modding an Ncase M1

tardis042

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2016
10
11
So, my custom case project didn't end up happening, and now I have an Ncase. I'm pretty happy with it, but I have an open air cooler GPU (I just bought it a few months ago, before I decided on the move to SFF, so I'm not up for trying to sell it so I can buy a rear exhaust card now) and I'm having, as I expected, some thermal issues.

At idle everything is excellent - CPU sits at 28, mobo and GPU around 35. At load, CPU temps hit around 60, GPU 72, and mobo gets as high as 63, which is the worrying one. I came up with a solution though. Since I have my PSU facing inward getting fed cool air by the side fan, I don't really need ventilation where it is on the right side of the case - I'd be better off with it down below. So I did this.



Temps dropped by 3 degrees on CPU and GPU and 8 degrees on mobo within moments. Obviously the masking tape method isn't a long-term solution, though...so I'm looking at my options. I basically have 2.

1. Try to find a permanent way to reorient the side panel. With the panel reversed, the bottom half of the vent sits right next to the GPU, giving it an exhaust it desperately needs, and the top of the vent is still positioned over my M.2 drive, which is the only other thing that really needs cooling back there. Getting this done would probably involve cutting the pegs that snap into the frame off with a hacksaw and repositioning them using epoxy. The cheapest solution, but also the most likely to fail since I'm not sure the force required to pull the panel off the case is less than the force that would dislodge epoxied-on pegs....

2. Find someone nearby who can laser more vents into the panel for me. Probably go with an entirely different pattern (diagonal lines maybe) since there's no way they'd match the pattern of the existing vent exactly. This would cost a lot more than a tube of 2-part epoxy, but it would improve cooling without compromising structural integrity. Plus, that tiny cut-off corner would still be at the lower back corner like it's supposed to be, instead of ending up at the top front because I'd rotated the panel...not that that matters *that* much.

So I guess what I'm asking here is, does anyone have a) any thoughts on which of these might be the better option or b) tips on how I'd go about accomplishing one or the other? I'd be a bit lost on the latter, I must admit, since I'm familiar with basic hand and power tools but I don't really know anything about the world of laser cutters and such.
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,166
847
Don't have an M1, but would the panel fit on in the new desired orientation if you removed only the two "side" pegs? The "top" and "bottom" pegs look like they might be positioned equally relative to the edge of the panel.
 

jtd871

SFF Guru
Jun 22, 2015
1,166
847
Or maybe install holes in the frame where the "side" pegs would land in the desired orientation so you can keep the panel intact?
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,302
4,620
Nope, I looked at the pegs because of curiosity and almost none of them line up except for the original way. There is no exact symmetry between the pegs, not even the outer ones, so you can't even swap or flip the sidepanels. They are also not distanced the same from the edges, so even if it could fit peg-wise, it would still result in a panel a few millimeters offset leaving either a panel gap or an overlap.
 

tardis042

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2016
10
11
Why not use black Velcro Ultra Thin Tape? You can easily cut it to narrow width (if you are patient and careful) and it will hold flat and firmly.

Interesting idea. I've never used it before, but I've had issues with the regular sticky velcro scrips where the velcro is actually stronger than the glue and I'm always pulling the velcro off the metal...have you had good experiences using this stuff for similar applications, ie where you'll need to open the thing up not on a daily basis but regularly enough without it getting messed up?

Also, I redid my cable management (even though that's kind of an oxymoron in this case) and relocated one of my SSDs and the motherboard temp at load dropped to 55 with the side panel on normally, 52 with it reversed. Definitely better. Plus, although ASRock doesn't say where on the mobo the sensor is, Speccy is reporting that it's at the CPU socket, which makes me think it might be normal to see it report higher temps.

That said, I also found a local makerspace that has members who do things like small CNC and laser cutting jobs for decent rates, so I'm going to check out what it might cost to get some extra vents cut in.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soul_Est and Phuncz

Hermit2001

Trash Compacter
Apr 26, 2016
43
31
Love this idea.

Hows about neodymium magnets? Cut and sand off the pegs, then epoxy magnets to the frame and panel.

The trick with this, and possibly the velcro glue idea is epoxy-ing anything to Aluminium. The anodised coating really reduces bond strength. You have to sand off the oxidised surface, clean it with acetone or isopropanol, wipe dry (lint-free cloth) then immediately apply your epoxy.

You could also just mill out the area and stick on a thin mesh (ladies tights) or some other fabric on the inside. As this will be outflow, you may not need it dense enough (weave) to filter.
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,243
2,357
freilite.com
That said, I also found a local makerspace that has members who do things like small CNC and laser cutting jobs for decent rates, so I'm going to check out what it might cost to get some extra vents cut in.

This will be the cleanest solution. Just let them add holes so that the ventilation pattern extends all the way to the bottom. Then use a black marker to paint the inside of the holes, done. The important thing here is that the spacing is bang-on, otherwise it could look sub-par. Still it would probably look better than turning the panel around and sawing the pegs off.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Soul_Est and TheHig

ricochet

SFF AFFLICTED
Oct 20, 2016
547
345
Interesting idea. I've never used it before, but I've had issues with the regular sticky velcro scrips where the velcro is actually stronger than the glue and I'm always pulling the velcro off the metal...have you had good experiences using this stuff for similar applications, ie where you'll need to open the thing up not on a daily basis but regularly enough without it getting messed up?

The cheaper non-Velcro/3M knock-off brands will do that... original Velcro and/or 3M is quality stuff especially the Velcro Ultra Thin tape which is their current flagship model... IT STICKS TO GLASS! so...

The neo-magnets is a great idea.
 

TheHig

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Oct 13, 2016
941
1,156
Love this idea.

Hows about neodymium magnets? Cut and sand off the pegs, then epoxy magnets to the frame and panel.

YES. I'm using them to hold a steel panel on a small case mod. The neo magnets will be glued into a wood frame that bumps the width of the case enough to allow a low profile 750ti. Side panel slaps right on.

on topic.. OP. I second taking your panel to the fab guys and having your vents cut in professionally. The NCase is a premium item and the end result will be clean and not compromise the peg mounting system at all. But hey is your case and if you want to go ham with a hacksaw.. No one here will judge! Good luck.
 

equilni

Chassis Packer
Oct 7, 2016
17
12
So, my custom case project didn't end up happening, and now I have an Ncase. I'm pretty happy with it, but I have an open air cooler GPU (I just bought it a few months ago, before I decided on the move to SFF, so I'm not up for trying to sell it so I can buy a rear exhaust card now) and I'm having, as I expected, some thermal issues.

At idle everything is excellent - CPU sits at 28, mobo and GPU around 35. At load, CPU temps hit around 60, GPU 72, and mobo gets as high as 63, which is the worrying one. I came up with a solution though. Since I have my PSU facing inward getting fed cool air by the side fan, I don't really need ventilation where it is on the right side of the case - I'd be better off with it down below. So I did this.


Temps dropped by 3 degrees on CPU and GPU and 8 degrees on mobo within moments. Obviously the masking tape method isn't a long-term solution, though...so I'm looking at my options. I basically have 2.
What CPU cooler are you using?
 

tardis042

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2016
10
11
So, while those guys I mentioned have pretty cheap hourly rates, they have some serious job minimums, and I'm not up for paying basically the cost of the case to get those extra vents cut. I have a friend who's just invested in a laser cutter for his business and might be able to buy some time on that for a case of beer or something. :p Gonna have to wait a few months until it actually arrives, though. For the time being, I've tweaked my fan profiles a bit and reduced the GPU boost a little, and all the temps are at least a little better.

Oh, and:

What CPU cooler are you using?

It's a Noctua C12P.
 

Hermit2001

Trash Compacter
Apr 26, 2016
43
31
So did you ever mod the side panel? How'd it go??
[Just read your last post, ignore the above]

FYI you may want to use a Sharpie to colour the inside of the new holes black.
 
Last edited:

tardis042

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2016
10
11
After a month away for winter break and then a month working pretty much all day every day on my thesis, I finally had some downtime at home and got around to trying something out here. Pardon me for resurrecting the thread but I figured other Ncase owners might be interested in the potential gains.

I ordered an extra side panel from Ncase and set to work on it when it arrived. Not having access to any tools that would let me cut a rectangular hole in aluminum, I improvised with a 3.5cm hole bit.



It's not all that pretty, but it works. The panel was pretty scratched up, but a bit of metallic black spraypaint helped with that. I figure this would look decent with a dust filter or screen epoxied onto the inside of the panel so the holes aren't all that visible.

The first test I ran to see if this actually made a real difference was furmark. I have my card set for a 70° temp target through EVGA Precision XOC, and decided to leave that setting in place for this.

Original side panel: GPU stabilized at 72°/1771MHz. CPU 44°, motherboard 46°

Modded side panel (drumroll please....): GPU stabilized at 71°/1797MHz. CPU 45°, motherboard 46°.

I know furmark doesn't stress the whole system so it wouldn't show much effect from a decrease in ambient temperature in the case, but even so these are pretty dismal results for putting in so much extra ventilation. I got a different story when I tried GTA V though:

Original: GPU 72°/1949MHz, CPU 58°, motherboard 56°.

Modded: GPU 66°/1961MHz, CPU 58°, motherboard 52°.

That's a pretty substantial decrease in GPU temps, and gives the card more room to overclock, especially if I go in and up my thermal target since at the moment it's staying well below the 70° mark.

I'm going to head to Lowes tomorrow and try and find some fine window screen. I don't need real dust filter material as this is functioning entirely as an exhaust.

So, verdict: honestly, I'm not 100% sure I'll keep using the modded panel, but I guess that's why I have both. I could do it again and make it look better, but I don't care enough to spend more money on it. Still, a ~10% drop in GPU temps while gaming is nothing to scoff at. For anyone looking to use a non-blower-style card in an Ncase M1, this might be something to think about doing. (Also, Ncase dudes, hint hint...people might buy an optional side panel with extra ventilation in the GPU area....)
 

ricochet

SFF AFFLICTED
Oct 20, 2016
547
345
Very nice little mod there... I say it is just a testing stage for the next step! Have you considered ordering a smoked acrylic or glass piece instead?
 

Hermit2001

Trash Compacter
Apr 26, 2016
43
31
Shame about those temps, perhaps the air is still being recirculated. Maybe try a cardboard duct?

Have you used Asus Realbench? That seems to be a pretty decent stress test.
 

tardis042

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Sep 27, 2016
10
11
Very nice little mod there... I say it is just a testing stage for the next step! Have you considered ordering a smoked acrylic or glass piece instead?

That would look nice, but given that I didn't get much benefit even with the holes completely open I'm not sure I'd want to constrict them that much. Even with ventilation holes cut into it an acrylic piece would reduce space for airflow by ~50%. Plus, it would be a lot more expensive than just buying a bit of screen or filter material.