Concept MK-2 (Sub 6L Watercooled SFF)

Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 3, 2016
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554
So after dipping into the SFF world with my S4 mini build I have had the idea of a SFF Watercooled PC. My orginal idea was to attempt to modify the S4 mini to accept watercooling components. This however turned out to require to many compromises in terms of hardware and would have required many custom watercooling components. This leads me to my new case concept! A 4.98L SFF case that can accept standard mini ITX components and off the shelf watercooling components. Now there will be no fitting 120mm radiators in this case so the sole radiator with be a dual 80mm alphacool unit. While this might not allow for crazy overclocking it will allow for a more silent operation while maintaining comparable temps to air cooling without needing excessive cooling vents (the one fault I can find in the S4 mini).

The Goals for this Case:
  • Accept standard mini itx components (no thin mini itx or mini stx here)
  • Accept off the shelf watercooling components such as radiator, waterblocks, fittings, etc...
  • Have a footprint (when laying on its side) less then a sheet of paper
  • Highly Customizable exterior color and materials

Specifications:

Dimensions:

  • 250mm x 210mm x 95mm (L*W*H)
  • 4.98L

Material:
  • HP Fusion Jet 3D Printed Nylon or SLS Nylon
  • Your choice of Wood or Acrylic side panels

CPU support:

  • The sky is the limit!

GPU support:

  • Mini ITX with Max PCB length of 180mm

PSU:
  • Pico PSU or G-Unique PSU
  • G-Unique PSU power adapter

Storage:
  • One M.2 SSD
  • Two 2.5" HDD/SSD

RAM:
  • Standard Height RAM recommended but extended heatsink RAM can be accommodated if GPU is water-cooled.

Cooling:
  • Two 80mm Fans (Recommend Noctua NF-R8 1800PWM)
  • One Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 full copper dual 80mm radiator
  • Small Pump required (Recommend CPU/Pump combo with max height of 36mm)


Renders:





Current Prototype:





More Information will become available as development continues.
 
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Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 3, 2016
342
554
SFF Forum, I present to you the very first prototype of (insert name here.... Need to think of an official name...)













The first prototype is impressive! Very sturdy which was something I was concerned with... I will list out the good and the bad with this first prototype.

The Good
  • Everything fits!! No modification will be required for the IO shield and all components have good clearances!
  • The bamboo wood is beautiful
  • Plenty of room for a G-Unique Slim type connector above the GPU
  • Very easy to build in since most every panel can be removed at will
  • When all parts are installed, GPU will have little to no flex
  • Plenty of room and ventilation for a dual slot air-cooled GPU with a water-cooled CPU
The "Bad" (Not really bad but just some things to update for the next Prototype)
  • I will need to add a third row of screws to the front panel and the back panel for added support.
  • Some areas of the case are a bit flimsy like the front and back center. This can be easily fixed with added support to the frame and the aforementioned third row of screws.
  • The rear panel IO area has a slight bow under the IO plate. I am currently unsure of how to fix this but will be looking into solutions.
Overall this is a very successful first prototype! I am very pleased with the results! A few tweaks and I believe the case will be ready! Like I said before, I need to decide on a name and update the OP with official specs. Now it is on to actually building my new Ryzen system in this case instead of just a mock up!
 
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Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Aug 28, 2016
162
366
I think this case looks amazing so far, incredible work! I love how you incorporated 3d printing the main inner frame with the outer aluminum shell, amazingly elegant and I hope it will turn out great! I'm excited to see how a cpu and 1080Ti would fare in terms of temperature using just a dual 80mm rad - it always seems to me that water cooling has way more cooling capacity than what I would expect it to have.

One question about using the new HP printer for it, or Shapeways in general - Is it feasible in terms of price to create something that big? As far as I'm aware, one of the things Shapeways charges is the volume a part takes up in a machine. Not having the model I simply don't know the exact cost, but would not be surprised if it cost hundreds of dollars to make. Maybe I'm off the mark here though...

Also, for fasteners in the acrylic/aluminum, do you plan to directly tap to create threads? One thing I might recommend for the 3d printed part is to use heat set fasteners.
 

Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 3, 2016
342
554
I think this case looks amazing so far, incredible work! I love how you incorporated 3d printing the main inner frame with the outer aluminum shell, amazingly elegant and I hope it will turn out great! I'm excited to see how a cpu and 1080Ti would fare in terms of temperature using just a dual 80mm rad - it always seems to me that water cooling has way more cooling capacity than what I would expect it to have.

One question about using the new HP printer for it, or Shapeways in general - Is it feasible in terms of price to create something that big? As far as I'm aware, one of the things Shapeways charges is the volume a part takes up in a machine. Not having the model I simply don't know the exact cost, but would not be surprised if it cost hundreds of dollars to make. Maybe I'm off the mark here though...

Also, for fasteners in the acrylic/aluminum, do you plan to directly tap to create threads? One thing I might recommend for the 3d printed part is to use heat set fasteners.
Thank you for the comments! A 1080Ti would be pushing it with the dual 80mm rad but I believe it can be done. From the research I have done so far, the Alphacool 80mm unit has a cooling capacity a bit over a standard single 120mm radiator (assuming proper airflow). I plan to use 2 80mm x 25mm Noctua PWM fans with a CFM of about 35 each. These should provide sufficient airflow. I think a 1080Ti coupled with a 35 watt T variant processor or even a non K 65 watt processor would be able to be sufficiently cooled with temps comparable to air cooling.

As for the Shapeways question, it actually is! The size of this case is thankfully within the max build volume and since it is basically a thin walled part the material volume and their calculated machine build volume is low. This makes the price about the same as a sheet metal design if I had designed the case for that method. The downside comes in if I want to start a production run of the case. Shapeways does not offer discounts as quantity goes up. So if I were to pursue production I would have to look elsewhere (perhaps Xometry) for a SLS service that will offer bulk order discounts.
 

Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
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Jun 3, 2016
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As for the pump/res, I am considering purchasing one of the cheap AIO coolers and steeling the cpu block/ pump combo unit. Then all I would need is a T line for the res and no extra space required for the pump. It might also be cheaper! More research needed!
 
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Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
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Mar 6, 2017
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As for the pump/res, I am considering purchasing one of the cheap AIO coolers and steeling the cpu block/ pump combo unit. Then all I would need is a T line for the res and no extra space required for the pump. It might also be cheaper! More research needed!
Fractal has an AIO pump with a fill-port on it, although I forgot what the name of it was. Sad thing is that I own it :)
 
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Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
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Jun 3, 2016
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Fractal has an AIO pump with a fill-port on it, although I forgot what the name of it was. Sad thing is that I own it :)
Thanks for the tip! I found it! It is the Fractal Design Kelvin t12. What I like about it is that it has threaded fittings so that it can be expanded later on. The downside is that it seems that it is not available in the US and is pricey considering the fact that I will only be using the cpu block/pump... I wonder if they sell spare parts...
 
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aquelito

King of Cable Management
Piccolo PC
Feb 16, 2016
881
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Nice one :)

I'm currently designing a similar case with three different features :

- mini-itx with bifurcated riser allowing for two PCIe cards
- internal 1U PSU
- up to 140W watercooled CPU

I'm aiming at a 6L or 8L volume though, depending on the PSU.
 
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GentlemanShark

Asus RMA sucks
Marsupial Computing
Dec 22, 2016
358
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I can provide you with any Asetek CPU cooler from 120mm to 360mm free of charge, only pay shipping.
 
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Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
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Mar 6, 2017
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Thanks for the tip! I found it! It is the Fractal Design Kelvin t12. What I like about it is that it has threaded fittings so that it can be expanded later on. The downside is that it seems that it is not available in the US and is pricey considering the fact that I will only be using the cpu block/pump... I wonder if they sell spare parts...
Yep that's it :) I have one but it's going in the GFs rig.
 
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Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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Been looking a bit more at dimensions for various parts. It looks as though my can can support the HDPLEX 400 watt power supply but it will have to sacrifice the front IO to do so. My plan currently is to use a PicoPSU 160xt and a meanwell 280watt 12 volt power supply. The PicoPSU will be modified with thicker gauge wire to handle the added wattage. I estimate a system with a 1080 GPU and 65 watt TDP processor will max out around the 275 watt range under full synthetic load. The dual 80mm rad should be just enough to cool a system like this with temps comparable to air cooling. The plus is that my case will still allow for the use of low profile air coolers for the CPU so you could have a loop comprised solely of the GPU for increased cooling performance of that single component. It also looks as though I might be able to fit a single 2.5" hard drive in here as well. All storage was originally going to be handled through the m.2 slot.

As I said before, my ultimate goal is to build a Ryzen system with this case and pair it with either a 1070/1080 or a Vega graphics card when and if they announce one that directly competes with the 1070/1080.
 

entropy

Caliper Novice
May 17, 2017
32
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This looks excellent. Will a dual 80mm rad be enough for the CPU and GPU? Also, do motherboard standoffs need to be grounded? Wont you be screwing them into plastic?
 

Zackmd1

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 3, 2016
342
554
This looks excellent. Will a dual 80mm rad be enough for the CPU and GPU? Also, do motherboard standoffs need to be grounded? Wont you be screwing them into plastic?
The motherboard itself is grounded through the power supply so that is not an issue. The aluminum shell however will need to be grounded. This will be very easy to achieve by just adding a wire from one of the motherboard mounting points to one of the outer shell mounting points.

The 80mm alphacool unit has a heat dissipation area just a little larger then a single 120mm rad so it should be just enough assuming I can get proper airflow over the radiator fins and the coolant doesn't move to fast through the radiator. My current plan is to use 2 80mm x 25mm Noctua fans but I might move to 4 thin 80mm fans (2 on top 2 on bottom) if I have room and if they provide a noticeable increase in air flow.
 

CC Ricers

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Nov 1, 2015
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This looks crazy enough to work. If you want a pump/res combo, have you considered the XSPC Ion? It has a slimmer profile (about 50x58mm) with its pump smaller than the DDC types. The only possible issue I see is that I don't know if water will flow well if it's set horizontally. The pump seems to be designed for vertical orientation only.

Looking into it more if you want to fit a decent AC-DC power supply inside go with one of the Meanwell 300W units. Their open PCB has a size of 3x5 inches which should fit well on the side of the case. I imagine it will work best at the side facing the radiator. Doing rough calculations you can still keep the case within a foot long.
 
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darksidecookie

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 1, 2016
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My current plan is to use 2 80mm x 25mm Noctua fans but I might move to 4 thin 80mm fans (2 on top 2 on bottom) if I have room and if they provide a noticeable increase in air flow.
keep in mind that when going with a single 25mm fan you have enough space for the fittings of the radiator. but when you got with 2 thin ones, the fittings might not fit anymore.