Concept NEW CASE! Is there any interest in an SFF case capable of holding 2x 280mm radiators?

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
Just as the title says: is there any interest in a case roughly the volume of the Ncase M1, but capable of holding two 30mm thick 280mm radiators? I am in the (early) process of creating such a case for myself; but since I'll be doing the work of creating the case anyway, I wanted to gauge interest in order to see whether I should expand this personal project into something with a larger scope and benefit.


My philosophy on SFF is that the thinner the PC can get, the better. Most people will have vertical room and reasonable depth room for the PC; width is the real constraint because the less impact on deskspace the PC has, the better your overall experience will be. As far as portability goes, having a smaller width will also help there, although overall volume is what matters the most here. Another thing I personally want to avoid is having any sort of fan or airflow arrangement out of the bottom of the case. While you can get reasonable results by adding taller feet and otherwise optimizing to minimize restrictions, that doesn't completely mitigate the issue, and in the end you're still dealing with the dustiest area the PC could be interacting with.

My goals for this case are to be able to cool the Intel i9-9900K and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (top-end consumer grade CPU and GPU), overclocked, with just the same capability as in a full-sized enclosure. I'm more than sort of a perfectionist, and that extends to both the performance and aesthetic side of things. There's nothing more silly to me than having your performance be limited by your PC case.


Some details on the case:

Size:
150mm wide, 280mm tall, and 315 long (13.23 Liters)


Compatibility:
-ITX motherboard
-Swiftech Apogee Drive II CPU waterblock/pump combo
-SFX PSU
-3 slot GPUs, but the width of the GPU waterblock needs to fit within 130mm
-Storage is currently just being planned as m.2 on the motherboard, but there could/should be ample room to add a spot for a 2.5" later on
-2 Hardware Labs Nemesis 280GTS radiators, paired with 25mm thick fans



Now, the length of the case can come down to about 300mm - if the radiator compatibility was downsized to 240mm and the GPU compatible length was limited further. This is something I am thinking about, but I would definitely like to put that decision out to you guys as this picks up more steam. The main reason I am considering this is because of Hardware Labs' own performance chart: the 280GTS shows as having 800W capacity, but the 240GTS shows as still having a whole 750W capacity. Moving from 315mm down to 300mm would bring the volume to 12.6L, which is just under the NCase M1's 12.7L. Otherwise as noted above we sit at about 13.23L. This is something to consider if it was decided that the overall volume of the case is too large. I feel that there are more benefits of utilizing the larger radiators/GPUs and giving up the extra 15mm of lengthwise space. For my own uses, I could honestly go either way. Chime in on this!


As far as GPUs, I am using an EVGA Nvidia RTX 2080 XC Ultra, with the EK Vector RTX RE waterblock on its way. Without waterblocks, the GPU compatibility should look very similar to the NCase M1's. With waterblocks, though, the selection almost completely narrows down to reference board design cards (slimmer ones), since the waterblock width by itself shouldn't exceed 130mm. I'm almost exclusively designing this case to have both the CPU AND GPU water cooled. Honestly, if you weren't going to be watercooling both, there would definitely not be a need for two radiators. I am thinking of a decent option to include using just one radiator for the CPU, and an alternative mounting method for an air cooled GPU, for better thermals and more relaxed width constraints on the GPU. This method would involve requiring a riser cable, however it would also free up space at the bottom of the case that can be used to house additional storage, maybe. Less than ideal, but if it's a popular request, it can be done. Voice your opinion and intention!


For visual appearance and outside design/finish, that is almost completely up in the air. My first goal/step is to finalize the fitment of the interior parts in a way that is efficient as well as aesthetic. The outside finish/materials decision can come later since in essence this is still a box; and you can make a box out of, well, almost anything. I do not have any solid idea on pricing, however I would not like to go over $200, as that becomes a heavy toll on the wallet. Ideally less. From what I can tell, that is a realistic limit. I also figure the simpler I can make the design of this, the cheaper it should be- without affecting the quality.

Also, as far as sidepanel (glass panel) visuals, you won't be able to see anything from the motherboard. The only part that will be visible will the the side of the graphics card, so unless you will only have one radiator, don't plan on enjoying RGB RAM, for example. You might get a faint glow from that, but there will be a radiator in between you and it. Once I get all my ITX components in, I'll do a mock assemble and show what the internals are more or less going to look like. Everything should come in by the end of next week, probably sooner.




Please let me know if this is something that you would be interested in using and backing, as well as anything you want to contribute to this conversation.

I'll be editing this first post with more and more information and updates the as I go along, so that it'll remain a good place to check on updates and so you won't have to scroll through every single post to figure out what's going on.

Also, I'm usually slammed with my job specifically Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays while the rest of the week is relatively light and free- just to let you know in case I'm quiet or not responding.


Many thanks! Let me hear from all of you!
 
Last edited:

Hacko

Cable Smoosher
Jul 29, 2019
10
0
Yes, depending on price and look, but yes.

My vote would go for a Corsair One style layout with 2 140mm fans on top and 2 on bottom, all pulling out, forcing air through the aio rads on the sides.

👍
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
Yes, depending on price and look, but yes.

My vote would go for a Corsair One style layout with 2 140mm fans on top and 2 on bottom, all pulling out, forcing air through the aio rads on the sides.
Awesome! So the issue with the Corsair One style layout + two 280mm radiators is that the case would then have to be around 205mm wide (back-to-back sandwiching 30mm for the radiator, 65mm for a 3 slot GPU, ~80mm for the motherboard with CPU pump block [Swiftech Apogee Drive II], and another 30 for the other radiator), and that's much wider than I would like.

My philosophy on SFF is that the thinner the PC can get, the better. Most people will have vertical room and reasonable depth room for the PC; width is the real constraint because the less impact on the desk the PC has, the better your overall experience will be. As far as portability goes, having a smaller width will also help there, although overall volume is what matters the most there.

Another thing I personally want to avoid is having any sort of fan or airflow arrangement out of the bottom of the case. You can get reasonable results by adding taller feet and doing what you can to minimize restrictions, but that doesn't completely mitigate the issue, and in the end you're still dealing with the dustiest area the PC could be interacting with.

My goals for this case were to be able to cool the i9-9900K and RTX 2080 Ti (top-end consumer grade CPU and GPU) with just the same capability you would be able to in a full-size enclosure. I'm more than sort of a perfectionist, and that extends to both the performance and aesthetic side of things. There's nothing more silly to me than having your performance be limited by your PC case.

As far as hardware compatibility, I'm looking at:
-ITX motherboard
-Swiftech Apogee Drive II CPU waterblock/pump combo
-SFX PSU
-3 slot GPUs, but only up to ~130mm wide (this is the biggest limitation I see, because the GPU waterblock needs to fit that restriction.)
-storage is currently just being planned as m.2 on the motherboard, but there could/should be ample room to add a spot for a 2.5" later on
-2 Hardware Labs Nemesis 280GTS radiators, paired with 25mm fans

Size of the enclosure would be something like 150mm wide, 270mm tall, and 315 long. (12.7575 Liters)

The length can go down to about 300, or even lower depending on GPU compatibility if the radiators were downsized to 240mm- this is something I am thinking about, but I would definitely like to put that decision out to you guys as this picks up more steam. The main reason I am considering this is because of Hardware Labs' own performance chart: the 280GTS shows as having 800W capacity, but the 240GTS shows as still having a whole 750W capacity.

As far as GPUs, I am using an EVGA Nvidia RTX 2080 XC Ultra, with the EK Vector RTX RE waterblock on its way. Without waterblocks, the GPU compatibility should look very similar to the NCase M1's. With waterblocks, though, the selection almost completely narrows down to reference board design cards (slimmer ones), since the waterblock width by itself shouldn't exceed 130mm. I'm almost exclusively designing this case to have both the CPU AND GPU water cooled. Honestly, if you weren't going to be watercooling both, there would definitely not be a need for two radiators. I am thinking of a decent option to include just one radiator and an alternative mounting method for the GPU if you were going to air cool it, for better thermals and space.

For visual appearance and outside design/finish, that is almost completely up in the air. My first goal/step is to finalize the fitment of the interior parts in a way that is efficient as well as aesthetic. The outside finish/materials decision can come later since in essence this is still a box; and you can make a box out of, well, almost anything. I do not have any solid idea on pricing, however I would not like to go over $200, as that becomes a heavy toll on the wallet. From what I can tell, that is a realistic limit. I also figure the simpler I can make all of this, the cheaper it should be- without affecting the quality.


Altogether, I definitely appreciate your thoughts and discussions- please let me know what you think. Right now my biggest questions personally are in regards to the sizing of the radiators as well as the GPU fitment, both in length and width. I really would not like to go wider than 150 for the case; it really starts to eat up desk space upwards from there, closing in on traditional desktops the more you expand compatibility.

Thanks again!
 

paulesko

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jul 31, 2019
187
113
Is noise going to be a thing with the case? Ive been thinking myself about this same project but the quest o n for me would be if theres any benefit on using 280 rads vs 240 given that 120mm fan selection is much wider. There are probably better 120mm fans that could negate the 280 rad benefits given a noise ceiling...

I dont know really, just thinking out loud but for me at least, this matter would answer the question abou 280 vs 240 rads. Even if a 280 rad could achieve better temps than a 240 rad at a given noise, the system with 240 rads would have a size advantage... so if the temps difference is not that big, maybe its not worth it to go with a 280 rad configuration.
 

CrypticSplicer

Case Bender
May 21, 2019
2
0
This type of case would be the holy grail for me. I'd rather not have an pump/ cpu block combo though. I prefer to have the pump integrated into a distro plate.
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
Is noise going to be a thing with the case? Ive been thinking myself about this same project but the quest o n for me would be if theres any benefit on using 280 rads vs 240 given that 120mm fan selection is much wider. There are probably better 120mm fans that could negate the 280 rad benefits given a noise ceiling...

I dont know really, just thinking out loud but for me at least, this matter would answer the question abou 280 vs 240 rads. Even if a 280 rad could achieve better temps than a 240 rad at a given noise, the system with 240 rads would have a size advantage... so if the temps difference is not that big, maybe its not worth it to go with a 280 rad configuration.
So, the only size difference the case could experience by going between 240mm and 280mm radiators would be the length. and you could only benefit with the length if the GPU was also not longer than that. For example, the case would probably be 300ish millimeters long if we used 240mm radiators, and about 315mm long if we used 280mm. I don't think the size difference would be huge, but I'll definitely get around to finalizing these numbers once all my hardware comes in. As of right now, I'm waiting on my ITX motherboard, my SFX PSU, and my CPU and GPU waterblocks. However I did do the measurement already which brought me to those numbers. I just need to make sure that there aren't any weird or oddball situations like the waterblock and radiator fittings not interfering with each other, etc.

The other thing that I can think of is that supposedly the 140mm fans should be quieter than the 120mm fans, due to the larger size- since you can run them slower for the same cooling power. Also, if the case does have 280mm support, you will still be able to run 240mm inside instead. Just something to think about. Feel free to contradict me anywhere I am wrong.

Edit: I just realized I didn't answer the noise question. I don't have it all put together, but I believe as far as noise goes in an SFF case, this should be on the quieter end, simply due to being entirely watercooled- especially with larger radiators.
 
Last edited:

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
This type of case would be the holy grail for me. I'd rather not have an pump/ cpu block combo though. I prefer to have the pump integrated into a distro plate.
Why wouldn't you like the cpu block/pump combo? I honestly don't see where there would be room for a distro plate, much less one with a pump attached. In fact, I don't think this case would even have a reservoir. If necessary, I'm definitely sure we could add a reservoir in much the same way the NCase has an option to be attached at the back. Alternatively, if the space is made for 280mm, you should be able to substitute one of them for a 240 size radiator with a reservoir built in.

Mostly off topic, but give me your thoughts! The Swiftech Apogee Drive II is a really high quality pump/block, from the reviews I've seen and the hardware that it has used. It uses a "Laing DDC 3.25 = MCP35X (and Swiftech adds a PWM circuit)" pump. Here is a review I found of it: https://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4989/swiftech_apogee_drive_ii_integrated_pump_and_waterblock_review/index7.html

Alternatively you can use the 66mm of space reserved there for any other setup, but I'm not aware of one as capable as this.


I'm glad to hear you're looking for the same thing I was! Keep in the discussion!
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
I just got my ITX motherboard in, and measuring seems to say the case height is going to come in closer to 280mm rather than 270mm. Width will really be confirmed when I get my GPU waterblock in, but I still seem to see it coming in at 150mm. Final length will depend on GPU support as well as front IO.

Also, as far as sidepanel (glass panel) visuals, you won't be able to see anything from the motherboard. The only part that will be visible will the the side of the graphics card, so unless you will only have one radiator, don't plan on enjoying RGB RAM, for example. You might get a faint glow from that, but there will be a radiator in between you and it. Once I get all my ITX components in, I'll do a mock assemble and show what the internals are more or less going to look like. Everything should come in by the end of next week, probably sooner. Also, I'm usually slammed with my job Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays while the rest of the week is relatively light and free- in case I'm quiet or not responding.
 
Last edited:

Hacko

Cable Smoosher
Jul 29, 2019
10
0
Awesome! So the issue with the Corsair One style layout + two 280mm radiators is that the case would then have to be around 205mm wide (back-to-back sandwiching 30mm for the radiator, 65mm for a 3 slot GPU, ~80mm for the motherboard with CPU pump block [Swiftech Apogee Drive II], and another 30 for the other radiator), and that's much wider than I would like.

My philosophy on SFF is that the thinner the PC can get, the better. Most people will have vertical room and reasonable depth room for the PC; width is the real constraint because the less impact on the desk the PC has, the better your overall experience will be. As far as portability goes, having a smaller width will also help there, although overall volume is what matters the most there.

Another thing I personally want to avoid is having any sort of fan or airflow arrangement out of the bottom of the case. You can get reasonable results by adding taller feet and doing what you can to minimize restrictions, but that doesn't completely mitigate the issue, and in the end you're still dealing with the dustiest area the PC could be interacting with.

My goals for this case were to be able to cool the i9-9900K and RTX 2080 Ti (top-end consumer grade CPU and GPU) with just the same capability you would be able to in a full-size enclosure. I'm more than sort of a perfectionist, and that extends to both the performance and aesthetic side of things. There's nothing more silly to me than having your performance be limited by your PC case.

As far as hardware compatibility, I'm looking at:
-ITX motherboard
-Swiftech Apogee Drive II CPU waterblock/pump combo
-SFX PSU
-3 slot GPUs, but only up to ~130mm wide (this is the biggest limitation I see, because the GPU waterblock needs to fit that restriction.)
-storage is currently just being planned as m.2 on the motherboard, but there could/should be ample room to add a spot for a 2.5" later on
-2 Hardware Labs Nemesis 280GTS radiators, paired with 25mm fans

Size of the enclosure would be something like 150mm wide, 270mm tall, and 315 long. (12.7575 Liters)

The length can go down to about 300, or even lower depending on GPU compatibility if the radiators were downsized to 240mm- this is something I am thinking about, but I would definitely like to put that decision out to you guys as this picks up more steam. The main reason I am considering this is because of Hardware Labs' own performance chart: the 280GTS shows as having 800W capacity, but the 240GTS shows as still having a whole 750W capacity.

As far as GPUs, I am using an EVGA Nvidia RTX 2080 XC Ultra, with the EK Vector RTX RE waterblock on its way. Without waterblocks, the GPU compatibility should look very similar to the NCase M1's. With waterblocks, though, the selection almost completely narrows down to reference board design cards (slimmer ones), since the waterblock width by itself shouldn't exceed 130mm. I'm almost exclusively designing this case to have both the CPU AND GPU water cooled. Honestly, if you weren't going to be watercooling both, there would definitely not be a need for two radiators. I am thinking of a decent option to include just one radiator and an alternative mounting method for the GPU if you were going to air cool it, for better thermals and space.

For visual appearance and outside design/finish, that is almost completely up in the air. My first goal/step is to finalize the fitment of the interior parts in a way that is efficient as well as aesthetic. The outside finish/materials decision can come later since in essence this is still a box; and you can make a box out of, well, almost anything. I do not have any solid idea on pricing, however I would not like to go over $200, as that becomes a heavy toll on the wallet. From what I can tell, that is a realistic limit. I also figure the simpler I can make all of this, the cheaper it should be- without affecting the quality.


Altogether, I definitely appreciate your thoughts and discussions- please let me know what you think. Right now my biggest questions personally are in regards to the sizing of the radiators as well as the GPU fitment, both in length and width. I really would not like to go wider than 150 for the case; it really starts to eat up desk space upwards from there, closing in on traditional desktops the more you expand compatibility.

Thanks again!

NO RGB, better!

getting close to 200mm width and depth could be not too bad, it would end up with a nice and short/stubby design, still a very small desk footprint.
Also consider using 2 AIO would give you no custom loop fittings and bends headaches + free fans!


But if you go for a slim and tall then sandwitch the 2 rads on top, in on one side, out on the other. Cpu one breathes in, push through the gpu one and out (25+30+25+30mm).
 

wertigon

Trash Compacter
Sep 13, 2019
39
23
It could also be possible to create a flat/console vertical style case 240+240 + PSU setup dual push/pull in an L-shape, something like this:

Code:
+-----+-----------------+
|     |       Rad       |
|     |                 |
| Rad +---------+-------+
|     |         |       |
|     |         |       |
+-----+   Mobo  |  GPU  |
| PSU |         |       |
|     |         |       |
+-----+---------+-------+
Since the rads are in push/pull, that gives 25 + 30 + 25 + case structure as width. You could also switch one 240 for a 120 + full length GPU in this case.

Total dimensions would be something like 90 x 400 x 400 mm which brings it to around 14.4 liters. Main idea is that the case is pretty much sealed and 100% watercooled, won't really work for anything with active fans though (like the x570 motherboards)...
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
NO RGB, better!

getting close to 200mm width and depth could be not too bad, it would end up with a nice and short/stubby design, still a very small desk footprint.
Also consider using 2 AIO would give you no custom loop fittings and bends headaches + free fans!


But if you go for a slim and tall then sandwitch the 2 rads on top, in on one side, out on the other. Cpu one breathes in, push through the gpu one and out (25+30+25+30mm).
If this project ends up being a success, I promise I'll continue on with other innovative designs that you guys request. First things first, though ;)

For this case, I can't guarantee yet that AIOs will work. It's a possibility, but I'll know more when I get my radiators so I can see the clearances for hoses, tubing, and fittings. Radiators should be here by October 4. I do understand the appeal of AIOs (I have a Kraken X52), but doing a custom loop is probably going to make a lot more sense in this case; it should also bring pretty drastic reductions in temp/noise comparatively. Regardless, this is something I definitely will check for and let you know as soon as I find out.

For the layout, I won't be directly sandwiching the radiators together. However the radiators will create a nice flow path through the case (in from the side panel and out the top) that shouldn't be intrusive or annoying to deal with.
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
It could also be possible to create a flat/console vertical style case 240+240 + PSU setup dual push/pull in an L-shape, something like this:

Code:
+-----+-----------------+
|     |       Rad       |
|     |                 |
| Rad +---------+-------+
|     |         |       |
|     |         |       |
+-----+   Mobo  |  GPU  |
| PSU |         |       |
|     |         |       |
+-----+---------+-------+
Since the rads are in push/pull, that gives 25 + 30 + 25 + case structure as width. You could also switch one 240 for a 120 + full length GPU in this case.

Total dimensions would be something like 90 x 400 x 400 mm which brings it to around 14.4 liters. Main idea is that the case is pretty much sealed and 100% watercooled, won't really work for anything with active fans though (like the x570 motherboards)...
I'll see if I can take a look at this after work today. I already have my own layout pretty much solidified, but I'm always open to improvements and great ideas. One concern with this is that the airflow may end up being a little bit awkward, potentially acting to tip or destabilize the already tall and thin design. In addition, I have to see what the visual size would look like in comparison.
 
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Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
If my day doesn't stretch too long at work, I may try to snap a few really, really rough pictures of my mocked up internal layout scheme so everyone can have an idea of what I'm looking at! Let me know if this is something you guys want to see now, or in a couple weeks when I have it a little more polished and likely photogenic.
 

For_Science

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 16, 2018
132
168
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The6A

Average Stuffer
Mar 20, 2017
58
34
Yes!! For my needs power comes first, second is eliminating as much waste of space as possible, most major commercial itx cases are redic. I would love to have a itx bifurcated dual single slot 1080ti build. Something like this I am hoping could handle that. Super interested. Will buy if available
 

Hacko

Cable Smoosher
Jul 29, 2019
10
0
Admittedly, I haven't read through the thread yet, but thought I would drop a render that Necere did for me on another thread. What do you think about a back-to-back layout, I would have the fans exhaust the heat to the back, so a small space between the motherboard and fans will be necessary.

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FxhFoq7U.png&hash=2e728cec6abcc60f0800821a3a0b5f27
it's a rather large case, nice but for example the psu blocks half radiator.. i would rather go for top and bottom rads but we all like different things :)

edit: also noticed the 108mm thickness is achieved compromising both radiators by motherboard too.. it would end up probably requiring 30/40mm more for cable, tubing and air management

300x320x160 more or less?
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
Admittedly, I haven't read through the thread yet, but thought I would drop a render that Necere did for me on another thread. What do you think about a back-to-back layout, I would have the fans exhaust the heat to the back, so a small space between the motherboard and fans will be necessary.

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FxhFoq7U.png&hash=2e728cec6abcc60f0800821a3a0b5f27
That's really interesting. That would give you a case that is only 108mm wide, yet just 316mm long and 300mm tall in exchange. I still do have the concern of the fans acting in a manner of blowing the thin case over, as well as the airflow path being not really existent. Still, that's actually really decent for the dimensions. I'll definitely keep this on hand should it prove useful. Thank you!

My design will be a bit more traditional, but every bit as crammy. I haven't detailed it yet, but I'll do it pretty soon.
 

Sh0ckwaveFlash

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 18, 2019
18
3
Yes!! For my needs power comes first, second is eliminating as much waste of space as possible, most major commercial itx cases are redic. I would love to have a itx bifurcated dual single slot 1080ti build. Something like this I am hoping could handle that. Super interested. Will buy if available
I'm right there with you, athough I would definitely say that there actually are a few good options out there; I just want that little bit more.


Dual single slot, huh? That should be very possible in this case except for the fact that the graphics card is slotted straight into the motherboard. Thinking about it though... admittedly I'm not an expert on PCIe bifurcation, but if there's a really flexible low profile cable... you could use the bottom two slots of the 3 slots allotted for the GPU, and make it work that way? When I post the gut arrangement of the design, take a look and see if that could be a thing.

I'm not a fan of SLI/Crossfire, but it would be pretty sweet to run that in a build like this! I'll do what I can to help that happen.