ITX case with generous rear motherboard opening for M.2 slot

Discussion in 'General' started by Midiamp, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Midiamp

    Midiamp Average Stuffer
    Thread Starter

    So I think it's becoming a norm to have M.2 slot on the back of ITX motherboards. Even the ROG Strix AMD board mandates NVME on the rear slot if wanting to occupy all of the M.2 slot. However, not all ITX case has rear opening for a better ventilation of the rear m.2 slot. Case in point, I just bought Cougar QBX, and the rear opening covers the M.2 slot. You can fit an m.2 SSD there, but it's pressed against the structure for the 2.5" drive slot of the case. I'm not risking my already hot NVME pressed against anything.

    The same goes to Fractal Design Nano S, the opening is barely big enough for an M.2 slot, and if you put an NVME there the two 2.5" drive definitely going to suffer from the heat radiation since it's on top of the M.2 slot.

    My question is, how do we identify cases that has generous rear motherboard opening for M.2 slot(s)? My dream ITX build involves Asrock X299E-ITX or whatever AMD TR has to offer (HEAVY emphasis on the dream part), and I noticed that its M.2 slots are on the backside. So I think rather than waiting for a specific motherboard, I think it's best just to look for a case that has generous opening that supports M.2 slot well, like my current case Evolv ITX... Love hate the case, awesome ventilation and WC support, but not too keen with the size.

    Is there any criteria I can identify? Or there are none, and public forums are the only way to know it?
  2. masteraleph

    masteraleph Trash Compacter

    You may have a hard time finding that, but you may not need that. There are several people on the Dr Zaber Sentry thread (primarily at HardOCP but possibly here as well) who have shown that, on cases where the MB is attached to the side of a metal case, such as on the Sentry, a thick thermal pad can allow the case wall to function as a heatsink. See pages 135-136 on the HardOCP thread.
    SeƱorDonut and Midiamp like this.
  3. wiretap

    wiretap Trash Compacter

    You could also make a cutout with a nibbler tool. I've done this in the past before many cases offered motherboard tray pass-through holes.
    SeƱorDonut likes this.
  4. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    I don't like to aggressively promote the MINI, but I'm a NVME nut and this matters to me too. The S4M and the S4M-C are designed in such a way to allow the backside of the motherboard to breath heavily.

    The X299 board from ASRock departs from the pack in M.2 placement and one of the drives is mostly covered by the motherboard tray (I use a strip of thermal padding), but the other one is pretty much completely open.

    Here is a picture of the "standard" nvme m.2 placement on most mini itx motherboards, installed in a S4M-C


    The S4M's motherboard cutout is even larger.
  5. Midiamp

    Midiamp Average Stuffer
    Thread Starter

    Actually, the thought crossed my mind, to put thermal pad on the NVME chipset and let the case became the heatsink. But two things bothered me, how about static and general conductivity? Will it have negative effect on the whole system? And finally, on the Cougar QBX, there's a 2.5" drive bay behind the motherboard area. Since I want to use that slot with a mechanical drive, will the heat from the NVME have negative effect on the drive?

    I live in the tropic, high humidity and high ambient temperature of around 28-29 degrees C. To save electricity, sometimes I use standing fan with occasional AC, but mostly I use my PC as is.

    I prefer not resorting to cutting the inside panel since I want to keep the 2.5" drive slot... But still, I worried about the heat transfer from the NVME drive. I currently use 2x 3.5" HDD (legacy storage), 2x SSD and 1x NVME drive. I might replace one HDD to 2.5" one.

    I can go wild and replace my system with Silverstone RVZ03, but the price is ridiculously crazy in my country, supply and demand I guess, SFF is not considered as a viable business.

    I subscribed to your channel, great content. I'm interested in the S4 Mini, a whole damn lot... Too bad I live in South East Asia, and my country especially is super bad at handling overseas purchases. So my SFF case options are very very limited... Sometimes I really wanted to open up a business selling SFF solutions myself, it's a very frustrating hobby.
  6. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    Where in SEA? Just curious as I have shipped quite a few cases in the general area. It is a really big general I'm trying to learn :)
  7. Midiamp

    Midiamp Average Stuffer
    Thread Starter

    I live in Indonesia, have you shipped some there?
    I live in Indonesia, have you ever shipped there? I monitored local SFF forums, although not religiously, haven't notice any S4 Mini case posts. Mostly just the basics, Silverstone RVZs, Coolermaster Elite 1xx, Node 202 here and there, and some Lian Li.