Production Circle Pro - Unibody CNC SFF with 240mm AIO liquid cooling

ZedSamSplat

Cable Smoosher
Jun 10, 2019
11
3
Status: 04/03/2019 - Out of stock. New batch estimated arrival: May.

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Thank you to everyone in this thread for helping make this case a reality.

Circle Pro
An 11L Mini-ITX case with 240mm liquid cooling, standard. CNC machined out of billets of aluminium. Tempered glass magnetically attached side panels. Supports mini-itx graphic cards up to 213mm long. Two radiator fans and two case fans with two separate dust filters. The entire case assembles with magnetic 3mm Philips screws (screwdriver supplied). 2-5 day worldwide express shipping.























Original post below.

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Hi guys,

I’m super excited to be starting a new project and would love to collaborate with you all to make something great.

I’ve learnt a lot from my last project, Circle One, which you can check out the results from in the HardForum thread HERE or in a photo album HERE.

I’m using this case as my main workstation right now, and it’s fantastic, but there is one thing that really bothers me about it: fan noise under load.

Because SFF cases sit right in front of you on the desk, noise is a critical factor. The limited TDP capacity of slimline coolers like the NH-9Li means that when I do serious work on the Circle One using an i7-7700, the CPU fan ramps up to an annoyingly noticeable level. This isn’t such an issue for gaming, as headphones are in use, but for day-to-day work it is a significant annoyance.

My pitch is this: noise is a problem in this form factor and I think a lot of us struggle with it. I’d like to have a go at solving this in a high performance SFF system, whilst at the same time delivering a beautifully engineered, premium case.

The first part of the solution is obviously to increase cooling performance and to reduce and/or control fan speeds. To that end, the defining component of this design is a 240mm AIO. Everything is defined by this part, including the width and depth of the case. Keeping the fans at a low RPM is important, so choosing an appropriate TDP CPU to maintain steady, low speeds is preferable.

I’ve considered going completely fanless and making the case a passive heatsink with custom heatpipes, but I think that could be a fairly intimidating project. I might consider that for next time. For now, I want to focus on off-the-shelf components.

A focus of this case will be high end manufacturing materials and techniques. Think sand blasted aluminium, rubber mounting grommets, dust filters, CNC machined modular frame parts (instead of sheet metal) and a minimal aesthetic.

Here’s a screenshot of my first pass at a design. One of my friends mentioned that it looks a little similar to the Jonsbo UMX1.



I think the UMX1 is a beautiful case - but I think we can take the concept further and concentrate it into something even better. Below is a mockup of the new concept compared to the UMX1.



Specs:

  • SFX and SFX-L compatible
  • MINI-ITX gpu (maximum card length TBD)
  • 240mm AIO
  • Optional tempered glass side panel
  • Multiple 2.5” drive mounting options
  • More to come

Here is “Project Two” in a lineup with other community developed cases (and a few bigger names as well). I think this helps give perspective on where this concept fits in the family of cases.







Every case has design priorities. This case emphasises:

  1. Low noise
  2. Premium industrial design
  3. Small form factor
  4. Performance

Below are some concept renders. Please note that these renders don’t include important details yet, such as PSU venting holes, case panel parting lines, etc. These renders are just for general concept validation before I go into more detail with the CAD.






What do you guys think? Can anything be clarified or better defined? What would you change in the design brief or in the component choice or layout? Any and all feedback welcome.

Ps. This is my first post on these forums, super glad to be here.
 

Sympathizer

Caliper Novice
Jul 27, 2016
27
22
@CircleTect I'm looking at the Nanook's RTX 2080 build from the previous pages, and I'm very impressed with how he managed to demonstrate the actual capabilities of Circle Pro to accommodate hi-end GPUs. Of course, now I'm wondering if you intend to release an adapter for TFX / FlexATX PSUs or some alternative solution to make such configurations possible right out of the box.

And in addition, I would love to have an option to order Circle Pro with non-transparent side panels. Just a plain metal panels would be a great variant for those of us who don't like to turn their case into a showcase.
 
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jaruri

Chassis Packer
Feb 15, 2018
17
21
@CircleTect or anyone else have any experience with fitting the zotac 1080ti mini with waterblock in the case? Based off of images it seems like the waterblock terminal will be too large to fit without downsizing on fans or radiators. I'm curious if it will work with the 20mm xspc tx240 + standard 25mm fans (for 45mm total), 30mm radiator + slim 15mm fans (45mm total) or with 20mm rad + 15mm fan (35mm total). I'm pretty positive the 35mm combination will work, since the 20mm saved + visible extra space is surely enough for the terminal, but not sure how much leeway beyond that we have.

Would love to hear thoughts if anyone. I want to do a custom build with new gen ryzen + 1080ti mini (a lot of heat for a single 240mm, but why not?) in this case!
 

tinyitx

King of Cable Management
Jan 25, 2018
854
775
Someone in China just did a build with this case. (https://www.chiphell.com/thread-2010685-1-1.html)
So, I did a quick Taobao search and found 2 shops, seemingly, still selling this case.
Maybe they have hoarded up some stock a while back?
Anyway, I see a big difference in price. I do not know why though. But if someone is 'desperate' enough to have this case, contact them to confirm if they still have stock.


 

jaruri

Chassis Packer
Feb 15, 2018
17
21
Looks like the tx240 will not fit in the case. The end tank is too long to get it to fit. It is very close though, just a few mm more space or smaller end tank and it would fit. I'm considering filing off some material on the rad to round it off and see if that gets the shape just right into the space. Using 15mm fans seems unlikely as well.

My plans for using the 1080ti with a full coverage block seems to be impossible. :(

Anyone have any ideas?
 

WinterCharm

Trash Compacter
Jan 19, 2019
34
25
Looks like the tx240 will not fit in the case. The end tank is too long to get it to fit. It is very close though, just a few mm more space or smaller end tank and it would fit. I'm considering filing off some material on the rad to round it off and see if that gets the shape just right into the space. Using 15mm fans seems unlikely as well.

My plans for using the 1080ti with a full coverage block seems to be impossible. :(

Anyone have any ideas?
Instead of filing, consider carefully sanding the material on the very end of the water block, near the side where the pipes come in/out. Structurally speaking, most radiators have piping going from the Inlet and outlet TOWARDS the radiator. There shouldn't be any plumbing that goes toward the edge, and it should be safe to carefully sand a few mm of material off.

I've attached a picture that hopefully makes it a bit clearer.
 

Supercluster

Average Stuffer
Feb 24, 2016
82
114
Instead of filing, consider carefully sanding the material on the very end of the water block, near the side where the pipes come in/out. Structurally speaking, most radiators have piping going from the Inlet and outlet TOWARDS the radiator. There shouldn't be any plumbing that goes toward the edge, and it should be safe to carefully sand a few mm of material off.

I've attached a picture that hopefully makes it a bit clearer.
It might be safe to sand off up to (!) 1mm (I would not recommend going over 0.5-0.7mm once you strip the paint off).
How thick do you think that brass is..
 
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Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
4,427
3,958
It might be safe to sand off up to (!) 1mm (I would not recommend going over 0.5-0.7mm once you strip the paint off).
How thick do you think that brass is..
Yes indeed, these radiators don't have 3mm thick walls.
 
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jaruri

Chassis Packer
Feb 15, 2018
17
21
Thanks for the suggestions. The part that is probably the best option to get a good fit from what I can tell is sanding a bit off the two corners of the rad. There is a little bit of space in the front (and back) of the case right under where the corner screw spots are, which the rad just nearly is able to slot into. I think sanding the entire end of the tank is probably too much for the thickness of the walls.

Wish the rad had smaller end takes to begin with, since there is plenty of space available as seen from the distance of the raised bits of the g1/4 threads and the core. :(

My Magicool G2 fits fine, but there is 0% chance that the terminal on the waterblock for the GPU will clear the space leftover. Even the TX240 is going to be tight if its possible at all.
 

jaruri

Chassis Packer
Feb 15, 2018
17
21


Excuse the bad phone pix, but I was able to get the tx240 to fit! Took about an hour of sanding and a long time shoving things where they don't fit 😁

Ended up sanding all four corners down a bit. It fits if you mount it on the back first with the front removed and then hinge the front downwards (to clear the end tank) to the bottom and then securing it.

Now just waiting on my gpu waterblock to test that fit. (shipping from China is killer) And my custom cables were also the wrong length (I miscalculated a few) so I'm getting those done again as well.

Looking forward to figuring out runs in this thing seems like a huge pain lol, there is practically 0 space for it! But that's what makes SFF so rewarding too :)
 

CircleTect

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Circle Studio
May 1, 2017
102
396
circlestudio.co
Not sure what happened to the talks of supporting other PSU form factors or if development has stopped entirely, so decided to have a go at an HDPlex mod.
First of all, development on the case certainly hasn't stopped, but the work on the HDPlex mod has - we ran into the problem of the power cable from the longer GPU clashing with the liquid pipes from the radiator and couldn't find a good enough way to solve it.

Amazing to see your mod work though - keep it up and looking forward to seeing build photos.
 
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Bonusround

Average Stuffer
Jun 26, 2018
64
56
First of all, development on the case certainly hasn't stopped, but the work on the HDPlex mod has - we ran into the problem of the power cable from the longer GPU clashing with the liquid pipes from the radiator and couldn't find a good enough way to solve it.
Is the SSD cage the only impediment to the PCIe socket sitting lower in the case, thus enabling the power cables to clear the radiator?
 
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boof

Efficiency Noob
Apr 15, 2019
7
13
First of all, development on the case certainly hasn't stopped, but the work on the HDPlex mod has - we ran into the problem of the power cable from the longer GPU clashing with the liquid pipes from the radiator and couldn't find a good enough way to solve it.

Amazing to see your mod work though - keep it up and looking forward to seeing build photos.
ah gotcha. It's totally fine if development stops, and is expected once you decide the case is complete, but I just wasn't sure. Is there any teaser about what else is in store?

also, I'm using a 92mm 645lt rad which opened up a bunch of tubing placements, but had the same thought as Bonusround. Seems like lowering the GPU would allow the ordinary tubing placement but may require changing the main panels/frame.
 

boof

Efficiency Noob
Apr 15, 2019
7
13
build pics:

without half of the PSU bracket, cable management becomes stuffing everything behind the GPU/DC-DC unit so I tried my best to put them out of sight. The SSD cage cables are meant for Corsair PSUs so requires re-pinning for HDPlex. I think custom cables would be really satisfying here since the distance for the 24pin ATX is something like 2 inches
 
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lawney

Average Stuffer
Jun 28, 2018
70
52
That's awesome. Make yourself some custom length, unsleeved cables and you're there. Would love to see an official bracket based off your work.
 
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CircleTect

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Circle Studio
May 1, 2017
102
396
circlestudio.co
Awesome work @boof

Based on your efforts I've created some 3D printable brackets which you can mount the HDPlex unit on. This allows people to follow your build without having to cut their PSU shroud. By using a 120mm CPU rad, you'll be able to fit founders cards in the case, or any card up to 268mm long.






You can download the 3D printable files below.

Circle Pro HDPlex 400 brackets V1

If someone who has the HDPlex kit can print this out and give some feedback, I'd love to hear how it goes! :thumb: