SENTRY: Console-sized gaming PC case project

hat1324

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Just something I was looking into... but is there anyway to solder the HD-Audio connector directly to a TRRS socket? It would make for a very simple mod to this case once it is released

EDIT: no that probably would not work, the header's much more complex than a 3.5mm jack
 

EdZ

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Just something I was looking into... but is there anyway to solder the HD-Audio connector directly to a TRRS socket? It would make for a very simple mod to this case once it is released

EDIT: no that probably would not work, the header's much more complex than a 3.5mm jack
No, it pretty much is just a 3.5mm port. It just needs to be a port with a 'sense' switch if you want that functionality to work. If you don't, then you can either hard-wire sense to be always on (will disable rear audio and enable front audio unless set manually in the OS), or off (will unable rear audio and disable front audio unless set manually in the OS).
cMXR6SD.jpg
 

hat1324

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Hmm. It's a thought. But it's hard enough finding a nut-locked TRRS socket, let alone one with one or two sensors built into it. Maybe I could pull it off with two TRS connectors though...? I'm still not sure where to find ones with sensors
 

SaperPL

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I think if you want something already soldered then front panel like this should work:
http://www.ebay.pl/itm/Chieftec-DB10263B-Front-USB-Audio-Jack-Port-i-o-Panel-Board-/361122506457?hash=item54149426d9
rp1264.jpg


We've got 20mm distance between the RSA holes so these should fit okay with USB blocked between the holes. You could just glue its PCB bottom to the mentioned earlier angled surface above the back wall.

It's a bit much for the piece without a cable but you should be able to find something similar since its quite common design.
 

hat1324

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Seems a little hacky tho :p. Ah shit, you know? I have a Xonar U3 lying around somewhere, why not just use that

This really is just OCD nitpicking at having connectors with no connections
 

FiDDy

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is there some kind of magnetic net for filtering, than you could just add 4 of those ?
 

SaperPL

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is there some kind of magnetic net for filtering, than you could just add 4 of those ?

I don't think there is such thing. And if there is it would also be thick.

DemciFlex filters are 2.5mm thick and their magnet adds another 0.5mm of thickness. That difference is kind of okay but adding those 3mm to the case is not okay for us especially those filters would add like $30 or $40 to the case cost.

Other pc oriented magnetic or adhesive filters might cost a lot less but the minimum order quantities would be too much for us.

Rather than that we can go for industrial grade high quality metal mesh filters and figure out whether we can make them detachable or not.
 

Andorski

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Anyway this switch is nice and if you want to use such we can mark your build and not glue the button when screwing it in so you'll be able to replace it yourself. We could also think of some rubber pad under the nut instead of glue so everyone could replace the power button if he wants.

It would be nice to have the rubber pad instead of having to glue the power button. Would that increase cost by any significant amount?
 

SaperPL

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That shouldn't increase the cost significantly, such rubber pad should cost a cent or few but we just have to find a proper one. The buttons are shipped with something like that but I'm not convinced that those are what we really need to keep that in place properly. That's a minor detail that shouldn't affect the final price anyway.
 

iFreilicht

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I looked into using TRRS for my own case and that stuff is pretty darn complicated. You need a dedicated IC that detects whether the audio plug plugged in has a microphone on it or not, you need a TRRS jack with an isolated switch, which is something that I wasn't able to find after a good week of research on digikey and element14. You also need a ferrite beads in the circuit, an additional Microcontroller to convert the signal from the mic-sense IC to signals the mainboard understands and of course all that stuff has to be placed on a custom PCB.

It's so god damn much work, you might as well just use regular jacks or hire an expert to make it happen for you.

Great work on the new renders and the prototype, but the pics look quite cheap with the silver PSU, the beige USB cable and the white power cable inside. Will you change the latter two colours in the final product or do you plan on leaving them like that because they won't be seen from the outside anyway?

I like the HDD placement as well, but it seems like there could be compatibility issues with mainboards that have their CPU sockets placed right next to the PCIe slots.

The brand name "Dr Zaber" doesn't really resonate with me either, but that's just my personal opinion, I don't think it will affect the sales of this case in any way.
 

SaperPL

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Great work on the new renders and the prototype, but the pics look quite cheap with the silver PSU, the beige USB cable and the white power cable inside. Will you change the latter two colours in the final product or do you plan on leaving them like that because they won't be seen from the outside anyway?

Power cable, pci-e riser and usb cable are only for prototype. We've got manufacturers for all of them and those for the photo were just something grabbed for prototype fitting. The power cable will be black and most likely will have low profile angled C13 connector. The USB cable will be either black or blue. We'll also buy some proper power supply for the prototype when we'll ready with all other stuff.

I like the HDD placement as well, but it seems like there could be compatibility issues with mainboards that have their CPU sockets placed right next to the PCIe slots.

We've talked about this from the start - essentially it's a case you pick your parts to fit in not the way around. We're not focused on fitting everything, but letting you pick your parts off the shelf at your local store. So with cpu socket next to pci-e slot you'll have to either use low profile cpu cooler or you'll block that slot.

That was happening mostly with MSI boards on last generation but as you can see the upcoming Z170 boards are all good on this matter.

Sadly the second slot being blocked by SFX-L remains but if you're building a pc with SFX-L and some high end gpu you should be able to afford a M.2 ssd for a system.

The brand name "Dr Zaber" doesn't really resonate with me either, but that's just my personal opinion, I don't think it will affect the sales of this case in any way.

I don't think it should matter a lot. You have different company names all over the world and people get used to them as the companies get known for their products.

We don't want a new company or brand name since we're quite well known in central Europe for handling hard mechanical engineering problems for and it's a lot better than making a new brand with no history.

Anyway it doesn't matter since we're not sticking a logo you wouldn't like on the front. Instead we're going to attach a proper nameplate with company name at the back of the case.
 

FiDDy

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company name = Brand name ? so dr. Zaber on the plate or something else ?
 

SaperPL

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Yeah, if you noticed there's a little plate attached with rivets to the back of gpu support bracket visible on the renders from behind. It'll be small font visible from up close but will be enough to mark who manufactured it.

It shouldn't be a problem for anyone since it's something not visible from front and sides and yet if someone wants to know where its from then he can find out :]

And I don't think you should have problem with that since the product itself (not it's name) is something you should be deciding on rather than what it's brand/manufacturer's name is.

We might rebrand it creating specific brand for it if the project will grow enough to be worth the bureaucracy.
 

iFreilicht

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Power cable, pci-e riser and usb cable are only for prototype. We've got manufacturers for all of them and those for the photo were just something grabbed for prototype fitting. The power cable will be black and most likely will have low profile angled C13 connector. The USB cable will be either black or blue. We'll also buy some proper power supply for the prototype when we'll ready with all other stuff.

Great, that will let everything look a whole lot better.

We've talked about this from the start - essentially it's a case you pick your parts to fit in not the way around. We're not focused on fitting everything, but letting you pick your parts off the shelf at your local store. So with cpu socket next to pci-e slot you'll have to either use low profile cpu cooler or you'll block that slot.

That was happening mostly with MSI boards on last generation but as you can see the upcoming Z170 boards are all good on this matter.

Sadly the second slot being blocked by SFX-L remains but if you're building a pc with SFX-L and some high end gpu you should be able to afford a M.2 ssd for a system.

Yeah I noticed that as well, there also was one board from Gigabyte that had its socket in that awkward location.
Something I may have already asked: Will you give users an extensive compatibility list? Or do you expect them to be smart enough to figure out whether everything fits from the mainboards product pictures?
 

SaperPL

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Something I may have already asked: Will you give users an extensive compatibility list? Or do you expect them to be smart enough to figure out whether everything fits from the mainboards product pictures?

We do expect them to be smart about this - yeah, the webpage will show those conflicting layouts.

As for the compatibility list - we'll ask the reviewers who'll get our prototypes to give us feedback about what fits and what doesn't if possible and we'll try to ask the manufacturers either if we can send them prototypes for such lists or if they could borrow us some boxes with their merchandise for testing. But I don't have such high hopes for the contacts with manufacturers to be honest. I hope the reviewers will let us and readers/viewers know what fits and what doesn't.

Technically the problem isn't about us but it's about manufacturers failing to visually measure the cards so you end up wondering about card dimensions.

Also I think the people from forum here will be first to pick those up and we can just go about it like you'll ask for the card/motherboard and we'll figure out whether it'll fit and so on. And this way we could build a compatibility list with your support.

Figuring out the real dimensions for the card is easy if you have a straight photo of the unit so you measure the bracket length and card length in pixels and make a proportional math with it to get real length of the card. Easy but time consuming.

Harder would be figuring out if custom cpu cooling fits because they ain't always centered on the socket.
 

FiDDy

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hehe ok :D
yup, i think a name change could be very well worth it, considering you could go broad with this design. especially the dr. part is somewhat amateurish imo.
but just my 5cents, wouldnt mind any name on the back if i finally get the case:)

edit: came to think about the release date just now. i think you would do yourself a major favour if you release it before chirstmas and around the time when the steam controllers hit the market (9november). considering steam machines will be most wanted in this initial burst. also if only the reviews would be out around that time, it could realy help to give you publicity, as interest will peak there i guess.
 
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SaperPL

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yup, i think a name change could be very well worth it, considering you could go broad with this design. especially the dr. part is somewhat amateurish imo.

Rather than amateurish it's an old an still working trend of branding your company with your own name if you're already known in the industry. The DR stands for PhD or ScD actually as in doctorate in mechanical engineering. What sucks is that polish lacks distinction between medical doctor and engineering doctor in short forms like this.

Also going for simply ZABER would be misleading and problematic since there's a already company with such name, located in Canada working on automation equipment.

Lets just leave it like that until we start shipping some big amounts of cases. Then we can think of building new brand with some investors and making mass production with them.

edit: came to think about the release date just now. i think you would do yourself a major favour if you release it before chirstmas and around the time when the steam controllers hit the market (9november). considering steam machines will be most wanted in this initial burst. also if only the reviews would be out around that time, it could realy help to give you publicity, as interest will peak there i guess.

Yeah, that's exactly our target to not miss this opportunity but still we'd like to be a bit ahead of Christmas with our initial batches.
 

FiDDy

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oh, its an actual doctor! now it dawns on me why you mentioned you being professionals. ok i misunderstood sorry about that;). but then again so could others.
how about the advertising without any brand name, and as identification your actual names ?
i for one wouldnt even miss a brandname on such an "indie" project. just an idea:)

also good luck for your release plans! would gift it to me any christmas :D
 

SaperPL

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oh, its an actual doctor! now it dawns on me why you mentioned you being professionals. ok i misunderstood sorry about that;). but then again so could others.

Yeah, we both got master degrees in engineering but that's not the point. I've explained it to you since you were digging hard enough to know :) I didn't have any questions like that from other people than you and iFreilicht and people tend to ask about the case itself, payment, shipping etc so I don't mind staying with that name.

Also there's something you might not know - we've got quite a lot of bureaucracy needed if you want to go in this type of business in our country and handling that also costs money. You can't just make up new brand and register it like that, you're making a new company and handling company that manufactures and sells stuff takes some paperwork. We don't want this until we know it works and generates profits. When it happens we might be able to find some investor to go for mass production and vendors. Until that happens we'll stick to what we have.

how about the advertising without any brand name, and as identification your actual names ?
i for one wouldnt even miss a brandname on such an "indie" project. just an idea:)

It's just a paper work thing. Yeah we could advertise it like that but in the end you should know who are you ordering the product from, the formal entity you're making a deal with

also good luck for your release plans! would gift it to me any christmas :D

Thanks, I hope so :)
 

SaperPL

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Little update:

We've kind of figured out the cable manufacturing.

We'll be doing some proper temp tests soon in preparation for hopefully very final prototype.

We're figuring out the packaging now.


Question: what size of packing would you prefer: slim laptop-like box or more cubic one which would be shorter? The problem here is that some people mentioned the problem with getting those on a plane with the box. Are there any other concerns as such for the packaging?
 

DrakonSan

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Little update:

We've kind of figured out the cable manufacturing.

We'll be doing some proper temp tests soon in preparation for hopefully very final prototype.

We're figuring out the packaging now.


Question: what size of packing would you prefer: slim laptop-like box or more cubic one which would be shorter? The problem here is that some people mentioned the problem with getting those on a plane with the box. Are there any other concerns as such for the packaging?
I'd prefer a slim box. A minimalist case should have minimalist packaging. I'm not sure how the boxes would impact shipping costs, but that is something to keep in mind as well.
 

iFreilicht

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Small packaging for a small case, I say. Less waste, (probably) lower shipping cost.
 

EdZ

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My only suggestion for packaging is to double box: outer box -> shock absorption (air bags, foam blocks, cardboard concertinas, whatever) -> inner box containing case. Ideally the case would be in a plastic bag inside the inner box to prevent scratching, and as a last line of defence against moisture ingress, and reduces the chance of scratching from the case shifting and rubbing against the inner box. Having the gap between two boxes gives the most protection against impact & crushing damage and tearing during handling.
 

SaperPL

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We're thinking about slim carton box with inner carton insert holding the case. Case will probably be inside a bag or a wrap as you said. I'm waiting for info from the carton manufacturer on how would they tackle the packaging.

Double packaging is another thing. We'll need to see how would this increase the shipping costs. Additional simple external box with some foam filling or air bags shouldn't be a cost problem by itself but the increase in volume could.
 

jace112

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Despite the power button location (not centered), your design really rocks. Congrats
 

SaperPL

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Despite the power button location (not centered), your design really rocks. Congrats

Thanks.

As for the button it looks better in vertical position if it's not centered but a little higher. It's in the golden ratio so it shouldn't kick off the OCD too much.

We can't place any normal button on the center because of the power supply location. The only technical possibility for that would be some kind of touch sensore or membrane glued in front and it's wires somehow hidden but we can't afford that kind of tech.
 

jace112

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I do understand, I was just expressing my personal taste. It's no big deal. I just need a delivery time ;-)
 

SaperPL

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Cool, It's hard to keep remembering whether you're new to the topic or not. And some questions and worries were posted multiple times since not everyone wants to go through whole 30+ pages of text and I can understand that.
 

FiDDy

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solely by interest, did you consider putting the knob beside the ports ?
now something more important the renders are missing a row of wholes compared to the prototype, which design are you planing to continue?
 

ZombiPL

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solely by interest, did you consider putting the knob beside the ports ?

what kind of knob are You thinking of? the one to replace a screw on the back?

now something more important the renders are missing a row of wholes compared to the prototype, which design are you planing to continue?

5th prototype will be like the one in the 360deg renders, but i think with the same amount of top holes as in the 4th prototype. We were just checking several things with the cooling, in similar way we did before:


I'm back from my holidays, so we can move on with the project. This week we're going to buy some better PSU and a blower-type GPU for our thermal tests. We have to check several things in our 4th prototype before we'll order the 5th one. I think after next weekend we'll order another version of our case.
 

SaperPL

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solely by interest, did you consider putting the knob beside the ports ?
now something more important the renders are missing a row of wholes compared to the prototype, which design are you planing to continue?

Wow, somebody finally noticed. Which one do you prefer by the looks?

And what do you mean by the knob besides the ports. You mean the power button beside usb? If that's what you then it would depend on how it'd look. There's not many so small front panels with only usb 3.0 and power button that would fit our case in that place and putting the power button next to usb would block the PSU IEC C13 cable for some configurations.

This week we're going to buy some better PSU and a blower-type GPU for our thermal tests.

As Zombi said, I'm going to buy the proper blower gpu and sfx-l for the tests.

We're most likely going for cheiftec SFX-500GD-C but I'm not sure which card to buy.

I'm thinking of 960 or 970 with one of those cooler designs:

product-medium,,pr_2014_10_21_10_47_20_16.jpg
product-medium,,pr_2015_5_12_9_39_31_528.jpg


Asus Turbos look awesome since those suck air from both sides and have the bigger turbine fan but they also have oversized PCB :|

product-medium,,pr_2015_9_5_11_36_55_106.jpg


So I'm not sure whether to take something like MSI 960 Blower or Palit 970 Blower

Any ideas what would you like us to check that affects the model of the card?

EDIT: Looks like we're getting Palit 970.
 
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iFreilicht

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I personally think it would be interesting to see how blowers perform vs. open air coolers.
It's quite certain that the blowers will be the better option, but it would be interesting to see some numbers. The Sentry does have quite a large exhaust on the side, so I could imagine that open air coolers don't perform that badly by themselves, but seeing how it affects the CPU temperatures would be very interesting.
 

SaperPL

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I personally think it would be interesting to see how blowers perform vs. open air coolers.

That's kind of the idea. I've ordered that blower Palit 970 and we'll have to compare it to the R9-270 windforce.

If there's any additional info you'd like us to gather during tests or the benchmark you'd want to see tested it would be good to write that down now :)
 

iFreilicht

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As long as you make sure the cards are on the same TDP level during your tests, that should be absolutely fine.

Something else I'd be interested in is the testing of different CPU coolers. As your case allows for 48mm "tall" CPU coolers, it could be a good idea to test the Cryorig C7 once it becomes available. It seems to be a very potent cooler and may be one of the best ones that can fit the Sentry.
In general, making a list of coolers that can fit your case and comparing thermals and noise might be a very good idea. There aren't that many choices anyway, so it will highly increase the trust of customers if they can know in advance which cooler fits their needs the best.
 

SaperPL

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Those 48mm is the distance between the top of cpu IHS and cover surface and that's how it looks for the intel platform. We might want to revise that to 47mm to make sure there's no tight fitts and misunderstandings here like the fan scratching the top cover and whining.

So far as I did check out the coolers, manufacturers tend to give the height measurements properly on their sites but the shops sometimes copy the height without the fan that is on top and that's a thing you should be considering checking out the dimensions of cpu fan.

The rest is as you said, we've got to pick some high end cooler for tests but I'm not sure about testing out each of same format coolers.

There's NH-L9, scythe kodati and kozuti, that Cryorig C7, CPU Zalman CNPS2X, Thermaltake MeOrb II and a lot of cheap 30mm tall coolers that we shouldn't even consider for testing since those are probably not good enough for gaming at all. That's quite all we can get here, maybe some more can be shipped from abroad.

Anyway there's a lot of them and we'll think about checking every possible one when the time is right. So far we didn't have any problems with cpu temps and those behave close to other cases on box intel cooler. We'll measure the temps of cpu as well when testing.
 

SaperPL

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Another small update info.

Some time ago eleshkar asked for the USB 2.0 fallback support

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.

16.jpg


I forgot to ask about that then and I did ask today and I know we can't do this. Our manufacturer, which is probably the only one that could make the USB 3.0 baffle keeping the 60mm reference size, has no moulds that would let out those additional wires for USB 2.0 out. They said making it this way would cost $500-$800 for a mould.

BUT I did found that they have the USB3.0 to USB2.0 adapter in their offer so we should have it for a negligible cost. It looks like this:

31B%2BuP%2Bm1yL._SX425_.jpg
 

FiDDy

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well i'd personally prefer the new render variant, it gives a ore slim like look i think. now if both sides would have the same number of rows in the same place mirrored, that may would also look awesome, in terms of symmetry.

and yes, sorry i was talking about the power button, i just noticed that internally theres some space next to the ports, which i thought was unused. im not sure how it would look, i guess it would form some kind of triangle with the usb ports:)

There's not many so small front panels with only usb 3.0 and power button that would fit our case in that place
i dont quite understand, do you have to externally order a plate which holds ports and i/o button ?
 
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