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Concept 10L Cube style case with 140mm EK-MLC Phoenix support

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
Hey everyone,

This is my first 'Custom Project' thread since I've spent most of my time in the Concepts sub-forum - but it is time for me to leave the Concepts behind me (yes I know for now this thread is in the concept stage, shhh) and actually put my idea into reality.

This is a personal project, a case design for my needs, so some of the choices may seem strange to some.

The case concept is simple: ITX Mobo, ITX GPU, SFX PSU, 140mm EK-MLC Phoenix Radiator core in the front, around or under 10L.
To help me bring this to light I have been chatting to the guys at PC Design Foundry who are a relatively new player in the custom case fabrication game and they've been extremely quick and responsive in helping me kick start this project.
To see some more of their work either check out their website above or check out diceboii13's expandable case concept here.

Currently I'm in the process of finalising some design decisions like the look of the front of the case and so on, but here are some of the initial renders:


Initial dimensions are:
Height = 232.76
Width = 160.4
Length = 284
volume = 10.6 L

This will almost certainly change a few times before the final design is confirmed.

There's more to come very shortly and as soon as the design is finalised production on the final case will begin, but I hope you all like the design and feel free to throw any thoughts or suggestions below.

Cheers,

Tazpr
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Nov 11, 2015
852
694
The case concept is simple: ITX Mobo, ITX GPU, SFX PSU, 140mm EK-MLC Phoenix Radiator core in the front, around or under 10L.

What is your airflow plan...?

If front intake, are you depending on the PSU to exhaust, which is getting its only air from within the chassis...?

If front exhaust, it looks like the only intake is going to be from below, which will be pre-heated by the GPU...?
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
What is your airflow plan...?

If front intake, are you depending on the PSU to exhaust, which is getting its only air from within the chassis...?

If front exhaust, it looks like the only intake is going to be from below, which will be pre-heated by the GPU...?
It's not on the model yet but there is going to be ventilation on the rear of the case. Due to the short deptch of the case and lack of top ventilation the front high static pressure fan will push all hot air out the back of the case. PSU will assist with this too obviously, but I'm planning on using a Noctua Industrial 140mm fan (either 2000 RPM or 3000 RPM) which move pretty insane amount of air.

But it's tricky to keep volume down with additional airflow other than that front fan - I'm just banking on the front fan being able to push the hot air out the back due to high airflow and low distance...
 

tinyitx

King of Cable Management
Jan 25, 2018
781
696
But it's tricky to keep volume down with additional airflow other than that front fan - I'm just banking on the front fan being able to push the hot air out the back due to high airflow and low distance...
I am not too optimistic about this because:-
a. front fan is also acting as a radiator fan, meaning air pulling in from outside has to go through a radiator first
b. front fan does not have an unobstructed intake. It is facing a solid front panel and has to rely on that fairly narrow vent strip along the case top to intake air
And, if an high speed industrial fan is used to force air through, noise is going to be nice, not just from the fan itself but also probably from turbulence when air passing through the front vent grille.
Purely my speculation though.
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
I am not too optimistic about this because:-
a. front fan is also acting as a radiator fan, meaning air pulling in from outside has to go through a radiator first
b. front fan does not have an unobstructed intake. It is facing a solid front panel and has to rely on that fairly narrow vent strip along the case top to intake air
And, if an high speed industrial fan is used to force air through, noise is going to be nice, not just from the fan itself but also probably from turbulence when air passing through the front vent grille.
Purely my speculation though.
Fair points, although the front is definitely not final - this is expected to change and include a whole bunch more ventilation - but in saying that, what would you suggest for exhausting hot air?
Maybe a top mounted slim 120mm fan above the motherboard or something - there is a gap there that could accommodate this.

I'm not going to change the core of the design with front rad, ITX MOBO and GPU with PSU over the top.
 

tinyitx

King of Cable Management
Jan 25, 2018
781
696
Maybe a top mounted slim 120mm fan above the motherboard or something - there is a gap there that could accommodate this.

I'm not going to change the core of the design with front rad, ITX MOBO and GPU with PSU over the top.
I think, a 120mm extract fan on the side panel might be better because its proximity to the GPU makes it more effective to remove hot exhaust dumped out of the GPU in addition to remove the air passed through the radiator.
Of course, the PSU's fan needs to point toward the CPU to (a) avoid flow conflict with this side panel extract fan and (b) to suck in air to create some airflow over the motherboard (and the possibly top mounted M.2 SSD) for cooling.
 
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Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
I think, a 120mm extract fan on the side panel might be better because its proximity to the GPU makes it more effective to remove hot exhaust dumped out of the GPU in addition to remove the air passed through the radiator.
Of course, the PSU's fan needs to point toward the CPU to (a) avoid flow conflict with this side panel extract fan and (b) to suck in air to create some airflow over the motherboard (and the possibly top mounted M.2 SSD) for cooling.
I'm not sure there'd be space on the side for a fan is the issue - more likely to fit a top mounted fan.
The side of the case will mean that any hot air being exhausted by the GPU will instantly be pushed out the top or into the PSU fan and exhausted out the back.

There isn't anywhere else for the air to go really since the entire front is fan and the air path leads either out through ventilation or into PSU/theoretical top fan.

Currently I'm thinking of making the front a fully open design to aid this - I think if the case is relying heavily on the airflow of the front fan it will need to have unrestricted breathing room.

Thanks for the feedback @tinyitx I appreciate it :)
 

diceboii13

Trash Compacter
Nov 4, 2018
34
61
Looks promising! I think try to make ventilation all 4 bends in the front panel (like u did in the top side) and use it as an exhaust. It can pull air under the case and exhaust it in the front, because the hot air always want to go up. Interesting PSU placement btw, It can work if you figure out the airflow. Good job!
 

ermac318

Average Stuffer
Mar 10, 2019
81
47
Is the intent with the EK-MLC 140 radiator to cool both CPU & GPU? I know you said this is your specific needs but the EK-MLC rad cores are obviously pretty big compared to a normal rad or AIO, so just wondering if that's the use case.

If it is, you should plan out channels and extra space for the QDCs and tubing, since being a modular semi-closed system you can't trim tube lengths down without starting over on fluids.
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
Looks promising! I think try to make ventilation all 4 bends in the front panel (like u did in the top side) and use it as an exhaust. It can pull air under the case and exhaust it in the front, because the hot air always want to go up. Interesting PSU placement btw, It can work if you figure out the airflow. Good job!
Thanks Dice! more recent renders have ventilation on all of the angled sides as well as front ventilation to allow maximum airflow.
I'm adding a top slim fan so I don't think I will need to use the front as exhaust.
Is the intent with the EK-MLC 140 radiator to cool both CPU & GPU? I know you said this is your specific needs but the EK-MLC rad cores are obviously pretty big compared to a normal rad or AIO, so just wondering if that's the use case.

If it is, you should plan out channels and extra space for the QDCs and tubing, since being a modular semi-closed system you can't trim tube lengths down without starting over on fluids.
So the point of the MLC is that it's a self contained unit that will only require 2 runs of tube. I won't be using the included tubes in my loop - since this is a personal build my intention was never really to use the MLC out of the box with the QDC's and all.
The final case will allow for longer graphics cards and a 120mm AIO in the front if need be, but my intention is to overclock the i7 9700K to over 5Ghz - by allowing for the MLC 140 you really allow for any 120/140mm radiator options except perhaps VERY thick rads.
 
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ermac318

Average Stuffer
Mar 10, 2019
81
47
So the point of the MLC is that it's a self contained unit that will only require 2 runs of tube. I won't be using the included tubes in my loop - since this is a personal build my intention was never really to use the MLC out of the box with the QDC's and all.
The final case will allow for longer graphics cards and a 120mm AIO in the front if need be, but my intention is to overclock the i7 9700K to over 5Ghz - by allowing for the MLC 140 you really allow for any 120/140mm radiator options except perhaps VERY thick rads.
So still not very clear (sorry) - are you personally planning on doing both CPU and GPU, or you just want to allow for the biggest possible 140mm AIO for your CPU?
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
So still not very clear (sorry) - are you personally planning on doing both CPU and GPU, or you just want to allow for the biggest possible 140mm AIO for your CPU?
Just CPU for now - no waterblock exists for the RTX 2070 ITX cards at this time.

If they add a waterblock then perhaps down the line I'll add the GPU into the loop, but for now this will purely be for cooling the CPU.
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
Hey all, got some renders of the case in its current form:


Added top exhaust fan, more front ventilation with a nice geometric touch as well as some other minor tweaks.

Some final things, I think the PSU needs to move a bit closer to the side for better clearance over the CPU and I think I want a 4th angled edge to the front so all four sides have the angled style.
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Nov 11, 2015
852
694
If you are planning for a water block on the GPU in the future, make sure you account for the fittings / terminal in your initial internal chassis volume...
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
If you are planning for a water block on the GPU in the future, make sure you account for the fittings / terminal in your initial internal chassis volume...
I did think about it, but it was never really my intension to watercool the GPU, not off a single 140mm radiator, I'm aiming for outstanding CPU cooling at low volume above anything which is the reason for opting for the MLC
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Aug 7, 2018
282
185
So currently doing some refining to the design, adding a small amount of length and width so the case will have space for 270mm GPU's with a 120mm AIO running push/pull fans in the front.

Also added enough width to account for potential Waterblock mounting in the case, so if I can get a waterblock for an ITX card I could have a fully watercooled system.

Andrew from PC Design Foundry is just finalizing tolerances and mounting holes for rads and stand offs.
While the internal volume is still around or just under 10 litres, the external volume including the front facia, feet and rear overhand past the IO comes to a tiny bit over 12 litres.

Will post latest renders when I have them.