SENTRY: Console-sized gaming PC case project

SaperPL

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I won't quote everyone while addressing the issue since it'd make hell of a wall of text, but:

1) Like I've been saying over and over again - If you haven't done shopping yet, wait for AM4 mITX boards and go with Ryzen 1700 which is 65W. IMO this CPU will be the most fitting high-end unit for Sentry while still being future proof. It will get better as DX12, vulcan and nvidia drivers get optimised and you will get more stable framerates on this than quad core i7. You just have to remember the thing with infinite fabric being affected by ram frequency and optimise your shopping between high clock and capacity of ram.

Research what gives a smoother framerates rather than more of them benchmarked. Reviewers like the latter because it's easy to represent them with charts, but it doesn't represent overall quality of your experience. Compare those 60FPS gifs and videos to what you have with framerates jumping between 120 and 200 fps on high-end system. Brain doesn't believe in variable frequency visual signals, the same as it doesn't believe in low frequency ones. Obviously there's G-Sync and FreeSync, but does it get tested for smoothness in hardware reviews? No, because framerates are capped this way.

2) Linus' review showed that 250W Titan X Pascal can work inside but the test results were chaotic. The whole video was kind of like that since whole LTT was stacking videos for Linus' vacation when his wife was in labour. The problem with those tests is that Linus is reasonable with understanding the limits of such powerful card squeezed in such small case, and his OKAY when he got such expensive card as freebie might not be the same for you when you spend $1200 on it, and it doesn't boost that high as you expect it to.

3) Horizontal position is slightly better for CPU cooling while vertical position is significantly better for GPU cooling. Pick the one suiting better your tasks :)

4) DAN A4-SFX is kind-of similar to Sentry in vertical position in context of cooling with significant difference - while back of the GPU and motherboard can radiate it heat through the case outward in Sentry, A4-SFX makes those two heat up each other with the delicate riser in between. It's results may not be representative for Sentry as some of the CPU heat can be radiated through the socket pins etc. Also GPU results on A4-SFX may be affected by the long riser heating up without a crash since pci-e is highly error resistant, but at the same time faulty packet deliveries on the bus means re-sending them and that might lower the performance in effect, bottle-necking the card. GPU bottle-necked by CPU or PCI-E bus means lower GPU clocks and temps...

5) If we were to test the 1080TI we'd have to test both types - founders edition and non-reference open-air cooler version, since the latter might take advantage of more airflow in vertical position, except those are most likely monster cards that won't fit inside Sentry. Also spending $700 or twice of it just to prove you we're right and you're wrong doesn't look that fun to us :p
 
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I won't quote everyone while addressing the issue since it'd make hell of a wall of text, but:

1) Like I've been saying over and over again - If you haven't done shopping yet, wait for AM4 mITX boards and go with Ryzen 1700 which is 65W.
is there any cooler that fits am4 and sentry ?
 

SaperPL

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I think I've seen somewhere that Noctua will be releasing updated version NH-L9a /mounting kit or product based on it for AM4. There has to be some other low profile coolers coming out as well.

I'm going to do a custom bracket for dynatron T318 myself though until those options are available.
 
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dam_j

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Two ideas that came to playing with my new ITX-Hardware;

- Does the case have place near the MoBo for an additional 40mm (Noctua) Fan for "slightly" better airflow ?
- Do you think it makes (thermal) sense to connect the metal backplate from the GPU (in case you have one) to the case via thermal pad´s ?

Of course i could test both if i had the case ;-)
 
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Talyrius

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I'm going to do a custom bracket for dynatron T318 myself though until those options are available.
After you do so, can you share your working custom bracket design with us? Otherwise, I'll just be using zip ties.
 

sonicd0012

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Two ideas that came to playing with my new ITX-Hardware;

- Does the case have place near the MoBo for an additional 40mm (Noctua) Fan for "slightly" better airflow ?
- Do you think it makes (thermal) sense to connect the metal backplate from the GPU (in case you have one) to the case via thermal pad´s ?

Of course i could test both if i had the case ;-)
I think we should just all take a chill pill, not speculate and just get the damn case, once you get the case, buy the components and test it out. If it really is unstable then its a different story
 

dam_j

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?? Speculate, get a chill ??

I was just asking questions...
And i even said that i will test if i could !

I think you have to chill and read what others write more carefully...
 

SaperPL

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After you do so, can you share your working custom bracket design with us? Otherwise, I'll just be using zip ties.
I've talked about this in dondan's cooler post since I think that is better approach than crowdfunding a CPU cooler targeted at specific low profile chassis...

That's how I would approach this (mounting vapor chamber on AM4):

View attachment 19686 View attachment 19687 View attachment 19688 View attachment 19690

Exploaded view:

View attachment 19683 View attachment 19684 View attachment 19685

This should be fairly cheap because:

1) made of two laser cut plates with only two simple bends
2) requires no point welding - uses 8 or more rivets instead.
3) uses four flushed in bolts that are used to mount the dynatron on top of this contraption with nuts
3) uses four flushed in stand-offs used to mount this contraption to the motherboard.

Mount plates:

1mm AM4 mount plate
View attachment 19691

2mm dynatron T318 mount plate
View attachment 19692

I can't finalise this design unless I have AM4 keepout zone specs and can't seem to find any official papers on this like intel does with their sockets.

With 2mm dynatron mount plate those bends might be unnecessary but they may become useful for fan mounting.
If I can't get my hands on AM4 reference keep out zone docs, then we'll have to assume it based on what we'll see in mITX boards. For now we know nothing about them since full ATX and mATX ain't that restrictive in space so there's no big components around the socket installed in those boards. mITX boards might use the keep out zones to the fullest like the 115x board do.

And yeah, I'll share the dxf files for laser when ready and tested to work.
 

ZombiPL

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6th week of Sentry manufacturing process

About 90% of parts already arrived. This last 10% are Sentry body parts from our subcontractor, PCI slot covers still being kept by customs services, plastic covers for holes unused in vertical position and printed carton boxes. Right now we are assembling a device, which we designed for cutting the rubber feet for vertical stand and also we started some first pre-assembly actions like sorting elements for accessory boxes, each element to their separate zipper foil bags.

It was one of the most busy weeks so far, but there is a lot more to come.

This week we received:
- all small steel elements which will be packed in the Sentry accessory box, both painted and unpainted (those without powder coating, which should be painted white, we personally transported to the paint shop).






- PCI-E shielded risers,



- power buttons with new professional wires sleeving,​



- rubber O-rings which will be used with power button (we didn't like the quality of the O-rings usually shipped with those vandal switches, so we just ordered better ones from different supplier):​




We also sent photos and assembly drawings of the DEMCiflex filters to their manufacturer (DEMCifilter), so they should be available from their website soon (probably here).​



This time as a bonus we can show you how we sorted and packed those relatively bigger elements for accessory box:





Next week will be fun. We'll be sorting ~98 000 screws for your Sentry cases and also we should receive 1st shipment of Sentry steel body parts.

Stay tuned.
 

klatox

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Looks great. I would've preferred all black sleeving on the power button cable though :p
 

SaperPL

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Looks great. I would've preferred all black sleeving on the power button cable though :p
We wanted to go with full black, but the supplier that was most professional with our request, the one we've picked, said it'd be significantly faster to go with red striped braiding since they already were ordering those for other projects, while we would have to wait something like additional month for full black colour from their supplier since it's kind of unusual for them at this diameter. (note the fact that we've upgraded this AFTER having the order numbers from campaign).

Additionally, the power cable isn't something that will be outright visible through the vents - power and USB 3.0 cables would be visible if not black, since those are quite stiff and big you can't route them easily beneath the motherboard and other cables. It's just that four loose cables were more messy and annoying to route in the prototypes until getting bundled together.
 

darksable

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Well, with what I am reading, things are shaping up really well for my plan to make a dedicated streaming PC that won't require a second desk. Amazing work.
Heh, at first I was wondering why you didn't just get a Steam Link. Then I realized you meant streaming TO people. :p
 

SaperPL

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Just for the record since we can see significant interest in 1080TI:
there's an open-air cooled 1080TI from gigabyte that should fit inside Sentry like the other windforce 3X cards

http://www.gigabyte.us/Graphics-Card/GV-N108TGAMING-OC-11G#kf

While we still don't recommend going for such hot GPU, if you have a chance of trying it out, this MIGHT run slightly better than founders edition on vertical stand.

Additionally I have one thing to note with all non-reference blower cards - vendors are adding DVI output cutting down the size of exhaust vent - if you want to go with blower, look for model without it for optimal exhaust vent.
 

Rysen

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Just for the record since we can see significant interest in 1080TI:
there's an open-air cooled 1080TI from gigabyte that should fit inside Sentry like the other windforce 3X cards

http://www.gigabyte.us/Graphics-Card/GV-N108TGAMING-OC-11G#kf

While we still don't recommend going for such hot GPU, if you have a chance of trying it out, this MIGHT run slightly better than founders edition on vertical stand.

Additionally I have one thing to note with all non-reference blower cards - vendors are adding DVI output cutting down the size of exhaust vent - if you want to go with blower, look for model without it for optimal exhaust vent.
Beautiful card for the white sentry. Also will match up nicely with gigabyte's itx gaming motherboard.
 

SaperPL

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My few quick notes just after Ryzen 5 Launch:

1) Ryzen 5 1400 looks to be unbound from the memory speed issue as it has a single CCX only hence half the L3 cache of full chip.
2) Ryzen 5 1400 is shipped with Wraith Stealth.
3) Ryzen 5 1400 looks to be just in between i7-3770K and i7-4790K when OC'd to 4.1GHz in synthetic benches, but not yet optimised in games.

I think Ryzen 5 1400 might be the best chip for 'cheap' gaming PC after it gets optimised. Hopefully the Ryzen smoothness is made by the architecture, and works as well in this chip, not only by additional threads in higher-end SKUs.
 

SaperPL

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I've been looking through available memory and since I want to get single 16GB module that is at least 3200Mhz, it looks like I can get my hands only on this RipJaws module:

https://gskill.com/en/product/f4-3200c16s-16gvk



I've made a model based on the image and checked it with total height of 42mm from its spec. It looks like it will fit with ~2.5mm of clearance:



I'll check that when ordering the parts for Ryzen 1700 build, but we still have to wait for the boards...
 

SaperPL

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Wait, why a single module?
This is going to be my home PC and while I still am going to do some productivity on it, 16GB of memory is more than enough for that at this point for me. At the same time I know that at some point I might need to increase that amount to 32GB and it'll be cheaper with 16GB with one stick already.
 

St1X

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My few quick notes just after Ryzen 5 Launch:

1) Ryzen 5 1400 looks to be unbound from the memory speed issue as it has a single CCX only hence half the L3 cache of full chip.
I don't think so. I am pretty sure 1400 is the same two CCX design, because it can give AMD a higher chips yield. And disabling half of the L3 cache isn't a problem. However I've seen no tests of 1400 to make an educated guess on the hardware design.

This is going to be my home PC and while I still am going to do some productivity on it, 16GB of memory is more than enough for that at this point for me.
Dual channel memory is a way better for performance, than a faster single channel.
 

SaperPL

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I don't think so. I am pretty sure 1400 is the same two CCX design, because it can give AMD a higher chips yield. And disabling half of the L3 cache isn't a problem. However I've seen no tests of 1400 to make an educated guess on the hardware design.
I agree that cutting down the cache is not a problem, but that was my educated guess here. We'll have to see if someone tests this unit for different ram speeds.

As for the higher chips yield - I put my bet on Ryzen 3 being the leftovers from chips with faulty cores and with cut down cache, 3+1 configs etc.

Dual channel memory is a way better for performance, than a faster single channel.
That "way better" is something around 5~12% for dual channel in specific games that are constantly streaming in and out background and changing LOD. And of course dual and quad channel is significant in servers and some heavy productivity. Not that big of a boost for me at this point.
 
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SaperPL

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Yeah, this will fit, but note the fact that you won't be able to cool it down properly if you were wondering if two of them will fit. It is blowing the hot air to the inside.
 
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Dual channel memory is a way better for performance, than a faster single channel.
The bandwidth and as a result the theoretical performance might be way better, but like SaperPL said, the real world difference is like 5-10% at best. Even with memory intensive workloads.

Linustechtips did a video on it if you're curious.
 

SaperPL

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Why would this matter at all if the case has no windows?
What do you mean? You can still see through the vents so the color in the inside will pop out a bit. Having a different color will definitely be noticeable when close to the case, specially in the white sentry. Correct me if I am wrong...SaperPL.
Since the GPU shroud will be ~9mm away from the vents it will depend on how the light shines on this side of the case. In general the GPU is in the shade so the colours of the shroud are pretty dim unless they have refracting surfaces.
 

forScience

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What do you mean? You can still see through the vents so the color in the inside will pop out a bit. Having a different color will definitely be noticeable when close to the case, specially in the white sentry. Correct me if I am wrong...SaperPL.
If you look at the videos or pictures of an assembled sentry, you can barely see anything through its holes. Also even if you do notice the internals through those tiny holes, you'll only be seeing the fan and ssd on the motherboard and also the fans on the gpu since those are whats pretty much covering the majority surface area. So it doesn't really make sense to me why the aesthetics on these 2 components are even a consideration.
 

darksable

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If you look at the videos or pictures of an assembled sentry, you can barely see anything through its holes. Also even if you do notice the internals through those tiny holes, you'll only be seeing the fan and ssd on the motherboard and also the fans on the gpu since those are whats pretty much covering the majority surface area. So it doesn't really make sense to me why the aesthetics on these 2 components are even a consideration.
I've used a lot of different small form factor cases, so speaking from personal experience here, there are a couple things I'll point out. I'm not a psychic, obviously, but based on my other cases with similar dimensions / hole patterns:

1) While color doesn't make itself particularly visible through the vents, contrast definitely does. All of the little components on a motherboard that are bright blue or bright red are definitely going to catch your eye.

2) All the photos taken of the Sentry were taken with the build powered off - I.e. Without all the myriad little LEDs that can be found on motherboards and other PCBs. Those will certainly be noticable.

3) Taking the above a step further, RGB anything. Whether it's the graphics card, motherboard, or light strips themselves, it will completely reverse the (totally valid) point made about shade in the case. The light will be spilling out from the inside of the case, which will look very attractive, but which will also give a much clearer view of its internals.

4) This is where I'm really going out on a limb, but I suspect that the white case will have its components more noticeably visible, again because of the contrast between the case and the internals.

Either way, I doubt it's a big deal. If you're more utilitarian, it won't be an issue at all. If you care about the glances someone gets of the inside, it isn't that difficult to design a good looking build.

Personally, I'm going with a gray/black motherboard, white ram, a silver reference cooler, and either nvidia green or dark lavender lighting, in a white Sentry. Should be fairly attractive. :)
 
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forScience

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I've used a lot of different small form factor cases, so speaking from personal experience here, there are a couple things I'll point out. I'm not a psychic, obviously, but based on my other cases with similar dimensions / hole patterns:

1) While color doesn't make itself particularly visible through the vents, contrast definitely does. All of the little components on a motherboard that are bright blue or bright red are definitely going to catch your eye.

2) All the photos taken of the Sentry were taken with the build powered off - I.e. Without all the myriad little LEDs that can be found on motherboards and other PCBs. Those will certainly be noticable.

3) Taking the above a step further, RGB anything. Whether it's the graphics card, motherboard, or light strips themselves, it will completely reverse the (totally valid) point made about shade in the case. The light will be spilling out from the inside of the case, which will look very attractive, but which will also give a much clearer view of its internals.

4) This is where I'm really going out on a limb, but I suspect that the white case will have its components more noticeably visible, again because of the contrast between the case and the internals.

Personally, I doubt it's a big deal. If you're more utilitarian, it won't be an issue at all. If you care about the glances someone gets of the inside, it isn't that difficult to design a good looking build.

Personally, I'm going with a gray/black motherboard, white ram, a silver reference cooler, and either nvidia green or dark lavender lighting, in a white Sentry. Should be fairly attractive. :)
Again, even with rgb, the fan and ssd will still be covering the mb so you are only making those parts more visible instead of the mb. And for the ram, if you are looking for contrast while u have a white sentry, wouldn't black ram make more scence instead of white which just blends in with the case color?
 

darksable

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Again, even with rgb, the fan and ssd will still be covering the mb so you are only making those parts more visible instead of the mb. And for the ram, if you are looking for contrast while u have a white sentry, wouldn't black ram make more scence instead of white which just blends in with the case color?
Yep. You are correct, the CPU cooler and ssd will be the majority of what's visible. Doesn't mean that something like the bright splashes of color on uglier boards (slash budget motherboards that don't care about aesthetics) won't be noticable sometimes.

To clarify, I didn't buy my parts specifically because of their looks. The Strix has some features I want, the reference cooler seems to be the best option in this case, and I had the option between black, white, or firetruck red on the RAM. I figured the white contrasts with the motherboard, and will catch the color of the lighting, so I went with what would look best in glamor shots. :p
 

Alzayani

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I wish that we will have enough momentum at some point to influence stuff like this. I'd like for the cards to have no video output at all and for pci-e spec to handle the video being outputted through the lanes back to motherboard connectors or dedicated output card (in case you're on extreme platform without IGP for example).
Or make the GPU use 1 or 2 USB-C ports, it's small, reversible, can handle up to 40 Gbit/s and support DisplayPort Alternate Mode out of the box, using the full 40 Gbit/s you can theoretically support 2 x 4K displays @ 75 Hz with HDR, for 2 ports that's 4 x 4K displays.
 
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