SENTRY: Console-sized gaming PC case project

EdZ

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There are clear powder-coats available, but I think they have different heat-treating requirements to regular powder coats (to prevent the clear-coat discolouring). If the powder-coating shop you are using offers clear coating, that might be another option to shipping uncoated cases.
 

SaperPL

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The powder coat itself is not an only problem - without the paint you'd see all the welding points which are on the front and bottom of the case such as this:

41620308TR1jpg_00000006425.jpg


Metal works company assured us that those are flat from the outside but still without paint you would see such burned rings.
 

Criko

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I just read through the entire thread and signed up to say how excited I am to see the design and progress you have made with this project. I have been wanting a case with this form factor for a long time and your design looks better than I thought feasible. I hope you can finish up with as little hiccups as possible because I will definitely be a customer as soon as these are available.
 

SaperPL

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HYPE TRAIINN!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DjOL2we8ko :)

By the way I'll crosspost something from the LRPC thread since it's good info about the angle differences of both projects.

http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1041771461&postcount=1136

On the subject of size, after having torn down a Steam Machine prototype case and rebuilt it, it became apparent how much of a pain it is to have so little space to work with. If you don't install everything in exactly the right order, and run the cables exactly the right way, you practically have to unscrew everything and start over. Really, those systems were designed to be put together in a factory and not opened by the user after that, save for maybe a drive upgrade. They are that bad. That won't fly with a case that's intended for people build their own systems in, and I think having some extra room for cables etc. is something you can't really appreciate until you actually have to build it, but when you do you'll be glad it's there.

You are looking at it from a business perspective, market opportunity, metrics and etc.

I can't speak for Necere, but personally, I consider it a hobby. So if there are enough people who want this case, we will build it, if not, we won't.



If we really cared about market opportunity that much, the LRPC project would have been scrapped a long time ago - I had inside information on which companies were going to release LRPC cases long before it was public. So the decision was never about market opportunities.

The M1 happened because I just wanted a better looking SG05. The LRPC *may happen because I got annoyed with my Valve Steam Box.

Long story short, I had the Valve Steam Machine and it had some quirks. Eventually I got fed up with it and sent it to Necere.

If I recall correctly, Necere was working on something else at that time. Effectively, I twisted Necere's arm to do this design (because I wanted one) and here we are today.



Don't get wrong, I hope to become a real business one day, but we are just so far away. Right now, it's just something I do for fun.

This is from the early days of the M1 and still true :)
Now I get it - I've got totally different approach since I want the slick steam machine case to happen and mainstream it so I need this to be good for the market and from the business perspective. We're of course also starting at low production count but there shouldn't be huge problems to scale up with growing demand.

For me the start of the project was when a designer sitting across the room started talking about what he should buy next PC or so-called at the time "Next Gen" for his living room. At that time a year ago I still thought steam machine's going to happen somehow but then while chatting and looking through all those early "steam machine" tagged coming pc's we realised they were either standard itx cases, pc's with custom components or stuff that only tried to look slim with RVZ01. We had stuff to compare to the size on site since I've had both console devkit's for last generation sitting on my desk and the guys in other team had those early prototype devkits for next gens that were as big as the RVZ01. And I realised that the size is a problem for the console guys and I can't convert them to PC's that are going to get old quicker than a console because of custom components and they don't want something as big as RVZ01 in front of the tv.

So my approach from the start was to make the case as small as possible, maybe harder to build than tool-less design ones but use the space as efficient as possible. And we started off with Steam Machine prototype config because that's what people were like "shut up and take my money" about.

Even if was, as you said, hard to replace the components like tearing out whole pc I'd say it's worth it since it's supposed to be a console that's sitting in front of tv and you're most likely not going to open it up all the time replacing stuff. We, as computer tinkers on [H], are straightly biased about this since we're the ones doing the stuff all around the pc's and we'll be building and rebuilding those rigs over and over ourselves but the target end user for the mainstream case will only reconfigure when he's lacking performance or something broke.

While seeing your design (on page 6) I thought you were also going after something as small as possible but I was always concerned about those drives location out there. But I get your hobbyist approach now.

For the record - you don't have to tear out everything to replace stuff in our case :)
 
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I'll probably start modding it and adding a 10.1" IPS or if it cant fit a 7" screen right above the GPU since it seems to have enough space to add one. Since im also using the Asus mini that gives me enough space to put the controller board right inside the case and I can use one of the extra PSU cables to power it for the 12v source. Now I know this photo isnt the best, but I haven't photoshopped in years lol and I just wanted to see proof of concept. http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-1-IPS-HD-1280x800-LCD-Screen-Display-Monitor-Driver-Board-for-Raspberry-Pi-/391097229260?hash=item5b0f361fcc https://www.dropbox.com/s/q8e11shaajp2qjf/iwss2o5%20copy.jpg?dl=0
 

SaperPL

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There's 280x110x11mm above gpu if you want to know. I want to know WHY? Why would you want to do something like this?

Even if you fit a screen there that's very risky since it'll be a bit hot above the gpu. That's why we didn't put the hard drives directly above the gpu.

If you're going for it anyway then if you're not going to use main hard drive slots in the middle of the case you could use dremel and cut out side of the hard drive support to make that space 280x180x11mm with short SFX or 280x150x11mm with SFX-L.

The mock-up looks cool but you're too close to the edges of the cover and it wouldn't be hard enough with such a huge hole with not so much material on each side.

By the way - tomorrow we're going to take the painted prototype. Keep your fingers crossed :)
 

ZombiPL

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iFreilicht

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wow :D I like people with imagination :)

As Saper said, tomorrow we're going to get our 4th prototype. This time the full one (including galvanized steel, welding, painting, etc.). This is our 3rd laser-cutting company and if they won't do it right, than we'll have to search someone else, and everything will start over again (hopefully not).

I really hope it works out. You've put so much work into this, you really deserve this to finally come to the market.
Have you thought about contacting online-shops about whether they'd want to sell your case or are you sticking with crowdfunding for the first run?
 

ZombiPL

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We've got it :D

GPx6x1b.jpg


We've made many photos including interior, and we'll post them later.
 
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Aibohphobia

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Looks so much better painted :D

Will the production version have USB 3.0 ports on the front?
 

ZombiPL

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Looks so much better painted :D

Will the production version have USB 3.0 ports on the front?

Of course it will. We just didn't have usb 3.0 ports in our office so we used 2.0 version. It's still a prototype and probably we'll need one more to eliminate some production errors. This case is in 95% what we wanted to achieve and now we'll have to fight those last 5%. My bro will make a bigger "photo update" in a few days.
 

esplin2966

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I really like the white look with the clean front :) The case looks much better in pictures than in renders. Looking forward to the detailed images.
 

darksable

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Oh my god, that's even better than I imagined. I absolutely love the look of the screws with the industrial design; I might even take it a step further and hex bolts to further up the industrial look.

The idea of the screen inside it is a wonderful one that I've played with for years with different cases, I'm just amazed there's a possibility that it would fit!

Are there any good quality, tiny 1080p screens, does anyone know? I'm almost tempted to buy a broken razer blade on ebay and steal the 14", 3200x1800 screen from it... boy would that be something else for lan parties.

Zombie or Saper, out of massive curiosity, what's the final 5%?
Also, are there any plans to make a stand in anything but black? It's not a big deal, I'm just curious.
 

MJVR

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The renders looked fugly when I first looked at them a couple weeks ago. The photo of the prototype though. It's a beautiful case. Good job on the design! Just one question. With the new z170 motherboards supporting "Ultra" m.2 32Gbps, would a drive like a sm951 fit(which runs pretty hot according to reviews) and be properly cooled in this case? Most itx motherboards put them on the bottom of the motherboard and it seems there isn't really any airflow back there on this case. If it doesn't cool it properly, that alright, it's a compromise I'm willing to make.
 

superblockio

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Holy crap that looks awesome! If I got one, I wonder if it would be best to have it standing up or laying flat. I'd almost be afraid of standing it up, because I wouldn't want to accidentally knock it off my desk while I'm waving my arms around in VR, or tipping it by tugging a cord too hard.

How are its thermals standing up vs laying flat? Am I right in assuming that open air GPUs would work best standing up, while rear exhaust would be preferable if it's flat?
 

SaperPL

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Oh my god, that's even better than I imagined. I absolutely love the look of the screws with the industrial design; I might even take it a step further and hex bolts to further up the industrial look.

At this point we just used normal screws but the hex screws like in renders have a bit smaller heads which would look nice but we're not sure if using non standard screws is a good idea here. We could provide hex screwdriver with the case but if you lost it you're simply out of alternate options of using them unless you get same small sized hex wrench/screwdriver. It's just not so elegant solution.

The idea of the screen inside it is a wonderful one that I've played with for years with different cases, I'm just amazed there's a possibility that it would fit!

Are there any good quality, tiny 1080p screens, does anyone know? I'm almost tempted to buy a broken razer blade on ebay and steal the 14", 3200x1800 screen from it... boy would that be something else for lan parties.

Once again - I wouldn't advise installing any screen inside it. It's really cramped already inside and you're adding another heat source to the equation.

Zombie or Saper, out of massive curiosity, what's the final 5%?

It's not really visible on the photos but there's a few minor details that weren't welded properly or don't fit perfectly so we'll need to slightly tweak those details. Some of them are mistakes made by metal company while welding and we just need to make sure they won't make them again. We know what needs to be fixed and we're feeling that after we make those changes there shouldn't be any problems with metal parts manufacturing.

Also we're not ready with the cable manufacturing. We've got the idea of how we could make it ourselves but it's expensive, time consuming and not especially elegant solution (yet). I luckily found a company in Poland that's making the cables and I've talked with them over the phone on Friday while we were going to get the prototype and it sounded like they could manage making something fitting our needs. I've got to talk to them this week and make sure they get what are the requirements for the cable.

Also, are there any plans to make a stand in anything but black? It's not a big deal, I'm just curious.

We're not planning other paint colors for the stand or anything else. Adding more and more color settings would end up in splitting the production into many smaller portions and that's not what we want handling right now.

The renders looked fugly when I first looked at them a couple weeks ago. The photo of the prototype though. It's a beautiful case. Good job on the design!
I don't get it - what's fugly about the renders? Especially the ones from couple weeks ago?

Just one question. With the new z170 motherboards supporting "Ultra" m.2 32Gbps, would a drive like a sm951 fit(which runs pretty hot according to reviews) and be properly cooled in this case? Most itx motherboards put them on the bottom of the motherboard and it seems there isn't really any airflow back there on this case. If it doesn't cool it properly, that alright, it's a compromise I'm willing to make.

I'm not really sure if there's any case that's cooling the back of the board at this point. It's something really new on the market so if you really want this type of drive for heavy workload then you should look for the board with connector on the upside.

Other than that you cold go for the sata express drive but the motherboard should not have the angled connector since it would be obstructed by power supply. Also I'm not yet sure if this type of drive would fit since it's a lot thicker than standard ssd so we should investigate if that's possible.

Holy crap that looks awesome! If I got one, I wonder if it would be best to have it standing up or laying flat. I'd almost be afraid of standing it up, because I wouldn't want to accidentally knock it off my desk while I'm waving my arms around in VR, or tipping it by tugging a cord too hard.
That really depends on how hard would you have to hit the case to tip it over/knock it off your desk. It stands firmly but it's the same as with console standing vertically - you can knock it off if you really want.

How are its thermals standing up vs laying flat? Am I right in assuming that open air GPUs would work best standing up, while rear exhaust would be preferable if it's flat?

At this point I'm not really sure if we've got proper data on thermals since it's the middle of heat season and we're having like 30+ degrees Celsius ambient temperatures which quite sucks especially for determining the case thermals.

Vertically it's just few (3 to 8) degrees cooler than in horizontal position but currently we don't have multiple cards for testing so you might be right about the blower type being better for the horizontal position.
 

Silentbob343

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At this point we just used normal screws but the hex screws like in renders have a bit smaller heads which would look nice but we're not sure if using non standard screws is a good idea here. We could provide hex screwdriver with the case but if you lost it you're simply out of alternate options of using them unless you get same small sized hex wrench/screwdriver. It's just not so elegant solution.

When Lian Li used screws on their cases; Q-07, Q-11, and V352, I ended up replacing them all with hex head screws. The biggest reason for doing so? I found the tiny philips screws they used to attach the panels would strip very easily after a few cycles. I replaced them with quality hex screws used in the RC market. I believe Lian Li caught on to these screws being a bad idea, shortly thereafter they went to the post retention mechanism for their side panels.

If screws are needed either use high quality philips screws that are sufficiently sized or go with the hex if they need to be small.

Look forward to see thermal testing results.
 

SaperPL

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OMG! Yup can I be the first to buy this please!?!?

I don't think there's going to be limits in the first commercial batch unless amount's gonna be like in thousands :)

When Lian Li used screws on their cases; Q-07, Q-11, and V352, I ended up replacing them all with hex head screws. The biggest reason for doing so? I found the tiny philips screws they used to attach the panels would strip very easily after a few cycles. I replaced them with quality hex screws used in the RC market. I believe Lian Li caught on to these screws being a bad idea, shortly thereafter they went to the post retention mechanism for their side panels.

If screws are needed either use high quality philips screws that are sufficiently sized or go with the hex if they need to be small.
Good to know - we'll ask about it when polling for the final configs and stuff.


Look forward to see thermal testing results.

There's still some stuff to test out and we're still in 30+ ambient so this kind of sets back our testing till late night hours. Freaky weather. We want to test it out in 24 degree ambient so you'll have comparison to other case tests.

We've got it :D

GPx6x1b.jpg


We've made many photos including interior, and we'll post them later.

As Zombi said we'll be posting more photos soon-ish, just there's other stuff we've got to do today.
 

iFreilicht

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It looks pretty darn great, I'll give you that. I personally really like the contrast of the stand to the case as well, it really fits with the black screws. About hex screws: They are indeed the better option in terms of longevity, but I think the screws are small enough as they are. Maybe they'll look even better smaller though. Right now I'd say hex screws with a similar sized head would be the best option. A tool for that should be optional, quite a few people have Allen Keys that are probably of better quality than what you could reasonably bundle with the case and will just throw yours away. Maybe it's easier to just bundle one with every case to make sure there are no mistakes, though.
 

superblockio

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That really depends on how hard would you have to hit the case to tip it over/knock it off your desk. It stands firmly but it's the same as with console standing vertically - you can knock it off if you really want.



At this point I'm not really sure if we've got proper data on thermals since it's the middle of heat season and we're having like 30+ degrees Celsius ambient temperatures which quite sucks especially for determining the case thermals.

Vertically it's just few (3 to 8) degrees cooler than in horizontal position but currently we don't have multiple cards for testing so you might be right about the blower type being better for the horizontal position.
I'm probably just being paranoid about it tipping over. I'm sure it'll be fine as long as it's not too top-heavy, anyway it's probably about the same as having an Xbox 360.

I'd definitely be interested in thermal results once things cool down though. Especially blower vs open air in vertical vs horizontal.
 

SaperPL

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It looks pretty darn great, I'll give you that. I personally really like the contrast of the stand to the case as well, it really fits with the black screws. About hex screws: They are indeed the better option in terms of longevity, but I think the screws are small enough as they are. Maybe they'll look even better smaller though. Right now I'd say hex screws with a similar sized head would be the best option. A tool for that should be optional, quite a few people have Allen Keys that are probably of better quality than what you could reasonably bundle with the case and will just throw yours away. Maybe it's easier to just bundle one with every case to make sure there are no mistakes, though.

The thing about screw size is that they have really similar head diameter so there's no problem with that but the head height - how much it stands out is different. Allen/Hex heads are 1.65mm tall while phillips heads are 2.4mm tall. It's about how much those stick out of the case sides. And there's a countersunk screw head type that's almost not standing out of the surface but it doesn't feel right because it's flat.

The problem with allen screwdriver is that we don't want to add the standard simple Allen Key since with this size of screw its not something very ergonomic especially when you have 14 screws in case. The screwdriver type with handle is better but this small size of allen hex is mostly sold as an expensive set or its the "special" electronics type which costs almost as much as mentioned set.

I'm probably just being paranoid about it tipping over. I'm sure it'll be fine as long as it's not too top-heavy, anyway it's probably about the same as having an Xbox 360.

It's more line XBO than 360 which was a bit thicker while two other dimensions were a bit smaller.

I'd definitely be interested in thermal results once things cool down though. Especially blower vs open air in vertical vs horizontal.

We've got a big heat wave at the moment and TV news are all about telling us to save energy since power plants are overheating and that's supposed to keep up for more than a week from now...

I'll try to get some blower type card for testing
 

Silentbob343

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The thing about screw size is that they have really similar head diameter so there's no problem with that but the head height - how much it stands out is different. Allen/Hex heads are 1.65mm tall while phillips heads are 2.4mm tall. It's about how much those stick out of the case sides. And there's a countersunk screw head type that's almost not standing out of the surface but it doesn't feel right because it's flat.

The problem with allen screwdriver is that we don't want to add the standard simple Allen Key since with this size of screw its not something very ergonomic especially when you have 14 screws in case. The screwdriver type with handle is better but this small size of allen hex is mostly sold as an expensive set or its the "special" electronics type which costs almost as much as mentioned.

I vote countersunk, but I like a smooth service with minimal protrusions.

And for the allen key, perhaps a hex bit would be an option. It's what is used with my lian li cases. Although I agree with iFreilicht, perhaps a quality allen key should be an option for those that don't have a solution at home and they can eat that cost. I have enough allen keys and bits to last a lifetime.
 
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SaperPL

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The countersunk screws would be awesome if not for the additional machining cost on the holes to make them flush in with the surface. We're doing the screw holes in the cover with laser and we'd have to chamfer those holes like here:

1.en.jpg


Without that we'd have to make the holes barely smaller than the screw head diameter so it wouldn't stick out as it is currently but that's not a good idea cause it would most likely cause more stress on the powder coating at one point and it would strip off easily.

We could probably ask the manufacturer about it but I wouldn't have high hopes for this not being expensive since it'd need to be positioned for each hole separately.

The other problem is that we can't have perfect precision of bending and welding so the screw holes will most likely be oval rather than round and the screw heads will cover them. With countersunk heads it'll be harder if not impossible to achieve something solving all those problems.
 

EdZ

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I'd second using Hex screws (or even better, Torx). High quality screwdrivers are generally sold on their own rather than in packs, so as long as you publish "Needs 4mm Hex" or "Needs Torx T4" then it's easy to pick up the correct tool without buying an expensive toolset. Even a really nice Wera screwdriver is only about £6 purchased individually.
 

SaperPL

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I would also love to see hex screws, if not countersunk, then head cap or button would also do great.

We're talking about button cap like this:

10-22122011-066660L.gif


Subd would buy!

Glad to hear that :)

I'd second using Hex screws (or even better, Torx). High quality screwdrivers are generally sold on their own rather than in packs, so as long as you publish "Needs 4mm Hex" or "Needs Torx T4" then it's easy to pick up the correct tool without buying an expensive toolset. Even a really nice Wera screwdriver is only about £6 purchased individually.

Worst thing about the screws in our project is that they need to be black. This additional parameter makes it less common. We need M3x6 screws so it's 2mm allen key. Not sure if I can find such black torx screws easily with proper price.

Anyway the choice is between Allen(hex) and Phillips and we'll see how it looks on the polls.
 

vipz

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My bad, I was thinking of the kind of screws you see in laptops for mounting drives that are flat both sides. But I guess those only come in Phillips head.
 

SaperPL

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Oh, I get it now. But that's really not an ideal solution since flat caps like that laying out on the surface look quite weird in comparison to standard button cap so we've decided to choose something that'll look okay as an accent in case design.
 

Silentbob343

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We're talking about button cap like this:

10-22122011-066660L.gif




Glad to hear that :)



Worst thing about the screws in our project is that they need to be black. This additional parameter makes it less common. We need M3x6 screws so it's 2mm allen key. Not sure if I can find such black torx screws easily with proper price.

Anyway the choice is between Allen(hex) and Phillips and we'll see how it looks on the polls.

Oxide hex is easy McMaster Carr sells them $6.68 for 100.

http://www.mcmaster.com/#91239a111/=ygbd45


I like the look of flanged button, cost is a good bit more.
 

darksable

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Go with what you like, but I'm probably going to get a black case and put standard silver hex screws on it - I just like the look far too much. :)

(Although I have to admit that the white case came out far more sexy than I was imagining it would.)

Just an idea for those of us dabbling in the black arts of screen mounting, what might be a good solution is having it be mounted to the side of the case using something semi-removable... essentially turning your entire case into a monitor stand.
 

SaperPL

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Oxide hex is easy McMaster Carr sells them $6.68 for 100.

http://www.mcmaster.com/#91239a111/=ygbd45


I like the look of flanged button, cost is a good bit more.

Yeah, I know - that's why I said it's easy with those - I meant hex. The Phillips head is fairly hard one to get black and 6mm long since standard size is something like 5 or 8 mm. That wont do since we want to use the same screw everywhere and 6mm is optimal for that.

Go with what you like, but I'm probably going to get a black case and put standard silver hex screws on it - I just like the look far too much. :)

(Although I have to admit that the white case came out far more sexy than I was imagining it would.)

There's more of that sexy look :)

Just an idea for those of us dabbling in the black arts of screen mounting, what might be a good solution is having it be mounted to the side of the case using something semi-removable... essentially turning your entire case into a monitor stand.

I haven't really touched the idea of integrated monitor stand and just attaching the screen to the case would most likely make it tip over. It's got to be a bigger stand and something that'll leave much clearance to the air inlets too.

Rather than that, I'm rather sure that case should be easily wall-mounted next to TV.
 

elshekar

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The front USB 3.0 cable will have USB 2.0 adapter too? Like this one? http://reho.st/www.coolaler.com.tw/image/sharkoon/ca-i/16.jpg for the MB's who lacks the USB 3.0 internal connector.

Great photo. I think i'm still in love too with the black version :p. "Turret" will be a nice name for this case ;).

Please when you prepare the thermal test, consider compare the "with" and "without case". Thanks ;)
 
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