Prototyping Project Orthrus - Smallest SLI mATX case (V2)

LukeD

Master of Cramming
Original poster
Jun 29, 2016
427
1,155

from left to right: V1, V2, V5

As promised, a very high level history about the case and its revisions:

V1 - The initial version of the case was designed to be as small as possible. It revolved around air cooling only and supported 3 x 92mm fans at the front, low profile ram and cpu coolers. To minimise size I also orignally went with a 1U PSU. While the case performed well, there was room for improvement. The case started to grow.

V2 introduced some drastic changes. The larger size allowed for 240mm AIO support and a redesigned front I/O, more hdd options and SLI flex bridges could now be run behind the GPU's instead of the front, increasing the aesthetic of the case.
During thermal testing I identified issues where hot air would get trapped around the back top part of the case and that would raise the temp of the PSU greatly, making the PSU run louder. I took a drill to the back of the case and it was clear what needed to be done, vents needed to be place above the GPU's I/O brackets.

V3 which was sent to Linus for review was simply V2 with included vents above GPUs.

V4 included SFX PSU support as a result of 1U PSU's being difficult to cutomize and cable. There was never a prototype made of this revision.

V5 changed the front I/O to be all keystone connectors. This is the final version of the case in co-operation with Protocase. Further enhancements will be made by the manufacturer.
 

HowDeadly

Efficiency Noob
Dec 27, 2017
6
11
UPDATE:

Guys let me first start off with an apology, I've been a bit quiet over the past few months.
Life hit me hard and between work pressures, a completely unexpected divorce and health complications I had to go back to basics and start taking care of my physical and mental health. I didn't want to do a half-ass job and rush this to market so the project was delayed on my own accord only.

Where things are at, at the moment:
- I need to provide feedback back to manufacturing around the most recent changes / optimisations.
- I need to order PCIe riser cables once the optimisations are done
Not sure how we're going to tackle the new NVLink connector. I'm hoping LiHeat can pull a magic trick out of their hat and make a shielded flexible NVLink connector.
Remember Luke, life is very important! So please stay healthy brotha and take your time with the project. Theres a lot of us in the forum support you no matter what.
 

FAQBytes

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 22, 2017
91
102
UPDATE:

Guys let me first start off with an apology, I've been a bit quiet over the past few months.
Life hit me hard and between work pressures, a completely unexpected divorce and health complications I had to go back to basics and start taking care of my physical and mental health. I didn't want to do a half-ass job and rush this to market so the project was delayed on my own accord only.

Where things are at, at the moment:
- I need to provide feedback back to manufacturing around the most recent changes / optimisations.
- I need to order PCIe riser cables once the optimisations are done
Not sure how we're going to tackle the new NVLink connector. I'm hoping LiHeat can pull a magic trick out of their hat and make a shielded flexible NVLink connector.
In a way, this delay has been a good thing. The new cards are a very radical design shift. We now have a VRPort, new NVLink connector, VERY radically different founders cards, and several advancements in other fields. As the case is still awaiting final manufacturing corrections, these can be accounted for.

Things that I can see changing, but are not at all demands:
  • Changing the front panel IO
    • With the new VRPort, the space required for VR headsets on the front panel are dramatically reduced. While the legacy HDMI should not be forgotten, I have one suggestion for this. I think putting all the ports on one modular component would provide for a cleaner look and potential cost savings as you are manufacturing fewer parts per case, but equal total. Although a minor point, I think this would improve both the density and aesthetics of the front IO. (Also see edit 1)
  • Potential change to riser cables/slightly complex NVLink riser.
    • I know that the new NVlink connectors are both larger and farther forward. This poses obvious problems. Either you must make the top PCIE riser even slimmer, shift it back, or you have to make an NVLink connector which slims up towards the back like the OEM ones. Let's hope Li-Heat can pull it off. I don't quite have the ability to do High-speed stuff yet.
  • As much as I love clean as possible acrylic with very few holes, I'm now questioning feasibility with the new generation.
    • I'm concerned with the death of the founders edition blower cards, we have lost our last good blower card as far as I can recall. However, it's up to you if you want to keep it as is, or provide for the ability to use dual-fan cards, using the founders as a template (should be close enough for most dual-fan cards, but I can do an overlay to see where the best locantio.. With using the front radiator as exhaust, you should still have a negative pressure in the case, preventing stagnation of hot air. I still would have to model everything and sim it, but based on my understanding of fluid Dynamics, I (personally) don't see a problem with using open coolers like the new founders since you don't (read: shouldn't) really have the problem of it recirculating warm air. You may raise CPU temps 2-3C due to the increased temperature of the incoming air, but the air shouldn't saturate at all if what I am thinking is correct.
Like I was saying to Dan, you have a community around you that is willing to step up and lend a hand. I'm sure you have people all around that are able to do things that would help you in any way they can, me included.

[Away from talking about the case]

What's important is you keep moving forward in life. As you have already taken a step back and reassessed, you already did what I was going to say to do next. Now, that you have done that, make a list of what is important to you, put it somewhere you see every day, and always make sure you are doing what you need to to either achieve the goals you have set and are doing what you need to to maintain the rest. If you need to write down the steps to get there or stay there, do it. If you realize you can't do something by yourself, or realize you are slipping, reach out for help. Any momentary embarrassment you experience is far outweighed by what would happen had you neglected it. People are so busy nowadays that they forget anything that happens in a matter of days, but you shouldn't care what other people who don't matter think anyways.

Personally, I know I struggle with that last portion. However, I know that doing so would greatly benefit me, especially in hindsight when I told myself I should reach out and ask for help.

EDIT: While I dislike the decrease in the amount of front IO, I seem to be coming around on the keystone system. It's a cheap method of allowing users to *mostly* choose what's important to them and thus customize the case to their liking/needs. Doesn't change my opinion that it doesn't look great in my opinion. If it would be possible to have a front plate available that locks into those mounts and makes that area more flush, I think that may be a compromise.

EDIT 2: Now that I think more on it, my method slightly concerns me structurally, and that may be one of the contributing factors of it being the way it is. As a point against that line of reasoning, if you're punching through that much aluminum, I think you have more problems than that part breaking.

Edit 4 (I know out of order): With the additional width and height of the case, does it now support 280mm rads?

Edit3: With all the updates made to the case, do you plan to update the first post with updated information and photos for ease of access?
 
Last edited:

Ellimist

Caliper Novice
Feb 11, 2018
32
33
To exhaust the dual fan design I would probably use an L shaped channel on each side of the card. So you would have 2 holes for each fan and then two holes on either side of each card that exhausts the air from the sides of the cards sideways out of the case. Just put some dust covers over the fan holes and sorted. I probably wouldn't manufacture it into the side panel though as who is to say they don't go back to blower designs. I'd probably make it so its easy to get a second side panel made up to your own specifications and ship with the current design there.

The NVlink cable in all the pics I have seen looks to be quite thin between cards which is interesting. need to get a hold of one to be able to pull it apart and see whats going on there.
 

xSanchez78

Average Stuffer
Jan 15, 2018
57
56
@FAQBytes the answer to one of your last edits there - the additional width ( assuming you're looking at Luke's comparison ) was to be able to add 120mm and 240mm radiators, because originally only 92mm fans could fit at the front. There hasn't been any more addition to the width after that and there was only a very small amount of height increase for the power supply.

While these ideas for using dual fan coolers are pretty good ones, I don't think the case or side panel should be specifically altered in order to accommodate the open air coolers. Personally, I think having the negative pressure idea with the front fans exhausting out would work, but I personally am not a fan of having negative air pressure in a case. However, as I said before, there are other options - such as ( for those who are willing to go to that extent ) water cooling. But one thing I don't understand is why everyone is upset about the FE cards no longer being blowers... lets not forget that there are other blower style cooling options available - and some pretty damn good looking ones at that


I think for those who wanted the original concept of having a 240mm AIO cooler on a mATX board with two blower cards on the other side, these cards would be a great option and would effectively be the same as it always was before.

I still have a question for @LukeD - do you plan to ever somehow distribute those modded water blocks that you put together? Or atleast explain how you put them together and what parts/terminal you used? I'm willing to pay a good sum of money for a fresh set of modding water blocks for the new RTX GPU's if you're willing to sell those separately.
 
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FAQBytes

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 22, 2017
91
102
@FAQBytes the answer to one of your last edits there - the additional width ( assuming you're looking at Luke's comparison ) was to be able to add 120mm and 240mm radiators, because originally only 92mm fans could fit at the front. There hasn't been any more addition to the width after that and there was only a very small amount of height increase for the power supply.

While these ideas for using dual fan coolers are pretty good ones, I don't think the case or side panel should be specifically altered in order to accommodate the open air coolers. Personally, I think having the negative pressure idea with the front fans exhausting out would work, but I personally am not a fan of having negative air pressure in a case. However, as I said before, there are other options - such as ( for those who are willing to go to that extent ) water cooling. But one thing I don't understand is why everyone is upset about the FE cards no longer being blowers... lets not forget that there are other blower style cooling options available - and some pretty damn good looking ones at that


I think for those who wanted the original concept of having a 240mm AIO cooler on a mATX board with two blower cards on the other side, these cards would be a great option and would effectively be the same as it always was before.
Ahh, I was being fooled by perspective. At first it looked like there were both height and width increases between the V2 and V5.

The reason why I am disappointed (moreso than upset, as if I was wanting almost any other case, the new cooler is far more preferable, and I have actually argued years ago that NVidia should drop blower cards) that founders cards are no longer blower cards is that every other blower card I'm aware of are trash in comparison in terms of both thermal and acoustic performance (not to mention fan quality), the turbo especially, as it's just an extruded aluminum block with a cheapo fan, unless something has changed between the 600 series and now. Apparently Gigabyte uses heatpipes, but that still isn't nearly as good as a vapor chamber, and if they continue with their white and orange moniker, there'd be some plastidip in its future.

Additionally, I wasn't arguing for the altered side panel to be the default, but rather be an option for an additional ~$50 or whatever. Regardless, I'm looking at what my options are around me are for laser cutting acrylic sheets for this.
 
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skittlebrau

Cable Smoosher
New User
Feb 22, 2018
8
4
Hey LukeD, just wanted to also express my support behind you. Do take care of yourself first and foremost.

I think most people here certainly appreciate high quality workmanship on a custom case and recognise that it takes time and money to get a good result.

On the topic of the case, would we have the option of ordering additional riser cables? I'm only really planning to use a single GPU and a 10GbE NIC and possibly another single-slot PCI-E card in future.
 

Kegw

What's an ITX?
Aug 26, 2018
1
0
do you have any idea when its going to be done? just wondering if i should consider it for my next build. weeks? months? years?
 

LukeD

Master of Cramming
Original poster
Jun 29, 2016
427
1,155
@xSanchez78 - I got my local plastic store to make me some terminals and weld them to EK FC blocks. I can try to get the CAD design off them.

@skittlebrau - With the current risers available from LiHeat you can only use 2 PCIe cards (they can be double slot each), but max 2 cards.

@Biowarejak - it will probably take manufacturing till the end of the year to work out the kinks.
 

xSanchez78

Average Stuffer
Jan 15, 2018
57
56
@FAQBytes Apparently the EVGA blower cards use a vapor chamber heat sink... so it should be good as the founders edition cards. So if EVGA makes blowers for the RTX 20 series cards - which they should... I think they will be the perfect choice for everyone who was looking to complete this case with two blower cards as the cooling solution.
 

amb9800

Chassis Packer
Sep 6, 2017
17
6
  • Changing the front panel IO
    • With the new VRPort, the space required for VR headsets on the front panel are dramatically reduced. While the legacy HDMI should not be forgotten, I have one suggestion for this. I think putting all the ports on one modular component would provide for a cleaner look and potential cost savings as you are manufacturing fewer parts per case, but equal total. Although a minor point, I think this would improve both the density and aesthetics of the front IO. (Also see edit 1)
Yeah so VirtualLink is interesting for VR in this case for another reason, which is that it means GPUs will have their own onboard USB controller.

That means you could toss two GPUs with VirtualLink into this case, run two Windows VMs, passing through a GPU to each, and have a single-box multi-player VR setup. So that's a use case that wouldn't even need any SLI / NVLink work.

One of the current challenges with doing this is that you typically also have to pass through the entire USB controller that the VR HMD is connected to. On a big desktop, people just install a PCIe card with multiple USB controllers to address that, but that won't work in an SFF. So now theoretically you could just pass through each GPU's USB controller, enabling VR passthrough even if you have a current VR HMD (i.e. plugging the video into HDMI and the USB-A plug into the GPU's VirtualLink port via a USB-C to A adapter).
 

Shepanator

What's an ITX?
Sep 18, 2018
1
2
Hey all,

Really looking forward to this case, in fact I signed up to the forum for the purpose of giving my support!

I would love to build a custom loop inside this case, can you tell me how much clearance there is between the mobo tray and the side panel in the GPU chamber?
What I think would look awesome is the top slot occupied by a GPU & the lower slot occupied by a side mounted reservoir/pump.
 
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FAQBytes

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 22, 2017
91
102
Hey, @LukeD . I know this may be a bit of a long shot, but do you have a tentative roadmap of things that you know of that need to happen before going live? (Doesn't have to have dates, as nice as estimated would be, I don't want to put you in a situation that you feel you would have to put out a product that isn't ready.)
 
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xSanchez78

Average Stuffer
Jan 15, 2018
57
56

Here is the new model for the EVGA blowers. These things should have vapor chamber heat sinks just like the 10 series founders edition cards, since that's how the previous 10 series EVGA blower cards were. Ontop of that, these things look surprisingly sexy too. The 2080 Ti is probably a little hot for this but these should handle the 2070 and 2080 just like the 10 series blower cards could, so I think it's a perfect answer for those looking to have air cooled RTX GPU's in this case. Ontop of that, these should be cheaper than some of the fancier cooler designs too.
 
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el01

King of Cable Management
Jun 4, 2018
772
587

Here is the new model for the EVGA blowers. These things should have vapor chamber heat sinks just like the 10 series founders edition cards, since that's how the previous 10 series EVGA blower cards were. Ontop of that, these things look surprisingly sexy too. The 2080 Ti is probably a little hot for this but these should handle the 2070 and 2080 just like the 10 series blower cards could, so I think it's a perfect answer for those looking to have air cooled RTX GPU's in this case. Ontop of that, these should be cheaper than some of the fancier cooler designs too.
If only that was TG and/or not as glossy....

(cue revving up of circular saw)
 
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Reizel

Minimal Tinkerer
Jun 20, 2018
4
1
Have you ever considered moving the ports to the bottom of the case? Because that's a case that is supposed to be standing on the table, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have cables hanging up from it. The ports should be in the bottom of the front panel, for usability purposes. I reckon that it might be a hard change tho, just leaving it here as this would be a better design decision.
 

Ellimist

Caliper Novice
Feb 11, 2018
32
33
Have you ever considered moving the ports to the bottom of the case? Because that's a case that is supposed to be standing on the table, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have cables hanging up from it. The ports should be in the bottom of the front panel, for usability purposes. I reckon that it might be a hard change tho, just leaving it here as this would be a better design decision.

I'm going to mount it on a bracket under the desk. I have the opposite requirement. That the ports be at the top to work better with that. Its an interesting question where is best to put them.
 
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