Prototype MT5: 5.4L Expandable case for mini GPUs

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Shrink Way Wielder
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I took some more pictures at different angles.


You can see that the top piece of the motherboard tray is still missing. Once I get this piece in the right dimensions I could add all the main components to the case.
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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I'm considering a longer version of this case to be made, which I think will be more usable as it offers more configuration options. Some of these configurations can allow for longer GPUs like the Zotac 1080 or 2070 mini, or Flex-ATX support, and HD-PLEX AC-DC 400W among others. This is still a ways off and pending the completion of the first case.

 
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Jello

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Wouldn't higher wattage components and 3d printing not play well together? I don't have much knowledge on how well these parts can withstand a higher heat. But for a lower wattage build, your photos with the Sapphire card look ace!
 

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Shrink Way Wielder
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Wouldn't higher wattage components and 3d printing not play well together? I don't have much knowledge on how well these parts can withstand a higher heat. But for a lower wattage build, your photos with the Sapphire card look ace!

Good question. Markforged Onyx is very durable, much more durable than PLA plastic (the common cheap printing material) and has a high glass transition temperature of 145 degrees C before it softens, so it's well above safe operating temperatures. For regular ABS plastic, it sits around 100C.

The CPU and GPU temperatures are measured right at the cores, so the exhaust temps would actually be a bit cooler at 70C to 80C at the most. So this won't be a problem with printed parts using ABS either.
 
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chyll2

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Nothing to worry about. The actual source of heat is usually maxed at 80C and usually user or the manufacturer take measures to prevent it going above that. (getting better cooler, underclocking, thermal throttling). These cores are not touching the plastic.
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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For now I've mostly been waiting on some parts to arrive to finish a build in the case. I got my CPU in the mail, and installed it in the motherboard (still gotta add thermal paste). Before I can do anything else though I just need the power components necessary to run this build because all I have right now is an older HD-PLEX with a 150W power brick.

Edit: and the top piece of the motherboard tray. Argh, so close :p
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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I was able to boot the system without the GPU just using my 150W adapter. Lucky it did because I sort of took a gamble not remembering if it had the latest BIOS for the particular CPU. It's nothing really special, just a G4560T but I'm glad I don't have to return it.
 

jujudk

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Oct 1, 2017
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Woah this new project is even nicer than the previous one !

I would be very interested in the extended version you mentionned, as apple new products aren't as exciting (well they are but damn it's pricey), especially if it support flex atx
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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I received the other piece for the motherboard tray, and fits much better. The motherboard now can be mounted straight. Here's a view of the motherboard side. It's best to remove the top before installing.



When I installed it the first time, the PCIe riser cable fit in very well. The length is just right for the case, with just enough extra length for moving it in place when installing. But it was much tougher to remove it. Either one end could be pulled up, or the other, but I had to pry it a bit with a long tool to get both sides to come out easily. Best way I think is to move the motherboard slightly towards the bottom before screwing it in, then it'll be easier to wrap the cable around.

Here is what the top view looks like.



The components fit straight, but you may notice the tray piece flexes a bit. That's to be expected with this material, many areas (especially the top case side) are flexible. But it all feels very sturdy when the parts are installed.

I also believe the standoffs offset the motherboard a bit too far towards the side of the case by 1mm. May cause imperfect alignment with the I/O shield (which I don't have for this board). A motherboard tray where the screw holes are recessed by 1mm would solve this, and won't make a big difference in the sturdiness of the standoffs.
 

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Shrink Way Wielder
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Thanks @Engr62!

At this point I haven't yet powered on the whole system because I estimate around 300W requirement with some headroom and I don't yet have the power components to support that. I can run it GPU-less with a 150W AC adapter.

However, I am already planning a few design revisions that would hopefully make the case production-ready. The most significant of these is lowering the GPU position by at least 5mm. This should be enough distance to allow extra-tall cards to fit, like the Gigabyte 1080 mini. You would still be able to fit a MeanWell 200W or a KMPKT Dynamo 360 below the GPU.

Second change is the recessed motherboard standoff holes mentioned before, mostly to line up the I/O shield.

The third change is with the top case piece. An extra 3mm of fringe material will be added to the inner wall so it won't bend as much. Also, there will be tabs with screw holes to mount an optional mounting bracket. This bracket would add support for two additional 2.5" hard drives over the CPU cooler if the cooler is 28mm or shorter.
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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God freaking damn that's one sexy beast!

Also, I'd wish that Sapphire continued that design. It's my absolute favourite Mini design to date.

Great chassis design !

I have to model something more current gen than my R9 nano model XD. I'm glad that it's been used that much, i didn't waste time modeling it :D.

Thanks for the feedback!

The R9 Nano model was indeed helpful, its measurements were so accurate that I was able to get the dimensions for the mounting pieces 99% accurate when printing on the first try. Maybe I'll be able to use a real R9 Nano as an upgrade for this test build (though more likely I'll go with a Sapphire 570 ITX).
 

Windfall

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Thanks for the feedback!

The R9 Nano model was indeed helpful, its measurements were so accurate that I was able to get the dimensions for the mounting pieces 99% accurate when printing on the first try. Maybe I'll be able to use a real R9 Nano as an upgrade for this test build (though more likely I'll go with a Sapphire 570 ITX).

Get this man a good 3D printer! And a lasercutter! And some decent hardware! And stuff!
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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I'm thinking that for the larger case with the Flex PSU, I'll just place the PSU at the bottom of the case. While this won't allow for any longer GPUs, placing it at the bottom makes simplifies the new design (I only have to change two frame pieces) and will make cable management a lot easier.
 
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Shrink Way Wielder
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I'm currently waiting to order power components, as this is the only thing that's keeping me from fully running the test build. But the case isn't fully complete. However, here's another photo showing how and where the SSD is installed. It might be possible to install another one in front of the motherboard but it'll make cable management harder (and there's already little room as it is).



This cooler is 27mm in height but it can fit up to 39mm.

However I'd like to know if you prefer this case to be slightly wider to accommodate more CPU coolers, or leave it as is. If I can widen it from 105mm to 114mm, the cooler height would increase to 48mm which will be able to fit coolers like the Cryorig C7 or Alpenföhn Black Ridge.

So please select your choice in the Google forms link below, it would really help!

https://******/forms/eDv3AaK0DBdLZAUc2
 

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Shrink Way Wielder
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Been looking at the responses for the poll on the case size now. I haven't gotten many, but currently the wider option is looking to be more popular than the narrower one!