DAN C4-SFX - Update 28.06.2020

AlexTSG

Airflow Optimizer
Jun 17, 2018
373
332
www.youtube.com
@dondan It’s great to hear that you’re considering finding a way to support 280mm radiators. Even 240mm is pretty great already.

Is there any possibility that you’ll be able to work in an alternate front panel that includes 2 x USB Type-A ports also? I understand that many prefer a bare minimalist front I/O, but I don’t mind paying extra for the option of gaining two more ports up front for stuff like security keys and USB drives. It’s not a hard requirement for me, but having that option would be a nice thing to avoid using USB hubs.
With all the earlier discussion about the front panel, I doubt that front ports will be added. Quite a few people didn't even want the power button on the front panel (top instead).

However, something like this idea from a few pages ago, of putting front IO into the front "foot" could be an option, if not from Dan, then maybe as an after market option:


I've seen a few different feet designs on the prototypes so far, but if you look at this Imgur gallery that Dan posted, you can see the feet, and how it should be quite easy to replace the front one with an IO version, without messing up the aesthetics too much.

 

ReturnedSword

Efficiency Noob
Sep 28, 2018
7
1
With all the earlier discussion about the front panel, I doubt that front ports will be added. Quite a few people didn't even want the power button on the front panel (top instead).

However, something like this idea from a few pages ago, of putting front IO into the front "foot" could be an option, if not from Dan, then maybe as an after market option:


I've seen a few different feet designs on the prototypes so far, but if you look at this Imgur gallery that Dan posted, you can see the feet, and how it should be quite easy to replace the front one with an IO version, without messing up the aesthetics too much.

Personally I'm not that big on the USB-C port being up front, since when something's plugged in, to me it looks awkward. But that's just me, and I do realize having followed this and the previous thread that many potential customers are adamant on the clean look. It just seems a shame to me that with mITX being pretty constrained to begin with, there isn't a way to work in being able to use all possible USB ports. But then again, I'm not the person designing the case, hah!

As for the feet I/O, I think that's rather intriguing. I'm not sure how it would actually work, since every USB front I/O bracket I've seen throughout the years is rather bulky and sticks straight back for a good 2 inches or so. There's also the thick USB 3.x cables to contend with, which makes cable routing a bit annoying if the ports are not vertical mounted on top. I guess Lian Li can do angled connectors, but I don't recall seeing any Lian Li chassis that had angled connectors for the bracket. I'd assume that Lian Li would use the non-chassis parts from their existing parts bin to keep the price of the chassis down, as well.

Well, it would be nice to have the full 2 x USB Type-A + USB Type-C somewhere up front (or top, or side). I'd even be willing to pay more for it as an option/purchasable part. But at the end of the day the C4 has been pretty much the perfect chassis that I've wanted for a while, so not having those extra ports would just make me sad, but I'd likely still buy it.
 

Harding

Efficiency Noob
May 13, 2020
6
7
However, something like this idea from a few pages ago, of putting front IO into the front "foot" could be an option, if not from Dan, then maybe as an after market option:
Maybe that was my post? Or maybe others have mentioned it before me.

I've actually begun some drawing to-scale (on paper and cut-outs 😁) for a possible 3D-printed foot that can hold a front panel PCB (eg.from from AliEx: 1x USB3.0, 1x 3.5mm audio, 1x 3.5mm Mic, 1x USB3.0) for my SFX-A4v2.
Need to learn me some 3d print design skills as I have zero experience there, and also need to figure out how to best guide the cables inside the case.

I actually prefer a PCB like those from/for Sliger (1x USB3.0, 1x Audio, 1x Mic, 1 USB-C; I think it's more or less the same one as Daniel used in the original C4 design?) to the AliEx one, but I haven't found them any place else atm (yes, AliBaba, but haven't asked for quotes yet.. hmm the irony: while I'm willing to pay for a premium SSF case, I can't get myself to pay 20$/20€ for a front panel PCB ☺, even though I payed that exact amount for my A4-SFX single USB3.0 upgrade cable from SFFLab at the time 😏. Damn, I've become a real cheapskate 😄, I might just buy it from Sliger to test anyway, if the cables are long enough/not too long)


I still think it would be a nice add-on/accessory for the C4 to have extra connections in the feet like I tried to illustrate in that previous post. AGAIN: it's a nice-to-have and can become available afterwards, by Daniel or a third party (who knows, maybe me with an amateurish .STL file 😵).

(I fear too much community feedback will drive Daniel crazy in his C4 design, if it hasn't happened already 😂. My apologies)
 
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Harding

Efficiency Noob
May 13, 2020
6
7
(still can't edit, too n00b here, apologies)
Reading ReturnedSword's take on the foot-connector idea, maybe it's a good idea to have extension cables for the mobo connectors to the front/bottom, and connect the footconnector from there. But that would mean the case should specifically have design elements with that purpose in mind.

(I've looked in lian-li's parts catalog (at least, the public one as I'm just a consumer), but couldn't find a PCB with USB-A, HDaudio AND USB-C. Can't imagine they don't have a small front panel PCB with those connectors in their arsenal.)
 

ReturnedSword

Efficiency Noob
Sep 28, 2018
7
1
If there will be an option for adding 2 x USB Type-A, I think a feet I/O won’t be feasible without taking a dremel to the chassis. Then one would run into issues routing a thick shielded USB cable as well.

The best option for adding the port probably would be alongside wherever the USB Type-C port is since the 2 thick cables for both Type-A and Type-B ports would be routed in the same direction. Either on the front panel, closer to the bottom of the chassis, or vertical ports on the top lip of the chassis would be best for cable routing, as well as the bracket itself that’s holding the USB ports.

Come to think about it, it would be mighty useful to have audio jacks too.

All that being said, I want to respect that most of us here like having the single Type-C port, and not to have any soon-to-be legacy ports like Type-A and 3.5mm audio. I’ve noticed other comments suggesting that since SFFPC are quite small, routing USB peripherals or 3.5mm audio through the back I/O shouldn’t be a problem. To me at least, having some I/O options up in the front for stuff that’s plugged/unplugged often would be mighty useful.

That’s why I’m proposing if it’s possible for @dondan to accommodate these proposals, that it’s made as an optional purchase. I’d be more than happy to purchase an alternate panel or I/O block. But if it can’t be done, either due to design constraints or limited production run constraints, I have no problem with falling back to “I’ll work with what I can get.”
 
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jaeparku

Average Stuffer
Oct 19, 2018
70
28
If this case ends up supporting a 280 radiator and 3 slot gpus then I'm sold!
I hope @dondan doesn't support 280 radiator. If you keep accommodating everyone's interests, the case will not excel at anything, and it'll be too large for interest to sffpc community. More people air cool than water cool. Or maybe make a split version - air cool version and water cool version. But increasing the size to appease a small handful of water cooling enthusiasts is silly to me.
 
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Retrias

Trash Compacter
Sep 28, 2018
54
30
I am honestly on the "actual 3 slot compability on traditional layout pls " camp and nothing more, there isnt much more that I want from this case than that. Even then , even if i said 3 slot its pretty much meant " pls be able to fit ROG strix chonk cards" rather than actual 3 slot compability
 

BeerNsoup

Cable-Tie Ninja
Mar 12, 2017
177
127
@dondan Not sure if it's still something you are concerned about, but regarding your comments/worries concerning the interest level in the case I have some thoughts you may want to consider:

1. The nature of long design phases likely misrepresents the level of interest and leads to people checking in less frequently, despite their interest. For people who aren't a constant presence on the forums but have been familiar with the sff market for a bit, I expect many check in sporadically to see if it's imminent and what the current iteration looks like, then move along and might not check back for months. I don't mean to negatively comment on the duration of the design phase, in fact I believe the meticulous nature and constant revisions plays a large part in the quality of the eventual releases for these boutique cases.

I think a lot of people tend to frequent the site and various threads when they are planning a new build or making an upgrade. Their activity on the site, whether or not they post, starts to diminish and become very infrequent until the next time they are thinking about altering their set up. For example, when I saw your comment with a link to the interest level poll and clicked it, the poll no longer existed. So my interest in the case, despite it being on my shortlist of options for an eventual ryzen4000 + rtx3000/rx6000 build is not represented. I suspect I am not unique in that regard.

2. With all due respect to the extremely helpful community, I don't think it is representative of the broad marketability your case will have. It seems to me that the majority of larger computer focused youtubers have something on their channel about the a4. It inspired countless other designs with... varying levels of innovation. Whatever you end up releasing, as the next Dan case it will surely be given it's time in the spotlight on many channels, reaching a much larger audience than the relatively small sff enthusiast community. When a youtuber is deciding what to make a video on; a case from "xyz manufacturing" who no one has heard of, or the next Dan case which had great viewership metrics for their last release, the choice is pretty easy. There are many great case designers here, and I don't wish to ruffle any feathers, but I think it's safe to say that the Dan case and Ncase brands have significantly more brand recognition into the larger PC market than others. It will serve both of you well if/when you release a new case.

Additionally, when the a4 came out a lot of non-sff enthusiasts who stumbled across it thought it was really cool, but didn't seriously consider it because of the cooling limitations. Whenever the C4 releases, a decent portion of those people will probably come to the conclusion that this one has enough cooling potential for them. Whether it supports 240 or 280 rads, it will offer significantly more cooling potential and capture more of the casual market than the a4 did. IMO anyway...



Regarding the feedback you receive on design choices, it's good that you take it into consideration, but don't stumble on it TOO much. Regardless of which direction(s) you go you will lose some people's interest and gain others'.

I will however echo the sentiment that I think 3 slot gpu support is a significant design consideration beyond individual tastes. Everything points to the next wave of gpus being extremely power hungry. As people tend to buy cases when doing a new build or upgrading, I think the decision on whether or not to support 3 slot gpus has a far greater impact on the c4's marketability than whether it support 240mm or 280mm rads. Most people aren't doing custom loops, so accommodating increased gpu cooling for what looks to be a massive increase in mainstream gpu power draw seems to be a vastly more significant factor than the choice between "excellent" and "really excellent" cpu cooling, since it will affect the broader market's use case more.

For my less broadly applicable feedback, I like having the TG option, and preferred the small circular ventilation on the top panel to the long slits. I do prefer the aesthetics of all the c4 variations to the a4 :).

Whatever direction you choose, good luck!
 
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jonomatic

Efficiency Noob
Mar 24, 2020
6
7
@BeerNsoup excellent post and at the risk of me becoming this thread's worst enemy it might be in @dondan s best interest to wait for the reference dimensions and power draw of the new cards before finalising the C4 case requirements and thus the dimensions. It would be absolutely detrimental to release a case that immediately becomes obsolete. Perhaps he can reach out to Nvidia and amd and obtain the dimensions under an NDA
 

BeerNsoup

Cable-Tie Ninja
Mar 12, 2017
177
127
@BeerNsoup excellent post and at the risk of me becoming this thread's worst enemy it might be in @dondan s best interest to wait for the reference dimensions and power draw of the new cards before finalising the C4 case requirements and thus the dimensions. It would be absolutely detrimental to release a case that immediately becomes obsolete. Perhaps he can reach out to Nvidia and amd and obtain the dimensions under an NDA
Thanks! You might be right, and in the grand scheme of things a few more months on what has already been a long process isn't much. With that said, I think a lot of people who would otherwise have upgraded by now felt the recent gpu releases were poor value and have been holding out for the now approaching generation. Purely my own unsubstantiated speculation, but I think it would be very beneficial to any case designers to have something available for purchase at some point in Q4 this year when many of the 900 series, 10 series, 580, 480, etc. owners finally upgrade. I think it might be a higher volume of GPU upgrades than usual, and not having something available might be a missed opportunity. For the C4, the term "opportunity cost" comes to mind. Maybe I'm just incorrectly extrapolating my own situation to the broader market lol.

A lot people will probably see the TDP and go for 3 slot cards regardless of whether or not reviews come out saying 2 slot is still viable. It would be really nice for the sff community if they are, but given the way boost clocks work I'm not optimistic for say 70 series and up. Plenty of others around here probably have a much better knowledge base for this stuff than I, but it's probably a discussion for elsewhere.

Good luck with the incoming "he should delay" hate 😄
 
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PantherB

Caliper Novice
Nov 21, 2018
25
21
Long time lurker in this thread, going to buy this case as soon as it's out. On my wishlist: 280mm radiator and three slot GPU support👍
 
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aaahaaap

Efficiency Noob
Aug 15, 2017
5
2
Also wanted to show my support and interest in this case, it looks like the case I'm looking for.
I have two small questions, might've missed it in the 42 pages, but
  • With a tower cooler would there be enough air intake possibilities from the front since the front is pretty much closed? Where does the air need to come from?
  • With the suggestion to only have the flipped layout a 240mm rad can be mounted on the top, right? That's where I'd want it :)
 

Fletcheroo

Case Bender
New User
May 15, 2020
2
0
Hey Dan! I've been wanting to downsize, but I am afraid that my GPU is too large for many ITX chassis. I have an MSI GTX 1080 Armor OC. It is 140 mm wide, which makes it too large for the ncase m1, sliger sm550/560, and the Dan A4 (supports 144 mm, but I think it will go over that once you factor in the power cable for the GPU. Will this case work with my GPU in either sandwich or classic style?
 

rfarmer

Shrink Way Wielder
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
1,936
1,915
Hey Dan! I've been wanting to downsize, but I am afraid that my GPU is too large for many ITX chassis. I have an MSI GTX 1080 Armor OC. It is 140 mm wide, which makes it too large for the ncase m1, sliger sm550/560, and the Dan A4 (supports 144 mm, but I think it will go over that once you factor in the power cable for the GPU. Will this case work with my GPU in either sandwich or classic style?
If you use the pigtail inlet the SM550/560 have 157mm GPU height, which is recommended for MSI.
 
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dondan

SFF Guru
Original poster
DAN Cases
Feb 23, 2015
1,169
4,059
@All: The last 4 weeks I took a break from forum work. I thought a lot about the C4-SFX and already startet to make changes on the drawing to support 280 AIO in sandwich and in classic layout :) I think the new revision will peak out at 11.2L - 11.5L. I will give you more details as soon as possible.

Funny to see: If you read the last pages and saw Optimums Twitter poll you see it is the right decision to made a case that does support sandwich or classic layout in one product. There are so many supporters on both sides.

Here are some answers to all the questions in the last weeks:


@dondan, You have definitely decided on this decision, Were there any ideas for strengthening? Can a longitudinal stiffener? The stripes at the top look very attractive (this is of course a matter of taste), but they also provide significantly better ventilation.
Yes sorry this decision is made.

sorry to burst your bubble, but with thin pop-in panels that C4 has based on pics, it looks awfully similar to Ncase's cheap thin pop-in panels. You're not gonna get exceptional build quality from that. It may be just passable, but nothing exceptional.
Using very thick panels would require to change the manufacturer that does support extrusion and CNC milling. I am very happy with the quality of the pop-in panels.

@Dan:
I think, the overall best solution is to have the radiator on top, blowing hot air out of the case. So, no problem with dust and in the most cases, the best fan config for cooling. Therefore, i suggest to drop this stupid lian-li clips, invent a other mechanism to hold the sidepanels (thinking about 1min. i can imagine 3 different solutions) and go with a 280mm option on the top. Positive side effect: you also have a product for the people, who want to show of their hardware, nicely arranged in an one sided sandwhich, through a tempered glas sidepanel!
I found a solution to support 280mm with clips in your prefered configuration.

@dondan Hi Dan. I'm really looking forward to the C4. I am a huge fan of classic layout SFF cases because I like to see all the components at once. My dream case would be an M1 that has slightly less depth but is taller and can fit a 240mm or even just a 120mm radiator in the roof. The renders in your first post of the C4 with a tempered glass side panel look absolutely amazing. That render but with 120mm AIO mounted in the roof would be PERFECT.
Thank you for your feedback. I also saw your picture of the modded M1. I think you would aggree that a case like the modded M1 will not work because it requires watercooling the GPU to be 1 Slot. A case with more space for the GPU will have a height of ~260mm for 2-Slot GPUs and ~280mm for 3-Slot. This will add too much volume. But I have a solution for you. The new default position of the C4 will be GPU on top in classic or radiator on top in sandwich. If you now assemble in classic layout you can install a 280 radiator with slim fan above your single slot water cooled GPU. I know this is not exactly what you mean but it comes very close.

@dondan i really like the case and it will probally house my next Computer i like the Sandwich layout better from an visual point of view but i also want to look into watercooling and the potetioal 280 support would be huge even tho the side radiator would block the view wich seems to be a problem many people have with the classic layout. i'll be hyped ether way so stay safe :)
It will support 280 rad in sandwich mode.

Yes, that one is pretty interesting as well. If only they set the vertical mount a bit higher and reduced the volume by making it less high, and having the 240mm aio in the top this would be a no-brainer for me.. a case with length of about 300-320mm, depth of 170-190mm and height of 250-270mm would be a sweet spot i think.
I think your sweet spot discripes the new Cooler Master NR200.

Dan, given you're going to try to make C4-SFX 280mm rad compatible -- what's the GPU height limit in classical layout? Can't find it anywhere (except your rough (?) estimate of 130mm there), so I'm really interested to know whether or not having conventional full-cover GPU waterblock with terminations on side is feasible?

Sure, there's such things:
But they're pretty much a unicorn and I can't justify getting top-of-the line card just because such blocks are only made for them (well last one supports 2070, but I'm pretty sure that's just a happy coincidence/it was designed against 2080 Ti first).

Second question regarding GPU height: any chance of Strix cards with deshroud fitting (Asus lists them as <=131mm high)?
Thank you for your feedback I also though about this. I think of adding 3mm to the width (from 148mm to 151mm) than the strix cards will fit and also these traditional water block:

Phanteks Glacier (120mm)
Corsair Hydro X (121mm)
Watercool Heatkiller IV (118mm)
Alphacool Eisblock (120mm)

@dondan Is there any possibility that you’ll be able to work in an alternate front panel that includes 2 x USB Type-A ports also?
I am thinking of changing the outer design to that one of the old C4-SFX with these cutouts next to the front on each side. This would give room for I/O ports on the sides. Maybe I will not consider 2x Type-A but maybe 1x Type-A and 1x Type-C. Keep in mind only loud thoughts.

I am honestly on the "actual 3 slot compability on traditional layout pls " camp and nothing more, there isnt much more that I want from this case than that. Even then , even if i said 3 slot its pretty much meant " pls be able to fit ROG strix chonk cards" rather than actual 3 slot compability
And you will get 3 Slot support in sandwich and classic layout. I think of adding 3mm to the width (from 148mm to 151mm) than the strix cards will fit.

Also wanted to show my support and interest in this case, it looks like the case I'm looking for.
I have two small questions, might've missed it in the 42 pages, but
  • With a tower cooler would there be enough air intake possibilities from the front since the front is pretty much closed? Where does the air need to come from?
  • With the suggestion to only have the flipped layout a 240mm rad can be mounted on the top, right? That's where I'd want it :)
First question: From the sides and top
Second question: If you mean with flipped the sandwich version. Yes you will be able to mount a 280 or 240 rad here.


Hey Dan! I've been wanting to downsize, but I am afraid that my GPU is too large for many ITX chassis. I have an MSI GTX 1080 Armor OC. It is 140 mm wide, which makes it too large for the ncase m1, sliger sm550/560, and the Dan A4 (supports 144 mm, but I think it will go over that once you factor in the power cable for the GPU. Will this case work with my GPU in either sandwich or classic style?
It will only fit in sandwich layout. And it does also fit in the A4. Check out this build https://pcpartpicker.com/b/rZRJ7P



If I missed a question please let me know!
 

BeerNsoup

Cable-Tie Ninja
Mar 12, 2017
177
127
Thanks for the update Dan.
I am thinking of changing the outer design to that one of the old C4-SFX with these cutouts next to the front on each side.
Do you mean this one?

That was by far my favorite iteration aesthetically. I really liked the trapezoid cutout in the glass panel and the flat vs rounded front panel. Had a hint of aggressiveness without being over the top and still feeling refined. Side io meshes well with the overall design IMO, so I'm glad to hear you are leaning that way.

Apologies if any of this has already been covered:
-Is a dark grey option a possibility?
-Are panels as a separate purchase likely? If there isn't a dark grey option I'll likely attempt a home paint job with a decent chance the outcome is me seeking out replacement panels...
-Is some sort of gpu support piece to counter sag/warping in the classic layout a possibility?

Maybe it's not the general consensus around here, but I see a few extra mm that don't benefit my specific build as a positive if it means I don't need to shell out for a new case if I decide I want a 280mm aio down the road. These cases aren't cheap after all.

Thanks!
 

thelaughingman

Master of Cramming
Jul 14, 2018
509
511
@dondan welcome back! looking forward to your new revision, 280mm radiator support is amazing in just 11.5L. That is the same volume as the Ghost S1 with a top hat, and that combination could only house a 240 radiator, with an, IMO, ugly line running across the body of the case