too hard to make a cover plate for the back hole, which would be inserted from the inside and also could possibly share a screw whole with the number plate.
    [​IMG]
    But Necere has pretty much killed off that suggestion completely. http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1040678730&postcount=5
    I guess based off that comment, we won't be seeing slide-on panels, instead of the pop-on, any time soon either.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  32. Phuncz

    Phuncz 2[H]4U

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    I see why Necere would not go through with it, it's so narrowly beneficial for a few but it throws a lot of the structural integrity of the case away for everyone.
    It's the same discussion as the one where there was a debate to enlarge the case for component X or configuration Y, it just never ends as people will find a few millimeter here and there that would allow them to install this and that. Filling up this case with fans (yes here I go again ;-)) is not the solution for every heat issue. This was never meant as a case that can hold *anything* you throw at it.

    Some are also forgetting that this is more than just "printing out a 3D file", this requires an expensive prototype or two, adjustments for bending/stamping limits, preservation of structural integrity, user-friendlyness, etc etc.

    And all of this for a single fan for the few people that have heat issues with their PSU's which they are probably going to upgrade to the 600W version anyway in a few months. It will be cheaper than buying a new Ncase M1 rev.2 actually. The problem is not the case, it's the configuration. Too much high-specced hardware or overclocking stresses the PSU beyond it's limits.
     
  33. OverRated

    OverRated Limp Gawd

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    Yep waiting for the 600w but it doesn't mean it wont still overheat.
     
  34. Necere

    Necere 2[H]4U

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    You're conflating two different things people have suggested. The first being the ability to move the motherboard down one slot, to make room for a short modular ATX PSU to be installed with a long GPU. That requires the cut on the back that affects structural integrity and leaves those ugly gaps. This is not worth doing, IMO. The fixes (little metal plates to cover the gaps) are way too kludgy. People have to remember that the case was designed from the outset to use SFX power supplies only; the ATX bracket was added only because it was simple and required no significant changes to the design. If people really want to use ATX, they have to make some compromises (non-modular or short GPU).

    The second thing you're talking about is Overrated's suggestion of a bracket for an 80mm fan on top of the SFX PSU exhaust. This has nothing to do with moving the motherboard down. My previous explanation of why the fan bracket won't work stands. The fact is on future SFX power supplies, the inlet could be anywhere on the rear, in any orientation, and right now the ST45SF-G is the only one it would actually work with. His suggestion of bending the cable to fit the fan on the Enhance/Silverstone 600W also won't work, because there's not enough clearance. The only way to make it universal and future-proof is to move the SFX bracket down by 10-25mm, which is going to cause cable crowding.

    But besides that confusion, the rest of your post is basically accurate.
     
  35. matman

    matman n00bie

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    I would like to see ventilation along bottom edges of both side panels to allow quieter non-blower graphics coolers to breathe better and heat up the case less.
     
  36. pointfiveo

    pointfiveo Limp Gawd

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    100% agree.

    That might create problems with dust filtration?


    My wishes, some already mentioned:
    • Less non-filtered random holes at the bottom of the case
    • Less obstructive bottom fan grilles for use with DEMCifilters, though I understand the difficulties in designing the bottom to work for either an HDD or a fan.
    • Less bulky USB3 cable, I feel bad bending it so not using the front bottom fan anymore.
    • Remove top panel screw
    • Shorter PSU power and front I/O cables
    • Shorter SSD stack screws so won't impact each other
    • Some sort of front audio I/O cover plate for those not using internal audio? I know this might be impossible.
    • Some way to replace broken panel studs. I haven't broken any but if that happens, there's no other way than to start welding or something. I know this might be impossible.
     
  37. daavee

    daavee [H]Lite

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    I completely agree with Necere. Minor tweaks and not major structural changes. Pretty much everything regarding size, component placement, etc has already been discussed in the original thread, and the M1 as it is is the outcome of those discussions. And it's a fantastic case, and a fantastic performing one for its size. It appears that very few people are having major cooling issues despite a lot of high-end builds and I'm inclined to suggest that if you are then either - reign in your specs a bit, rethink your cooling or buy a (much) bigger case.
     
  38. daavee

    daavee [H]Lite

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    That would ruin airflow.
     
  39. Phuncz

    Phuncz 2[H]4U

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    Word. All of this.
     
  40. OverRated

    OverRated Limp Gawd

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    I asked for a addon bracket so people have the option to use it or not the bracket would screw to the PSU bracket, The only problem with my idea is that the PSU cable will have to be bent if the PSU is mounted with its intake facing inwards but its no different than the way people are bending the cable already.

    This image is based on the Enhance/Silverstone 600W not the ST45SF-G but both will have no problem as all there plugs ports face the same way!

    [​IMG]