New case format for m.2 SSDs

Discussion in 'Cases & Case Modding' started by rudy, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    So over the years we have pretty much seen the need for optical drives diminish to nearly nothing. And hard drives have slowly shifted from 3.5 to 2.5 and now m.2 which just resides on the motherboard.

    So the question is are case makers designing a case format that works well for power users that will no longer need the entire front portion of a standard mid atx case. Are there some good examples?

    M.2 SSDs are so much faster I am considering building a new rig around them. However, I want something that can handle at least one full sized GPU. IE 1080 or titan. And I prefere not to limit myself to the over priced itx format or even microATX since most of those boards are not going to have more than 1 m.2 slot.

    And while I am at it I should also mention I find it unfortunately that alot of these motherboards are so short on m.2 slots. I would require at least 2 but would like more for future proofing.
     
  2. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    I don't think you will ever see them go fully away from 5.25" optical and 3.5" HDDs. A case company runs the risk of alienating parts of the market that would still want those features.

    I am in agreement with you though, I want a compact ATX case without the optical drive or the 3.5" drive cages. I have a WHS that I store all my stuff on and my gaming rig has SSDs. The cases that have intrigued me lately are the Cooltek/Jonsbro lineup. They ditch the features I don't want and attempt to make the overall package smaller. The trouble is getting these cases in the US. There are a couple of European companies that will ship international and Ebay has them available at 3X the cost.

    Anyways, take a look at the UMX4. IMO a very good looking case with the features(or lack there of) you are looking for. Cooltek
     
  3. Design1stcode2nd

    Design1stcode2nd Gawd

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    In time I think you could see it but it would be niche. Drives could be mounted behind the mobo and if you only did M.2 the space would be available for cable management and accessories (fan hubs, light controllers, etc). The problem I think you'd run into is even if they did away with the 5.25 bays and HDD cages they would leave the space so you could water cool.
     
  4. Fractal Design NA

    Fractal Design NA Sales and Community Manager

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    The Node 605 is a fairly compact ATX case, about the size and shape of a home theater receiver: Node 605

    The only drives mounts it does have are removable to make space for SLI.
     
  5. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    haha, well the node 605 IS the size and shape of a HTPC. More or less that is what would be nice in an upright configuration. It would be nice if you guys used that frame to make some other configurations. Aluminum options would be nice, and make it so it has feet on the PSU side and is an upright case. Then the other side which would now be the top would need to be finished, and front intake fans would probably have to be implemented, above or below the GPU area that should fit 120mm fans. Then you push the nice looking front out 0.5 inches and make an intake wrap around it. I actually used to have a Silverstone LC13B which is very similarly configured.
     
  6. Fractal Design NA

    Fractal Design NA Sales and Community Manager

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    All good ideas. I think the Node 202 is a prime example of how something like this could be done. Actually an ATX version of the Node 202 would also be a pretty cool thing to see, come to think of it.
     
  7. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    Thermaltake's Core P3 and P5 are good examples without any standard drive bays.

    You're going to run into a hardware limit on motherboards with m.2 drives. Each drive should have 4 PCI-E lanes assigned. On your standard i7, you only get 20 lanes total. Assuming you want 16x for your GPU (or 8x + 8x for SLI/CF), you don't have enough lanes left to run more than one m.2 drive at full speed. You could do a few m.2 slots with a X99 board but that's about it.
     
  8. skeeder

    skeeder [H]ard|Gawd

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    Htpc wise I just bought a silverstone gd09. I would of loved the node, but I didn't want an itx setup and it lacked a few features.

    In response to the OP. No.

    M.2 is fast, but the true shift is to pcie solutions. I don't think we will see the downfall of hard wives until price per gigabyte is competitive. And frankly, it's probably over a decade away. I can get a 4TB HD for the price of a 500GB SSD.
     
  9. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

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    M.2 IS a pcie solution (the fastest currently runs at 4x)
     
  10. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    A lot of high-end cases are completely forgoing the 5.25 bays, my Evolve ATX has none, and I love the look of a clean surface, with a fully utilised, but not cramped interior. Nothing makes me cringe more than unused bays messing up a nice build. Most high-end cases are coming with only a handful of 3.5 slots as well, and they are usually hidden in the PSU basement.

    QFT. M2 (more specifically NVM Express) is just PCI-E in a different slot. and I love it.
     
  11. skeeder

    skeeder [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think m.2 slots will disappear and more things will be pci-e slot based.
     
  12. LordGardenGnome

    LordGardenGnome [H]Lite

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    I think U.2 will catch on more, m.2 I think will still be there but may just focus on being a OS drive. PCI-E and U.2 will most likely be more of the future.
     
  13. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

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    The only PCI-E slot drives and U.2 drives that I have seen are almost all enterprise class drives (I have only seen Intel and Micron each release one model, with multiple sizes). There are many M.2 consumer drives out there. I see no indication that PCI-E slot drives or U.2 drives are moving towards the consumer market so why do you think it will? An OCZ rep at this year's Computex even said that U.2 is "dead on arrival" (source)
     
  14. Quartz-1

    Quartz-1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think you need to look at the ITX format, not ATX, for the advances in case design, and there are a fair few examples in this forum.
     
  15. Nobu

    Nobu 2[H]4U

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    You can pop out the bay covers on caselabs cases and replace them with fan/radiator mounts or hard drive bays (with fan mounts). There are a few nzxt cases with no ODD bays.
     
  16. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Anything new on this front?
     
  17. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    Holy thread necro Batman!! But you are the OP so guess it's allowed lol.

    New on which front? Motherboard manufactures moving away from 5.25" drive bays or motherboard manufacturers adding more m.2 slots?

    I would say yes on both fronts. There are more and more cases with 0 5.25" drive bays. Tempered glass up front, solid panels and full mesh. Really you can go with whatever look you are after.

    More m.2 slots? Kinda - There are a handful of motherboards that have 3 x m.2 slots natively, Gigabyte Aorus comes to mind. ASUS is also adding in a new dimm.2 slot which is specifically designed to hold 2 x m.2 drives and usually a 3 m.2 somewhere specifically on the mobo. Additionallly m.2 drives continue to get cheaper, so the need for more slots is diminished. Do you really need more than 2 x 2tb m.2 drives in a standard gaming rig?
     
  18. rudy

    rudy [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Mostly looking for efficient cases that save space. I have seen that most of the ones I look for arent really much if any more efficient they just take out the bays and leave empty space I there for radiators or something. But mostly it's just a bunch of wasted space.

    Ya I want more m.2 slots because one of the most attractive features of building your own computer is being able to use it the way you want to. Sometimes I like to have separate drives for separate organization of storage. Other times I want to be able to keep using an older drive that still functions perfectly fine for storage, or sometimes it's even just wanting to pop an extra one in temporarily.


    Btw I think the aversion to thread necrosis is really stupid on the internet. If a thread has the information you need and keeps the context in place why bother creating a new one. Also helps millions of people searching for solutions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
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  19. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    I think ultimately you are still in the same boat. Case manufacturers are still trying to make cases that the majority of people can use. So most cases are going to have; drive cages, places to put radiators, 5.25" drive bays, etc. etc.

    I did some looking around and if your looking for ATX mobo support with minimal footprint, there are a couple I found Thermaltake Core G3 or Riotoro CR1080 but even those still have some of the things you say you don't want.

    I kind of like the Thermaltake Core G3. It has some drive bays, but you wouldn't really know it looking at the outside. Plus like you said you can build it the way you want. If you wanted to go larger platter storage you could. Only issue I see it getting the m.2 drives with the GPU mounted the way it is.


    Never said it was a bad thing, was more just making a joke. I wouldn't have responded if I didn't think I could make a contribution. Just trying to help out millions of people ;)
     
  20. Flogger23m

    Flogger23m [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What about the Define C? Supports a full size motherboard, GPU and should have plenty of space for airflow. Still a larger case, but if you don't need a lot of HDDs it seems like a good mixture to go for.

    Define-C_8.jpg
     
  21. Jamie Marsala

    Jamie Marsala Limp Gawd

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    My last three cases have no drive cages what so ever in them. The current one has two carriers for 2.5inch drives and two for 3.5inch drives, both on the back side of the case. My MB has 2 M.2 slots and I only use one and I have a 2nd drive that is a 2.5inch SSD. So they make cases for those of us that no longer use a DVD drive. My current one is the Corsair Crystal 570x series.
     
  22. bonehead123

    bonehead123 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The 1st thing I did when I got an Air 540 years ago was to remove all the HDD cages, and mount 2 SSD's on the floor & 2 on the back of the mobo tray. I did however, use the 5.25/3.5 drive locations for a combo of external ssd and USB 4-port hub......

    Also did the same thing when I got my TT900 in early 2019 but built it as an all m.2 set-up, and used it's 5.25 spot for a digital fan controller...

    On my son's current Level 20XT build, we again went with all m.2, and an external BR drive......
     
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  23. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    Except there are plenty of cases like the Lian-Li Dynamic 0-11 which have no 5.25" optical bays. None of the cases with glass bezels tend to have them either. I still see provisions for internal 3.5" drives and I don't think that will change anytime soon.
     
  24. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    You quoted me from 3 years ago. Quite a bit has changed, as you said the tempered glass and solid front case has taken off. But even to my point back then, Lian Li still makes cases with a 5.25" drive bay. Manufactures will obviously chase the trends of today's market, but to completely drop the 5.25" drive cage, a lot is going to have to change.

    rudy - I ran into this just the other day and it made me think of this thread. From what I can see, one of the most compact full ATX case and has the ability to be built out multiple ways. Cerverus X Expensive to say the least, but I think they are pretty kewl looking.
     
  25. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    Fair point about the age of the post, but it's wrong. Many cases do not have 5.25" bays and more come out every year that drop the feature. It's a legacy hold over and while it's going to be an option for years to come, it won't be offered in most mainstream chassis as new designs phase old ones out. Even three years ago I think the writing was on the wall. A lot of people even back then weren't bothering with optical drives. I haven't had one for years.
     
  26. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    Not sure where you get the wrong part. If I had said "Every case is going to continue to have a 5.25" and a 3.5" hdds and you will never find a case without one" then sure, I would say I was wrong. Even when I posted it three years ago I gave a couple of case examples that didn't have an optical drive option.

    Bottom line is, from what I am reading, we are saying the same thing. Mainstream trends will go where they go, which is away from the optical drive, but there are still going to be some offerings that have them. Until companies stop making devices to go in them; optical drives, bay devices, fan controllers, reservoirs etc etc. they are going to be around, albeit in the minority of cases.
     
  27. Ranulfo

    Ranulfo [H]ard|Gawd

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    And thus Fractal Design has gone from a company that has several cases, then a few and then basically no ATX cases that I'm interested in anymore. No modular designs just straight up empty space meant for airflow. Only options are no airflow or airflow front ends and tempered glass or no glass.
     
  28. Och

    Och n00b

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    Interested in this, looking for a case without any drive bays since I'm only using M2.
     
  29. Jamie Marsala

    Jamie Marsala Limp Gawd

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    My last two cases have no drive bays what so ever. Just open space for radiators and more air flow. My current one is a Corsair with spaces for hard drives, 2.5 and 3.5, on the back panel but they are removable so if you do not use them you just remove them. It has glass on all panels except the bottom and the rear side. The ThemralTake it replaced also had no Drive bays and just holders for the 2.5 and 3.5 drives that were also removable if not used. I wanted to see all the RGB so that is why I got the Corsair.
     
  30. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    But they are SOOO expensive for an ATX case. You can get a Lian Li case that looks similar, but is a little larger, for $100.
     
  31. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    For sure. I don't know that I would ever pay that much money for a case like that, but I ran across it and figured I would share.
     
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  32. RomanPixel

    RomanPixel n00b

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    It's hard to find a case without the drive bays, but obviously HDD are getting dirt cheap. I've seen the trend for these ATX cases to have a 2-3 slot drive cage in the "basement" compartment with the PSU. So far, the average Joe, a case with a least one slot/space for HDD is going be ideal so that they can store lots of games, videos, pictures, etc. As you can buy a HDD 2TB today for $49.99 USD.
     
  33. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj [H]ard as it Gets

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    The only way you're going to get smaller than a Define C (or Meshfy C) is to move the PSU to the front that way you can lower the case by 4 inches or so. Essentially the case could be ~12-13" tall.
     
  34. alaricljs

    alaricljs Limp Gawd

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    The Raijintek Thetis has been around since before this thread started and I'm surprised no one has brought it up. ATX case, no "bays" and pretty hard to make it any smaller. Not likely to be a quiet case tho.
     
  35. Och

    Och n00b

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    I ordered the Cerverus yesterday - it is mATX case. Expensive but seems to be exactly what I was looking for.
     
  36. Fritzz

    Fritzz Gawd

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    Nice. I would be interested to hear what you think. I love the concept, just not sure I could live with the price. Then again I paid way too much for a Lian Li PC-D600 because I wanted to do a two computers in one case mod.
     
  37. Och

    Och n00b

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    Do not like it. The top of the case is useless for anything but one 120mm 15mm thick fan (25mm wont fit), so if you're going to go with water cooling, its best to put radiator on the bottom blowing out. If you're on air, putting fans on the bottom is not a good idea because they are going to a) blow in dust, b) be blocked by VGA card.

    I am on air so I put a 140mm fan on the front and 92mm on the bottom.

    Here is the biggest issue with this case however. all of the vented panels where you mount the fans are "grated" with slotted holes, and they amplify fan noise by three fold. I thought there was something wrong with my 140mm Noctua ULN fan - it is unbearably loud at 600rpm. Removing the fan from the panel makes it silent again. I might have to get a 5" hole saw and just cut out the panel to allow for the fan to breathe freely.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  38. smarenwolf

    smarenwolf [H]Lite

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    I've built in a Define Nano S (roomie's rig), Meshify C (same case, mesh-front) and am currently building in a Meshify C Mini.

    Fractal Design has nice cases, build quality, well thought out. I like it and would recommend them.
     
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  39. Och

    Och n00b

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    Here are some pictures of the finished build with the Slinger Cerberus Micro ATX case. This is my CAD work station, so choice of components isn't exactly what your typical gaming PC is.

    Slinger Cerberus mATX case
    Corsair SF750 80+ platinum SFX power supply
    Asus ROG Strix Z370-G mATX motherboard
    Intel Core i5 8400 CPU (non overclocked)
    G-Skill DDR4-3200 2x16gb
    Nvidia Quadro RTX4000 workstation graphics card
    Creative Soundblaster AE-9 sound card
    Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2TB m.2 NVME SSD

    Noctua NH-L9x65 CPU Cooler
    Noctua NF-A9 FLX exhaust fan (top)
    Noctua NF-A8 ULN instake fan (side)

    Here are my impressions so far. First of all, I like the overall size and the design of the case. No wasted space for 2.5/3.5 and even worse 5.25 drives like many cases still carry, and more room for expansion than mini ITX cases. The price of the case is kind of steep, but its not a mass produced product, and it allows for quite a bit of customization when you order, so I am not complaining.

    In my case the basic Noctua slim 92mm cooler is able to keep the 6 core 4ghz CPU at 73C during Aida stress test, and it idles at 38-40C. As you can see, the video card almost isolates the location of the CPU from the rest of the components, and the Noctua 92mm exhaust fan blows out all the hot air produced by the CPU.

    The workstation card is a hot one by design, with stock cooler struggling to keep it at 83 at full load, and it idles at quite high 55C. Before I installed the side fan that supplies cold air to the video card it actually idled at 60C, but max temperature was also 83C.

    The Samsung m.2 SSD was idling at "too high" 60C before I installed the side fan, but with the fan it sits at 36-40C at idle. These m.2 drives run hotter the larger their capacity, and there isn't much option for cooling. I actually modified the side plexi glass window to accept 80mm Noctua fan and fan grille.

    The corsair power supply is great. I was first worried about its fan - it came with the crappiest, cheapest possible fan and I was afraid that it would be loud. But the fan actually does not turn on until the system is drawing > 300watts, and my system uses less apparently. The CPU is rated at 65 watt, the graphics card is 160 watt, and the sound card is 75 watt. In AIDA stress test and music blasting the fan never turns on.

    So far so good, but now the bad.

    Because of the design the top of the case is useless for anything but a single 120x15mm slim fan. You can't put a 25mm in there, and obviously no radiators. The back of the case will accept a maximum 92mm fan if you have SFX power supply. The case is configured to have SFX power supply installed in the front, or ATX power supply in the back.

    With SFX power supply installed in the front, the front panel almost becomes useless as well, because if all the cables coming out of the power supply. You can technically install up to 140mm fan in there below the power supply and fold the wires away, but because of the design of the slotted holes they amplify the fan noise to unbearable levels. I tried installing ULN 140mm Noctua in there, and even at 600 rpm the noise was unbearable. I thought there was something wrong with the fan, so I moved it away from the panel and it was absolutely silent. This is very poor design, and the worst part of the case. That said, it
    only amplifies the fan noise if you're using the fan as intake, and if you're using it as exhaust its fine.

    You can also put two 140mm fans on the bottom, or even a radiator with two 140mm fans. If you put the fans on the bottom as intake, they will make unbearable noise since the bottom has the same slotted holes as the front.

    I actually ended up modifying the side window by drilling holes for 80mm fan and grille, and installed a Noctua 80mm ULN intake fan. It is blowing over the sound card onto the m.2 drive cooling it by 20 degrees and supplying some cold air for the video card as well.

    If you get this case and decide to go with ATX power supply, you will lose ability to air cool CPU and will have to use water cooling. You will also lose rear panel fan location, but gain entire front panel which can accept 2x140mm fans and a radiator. If I went with ATX power supply, I would use a 280 AIO to cool the CPU and mount it to exhaust through the front, and still modify the side glass windows to install an intake fan or two.

    qyiwzy5.jpg

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    SRR7RVn.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020 at 5:27 AM