SENTRY: Console-sized gaming PC case project

rawrr

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Its cool but i'm beginning to question if micro atx is the right idea. What advantages would it offer over a mini itx board? I guess more RAM is one but are there any others?
 

SaperPL

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mATX & ATX support

quad channel ram over dual channel ram support on X99 LGA2011 boards

4DIMMS on mATX and 8DIMMS on X99 ATX boards

AM3+ boards support

cheaper boards to choose from(mATX with the same parameters of basic/good mITX boards are half the price)

enough space for cpu water cooling system.


But thats it, it's not too slim, it requires some cool outer design which will be hard with 10cm height
 

SaperPL

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Do you have any tips about other PSU form factors? FlexATX is nice and would be perfect for this project but I couldn't find any of them good enough for high-end gpu
 

SaperPL

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Thanks for your feedback, we will see if this design is meant to go to production :D


So there are 3 options now:

A) 7.5L mATX(420mm width) or 7.75 ATX (435mm width) like this 270mm length. 435mm would mean it's the same as rackmount 1U's which might be an advantage if made mountable. Also 420mm might be impossible depending on space for riser above the pci-e slot
x6GHfP5.jpg


B) 8.5L ATX like this with 270mm lenght which could be cut in height by 1cm to 7.65L if cpu water cooling was mandatory or we could create some custom heatpipe system to move cpu cooling but that sounds like pain in the ass and increased case price
dtOuzvT.png


C) 7.0L mATX with PSU pushed to the front just behind pci-e connector
sAU0uCD.jpg



Which one do you like the most?
 
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geostation

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1. Like the first one (atx), short depth steambox style casecase that'll just right on av rack.

2 - CPu and GPU that close over each other will cause inevitable heat issues and there are no good heatsinks with such low depths

3. whats the depth ?

wondering where the hdds and ssds go in? below the motherboard ?
 
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SaperPL

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1) Yeah, the first one would be most universal and could also fit ODD easly but its really wide, like 5cm too much

2) Yeah, that's the most problematic I think

3) I did math for 270mm which would fit cards like titan 266mm with power connectors from top and 250mm with connectors from behind. Lets see how much we can and need to extend.

4) The drives are always aligned with the PSU in those configs meaning they are in front of the case for 1 & 2(behind on the image) and at the end for the 3rd one(as you see in front on the image)
 

SaperPL

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I think this is what I'm gonna do:

dzgrZJZ.jpg


With 280mm depth its 7.5L


I should be able to angle the flex riser under the vga bracket with this much space.

Also I need to think what to do about the hot air coming out of the PSU to get around the drives.


I think its the best thing that can be done. I'd like to support full ATX but those would be too wide or too big.

For the visual size reference you can check out silverstone LC19
lc19-dimension.jpg
 

geostation

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matx case at 7.5l would be quite unique. its so simple i'm surprised no ones tried this before. cant wait for the final renders.
 

SaperPL

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We'll start soon with some initial VGA handle/bracket design.

I think after that It'll be possible to get two case versions mATX and full ATX ( the A - type ) with same bracket.

It will probably be the most expensive but core element to make.

Stay tuned :)
 

Soul_Est

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The G-Atlantic GA620 and GA630 may be similar to what you're looking to achieve. You can get it without an ODD cage and with a PCIe x16 riser and a dual slot and dual PCI slot cutouts. Information on the case is here: http://www.g-alantic.com.tw/1088/ga630/

It would take some modification to get it to accept a TFX or even SFX PSU and dual-slot graphics card.
 

SaperPL

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Thanks for reference but GA620 and GA630 are completely different class of case and its not a modding project. And yes - with ITX board and SFX PSU it could somehow fit inside but thats just the same as steambox prototype case and ncase steambox like case project.

By the way - It looks like angled sata connectors may be mandatory for motherboards with vertical sata connectors. If that happens should they be included or better leave it out of the case price?

The problem is some standard sata cables have quite long connectors and would effect in rising height of case up by 1cm to not twist cable too much behind connector.

Most of new motherboards have horizontal/angled sata connectors so it's not a general problem now
 

SaperPL

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I'm pretty much free after finishing up current game project so I'm gonna rush things a little next week(at least I'll try rushing up some design job)

I've been thinking about also making something like this for the case:
mono-aio-rear-side-large_w_600.jpg

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/quietpc-mono-chassis-aio-desktop,27755.html
I mean make the stand for both the case and vesa compatible monitor.
The thing above is both ugly and will be useless when the screen dies and you cannot choose to use other screen.

I'm thinking of making this out of simple bent metal like Imac stand but a little bigger to hold the weight.
 

SaperPL

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I hit the wall with the idea of fitting mATX or full ATX inside with standard riser cables. Because of this and also because of Necere putting his LRPC on hold I decided to go with mITX steambox like case.

I'm currently finishing the initial sheet design and element positioning.

I'm not showing any renders because the top cover and the front are not designed yet.


Current case parameters :
-330x300x65.5 - 6.5L + additional 5mm stands gives 7L overall space
-mITX motherboard support only
-48mm cooler height limit
-295mm card lenght including connectors limit
-card support with mounting for cheap generic flexible risers
-2x2.5" 7mm drive mount
-SFX and SFX-L (125mm) PSU support
-passage for power cord instead of socket on rear wall(decreases the size and cost)

Additional items that will be required:
-angled IEC C13 power cable compatible with user's country
-generic flex pci-e riser x16 or x1 depending on the motherboard

What do you think about this?
 
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SaperPL

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Ok, I've got some case porn for you - outer render only, work in progress, just back, front not yet designed:
xGAKayf.jpg

This perforation is only temporary - I need to check out norms and production stuff on how to do this optimally.
 

450

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Ok, I've got some case porn for you - outer render only, work in progress, just back, front not yet designed:
http://i.imgur.com/xGAKayf.jpg[/IMG
This perforation is only temporary - I need to check out norms and production stuff on how to do this optimally.[/QUOTE]

If that case supported MATX cases, I'd be thrilled. Because the video card is horizontal adding length anyway, I don't see why a MATX case couldn't work.
 

SaperPL

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Read two posts above - I did drop the mATX format. Sorry for not updating the first page though

I can explain what problems are there with mATX

You can try two approaches with the card:
1) card is above motherboard and its coolers are facing top - the problem with this approach is that generic 19cm riser won't let you rotate card close enough to the surface of the slots and the card top side(the one with power plugs) will be too close to the memory slots. The height of the case is closing to 10cm.

2) card is in the same configuration as in mITX cases like in the render coolers facing bottom - this can be done with one thing - if you limit cards to 170mm you could make a case with size 370x305x65.5 and it would be like 7.5L overall size, but it has the card length limit which quite sucks but soon there should be more cards as such. Otherwise you would end up with size of 500x244x65.5 which is quite not appealing visualy
 
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Aibohphobia

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I'm assuming the internal layout is very similar to the Valve design, shouldn't the top venting extend to the front of the case for the PSU intake?

Another suggestion would be to make the tab that the video card screws to a little wider on the top and bottom so the corners can be rounded off, one less thing to potentially slice your hand if you drop the case.
 
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Machupo

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Looking at the size of the motherboard IO opening in that render, the case appears about 55mm thick, so I take it you'll be using a DC/DC power board?

Good to see you've gone back to the "standard" PCIe card orientation; I know when I was building in this form factor I found the flexible risers to be a complete pain in the ass (and an extra cost if you're looking to economize).
 

SaperPL

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I'm assuming the internal layout is very similar to the Valve design, shouldn't the top venting extend to the front of the case for the PSU intake?

PSU intake is directed down because of two things:

1) Most of SFX PSU's on the market IEC connector rotation's the same and most popular angled cord angle is the same and that is optimal psu position for using them. If someone has a PSU with opposite rotation of the connector and it is too close to the front of the case he will have to look for opposite angled cord.

2) I believe facing most fans to the botton will make reduce the loudness of the whole thing

Another suggestion would be to make the tab that the video card screws to a little wider on the top and bottom so the corners can be rounded off, one less thing to potentially slice your hand if you drop the case.
Yeah, there's a lot of stuff like this to be taken in consideration before finishing the design.


Looking at the size of the motherboard IO opening in that render, the case appears about 55mm thick, so I take it you'll be using a DC/DC power board?
It's 65.5mm which is SFX height + 2x1mm sheets. SFX and SFX-L PSU's. Before launching it I'll make sure SFX-L will have enough space for the cables too. Please read the posts above before asking again :)

The passage below the motherboard IO plate hole is for the power cord and the rubber gland for it, not the external psu connector. Thats makes the whole case a bit cheaper and smaller but because of this you will have to install the power cord for good before mounting the motherboard. Most cords have 1.8m so we'll have 1.5-1.6m left and the whole computer doesn't really need the detachable power cord unless you're going with it abroad for the lanparty.

Good to see you've gone back to the "standard" PCIe card orientation; I know when I was building in this form factor I found the flexible risers to be a complete pain in the ass (and an extra cost if you're looking to economize).
I went back to standard pci-e orientation because of the length of most generic 19cm flexible riser. If the standard was lets say 24cm i would go with making everything facing up. 19cm makes it hard to lay the card low because the connector to the motherboard is still below the card after folding so the card has to be above the motherboard a bit and everything gets thicker.

Also hard risers in this orientation have its problem, I believe Necere noted this in his topic. If you use hard riser the card's mounting bracket is too close to the motherboard reserved IO area. Note that steambox prototype has bracket replaced with custom rectangular plate which is no go for a commercial product.
steambox-back.jpg


In my configuration I've made it like that to fit SFX-L in the front and enough space to fold standard 19cm riser in the space between motherboard IO space and the card support. Also I wouldn't go to close there because I want to maintain its stiffness and there's already a lot of big holes in it.

And for the last thing - the main idea about using generic flexible risers is that I want the case to be usable with generic parts. Maybe I'll get some 5-6cm risers produced to be added to the case if there will be enough demand for those but you will always be able to replace it with generic part for example when replacing the motherboard with something that has only pci-e X1 or pcie X4

EDIT: And for those having problems finding the info on the previous page:
s97tzHE.jpg
 
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SaperPL

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I've been looking into form factor documentation and I can't find reliable specs for the motherboard mounting clearance and standoff - There's some that say the clearance has to be 7.62mm while most of my cases have 6mm standoffs.

I'd also like to know what is the maximum radius for the standoff contact space.

The Idea is to make some crease as the standoff like this:
XTbOXB8.jpg

Or something like this:
b3_bn3307.jpg


Also depending on how much clearance is really needed there will be more or less space for the cooler so I think thats crucial here.
 

Phuncz

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The last one looks like a rack cabinet nut and I wouldn't recommend them. They need a larger hole than needed to allow them to be inserted (or removed) and this allows them to move when seated. They are also designed to be tightened very tensely to be stable and this is ofcourse very bad for motherboard PCB's.

I think it's best to have screw sockets in the backplate (if possible) and just use standoffs. This allows the most minimal of footprint so you can use a large CPU heatsink backplate opening and it eliminates any potential compatibility features.

Just a thought about the GPU slots for the I/O: does it really need to have the bar between the two slots ? I can hardly think anyone would use a single-slot GPU these days when about 99% is dual-slot. Then you could use a single rectangular (solid) plate to cover it up. One might think about a sound-card as a second use for the PCIe-slot though.
 

SaperPL

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Just a thought about the GPU slots for the I/O: does it really need to have the bar between the two slots ? I can hardly think anyone would use a single-slot GPU these days when about 99% is dual-slot. Then you could use a single rectangular (solid) plate to cover it up. One might think about a sound-card as a second use for the PCIe-slot though.
I don't get it - why would you want to cover it up? Are you thinking about no VGA configurations? Anyway the answer is no - I won't do this because of the sheet stiffness and the method of card installation to fit 295mm card.
 

Aibohphobia

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I've been looking into form factor documentation and I can't find reliable specs for the motherboard mounting clearance and standoff - There's some that say the clearance has to be 7.62mm while most of my cases have 6mm standoffs.

ATX spec says .250in (6.35mm) clearance between the bottom of the motherboard and the chassis.

Since Mini-ITX will always need all four standoffs they don't need to be removable, I'd use the pressed in type like the M1 uses (I'll look them up but I know they're made by Penn Engineering) so you don't need any space under the motherboard tray for the standoff threads.
 

SaperPL

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Thanks, I somehow omitted this page of the standard. Also thanks for the standoffs, thats something we need.
 

Aibohphobia

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It's under the Height Constraints > Secondary section.

Here's Penn Engineering's standoff section: http://catalog.pemnet.com/category/standoffs-for-sheet-metal

Here's an example of one I think will be suitable: Part # BSO-3.5M3-8ZI

It's 8mm long so after getting pressed into the sheet there would be 7mm left. A little over the minimum but the next size down is 6mm which is too short. M3 thread but they also make stuff in standard thread.
 

Wizzard

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Maybe suggestions?
1. 3 slots, horizontal - So graphics card can move as needed, and/or an accessory output/input slot can be used (Wifi antenna, USB ports, or in my case, the input lead to my power supply)
2. Why not a 1U power supply? They can be had 400W+ and silver/gold/platinum rating.
3. Room/cutouts for 60/80MM radiators - Would that be possible?
 

SaperPL

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1) There is enough space for 3slot VGA indeed but not enough space around to make a proper handle for them with three slot holes in the back
2) server psu's usually dont have the PEG connectors
3) Ill think about 60mm ones
 

Phuncz

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JohnnyGuru:
But, it does have a few things going for it, like semi-fanless operation. That said, I'm going to take away a full point for the full modularity not being as functional as real full modularity, where you can unplug the cables you don't need. Half a point comes off for the whiney clattery fan... I'm going easy on that aspect because it's a server unit not meant to be quiet, but seriously... it sounds like a Dremel tool.

A noisy PSU with long cables (450mm and more) you basically have to strip, trim and sleeve yourself, isn't a solution for most people.
 

Aibohphobia

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And if he's complaining about it being noisy over the sound of the load testers, you know it's loud :p
 

SaperPL

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Just because there's one existing model on the market that has the PEG connector doesn't mean its good idea to make the case for this. I want to give you compatibility with stuff you can buy in most PC stores so if your PSU dies on you after two or three years you wont just thrash the case because you couldn't find the fitting PSU. Also I don't want to ship cases with those parts maybe except for the flex riser if I get a manufacturer to make short ones for me.

About the fans and their locations - you could scribble something over the steambox prototype photos or my render. I don't have Ideas where I would want additional fans in such case.
 

SaperPL

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As I believe its not so simple - PEG8 isnt EPS12V for a reason,
There's a little different shape of the connector
pcie8.jpg

eps.jpg

I think you should't drain power for vga from the cpu rail

And about this case not being for everyone - the whole point of making such a product is to make it as much mainstreamable as possible. If its only for a small niche from the start then what is the point?
 
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SaperPL

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There's a big question guys:

Currently, as visible on the renders, the case has the passage for power cord instead of proper power cord socket on the back. Note that it probably would be above instead of under the motherboard.


disadvantages:
- looks/feels unprofessional
- you will need to open the case to detach the power cord

advantages:
- case is smaller by an inch in width
- case should be cheaper and total cost should be lower including angled cord matching your country's standard you would need to buy.


I'd like to hear your opinions on this or maybe someone knows why it shouldn't be done like this.
 

Aibohphobia

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How much space are you allowing for the right-angle plug internally? I've found it hard to find angled plugs that aren't stupidly tall.

To me it's worth it to have the C14 plug on the case, so the end user can just use a standard cord that they probably already have laying around.
 

SaperPL

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I did find some specs and left 34mm for it. Theres still some room so its possible to make it more but not 6 or 7 cm which is needed to angle the standard straight plugged cord.

Its not a problem about the space for the angled plug but the space for the connector on the back side. And how to arrange the cord inside the case.

Again it looks like steambox prototype had more space thanks to custom stuff packed inside.
 

Screes

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Any chance of raising the graphics card 1 slot, like it is on the Valve prototype steambox?

I'd like the ability to mount things below the graphics card.

Also you stated earlier in this thread you thought the original steambox prototype had a custom rear cutout, its actually standard. The positioning is achieved with 2x risers. a 90 degree one, and a straight extender to move the card 1 slot length away from the motherboard.
 
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