NEW CASE! Is there any interest in an SFF case capable of holding 2x 280mm radiators?

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by Sh0ckwaveFlash, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. Sh0ckwaveFlash

    Sh0ckwaveFlash n00b

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    Just as the title says: is there any interest in a case roughly the volume of the Ncase M1, but capable of holding two 30mm thick 280mm radiators? I am in the (early) process of creating such a case for myself; but since I'll be doing the work of creating the case anyway, I wanted to gauge interest in order to see whether I should expand this personal project into something with a larger scope and benefit.


    My philosophy on SFF is that the thinner the PC can get, the better. Most people will have vertical room and reasonable depth room for the PC; width is the real constraint because the less impact on deskspace the PC has, the better your overall experience will be. As far as portability goes, having a smaller width will also help there, although overall volume is what matters the most here. Another thing I personally want to avoid is having any sort of fan or airflow arrangement out of the bottom of the case. While you can get reasonable results by adding taller feet and otherwise optimizing to minimize restrictions, that doesn't completely mitigate the issue, and in the end you're still dealing with the dustiest area the PC could be interacting with.

    My goals for this case are to be able to cool the Intel i9-9900K and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (top-end consumer grade CPU and GPU), overclocked, with just the same capability as in a full-sized enclosure. I'm more than sort of a perfectionist, and that extends to both the performance and aesthetic side of things. There's nothing more silly to me than having your performance be limited by your PC case.


    Some details on the case:

    Size:
    150mm wide, 280mm tall, and 315 long (13.23 Liters)


    Compatibility:
    -ITX motherboard
    -Swiftech Apogee Drive II CPU waterblock/pump combo
    -SFX PSU
    -3 slot GPUs, but the width of the GPU waterblock needs to fit within 130mm
    -Storage is currently just being planned as m.2 on the motherboard, but there could/should be ample room to add a spot for a 2.5" later on
    -2 Hardware Labs Nemesis 280GTS radiators, paired with 25mm thick fans



    Now, the length of the case can come down to about 300mm - if the radiator compatibility was downsized to 240mm and the GPU compatible length was limited further. This is something I am thinking about, but I would definitely like to put that decision out to you guys as this picks up more steam. The main reason I am considering this is because of Hardware Labs' own performance chart: the 280GTS shows as having 800W capacity, but the 240GTS shows as still having a whole 750W capacity. Moving from 315mm down to 300mm would bring the volume to 12.6L, which is just under the NCase M1's 12.7L. Otherwise as noted above we sit at about 13.23L. This is something to consider if it was decided that the overall volume of the case is too large. I feel that there are more benefits of utilizing the larger radiators/GPUs and giving up the extra 15mm of lengthwise space. For my own uses, I could honestly go either way. Chime in on this!


    As far as GPUs, I am using an EVGA Nvidia RTX 2080 XC Ultra, with the EK Vector RTX RE waterblock on its way. Without waterblocks, the GPU compatibility should look very similar to the NCase M1's. With waterblocks, though, the selection almost completely narrows down to reference board design cards (slimmer ones), since the waterblock width by itself shouldn't exceed 130mm. I'm almost exclusively designing this case to have both the CPU AND GPU water cooled. Honestly, if you weren't going to be watercooling both, there would definitely not be a need for two radiators. I am thinking of a decent option to include using just one radiator for the CPU, and an alternative mounting method for an air cooled GPU, for better thermals and more relaxed width constraints on the GPU. This method would involve requiring a riser cable, however it would also free up space at the bottom of the case that can be used to house additional storage, maybe. Less than ideal, but if it's a popular request, it can be done. Voice your opinion and intention!


    For visual appearance and outside design/finish, that is almost completely up in the air. My first goal/step is to finalize the fitment of the interior parts in a way that is efficient as well as aesthetic. The outside finish/materials decision can come later since in essence this is still a box; and you can make a box out of, well, almost anything. I do not have any solid idea on pricing, however I would not like to go over $200, as that becomes a heavy toll on the wallet. Ideally less. From what I can tell, that is a realistic limit. I also figure the simpler I can make the design of this, the cheaper it should be- without affecting the quality.

    Also, as far as sidepanel (glass panel) visuals, you won't be able to see anything from the motherboard. The only part that will be visible will the the side of the graphics card, so unless you will only have one radiator, don't plan on enjoying RGB RAM, for example. You might get a faint glow from that, but there will be a radiator in between you and it. Once I get all my ITX components in, I'll do a mock assemble and show what the internals are more or less going to look like. Everything should come in by the end of next week, probably sooner.




    Please let me know if this is something that you would be interested in using and backing, as well as anything you want to contribute to this conversation.

    I'll be editing this first post with more and more information and updates the as I go along, so that it'll remain a good place to check on updates and so you won't have to scroll through every single post to figure out what's going on.

    Also, I'm usually slammed with my job specifically Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays while the rest of the week is relatively light and free- just to let you know in case I'm quiet or not responding.


    Many thanks! Let me hear from all of you!
     
  2. cjcox

    cjcox [H]ard|Gawd

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    While I like the cuteness of SFF, they are rarely the requirement and obviously are not the "best" for .... well lots of things.

    Don't get me wrong, I own some SFF boxes. Can they do everything? No. Just the way it is.

    Just my opinion. I know for some they'll sacrifice cooling, storage, PCIe, memory and expansion to get SFF.... if you just have to have it....
     
  3. Sh0ckwaveFlash

    Sh0ckwaveFlash n00b

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    Of course, outside the metaphysical there will never be a true replacement for displacement. However there are more efficient uses of the space that we do have. My case design would utilize this to create a small form factor case in which you really would not have to sacrifice cooling capability, providing you with the ability to enjoy watercooling complete with two regular thickness 280mm radiators. Small form factor case users may always have to decide what is most important to them, however I believe most are well aware of the limitations. I'm here to offer a build and design that will not sacrifice thermal performance. This has many secondary benefits: your PC can be quieter, it can be faster, and you won't be thermally constrained when selecting high-end components to stuff into a conveniently sized enclosure.

    I've decided to opt for SFF myself because there is little reason to have a hulking box of wasted space enjoying a sizable portion of my desk area. At the same time, I'm not happy with the fact that most current SFF designs end up compromising in terms of the performance I would be getting with a larger build. I'm not happy with this because I know that I can do better. Therefore, I am doing better. While I do this for myself, I remembered that there are others who may be grateful for such a solution. Since I'll be doing the majority of the work anyhow, I decided to throw a line out and see how big the interest is, and if it is enough to warrant turning this into a public project.
     
  4. cjcox

    cjcox [H]ard|Gawd

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    But, at the same time a desktop that is 2-3 times more powerful, and is dead silent without the more temporal nature of water cooling, might change most people's minds about giving up a few inches of space. And when somebody says, "can you add?", I can say "yes", instead of "no". Just an observation. SFF systems are very popular (I have 3 of them on my desk right now).

    Let's say that if you just have to have to have a SFF, your project does sound interesting. And again, many "have to have"...
     
  5. Sh0ckwaveFlash

    Sh0ckwaveFlash n00b

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    Ah, yes! I wholeheartedly agree with you. Most things that SFF sized PC builds can do, full size can do better. That's just physics; I was just a little confused on seeing that initial angle on the Small Form Factor Systems Forum. I definitely do appreciate your input, though- it's always useful to keep expectations in check and understand what the limitations can be. Then we get to figure out how to overcome them :p