Project RAW v2.0 [Scratch ITX/mATX build]


Sep 10, 2012
So in the past year I have been doing some designing and creating some small cases in wood, acrylic, and aluminium.
Some have failed, others worked great. However those that worked just wasn't good enough for me.

But I think this one comes close :D
It follows my last project: Project RAW which worked just fine, but when a SFX PSU had been installed the cables would have taken most of the view, and the GFXs waterblock is difficult to see.
Also I didn't need ATX support neither SLI or CF. So when I got a good offer on the motherboard and case, I sold them an began designing a case better suited for me.

This case is supposed to be small and really show off the hardware with their lovely waterblocks (hopefully with Meyhams Aurora in them).

Let us begin:

The case is made of 3.0mm aluminium with 4.0mm plexiglass fronts. All of which is laser cut just as all my latest cases:

(The top is missing in the picture).

Now to cut out all the smalls pieces and get it assembled... An hour or four later:

The pieces is connected by a "T slots" which I also used in previous cases with M3 bolts and nuts (see above).

The bottom (in my situation):

Fan grill design was inspired from HEXGEAR :D

With plexi installed using 11 Parvum modding cubes:

As some may have noticed, a removable handle is placed on the back which is made from 5 alu pieces that is held on to the motherboard aluminium plate (load is on all aluminium plates):


And from the other back:

So a little more talk/info about the case and the design.
It was meant to hold a mATX with a DDC pump + reservoir, a SFX-L and a 240mm radiator behind it.
It is designed primary for use of only one GFX (two is possible with small fingers, single slot cards and cost of higher temperature).
And water cooling is the way to go ;)

It has room for both a 120mm and a 240mm radiator (max 64mm thick with fans) and a SFX-L PSU (tight fit with the 120mm radiator installed).
Along that up to a 28 cm GFX (though not higher than the standard reference PCB) and up to three 2.5" SSD/HDD. (With no 120mm radiator some 3.5" can be installed as well).
With ITX motherboard a D5 pump can be installed (along with 120mm and 240mm radiator).

It has a built in holder for a DDC pump which can be installed in two places so the case can be flipped and used as inverted or normal :D
(that is if the DDC pump is behind the motherboard which is the spot for the 120mm radiator).

There is room for two intake fans (as seen in the bottom picture above (only one with 120mm radiator installed)) as well as USB 3.0 and start button on the top (both when inverted or normal).

The dimensions is (HxBxD) 31.6 x 28.7 x 14.8 cm which includes the material thickness of all sides. This adds up to only 13.4 liters :)

I was so lucky to find an ITX board for this build so my hardware will be:
Asus P8Z77-I deluxe
I7 2600k
8gb Vengeance LP white
MSI GTX 970 (980 reference PCB)
Silverstones new SFX-L (platinum version)
2x Intel 520 SSD + 1x 2.5" HDD

Swiftech MCP35X
EKWB X-res DDC 100ml
HW labs GT 120mm og 240mm
EKWB Plexi blocks for CPU and GFX (polished CSQ acrylic)
Monsoon fittings
Gentle Typhoon 1850 rpm
Aquaero 5 LT with heatsink

MDPC sleeving if possible (not sure if there is room, but will try).

The colors will be Green, White, Black (mostly from PCB) and sliver/nikkel.

Before I sold my mATX motherboard I tested it out in the case along with the 970 and the radiators:



Not much room for a DDC pump (is possible with my measurements at the front), so I would go with a CPU+pump combo if I had to use mATX or use the DDC + reservoir at the back where the 120mm radiator is located.

I should be able to get the ITX system up and running (with an external AX850 PSU) this weekend. Just to see that all works :woot:
I will first sleeve and paint the stuff (radiator, fans, pump, heatsinks and so on) when the weather becomes hotter here in DK and the PSU available in shops :D

If any questions please ask. If any comments please comment (y)
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So, the assembly took a little longer than expected. The CPU power position on this P8Z77-I made it a little complicated (close to the pump) and the sleeving on the 24 pin from corsair had to be removed in order to spread the cables out so they could fit in the 5mm clearance between the motherboard and the fan on the radiator.

I haven't got that many pictures from the different installation steps, This assembly is to see if everything fits and works (installations pictures will be shown when radiators etc. have been painted):

I my situation there is room for 3 2.5" drives; one behind the GFX and two in front of the motherboard at the back (you can see the four holes for them).

Like I said, not many in between pictures so here she is with all the hardware (not correct PSU yet) and loop is assembled:

The GTX 970 and the EKWB plexi block which has been polished from previous build. The CPU block will be polished as well in the future:


The card is connected using one of these and a low end china 16cm long PCI-e riser:

The riser could have been a few cm shorter so it isn't 3mm from the fan at the back. But it works (somewhat).

Two front shots:


The small tube length between the two radiators and the one between GFX and CPU was a hard fit, but the end result looks nice :D
You can also just see the SSD installed, and the holder for the GFX which I am really satisfied with.

The pump is installed on a piece of 3mm acylic and have been raised by some 4mm acylic disc (and vibration damper) so that an Aquaero 5 LT with heat sink could be installed below (y)


Then we have a back shot:

When a SFX-L PSU is installed the aluminium plate is replaced with a fan filter like the Silverstone on the right (intake radiator).

The other back:

Here the SSD holes are clear. Also one can see the feet which is made of two 4mm acylic discs glued together with a cloth filter thing to avoid scratches on the wooden floor ;)

With the plexi installed:

In a different light:

And a shot of one of the Monsoon fittings :D

Some thoughts
The case is really nice, and so far with no flaws (y)
I am really looking forward to painting the rest and getting Aurora in the loop (if it will work). The case really highlights the hardware and the water cooling parts.

The pump is set at ~1900 rpm were it is silent. The HW labs GS radiators is really dense but the GT AP-15 is doing some fine work with cooling the loop at only 8-900 RPM.
In a heaven bench and Intel Burn in test at the 900 RPM the water temp became stable around 42 degrees. In gaming sessions the temperature is a bit lower around 37 degrees :D

If I had more power in the system, I believe the radiators would handle that just fine with higher RPM where these HWlabs GS really shine.

The motherboards VRM daughter board is a little in the way for the flow of the bottom intake fan. However, it is cooled just fine at around 45-50 degrees during bench with intake fan at 1000 RPM.

But there is also the small hiccups. One of the GT AP-15 fans have a slight high pitched noise when running. They are some older fans bought used, so the motor is properly failing.
It's not so bad, but some used GT AP-15 fans has been bought which runs better.

The larger hiccup is properly the riser. A few times (at random) in windows when shifting between programs the Nvidia driver will fail and then restart (few seconds black screen).
It only happens when shifting programs, so there is no problem when gaming. It may be solve with a fresh windows install as this have been used in many different setups by now :rolleyes:
And if the riser is at fault, one could buy an expensive riser :D

Cable management is not as difficult as thought. However sleeving could be out of the picture :mad:
I am thinking that I may be able to move the pump further towards the front which would increase the cable space a little.

So far the case is living up to my hopes :D

Comments and criticism is welcome.
Very nice build. While I have lurked in here for a while this one was what made me register in here as well :D

I see you went for T slots with M3 - did you just pick a bolt size because you used 3mm aluminium or did you also do any experimentation or even calculations to determine if this is the right size? Something like M4 or even M5 would allow you to use a bit larger tabs. did you experiment with only these parvum modding cubes or just added the T slots just in case?

The stats of your case are sure very impressive. Do you know what is the weight of it without components? About 3 kg? I'm thinking of making at last a scratch mATX build as well using lasercut aluminium although mine is atm in my head with a bit more conventional layout without using risers and also a bit larger as I decided I want to use the regular ATX PSU and would like to have a 3.5'' HDD as well so I ended up at approx 15.2 L. I do have a build log (or well beginnings of it at least) in where I'm a more regular poster (Carniflex is my tag there) but it's still far away from actual physical stuff on my table. Just have ordered some stuff from aliexpress and still putting polish to cad files. I honestly did not think it's possible to get a mATX down to 13L while including a discrete GFX card AND water cooling setup internally. Did you model everything beforehand keeping in mind the specific components you were planning to use or did you go through several iterations of this case?
I am very impressed with the detail and design. I re-looked at your photos several times and could not find fault with this system. While I like compact systems, this is at the limit. Again great work.