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

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
It would seem a pretty stupid move to not release blower style RTX 30 series cards. Especially with the rising interest in SFFpc's
Not really. At this point they are competing at who comes up with stock first. Also SFF is still a niche and a lot of SFF cases are designed to be used with open air cooling. It's just that until there's big uproar about the performance in sff, they won't really focus on that if the cards are selling like hot cakes anyway.

The issue of blower designs is whether system intergrators / OEM system builders are going for those cards or not. So far it was always about cutting costs and making a card that will work in conditions of a cheap chassis for those companies to use in their pre-built systems. But it might not be that simple with cards at this price point and at the same time cutting costs on the cooling of a 320W TDP card might be a bad idea.


I'm right now waiting for the both 3080's and high wattage SFX PSUs to get back to stock and I think I'll wait to see what AMD has up their sleeve as well as what's about with the 20GB 3080 card. I expect that it'll be significantly more expensive, question is how much performance boot that memory increase will get you.
 

darksable

Chassis Packer
Jun 3, 2017
18
22
It would seem a pretty stupid move to not release blower style RTX 30 series cards. Especially with the rising interest in SFFpc's
I get what you're saying, but as someone who's had blower cards since back in the 9800gt days where the notion of a graphics cooler that exhausted heat was radical and new...

Even the well-made ones aren't as well made as you'd want them to be.

I'm sure someone will test the XC3 soon, and it may end up being the best bet. (Unfortunately, it may also be hard to get. I was considering using EVGA's step up program, but the reps said they've been told only the FTW3 will be eligible for the foreseen future.)

In the meantime, I've gotten in contact with the engineering departments at 5/7 of the big GPU players in the US, requesting specific measurements of the most promising looking cards without the shroud and fans. I'll aggregate this data and throw it together in its own post once I've got it all.

In the Sentry specifically, well... This is going to be silly, but the Noctua NF-A4x10 PWM fits so well at the top of the GPU compartment it almost feels intentional. If I can swing a few things my way, I'm going to stuff the largest heatsink I can in there, using the noctua fans and a custom shroud to pull air through the heatsink and out the top.

Will it be more expensive than the xc3? Totally. But my hope is that it will be quieter and direct airflow better, by virtue of actually exhausting out the case. (Plus those miniature noctua fans are... oddly cute?)
 

Soul

Cable Smoosher
Sep 11, 2020
8
1
Not really. At this point they are competing at who comes up with stock first. Also SFF is still a niche and a lot of SFF cases are designed to be used with open air cooling. It's just that until there's big uproar about the performance in sff, they won't really focus on that if the cards are selling like hot cakes anyway.

The issue of blower designs is whether system intergrators / OEM system builders are going for those cards or not. So far it was always about cutting costs and making a card that will work in conditions of a cheap chassis for those companies to use in their pre-built systems. But it might not be that simple with cards at this price point and at the same time cutting costs on the cooling of a 320W TDP card might be a bad idea.


I'm right now waiting for the both 3080's and high wattage SFX PSUs to get back to stock and I think I'll wait to see what AMD has up their sleeve as well as what's about with the 20GB 3080 card. I expect that it'll be significantly more expensive, question is how much performance boot that memory increase will get you.
Nvidia is so inefficient with 3080, the GDDRX modules alone uses 60W from what I have heard. I highly doubt blower 3080 will be available soon since Nvidia and AIBs have to fill those current demand on the cards, nor do I believe blower design can cool a 320W card. It can barely cool a 250W with the stock settings.

My only hope at this point is AMD. They went with making a chip with large amount of cache and using more energy efficient GDDR non-X. From what I gather from leaks, the top end Big Navi will be a 250W card.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
Nvidia is so inefficient with 3080, the GDDRX modules alone uses 60W from what I have heard. I highly doubt blower 3080 will be available soon since Nvidia and AIBs have to fill those current demand on the cards, nor do I believe blower design can cool a 320W card. It can barely cool a 250W with the stock settings.
Like I said before, the non "FE" blower cards so far we've seen were made for pre-built makers/system integrators to built systems as cheap as possible, and since there's such big of a difference between the TDP of previous blower cards and now, it would be pretty bad to make a blower in the same manner, because it will get reviewed and it would get a mark of "do not touch" if it had to be tuned back so much because of the poor cooling performance.

Gigabyte blower will get a review at some point by someone and unless that were to be OEM only SKU like for example Ryzen 9 3900 that isn't available in retail, they will care about not making it something that will be performing significantly worse than other variants if they want to sell to retail customers.

My only hope at this point is AMD. They went with making a chip with large amount of cache and using more energy efficient GDDR non-X. From what I gather from leaks, the top end Big Navi will be a 250W card.
I like what AMD is making with CPU's, also the HBM and Nano cards were pretty cool, but I hate the driver support of radeon cards.
Whenever I was on not most recent card generation, I had issues with those ranging from some random lighting colour based on your rotation in game in battlefield 1 and V after launch, having to manually set screen refresh settings through some registry magic, not being able to install drivers from amd on the nano card and not being able to look through older versions to see if there's one that will work, system crashing right after drivers are installed because the card is slightly older etc.

I've got a HD7750 laying around that's a paper weight cause it doesn't work in windows 10 after the drivers are installed and system will try to install the drivers, so I cannot re-purpose to some office workstation PC, but I can literally grab any geforce or quadro from some old scrap like for example quadro FX 540/geforce 6600 and it will work and will have working drivers and will have acceleration up to what it did support originally. There was also a time when I couldn't install drivers for R9 Nano when they rolled out new driver and couldn't download the old one, the installer didn't find the card compatible.

So essentially If you are going to upgrade GPU with each generation, then AMD might be the way to go, but if you want the long term support of your card, then think about it twice.
 
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djsaddy

Chassis Packer
Jan 3, 2020
19
2
Hi [B]SaperPL[/B],
I have been trying to get a Sentry 2.0 for quite some time now but I have realized its always out of stock or sold out before I can get to it. So here are my 2 questions:
1. How can I buy it, I did email at [email protected]
2. Are you planning for a newer version of Sentry 2.0 any time soon? In that case I can wait.

Will appreciate any help and assistance you can provide.
Thanks,
Saddy.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
1. We are doing limited production runs so far, we won't probably have another production run at least by the end of the year
2. We would like to introduce some production-process-specific improvements in the next run, but we are occupied by other projects right now and we are short of time because of that.

Making cases is a pet project for us and not our main line of business. It's just that it's a lot easier to make a lot of marketing material for a small PC case than showcase something that has NDAs all over the place because the machine is literally assembled on the client's premises and so most of the stuff you can see on our website are Sentry and Zefir (our lineup of wind turbines).
 

djsaddy

Chassis Packer
Jan 3, 2020
19
2
Thank you for your quick response. Can you add me to the list of buyers for that limited production run at the next of this year. If needed I can pay in advance. Thanks again.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
Thank you for your quick response. Can you add me to the list of buyers for that limited production run at the next of this year. If needed I can pay in advance. Thanks again.
We are not running a newsletter anymore. It's just that we have responded to email enquires and notified those people about the sale that happened recently.
You should generally follow us here or on the twitter.

Has anyone got creative with external water cooling for Sentry yet?
Well, if someone were to use something like that, wouldn't it be beside the point? At this point if you're not okay with thermals then maybe pick a bigger case like Ncase M1 or that new and cheap thing from CoolerMaster?
 
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Soul

Cable Smoosher
Sep 11, 2020
8
1
Well, if someone were to use something like that, wouldn't it be beside the point? At this point if you're not okay with thermals then maybe pick a bigger case like Ncase M1 or that new and cheap thing from CoolerMaster?
I remember you said exactly this in HardForum when someone tried to put a 120mm AIO inside Sentry back in the days of 1.1 and you ended up supporting it in Sentry 2.0. 😉

Quick disconnect douplings allow you to quickly remove Sentry from the loop with almost no liquid loss which means Sentry will retain much all of its portability where you have to carry a radiator around with it. It also gives you the option of draining the loop when you decide to travel by plane which is not something you could do with an AIO. The possibility of leak is also greatly reduced since half of the loop is outside the case which also means filling/draining the loop will be much easier and risk free. Not to mention you could water cool your CPU and GPU at the same time.

You are right when you say you could put all this cooling capability inside Ncase or the MasterCooler case but the portability of Sentry is unmatched (excluding cases with external PSUs like S4) and I don't feel comfortable to air travel with other cases. Also I already own a Sentry so no one can stop me from doing it haha.
 

prava

Cable-Tie Ninja
Mar 21, 2017
168
255
Well, if someone were to use something like that, wouldn't it be beside the point? At this point if you're not okay with thermals then maybe pick a bigger case like Ncase M1 or that new and cheap thing from CoolerMaster?
Why? Maybe somebody loves your unique design enough to want it on top of their desk, but have the needs and the wants to place the radiator somewhere else, and thus make the build completely and absolutely silent.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
I remember you said exactly this in HardForum when someone tried to put a 120mm AIO inside Sentry back in the days of 1.1 and you ended up supporting it in Sentry 2.0. 😉
This is a bit different though.

Quite a few people asked about getting rid of internal SFX PSU in order to fit AIO or just figuring out a way to squeeze in the AIO while still having the full sized GPU. The 120 mm AIO made sense at that point in time when R9 Nano came out because it seemed like we might be getting a fairly standard form factor of ITX-sized GPUs with reasonable amount of performance (R9 Nano/970 Mini/1080 Mini/2070 Mini etc).

And it made a lot of sense in quad core/8 thread i7 generation as it actually let you make a virtually silent/really quiet gaming rig laying in front of TV because the 120 mm AIO could keep the 65W TDP CPU at really low temperatures at the same time helping vent the back of the GPU compartment.

The issue with 120 mm AIO right now is that most of the potential users of such case want to use full length cards because the power draw went up for both GPU and CPU and thus the ITX sized cards will be only made for the lower end chips and at the same time it doesn't make really that much sense with current gen CPUs as it did with 65W quad core i7 three years ago.

We have missed the mark on that because low profile/slim 120 mm AIO kits were made end-of-life right around the moment we were already preparing review samples batch to be sent to youtubers. And also we didn't knew that Zen2 will change that much when it comes to thermals. Second issue is that, while every significant 120 mm AIO had long enough tubes to route them neatly inside, we missed that the Corsair H55 had slightly shorter tubes, and most of the youtubers did build with that which came out terribly. So that's also something that affected how many people were interested in making an AIO build.

At the point of designing this feature, it seemed like a potential mainstream configuration or one of mainstream configs, but after the reviews and feature videos, there were simply no interest. So its not like we made support for something just because a few people asked for it, it made sense to have it at the time of design, but since the whole process takes time, we were late with it.

Also there was barely any cost involved in supporting the 120 mm AIO within the perforation, but for things like making access panel to the back of the board, making mount for the AIO in place of PSU and then additional mount for HD-Plex somewhere, making holes somewhere to route the liquid cooling out of the case - it was always going to over-complicate things and make the case more expensive for everyone. In case of having quick connects - iirc, those have pretty big diameter so figuring out where to place them would be pretty hard unless there was something like a cut-out where the power connector at the back is and so you would have a swapped piece similarly to like Sliger does it for taller GPUs. But this would mean two additional pieces, a method to mount them and reinforcing the case structure there.

Why? Maybe somebody loves your unique design enough to want it on top of their desk, but have the needs and the wants to place the radiator somewhere else, and thus make the build completely and absolutely silent.
Well, this makes sense on its own, but once again - how many of you are actually going to do it this way? I'm kind of against making contraptions like this, or for example making ultra small cases that require huge brick to power up the GPU unless the whole point is to make it split for transport. That's my bias though ;p
 
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Treshy

Average Stuffer
May 4, 2019
84
89
Has anyone found a pcie 4.0 riser that is compatible with the sentry yet? with 3090s and 6x00xt cards coming I think it's time to upgrade to pcie 4.0 but I havent found any riser boards/cables that could fit the case yet.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
Has anyone found a pcie 4.0 riser that is compatible with the sentry yet? with 3090s and 6x00xt cards coming I think it's time to upgrade to pcie 4.0 but I havent found any riser boards/cables that could fit the case yet.
Once again - you don't need pci-e 4.0 riser yet for the GPU. It'll start making sense once the new games streaming a lot of data to the GPU directly from m.2 SSD through pci-e will come out, so this means PS5 and Unreal Engine 5 titles at this point.

Right now it's just 1~3 % difference in performance and buying riser based on this right now is simply bad idea because once those titles come out the riser that states 4.0 compatibility right now might cause issues with the actual reasonable use that is that data streaming in the titles that are not there yet. We are on the bleeding edge for the pci-e 4.0 risers right now and we don't know yet what future proofing actually means.
 

Elaman

Chassis Packer
Sep 13, 2020
13
7
what's about with the 20GB 3080 card. I expect that it'll be significantly more expensive, question is how much performance boot that memory increase will get you.
You could for example install Valorant, which needs apparently some 9 GB after installation. And then you could play Valorant and your card would still have 11 GB available. With that fast of a memory, that could be a performance boost.
 

SaperPL

Master of Cramming
DR ZĄBER
Oct 17, 2017
398
671
You could for example install Valorant, which needs apparently some 9 GB after installation. And then you could play Valorant and your card would still have 11 GB available. With that fast of a memory, that could be a performance boost.
That is speeding up the loading of the game, not necessarily more FPS. In multiplayer pvp games you hardly ever stream parts of level/other assets in-game because it would mean performance drops. Also that is really niche use case of loading up the game into the card memory and you need to pre-load this memory first from the drive upon boot anyway. Graphics card memory isn't persistent.
 

Elaman

Chassis Packer
Sep 13, 2020
13
7
That is speeding up the loading of the game, not necessarily more FPS. In multiplayer pvp games you hardly ever stream parts of level/other assets in-game because it would mean performance drops. Also that is really niche use case of loading up the game into the card memory and you need to pre-load this memory first from the drive upon boot anyway. Graphics card memory isn't persistent.
Yeah but what about the bragging rights? You tell that to your opponents, they get disturbed that you spent 1800€ on a card with 20GB and while they try to look for a justification in their minds, you just frag them! Competitive advantage right there. Worth the price.
 

Dustbunnyck

Caliper Novice
Nov 10, 2019
31
5
Yeah but what about the bragging rights? You tell that to your opponents, they get disturbed that you spent 1800€ on a card with 20GB and while they try to look for a justification in their minds, you just frag them! Competitive advantage right there. Worth the price.
Isn't this how the new Consoles are going to work with memory during games?