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

Brude27

Airflow Optimizer
Jun 21, 2018
364
840
I really enjoy his reviews, big fan of sff cases and his camera work is outstanding. :thumb:

I totally agree! He's the content creator I get most excited about in my Youtube feed, and think any case manufacturer in these forums would be wise to go with him for their reviews. For example, the S4 mini was already proven, and one of the sexiest cases around... then Ali puts his touch on it and it’s (fire emote that this forum doesn't acknowledge apparently).
 

ej24

Minimal Tinkerer
Aug 28, 2017
3
10
Hey guys, I usually follow Sentry on [H]ardforum but, I figured I'd give everyone a heads up here too, engineer sample review coming soon

 

Nomo

Trash Compacter
Jul 5, 2018
37
27
Hmmm... I don't remember problems with sending packages to Mexico. We are sending packages with DHL express air shipping, and we never got any reports about problems with shipping to Mexico.

Mexico is in 5th DHL zone, so it will cost about $56 USD (40x40x15cm, 5kg package). It is quite expensive, but in previous campaign with cheap economic shipping some people had to wait even 3-4 for months before their package was delivered by ship from Europe, while with DHL express shipping you should get your Sentry within 7 working days (usually 2-3 working days from Poland to US - we checked and confirmed that).

ohh god, my walleet!! hurtss!! :c

but i need it, thanks. i'll anticipated that extra cost.
 

Octagoncow

Efficiency Noob
Mar 21, 2019
5
15
Hey guys, I'm also normally over at [H[ardforum, but ZomiPL and SaperPL wanted me to share my review with you as well. I'm not fancy enough to have a video, but I'll put my review below. It's in a spoiler so no one has to scroll past a wall of text every time they revisit this page:

Disclaimer:

I received this case to review for free, but the following review is my own opinion/thoughts and hasn’t been influenced by this. Since you aren’t able to buy V1.1 I’m going to keep comparisons between the two products to a minimum. I focus on low noise over low temperatures, so I’ve listed the fan speed associated with the temperature for benchmarks. Just because a temperature is high doesn’t mean that it isn’t being cooled well.

Packaging:

The packaging consists of a cardboard box which is lined with 20mm thick foam on all sides and is broken up into an upper and lower compartment. The upper level contains the body of the Sentry 2.0 case which is wrapped in a Sentry 2.0 plastic bag. The lower level, which is separated from the upper level with a foam insert, contains the stand, a magnetic torx screwdriver, power cable, anti-vandal power button, hard PCB riser, and accessories required for assembly. The packaging is really high quality and makes me confident that even if the package gets thrown around that the case won’t be damaged. This is by far the best computer case packaging I’ve ever encountered by a long shot.

My package arrived in great condition with only a few small marks on the cardboard. The thick foam on all sides of the packaging makes me feel that the case is well protected from accidental damage.




Assembly:

I highly recommend that you read through the manual before assembling this case. A lot of the components need to be installed in the specific order listed in the manual. The instructions are similar to the V1.1, but some steps such as the new riser assembly have been changed and will require you to read through the installation steps.

The case arrived completely disassembled, meaning that the power button and power cord have to be installed by the user. Having to install these parts doesn’t bother me since I always found that the power cord got in the way while building. I intentionally left fastening the socket of the power cable to the outside of the case for last as it kept getting in my way when installing the motherboard and riser. The number of screws has been reduced from 8 screws to attach the outer panel to just 4 which is a minor but much appreciated improvement. I wasn’t ever bothered with the old screw count, but having less screws does help make the case look a little cleaner. I don’t feel as though the reduction in the screw count has impacted the stability of the case; my V2.0 case feels just a rock solid as my V1.1 case.

The rest of the installation went fairly well. I had an issue with the power switch interfering with one of the plug locations on my modular PSU, but I was able to attach all of my required cables. I believe that I could have bent the power switch wiring out of the way for my power supply cable, but I feel like this risks damaging the cabling. The power switch location is a trade-off to support an AIO liquid cooler so I understand why it's is located where it is. The only time that I really had to sit down and closely read over the manual was with the new riser bracket. The new bracket attaches like a hinge and must be inserted at a low angle before being lifted into place. The manual does a better job of explaining the steps than I can. Despite my initial confusion, I think that the bracket change is an improvement since it, in theory, should reduce the chance of damaging the riser even if you don’t read the manual. The build quality is still top notch with the case having a nice compact and weighty feel. All of the pieces come together to make this thing feel like a tank.

For the record I plugged in the PSU cables all the way after taking this picture. I'm also aware that I don't have the o-ring for the power switch in the right location.







I don’t have any 2.5” drives or AIO coolers so I can’t comment on how well those mounting mechanisms work but they seem well designed.

Benchmarks:

I said this in the disclaimer but I’ll say it again for good measure: I focus on low noise, not low temperatures. I’ve included the fan speed % along with temperatures since all temperatures will be on the high side. I never experienced any throttling during these benchmarks. Also, sorry for not owning many recent games. I tried to get a good mix of CPU and CPU loads for my tests.

Relevant specs:
CPU: delidded 6700K with a slight undervolt and a Cooltek LP53 cooler with a Cryorig C7 fan
GPU: EVGA 1070 SC with an additional +100MHz memory overclock.

Idle:
CPU: 50c at 10% fan speed
GPU: 45-50c at 0-10% fan speed

Batman: Arkham Knight
CPU: 60-65C at 36% fan speed. CPU usage was around 45%
GPU: 85C at 63% fan speed Between 95-100% usage. 100% fan speed saw 73C

Beat Saber
CPU : 65c at 24% fan speed. CPU usage was around 35%
GPU: 60-70C at 57% fan speed between 70-80% usage. 100% fan speed saw 68c

Guild Wars 2:
CPU: 65-70C at 46% fan speed . CPU usage was around 50-55%
GPU: 68C at 40% fan speed at 50% usage

My overall impressions:

V2.0 is a solid increment on the Sentry V1.1 design. It’s not wildly different from V1.1, but that’s not a bad thing if you appreciate the design decisions in V1.1. V2.0 shows that ZombiPL and SaperPL took customer’s suggestions to heart by making installation quicker by using less screws, increasing ventilation which improved my temperatures by about 5C coming from my V1.1 case, and adding liquid cooling support (along with other small tweaks).

The new hard PCI riser is a welcomed addition since it should be more durable than a flexible one (not that I ever had an issue with mine). I’m a little concerned that people will struggle with this step or just install it incorrectly like Linus did during his livestream. Other than having the user read the manual carefully, the only other suggestions I can think of would be to create a youtube video of the entire assembly process of the case (like what was done for the V1.1 case) or to attach a note to the riser bracket saying that it is inserted at a low angle and then swings into place like a hinge. I think the new bracket works well, but I just can’t help but feel that people won’t bother to read the manual and screw up installing it.

My only real criticism of the case comes from the trade-off of allowing liquid cooling by moving the placement of the power button. I never felt the need to use a liquid cooler in my V1.1 case since I prefer full sized GPUs but I liked the option for SFX-L power supplies in case the size factor ever gained more traction. Since SFX-L isn’t very popular right now and there was a desire for liquid cooling I agree with the decision to remove SFX-L compatibility and add liquid cooling compatibility, but I’m still a little disappointed to see SFX-L compatibility removed.

If anyone has any questions I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

Edit: removed spoilers for better visibility of this post.
 
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Idle2824

Average Stuffer
Apr 26, 2018
59
52
A lot of reviewers have been using the cryorig C7, but I was under the impression that it was very loud in the sentry due to a lack of clearance. Can anyone confirm/deny this? I had been planning to get an L9am4, do you think that would still be a better fit?
 

zustroy

Trash Compacter
Jun 19, 2018
53
33
I won't be having graphic card, but two 3.5" HDDs. Do you provide metal covers for graphic card cutouts at the back?

Hope you thought of that possibility, two gaping holes would damage the sleek look.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
425
738
I won't be having graphic card, but two 3.5" HDDs. Do you provide metal covers for graphic card cutouts at the back?

Hope you thought of that possibility, two gaping holes would damage the sleek look.

We're not providing those anymore because barely anyone used those so most of those ended up useless, and this is simply wasteful.

If want to make a HDD-Only build, there's plenty slot covers to look for and these don't really cost much and you can choose what design you want to have.

We also had issues with all of suppliers we've tested/talked with and it's simply that we don't have suppliers of those in EU and we don't want to start doing this piece on our own because of that. This actually delayed start of assembling&packaging on Sentry 1.1.
 

masteraleph

SFF Lingo Aficionado
May 28, 2017
91
64
A lot of reviewers have been using the cryorig C7, but I was under the impression that it was very loud in the sentry due to a lack of clearance. Can anyone confirm/deny this? I had been planning to get an L9am4, do you think that would still be a better fit?

It is loud. But the C7 is about the best airs cooler you can fit into a Sentry, and given what’s happened to chip power use, a lot of people want that. If you’re using a 65w cpu, you’re probably ok with the l9a.
 

zustroy

Trash Compacter
Jun 19, 2018
53
33
We're not providing those anymore because barely anyone used those so most of those ended up useless, and this is simply wasteful.

If want to make a HDD-Only build, there's plenty slot covers to look for and these don't really cost much and you can choose what design you want to have.

We also had issues with all of suppliers we've tested/talked with and it's simply that we don't have suppliers of those in EU and we don't want to start doing this piece on our own because of that. This actually delayed start of assembling&packaging on Sentry 1.1.
Could you please name those few you contacted or even the one that made you those covers for 1.1.

I’d like to have them in size/shape/material/color as closest to the case itself.

Thanks!
 

Solo

King of Cable Management
Nov 18, 2017
738
1,225
There literally isn't a reason to want/need the PCI slot covers that came with the case lol. I'd recommend getting some black ones from Lian Li. Seriously.
 
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SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
425
738
Could you please name those few you contacted or even the one that made you those covers for 1.1.

We weren't ordering from case manufacturers because if you don't know, they don't like to help competition, so there's no option for a bulk price/discounts. And I assure you, adding a slot cover from Lian Li isn't something that we want to do just like that because it's premium, these pieces have it's cost.

We looked through budget options on alibaba, contacted the suppliers and sampled them (the slot covers), to select ones that were quality enough. Our suppliers sold these in bulk, so this is not something you want to order yourself (like a 50 pcs of those is a sample).

I’d like to have them in size/shape/material/color as closest to the case itself.

Slot cover is a standardised PCI slot cover, it has it's defined shape in ATX/PCI specification. Get something that is black, even if you're going for grey unit as every accent/accessory on the outside will be black. If you want some premium ones, go with those from Lian Li as Solo suggested.

I'd also recommend going for the Lian Li slot covers or some from a big name brand if you care much about the looks, because when we made a bulk order we had to discard not an insignificant amount of those fully perforated pieces because they were scratched or slightly bent, or had misaligned stamping (they had this little stamping where the slot hole is iirc) or perforation. Going cheap on aliexpress or ebay etc you might get something like this because supplier may not care about that.

Generally it's a pain that everything PC oriented is made in China and there are some thing that if we want to make them properly, we have to design them on our own and make them in Poland, like for example our pass-through power cord, but PCI slot covers are not worth it.

I believe there were like 5~7 people actually asking for additional quad 2.5" drive brackets for Sentry 1.1 (to have 12 x 2.5" drives), out of more than a 1000 units sold in the campaign, and some of them were even like "I'm not sure what I'm going to build, but I'd like to have an option to go for a full NAS setup". I don't remember seeing anyone with such full NAS setup though. So it's just a fraction of percent of people who used it without a GPU, at least from our perspective it looks like it.
 
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skiphix

Caliper Novice
Jun 25, 2018
31
55
Could you please name those few you contacted or even the one that made you those covers for 1.1.

I’d like to have them in size/shape/material/color as closest to the case itself.

Thanks!

Once the case comes to me I could design a 3d bracket, publish it to thingiverse and you could find someone nearby that could 3d print it for you. If you don't have a gpu, and your cpu is not generating much heat, you can use PETG, maybe even PLA?
 
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rfarmer

Shrink Way Wielder
Silver Supporter
Jul 7, 2017
2,152
2,180
You've seen Kyle's point of view. Now it's time for Paul :)


Just watched Paul's video, pretty nice review. I was glad to see him install the 120mm AIO option. Now people will have a good idea of what to expect.
 
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SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
425
738
Just watched Paul's video, pretty nice review. I was glad to see him install the 120mm AIO option. Now people will have a good idea of what to expect.

Not a review though, just a build video. Hopefully the ones who got the grey one are saving those for the actual review when they'll see the price on indiegogo and the campaign live and kicking.

We told them the price though, but knowing nowadays shenanigans with MSRP and crowdfunding campaigns doing different price tiers, we could've gone for 100 units with MSRP as super early bird, another 200 with slightly higher price and normal tiers for even more (we're not doing this though, don't worry). Also, we took quite a lot of time between Linus review and first campaign, so they might be waiting us out to see if we are actually going to launch it now or not.

At least that's what I hope they are doing and not being super trolls over the grey colour because people on floatplane voted to see it (according to linus' video?) XD
 
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ej24

Minimal Tinkerer
Aug 28, 2017
3
10
Sentry 2.0 Engineering Sample Review

I was lucky enough to be selected by ZombiPL and SaperPL to receive an engineering sample of Sentry 2.0 for review. Here I'm providing my honest review as well as a comparison of Sentry 2.0 to Sentry 1.1.


Hardware


CPU: Intel i7-4790K


· 88W TDP

· Delidded with liquid metal (Conductonaut) under the IHS

· Undervolted by 0.045V

· All core turbo 4.4GHz.

CPU Cooler: Thermolab LP53

· Noctua NF-a9x14 fan

· 3D printed fan adapter from J-Hack

· Thermal paste: Thermal Grizzly Cryonaut

Motherboard: Gigabyte z97n-wifi

RAM: 2x 8GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical Low Profile

· 1.35v

· 2133MHz

· CAS 10-10-10-32

Storage: 2x 2.5in SATA SSDs

· Crucial M500 500GB 2.5in (near CPU)

· Crucial MX200 1TB 2.5in (near PSU)

GPU: EVGA GTX 1080ti SC Black Edition

· Repasted with Thremal Grizzly Cryonaut

· GPU core +75mhz

· Memory +250mhz

· Custom fan curve (always on, no silent mode)

PSU: Corsair SF-600 Gold

· Cablemod custom cables

OS: Windows 10 Pro version 1709

Packaging and Unboxing


The DR Zaber team has overhauled and updated the packaging for Sentry 2.0. Some of the video reviews touched on this but I figured I'd include it anyway.

Here we have the box Sentry 2.0 arrived in next to my Sentry 1.1 system in my living room.
You can see it was wrapped tightly in plastic and then bound with heavy plastic straps. Nothing is getting in or out of this box.
View attachment 150353

Below is a comparison between the Sentry 2.0 box and Sentry 1.1 box.
View attachment 150354
As you can see the box for Sentry 2.0 is pretty large and robust with thick cardboard sidewalls.

The box had a nice little seal on it, reassuring you that nobody has opened it since it left Poland. Not sure if they'll do that on the final units for backers but it was a cool attention to detail.
View attachment 150355

Once inside you're greeted with heavy foam padding all around.
View attachment 150356

Beneath the top square of foam is Sentry 2.0, sheathed in a nice little bag.
View attachment 150357

Once the Sentry 2.0 case is removed, you find another foam panel, under which are all the accessories, PCIe riser, screws, vertical stand, and a handy screwdriver.
View attachment 150358

And here's a shot of everything spread out.
View attachment 150359

The Build


On to the build process.

Already having two Sentry 1.1 systems I had a good idea of what I was getting in to but, to provide proper feedback I followed the manual for Sentry 2.0 obtained from the Sentry website.
View attachment 150360

In the interest of not boring you all with a step by step build here's a few key things I noted during the build.

**There are fewer screws! and fewer types of screws! Seems like a small change but if you're like me and always messing around with your hardware, trying new thermal pastes, tweaking and modding things, you'll appreciate this. Not that Sentry 1.1 was a huge hassle but this change makes opening and closing Sentry that much easier, and quicker. **


The power button cable can be pretty tight in and around the PSU cables, especially if you have to run 2x PCIe cables and 2x SATA power cables like me.

View attachment 150361
It takes some planning but it's very manageable. (yes my PSU has fine filter mesh taped over it :D)

Next is cable management around the motherboard. If you've never built a small form factor PC, be patient, the payoff in the end is worth it. I ran my CPU power (luckily only a single 4 pin for CPU on my board) under the motherboard and out the other side by the connector (on the right side of the image below). Custom cables aren't totally necessary, but they help. You can see I left my 24 pin hanging. I did that so I could run the pass-through power cable (not pictured here) from the rear panel to the PSU underneath the 24 pin.

Also worth mentioning, the foam inserts from the Sentry 2.0 packaging make a nice soft surface to place Sentry on while building, won't scratch your table or the case. I can't guarantee it's static free but, it worked for me.

View attachment 150362

The old ribbon riser of Sentry 1.1 caused problems for a few backers, and the insertion and clamping of the riser was a common point of difficulty for some people building in Sentry. The riser is now a solid, two piece PCB solution. I think this is a really nice change. The clamping mechanism is, overall, better this time. Though the depiction in the manual could potentially be tweaked a bit more, it was in my opinion more straightforward than Sentry 1.1, and should be easier for a majority of builders. I believe either Kyle (Bitwit) or Paul's videos on Youtube actually clearly show the insertion and securing of the PCIe riser clamp very well, can't remember which one. Both worth watching.

Essentially once the PCB riser is in place, the clamp slots in from the GPU compartment, then rocks/swings up and you secure it with screws from above. Here you can see the PCIe riser slot with me holding the clamp in place before I screw it in. You can also see I ran a SATA power cable under the PCIe riser to the SSD by the CPU side.

View attachment 150363

Unfortunately on my motherboard the USB 3.0 header is directly beneath the 2.5in drive mount in Sentry 1.1 and 2.0 so I was unable to use the included USB 3.0 cable for front panel USB 3.0...maybe one day when I get around to updating my platform. ...:(

The 2.5in drive mounting is very similar to Sentry 1.1, a slightly revised bracket this time. Very simple.

GPU insertion is straightforward. Unlike some cases *ahem* Node 202

Here we have the completed build. :cool:
View attachment 150364
Pretty clean.

The revise lid ventilation means, for my system with the chipset between the PCIe slot and CPU (that is, CPU set farther away from the PCIe slot) that the CPU fan now has complete, unrestricted access to fresh air. Whereas Sentry 1.1 covered about 1/3 of the CPU fan.
View attachment 150365

Performance and comparison with Original Sentry

This is probably what many of you are interesting in, so here we go.


Tests conducted

· Idle (15 minutes) tried to kill as many background processes as possible

· Cinebench R15 (5 consecutive runs, ~5 seconds in between each)

· 3D Mark Firestrike Extreme (5 consecutive runs)

· Shadow of War 1080p ~120Hz (built in benchmark) for CPU + GPU load

· Shadow of War 4K ~60Hz (built in benchmark) for mainly heavy GPU load

Additional Testing info
  • Given that I use my Sentry system in the living room 99% of the time, all tests were done in the horizontal orientation.
  • Ambient temp was 19C (66F) for all these tests.
  • Hardware temps were recorded with HWInfo64.
  • I'm reporting Max temp recorded and average temp recorded.
  • My Sentry 1.1 system was left as it has been configured for a while now. That means the CPU fan was "sealed" to the case lid with weather stripping, and I had a 40mm fan setup as exhaust on the CPU side. My Sentry 1.1 also had aluminum feet from Lian Li that are about 3-4mm taller than the stock Sentry feet. This is Sentry 1.1 in the "best possible scenario" against Sentry 2.0.

Oh and one more thing. Because I can't stop myself from modding everything, I tested Sentry 2.0 stock and then again with a shroud made of cardboard paper around the CPU fan. This is NOT NECESSARY...Here's what that looked like.

View attachment 150366
I trimmed the excess down to fit under the case lid. In this configuration the CPU fan is prevented from recycling any hot air, and it creates a bit more positive pressure inside the case. It is NOT necessary, I just can't stop myself :D.


Max temps recorded

View attachment 150367

CPU temps are generally better in Sentry 2.0. Remember my Sentry 1.1 was already modded a bit, so the fact Sentry 2.0 unmodded acheives equal or better in most scenarios is great.

View attachment 150368
GPU temps are generally comparable. Firestrike is a bit unfair, it was 15 minutes of 100% GPU punishment. No major change with my particular GPU in actual gaming though. It's worth noting, on average my GPU fan was about 100rpm slower in Sentry 2.0 during most of these tests.

View attachment 150369

When you really push both the cpu and gpu things tend to get warm. but totally manageable.

View attachment 150370

The SSD near the PSU was generally cooler than the one near the CPU and that makes sense.



Average temps recorded

View attachment 150371
The average temps for CPU follow the same trend as the max temps.

View attachment 150372

The same goes for GPU temps. Under normal gaming loads the GPU temps are either the same or slightly better in Sentry 2.0 than Sentry 1.1

The SSDs follow the exact same trend for the average temp as they did for max temp.


Conclusion

Sentry 2.0 is a good evolution of Sentry 1.1. They got community feedback and addressed many important things. The main benefit to me is the ease of building. Fewer screws, fewer types of screws, and better riser and clamp mechanism. This really makes Sentry 2.0 feel more polished. Availability of 120mm AIO configuration is a bonus too, though I'm not personally interested in AIO coolers.

I should meson that while temps were not astonishingly better (you can only expect so much heat to dissipate inside 7L), during normal desktop use, my fan speeds were noticeably slower and quieter. Idle and light load temps were consistently better. Even during heavy loads that increased ventilation of 2.0 decreases the fan noise and you hear less of an intense "woosh" of air compared to 1.1. I don't have proper equipment to measure but the sound of the fans seems less intrusive now. The weight savings compared to 1.1 is also appreciated. It's not feather light, it is still steel, but any decrease in weight without sacrifice in strength is nice.

Overall this is an evolutionary update. If you already have Sentry 1.1 and you are happy then you probably don't need to worry about upgrading to 2.0. If you want the smallest case to use with an AIO, get Sentry 2.0. If you missed the campaign for Sentry 1.1, definitely get 2.0. This case will not disappoint. Sentry is one of the smallest cases around, and it's in my opinion the most durable, and most portable case available.
 
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