Concept Spartan Jr: The 8.35L ITX tower case

D_McG

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 17, 2016
41
75
As promised, here is the half-sized version of Spartan in an ITX form factor:



Spartan Jr's frame will be made out of 18 gauge (0.050”) brushed stainless steel (no powder coat) with outside dimensions of 11.2" x 8.1" x 5.5" (284.5mm x 205.7mm x 139.7mm). The side panel is planned to be 0.118” (3mm) acrylic; bringing the volume to 8.35 liters excluding feet, card flange, fan grills, and screw heads.

This case can be equipped with:

1 - ITX motherboard 6.7" x 6.7”
1 - 6.8" GPU, reference height; such as the EVGA GTX 1060 and Radeon R9 Nano
2 - 120mm intake fans
2 - 80mm exhaust fans
1 - Noctua NH-D9L or NH-D9DX i4 3U blowing out the back. Support for tower coolers up to 120mm in height.
1 - 2.5” HDD (15mm in height), or two 7mm drives stacked
1 - 100mm SFX power supply (Corsair SF450 or equivalent with centered fan)







A center-mounted PSU fan is recommended to clear the case feet.

The card retention flange cutout has a cover that is secured to the acrylic cover. This allows the GPU to be inserted and removed vertically without needing to remove the front fan or risk breaking off components from the motherboard.

Most features and design decisions are in common with the original Spartan post here: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/spartan-the-16-7l-full-atx-tower-case.1521/

Lastly, not yet shown here is the top cover which WILL have vents for the GPU to draw in air through. The design for that vent is still in flux (it won't just be a simple circle).

The acrylic side cover will likely not have vents cut in it; as a front to back airstream is preferable in this shallow case. The Noctua NH-C14S still fits under the acrylic, but would likely interfere with either the front or back fans with ITX motherboards. The NH-D9L is vastly more compatible, and the NH-D9DX i4 3U is available for the ASRock X99E-ITX with its narrow ILM.

As always, all comments are welcome!
 
Last edited:

TheHig

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Oct 13, 2016
935
1,143
Looks solid!

This is a great case to open up compatibility with lots of hardware and should be great on temps. Loving the tried and true wind tunnel airflow design.

I run the sf440 and NhD9L and am super pleased with both so good to go there. Just one thing...

Selfishly I request just enough room front to back to squeeze my Nitro Rx 480 in. ;)
 

D_McG

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 17, 2016
41
75
Looks solid!
Thank you!

Selfishly I request just enough room front to back to squeeze my Nitro Rx 480 in. ;)
Hmmm... That card is listed at 240mm (9.45") long, and then it's power is on the end; so might as well call it 254mm (10") with a low-profile power peg. Would need a lot more space for that. The case would need to be at least 25% deeper than it currently is.
 

TheHig

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Oct 13, 2016
935
1,143
Thank you!


Hmmm... That card is listed at 240mm (9.45") long, and then it's power is on the end; so might as well call it 254mm (10") with a low-profile power peg. Would need a lot more space for that. The case would need to be at least 25% deeper than it currently is.

Yeah, it would blow the volume up to the point of compromising the strength of the design. That being its small footprint with a variety of component choices. It also keeps everything simple in It's classic layout as well. Building in one should be a breeze. Cable management will be key for a clean look with an acrylic side panel but we all wrestle with that on small builds anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: D_McG

TheHig

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Oct 13, 2016
935
1,143
Other than gpu I could dump everything from my profile pic rig into the Spartan Jr. I'm going to two personal builds. One ultra sff with external brick and hopefully shrinking the build in my Riotoro Cr280 down a bit more while keeping sfx psu support. Your case is on the short list for sure so Good luck!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: D_McG

|||

King of Cable Management
Sep 26, 2015
774
758
If you didn't have all of the case fans it could be a good deal smaller. For instance, you could simply have a vent in the side cover that you could either put a shroud/duct on for a top-down blower to directly pull cold air from or mount a 120/140mm radiator for a CPU AIO cooler. Therefore there would be no need for the intake fans and exhaust fans.
 

Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
1,213
1,054
I am really liking it…!

When will it be available for sale…?

No, seriously, when…?!?

Especially like that it is pretty compact, yet has great airflow with the wind tunnel design…!

And I like that the GPU is directly attached to the PCIe slot, rather than using a PCIe riser cable; not that I think there is anything wrong with PCIe riser cables, but I would feel the need for a 3M cable just to ensure the highest quality of PCIe riser cable, and the 3M cables are not cheap at all…

One thought, move the power button to the bottom of the front panel & shift the fans up; This could give two benefits; one being that there would be room for front USB & audio I/O grouped with the power button; the second being that by shifting the fans upwards, the top 120mm fan would feed a bit more into the GPU area, helping push cool air towards the GPU & helping force hot air from the GPU out the back…

I do see a need for the 4-way PWM fan cable from EKWB for this chassis though; most ITX MBs don't have a bunch of fan headers…

Alternately, the positive pressure from the front intake fans could be enough to handle the exhausting out the rear; then a single (non-powered) 2-way splitter would be all that was needed for the chassis fans…?

All in all, I really like it, and it solves the problems I have with other compact ITX chassis, mainly being sufficient airflow / cooling…

I would offer a solid (non-acrylic) side panel as an option though, gotta hide the cabling somehow, and if you cannot look in the side window to see a cable mess, then it is a non-issue…!

Could powder coating be an option…? I like a nice matte black powder coat finish…

As for GPU lengths & heights; will this support the ITX-sized GTX 1070 cards available…? Looking towards the Gigabyte GTX 1070 Mini & the MSI Aero GTX 1070 ITX (but I would lean heavily towards the MSI ITX-sized 1070 myself)…

And what kind of clearance is there for the 2.5" SSD connector(s)…? I would be looking to place an Intel 750 Series SSD down below, with the M.2 adapter cable Intel now offers…

So that would be five cables total from the PSU; 24-pin MB, 8-pin CPU, 8-pin GPU, SATA for the SSD & Molex for the 4-way fan splitter…

Since the chassis is steel, then maybe take Demciflex filters into consideration; I see a need for at least three custom filters; one for the bottom / PSU, one for the top / GPU, & one for the front / intake fans…

You should definitely post this chassis over to the [H]ardForum Small Form Factor Systems sub-forum…!

I got this Corsair SF600 SFX PSU (which I won as a giveaway from this very forum / website) waiting for a suitable home, and the Spartan Jr. is really looking like the chassis of choice…!!!
 
Last edited:

DontPeek

Trash Compacter
Oct 17, 2016
40
27
If you didn't have all of the case fans it could be a good deal smaller. For instance, you could simply have a vent in the side cover that you could either put a shroud/duct on for a top-down blower to directly pull cold air from or mount a 120/140mm radiator for a CPU AIO cooler. Therefore there would be no need for the intake fans and exhaust fans.

Or at the very least remove the front intake fans and just have another single fan mounted to the front of the CPU cooler. Then move the front wall of the case in so the front of the case is butted right up against that front fan of the CPU cooler. If that explanation made any sense.
 

Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
1,213
1,054
Extra bonus…!

The Noctua AM4 mounting kit lists the NH-D9L as a supported HSF, so hello to 8c/16t R7 CPUs in this chassis…!

Come on AMD, give us an ITX-sized Vega GPU with GTX 1080 performance…!
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,056
4,421
I like this layout a lot and the design looks a good fit. Although for the front, I dislike the wire fangrills and would (personally) love something like the 2005 PowerMac:



But I'd expect that's quite expensive.
 

Necere

Shrink Way Wielder
NCASE
Feb 22, 2015
1,668
3,162
This is a reasonable design, but the main concern I have has to do with the GPU. Specifically:
  • It requires low profile PCIe power connectors. If you're okay providing a set of extension cables with the case, then it's not that big a problem. Something to keep in mind though.
  • The trend is for short GPUs to be taller than reference, which is obviously going to be a problem here. As is, there aren't many short cards that will fit in this case, and there's no guarantee there will be any in the future.
  • Airflow to the GPU is going to be moderately restricted. Both on the intake, where I can see you have maybe 12-15mm of intake clearance, and on the exhaust, where proximity to the side panel might be an issue (unless it's ventilated). For short cards, which have more limited TDPs relative to full size cards, airflow may not be quite so important, and you can get away with a more restrictive environment. But if you want optimal performance/noise, it's something to consider.

I think what I would do to address these issues are: 1.) flip the motherboard so the GPU is next to the PSU, and ensure you've got a good 20mm between them; and 2.) widen the case to 160mm minimum, to allow for taller short cards. You end up with a somewhat bigger case, but with much fewer potential issues.
 

Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
1,213
1,054
MSI lists the GTX 1070 Aero ITX at the following dimensions:

175 x 129 x 37 mm

I do believe the length & height dims are NOT including the bracket, but the 8-pin connector would probably still need a right angle connector to prevent the cables coming out of a 'regular' connector from being smashed up against the side panel? It does look like the power connector on the GPU is slightly inset.

As for the fans, I really don't mind the grills on the backside with the dual 80mm fans. I DO understand the whole 'Spartan' concept, but I would rather see a more 'traditional' front face for the chassis. Large vertical slots, with a backing hex mesh (rather like the most recent venting treatment on the Firewolfy MI-6, but vertical slots as opposed to the MI-6's horizontal orientation) would look sharp. You could do the same up top for the GPU intake? I dunno, just spitballing here.

But whatever you do, DO NOT remove the front fans…!!! That 'wind tunnel' cooling method is what is really drawing me to the chassis; I really want the smallest chassis possible, while still allowing me to cram in high-powered components (i7 K-series or R7 X-series CPUs & the best ITX GPU that is available), and have sufficient cooling for it all.

The one thing I would love to see in an (truly) ITX-sized mini tower would be a cable management area. Think of the layout that the Fractal Design Nano S uses, but in a maximum 10 liter volume. IF the MB was flipped (as @Necere mentions above) and the chassis widened a bit this could allow that extra area behind the MB tray for cable management & the 2.5" SSD mount(s) could go there as well (again, following the model set by the Define Nano S).

Looking forward to the development of this chassis & hoping it goes into production soon!
 

Ceros_X

King of Cable Management
Mar 8, 2016
746
653
Looks like there is room for a 3.5" drive between tower cooler and GPU (need to come up with some way of securing it). USally it'd be bad to put a platter drive under the GPU but with that many fans I'm sure it'll be fine :D
 

Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
1,213
1,054
Looks like there is room for a 3.5" drive between tower cooler and GPU (need to come up with some way of securing it). USally it'd be bad to put a platter drive under the GPU but with that many fans I'm sure it'll be fine :D

No, just… No…!

Yes, there is space for a 3.5" HDD, but there is absolutely no where to mount it…

With a M.2 SSD on the MB & space allotted for two 7mm 2.5" SSDs, there is room for 10TB of drive space in this chassis!
 

Ceros_X

King of Cable Management
Mar 8, 2016
746
653
No, just… No…!

Yes, there is space for a 3.5" HDD, but there is absolutely no where to mount it…

With a M.2 SSD on the MB & space allotted for two 7mm 2.5" SSDs, there is room for 10TB of drive space in this chassis!

Bet there's all sorts of wasted space in your PC :V -- with that sort of attitude we'd never have gotten to the mon lol.