10.6L DIY case with semi-passive cooling concept

stefbraun

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 3, 2018
6
16
Hi SFF-community, I have just finished a custom ITX case that is designed for semi-passive cooling, low noise and small volume. All components (CPU, VRM, Chipset, GPU, PSU, RAM, M.2 SSD etc.) lie directly in the airstream of 2x120mm fans. The air pathway is a straightforward wind tunnel design: front inlet, back exhaust. Looking forward to discussing potential improvements!



Features
  • 2x120mm fans
  • 10.6 liters
  • Wind tunnel concept for semi-passive cooling
  • PCIe riser
  • MakerBeam frame
  • Laser-cut panels
  • Vertical case design
  • SFX PSU
  • Cable management (1cm space behind Motherboard baseplate)
Current status:
  1. Concept (Done)
  2. CAD (Done)
  3. Prototype (Done)
  4. Temperature testing (Done)
    1. CPU: 8086k with L9x65 cooler / GPU: GTX 1080 with Morpheus 2 cooler / case fans: 2xNF-A12x25
  5. Future work
    1. De-lid CPU for better temps
    2. Brush metal parts
    3. ...
 
Last edited:

neyurt

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 26, 2018
140
125
Great work!

I experience a lot with aircooled/passive cooling too so I can appreciate a good diy project.

My only critique is that being a vertical case, your I/O will be connected on top and that takes away the cleaness of it. ( I think DSE breathe does similar thing).

I think in this case, I would've dropped the GPU by 2 inches, and have the connectors inside the case and maybe exit out back through a small 1.5x1.5 hole or something. You don't really need to route all the outputs, since u'd probably use 2-3 max out of the 4-5 available display connectors.

If doing that, I'd also rotate the motherboard 90C degree so the I/O can also face the back of the case. It'll be cleaner with all the I/O and wires connect through the back side.
 

aquelito

King of Cable Management
Piccolo PC
Feb 16, 2016
870
952
Nice build but wouldn't you be better off having the fans blowing from bottom to top, just helping natural convection ?
 

FullForceRainbow

Trash Compacter
Bronze Supporter
May 12, 2016
43
47
Nice build but wouldn't you be better off having the fans blowing from bottom to top, just helping natural convection ?
Apparently convection doesn’t make that much of a difference in such a small space with forced airflow. Gamers nexus covered this in their revisit of the Silverstone RV02, a case that had great airflow but was marketed on the basis that the fans being on the bottom of the case made a major difference—turns out turning the case the traditional way offered the same performance!

 

BaK

Airflow Optimizer
May 17, 2016
325
323
Well done! :thumb:
Good to see this concept is working as I am working on almost exactly the same one, but with custom diy coolers!

Did you find all what you need in the MakerBeam Regular Starter Kit or did you have to order some elements of the frame separately?

Nice build but wouldn't you be better off having the fans blowing from bottom to top, just helping natural convection ?
What FFR said, plus having the fans at the bottom, with their needed clearance, will add height to an already tall case. And if you shrink the depth that were taking the fans in front, the case will look even taller I think.
 
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aquelito

King of Cable Management
Piccolo PC
Feb 16, 2016
870
952
@FullForceRainbow : interesting video, thanks for sharing.

However, I'm pretty sure GPU cooling could improve if it was flipped by 180°.
I know it would be a weird setup but the heatpipes work best when pointing towards the top.
Indeed, once cooled, the liquid inside the heatpipes flows back to the heat source thanks to gravity.

@BaK : I'm also working on something similar ahah but with much more modest hardware.
Great minds think alike ;)
 
Last edited:
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stefbraun

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 3, 2018
6
16
@all: Thank you very much for feedback and discussion!

My only critique is that being a vertical case, your I/O will be connected on top and that takes away the cleaness of it. ( I think DSE breathe does similar thing).
--> I acknowledge that the top I/O is not everyone's favorite. Personally, I like it because it makes all connectors so easy to reach, and I don't care about the cables sticking out (again, that is only me). Interestingly, the maker beam frame is well suited for making an additional top hat that covers I/O and cables, just like you mentioned or is realized in the Silverstone FT03-MINI.


Nice build but wouldn't you be better off having the fans blowing from bottom to top, just helping natural convection ?
--> To the best of my knowledge, for PC cases natural convection is negligible compared to forced convection (also see the post of @FullForceRainbow ). I would be more worried about suboptimal heatpipe position. Given that this is very easy to test empirically, I will do the expts. and report the numbers next week.

@FullForceRainbow
--> Thanks for the video, I will do some testing next week, too.

Well done! :thumb:
Did you find all what you need in the MakerBeam Regular Starter Kit or did you have to order some elements of the frame separately?
--> The MakerBeam Starter Kit is nice, but I needed some additional parts (corner cubes, standoffs, T-slot nuts). Can you give any insight on your DIY coolers?

However, I'm pretty sure GPU cooling could improve if it was flipped by 180°.
I know it would be a weird setup but the heatpipes work best when pointing towards the top.
Indeed, once cooled, the liquid inside the heatpipes flows back to the heat source thanks to gravity.
--> Good-quality heatpipes use capillary action to battle gravity. I will do some testing next week.
 
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stefbraun

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 3, 2018
6
16
@FullForceRainbow @aquelito
I have just finnished a quick test wrt. case orientation for 5 different orientations. The fan speed was kept constant at 50% through all tests. I let the system warm up, then changed orientation every 5 minutes. Median CPU/GPU temperatures:
  1. default vertical: 79 / 71
  2. lying on side / supporting heatpipes by gravity: 77 / 69
  3. lying on side / compromising heatpipes by gravity: 78 / 70
  4. fans directed from bottom to top / supporting natural convection: 80 / 71
  5. fans directed from top to bottom / against natural convection: 80 / 73
The temperatures are very similar, and in my opinion they are too close to prefer one particular orientation vs. the default vertical.
 

FullForceRainbow

Trash Compacter
Bronze Supporter
May 12, 2016
43
47
@FullForceRainbow @aquelito
I have just finnished a quick test wrt. case orientation for 5 different orientations. The fan speed was kept constant at 50% through all tests. I let the system warm up, then changed orientation every 5 minutes. Median CPU/GPU temperatures:
  1. default vertical: 79 / 71
  2. lying on side / supporting heatpipes by gravity: 77 / 69
  3. lying on side / compromising heatpipes by gravity: 78 / 70
  4. fans directed from bottom to top / supporting natural convection: 80 / 71
  5. fans directed from top to bottom / against natural convection: 80 / 73
The temperatures are very similar, and in my opinion they are too close to prefer one particular orientation vs. the default vertical.
Super interesting, thanks for testing it out!
 

BaK

Airflow Optimizer
May 17, 2016
325
323
--> The MakerBeam Starter Kit is nice, but I needed some additional parts (corner cubes, standoffs, T-slot nuts).
Same here, will also need extra parts.
Did you order all from Makerbeam directly?
There were sellers on ebay with 10x10mm T slots previously but I don't find any now... No luck on aliexpress either.

Can you give any insight on your DIY coolers?
In short there will be big heatsinks on the case sides, sort of being part of the case, and front fans will blow at them lateraly with a wind tunnel like ours.
Will make a thread here very soon. Fighting wih renderings right now.

@FullForceRainbow
@BaK : I'm also working on something similar ahah but with much more modest hardware.
Great minds think alike ;)
Heh cool! Very curious to see your solution!
Modest and older hardware for me too (i5 3570k + GTX 780Ti) just to see how I am able to keep them cool.

@FullForceRainbow @aquelito
I have just finnished a quick test wrt. case orientation for 5 different orientations.
Very nice, thank you for all the time and effort!
 

stefbraun

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 3, 2018
6
16
Did you order all from Makerbeam directly?
There were sellers on ebay with 10x10mm T slots previously but I don't find any now... No luck on aliexpress either.
Yes, I ordered all from MakerBeam. I did not try any other profiles.

I have just found a very nice comparison, where different cases are compared for cooling performance in different orientations, including thermal images. Again, there is hardly any difference in most situations.
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Vertical-vs-Horizontal-Case-Cooling-89/page2
 
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teodoro

Average Stuffer
Oct 8, 2018
66
31
Is there enough space to mount a 9x14 fan atop the cpu? I’m curious how much it would help with temperatures when run at a speed under the 120mm’s noise level, or if it would have to be going much faster to have an impact
 

Valantar

Master of Cramming
Jan 20, 2018
527
344
Nice build! Other than the unfortunate top I/O (not much to do about that with this airflow path), I think the only thing I'd suggest looking into is some sort of ducting/panelling internally to direct as much air as possible into and through the heatsinks rather than past them, particularly at low fan speeds. Could probably be done (at least as a proof-of-concept) with foam art board or something similarly easily shaped, though something more integrated into the case design would probably be better in the long run.
 

stefbraun

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 3, 2018
6
16
Is there enough space to mount a 9x14 fan atop the cpu? I’m curious how much it would help with temperatures when run at a speed under the 120mm’s noise level, or if it would have to be going much faster to have an impact
Max CPU cooler height (from CPU Heatspreader to GPU backside) is 66.2 mm. This would barely work with the L9x65 (65mm with fan included). Thermalright AXP100 should work better (58mm with fan included). However, I prefer the passive cooling option.

I'll compare passive L9x65 vs passive AXP100 soon.