Prototyping Introducing the Chimera CX2

cablez

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Why slimmer? It will be less structurally rigid and more likely to warp and bend easier.
As @teodoro explained more in detail, it can be much more premium and I think it will worth the increase in the price. Since it has front-back cooling approach and place for custom loops, a tool-less tempered glass panel would enhance the whole look of the system.
I’m not sure if it’s feasible, but I think tool-less tempered glass panels look substantially more premium than a window. lian li's o11 dynamic mechanism doesn't seem like it would work, but maybe something like the fractal define r6's (which uses push pins on half) would. both of them have the frame for the mounting hardware on the inside of the glass panel, leaving the external side of the panel with a darkened edge and smooth appearance.
@PlayfulPhoenix also supporting atx power supply in the bottom would be a nice addition because I might like to run two titan rtx's in this case with showing the custom loop.

I'm a newbie for the sff.n but I've been following the projects for years and this is the project that made me join the forum and comment on, I will be looking for the production!
 
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PlayfulPhoenix

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I was referring to the center area of the front panel. I think it's cleaner if the whole front panel is flat and simple, with the I/O integrated seamlessly and not looking like they're tacked on. Like Dan A4's but with vent holes, if that makes sense. But each to their own.
I agree with @heckinwoofer

it might be done to death but I prefer a flat front as well (I dont mind the side panel lip extending beyond). imo, either bring the IO flat to being recessed or dont recess inward the vented panel (making it flat to the IO)
It's important to keep in mind that the fact that we have a separate I/O faceplate is both aesthetic and functional; a part of it is to try to make the front more distinctive and interesting, but we also require that this part be separate for:
  • Easy swapping of I/O plates (offering things like a blank plate, power button only plate, and so forth, is substantially cheaper and easier when keeping this part separate
  • Allowance of more/different materials for the front panel (we can't use meshes, for example, since you can't create I/O cutouts in a mesh)
Technically we could offer a front panel that integrates the I/O at some point, but for the moment I think having it be separate remains the best choice in balance. I will say that this arrangement of an I/O plate and front panel look natural in person, perhaps a bit moreso than in renders or photos.

One question: what's the clearance/distance between the bottom of the case and floor and/or how tall are the feet? Hoping it's 10-20mm or more off the ground, unless bottom intake isn't impacted by less than that (can't say I've ever tested this myself). Sorry if I missed it, just did a quick check of thread. Thanks!
The current prototype has feet similar to the A4-SFX, I believe it's in the neighborhood of 7mm or so.

Is it possible to make the metal frame of the windowed side panel slimmer?
Why slimmer? It will be less structurally rigid and more likely to warp and bend easier.
I’m not sure if it’s feasible, but I think tool-less tempered glass panels look substantially more premium than a window. lian li's o11 dynamic mechanism doesn't seem like it would work, but maybe something like the fractal define r6's (which uses push pins on half) would. both of them have the frame for the mounting hardware on the inside of the glass panel, leaving the external side of the panel with a darkened edge and smooth appearance.
As @teodoro explained more in detail, it can be much more premium and I think it will worth the increase in the price. Since it has front-back cooling approach and place for custom loops, a tool-less tempered glass panel would enhance the whole look of the system.
Getting that look on panels of the CX2's size, while supporting all the other panel options, is quite tricky. If you look at Lian Li's various "full side window" enclosures, basically none of them use the same style of clips and pins, instead opting for sliding hooks or tabs and grooves. We can't really support multiple toolless panel mechanisms interchangeably, and the solutions typically used for full windowed panels compromise the look or cost of solid or vented panels. This is putting aside the issue of compromising how the front would look, since you would have the side glass panel (of a different thickness and color) extending beyond the front panel with the existing aluminum panels.

Basically, it isn't that we haven't explored that style of panel, it's simply that it's tricky to implement given the variety of options we want to offer, and other decisions we've made.

any particular reason (besides aesthetics) to have the io at the top rather than the bottom of the panel?
Keeping it at the top secludes any impact to component compatibility down to essentially the maximum length of front-mounted radiators. It also keeps the cables and such somewhat out of view when using a windowed side panel. Placing it at the bottom would complicate compatibility for front and bottom-mounted hardware, while adding a mess of cables in a very visible area.

I also don't dig the look of the bottom cutouts and would prefer a solid panel, though I suspect the option of a second radiator is too good a marketing point to pass up. I'd be curious if those vents have any measurable impact on air cooling setups.
IMO the most important use of the bottom cutouts is to flexibly support support fans, storage (2.5" and 3.5"), and other devices, rather than a radiator. You can put a radiator there and it will work ok, but airflow will be restricted, you will lose PCI slots for ATX/EATX builds, and comparatively a front mounted radiator works much better (it can be larger and thicker with less restriction) while demanding fewer compromises (only the length of your PCI devices essentially). It really only makes sense to put a radiator on the bottom if you're going for an over-the-top custom loop, multiple AIOs, or really need the full depth of the enclosure.

@PlayfulPhoenix also supporting atx power supply in the bottom would be a nice addition because I might like to run two titan rtx's in this case with showing the custom loop.
We're experimenting a bit with how we might be able to support installation of PSU's internally (rather than just the two rear-mounted positions), so it may be possible to support this without further complicating the rear of the enclosure. No promises, particularly with ATX PSU's, but stay tuned for now.
 

rfarmer

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I think the interchangeable IO is a great idea, there are so many different version that different people want you can never please them all.
 
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Necere

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@Wahaha360 was able to dig up a render of one of the original ideas we had for implementing a handle; this is the one I mentioned briefly earlier. Figured it would be fun to share:
One of the ideas I had, just, you know, in the interest of giving credit where due.

Edit: not that it was a totally original idea; as I recall, it was inspired by the Lenovo Thinkstation P-series. But the CX2's implementation clearly drew from my concept.
 
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heckinwoofer

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Dec 14, 2017
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It's important to keep in mind that the fact that we have a separate I/O faceplate is both aesthetic and functional; a part of it is to try to make the front more distinctive and interesting, but we also require that this part be separate for:
  • Easy swapping of I/O plates (offering things like a blank plate, power button only plate, and so forth, is substantially cheaper and easier when keeping this part separate
  • Allowance of more/different materials for the front panel (we can't use meshes, for example, since you can't create I/O cutouts in a mesh)
Technically we could offer a front panel that integrates the I/O at some point, but for the moment I think having it be separate remains the best choice in balance. I will say that this arrangement of an I/O plate and front panel look natural in person, perhaps a bit moreso than in renders or photos.
Well we also had a look of it from Optimumtech's video, not just renders or photos. I agree that swapping the i/O is a neat feature. However, i dont think the current implementation fits well into the design. It does look tacked on like a Dell Optiplex or some other OEM prebuilt. Does not give it a premium/sophisticated look. Ncase M1 also has a swappable I/O, but it is recessed. The lines are not as jarring and it suits the overall clean design.

Of course this is just my opinion.
 
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Jerdz

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Nov 13, 2019
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The handle doesn't have to go-- it needs to be optional :D

Edit: it has to be changed— like that of cerberus
 
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jasringo249

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Hey guys, kinda new to the SFF space. I'd been looking at the Cerberus X and it almost ticked off every box to get me to pull the trigger. This one absolutely does. Just a few super noobie questions if you would entertain them. I see this case has cutouts that run behind the motherboard tray presumably for installing CPU coolers and such. Would there be any room or any other cutouts that you could run cabling behind in a case like this? Also would you recommend an SFX power supply for this? And the last question I have is kind of a two parter: where would you stuff cabling in a case like this to make it look clean and would individually sleeved cables aid in that endeavor? I know this was a super loaded post and not necessarily related to the case itself, but it has me extremely excited as it ticks off virtually every box I have. Thanks!

Edit: the reason I ask is because I'm in medical school so a fairly limited budget so I'd like to how much ramen I will be eating to save up for this.
 

rcradiator

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Feb 23, 2018
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I see this case has cutouts that run behind the motherboard tray presumably for installing CPU coolers and such. Would there be any room or any other cutouts that you could run cabling behind in a case like this?
Nope. There wasn't for the Cerberus X and that doesn't seem to be changing for this case. It just means you have to be smart with your cable management.
Also would you recommend an SFX power supply for this?
If you're using a 160mm air cooler (reasonable choice if you want to save money, D15 is on par with 240mm aio and more reliable while being a bit cheaper, FUMA II if you're on a tighter budget), you pretty much have to use SFX. If you are using an AIO with a psu mounted above the cpu socket, you can use ATX no problem. There is a valid concern about how the hell you're going to connect the shorter EPS cable on a bottom mounted SFX psu to the top left of the board where most EPS connectors are while not just routing it over everything like a dummy (both Silverstone and Corsair have 400mm EPS cables, I already have trouble with stock EPS cable being a bit short on a Cerberus X with an SFX psu and that only has to travel around 300mm), but that can be fixed with aftermarket cables.
And the last question I have is kind of a two parter: where would you stuff cabling in a case like this to make it look clean and would individually sleeved cables aid in that endeavor?
Hate to say this, but stuffing is only applicable if you really have an excess of cables (I do, my fault for trying to fit Corsair ML120 RGB fans complete with the rat's nest of cables that it comes with, plus two SATA devices, plus two Phanteks Halos RGB rings) or if you're too lazy to manage them (also me). It all comes down to component choices. RGB fans add wires everywhere. Period. Avoid like the plague if you don't want to spend hours trying to hide them. Storage is an area where you can remove cable clutter. While you cannot avoid having SATA data and power cables with a spinning hard drive, you can absolutely avoid cables with SSDs. Most motherboards come with at least one M.2 slot, with two or more being common on X570 or HEDT platforms. Most of them support both SATA and NVMe (do check motherboard manual). For SSDs on the cheap, my personal recommendation is the Crucial MX500 1TB SATA M.2 ssd at $100-110. SATA is fast enough for most people and cheap enough to justify over trying to cram a 2TB HDD into a system, plus Crucial does have a good reputation (they're basically Micron after all). It doesn't get much better than that. NVMe does add a bit of cost, but prices aren't too outlandish unless you're trying to buy something like a 970 Evo. If all else fails, aftermarket cables are the best solution. You can either get cheaper options from ModDIY, average priced options like Cablemod, or the more boutique and expensive options like Pslate.

If all else fails, no one will judge you for getting a solid side panel which doesn't allow visibility into the case. Really the only time that you need to obsessively manage cables is if you're using a tempered glass panel which this does have, or if the cables block airflow.
 

PlayfulPhoenix

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I think the interchangeable IO is a great idea, there are so many different version that different people want you can never please them all.
Well we also had a look of it from Optimumtech's video, not just renders or photos. I agree that swapping the i/O is a neat feature. However, i dont think the current implementation fits well into the design. It does look tacked on like a Dell Optiplex or some other OEM prebuilt. Does not give it a premium/sophisticated look. Ncase M1 also has a swappable I/O, but it is recessed. The lines are not as jarring and it suits the overall clean design.

Of course this is just my opinion.
We won't be able to please everyone, but the thinking is that keeping the I/O modular will make it possible to please more people in the short and long run.

The handle doesn't have to go-- it needs to be optional :D
As I've mentioned before, the handle is optional and non-standard. Much like Cerberus/Cerberus X, I expect that a minority of folks will actually purchase it, but we wanted to provide an option for it.

I like it, as the handle segment looks easily removable?
Well, that prototype would have relied on screws along the perimeter securing the handle to reinforced strips in the chassis. It would have also required custom side panels that could 'receive' the handle. So installation/removal wouldn't have been hard, but it would have required tools and time, and it wouldn't have made much sense to use the enclosure with the handle removed given what would be left.

Hey guys, kinda new to the SFF space. I'd been looking at the Cerberus X and it almost ticked off every box to get me to pull the trigger. This one absolutely does. Just a few super noobie questions if you would entertain them. I see this case has cutouts that run behind the motherboard tray presumably for installing CPU coolers and such. Would there be any room or any other cutouts that you could run cabling behind in a case like this? Also would you recommend an SFX power supply for this? And the last question I have is kind of a two parter: where would you stuff cabling in a case like this to make it look clean and would individually sleeved cables aid in that endeavor? I know this was a super loaded post and not necessarily related to the case itself, but it has me extremely excited as it ticks off virtually every box I have. Thanks!

Edit: the reason I ask is because I'm in medical school so a fairly limited budget so I'd like to how much ramen I will be eating to save up for this.
rcradiator's reply is solid. I would just add to this by saying that cable runs when using modular SFX and SFX-L power supplies are generally quite reasonable and can be kept neat, so we don't feel too bad about excluding much in the way of cable management since for most builds it's not necessary. As you'd expect, we didn't include it mostly because the utility wasn't worth the significant volume increase.

Any chance for a smaller mATX version with certain limitations?
No plans currently. I'd be curious as to what you would say the benefit of a 5-slot (for example) variant of this would be, compared to existing options, though! We've doted on it but we're simply focused on getting this out the gate first.
 

jasringo249

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Jan 26, 2020
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Nope. There wasn't for the Cerberus X and that doesn't seem to be changing for this case. It just means you have to be smart with your cable management.

If you're using a 160mm air cooler (reasonable choice if you want to save money, D15 is on par with 240mm aio and more reliable while being a bit cheaper, FUMA II if you're on a tighter budget), you pretty much have to use SFX. If you are using an AIO with a psu mounted above the cpu socket, you can use ATX no problem. There is a valid concern about how the hell you're going to connect the shorter EPS cable on a bottom mounted SFX psu to the top left of the board where most EPS connectors are while not just routing it over everything like a dummy (both Silverstone and Corsair have 400mm EPS cables, I already have trouble with stock EPS cable being a bit short on a Cerberus X with an SFX psu and that only has to travel around 300mm), but that can be fixed with aftermarket cables.

Hate to say this, but stuffing is only applicable if you really have an excess of cables (I do, my fault for trying to fit Corsair ML120 RGB fans complete with the rat's nest of cables that it comes with, plus two SATA devices, plus two Phanteks Halos RGB rings) or if you're too lazy to manage them (also me). It all comes down to component choices. RGB fans add wires everywhere. Period. Avoid like the plague if you don't want to spend hours trying to hide them. Storage is an area where you can remove cable clutter. While you cannot avoid having SATA data and power cables with a spinning hard drive, you can absolutely avoid cables with SSDs. Most motherboards come with at least one M.2 slot, with two or more being common on X570 or HEDT platforms. Most of them support both SATA and NVMe (do check motherboard manual). For SSDs on the cheap, my personal recommendation is the Crucial MX500 1TB SATA M.2 ssd at $100-110. SATA is fast enough for most people and cheap enough to justify over trying to cram a 2TB HDD into a system, plus Crucial does have a good reputation (they're basically Micron after all). It doesn't get much better than that. NVMe does add a bit of cost, but prices aren't too outlandish unless you're trying to buy something like a 970 Evo. If all else fails, aftermarket cables are the best solution. You can either get cheaper options from ModDIY, average priced options like Cablemod, or the more boutique and expensive options like Pslate.

If all else fails, no one will judge you for getting a solid side panel which doesn't allow visibility into the case. Really the only time that you need to obsessively manage cables is if you're using a tempered glass panel which this does have, or if the cables block airflow.
Hey I really appreciate the reply! That was really thorough! Yeah I'm moving away from my RGB setup I think, gonna grab some Noctua fans for my AIO and call it good. Makes me a little sad but I think the prefer the smaller footprint and cleaner space over the bling. The NVME m.2 drives definitely help with the cable clutter. Just have one SATA drive now and it's a higher capacity SSD, so not ready to give up on that guy yet. Nice to know I won't need to replace the PSU really so that's good. And who doesn't like a cable routing challenge right?

Again really appreciate the response!
 

Marvelm

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Oct 20, 2017
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No plans currently. I'd be curious as to what you would say the benefit of a 5-slot (for example) variant of this would be, compared to existing options, though! We've doted on it but we're simply focused on getting this out the gate first.
Simply smaller size. Pretty much a h200 but a lot smaller with mATX compatibility and a 240mm rad at the front would be great. That would probably require the IO to be moved to the top to allow it to be shorter and still fit the radiator at the front.
 

VegetableStu

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Aug 18, 2016
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if you're going for an AIO and top IO on mATX, what's stopping you from getting a cerberus? ._.
 

Marvelm

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Oct 20, 2017
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if you're going for an AIO and top IO on mATX, what's stopping you from getting a cerberus? ._.
Mostly price? I don't think it's worth the price and I'm from EU so shipping would cost a ton. I also prefer the AIO on the front compared to top by a mile.
 
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VegetableStu

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yeah if the budget doesn't allow for it, it'll be pretty hard to justify any case above it ._.

otherwise, the cerberus does 240mm rads at the front when the PSU's above the CPU. the only reason i see a want for an mATX CX2 would be the CPU air cooler height clearance (with the option to mount the PSU at the bottom over the last few PCI slots)
 

Marvelm

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Oct 20, 2017
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yeah if the budget doesn't allow for it, it'll be pretty hard to justify any case above it ._.

otherwise, the cerberus does 240mm rads at the front when the PSU's above the CPU. the only reason i see a want for an mATX CX2 would be the CPU air cooler height clearance (with the option to mount the PSU at the bottom over the last few PCI slots)
It's not about the budget, I have a case from Taobao for 200+$ myself, I just don't think Cerberus is worth it's pricetag. The front airflow looks pretty bad with only these side holes, CX2 looks much better in that department and the PSU mounting in place of the PCIE slots looks like a great solution. My dream mATX case is still TX2 from Custom MOD with 240 AIO support at 12L, shame those didn't really go into production.