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Production Lazer3D - LZ XTD - Alternative Designs

K888D

SFF Guru
Original poster
Lazer3D
Feb 23, 2016
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www.lazer3d.com
I'm really liking the 3rd design. Having the option to watercool the CPU / GPU is a huge plus. I see a lot of SFF enthusiasts aiming to push the most out of their small rig, and I'm sure they'll appreciate the feature. For me though, the limit of 245mm GPU is the greatest addition. No longer would you need to limit yourself to ITX cards as even standard* ones (e.g. Sapphire Nitro 480) rarely exceed the limit.

The only thing I'd like better is to have the ability to put in an ATX PSU. Nothing's wrong with SFXs, but as with standard*-length GPUs, the standard* for PSUs are still ATX. Having the option will really make it a no-compromise case. So far the NCase is the only SFF that has managed this feat, but it's definitely not as small as the LZ.

* I know there's no standard for these, but the majority of things in the market fall not far from certain sizes.
Thanks! I totally agree, but catering for an ATX PSU would significantly increase the volume of the design.
 

cadiguno

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Oct 18, 2016
128
116
Thanks! I totally agree, but catering for an ATX PSU would significantly increase the volume of the design.
Yeah, and I think that's not the aim of the LZ. Even with the NCase we have to sacrifice GPU length in order to fit in an ATX PSU. Can't have them all, I suppose :)

Would it be possible to mount a 3.5" HDD in place of the 120mm radiator? Though IIRC to do so requires about 5.75" which is about 150mm. Not sure if that would fit considering all the size restrictions (maybe with some kind of a bracket, though it will limit the GPU length to 180mm?), but having such an option would absolutely be delightful!
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
2,838
1,998
I'm seeing really low or no interest on ATX, despite it should be not that difficult to anticipate on front and rear panel, in LZ9 setup as :
  • Force watercooling on cpu
  • ATX psu has far too long cables, force to use modular with dedicated cables
  • limit motherboard and others components cooling
  • ATX are useless to power 1cpu+1gpu system vs SFX psu
 

K888D

SFF Guru
Original poster
Lazer3D
Feb 23, 2016
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www.lazer3d.com
Would it be possible to mount a 3.5" HDD in place of the 120mm radiator?
I tried to make the LZ7 compatible with 3.5" drives, they were just a few mm to big, but I don't see why I couldn't get one to fit in the LZ7's bigger brother.

Yeah, and I think that's not the aim of the LZ.
Exactly, there are so many SFX PSU's to choose from now, if your going to design a case thats purpose is to be as space efficient as possible then there is no reason to make it ATX compatible, the only reason would be for people who don't want to fork out on a new PSU if they already own an ATX PSU.

You can pick up good quality SFX power supplies for around £45 that can power GTX 1070's and RX480's. Or step up to £70 and you can power them silently with the semi passive Corsar SF models.

Hardware is becoming more power efficient with every generation, you can power a monster gaming PC with only 250 - 300 watts.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
2,838
1,998
Completely agreed with SFX psu avaibility..:) SFX PSU is clearly enough for 1 cpu, 1 GPU system
 
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cadiguno

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Oct 18, 2016
128
116
Despite my previous post about the ATX PSU, I agree that it wouldn't be a good idea for the LZ. This alternative-design case in its current form already has everything I wanted... and more!
  • Enough power for a wide range of setups (something FlexATX may not have).
  • Room for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives so I don't have to backup files and throw away 3.5" HDDs from previous builds.
  • Clearance for most GPUs without having to resort to ITX releases (which aren't always available and often more expensive).
  • Large fan to move the air and keep things cool.
  • All that in a total volume less than 10L.

Some other custom SFF cases have smaller volumes or more premium materials, but none of them has all those things in one pack. I realize that right now you are probably busy with the LZ7, with the case ready for pre-orders and all. But if you somehow decide to go with the 3rd design please sign me up as an early adopter :)
 
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Mezzeric

Minimal Tinkerer
Oct 29, 2016
3
2
Great case. I registered because of this. I would prefer the V1 for full length GPU, but the nano version is also fine. Would be great though if the case stand is removable to save space. No need for ventilation to be honest.
 
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dcaparros

Trash Compacter
May 19, 2017
38
56
Very cool design, here is my opinion:

Design 1: This is a very common design by many cases companies and I don't see a very useful scenario for it when you have way cheaper options from silverstone, cooler master, etc

Design 2: This seem a little more different, but it's basically a mini tower in the horizontal...

Design 3: Cooler master elite 110 with a SFX option???
 

Boil

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Nov 11, 2015
959
765
Room for both 3.5" and 2.5" drives so I don't have to backup files and throw away 3.5" HDDs from previous builds.
Why would you throw away 3.5" drives when you could just get any number of external enclosures for them...?
 
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Boil

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Nov 11, 2015
959
765
The LZ7 mini cube case is intended to be part of a range of cases that cater for different SFF needs, I have tried to create a design that can easily scale up and down in size.

Compact case capable of fitting a watercooled GPU such as the Fury X.

This is a case design I have been working on with @MarcParis, the point of which wsa to take the LZ7 design and see what changes would need to be made to fit an AMD Fury X into it which includes a 120mm radiator.

The height has stayed the same, but the length has increased due to the front mounted radiator, this means that there is now space to fit a 245mm long GPU. Of course the radiator mount could be used for the CPU if you prefered. The end result is an 8.93 Litre case:

Ignore the vent patterns for now:




This reminds me of my post over in the LZ7 thread, just a little different...

LZ7 - Quiet Mini Gaming Cube with internal SFX PSU

I still think my thoughts on this are valid for a high-powered air-cooled workstation...

I understand switching for SFX to the AC - DC assembly would narrow the number of folks interested in such a chassis, but in turn it also speaks to those embracing the latest in SFF components...
 
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WadeAK78

Master of Cramming
Jun 7, 2016
381
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The best part is that you just need mounting holes in the hard drive tray to support an ac-dc converter.
 
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Boil

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Nov 11, 2015
959
765
The best part is that you just need mounting holes in the hard drive tray to support an ac-dc converter.
No, I am placing the AC-DC components on the side wall where the original intake fan was & moving the intake fan to the front of the chassis...

This allows an airflow path like such:

140mm x 25mm intake fan (NF-A15) > 125mm tall tower CPU cooler (NH-U9S) > dual 92mm x 25mm exhaust fans (NF-A9)

My original idea for the modded LZ7 was centered around the Zotac GTX 1080Ti Mini & the ASRock X299E-ITX/ac motherboard, so the hard drive tray would be eliminated & the workstation would rely on the three M.2 slots for onboard storage...
 
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d_sff

Cable Smoosher
Feb 4, 2018
8
7
For me the designs 1 and 2 can be better if the psu is in the front ( on the right of the motherboard) with a extension cable to the back. it intakes air from the front and exoust to the top or side like the node 304 or dan, etc. what do we win with this? - the hight of the cpu cooler can be much taller and we dont have th to use watercooling to cool properly the cpu. the famous sg13 has this problem and some people mod it so they can have a better air solution (like the noctua L12) because they dont want water and pumps doing noise in their systems. watercooling can still be an option. if you make the prototype 1 with the psu on the front and make it with the depth of the sg13 or a little smaller it can be a winner. or maybe i'm wrong XD

EDIT- I took the time to read some posts and this was already suggested...
 
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K888D

SFF Guru
Original poster
Lazer3D
Feb 23, 2016
1,393
2,808
www.lazer3d.com
For me the designs 1 and 2 can be better if the psu is in the front ( on the right of the motherboard) with a extension cable to the back. it intakes air from the front and exoust to the top or side like the node 304 or dan, etc. what do we win with this? - the hight of the cpu cooler can be much taller and we dont have th to use watercooling to cool properly the cpu. the famous sg13 has this problem and some people mod it so they can have a better air solution (like the noctua L12) because they dont want water and pumps doing noise in their systems. watercooling can still be an option. if you make the prototype 1 with the psu on the front and make it with the depth of the sg13 or a little smaller it can be a winner. or maybe i'm wrong XD

EDIT- I took the time to read some posts and this was already suggested...
Thanks for the comments, yes an LZ7 style case with the PSU located at the front to increase CPU cooler height and GPU length is the next thing I will be working on once the HT5 has been launched.
 

Draughtsman

Chassis Packer
Oct 23, 2017
15
29
Thanks for the comments, yes an LZ7 style case with the PSU located at the front to increase CPU cooler height and GPU length is the next thing I will be working on once the HT5 has been launched.
Just had a though. What about a mod kit for existing LZ7 case owners that will take a full length GPU? you would only need the top, btm & side panel blanks. When the founders editions of the next gen Nvidia graphics cards are launched, whether it be Volta, Ampere, or Turin, LZ7 owners could then use these cards if they so wish. In addition when the ITX mini versions of these new gen cards become available (which may take quite some time) you then have the option of going back to the original LZ7 size by swapping back the original case components! How much would a set of suitable case panels cost?
 

d_sff

Cable Smoosher
Feb 4, 2018
8
7
thats quite a good idea. but you will not have the optimal layout with this option. Don't know about the case regidity/integrity too. Regarding the layout, now you can also fit 3.5 drives no problem. the layout still has the psu on the top of the cpu cooler. but its a good idea for people that already have the lz7 or a new product, like LZ7 +

PS - it's a shame the hbm2 isn't being used in powerfull gpus. if they were used we wouldnt be having this conversation right now the 1080ti could have a much shorter pcb than the zotac mini
 

d_sff

Cable Smoosher
Feb 4, 2018
8
7
Sorry for the double post, but i read someting about asrock and gigabyt suporting riser cards (16x to 2 x 8x) so it is possible to do sli with an itx motherbord- more about pci bifurcation -> https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/pci-e-bifurcation.1398/
with this in mind and the amazing design of your cases i made a possible layout of a case that has 10.6L, using risers. we would have to sell a kidney to buy the case because the number of risers (3) but a man can dream


EDIT->8.5L (round numbers)
 
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BlackRogue

Trash Compacter
Oct 22, 2016
45
26
As a rough estimate if the PSU and rad slot from design 1 was swapped around, how tall of a gap are we looking at for the pump block. I like the thought of the CoolerMaster MasterLquid Pro 120/140 for the supposedly silent pump along with Noctua fans. But the block comes in at a heft 58-ish mm tall. You could probably get it under a 63 mm radiator and single fan, but could you get it under 88 mm with two fans and rad
 

K888D

SFF Guru
Original poster
Lazer3D
Feb 23, 2016
1,393
2,808
www.lazer3d.com

The new RTX cards consume more power than their predecessors, which could mean we see fewer short (ITX) length cards this generation in the enthusiast category. For this reason I thought it would be a good time to get this thread moving again.

The most obvious place to start would be to simply extend the LZ7 by 80mm to make it compatible with reference length Graphics Cards, this opens up space in front of the motherboard for the SFX power supply, which also opens up all the space above the motherboard for CPU cooling.

The result is a 9.99 litre shoebox style case with extreme air cooling potential. Existing LZ7 cases can be upgraded with a set of 4 new panels (Top, Bottom and sides).

Here is the first prototype:




The extra room in the motherboard area opens up the potential for some creative windowed builds, this prototype is a concept of how a windowed version could be done. I wanted to create a sort of "frosted ice" look which would go nice with some white custom cables and perhaps some blue ambient lighting.




Using clear material for the top and side panels really opens the build up and allows you to show off the full system, but all the cables from the power supply and front IO can look messy if you don't have custom length sleeved cables. To hide these cable the front half of the window panels are completely etched that fades out with a hex pattern.





The pattern and proportions need some tweaking but I am really pleased with the etching, it looks stunning in person and the frosted etch lights up very nicely from the Corsair RGB RAM.


I would also like to do a black version of this case concept using smoked window panels instead of clear, I'm not sure how etching onto smoked panels will turn out but it could be really interesting.

Unfortunately I don't currently have the right hardware to truly show off this concept in terms of high end CPU's, coolers and modern reference length GPU's. My current main desktop CPU is the Ryzen 2400G as I've been using it to test the HT5 APU case. I have a Noctua U9S tower cooler which would be perfect for this layout, but I don't have an AM4 bracket for it yet. Next up is the GPU, my daily card is the Gigabyte GTX 1070 ITX which I use in the LZ7, but the short length card defeats the point of this case. So instead I'm using this MSI R9 285, a bit outdated but with it's 250w TDP it should be a good test for the thermals.


As you can see the 360 degree GPU exhaust ventilation that worked so well for the LZ7 has been maintained in this design, when used in conjunction with a positive pressure setup this will really help to flush out exhaust heat keeping thermals under control to maintain high boost clocks and lower fan speeds during heavy gaming.


I pretty sure the biggest point of contention with this concept will be the power supply cable. As you may have seen the power supply is facing down mounted to a bracket that is offset from the bottom panel, the power cable exits under the case. It actually works better than it sounds.


Figuring out how to mount the power supply in front of the motherboard has been the most difficult problem to solve. Space is actually quite limited once you factor in the storage mount bracket against the front panel and the IO cables from the side panel. Even though this case layout is only a few litres smaller than the M1 its in this area of the case where the volume has been take from.


You might be thinking why not use an internal extension cable like some of the other SFF indy cases, there are a couple of reasons but the first is I can't actually find a CE approved chassis mount cable with a 90 degree connector (poor excuse I know). If anyone can help point me to one please do!

But even if I can find a supplier for these cables it will be difficult to mount the PSU on its side without constructing a complex 90 degree angle bracket, which is not practical when this is just supposed to be an extension panel for an existing case, also the space is very limited to construct such a bracket. If I was designing a case from scratch the bracket could be designed into the chassis properly, but this is an extension of the LZ7 which makes things a bit more complicated.

Here is a better look at the PSU mount bracket, it is made from a series of layers which are secured to the base panel using long screws (not shown in the photo as I actually glued them together for the purpose of this prototype).


The base panel will be supplied with a right angle power extension cable that you would plug your normal mains power cable into, there are many "off the shelf" CE approved cables that only cost a few £. So for me this solution has many advantages.

Anyways, I apologise for the long post. If you have any comments please let me know!
 

Gautam

Cable-Tie Ninja
Sep 5, 2016
148
123
Looks really good, and it should be able to handle some high-end hardware pretty comfortably. What's the maximum CPU cooler clearance?
 
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