Completed Project Thin-X case: Super small, super flexible

CC Ricers

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An HDPlex 160W is big in size (compared to the MeanWells), its height may make it impossible to put above the motherboard or beside the motherboard without making the case bigger but could be considered for the next revision.

But there's also the often-overlooked 80W version which normally is designed for HTPC low power builds (no dedicated GPUs) and is smaller in every dimension. The question you're probably asking is, would it even make sense for Ryzen? Well, remember that AMD is releasing low power 35W versions of their Ryzen APUs and 80 watts seems reasonable to support such a system. The small HDPlex 80w PSU could have more use again!

In my opinion your design for thin itx is not finish :D What about the ideas from vlad502 out of post #254 ?

I'd like to support some additional coolers, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for thin-ITX builds. The 21mm blower cooler is good enough for CPUs up to 65W at stock speeds. If we're talking about increasing the cooler height, that's could be a problem I can solve but for the next batch. It probably won't be by flipping the GPU upside down, though. It'll be easier to update the case design by moving the motherboard underneath the GPU so that more of the CPU socket area is exposed.
 

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I have gotten a few interested potential customers but no orders yet taken, so the first four cases are still available. However, from the amount of interest I'm getting, I might need to make a second batch to cover some orders.
 

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The case has begun production, but I continue to find improvements to the case to make building in it easier for others. While the side panels can be updated mostly per batch (of 4 to 5 cases), the 3D frame parts can be updated on a case-by-case basis. Here are the isometric and rear views of the updated design. Most of the changes are subtle but overall make the case easier to work with.

Two new case frames are currently in production with the following new changes. I'll be able to ship two more cases afterwards.





The following updates will be made to upcoming cases:

Side panels
  • Hole for power switch is slightly enlarged so that the switch fits effortlessly, with no forced threading or filing
  • Opening for GPU I/O made narrower by 3mm, removing the air gap on top and also making the panel ends sturdier
  • Two openings added on the top right for WiFi adapter antennas
  • Bottom hole for GPU tab holder moved down 1mm, to flight slightly oversized tabs
Frame
  • Standoffs raised by 1mm, and moved forward 1mm to correctly align motherboard to rear I/O cutout
  • Front and back sides are now connected by top edges, closing the top gaps
  • Bottom back edge now made thicker, lines up with the bottom of the case. The edge in the original frame was too wobbly and didn't hold its shape well
  • One of the rear screw tabs for hard drive mount moved inward by 6mm. Original location interfered with inserting one of the motherboard's screws
  • Tabs for the four side panels now have stronger supports
Other
  • Panel for mounting two 2.5" hard drives now included with the case
  • Hex cap screws for top and rear sides replaced with Philips head screws for easier replacement of panels
 
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jujudk

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I might really dig that case for the really small footprint if thin mini itx expand a bit (like coffee lake) and new gpus comes alongs (hi gtx 2050 ti)

(but streacom is coming into the mini itx game as well, i can't wait for computex, it's gonna be great this year)
 
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Jello

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I might really dig that case for the really small footprint if thin mini itx expand a bit (like coffee lake) and new gpus comes alongs (hi gtx 2050 ti)

(but streacom is coming into the mini itx game as well, i can't wait for computex, it's gonna be great this year)

Agreed. I was hoping for a bit more from Ryzen APUs, but a future thin itx build could be in the works for me.
 
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CC Ricers

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Agreed. I was hoping for a bit more from Ryzen APUs, but a future thin itx build could be in the works for me.

I'm brainstorming ideas for a somewhat larger version of this case with more parts compatibility. It will support a single slot low profile card, but with regular ITX boards. That opens up a lot more options for motherboards, CPUs and coolers.

It would be either one of two layouts: GPU sitting above the motherboard connected to a riser, like the current thin Mini ITX configuration. Or, have the card inserted directly into the motherboard for a more conventional layout. This would make the case similar to the Streacom F7C Alpha but somewhat smaller.
 
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ExplodingWaffle101

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Out of curiosity: what are the possibilities regarding
a) brickless w/ thin itx and single slot low profile
b) 2 single slots, low profile? was thinking capture card + that 1050?
 
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CC Ricers

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Out of curiosity: what are the possibilities regarding
a) brickless w/ thin itx and single slot low profile
b) 2 single slots, low profile? was thinking capture card + that 1050?

a) This should be possible, by giving up one spot for a SSD, but you'd need to use an open frame power supply and do the wiring yourself. Examples of this are the MeanWell EPP-200 and EOS ULP180. They are both 2x4 inches in footprint and have the same locations for screw holes, but the ULP180 is thinner making it a better choice than the MeanWell. It is more expensive than the MeanWell, though.

b) This case design doesn't support two single slot cards. Anyways you'd need an additional adapter such as a mPCIe if you need to install two cards to the motherboard since it natively won't support more than one. I have another design, though. That's just a concept that supports 2 single slots in low profile but it is similar in style to this case.
 
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CC Ricers

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Frames for the first two cases are currently being printed. One will be for a mini ITX build, the other for thin mini ITX so it would be nice if we'd see build pictures for both.

I'm thinking about the idea of making a thin mini ITX only case, that is, smaller with no GPU. It would cost less, and just ideal for the minimum home PC setup.
 
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CC Ricers

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To help streamline the ordering process, I've made this order form with the different options for the case. You can choose from two colors now, black or white.
 

CC Ricers

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There's been a delay with shipment of the 3D printed parts from Shapeways. They were just shipped today, although were estimated to ship last week. These will be for the first two cases sold.

Also, I am planning an updated "version 1.1" which increases compatibility with PC parts, especially in Ryzen builds. This is coming in the next batch. In the new version, you would be able to use the stock Wraith Stealth cooler, or even make a brickless build!
 

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The first two frames for the 1st batch just arrived today. They sent it with overnight shipping :)




Now all that's left to completely finish assembling the cases is waiting for the power buttons and new front panels.

Also, I wanted to see how this case would look like with a clear top panel. I would like to offer this as an option later on :)

 
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CC Ricers

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Here's a major update for my design goals.

So I'm thinking more and more about this project and where it could lead. In its current state, I think it is too limiting. Low profile cards are great when you can get them, but it is still very niche even for typical SFF desktop casual gaming builds.

I'm proposing doing a rework (but not a complete overhaul) of the design that makes it compatible with full-height GPUs. This re-work would make it possible to use full-height mini-ITX GPUs with single-slot I/O, even if they have two-slot coolers. But the case I/O will still be single-slot.

Cards like the one below will be compatible to use.



This means that you will be able to use most of the common mini GPUs on the market from many popular brands like EVGA or MSI. How this works with the design is that the stock fan and shroud will be removed, leaving just the heatsink and PCB and reducing it approximately to a single slot size. Forced air cooling will be provided with dual 50mm fans placed on the front. Also, a custom single slot bracket will be provided, specially designed for the case.

Now, power and thermal considerations. To keep things simple, the case will only support up to 75W cards for now. Those don't require an additional power connector which would complicate matters with a Thin mini-ITX board. So yeah, this case will still use thin mini-ITX but with a greater array of cards available to use, I hope this can greatly increase its viability with more builds and users.

I'd like to hear your thoughts about this and what else I could do to make this work out well (I'd also like to keep this case under 3L in size, to stick with the mini PC form factor).
 
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aquelito

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A PEG connector doesn't complicate things ; the extra wires just take lots of estate ;)
 

CC Ricers

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A PEG connector doesn't complicate things ; the extra wires just take lots of estate ;)

For me, it's more to do with needing an extra power source to juice up the card. I'd want to keep the case as user friendly to build in as possible :)
 

Thehack

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I don't see how you would need a more complex power source. A 160XT can support a detuned GTX 1060 and low power cpu, and it doesn't take that much more space.

If you are supporting dual height cooler, then there is no reason to not support dual sized cards anyways, as they're the same size. Also no reason to not support PCIE power either, as the card is laid horizontal and doesn't incur any additional size penalty.
 
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CC Ricers

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I don't see how you would need a more complex power source. A 160XT can support a detuned GTX 1060 and low power cpu, and it doesn't take that much more space.

If you are supporting dual height cooler, then there is no reason to not support dual sized cards anyways, as they're the same size. Also no reason to not support PCIE power either, as the card is laid horizontal and doesn't incur any additional size penalty.

I'm going with the size and power constraints of what a thin mini-ITX board can support stock, out of the box. Their power input is usually rated up to 150W if you are feeding DC power directly to the DC jack or the 2-4 pin ATX power connector.



However, you do have a point that with a low power CPU, a detuned and undervolted 1060 starts to make sense. When I used it with the ASL GTX 1050 at stock, the system came close to 140W running at full load, and that is with a 54W processor.

So I could power a GTX 1060 completely off a 150W 12V power adapter, assuming I use the 4-pin ATX as a pass-through to connect the PEG cable. With these boards you won't even need the 160XT.
 
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Thehack

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I'm going with the size and power constraints of what a thin mini-ITX board can support out of the box. Their power input is usually rated up to 150W if you are feeding DC power directly to the DC jack or the 2-4 pin ATX power connector.



However, I do see your point that with a low power CPU, a detuned and undervolted 1060 starts to make sense. I could power this completely off a 150W 12V power adapter, assuming I use the 4-pin ATX as a pass-through to connect the PEG cable. With these boards you won't even need the 160XT.

OH right. I forget we are talking about the thin itx.

There are also RX 560 cards that only use 80W but they still require the connector.
 
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