Shiny Snake S400 - Customized for AIO / Liquid Cooling

hrh_ginsterbusch

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This is more of a work log than anything, but I'm preparing a case modification of the Shiny Snake S400 (in white), a 10.8L ITX case mostly meant for air cooling. In theory, one would be able to install a 120 mm AIO / radiator as well, but only with a very short GPU. I'd call it the cheaper version of the Fractal Terra, with much better airflow, but less sophisticated construction and overall quality.

Case measurements / structural description for reference:

Dimensions: 155 x 205 x 340 mm
(W x H x L)

The main case frame consists of three parts, a bottom half, a back half, which is attached at the bottom to the bottom frame, and the combined top and front panel. The mainboard / GPU compartment divider, referred to as the mainboard tray, sits in the middle and is attached to both the bottom and the back of the case frame. All of this is done with creative metal bending or cut-outs, and hold together with (M2) screws, so there are no cheap rivets or other nasties that may spoil the fun.

The depth available from mainboard frame to the top varies between 20 to up 31 mm. There is a top bar attached to the frame, which both supplies the mounting holes and screws for the handle on top.The front panel sits on said top bar for better stabilization of both the handle attachment and the overall structure. There are two small holes cut into the mesh top for the screws of the handle, which attach from inside the case, through the top bar.


My original goal was to figure out if I could use a very thin GPU, ie. at max, around 45ish mm of depth, eg. the PNY RTX 4070 Verto Dual, that I'd deshroud and then combine within the same space with a regular to thin-sized AIO radiator.

This would have either been achieved by using smaller fans for the GPU, a custom or improved new shroud, and the GPU hiding partially behind the radiator, or if the GPU is, in its width and height, small enough to fit on top of the 120 mm radiator, that'd been a thing as well.

TL;DR: THAT didnt work out - the advertised GPU space within the S400 is only half true. Ie. for a GPU, it works, because it doesnt need to use the whole height, but as soon as you need to use more than what "was meant to be", it gets really nasty.

This means in detail, that for the side panels to be slotted into place, they require a leading rail, which is made from parts of the excess metal sheet of the case. This takes away about 5 - 10 mm per side, so you only get 55 - 60ish mm of actual usable space in the GPU compartment.

Also, the brushed-aluminum looking bottom side panel, which houses the small front io shield, ie. power button + USB / USB-C, blocks at least 10 mm of space to the bottom.

This works well with a 3 slot GPU, so up to 65 mm in depth is totally doable, but not so well if you actually need to use the height of the case to the max. You'd then either have to raise the whole top, and thus create some sort of slot-in spacer panels, or add more space to the side, which requires replacing the side panels or at least modifying them heavily, plus adding additional case material (read: metal sheet) to achieve this. At this point, it'd probably better to just custom build your own case, or to save effort and your nerves, to get a bigger case, eg. the Sharkoon QB One or the Dan Case A4-H2O.

Version #1:
So after being discouraged by all of this, I put the case away for a few days, to suddenly get the idea of: Wait, above the mainboard tray, there is actually quite a bit of space - THAT could work out for install a radiator and maybe even thin fans?

Alas, its certainly enough space - to install a radatior, that is. OR full-sized fans. But not both.

So the aim of this mod is to cut open the top
within the required area of where the future AIO radiator is going to reside, with enough metal left to a) not make the top frame completely wobbly, and b) to still be able to mount the radiator beneath or on top of it.
Another option would be to just cut circular areas into the top, for the air flow of the fans.

There is also the VERY solid fan holder of the case left, which would be re-attached to provide more stability to the top frame.

A later addition might be to create a topper, either 3d printed or just a simple metal frame, in a similar cream-white color, and then attach it to the rest of the case.

Version #2:
When I was contemplating about exchanging the RTX 3050 with a 4060, I thought: Maybe, just maybe, a side-by-side solution WITHOUT cutting up the top of the case could work? And currently, looks very much likely: With a low profile GPU like the Gigabyte 4060 LP, which is just 69 mm wide, it should be possible to add a 240 mm radiator on top. Depending on how its set up, one might have to cut away a bit at the end of the case, ie. the PCI slots, but aside of that, initial test measures show it might work out :)

So in version #2, one would need a LP GPU, then a 240 mm AIO would fit on top, with about 5 - 10 mm of space (depending on the radiator width, most 120 wide ones are actualy slightly wider than 120 mm).

cu, w0lf.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

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Currently awaiting the arrival of the important part, ie. the AIO. I decided to go with the Silverstona Vida 240 (eg. reviewed by L91), because its supposed cooling capacity may reach up to 285W. What would go into the case is my current workstation, ie. 13700k + 64 GB RAM + an RX 6800 (for now).

Coupling this with P12 Max, SW 4 HS, or Silverstone SilverStone Air Blazer 120RW (ie. in white, which apparently are the same fans being used for the SilverStone Permafrost AIO series), to achieve maximum performance.

Other option: Add another set of thin fans to try out a push-pull configuration.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

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Silverstone Vida has arrived - its sooooo lightweight! Only 780g! AIO + tubes + CPU block (+ protectional covers) altogether.

For testing purposes (and future building), I am using the Corsair SF750 as PSU, and a cardboard dummy with exact dimensions and drawn on parts for the mainboard area. One has to keep in mind, that this case does not look like it was built with much of flexibility in mind, like movable spines / different GPU slot positions as in the Meshlicious, FormD 1 or Fractal Design Terra.

Positions that seem possible so far:

a) AIO on top, IF the PSU is repositioned about 2 - 3 cm to the front and also lowered by about 3 cm, with the tubes routed below the PSU.

b) AIO inside case, rest identical to a)

b) AIO on top, PSU repositioned like in the Meshlicious, ie. sitting on the bottom with one of the small sides (10 cm). What makes most sense is letting the GPU power connector side face to the front of the case, while the cable management side faces to the inside / back of the case.

Generally speaking, the radiator is to be positioned at the front of the case. I tried out other options, but either the MB divider or the overall case structure would interfere too much (yes, one could cut more holes, but that probably would damage the structural integrity of the tray / divider).

I was hoping for something like "just use standoffs for slightly lowering the PSU", but that doesnt seem to be possible, because the PSU mount sits flush with the front of the case (for stability reasons, I guess).

cu, w0lf.

ps: I might do some additional tests with the SAMA IM01 PSU cage, and maybe also the NR200 ATX PSU cage.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

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Addendum: So I did a quick test with the NR200 ATX cage - and that instantly failed, because its too large. What DOES fit, is the SAMA IM01 PSU cage. So this is going to help me with repositioning the PSU. Probably with ziptie to the rescue, and maybe magnetic tape.

And what also fits nearly perfect: The SAMA IM01 side mount for fans and AIO radiators. It sits flush with the top panel, both in length as well as in width. Well, the width - if it was just 1 mm shorter, it would flush INside the inner side of the top / front panel. Which sadly it doesnt, but it could be, if need arises.

cu, w0lf.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

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Lets add more meat to this - after reading and reading and also a bit of testing, there seems to be one issue with the "mesh" panels of the S400 (and also S300): Those are more metal than mesh. Somewhat similar to the panels of the Jonsbo C6.

That can be easily solved with a few strategically placed holes in the top of the case (S400 + S300). So in my case, the radiator is gonna move inside the case, and the fans are being placed on top. Before that, we do the drilling, and then should be happy with decent airflow (I might try some push-pull setup using 50 / 60 / 70 mm fans, too).

Edit: For those who are wondering: Does it even make sense to add smaller fans, eg. 8 x 60 or 4 x 60 + 4 x 50? There is this video I found that might answer the question (test with a 280 mm radiator, all Noctua fans, first 140, then 120, and then a wagonload of 40 mm fans); TL;DV: It doesnt make a difference.

cu, w0lf.
 
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MashedPotatoes

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I've only started lurking around the SFX forums recently and smitten by the S400.
Will the S400v2 be of any difference to your current little project?

S400 : 320 x 220 x 140mm (LxWxH) _Able to fit 65mm cooler
S400v2 : 320 x 155 x 205mm (LxWxH)_Able to fit 67mm cooler

These are the descriptions I got from TaoBao.

On a sidenote,
I've recently seen a G500 mATX that has a small Display panel right
Looks pretty sleek as well. Any chance you would consider modding this into the S400v2?
There aren't many ITX with display panels (apart from NR200P adding an Asrock Display Panel), so I was thinking it might be possible to recreate a G500 but as an ITX
From the images in some reddit posts, there seems to be some room for a Display Panel if the GPU is of dual fan instead of 3.
Just pitching the idea here to see if you might wanna go ham!
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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I've only started lurking around the SFX forums recently and smitten by the S400.
Will the S400v2 be of any difference to your current little project?

S400 : 320 x 220 x 140mm (LxWxH) _Able to fit 65mm cooler
S400v2 : 320 x 155 x 205mm (LxWxH)_Able to fit 67mm cooler
I think I've actually got the V2 already. It appeared on Amazon Germany when I was digging around the usual way, like jaywalking via other existing cases (getting Amazon to return proper results is quite the hassle, as it has such bad filtering and next to non-existant search options).

Guess the original S400 would have been better for my purposes, but alas, this is the one I got. Its already been pricey enough, so I dont consider using shipping to Germany - in that case, just picking a Terra and replacing its horrid side-panels, or another 10ish L case and doing a bit of case modding, would be much cheaper.

These are the descriptions I got from TaoBao.

On a sidenote,
I've recently seen a G500 mATX that has a small Display panel right
Looks pretty sleek as well. Any chance you would consider modding this into the S400v2?
There aren't many ITX with display panels (apart from NR200P adding an Asrock Display Panel), so I was thinking it might be possible to recreate a G500 but as an ITX
From the images in some reddit posts, there seems to be some room for a Display Panel if the GPU is of dual fan instead of 3.
Just pitching the idea here to see if you might wanna go ham!
Not a chance. I dont have any use for a display inside my cases. Rainbow puke lighting is already enough annoyance (eg. my Artic Freezer II A-RGB is tuned so low that you barely see the lights) :)

The S400 is going to be used for my streaming system soonish, and I decided to not go for chopping around too much, but instead either go with air cooling (probably not) or just use either a 120 or 140 mm radiator (much more likely), as the GPU used is just 170ish mm short.

But I'd love to see the G400 or G500 available on European markets - they both allow for mATX, and look decent enough; proper SFF mATX is very rare, sadly. Although the G500 looks more like a clone of SAMA IM01 Pro (which is NOT the same case as the IM01/02) with just a display added to the front side panel attachment thingy.

cu, w0lf.
 
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hrh_ginsterbusch

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I'm coming back to this topic whenever I think about further downsizing. Yes, the A4 H²O would be an easy way out, but customizing that one feels much harder than just going for customization right from the start.

One would add an extension with
a) either reusing the existing front and top frame (its just one giant piece) and extending the panel on the bottom,
b) or adding a top hat and just dropping the AIO right on top of the existing case (easier but boring)
c) or be radical, cut the top open, reuse about 20 mm of space from inside the case, and add a smaller top hat to the existing frame

For better air flow / channeling, the top should be closed off to all sides.

My thoughts go also in the direction of: Add power button to the front, in a similar style as in the Asus Prime AP201 (example post of the SFX mod, not mine!, first image shows the active front panel power LED). The principle behind is very simple: A translucent white button with a fully opaque black, but about 1 - 2 mm smaller pad on top. This lets it sit flush with the front panel, while without the panel, in its base state, its an embossed surface.

One might also be able to repurpose one of the 3.5 / 2.5" front panel USB extensions, and add these, too. If one was to go completely wild, lets embed it, so one can slide a protector for transportation needs over it, or just to avoid dust accumulation :D

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Addendum: In theory, also a 280 mm radiator would fit on top.

That is, when I was rebuilding / optimizing the S400 fan frame position using neodym magnets, the front panel part was still sitting aside, and I just thought: Maybe the be quiet SL 2 fits - gave it a try, and yeah .. it fits quite well underneath. It still fills out maximum space, so its probably an "reuse original top only" candidate (option b) in the post before) with a bit of cutting involved for a tubes passthroug, but still - it fits! :)

And THAT is one of the other reasons: One maaaay be able to shimmy a 280 rad into the GPU side of the A4 H2O, but I'm very sceptical if it would work ON TOP. Just because the case width is 140 mm, vs. 155 of the S400. One could certainly add modifications to make it work, but .. its probably gonna be at least the same amount of work involved as here (if not more, if you want this to be not only "as small and dense as possible", but also PORTABLE).

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Another addendum: With my fan mod, ie. keep the fans at the most possible front end of the case and fix them to the top with neodym magnets .. the fan frame sticks to the top like it was welded on. IT. DOES. NOT. MOVE.

So if one was to remove the mainboard frame top attachment .. bracket, for a lack of better word, ie. the part of the frame that attaches to the handle from inside the case and provides additional sturdiness, the fan frame would still be sitting there rock solid.

IDK how it would turn out when cutting the top frame open for attaching the fans from the top onto the radiator, but I'd imagine if one reused the fan frame as a makeshift radiator mount, with the same neodym mounting option, nothing would change.

For a tamer option, if one would use a 140 mm AIO on the GPU side (positioned with the long end facing up / downwards), one would still be able to use a smaller 2 fan or classic ITX GPU (eg. RTX 4060 Ti StormX). Calculation comes up with 18.5 cm of maximum space for the GPU (assuming 15 cm width of the radiator).

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Space constraints on top of the case:

When looking at the middle section / mainboard tray:

a) The PSU side in the front is quite a bit lower than the mainboard side, but there is one protruding hook in which the PSU mount is slid, so that reduces the overall possible height by about 3 - 4 mm:

- 34,6 mm without the top mb frame bracket
- 38,6 to 39ish mm including the top frame bracket
- the outer frame thickness of the top is approx 1 mm (could be even less), while the front panel is 2ish mm (2.2 or so, I sadly didnt note down the exact depth when I had the chance while the front top outer frame was removed (going to remeasure when I get the chance to)

b) The mainboard side and the mb itself are taller than the PSU side, so the overall space available is approx:

- 20 mm from the mainboard pcb itself to the fan frame (technically its about 22 mm, but we need to acknowledge space for the PCIe Riser, too)
- 4 - 5 ish mm for the fan frame (2 mm ) + the top frame bracket (2 mm) + rest (roughly 1 mm)
- 24 to 26ish mm overall clearance with the fan frame + top frame + space between + outer top frame included

From several test fits, I was able to place the Silverstone Vida 240 radiator (22 mm thickness) sandwiched in the space where normally the fan frame + fans would reside - including its plastic bag and cardboard protection.

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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I've just figured out another option - without having to cut anything ... that is, at least not the top frame: Classic layout.

But that should only work with dual slot GPUs which are not wider than, say, 130 mm. So its probably not the best choice. But looks doable.

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Brand-spanking new (and much more insane) idea: Do not cut the top, but the back of the middle frame, where the PSU resides.
This will allow for adding a 120 mm fan, eg. the P12 Max, Silent Wings 4 Pro, your favorite Noctua or the T30. In the front, we use 3 - 4 of those monster Arctic 40 mm fans (S4028-16; also see eg. the STS review) on the mainboard side, plus 2x 60 mm fans on the GPU side.

One would need to move the PSU to the bottom of the case anyway, because this allows for much better AIO tube routing (at least with the Silverstone Vida 240). The power extension cord / plug would have to go underneath, and the regular cables would be dangling to the top.

I've tested this successfully reusing the SAMA IM01 SFX PSU bracket, and would recommend to continue using it, because one could attach it to the middle frame, when rotated with the outer bracket side (with all the mesh holes and the 2.5/3.5" mounting holes) facing the inside of the case.

One could probably get away with a different mounting method, like a custom created bottom and side mount (3d printed or just handmade from steel), but that would be something for the future, for now, the PSU bracket works sufficiently well - and also is easier to come by: just buy a SAMA IM01, or one of its many clones, and you get the bracket plus all the fancy top and side fan / AIO holders for free).

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Latest option: Use an improvised hat with magnets holding down the top frame. Managed to put 3 fans underneath, 2x the already mentioned SIlverstone Airblazer 120 RW, plus a 92 mm Scythe Kaze Flex 92 ARGB.

Going to test this soonish (hopefully around the weekend or begin of next week), as I'm mostly done with the LP cooler tests.
Only LP cooler left for testing is the NH-L12S, which I'm gonna do when I'm done with the AIO tests.

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Did a test run with the improved top hat - push-pull, without AIO. Mixed load, ie. doing a popup stream, 4 hours.
Temperature dropped not massively, but it did work: 37 C peak, NVME 35 C and WiFi at 36 C.

If I find the time next week, I'm going to set up the current streaming system with the Silverstone Vida 240.
Tests I'm planning to perform:

1. Classic "open" frame - ie. radiator + fans placed on top of the case.
2. AIO setup as planned - ie. radiator inside the case, fans on top using the improvised hat / frame
3. Push-pull setup - Adding several fans underneath the radiator for a push-pull configuration

To do the AIO installation, one has to remove the PSU from its holding bracket and place it on the case floor, else there is not enough room for the tubes etc.

Going to reuse the SAMA IM01 PSU bracket and either mount it to the mainboard tray / middle divider using zip ties, but maybe its gonna work with simple screws, too. Other options would be using magnets, to attach it to the front of the case, and standoffs, to leave enough room for the cables underneath (except if I'm flipping the PSU, then its just the PSU extension cord).

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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So .. because I yesterday basically gave up on installing an AIO without ... that is, WITHOUT cutting up the case, I half-jokingly thought to myself: Well, you still could rise the top. And then remembered my test from before, where I added the rad of the Silent Loop 2 280 underneath the case top. Which fit very nicely.

With the idea of rising the top, I was like: Ok, lets just compare. Compare the Silverstone Vida 240 with the Silent Loop 2. And then it turns out: The bigger issue are the tubes of the Vida 240. The SL 2, albeit bigger and a bit more weighty, allows you to bend the tubes much further, also the connectors on the CPU block are much easier and further to move. Out of curiousity, I tested how flat I could get the tubes, and thats .. oh, wow. 8 cm. And in theory, there is even more flex. Thats much better than with the Vida, where I managed to only go down to 10 cm.

Thus I set out to see if it was feasable to do a side mount - and yeah, it has the same issues as the Vida, ie. sticking out, but the issues with the tube bending etc. is next to nothing compared with the Vida.

All in, with the original setup I've used inside the Meshlicious, the Silent Loop 2 280 weights ~1450 g.
The Vida, all in, weights about 950 - 1000g. Thats a bit less, but the flexibility, really .. is not nice.

Edit: I just checked out a few other 240 AIOs (via Geizhals). A lot of them are weighting actually MORE than even the Silent Loop 2 280. Like the Corsair iCue 100. Thats .. waaaaaah?!? Quite mind-blowing.
Note: Its not worth using the SL 2 240 - its roughly 100 g less, but with the usual issues of 240 vs 280.

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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For now, I'm going to continue working over here, in the original "Meshlicious", now "S400 Streaming System" build log, on creating a ... S350 or so, which allows for the Vida 240 (or just about any decently sized 240 radiator) to be mounted on top of the case.

I'm not 100% sure if I still am going to do a custom mod to the S400, but time will tell.
Current plan is more aimed towards using a 140 mm AIO and doing no bigger modifications than maybe cutting a bit inside of the case, while leaving the outer shell intact (or at least the visible parts).

On the other hand, doing a similar conversion with TWO cases, like with the S300, would still yield a smaller (roughly 12.1L) and more light-weight case compared to the S450 (and esp. compared to the S500).

cu, w0lf.
 

hrh_ginsterbusch

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Pondered this morning: If we could move the middle section just like in the Terra - ie. also have a similar setup for the back panel - then one could probably do a side-mount, with either a slim 240 AIO (NOT the Vida, as its tubes are horrible; also see my rant in the build log), a regular sized 240 AIO with slim fans OR a custom loop. Custom loop eg: Thin 280 + regular sized fans.

cu, w0lf.

ps: that side mount would also be an option for the Terra.