Production Lazer3D HT5 - Low Profile APU Case

K888D

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APUs are set to make a big comeback in 2018 with AMD's Ryzen/Vega based AM4 chips leading the way. Powerful processing and graphics on a single chip with the latest connectivity will make them a great choice for low cost gaming PC's or advanced Home Theatre PC's.

Introducing the HT5, a compact Home Theatre PC style case focusing on high performance APU cooling. The 5 litre chassis can accommodate a CPU cooler up to 72mm in height and up to four 80x25mm fans.


HT5 AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW!!

I am excited to announce that the Lazer3D HT5 is officially available to order from today. Cases are now in stock at Overclockers UK and available for immediate shipping.

HOW TO ORDER

European and US customers please order from Overclockers UK through the links below.

HT5 Stealth £89.99 inc VAT
HT5 Graphite £94.99 inc VAT
HT5 Timber £94.99 inc VAT
HT5 Bourbon £99.95 inc VAT


For the full list countries that Overclockers can deliver to please see the spoiler below:

United Kingdom
United States
Ireland (republic)
Australia
Austria
Canada
Canary Islands, The
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Gibralter
Guernsey
Hungary
Iceland
Jersey
Kuwait
Leichenstein
Luxembourg
Monaco
Malta
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Poland
Romania
Sweden
Switzerland
United Arab Emirates

The rest of world can order direct with Lazer3D. Please note we make each case to order with a lead time of around 2 weeks + shipping.

https://www.lazer3d.com/product/ht5/


*Please note that Overclockers UK prices include 20% VAT which is only applicable to EU residents. VAT is deducted during checkout for those ordering from outside the EU.
Lazer3D prices by default exclude VAT, pricing is updated during checkout after your shipping destination is selected.



ORIGINAL POST:

The above photo is a first draft prototype, there are some refinements needed, such as flat headed screws for a more flush look. I'm also looking for ways to include Full IO support (USB + Audio), but may have to settle for vandal switch only. Is front USB/Audio needed on a HTPC? Feedback appreciated!

Some quick points which I will try and expand on over the next few days:
  • Solid wood screwless front panel
  • Windowed or solid top panel
  • Frosted accents for those with an RGB fetish
  • Compartmental design with concealed cable management areas
  • DC-DC internal power supply
  • Versatile modular design
  • £80 (ex VAT) target price point
Lazer3D cases are not trying to be the smallest, but instead look to provide a sensible compromise between size, acoustic and thermal performance, the HT5 aims to continue this approach. For example the case features 5mm clearance between the case fans and side vents to eliminate turbulence noise, a feature which adds volume but reduces noise.

EDIT:
A view of the case stood up as a mini tower style desktop case:


The details are still being worked out, so please ignore the venting pattern on the top window panel, they've been added in for testing just for the time being. The top panel could alternatively be a matte colour, dark tinted, wood, or frosted.

I'm hoping to also have a selection of different woods types to pick from for the front panel, or if preferred the front could be a standard matte black, white or grey.

Here is a view of the rear of the case which gives you an idea of the layout:


Its a pretty standard layout with the ITX board sitting in the middle and space for 2x 80mm fans on each side of the motherboard and 2.5" HDD's along the front edge of the case. The idea is the 4x 80mm work together in combination with the CPU cooler to either push or pull air through the top vent (depending on your CPU cooler), what should end up happening is a hell of a lot of air passing through the CPU heatsink with minimal fan effort, leading to a cool and quiet system.

I've not got any pictures of the internals yet other than what you can make out through the top window panel. You may be able to see that there is a Noctua NH-L12S installed on the motherboard which I'm hoping to test out in this case soon. With 72mm CPU cooler clearance there is also possibly room for you to mount a 120mm AIO to the top panel (TBD).

You may also be able to see that there is a series of compartments surrounding the motherboard, the idea is to provide space for concealing and routing cables allowing you to build a really smart and neat looking systems. I'm hoping AMD will bundle the Stealth Wraith cooler with their upcoming APU's, the RGB ring would look great.

A secondary purpose of the compartments is to allow for different side or rear panels to be fitted that change the compatibility of the case. For example you could replace the fans on one side of the case with an AC-DC adapter, or opt for a HDPLEX DC-ATX board along the front edge of the case instead of 2.5" drives, or potentially even accommodate a low profile dedicated GPU.

Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions, your feedback is much appreciated!
 
Last edited:

ignsvn

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Apr 4, 2016
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LOL @ RGB fetish.

Would love to see measurement & some internal views.

DC-DC internal brick I assume something like HD-plex' NANO ATX solution?
 

K888D

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Thanks for all the comments, the first post has been updated with some more photos and details.

Would love to see measurement & some internal views.
Measurements are still to be finalised, but at the moment its sitting at around 260mm (W) x 95mm (H) x 200mm (D) = 4.94 Litres

DC-DC internal brick I assume something like HD-plex' NANO ATX solution?
This particular layout will work best with a Pico style PSU and external brick which allows high airflow out/in through both sides of the case.

You could use the space along the front of the case reserved for 2.5" drives for instead installing a HDPLEX 400w HiFi DC-ATX. Alternatively you could swap out 2 of the side fans and replace them with the HDPLEX 160w/300w AC-DC adapter for a complete internal PSU solution. But by doing this you are reducing the cooling potential of the system.

Not only for htpc but also for nas or desktop?
There should be enough room for mounting 2x 2.5" drives along the front edge of the case. Alternatively the side bays could be used for adding extra drives instead of 80mm case fans.
 

iFreilicht

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The front reminds me of the BO2 logo :D



Looks great overall! Very interested how the screwless wood panel works. Is the acrylic behind the wood frosted as well? I think putting an LED strip with individually addressable LEDs there could allow for pretty cool Knight-rider-type effects.

Have you looked into only supporting thinner 80mm fans? I think it would look nicer if the frosted C-panel was the same width all around, and it seems to me 4 slim 80mm fans can still push a lot of air without becoming noisy. Or would that then limit the other options too much?

What about 2.5" drives in regular configuration? I guess they fit in the front compartment?

Is front USB/Audio needed on a HTPC?
Audio maybe not, but USB absolutely! You want to be able to plug in an SD-card reader or stick for watching photos you took with your camera, for example. If you can put USB in, absolutely do, it's too convenient to leave it out.
 

ignsvn

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Apr 4, 2016
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Thanks for the update, nice design & renders indeed.

Just my 2c.. 72mm coolers like NH-L12 should be quite a powerful. Do they really benefit from the extra fans?

Provided that these coolers can cope with AMD APU TDPs, why not instead go with a revised In-Win Chopin layout:
- Remove the side fans..
- put 2 x 2.5" drives at under side of the motherboard
- PSU at the side: provide space & adapter plate for FlexATX & HDPlex's internal AC-DC units.

Edit: in a way it's a Chopin with better CPU cooler options & PSU compatibility.

That way, you can make the case smaller, thus more portable.

Btw answering your first question, I believe front audio & USB ports are good additions for HTPCs (say to attach remote IR module).
 
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K888D

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The front reminds me of the BO2 logo :D
Good spot! I'm guessing if you were to have one of these the front panel would be white and orange?!

Very interested how the screwless wood panel works.
Its glued onto an acrylic panel, the acrylic panel has screw recesses in the rear through which some metal corner joints have been pre-installed.

Is the acrylic behind the wood frosted as well? I think putting an LED strip with individually addressable LEDs there could allow for pretty cool Knight-rider-type effects.
Yes it is and that's the idea yes, quite a few of the new ITX motherboard have RGB LED strips running along their front edge which should make the frosted strip glow, or you can install your own RGB strip near the front of the case.

Have you looked into only supporting thinner 80mm fans? I think it would look nicer if the frosted C-panel was the same width all around, and it seems to me 4 slim 80mm fans can still push a lot of air without becoming noisy. Or would that then limit the other options too much?
Basically it all comes down to noise. I have some slim 80mm Akasa fans, they can move a decent amount of air when flat out, but only run quietly when you set them at a really low RPM, at which point they provide hardly any airflow.

What about 2.5" drives in regular configuration? I guess they fit in the front compartment?
That is correct, they should sit just behind the front panel. I still need to do some work on this area of the design.

Audio maybe not, but USB absolutely! You want to be able to plug in an SD-card reader or stick for watching photos you took with your camera, for example. If you can put USB in, absolutely do, it's too convenient to leave it out.
I believe front audio & USB ports are good additions for HTPCs (say to attach remote IR module).
OK I will spend some time looking into adding front USB.

Just my 2c.. 72mm coolers like NH-L12 should be quite a powerful. Do they really benefit from the extra fans?
I'm sure the NH-L12S will be sufficient enough for any Ryzen APU that is released. AMD's current top end APU is 95W TDP which I expect the NH-L12S will be good enough for.

The idea behind the case fans is to increase airflow through the CPU heatsink at lower fan RPM's, basically 5 fans working together can produce more airflow at a lower speed than 1 fan working flat out, and therefore run quieter.

Provided that these coolers can cope with AMD APU TDPs, why not instead go with a revised In-Win Chopin layout:
- Remove the side fans..
- put 2 x 2.5" drives at under side of the motherboard
- PSU at the side: provide space & adapter plate for FlexATX & HDPlex's internal AC-DC units.
I wanted to have support for a low profile dedicated GPU which dictates the height of the case above the motherboard. Adding drives under the motherboard would increase the height of the case at which point it starts to become more of cube profile rather than low profile console style.
 

ignsvn

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Apr 4, 2016
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Oh so you're considering to provide support for low profile GPU as well.. OK that's another story then (I initially thought that this was an APU-only case).
 

K888D

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Oh so you're considering to provide support for low profile GPU as well.. OK that's another story then (I initially thought that this was an APU-only case).
My focus is on the APU aspect as I feel the low profile GPU layout is covered by other cases, but there will probably be an option to make it compatible with them if it's popular enough.
 

iFreilicht

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Feb 28, 2015
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Good spot! I'm guessing if you were to have one of these the front panel would be white and orange?!
You know it :D

Its glued onto an acrylic panel, the acrylic panel has screw recesses in the rear through which some metal corner joints have been pre-installed.
Oh, interesting solution. Though that means it's impossible to tighten those screws when they're coming lose, right?

Basically it all comes down to noise. I have some slim 80mm Akasa fans, they can move a decent amount of air when flat out, but only run quietly when you set them at a really low RPM, at which point they provide hardly any airflow.
I see, good to know you tested it. This case could also work with a passive cooler, might be even quieter. Is there enough space to filter the 80mm fans? It seems like an ideal setup for that.
 

K888D

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Oh, interesting solution. Though that means it's impossible to tighten those screws when they're coming lose, right?
Thats a very good point, I will look at adding some thread lock for these screws to prevent that from happening.

Here's a look at the back of that panel:


Is there enough space to filter the 80mm fans? It seems like an ideal setup for that.
There is a 5mm gap between the side panel and fans when using 25mm thick fans, that should be enough room to slide in some sort of filter if you wanted to add one.
 

robbee

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Love the concept! The dimensions feel very well balanced, especially in standing position, kind of a tiny-tower form factor. Might it be worth looking into adding support for the internal 160w AC-DC from hdplex and/or meanwell AC-DC? It should be plenty for an APU system and if you manage to mount it to the front or above the I/O, it shouldn't block airflow too much.
 

K888D

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Love the concept! The dimensions feel very well balanced, especially in standing position, kind of a tiny-tower form factor. Might it be worth looking into adding support for the internal 160w AC-DC from hdplex and/or meanwell AC-DC? It should be plenty for an APU system and if you manage to mount it to the front or above the I/O, it shouldn't block airflow too much.
Thanks! Unfortunately you couldn't mount the 160 AC-DC to the rear as it would interfere with most CPU coolers that are above IO height. The HDPLEX AC-DC units are surprisingly big, almost as big as a Flex-ATX power supply!

You should be able to mount a HDPLEX AC-DC unit on either side of the case if you sacrifice 2 of the fans.
 

ignsvn

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Apr 4, 2016
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My focus is on the APU aspect as I feel the low profile GPU layout is covered by other cases, but there will probably be an option to make it compatible with them if it's popular enough.
OK understood. I was thinking why an APU-only case reaches 260mm.. but then you mentioned LP GPU.. :)
 
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