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Prototyping SC3-STX: 3.5L - Internal PSU - 1080ti Mini support

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
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It's 3.5L total volume with support for a 1080ti Mini, internal PSU, and up to 3x m.2 drives. (1 NVME, 2 SATA)

Dimensions: 50.5 x 316 x 222mm.

CPU Height Clearance: 30mm

Internal frame is 1.6mm thick aluminum, with external panels being 2mm thick aluminum with a luxurious 3.25mm thick wrap around bezel. The vents will be 3d printable, pop in and out, and can come in different colors and vent patterns of your choice. It can sit upright or lay flat. The power button is on the rear near the AC power plug. I tried to make it fit on the front, but it just won't without making the case larger. I'm still looking into the possibility of routing the Asrock front I/O on the motherboard to the front of the case.

Just wanted to see what others thought of this so far, get some feedback and such.

 
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AURMEND

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 30, 2018
98
57
But would it fit an NH-L9i? And what's the maximum RAM height?

You got a link for the AC power female plug? I'm having trouble finding one for my case

Edit, I guess the noctua cooler won't fit after reading more. Don't forget to design something for the PC stand
 

CC Ricers

SFF Guru
Nov 1, 2015
1,570
1,630
I wouldn't mind seeing an extra short design that lets you fit just the short 75W cards that stay around 150mm in size. That way you can have the front board I/O be right on the front of the case.

Just wondering, did you take inspiration from Josh's very first S3? The vent areas remind me so much of it :p
 
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Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
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Jan 1, 2017
323
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I wouldn't mind seeing an extra short design that lets you fit just the short 75W cards that stay around 150mm in size. That way you can have the front board I/O be right on the front of the case.

Just wondering, did you take inspiration from Josh's very first S3? The vent areas remind me so much of it :p
Yea i asked him if i could use the vent design he used for the original S3 Elite back in 2012. He said that was cool. It was the first ultra SFF case i ever saw and it's the design that really got me into this hobby.

The problem with making it shorter is where do i put the AC/DC PSU. I could use a different (smaller) one, but i still have to put it somewhere. The only other place to put the PSU is to make it taller and put it below the motherboard. I'll take a look at this configuration and see how it looks.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
I wouldn't mind seeing an extra short design that lets you fit just the short 75W cards that stay around 150mm in size. That way you can have the front board I/O be right on the front of the case.
So if i make the case shallow enough to utilize the STX motherboard's front I/O, the fastest GPU you'd be able to put in it is a 1650, and you'd be severely limited as to what GPU's you can put in it in the future. On top of that, i tried every AC/DC PSU i could think of and none of them are anywhere close to being short enough to fit in a case this shallow. Even the Dynamo 360 barely fits. So now we are external power brick powered.

In exchange to being limited to 1650 GPU power, and having to use external power bricks, we gain the ability to use the motherboards front I/O at the front of the case, and drop from 3.5 liters down to 2.4 liters. External Dimensions would be 52.6 x 152.2 x 300mm.

Let me know what you guys think. Me personally i think you are giving up way too much for too little. I can probably get some sort of passthrough to move the motherboard front I/O to someplace else on the case.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
But would it fit an NH-L9i? And what's the maximum RAM height?

You got a link for the AC power female plug? I'm having trouble finding one for my case

Edit, I guess the noctua cooler won't fit after reading more. Don't forget to design something for the PC stand
It utilizes a 2mm thick wrap around bezel. Sort of like Josh did on his S4M-C, except this one goes along the entire bottom/front/top. It should be pretty sturdy without a stand.

STX boards use SODIMM's, none of which i believe have any sort of heat spreaders on them that increase their height. It will fit standard height SODIMM's.
 

AURMEND

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 30, 2018
98
57
It utilizes a 2mm thick wrap around bezel. Sort of like Josh did on his S4M-C, except this one goes along the entire bottom/front/top. It should be pretty sturdy without a stand.

STX boards use SODIMM's, none of which i believe have any sort of heat spreaders on them that increase their height. It will fit standard height SODIMM's.
Ah, once again I didn't read fully.
 

BonfireOfDreams

Trash Compacter
Mar 14, 2019
48
24
This is obsession for craft beyond monetary value and tailored for so few. It is admirable & unique in the regard. I appreciate your sole desire to have the highest possible graphical output in the smallest possible case despite knowing all the limitations it will set for hardware or the amount of potential buyers. Well done.

As to the inquiry on a potential re-layout for 1650: I agree that your current configuration is the ideal version. There are plenty of other external brick case options for lower end GPU systems. I see this as the smallest footprint MAX graphics internal power case albeit with mega cpu cooler limitations. I think this current configuration may even fit a 2070 mini. That's what will set this case apart from anything else on the market.
 

SumGhai

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jun 14, 2016
147
175
It never hit me to take advantage of M.2 to Sata adapters for more storage in SFF cases, good find! Is there a particular adapter that you'd be standardizing on for mounting?

The space looks very cramped by the power button area, and wiring for all of the power and button and drives might be a huge pain, even with low profile Sata connectors.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
It never hit me to take advantage of M.2 to Sata adapters for more storage in SFF cases, good find! Is there a particular adapter that you'd be standardizing on for mounting?

The space looks very cramped by the power button area, and wiring for all of the power and button and drives might be a huge pain, even with low profile Sata connectors.
Yea i like this one: www.amazon.com/dp/B018ATXKLI

It's basically the width/height of a sata connector, and the length of a 2280 m.2 stick. Much smaller than a 2.5" drive, and does basically the same thing, plus its not too expensive. And with the mounting holes where they are, you can stack them pretty easy with motherboard standoffs.

Honestly the hardest thing to fit in this case was the Dynamo 360. It's a bit overkill honestly. It's only purpose is to provide 12v power to the GPU, and even the most demanding cards won't need more than 250w. I kind of wish there was a smaller version that was more streamlined. I found this: https://www.pololu.com/product/2885 which is just about perfect, but it's a bare board with no connections, so it would need someone like HDPLEX to buy quantity from them of it and have connectors attached to be sold to end users like us.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
This is obsession for craft beyond monetary value and tailored for so few. It is admirable & unique in the regard. I appreciate your sole desire to have the highest possible graphical output in the smallest possible case despite knowing all the limitations it will set for hardware or the amount of potential buyers. Well done.

As to the inquiry on a potential re-layout for 1650: I agree that your current configuration is the ideal version. There are plenty of other external brick case options for lower end GPU systems. I see this as the smallest footprint MAX graphics internal power case albeit with mega cpu cooler limitations. I think this current configuration may even fit a 2070 mini. That's what will set this case apart from anything else on the market.
Well i'm definitely making at least 1. My wife saw what i was working on and said "That's so cool i want one", so i'm making 1 for her if nothing else.

I see a lot of people going crazy with high TDP CPU's in these small cases, but honestly a 65w desktop CPU is more than enough for the vast majority of use cases. I think it makes much more sense to get a more mainstream CPU like an R5 2600 and pair it with a high end GPU. That's why i prioritize space the way i did. It also helps reinforce the point that the STX motherboards don't even support CPU's with a TDP over 65w, and they don't allow overclocking. So even though you can't fit much of a CPU cooler, you won't really need a beefy one cause you aren't allowed to put a super hot CPU in the motherboard or overclock the CPU.
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
Here is a rendering of the current model. I'm going to prototype just the internal frame for now to keep costs down. All the other panels are purely cosmetic and are fairly simplistic. I should have a response from the engineers at protocase in the next day or two with a quote for production.

 

Damascus

Master of Cramming
Silver Supporter
Feb 27, 2018
501
342
Protocase is going to eviscerate whatever budget you're working with, I'd recomend following in the footsteps of the DSE breathe and trying your luck with a small batch from @KSliger (sorry I keep tagging you :[)
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jan 1, 2017
323
303
Protocase is going to eviscerate whatever budget you're working with, I'd recomend following in the footsteps of the DSE breathe and trying your luck with a small batch from @KSliger (sorry I keep tagging you :[)
I'm open to using a different company, if they can produce the same level of quality for a better price.
 

Damascus

Master of Cramming
Silver Supporter
Feb 27, 2018
501
342
I'm open to using a different company, if they can produce the same level of quality for a better price.
Sliger makes the Cerberus(x) and the sm550/560, and was the manufacturer for the DSE breathe. I think that NFC/Josh has worked with them in the past as well.
 

Tazpr

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 7, 2018
287
191
I would suggest PC Design Foundry who I'm currently working with - they're just trying to get started so they're very competitive on price (current quote is half what I was quoted by others who already claimed to be cheaper than Protocase) and Andrew who's been helping me has been extremely responsive and helpful.

Would 100% recommend checking them out and seeing if they can help you out.
 

Damascus

Master of Cramming
Silver Supporter
Feb 27, 2018
501
342
I would suggest PC Design Foundry who I'm currently working with - they're just trying to get started so they're very competitive on price (current quote is half what I was quoted by others who already claimed to be cheaper than Protocase) and Andrew who's been helping me has been extremely responsive and helpful.

Would 100% recommend checking them out and seeing if they can help you out.
I'm quite curious, how much is a case your size running you?
 

Sean Crees

Airflow Optimizer
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Jan 1, 2017
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Initial quotes pegged it around $500 AUD including shipping.
Is that for a 1 item, no contract for more later, prototype? Or is that a small run price? $350 USD shipped sounds really good for a 1 item prototype.