Stalled Freilite Brevis S: <5L Gaming Case with internal PSU

Discussion in 'Custom Cases & Projects' started by iFreilicht, May 28, 2015.

  1. Chris Howell

    Chris Howell Trash Compacter
    Diesel Engine

    Hey, I've just read through your log and it's looking pretty awesome! I'm building something really similar (flat) and in a different configuration. You might have done this already, but I found it really helpful to make scale cubes of the components out of paper/card and arrange them by hand to see the tolerances between parts. I'm also using sheet steel for the shell and was able to print the CAD drawings on A3 paper and then test stuff Ike the IO port measurements.

    Look forward to seeing the final design dude. Keep going! :)
  2. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Thanks man! Yes I did the cardboard thing in the beginning, especially with Freilite Alpha.

    Printing on A3 and "dry fitting" that way is actually a nice idea, I might actually try that.
    If you start a build log, make sure to shoot me a PM with a link!
  3. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    An idea sprung to mind. You guys remember the Sharp X68000? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    Well, I've made a little brother for the Brevis S:


    Inside that 24mm thin box, a slim slot-in ODD and four 2.5" HDDs of a maximum height of 15mm can be crammed, the latter of which are mounted on the same HDD mounting bracket the case itself utilises. Each of those brackets is mounted to the back panel with a PCI expansion bracket and they can be replaced to allow the use of various PCI expansion bracket extensions, mainly for extended I/O capabilities. In theory, you could run a PCIe x4 riser from your M.2 M-Key slot down there to install real PCIe add-ons.
    Alternatively, you could ditch the ODD and go for a total of six HDDs or twelve 7mm SSDs if you were to use stacking brackets, not counting the two drives in the main case.


    As a PCie bracket itself is already close to 22mm wide, this is how they are currently mounted to the case:


    I think that this is worth it for shaving off 4mm of thickness to get the extension as slim as possible. As it is right now, normal full-height cards would not fit this enclosure, though this is a rather quick draft (only took me 5 hours or so) of what I would imagine this extension to be and it should be fixable rather easily by using a thick spacer between the panel and the bracket there.

    In the current state, the extension blocks the rear screw holes of the main case, so in order to get to the components in there, you'd have to open the extensions, remove the ODD, unscrew the extension from the spacer and then remove the top panel. Hardly user friendly.


    Personally, I really, really like this new idea. It makes the case something absolutely unique and allows me to play with lighting effects through the acrylic spacer and different ideas for front I/O. It also lets loads of ideas for potential builds and mods pop up, the extension could house a single-slot R9 Nano that is watercooled by a radiator in the regular GPU compartment, stuff like that.
    It literally gives room for loads of ideas where previously only a few combinations of components where possible.

    If this isn't the standard version of the case, at the very least it should be a prominent add-on.

    Unfortunately, though, this comes at a hefty price of an additional 3.64L of envelope volume (2.97L if you count the spacer and extension as separate boxes), so it absolutely has to be optional. It might be possible to tone that down, depending on the actual width the spacer needs, but it still pushes the case from the smallest case for ITX GPUs and internal PSUs close to a 9L beast that is larger than the Osmi.


    Now is to be decided how to make this as smooth as possible.
    1. Should cables from the main case to the extensions be routed out the back or through the acrylic spacer?
    2. Should the extension be made a bit deeper and taller to fit the footprint of the main case?
    3. How can I make the extension detachable in an easier way?
    4. Should the extension be made a bit thicker to avoid the small cuts in the sidepanels and/or center the ODD slot?
    5. Is there a better way of attaching the brackets to the case?
    6. How can I ensure reasonable thermal performance for U.2 SSDs inside the extension?


    I'll work on getting a partial prototype made after exams are over, don't want to indulge into anything time-critical right now, but I've found four manufacturers already that all have the exact capabilities I'm looking for, all of them close enough for me to drive there.
    Phuncz likes this.
  4. pazoo

    pazoo Caliper Novice

    That's what I was looking for!
    Couldn't you make the separation more even, like GPU+PSU on one side, CPU+SSD on the other? That would keep the heat from the GPU contained.
  5. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    I thought about that already, but it would make the design a lot less flexible and even wider. With the extension it already is 101mm wide. Initially I wanted the case to easily fit into pretty much any backpack or shoulder bag, and having GPU and CPU in the separate compartments would remove the ability to just use one half of the case and still be left with a capable gaming rig.

    The heat of the GPU is already contained by using a thick piece of acrylic between the GPU and PSU that not only keeps the heat zones separated but also redirects the airflow of the GPUs exhaust air towards the bottom and back so the hot air isn't recycled by any of the components.


    It sounds like a very cool idea for a future project though, maybe I'll even play with it a bit in Sketchup if I find the time to do so.
  6. pazoo

    pazoo Caliper Novice

    Fair enough, guess I'll have to wait for the gemini brevis :)
  7. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Good name, I like it!

    You know, with the way the internal components are set up right now, I could probably reuse quite a few of them for your idea without changing them at all, but it would make the Gemini Brevis less efficient in terms of space. If you were to have two Brevis S, you could mod them to make it work, though. You could probably just screw them together and even make some sort of crazy dual-GPU rig watercooled by a 180mm radiator if you were to get a bifurication riser.
  8. veryrarium

    veryrarium Cable-Tie Ninja

    I have two X68k cases (one grey, one black) sleeping in my closet. What pazoo said is one of the internal layout ideas i had in mind for modding and a radiator in the opposite chamber of the mainboard/gpu was another idea i had (hence the comment I made in the Project Quantum thread.) But it hasn't taken off as I'm such a slacker.
  9. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    I'd really like to see that happen, putting a modern PC into an old case like this is beigemodding in it's most exciting form.

    It is a very interesting proposal for a case, and I've been toying around with it all day in my head. It would allow some extremely interesting combination of parts, depending on how the components are split between the cases.

    It seems like there are three ways of separating the components into the two parts of the case.
    1. Mainboard and GPU in Section 1, PSU and drives in Section 2
    2. Mainboard and drives in Section 1, PSU and GPU in Section 2
    3. Mainboard and PSU in Section 1, GPU and drives in Section 2
    Option 1 allows the PSU to be separated from all heat generating components, and the drives won't be heated up either, which could be beneficial for longevity. Routing for a flexible riser would be trivial, and the I/O can be placed in such a way that the heavy display and power cables are located at the bottom. GPU and Mainboard take up way more space vertically than a PSU and a few drives, though, so it doesn't seem as space efficient, which is made even worse by the fact that a GPU is slimmer than a regular mainboard.

    Option 2 seems better in that regard, and as a FlexATX PSU and dual slot GPU are of very similar height, less space is wasted and the two most heat generating components are separated as well. If one wanted to support an ODD, though, Section 1 would still be a bit taller than Section 2. But, when using multiple drives, cable routing from the board to them is made a fair bit easier. The same goes for AIO watercooling for the CPU.

    Option 3 is the most balanced in my opinion. The two compartments would be of close to the same height, the ATX24pin cable could be routed directly to the mainboard and caused the least clutter in that regard. A little bit of space would be wasted above the FlexATX PSU, though one could fill that with 2.5" drives again. Alternatively, an SFX supply could be considered. In this instance, AIO watercooling for the GPU would benefit. You could also use just Section 1 of the case to build a very capable APU rig with an integrated PSU.

    In any instance, drawing air only from the space between the two sections seems like a cool concept and would benefit the looks greatly, but installation of components would probably be quite a bit harder, too.
  10. pazoo

    pazoo Caliper Novice

    This guy recreated a fully custom x68000 case and it looks pretty neat:
    end result here:
  11. pazoo

    pazoo Caliper Novice

    I can see advantages with any of those combinations, although even if you don't go Option1, if you put the drives and PSU under the motherboard and GPU respectively, I don't think they will get that much heat, will they?
  12. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    Excellent work on the add-on ! I like the idea of externalizing redundant components but also allowing flexibility in the use of a single-slot PCIe card. That could be a workstation-class card, a sound card, a 4-port Gbit or 2-port 10Gbit card, a PCIe SSD, etc etc.

    Awesome feature !
  13. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    #93 iFreilicht, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
    That is just amazing. So much work put into this to make it absolutely perfect, I can't imagine how many hours it must've taken to build it.

    I've made a new thread for that case (which I'll call Spiramentum for now) because it is an idea I would like to pursue further. I will finish Brevis S before that because it is a much simpler design and much more advanced.

    Thanks! I think for that idea to really take off, I'd have to sell a M.2 to PCIe x4 riser, but at least it's possible in theory and if someone really wanted to do it on their own, they could, no problem.
  14. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    Or a quad M.2 to PCIe x16 riser with PLX chip to multiplex :eek: Oh dear, oh my, I seem to have wettened my pants.

    Like this but with a PLX chip. Yes I'd like some 10GB/s read speeds. You know, for my internets.
    Josh | NFC and iFreilicht like this.
  15. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Holy balls who was the crazy genius who dreamed that up? This particular model is too long for my case though :/
  16. jtd871

    jtd871 SFF Guru

    @Phuncz, please provide a link to the product page for this beautiful monstrosity.
  17. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    The card itself isn't much longer than a short PCIe card, it's the fan at the back that's tacked on that increases the size. I'm sure this could fit on a single slot HHHL-card with some stacking slots and some aluminium to cool it.

    Alas, this dream isn't as beautiful as it seems. It's a Dell enterprise card that only works with their boards, although I'd guess it would just need a board with PCIe bifurcation support, but don't quote me on that. HP also did the quad M.2 dance:

    But it too misses the PLX chipset needed to be able to work on most boards.


    From the comments:
    Dell PCIe x16 M.2 SSD card – PN: 414-BBBJ ($89.99)
    HP Z Turbo Drive Quad Pro 2x 256GB Samsung SM951 NVMe: N2M98AA ($799)

    If I had money to burn, I would have probably tested this in my Bifurcation enabled rig.
  18. aquelito

    aquelito King of Cable Management
    Silver Supporter Piccolo PC

    Hi iFreilicht,

    I will also use the Liheat riser type A from my project, which consists in fitting a full size 750 Ti (I need indeed a 6 Pin powered model) into a Streacom F7C case:

    Could you please give me the dimensions of the PCB supporting the PCIe slot, as well as the mounting holes position/diameter ?
    Liheat contact is not really helpful...

    I have other questions regarding the ribbon but I'll start a proper thread for my "mod".

    Thanks !
  19. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    I answered your question in the thread about that cable:
  20. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Getting more work done, and we're ever so closer to the first prototype! I actually started to get quotes from manufacturers and while prices are looking to be reasonable at 100 units or so, a single unit is quite expensive. We're talking about roughly 110€ for just the GPU mount! :eek:

    Anyway, I've finally found a spot for two small details, the Kensington Lock Slot and the nameplate:


    You can see a few other changes here if you look closely, but they aren't terribly important ;)

    Other things to look forward to are a small discrete door for the front I/O - which will be interchangeable, maximum connectivity is supposed to be 2x USB2, 2xUSB3.0 and 2x Audio - mostly-tool-less mounting for the HDDs, and a dedicated cable management solution.

    Width of the case has now been finalised at 59mm. There's no way to go below that without going out of ATX/ITX spec, getting custom length standoffs made (expensive) or changing the outer panel material to steel. I was also able to increase the depth of the case to 201mm, effectively giving a bit more tolerance for longer GPUs and more space for cabling, balancing on the edge of 5L at 4.957L.

    Anyway, the thing I'm really excited about is the HDPLEX PCIe x16 riser that I'll hopefully be receiving next week for testing. It looks to be ultra-thin and if it can perform well, it would solve all remaining big problems I have. It does have a somewhat strange concept where both sides of the cable have a female connection and they use a male-to-male adapter board of sorts to make the actual connection, but in theory that would allow to change the angle of the cable on the GPU side by just plugging it into the mainboard side. We'll see how it goes.

    Josh | NFC, jØrd, veryrarium and 4 others like this.