Production SENTRY 2.0: Evolution of console-sized gaming PC case

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
424
727
Hello Dr Zaber, is there any update on how far off the kickstarter/production is now in months?

At this point we don't really want to give you any estimates because we were late with our estimated many times already. We'll be ready when we're ready, but we're really close.

We have finalised documentation for prototype 2 this week. It took so much time because of two things:

I needed to thoroughly test the prototype 1 and figure out what needs to be fixed/reworked for prototype 2. Apart from obvious precision/manufacturing issues that were visible right away on first checkups and we knew what to do with them, there were few design decisions that we've debated over and over for some time before we came to final conclusions on how to approach them.

Secondly our company had quite a few big projects piled up whole summer to the point where Zombi was hardly at home for quite long and didn't have time to get through all changes in cad files and update documentation for next prototype until this week.

With updated designs it seems like we should done with redesigns if one of the manufacturing issues is resolved and if this second prototype doesn't show new unexpected issues/challanges (it shouldn't though, changes weren't that significant). At this point we are really satisfied with what we have in terms of design for chassis body and what's left is to finish prototyping, do a prototype batch to make sure we have repeatability and to make some review samples. Meanwhile we will also have to finalise designs for the boxes so we can pack review samples and prepare some tooling required for full scale production.

We'll place order for prototype 2 this week and we hope to get it done by the end of the month (low priority for single unit once again), but if we get that and it'll be final without issues, we'll order batch of 25~50 bodies and it should have higher priority than a single prototype, but we'll have to go through all of them to check quality and this takes time as well. So hopefully we'll be shipping review samples at the end of the year.

By the way: I have compiled and uploaded remaining tests - Cryorig C7 and Wraith Stealth:
 

Nomo

Caliper Novice
Jul 5, 2018
33
27
At this point we don't really want to give you any estimates because we were late with our estimated many times already. We'll be ready when we're ready, but we're really close.

We have finalised documentation for prototype 2 this week. It took so much time because of two things:

I needed to thoroughly test the prototype 1 and figure out what needs to be fixed/reworked for prototype 2. Apart from obvious precision/manufacturing issues that were visible right away on first checkups and we knew what to do with them, there were few design decisions that we've debated over and over for some time before we came to final conclusions on how to approach them.

Secondly our company had quite a few big projects piled up whole summer to the point where Zombi was hardly at home for quite long and didn't have time to get through all changes in cad files and update documentation for next prototype until this week.

With updated designs it seems like we should done with redesigns if one of the manufacturing issues is resolved and if this second prototype doesn't show new unexpected issues/challanges (it shouldn't though, changes weren't that significant). At this point we are really satisfied with what we have in terms of design for chassis body and what's left is to finish prototyping, do a prototype batch to make sure we have repeatability and to make some review samples. Meanwhile we will also have to finalise designs for the boxes so we can pack review samples and prepare some tooling required for full scale production.

We'll place order for prototype 2 this week and we hope to get it done by the end of the month (low priority for single unit once again), but if we get that and it'll be final without issues, we'll order batch of 25~50 bodies and it should have higher priority than a single prototype, but we'll have to go through all of them to check quality and this takes time as well. So hopefully we'll be shipping review samples at the end of the year.

By the way: I have compiled and uploaded remaining tests - Cryorig C7 and Wraith Stealth:


Thank you so much, this community loves your work and we appreciated it.
It will be a great 2019 for SFF enthusiasts.
 
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IDontknowMuch

Cable Smoosher
Oct 15, 2018
9
6
@drzaber, I understand that everyone wants to design a case that basically works for everyone. They want the case to be able to fit a mini itx build into a small form factor case that will not overheat, can fit full size gpu, and have sufficient power supply for it all. My only gripe is why doesn't everyone go a step further and design it to have the option of having a screen attached to it? You may sell a lot of cases with your current design which is great but you would sell heck of a lot more if it had the option of attaching a screen to the case. It would basically make it an awesome complete portable build to take on business trips and to take when you go on vacation.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
424
727
@drzaber, I understand that everyone wants to design a case that basically works for everyone. They want the case to be able to fit a mini itx build into a small form factor case that will not overheat, can fit full size gpu, and have sufficient power supply for it all. My only gripe is why doesn't everyone go a step further and design it to have the option of having a screen attached to it? You may sell a lot of cases with your current design which is great but you would sell heck of a lot more if it had the option of attaching a screen to the case. It would basically make it an awesome complete portable build to take on business trips and to take when you go on vacation.

If you are talking about attaching a small screen on the side of the case that is around the size of the GPU, then there are multiple reasons not to do this for example:
- Adding another layer (a screen) will make heat dissipation harder
- Adding mounting points for screen will affect the look of the case. I don't think we can do this properly to not break the look for the users who don't want the screen and we don't want options/configurations/variants of our case at this point
- mobile screens are pretty sleek right now and strapping them together with the case would only make mobility worse - you can have more freedom now in terms how do you want to pack it. Screen is something you should really protect while Sentry is really sturdy and can take a lot with minimal protection. Putting them together makes it harder to figure out how to pack it.

If you are talking about something like console attachments with screens for mobile use, then the problem is that if we were to do this properly, we'd have to provide the panel ourselves and that would complicate things a lot for us. Also Sentry is not something you put on your lap like laptop because it will be warm on the outside when gaming and you will block the airflow.

From what I can see, most of our users are people who want PC on their desk, but for some reason putting a huge tower doesn't fit well, like when they have really small desk or ultrawide monitor. For the ones keen on mobility, it looks like they either go between university/work and home or they travel a lot where they have normal monitors/TVs to connect to. Note that there is actually not a lot of people talking about those mobile screens in threads about Sentry.

As for gaining more market by putting in flashy features - it was never about such thing. What we want to do is to make a console sized case properly, since every other company so far simply cut a ton of corners straying away from the original spirit of the steam machine. It's obvious that if we want to survive on the market, we have to make revenue, but killing off the spirit of the project will also kill the project itself in the long run and we have to thread carefully when doing such dramatic changes.
 

br3nd0

Airflow Optimizer
Sep 29, 2016
307
297
@drzaber, I understand that everyone wants to design a case that basically works for everyone. They want the case to be able to fit a mini itx build into a small form factor case that will not overheat, can fit full size gpu, and have sufficient power supply for it all. My only gripe is why doesn't everyone go a step further and design it to have the option of having a screen attached to it? You may sell a lot of cases with your current design which is great but you would sell heck of a lot more if it had the option of attaching a screen to the case. It would basically make it an awesome complete portable build to take on business trips and to take when you go on vacation.

Laptop. Or, buy a portable screen.

Take a look at the SIBOLAN S17 17.3 inch 2560×1440 HDR 120Hz Portable Game Monitor with HDMI input. There's some floating around on eBay. You can even buy a separate mount so it can be laid flat (padding recommended, I think it even comes with a soft cover) and carted around in your LAN shoulder bag / backpack. They did a review of it over on [H].
 
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IDontknowMuch

Cable Smoosher
Oct 15, 2018
9
6
Please remember "IDontknow" as my name suggests I don't understand certain topics and things that I don't understand I generally ask questions to seek answers to make me understand. Please allow me to clarify why I asked if it where possible to place a screen on your design or any other design that is similar to yours. I'm a gamer that is looking to take my mini itx build I currently have and placing it in a case such as yours but with a screen. I can then transform it into a pc gaming emulator build that I can take with me where ever I go. You have created this fantastic case so that enthusiast like myself can mod not only the inside but the outside of the case to their liking. I see you feel very adamant about anyone making any changes to your current build which is understandable. If I place the screen along the backside of your case it will not interfere with the airflow at all. When I go to takeout the new modified case with the screen attached to it I then place it down on a desk lift up the screen and turn it on to play games. With the screen up it is not blocking the airflow at all (it is 2 hinges and a screen). Nor is it causing the case to overheat while the screen is up. I also understand that their are people out there that like the build the way it is and wish to have the monitor separate from the case. I am also not suggesting that myself or anyone else was going to put the case on their lap like a laptop to play their games.
Most gamer's that I'm affiliated with are looking to take their game on the road but taking their desktop mini itx build is out of the question. So they are looking for a mini itx case that they can then transform it into their own image. We have people taking Xbox One and PS4 gaming consoles and modifying them to look like a laptop which I think is awesome. They have transformed the home console into a portable console that they can take with them where ever they want. I'm not trying to kill the spirit of your project. I was merely asking if it could be done because I see a market of people buying your case to do the very same thing I'm thinking of wanting to do it.
I like to apologize if I offended your conception of your case in anyway. I look forward to buying your case or the skyreach case to then modify it to my liking. If you go to youtube and lookup "Arcade Game Suitcase/Gameplay part 2/2" maybe you can understand what I'm looking forward to building with your case.
 
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IDontknowMuch

Cable Smoosher
Oct 15, 2018
9
6
@br3nd0, your suggestion of the "SIBOLAN S17 17.3 inch 2560×1440 HDR 120Hz Portable Game Monitor with HDMI input" is to massive and very unpractical to suggest someone carry that monstrosity around. i'm looking for something more simplistic than the suggestion you offered.
 

IDontknowMuch

Cable Smoosher
Oct 15, 2018
9
6
@br3ndo, i didn't mean to come off as being to blunt in replying to your suggestion. i would like to thank you for your previous suggestion and thank you as well for your second suggestion.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
424
727
I was merely asking if it could be done because I see a market of people buying your case to do the very same thing I'm thinking of wanting to do it.
I like to apologize if I offended your conception of your case in anyway. I look forward to buying your case or the skyreach case to then modify it to my liking. If you go to youtube and lookup "Arcade Game Suitcase/Gameplay part 2/2" maybe you can understand what I'm looking forward to building with your case.

It's not that I'm offended, why should I be? You have presented your idea for change and I was explaining the reasoning why we do not plan to do such thing. It's a matter of respect to other person in the discussion to explain your stance rather than simply stating "you're wrong".

I've checked that video to make sure what you are talking about and once again it's not something we would be willing to do.

The issue with manufacturing such setup is that we would either have to make a mounting system that would fit multiple mobile screen, or that would handle laptop LCD panels OR we would need to provide one along the case.

For the first one, those mobile screens don't have vesa mounts (regardless or how ridiculous it would be to mount it by arm at the back) and I don't think they have any other standardised mounting mechanism. So we end up with figuring out a way to grab a screen by its plastic body, with hinges and make it so it doesn't look terrible and is safe to operate. We'd have to do it by CNC which would be hell lot of expensive or we'd end up with cheap looking plastic screen holders. I don't think anyone would like that.

For handling laptop LCD panels it's only slightly easier by the fact we wouldn't need to care about screen cover, but at the same time we have to figure out a way to attach it (adjustable locations to screw it in? doesn't seem like easy thing to do) and at the same time we would have to make an enclosure for such panel that would match multiple screen sizes and types. Also remember that you need additional electronics for connecting just the panel so that would also need to be placed somewhere because desktop class itx boards and graphic cards don't have LVDS connectors.

Essentially we'd end up with setting on single size of compatible screen if not being close to single model. At this point, why not provide the screen by ourselves? Because it complicates a lot of things. It would increase the product price (remember tax free limits here), the weight of the package and thus shipping price and would force us to handle warranty for those screens as well (figure out you'd have to send us the whole case back from the US to Poland because you've got a screen with bad strip in the middle).

What guy in the video you mentioned did is to pick his own parts and build the whole thing around them and this is something we cannot do - we cannot lock people into ecosystem of specifically selected components because when they are 'end of life' we'd have to change our designs over and over again. It is still awesome what he did, but what he did was EASY because he made single unit with zero variables in comparison to making 100 or 1000 units where you have to match multiple configurations and make sure each unit is manufactured within sensible margin of error for components matching.

Also when you are stating that we would sell whole lot more cases you should have some solid data on this or at least indicator of what is the public interest on that subject in comparison to interest in our case. If I remember correctly Linus had tested such arcade suitcase and there were like 50 units made in total because the price for whole thing was ridiculous, but it also means they (the manufacturer) made their research and figured out this is the best positioning for the product and making those mass produced for a wider audience isn't viable option. And that was in their area of expertise so I assume they should know the community around such projects.

I hope this explains why we don't want to do such thing.
 
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LeandroB

Average Stuffer
Jun 2, 2017
66
60
Hey! So, did you guy had time to futher test the prototypes? How are things going?
Thanks for the attention!
 

a_casserole

Efficiency Noob
Nov 17, 2018
7
9
Few hours ago I was assured by our subcontractor that our 2nd prototype will be ready in the middle of next week.

This sounds good!

I know this isn't a likely prospect as V2 hasn't even launched yet but are there plans for a wider case to allow for larger 3 slot GPU's and higher CPU coolers? It's just with the direction GPU's are going in it's getting harder to get smaller cards and cooling become noisy
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
424
727
This sounds good!

I know this isn't a likely prospect as V2 hasn't even launched yet but are there plans for a wider case to allow for larger 3 slot GPU's and higher CPU coolers? It's just with the direction GPU's are going in it's getting harder to get smaller cards and cooling become noisy

We're not planning a 3 slot variant for Sentry right now, but who knows, if that's where the industry were to be going, then we might see if that makes sense, but only after we're running production properly for 2.0.

The issue with current 3 slot cards is that RTX chips are still on the old production node while having much more stuff inside and thus they make a lot of heat. This should change with next generation and I assume that current RTX generation is not going to be a future proof thing, there's going to be a lot changes there.

Getting back to your "3-slot Sentry" idea, we know there's a lot of things that this would enable:
- Taller CPU coolers, quite a lot of them, including for example wraith stealth fitting out of the box, taller noctua coolers, cryorig C7 not being so loud etc.
- Thicker package for AIO cooler, maybe even two slim fans instead of one.
- Mounting slim fans beneath the two slot GPU.
- Mounting two 15 mm 2.5" drives or slim ODD under the SFX PSU.
- Actual place for slim fans on the sides that could help exhaust hot air from GPU in horizontal position.
etc etc. But the issue of volume still stands - I don't think that we'll be able to compete against stuff like node 202 when we'll get close to the 10L volume because of the price difference we cannot change, until we have mass production running for at least one product and it sells. This size of ~7L is what we're focused right now and we want to make it properly. The whole idea of this project was to make a case that is true to the ideas of original steam machine and we're still on track with that.

What I'd be more keen to do when we're in full production, is a Sentry-like chassis designed around APUs, like the Ryzen 2400G, especially when 3400G is just around the corner (6 cores/12 threads + powerful IGP). I'm not sure though if this should be something to compete with inwin chopin OR should this be the same as Sentry in size and shape, but focus on the APU being water cooled by 240/280 AIO for a silent HTPC/light gaming rig.

On another topic, our Black Ridge order is pending delivery, so we should be able to check it out inside Sentry this week.
 

a_casserole

Efficiency Noob
Nov 17, 2018
7
9
The issue with current 3 slot cards is that RTX chips are still on the old production node while having much more stuff inside and thus they make a lot of heat. This should change with next generation and I assume that current RTX generation is not going to be a future proof thing, there's going to be a lot changes there.

I didn't know this about the RTX graphics cards! I really hope that they're able to reduce the heat/power consumption in future generations because the cards now are getting really big which isn't ideal for SFF

Yeah I see that price competition increases in that space but I feel cases like the Node 202 are designed to be horizontal and not vertical and they look very cheap in comparison. I think a mini Sentry would look super cool, I'd definitely prefer to see something in that direction as opposed to something to compete with the inwin in terms of shape. It's mostly about desk space though and presence.

I'm not sure I'd choose an AIO's as a personal preferences :p

I think my dream case would be something like W 90mm x H 400mm x D 340mm to accommodate an ATX PSU and taller CPU coolers/graphics card to aim for a quieter/cooler system.

The black ridge is definitely a neat looking cooler, I hope it performs well in the Sentry! It seems like it will be good with the fan as far away from the side of the case similar to the NH-L12 (without top fan) in the Ghost S1
 

Nomo

Caliper Novice
Jul 5, 2018
33
27
Hi, i have a question, i will require low profile PEG power connector cuz i bought a GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G Gigabyte , Where can i buy one of this connectors??
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
424
727
Hi, i have a question, i will require low profile PEG power connector cuz i bought a GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G Gigabyte , Where can i buy one of this connectors??

I believe there was some company/guy that was selling those on US ebay. I've been checking this out few times and those were always there.

I have this card and It somehow fits inside but the cables are tightly squeezed between the side of the case and the connector plastic body and this pushes side of the case slightly away, so I recommend getting low profile cable.
 

Nomo

Caliper Novice
Jul 5, 2018
33
27
I believe there was some company/guy that was selling those on US ebay. I've been checking this out few times and those were always there.

I have this card and It somehow fits inside but the cables are tightly squeezed between the side of the case and the connector plastic body and this pushes side of the case slightly away, so I recommend getting low profile cable.

I found this, i guess is the correct angle and 8-PIN connector...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sleeved-4-...740289?hash=item4d7fde0c01:g:DjMAAOSwls5Y7pYR

its okay?