Stalled Concept MicroATX - Inline Cooling

LocoMoto

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I couldn't really figure out where to put this so please move it if needed to.

Been having a layout of an inline cooled somewhat slim MicroATX system nagging me in my head the last few days, decided to quickly play around with SketchUp for testing out some component compatibility and I've got this so far..



Of course this would in theory get custom made heatsinks for the GPUs and the CPU/Mobo, that would also be pretty much needed to route cables from the TFX PSU and the risers to the components.

The rear would get two 60mm fans to aid in exhaust and a fiberglass shroud would come from the front expanding at the GPU area after which it would collapse towards the CPU area and finally ending it all by connecting with the rear exhaust area.
Still unsure on some design aspects of it like exact shape (incl. shape to accommodate cabling), volumes of the distinct areas and such. o_O

I'm deciding to leave it at that for now but I am so very interested as to what ideas you have for this concept, if you got any inspiration from the design/layout of it! :D

Oh! Might just throw this out there but if making this into a rectangular cuboid then the volume would come out at around 13l plus or minus a bit depending on case thickness so not the best SFF but not the worst either. :)
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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The basic layout seems feasible, the two limiting factors are going to be the TFX PSU and especially the PCIe extenders.

Switching to SFX/SFX-L would easily fix the power issue since you can get up to 800W with those.

PCIe extender will be tricky because it will need to make multiple bends to reorient the cards perpendicular to the PCIe slots like that. The 3M cables could certainly do it, but now you're talking around $200 for the cost of the case in extenders alone.
 

LocoMoto

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The basic layout seems feasible, the two limiting factors are going to be the TFX PSU and especially the PCIe extenders.

Switching to SFX/SFX-L would easily fix the power issue since you can get up to 800W with those.

PCIe extender will be tricky because it will need to make multiple bends to reorient the cards perpendicular to the PCIe slots like that. The 3M cables could certainly do it, but now you're talking around $200 for the cost of the case in extenders alone.
Yeah, some very good points that really demonstrates that this is only a concept, the cost of putting together 1x CPU/Mobo heatsink and 2x GPU heatsinks would itself be a major hole in the wallet even without prototyping. Heck, I'm not even entirely sure where I'd turn for getting those made

The TFX PSU would also be very limiting in most stock cabling and power outputs but one of very few alternatives that won't require a more cuboid shape, 2x Titans would not work very well with it. Good thing about this though is that you'd likely see less heat generated (Assuming you'd put in a pair of the most powerful cards available within the given power restrictions) and that is beneficial.
 

jtd871

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Jun 22, 2015
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PCIe extender will be tricky because it will need to make multiple bends to reorient the cards perpendicular to the PCIe slots like that. The 3M cables could certainly do it, but now you're talking around $200 for the cost of the case in extenders alone.
Rotate the motherboard 90 degrees (either way)?
 

LocoMoto

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Rotate the motherboard 90 degrees (either way)?
It would solve a riser complication but create dire complications for the inline cooling, psu placement and cpu cooling capacity. Some minor complications related to the exterior I/O as well.:eek:
 

Thehack

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Why not just use a regular layout? This layout doesn't seem to add any space efficiency.

For example, given PSU above the motherboard, 4 slot height, 170mm width, room for 25mm thickness fan in the front,

You can hit 13L without any extenders. This is kind of different for the sake of being different without any improved space efficiency.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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I think the intention is that if the video cards had aftermarket heatsinks that were aligned to the airflow from the fans in front of them, it'd be better and quieter GPU cooling.
 

Thehack

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I think the intention is that if the video cards had aftermarket heatsinks that were aligned to the airflow from the fans in front of them, it'd be better and quieter GPU cooling.
I see. But then you'd choose coolers that have lateral fins, and then you'd dump about 300W worth of heat right over the CPU... which I guess you can negate with CLC... but still.

I doubt this is more efficient at cooling than using 5 slot, front to back layout, and choosing gpu coolers with longitude fins.

And $200 worth of extenders can easily go towards the premium of hybrid GPUs which are much better at cooling.
 

LukeD

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Very interesting layout LocoMoto.
Looking at the dimensions of the case I thought the layout inside is going to be something different :)
And it was :) (in a different way) hahah
Would you put some sort of support for the back of the case ? I can imagine it tilting - or is that the idea ?
 

CC Ricers

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Props on the unique design. I agree with the others- it's gonna be a huge pain seating and connecting the GPUs in that angle.

Here's a layout I don't see proposed yet: switch the PSU and GPU locations. SO have the PSU facing the front, with the power cord coming out of the opened area on top.

Then mount the GPUs either directly plugged to the mobo like normal, or vertically w/riser, exposing the cooler to the side panel. Or provide the option for either normal or vertical GPU support.

You would have to eschew the front fan locations for this layout, but you can probably move those two fans right below the motherboard to push air up that way.
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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Aside from already mentioned issues with the risers and PSU, my biggest issue with this layout is that all the waste heat from the GPUs is getting blown straight into the CPU/motherboard/PSU. The GPUs are by far the components that generate the most waste heat, and ideally you want that heat exiting the system as quickly and directly as possible to minimize the negative effect on other components.
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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What about turning the airflow around so it intakes from the back and exhausts towards the front? That way you'd get good airflow and the GPUs only get a little pre-heated air of something like 100W waste heat maximum.
 

LocoMoto

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One problem with moving the GPU(s) to the bottom of the Mobo would be the loss of space for the cooling system at the expense of a bulkier case that would restrict more of the airflow.:\

As for support @LukeD it would get a pair of case feet! ;)

The fiberglass shroud would help with controlling air velocities, pressure and of course the flow of air, I'm also trying to come up with good solution to conduct some heat between the GPU and Mobo while probably using the high velocity zone at the start or before the CPU to help draw in some extra "fresh" air.
But I share the concerns you have of waste heat, that sort of makes me more interested in this concept though.. :oops: @iFreilicht I am certainly thinking about that, it should work quite well and the performance loss ought to be negated by the relocated waste heat, great suggestion!


Will attach a quick sketch of a considerably rough >representation< of the shroud (muddy clear color).
A case fan (or how many I'm able to cram in there) outside the shroud should come in very handy

 
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EdZ

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May 11, 2015
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If you're going for completely custom heatsinks already, and inline cooling using shared fans, who not go hog-wild: Place the GPUs opposite the motherboard on the other case sidewall, with the PSU above or below the assembly (along one of the 'short' sides).

Very long risers needed, but it has some advantages in that all the ports (both GPU and motherboard) face out the back, all components are 'in parallel' so do not ingest each others' hot exhaust, and overall case length can be shortened. For extra madness, both GPUs and CPU could share a single unitary heatsink, though that makes things a lot more complicated to design by lowering the tolerance available.The downside is each heatsink gets a smaller Z-height to work with (needs to be 'long and low'), and assembly is complicated by having to 'fold' the case together.
 

LocoMoto

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If you're going for completely custom heatsinks already, and inline cooling using shared fans, who not go hog-wild: Place the GPUs opposite the motherboard on the other case sidewall, with the PSU above or below the assembly (along one of the 'short' sides).
Man, that layout seems quite elegant, very symmetric, would open up to more potent PSUs, short distance for the heat to escape the case, I/O lining up at the rear, a different approach to the inline cooling, bigger fans.
A very attractive idea, gives me a lot to think about, not entirely sure how I feel about the added width that it comes with, the reduced heatsink Z-height mostly affects the CPU compared to my layout but moving the PSU away from the Mobo only puts a flexible riser in the way of expanding it on the Y-axis, quite brilliant actually! :eek:
Gosh, got all giddy playing around with your layout in my head.:oops:
 

EdZ

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I increased Z to accommodate 120mm fans, but the same layout could drop down as far the the GPU brackets hitting the top of the I/O shield with 4x 80mm fans, or in-between with 3x 92mm fans, depending on desired heatsink clearance.