The next NCASE project: a Steam Machine-style case (indeterminate)

Necere

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Absolutely stunning case. Any ballpark on when you'll be doing any thermal testing?
Soon. I only have a blower GPU to test atm though (a GTX 780), so it won't be a complete result until I can get my hands on an open cooler card. That likely won't happen for a bit, however, since I want to test a larger card (e.g., an ASUS Strix), but the current prototype has a couple of oversights that make installing a long+tall card over a certain size all but impossible. So that testing will have to wait until prototype 2. And of course I've been working on some other fixes/adjustments for things that became apparent once I had the case in-hand.
 

MaSsAcRe

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Soon. I only have a blower GPU to test atm though (a GTX 780), so it won't be a complete result until I can get my hands on an open cooler card. That likely won't happen for a bit, however, since I want to test a larger card (e.g., an ASUS Strix), but the current prototype has a couple of oversights that make installing a long+tall card over a certain size all but impossible. So that testing will have to wait until prototype 2. And of course I've been working on some other fixes/adjustments for things that became apparent once I had the case in-hand.

It's certainly commendable to see just how much planning, work and revision goes into bringing a PC case from design to reality.

Keep up the wonderful work, I'll be watching this thread like a damn hawk.
 

veryrarium

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The ID plate is fastened with a single stud+screw from the backside, which allows it to be rotated to either orientation. The power button on the front panel can also be rotated.
Ah, I see.

The feet are definitely cheaper, as this stand is the thicker 4mm version with machined supports. I think what we'll likely do is include the four feet for horizontal placement by default, and offer the stand separately and/or as another SKU.
Hmm. The reason I asked this is because I was thinking the front logo orientation issue could be solved by providing a stand for horizontal placement as well instead of the typical four corner feet with the same aesthetic (a rectangular face right underneath and flush with the chassis' front face) and print the case logo on the front face of both of the stands rather than on the front of the chassis itself. This was also assuming you didn't mind relocating the logo from the chassis to the stands, which I wasn't so sure about. But having read your reply now I guess this isn't going to happen. :)
 

Urelure

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I honestly don't get the issue with the logo. Almost every single case/console that can go in either horizontal or vertical orientation has this issue, and it's perfectly fine.
 

M4rk

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Popping in to say I'm happy this is finally happening. If you guys need anything, just let me know. :3

EDIT: Dibs on the prototype if you decide to sell it, N.
 

iFreilicht

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Damn this looks great.

A question about the magnetic dust filters: Is their magnetic force strong enough to erase or at least corrupt HDDs?
 

Phuncz

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Very nice case, awesome design and superb manufacturing ! This doesn't look like a prototype at all, this looks like a finished product !

I honestly don't get the issue with the logo. Almost every single case/console that can go in either horizontal or vertical orientation has this issue, and it's perfectly fine.
I agree, it seems like an endlessly discussed non-issue that only some people have issues with.
 

anon

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The real question is WHEN CAN HAZ?!
How long does it generally take a prototype to reach availability?
 

wahaha360

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The real question is WHEN CAN HAZ?!
How long does it generally take a prototype to reach availability?

It depends mostly on Necere at this point.

Here is a quick list:
1. Thermal testing
2. Another prototype to confirm changes
3. I need to sign some papers

Pre-orders starts.
 

Necere

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@all: thanks for the compliments.

Print the logo on the button and then you can have it in whatever orientation you want!
You're probably not serious, but the power button is the same as the M1 uses, and has the light-up I/O icon on the front, so no room for a logo.

Popping in to say I'm happy this is finally happening. If you guys need anything, just let me know. :3

EDIT: Dibs on the prototype if you decide to sell it, N.
Hey M4rk, good to hear from you again. Doubt we'll sell the prototype - it's inferior to the production version, and doesn't even have USB ports (they needed new tooling so we elected not to include them until the front ports were decided on).

Damn this looks great.

A question about the magnetic dust filters: Is their magnetic force strong enough to erase or at least corrupt HDDs?
Nah, that's a myth. You need very powerful magnets to do any damage to a HDD. Remember that mechanical hard drives already have fairly strong magnets inside, mere millimeters from the disk surface.
 

wahaha360

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Popping in to say I'm happy this is finally happening. If you guys need anything, just let me know. :3

EDIT: Dibs on the prototype if you decide to sell it, N.

Missed your post when I was looking earlier.

Welcome back.
 

Phuncz

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If they were black, would it still be a "problem" ?

I personally don't mind having them the way they are now, but I'd miss them due to most boards with a headphone amplifier using the Front Panel audio connector.
 

backfeed

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Joining the choir of praise; the prototype looks amazing, even better than I imagined, and I really like the dust filter solution!
 

The_Oasis

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Wow, that is really stunning. I'd switch right to it, if I weren't already using the M1. Next build, maybe.
 
D

Deleted member 222586

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Soon. I only have a blower GPU to test atm though (a GTX 780), so it won't be a complete result until I can get my hands on an open cooler card. That likely won't happen for a bit, however, since I want to test a larger card (e.g., an ASUS Strix), but the current prototype has a couple of oversights that make installing a long+tall card over a certain size all but impossible. So that testing will have to wait until prototype 2. And of course I've been working on some other fixes/adjustments for things that became apparent once I had the case in-hand.

IMO, people should take non-reference designs as their own risk. I know simply looking at my M1 that you will not accept that and test it regardless... but I'm just saying that as this case will has no ventilation inside (there is no space!!!) the chances of a non-blowing design working are... probably scarce. Specially when we consider that the cards that use non-blowing are the ones that use the most power.



It's certainly commendable to see just how much planning, work and revision goes into bringing a PC case from design to reality.

Keep up the wonderful work, I'll be watching this thread like a damn hawk.

It also shows how fucking useless the rest of the computer case manufacturers are in regards to getting things right. I still remember the FT03 I had: it was probably the less thought-out case you could ever get. As in "lets have an idea and produce it without ever testing it". Yup, functionality was so bad, the case was a real pain to work with. Heck it got hot as a roaster not matter the amount of fans you put into it :mad:

So I managed to take some pics of the prototype today:


















In any case, I have it in my hands... my wallet, I mean, you dirty computer freaks :D

OK, lets right 350€ as a personal expense in my personal accounts for this year. If it happens next then I saved money because I went under-budget :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Popping in to say I'm happy this is finally happening. If you guys need anything, just let me know. :3

EDIT: Dibs on the prototype if you decide to sell it, N.

Yup, its happening

happening.gif


It depends mostly on Necere at this point.

Here is a quick list:
1. Thermal testing
2. Another prototype to confirm changes
3. I need to sign some papers

Pre-orders starts.

Your involvement seems to involve a lot of work and sweat, from what I see :D :D :D :D

PS: just kidding, ofc.

If they were black, would it still be a "problem" ?

I personally don't mind having them the way they are now, but I'd miss them due to most boards with a headphone amplifier using the Front Panel audio connector.

Cmon Phuncz. Get yourself together, and find a proper headphone amp that sits outside the case. Something like and objective 2 will suffice, and you forget the crappy motherboard implementations, let alone the pain in the ass that is using the front connectors. :) Since using external amps I simply can't get back, and it helps a lot when you are using small cases.

Keeps the desk a bit more organized, too.

Looking pretty. Good thing you resolved your creative block and completed this design.

Yup. You, me and probably every M1 case buyer + others.

And the more M1 buyers there are, the more people out there realise you don't have to accept compromises. Its simply a matter of choice now.

"Do I accept a much cheaper case only to hit myself in the head with every stupid decision that was ever made on the design phase or do I understand that $300 on a case, for a computer worth north of $2000 is really not that much, once you understand the effort put into it, the value of the product itself, and the fact that the community got something to say in regards to its design and production, let alone the finger you show the industry?"

Heck, my keyboard is worth $300. My headphones, a few grand (since I have like a dozen). Monitor isn't really top of the line, but still north of $500 (29" goodness).

How could I say up to 350€ on the case is expensive? I simply can't. Yes, you can have a case for 20€... and I could use a $5 keyboard, and a $5 headphones. Yes, I'll let you use my Senn HD650 for a week then I give you back your shitty headphones, lets see how easy I get my pair back :D :D :D :D

----

IMO, as a business graduate, there is a huge market for cases like this. Its simply uncatalogued territory because companies are too scared to even try: just because you can have a cheap case doesn't mean everybody should. But the fact that nobody has tried to hire the guys at NCASE even shows more. How the hell are companies that blind? That a team of 2 people could release such a fantastical product (with a very decent shipping and information process, which is where things get nasty many times) is a huge feat... just as much as it is that the industry doesn't care nor sees the value both have for any business endeavour.

Oh well, I can keep dreaming...
 
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wahaha360

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Your involvement seems to involve a lot of work and sweat, from what I see :D :D :D :D

PS: just kidding, ofc.

Most of my work will start after Necere is done with the prototype, plus who do you think helps Necere stay on-schedule-ish for the progress until now :p
 
D

Deleted member 222586

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Most of my work will start after Necere is done with the prototype, plus who do you think helps Necere stay on-schedule-ish for the progress until now :p

Yes, I agree with you that somebody has to do the whipping. :D:D:D:D
 

Necere

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IMO, people should take non-reference designs as their own risk. I know simply looking at my M1 that you will not accept that and test it regardless... but I'm just saying that as this case will has no ventilation inside (there is no space!!!) the chances of a non-blowing design working are... probably scarce.
Not necessarily. It really depends on how well the compartmentalized GPU and venting concept works. Remember, the idea is to have the GPU close enough to the side intake vents that the fans will draw in air, which is then forced out through the top. I believe Silverstone actually recommends an open cooler card for the RVZ02 because of how effective it is in their case.

It also shows how fucking useless the rest of the computer case manufacturers are in regards to getting things right. I still remember the FT03 I had: it was probably the less thought-out case you could ever get. As in "lets have an idea and produce it without ever testing it". Yup, functionality was so bad, the case was a real pain to work with. Heck it got hot as a roaster not matter the amount of fans you put into it :mad:
That might be just a bit harsh. I always feel a little bad when I see people trashing a new case design from a company, because you know some designers and engineers worked on that, and presumably they at least tried to do a good job of it. But they have to work under a lot of constraints, too, and maybe it doesn't end up as good as it could be because their bosses tell them they need to hit a price point, or they aren't given the time or resources to properly test designs.

From what I've seen, Silverstone does actually do a fair bit of testing and tweaking of their designs before sending them to production. They tried something new with the FT03, and it doesn't surprise me if it has a few more quirks than a more conventional design.

Your involvement seems to involve a lot of work and sweat, from what I see :D :D :D :D

PS: just kidding, ofc.
While I do basically all of the actual design and engineering, w360 handles the day-to-day business of keeping NCASE running: dealing with customers, arranging shipments, managing inventory, finances, etc. I really couldn't do it all on my own, quite honestly, so he's as indispensable to this project as I am.

But the fact that nobody has tried to hire the guys at NCASE even shows more.
Who says they haven't :p But here again, I'll be honest and say that I probably wouldn't make a great employee. I wouldn't do well under the types of constraints that I talked about above. I also have my own way of doing things - largely ignorant of formal design or engineering practices, and on my own schedule. In some respects, my lack of formal knowledge might actually be of benefit, since I'm forced to come up with my own way of doing things, and that can lead to some novel solutions. Can't help but think outside the box if you don't know what's in the box to begin with.
 

Phuncz

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Cmon Phuncz. Get yourself together, and find a proper headphone amp that sits outside the case. Something like and objective 2 will suffice, and you forget the crappy motherboard implementations, let alone the pain in the ass that is using the front connectors. :) Since using external amps I simply can't get back, and it helps a lot when you are using small cases.
While external amps are a solution, it would mean another power socket, another device on my desk, another bunch of crap to lug around when going to LAN parties, etc etc.
I already have a decent external headphone amp, by the way. But it has been sitting in it's box since I got my amped front port.

And all that while the ALC1150 + headphone amp is good enough for my Sennheiser HD555 and I'd guess most people using decent headphones for gaming. But ofcourse I'm not the demographic for all the customers, so it's just my opinion. I could solve this with a PCI bracket like this:

ULT40069_FeatIOBracket.jpg

But that wouldn't be a solution for this case :)

But again, I'm just one user in the pond, if Necere, and Wahaha360 feel the other way, I'll shut up :)

Who says they haven't :p But here again, I'll be honest and say that I probably wouldn't make a great employee. I wouldn't do well under the types of constraints that I talked about above. I also have my own way of doing things - largely ignorant of formal design or engineering practices, and on my own schedule. In some respects, my lack of formal knowledge might actually be of benefit, since I'm forced to come up with my own way of doing things, and that can lead to some novel solutions. Can't help but think outside the box if you don't know what's in the box to begin with.
I'd also think that a case like the Ncase M1 could have never existed without you and Wahaha360 teaming up, being independent and doing things with clear goals without sacrificing design and quality over a few cents.
But I'm also quite sure most designers and engineers (not all ofcourse) just don't to draw outside the lines by doing side-projects. In the end, the car industry sometimes pops out the most insane skunkworks back-of-the-napkin ideas into production. Even Lian-Li seems to have an open mind on some of their products. But I get where you are coming from, since this is semingly going like desired, I'd try to continue down the road Ncase is going instead of walking the very similar-looking road which in the end always goes another way that is dictated by financial success.
 
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wahaha360

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While I do basically all of the actual design and engineering, w360 handles the day-to-day business of keeping NCASE running: dealing with customers, arranging shipments, managing inventory, finances, etc. I really couldn't do it all on my own, quite honestly, so he's as indispensable to this project as I am.

Necere has the fun part of the project - design, I handle the more boring parts - everything else.

I only get involved with design to help Necere with his creative lulls.

Tbh, he is the better designer and I'm better with operations - so the division of responsibility makes sense.

I'd also think that a case like the Ncase M1 could have never existed without you and Wahaha360 teaming up, being independent and doing things with clear goals without sacrificing design and quality over a few cents......I'd try to continue down the road Ncase is going instead of walking the very similar-looking road which in the end always goes another way that is dictated by financial success.

That's basically the plan.
 
D

Deleted member 222586

Guest
Not necessarily. It really depends on how well the compartmentalized GPU and venting concept works. Remember, the idea is to have the GPU close enough to the side intake vents that the fans will draw in air, which is then forced out through the top. I believe Silverstone actually recommends an open cooler card for the RVZ02 because of how effective it is in their case.

Good point. Mmm, haven't thought it like that, and you might be right.

Sooo... when are you starting with the testing, you say? ;) :D

That might be just a bit harsh. I always feel a little bad when I see people trashing a new case design from a company, because you know some designers and engineers worked on that, and presumably they at least tried to do a good job of it. But they have to work under a lot of constraints, too, and maybe it doesn't end up as good as it could be because their bosses tell them they need to hit a price point, or they aren't given the time or resources to properly test designs.

From what I've seen, Silverstone does actually do a fair bit of testing and tweaking of their designs before sending them to production. They tried something new with the FT03, and it doesn't surprise me if it has a few more quirks than a more conventional design.

It was harsh, because you have to be harsh. I understand that you can't because you are part of the industry now and... who knows! :D But I'm only a customer and, as such, I can speak freely. And I do, because its my hard earned money we are talking about and supposedly premium products.

Trust me, though, you only have to mount one system on the FT03 to realise that in order to have that many flaws you either didn't care at all, or you didn't test it at all. Such a pain in the ass was the case to use. And I loved the designed (heck, I still do), but the functionality was terrible. So bad and annoying. Heck even moving the thing around was troublesome, as all the side panels were held together by push pins (sans one side, that was non-removable) and everybody knows you don't want to hold something heavy (steel structure + very thick alu ain't light) when its held together by push-pins, specially when the base isn't lined up with the sides, which means you gotta carry it in a very awkwardly position. Funny that, inside, there were 0 push-pins :mad:

While I do basically all of the actual design and engineering, w360 handles the day-to-day business of keeping NCASE running: dealing with customers, arranging shipments, managing inventory, finances, etc. I really couldn't do it all on my own, quite honestly, so he's as indispensable to this project as I am.

I was only joking ;) I know that, as a team, you both had very different roles in the coming-to-be, but both roles were critical to the success of the project. Your part gets more attention than the other, because we get to see the different steps and changes in design and what not, whereas W360 has the "darker side", the one nobody sees but is as important for the whole thing to work in the end.

Who says they haven't :p But here again, I'll be honest and say that I probably wouldn't make a great employee. I wouldn't do well under the types of constraints that I talked about above. I also have my own way of doing things - largely ignorant of formal design or engineering practices, and on my own schedule. In some respects, my lack of formal knowledge might actually be of benefit, since I'm forced to come up with my own way of doing things, and that can lead to some novel solutions. Can't help but think outside the box if you don't know what's in the box to begin with.

Who says employee? I was talking about cosultant. Heck, how many M1's have been sold already? Now imagine if you could slap a famous brand onto the case, and shave a few dozen $, which is something feasible in a large scale operation: I bet sales would triple, easily.

All in all, I really hope you are making a decent profit on the cases... as I want more NCASE's to come out ;)

While external amps are a solution, it would mean another power socket, another device on my desk, another bunch of crap to lug around when going to LAN parties, etc etc.
I already have a decent external headphone amp, by the way. But it has been sitting in it's box since I got my amped front port.

And all that while the ALC1150 + headphone amp is good enough for my Sennheiser HD555 and I'd guess most people using decent headphones for gaming. But ofcourse I'm not the demographic for all the customers, so it's just my opinion. I could solve this with a PCI bracket like this:

I don't know. The Auzentech Forte I had never made the HD555 shine, it lacked the power to do so. And once you go with harder to drive headphones, you do need more power and voltage., while keeping a low impedance.

Good luck trying to power something like HD650 via something internal ;)
 

rawrr

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I don't know. The Auzentech Forte I had never made the HD555 shine, it lacked the power to do so. And once you go with harder to drive headphones, you do need more power and voltage., while keeping a low impedance.

Good luck trying to power something like HD650 via something internal ;)

Q701s here. I went to some lengths trying to find an amp for my needs. Like Phuncz, I wanted mine to be portable, and didn't necessary like having to have another box on my desk.

It turns out that some of the "USB-stick" DAC/amps are pretty good. In particular, the Meridian Explorer, the AudioQuest Dragonfly, and the Schiit Fulla. By no means are they going to be better than standard amps, but they are good alternatives for these situations.
 

EdZ

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It takes surprisingly little to power a good pair of headphones perfectly (i.e. audibly transparent), and even less to merely drive them very well. Once you have that, any other effect (e.g. the 'valve amp sound') can be applied as a filter or EQ setting in software.
In terms of an unamplified line-output, any modern motherboard with HD-Audio (and some of the better non-standard AC97 implementations) will be more than sufficient to drive any headphone or speaker available if you have the correct amplifier for that headphone/speaker. The only benefit of an outboard USB DAC is if your motherboard has some noise isolation issues, or the convenience of automatic audio switching on unplugging the DAC (useful for portable setups). On-board amplification is less well implemented, particularly when tied to only the front panel connector (usually passing through a long unshielded untwisted wire looping around various electrically noisy components).
 
D

Deleted member 222586

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It takes surprisingly little to power a good pair of headphones perfectly (i.e. audibly transparent), and even less to merely drive them very well. Once you have that, any other effect (e.g. the 'valve amp sound') can be applied as a filter or EQ setting in software.
In terms of an unamplified line-output, any modern motherboard with HD-Audio (and some of the better non-standard AC97 implementations) will be more than sufficient to drive any headphone or speaker available if you have the correct amplifier for that headphone/speaker. The only benefit of an outboard USB DAC is if your motherboard has some noise isolation issues, or the convenience of automatic audio switching on unplugging the DAC (useful for portable setups). On-board amplification is less well implemented, particularly when tied to only the front panel connector (usually passing through a long unshielded untwisted wire looping around various electrically noisy components).

I know. But keep in mind that amping is not about power, but about voltage and amperage. Yes, power is the product of both, but headphones do not require a certain amount of power, but a certain amount of amperage at a given voltage.

All in all, I'm not using anything fancy. I have to use USB audio because of my shitty power installation at home (otherwise everything gets mixed up with the sound :S even turning a lamp by the desk ), and then I have an Objective 2 as the amp (and the odac inside, because its the most convenient setup). Small, useful, convenient and good sounding.
 

Tinkerer

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Was looking at the new pictures and thought about PlayStation 2 logo that could be rotated if you changed orientation of console. Probably too labour/cost intensive compared to current logo.

As a example.
logo_zpsvdhymvwk.jpg

Looking at it the N could probably be aligned differently as could be mistake for a Z.
 

Allanitomwesh

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That is one pretty prototype.
EDIT
On the topic of the front NCASE Logo,I think putting it on the stand really would work now.
 
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Very cool! :)

Are you going to remove the radius corners on the wrap around side panel corners? Looks like they weren't there on the original concept renderings.
 

Necere

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Very cool! :)

Are you going to remove the radius corners on the wrap around side panel corners? Looks like they weren't there on the original concept renderings.
Nope. The corners are fairly sharp without the radius, so they'll be staying.
 
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