NCASE M1 version changelog and suggestions thread

A

Aluminyum

Guest
Not such terrible company to be in, is it?
Ah... ye olde courage.
Haven't considered hex vents, and doubt I will. IMO round, square, or slotted are best aesthetically.
I see. Hmm... Looks like the hexagonal tiling may be suboptimal when it comes to fan noise, as well.
So, for ME, SFF ITX builds are what I crave...!

BUT...! I also want to water cool, so that needs more room...
"SFF" and "more room" tend to be mutually exclusive things, though. If you're interested in an oversized Mini-ITX case, you should take a look at CaseLabs (or just buy a Manta).
Super ideal, no compromises for me would be INDIVIDUAL loops for the CPU & GPU, each component controls itself...
What's the point of that? Just curious.
 

Boil

[H]ard|Gawd
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So, for ME, SFF ITX builds are what I crave...!

BUT...! I also want to water cool, so that needs more room...

"SFF" and "more room" tend to be mutually exclusive things, though. If you're interested in an oversized Mini-ITX case, you should take a look at CaseLabs (or just buy a Manta).

CaseLabs has nice products, but their mITX Bullet model is 20L, but only really supports one 240mm radiator & (IMO) wastes too much space on the PSU / HDD 'basement'...

The Nova XM2 has plenty of space for a nice dual radiator mITX build, but it is just shy of 39L, not really SFF...

The NZXT Manta is a bloated whale...

Super ideal, no compromises for me would be INDIVIDUAL loops for the CPU & GPU, each component controls itself...

What's the point of that? Just curious.

Just as I said; with individual loops, no matter which system gets hot (CPU or GPU) each component controls & cools itself as needed...
 

ceski

Weaksauce
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Yeah that's a bummer for sure. *resumes wiping fingerprints off M1 with an IPA soaked rag*
 
A

Aluminyum

Guest
Just as I said; with individual loops, no matter which system gets hot (CPU or GPU) each component controls & cools itself as needed...
Why not just connect each component to its respective set of radiator fans? Adding a second loop would result in additional points of failure, increased power consumption, and more noise (not to mention the extra expenses).

Back on topic: my vote goes for a steel frame for the M1.
 

Boil

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Why not just connect each component to its respective set of radiator fans? Adding a second loop would result in additional points of failure, increased power consumption, and more noise (not to mention the extra expenses).

Attaching the fans to the individual component would not control the pumps individually...

Independent loops for CPU & GPU would basically just add a second reservoir / pump combo unit to the mix (maximum 18w power consumption...?), everything else would be the same (just split into two distinct loops)...
 

Tephnos

Limp Gawd
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Changing the frame to steel is even more problematic than powder coating, unfortunately. A lot of things depend on the material being 1.5mm thick, which is too thick for steel. You can't flush fit countersink screws in less than that, for example. It would require a complete re-engineering and in many cases a rethink of the chassis. For the stripped screw threads, we did add steel inserts where the fan bracket attaches, which are some of the most used screws on the case. Personally, I've never stripped a single thread on the case, but I understand it can happen if people use the wrong screws or overtighten them.

I don't know to what extent we'll be able to fix these issues on the current M1, honestly, since like I said, they require a total re-engineering effort. It's good to have the feedback though, regardless, because at least I can use it to improve on future designs.

So, coming back to this. Other than having to redo the dimensions to account for 0.8mm steel over 1.5mm aluminium, what else would you need to change? I spoke to an engineer I know about all this and he said it isn't true that you couldn't countersink a screw with a thinner material - you most definitely could with 0.8mm steel. As the case doesn't really need to bear any real loads it should be even less problematic. I imagine this was a big issue to you seeing as you wanted the panels to stay fitting. He also said that in terms of working with the material in machining, steel is equally as easy as aluminium (he criticised Lian-Li for being cheap with aluminium when they could easily use steel, the only issue is the tooling would wear faster). What else would be a problem when converting to steel? I'm guessing expense is also another major thing.

Edit: Additional benefit. With the frame being magnetic, you could scrap the pin idea and use neodymium magnets to attach the side panels to the frame. It would remove an additional point of failure over the long term and would still take a bit of force to remove them.
 
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Chapeau

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So, coming back to this. Other than having to redo the dimensions to account for 0.8mm steel over 1.5mm aluminium, what else would you need to change? I spoke to an engineer I know about all this and he said it isn't true that you couldn't countersink a screw with a thinner material - you most definitely could with 0.8mm steel. As the case doesn't really need to bear any real loads it should be even less problematic. I imagine this was a big issue to you seeing as you wanted the panels to stay fitting. He also said that in terms of working with the material in machining, steel is equally as easy as aluminium (he criticised Lian-Li for being cheap with aluminium when they could easily use steel, the only issue is the tooling would wear faster). What else would be a problem when converting to steel? I'm guessing expense is also another major thing.

Edit: Additional benefit. With the frame being magnetic, you could scrap the pin idea and use neodymium magnets to attach the side panels to the frame. It would remove an additional point of failure over the long term and would still take a bit of force to remove them.

Firstly let me say - I don't mean to shut down your idea. . . just leaving some points to consider (y)

Perhaps it's worth considering that really steel is not required? There may be a few people who have had issues but I would say they are definitely in the minority.. I don't know how many cases have shipped but if there was an issue with any of the revisions then it would have been picked up already no?

As for switching to steel:
- Minimum bend radius is different
- Case design would need to change for internal corners, lips and flanges
- Production line would need to change existing fixtures, new mandrels made etc.
- Case supplier might need to change
- Production method for ventilation holes may need to change ( Issues such as hole size, density, cut versus punch )
- Panel supplier might also need to change ( Ditto for magnetic panels )
- Chassis rails would increase in height to accommodate magnets
- Screw set would need to change ( Let say you're changing from 1.5mm alu to 0.8mm steel - the depth of the taper on the screw heads would be different )
- Additional design change for accessory screw sets
- MoQ would need to be met for news cases, screws sets, panels, magnets
- Existing inventory would need to be cleared
- Two production lines might need to be kept "open" to support both Alu and Steel case versions
- New inventory for new steel case line
- End costs would increase

The caveat is that I have NO manufacturing experience - just some project management. So actually the stuff above may not apply at all!
But it's common for these kinds of things to change simply from a material change where the flow on effects are pretty ugly.

On the other hand - maybe a switch to a larger screw set with a small increase to the frame size might mean better reliability. More simply even, changing from fillips which is designed to cam out to something like torx would be a benefit also if the screws are easy to source. This would probably address the common "issue" of stripping screws.
 

Tephnos

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Firstly let me say - I don't mean to shut down your idea. . . just leaving some points to consider (y)

Perhaps it's worth considering that really steel is not required? There may be a few people who have had issues but I would say they are definitely in the minority.. I don't know how many cases have shipped but if there was an issue with any of the revisions then it would have been picked up already no?

As for switching to steel:
- Minimum bend radius is different
- Case design would need to change for internal corners, lips and flanges
- Production line would need to change existing fixtures, new mandrels made etc.
- Case supplier might need to change
- Production method for ventilation holes may need to change ( Issues such as hole size, density, cut versus punch )
- Panel supplier might also need to change ( Ditto for magnetic panels )
- Chassis rails would increase in height to accommodate magnets
- Screw set would need to change ( Let say you're changing from 1.5mm alu to 0.8mm steel - the depth of the taper on the screw heads would be different )
- Additional design change for accessory screw sets
- MoQ would need to be met for news cases, screws sets, panels, magnets
- Existing inventory would need to be cleared
- Two production lines might need to be kept "open" to support both Alu and Steel case versions
- New inventory for new steel case line
- End costs would increase

The caveat is that I have NO manufacturing experience - just some project management. So actually the stuff above may not apply at all!
But it's common for these kinds of things to change simply from a material change where the flow on effects are pretty ugly.

On the other hand - maybe a switch to a larger screw set with a small increase to the frame size might mean better reliability. More simply even, changing from fillips which is designed to cam out to something like torx would be a benefit also if the screws are easy to source. This would probably address the common "issue" of stripping screws.


I believe steel is required if you really want this case to be 'end game'. It's no good if you strip it even once, and there's a lot of chances to do that over many years. I believe around 8000 cases have shipped, but not everyone will report on their experiences. The biggest change Necere could make right now is not to ship steel screws with the case. It should be aluminium screws for an aluminium frame. Personally, I'm even looking up nylon screws and it is IMO fairly annoying that I even have to go to those lengths just to make sure it doesn't happen. Paranoia over the screws every time I want to build in the case is something I'd rather not have in the first place, you know?

For your points: Yeah, it's going to be harder to do a transition to steel but equipment is made to just shape steel and it's all in construction. I don't see Necere ever making an 'M2' which is steel at the end of the day due to expenses and he probably wants to do new projects and that saddens me because I'd damned well pay for a truly end game case that was steel and robustly suited to a shelf life of however long I owned it for. It is impossible to say this can be said of the M1 due to the weakness of the frame in those critical points. The M1 in terms of aesthetics and function is damned well perfect and nothing else comes close, so its just a shame.
 

Necere

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Is the project as dead as our dreams or are you looking for a new company?
So the way w360 tells it, the company stopped returning our calls when they figured out that we weren't going to be a high volume customer for them. That's the sticking point with a lot of these companies - if you're not on board with tens/hundreds of thousands of units, they won't be interested. So I don't know how likely it is we'll find another company to do it, at least as long as the M1 is our only product that would use the process.

So, coming back to this. Other than having to redo the dimensions to account for 0.8mm steel over 1.5mm aluminium, what else would you need to change? I spoke to an engineer I know about all this and he said it isn't true that you couldn't countersink a screw with a thinner material - you most definitely could with 0.8mm steel.
Yes you can countersink steel, but the qualifier I added - "flush fit" - is the difference. Admittedly I glossed over that detail for brevity, but essentially because the head of the screw is taller than the thickness of the sheet metal with steel, it will project from one side or the other, whereas with aluminum the head is completely "buried." That will likely create problems for certain parts of the existing design.

It's not something that couldn't be designed around, of course, but that brings me to the major reason I don't want to do it: it would almost certainly break parts compatibility between versions, and in essence it would be like creating a whole new case that needs its own complete set of replacement parts to keep track of. My position is, if we're going to all that trouble, it makes more sense to make an entirely new case that addresses some of the other issues the M1 has.

And FWIW, the plan as of right now for the ATX project I showed recently is to use a steel chassis.
 

Tephnos

Limp Gawd
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So the way w360 tells it, the company stopped returning our calls when they figured out that we weren't going to be a high volume customer for them. That's the sticking point with a lot of these companies - if you're not on board with tens/hundreds of thousands of units, they won't be interested. So I don't know how likely it is we'll find another company to do it, at least as long as the M1 is our only product that would use the process.

Yes you can countersink steel, but the qualifier I added - "flush fit" - is the difference. Admittedly I glossed over that detail for brevity, but essentially because the head of the screw is taller than the thickness of the sheet metal with steel, it will project from one side or the other, whereas with aluminum the head is completely "buried." That will likely create problems for certain parts of the existing design.

It's not something that couldn't be designed around, of course, but that brings me to the major reason I don't want to do it: it would almost certainly break parts compatibility between versions, and in essence it would be like creating a whole new case that needs its own complete set of replacement parts to keep track of. My position is, if we're going to all that trouble, it makes more sense to make an entirely new case that addresses some of the other issues the M1 has.

And FWIW, the plan as of right now for the ATX project I showed recently is to use a steel chassis.


Fair enough. I did see your ATX project but didn't comment on it since ATX no longer interests me - too big. No interest in water-cooling either so the case does nothing for me like the M1 did. It might be handy if I was building an x299 or TR system, but with Coffee Lake I don't need to worry about that.

As for the volume issue, a sidenote relating to that: I fully believe that w360 could get a lot more of the NCASE sold than he currently does. I don't get why you guys won't let vendors like OcUK stock them because it worked out amazingly for the A4 and all sold out within minutes and had people salivating (and pissed off that it would take months to get more in lol) for more. I think if you got the word out through vendors rather than people having to buy from you direct you could really push these volumes up compared to what you do now.

I'd love for this case to become semi-mainstream over extremely niche.
 

Necere

2[H]4U
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Jan 3, 2003
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2,745
Fair enough. I did see your ATX project but didn't comment on it since ATX no longer interests me - too big. No interest in water-cooling either so the case does nothing for me like the M1 did. It might be handy if I was building an x299 or TR system, but with Coffee Lake I don't need to worry about that.

As for the volume issue, a sidenote relating to that: I fully believe that w360 could get a lot more of the NCASE sold than he currently does. I don't get why you guys won't let vendors like OcUK stock them because it worked out amazingly for the A4 and all sold out within minutes and had people salivating (and pissed off that it would take months to get more in lol) for more. I think if you got the word out through vendors rather than people having to buy from you direct you could really push these volumes up compared to what you do now.

I'd love for this case to become semi-mainstream over extremely niche.
We've talked a lot about using distributors in the past, but essentially we'd be giving up half our profit (or more), and w360 wants to maintain control over pricing. In general, the price to the customer likely wouldn't be any lower, though, so the benefit would be limited to quicker delivery + not having to deal with customs, and local support and service. We did work with a distributor in Japan as a test run, but ultimately w360 didn't feel it was worth it.

The other issue with selling in the UK/EU specifically is that the certifications needed to market the product there are somewhat onerous, especially for a small outfit like us who aren't based there or speak the language. Dondan is in Germany, so for him it was only a stretch financially and time-wise to get those certifications for the A4.
 

wahaha360

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Is the project as dead as our dreams or are you looking for a new company?

So the way w360 tells it, the company stopped returning our calls when they figured out that we weren't going to be a high volume customer for them. That's the sticking point with a lot of these companies - if you're not on board with tens/hundreds of thousands of units, they won't be interested. So I don't know how likely it is we'll find another company to do it, at least as long as the M1 is our only product that would use the process.

It's a combination of our low volume and increasing cost of anodizing due to more strict environmental protection laws in China + Taiwan.

Lian Li and the other anodizing suppliers have notified me that anodizing factories are being shut down all over China + Taiwan due to more strict laws and enforcement. So as supply decreases, you can expect price to increase in the future.

You should see prices going up for products with anodizing.
 

Rhialto

Gawd
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Messages
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Please let us know a few weeks before you increase your price if you can.

I'm still working on getting all the money for a new system and with all the latest updates on CPUs I'm not convinced what to buy so I take my time to order any items but I'm pretty set for the case. I could have bought like a few months ago but would have collected dust since then so I wait... and I think there was an update on a connecter recently so another reason why I've prefered to wait but if price increase is significant I may just place the order. OTOH it's already a pricey case so too much and I'll reconsider.
 

Tephnos

Limp Gawd
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Jul 11, 2010
Messages
489
Ultimately, while you probably feel I'm being a very harsh critic, it is only because this case is so damn close to perfect, like 99%, that the remaining 1% is glaringly obvious. With most other cases there's a tonne of niggles and faults everywhere that you just don't care as long as it looks half decent and does the job. This one is near perfect and being the cost it is to me is why I'm being 'harsh' on the few issues it has.

I can say though that even if you prefer to have tight control on pricing and supply of the case, there are a lot of people turned off by the fact you have to purchase it directly from you due to the hassle involved. I think that having it sold in Europe directly would probably offset the costs incurred, but that's your call.

Disappointing news on the panels. I never did like anodised finishes being the fingerprint magnets they are and was hoping to replace it with sandblasted ones later. Dunno what to do on that front now.
 

Mannymal

Limp Gawd
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Oct 12, 2011
Messages
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I'm kind of heartbroken that the sandblasted panels fell through. I was ready to buy a set of each color. I hope that you manage to score that for your next project.

I've said it before here and in other forums, the NCASE M1 v5 is my favorite case in my 20 years building my own computers.
 

Boil

[H]ard|Gawd
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+ a zillion on the sandblasted panels, those looked nice...

Necere

One thing I think would be a very cool addition would be a hinged connection for the side radiator mount (hinge to the front of the chassis)...

With this sort of set-up (I would add the FrozenQ external reservoir), one could remove the top & left side panels, swing open the radiator mount and access the system when needed...

Maybe include a little swing-down 'kickstand' to support the weight of the loaded radiator mount when open...?

EDIT: Swing radius & clearance of the radiator at the back of the frame when opening & closing would be an issue though...
 

Chapeau

Gawd
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Messages
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+ a zillion on the sandblasted panels, those looked nice...

Necere

One thing I think would be a very cool addition would be a hinged connection for the side radiator mount (hinge to the front of the chassis)...

With this sort of set-up (I would add the FrozenQ external reservoir), one could remove the top & left side panels, swing open the radiator mount and access the system when needed...

Maybe include a little swing-down 'kickstand' to support the weight of the loaded radiator mount when open...?

EDIT: Swing radius & clearance of the radiator at the back of the frame when opening & closing would be an issue though...

How about top swing?

The extra hose length would be easy to manage with a 90 on the res connection...
 
Joined
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Messages
589
You know what would be cool -- if the M1 had mounting holes for PCIe risers at the 2nd and 3rd PCIe slot. Then you could mount an expansion card under a 2-slot GPU. Or even do an insane SLI setup with single-slot cards in the 2nd and 3rd slot with bifucration from the main x16 slot. I don't know who would do any of those things, but it's just a few holes.

Realistically, I can see some people installing a network card in the 3rd slot with an M.2 to PCIe riser/adapter. Especially with the new ASRock X299 board that has 3 M.2 slots, that will be a way to utilize the additional PCIe lanes.
 

Necere

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2,745
You know what would be cool -- if the M1 had mounting holes for PCIe risers at the 2nd and 3rd PCIe slot. Then you could mount an expansion card under a 2-slot GPU. Or even do an insane SLI setup with single-slot cards in the 2nd and 3rd slot with bifucration from the main x16 slot. I don't know who would do any of those things, but it's just a few holes.

Realistically, I can see some people installing a network card in the 3rd slot with an M.2 to PCIe riser/adapter. Especially with the new ASRock X299 board that has 3 M.2 slots, that will be a way to utilize the additional PCIe lanes.
There's no standard for riser mounting, so how do you imagine that could be done?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Oh really? I thought holes on either side of x16 or x4 slot risers were standardized, but I guess I was wrong. Also, come to think of it, there will need to be standoffs. Ignore my suggestion then, a card can be mounted with just the PCIe bracket anyway, the riser just won't be as secure.
 
D

Deleted member 222586

Guest
We've talked a lot about using distributors in the past, but essentially we'd be giving up half our profit (or more), and w360 wants to maintain control over pricing. In general, the price to the customer likely wouldn't be any lower, though, so the benefit would be limited to quicker delivery + not having to deal with customs, and local support and service. We did work with a distributor in Japan as a test run, but ultimately w360 didn't feel it was worth it.

The other issue with selling in the UK/EU specifically is that the certifications needed to market the product there are somewhat onerous, especially for a small outfit like us who aren't based there or speak the language. Dondan is in Germany, so for him it was only a stretch financially and time-wise to get those certifications for the A4.

I agree with W360's position completely.

It makes sense to use distributors when you plan to move a lot of units because although you will get lower margins that will be offset but the increase in volume AND you are passing some of the risk involved onto the new sellers.

At this moment this is the cost structure of an M1 from a user's perspective:

Case cost + shipping + NCASE's margin + duties*

*where applicable, and including duties + VAT + agency fees

Are there saving by changing to a distributor-based shipping model? Well, the agency fees would be probably gone, because distributors can leverage those and shipping might get a tad cheaper... but the distributor needs to make money, so either prices go up or NCASE's margin goes down. And the only way to offset this would be to considerably increase the volume of cases.

So yes, w360 is on point. I wouldn't forfeit control of the whole endeavour unless I was moving many tens of thousands of units a year.
 

Boil

[H]ard|Gawd
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Necere

NCASE M1 v6

Black anodized inner chassis / frame...

Steel inserts for threaded fasteners...

Special Edition panels & color scheme - Gunmetal grey front & side panels, matte black top panel - all sandblasted 'MacBook Pro' finish

New 'block' feet with angled inner face which matches angle of sides of front I/O panel

USB-C connector on front I/O

More flexible USB front I/O cables

Users Manual / Build Guide
 

Boil

[H]ard|Gawd
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Acrylic window similar to the Dan-A4

The chassis is designed for either side-mounted intake fans or a side-mounted radiator & fans; so the only real place to have a side window would be the lower third of the side panel, exposing the GPU for viewing pleasure...
 

Revenant_Knight

Limp Gawd
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Nov 18, 2011
Messages
491
It's a combination of our low volume and increasing cost of anodizing due to more strict environmental protection laws in China + Taiwan.

Lian Li and the other anodizing suppliers have notified me that anodizing factories are being shut down all over China + Taiwan due to more strict laws and enforcement. So as supply decreases, you can expect price to increase in the future.

You should see prices going up for products with anodizing.


And that's why I just ordered another M1 and some spare parts. Best computer case I've ever owned.
 

Necere

2[H]4U
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Jan 3, 2003
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2,745
Necere

NCASE M1 v6

Black anodized inner chassis / frame...

Steel inserts for threaded fasteners...

Special Edition panels & color scheme - Gunmetal grey front & side panels, matte black top panel - all sandblasted 'MacBook Pro' finish

New 'block' feet with angled inner face which matches angle of sides of front I/O panel

USB-C connector on front I/O

More flexible USB front I/O cables

Users Manual / Build Guide
These are pretty reasonable suggestions, although most may not be feasible or desirable for various reasons:
  • Anodized chassis: might be an issue with mixed metals (not 100% sure on whether the current rivets are steel, though would for sure be a problem with steel inserts). Also anodizing is pretty dirty, environmentally speaking, so I'd rather avoid using it too much.
  • Steel inserts: the side bracket mount has had threaded inserts since V2. As far as the rest of the case, it's problematic because the screw holes are either too close to a bend, or the added protrusion of threaded standoffs would get in the way.
  • Special colors/finish: possible at additional cost.
  • Block feet: probably not. There's no way that I can see to align them with single screw of the current design.
  • USB Type C: will probably happen eventually, replacing either one of the USB Type A ports, or the mic jack. Like w360 said in another post though, factory time for those cables is booked through to next year.
  • Flexible cables: w360 has a lead on some flat USB cables. I'm not sure they're better or more flexible, per se, but they do seem a little nicer.
  • User manual: yes well... that's one of those things I've never been that motivated to do. I know some people would appreciate it though.
 

Popstar

n00b
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Are there any improvements that could be made if you dropped support for ATX power supplies? I notice your new mATX/ATX design is SFX/SFX-L only (unless I missed something).

The easiest thing would just be no longer including the ATX bracket. But I think you would still want to have a solution for those people who want to move the PSU against the front to accommodate a slightly oversize motherboard. Perhaps allow the SFX PSU bracket to be mounted in two different positions? While perhaps still leaving room on the left side to mount something?
 

Necere

2[H]4U
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Jan 3, 2003
Messages
2,745
Are there any improvements that could be made if you dropped support for ATX power supplies? I notice your new mATX/ATX design is SFX/SFX-L only (unless I missed something).

The easiest thing would just be no longer including the ATX bracket. But I think you would still want to have a solution for those people who want to move the PSU against the front to accommodate a slightly oversize motherboard. Perhaps allow the SFX PSU bracket to be mounted in two different positions? While perhaps still leaving room on the left side to mount something?
Support for the ATX bracket only requires four countersunk screw holes on the chassis rails, so dropping it doesn't achieve anything.

The SFX bracket design is pretty specific to its location in the chassis, and it can't practically be made to work in both orientations (the distance across the case is greater than the allowable length of the SFX bracket). It would probably make more sense to create a new bracket that mounts the same way as the current ATX bracket, although there really isn't that much utility in it vs. what the ATX bracket offers, IMO.
 

wahaha360

Gawd
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Sep 8, 2012
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942
Making a *inset window for the M1 as extra part (not part of standard M1).

The compromises are:
1) can't get the fan bracket with dual 120mm fan on the side to work
2) GPU compatibility reduced by 3mm

The M1 will remain at version 5 (since nothing on the M1 is changing), the part will be ordered separately.

It will not be a NCASE product, the part will be launching under a new website called SFFLAB.
 
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Rhialto

Gawd
Joined
Feb 23, 2004
Messages
543
Making a window for the M1, the part will be launching under a new website called SFFLAB.
Interesting, what else can you say? It has been discussed before and wasn't really doable because...
The case isn't designed for a window, and incorporating one breaks a lot of the functionality (plus there's no way to attach a glass window as is).
Does this come as part of a new revision (v6)?
 
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