Concept Spartan Jr: The 8.35L ITX tower case

Boil

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Nov 11, 2015
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Going to add this comment, not demanding to change, but it WOULD make for the most powerful ITX build…

Increase the width to accommodate the behind the MB tray cable management…

Increase the length to accommodate the Zotac GTX 1080 Mini, which is 211mm in length… The height of the card is not a problem…

This would add about 40mm of depth to the chassis, maybe allowing for a slim AIO up front…?

AIO-cooled Ryzen R7 1800X CPU, air-cooled Zotac GTX 1080 Mini GPU, 32 GB DDR4 3000MHz RAM, 10TB of storage (2TB M.2 & two 4TB 2.5" SSDs) & a 600 watt SFX PSU; all in what could be around a 12 liter or less package…? Yes please…!…?!?

Yeah, even max dims of 300mm height / 250mm depth / 160mm width; that comes right in at 12 liters…?

I could live with a quality 12 liter ITX mini tower chassis that could fit the above outlined hardware…!
 
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Boil

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Nov 11, 2015
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Then you end up with the NCase M1.

Size-wise, yes…

But layout-wise, totally different…!

For me, the MAJOR selling point of this chassis is the wind tunnel cooling; intake fans for plenty of fresh air & exhaust fans to move the hot air out…

The only real issue I have is not with the variety of boutique ITX chassis' we have available (or soon available); it is the GPU manufacturers limiting us to a GTX 1070 (keeping to true ITX GPUs, not the 'needs more room' Zotac 1080 'Mini')… Why can I not have a Titan X Pascal-class GPU, but in an ITX-sized package…?!? ;^p
 
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zhl146

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 14, 2016
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Might I suggest moving the power button to the middle or under the two case fans instead of on top? I think that most power buttons are fairly deep and you may run into clearance issues I you have it butting up against the gpu.
 

Boil

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Nov 11, 2015
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Hopefully AMD delivers just that with a Vega version of the Nano. Two more days and we'll find out :D

A high performance Vega Nano & a 8c/16t R7 CPU, my personal dream for an ITX SFF build…!

The missing piece is a quality ITX MB with a front-mounted M.2 slot; I know I have said it many times already, but ASRock needs an AM4 / X300 version of their H270/Z270 ITX MBs…

 
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outline2

Case Bender
Feb 26, 2017
2
1
I guess the 2nd 120mm fan will not push cool air efficiently, because the sfx power and power cables will block the air and cause turbulence.

How about chose one 120mm intake fan in the front, while make another 90/80mm fan on the bottom(if necessary)? The front IO can be moved down beneath the GPU area while there is still space for 2.5'' HDD on the front panel. Hopefully there will be enough space for larger ITX-sized GPU like msi GTX 1070 Aero ITX.
 
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Boil

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How about chose one 120mm intake fan in the front, while make another 90/80mm fan on the bottom(if necessary)? The front IO can be moved down beneath the GPU area while there is still space for 2.5'' HDD on the front panel. Hopefully there will be enough space for larger ITX-sized GPU like msi GTX 1070 Aero ITX.

I kinda like this idea, if only to allow a bit of room for the hot air coming out of the GPU to have a path to meet up with the cool air intaking from the from 120mm fan & be pushed to the back of the chassis for egress… It would also give those extra few millimeters for the slightly longer than 6.8" Gigabyte 1070 & MSI 1070 GPUs…

As for the bottom fan, it would have to be a Noctua NF-A9x14, to allow clearance for the connectors on the PSU…

The chassis could still hold two 7mm 2.5" SSDs in the position shown…

And this definately gives room for a full compliment of front I/O; power button, (reset button?), USB(s) & audio I/O…

So, can we order a chassis yet, or…?!? ;^p
 

Boil

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So, after further consideration, I really see a need for three fan headers for the chassis…

One for the CPU cooler of course; the other two for the intake & exhaust fans, this way the intake & the exhaust can be controlled separately, thereby allowing each set of fans to operate at different speeds…
 
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Boil

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Okay, the more I stare at this (I have the 3/4 front view as my desktop), the more I get (and accept) the Spartan concept…

I can definitely see this as a quality enthusiast chassis; clean & industrial looking, allowing great cooling in a small form factor…

The only thing I would change at this point would be to move the power button to the bottom & flank it with one USB port & audio I/O, and move the fans up so the top fan blows onto the from end of the GPU…

It would be great to see the Spartan fan grill appearance on the top for the GPU venting, but I do understand where that would be an issue for placement, as all GPU fans are not in the same location…

One very oddball solution that I just thought of:

Have channels on the sides of the top, one section that slides in has the fan grill & attending 120mm hole in it, the remaining sections are angled venting sections that have a louver look when inserted into the retaining channels; this louvered vent section would allow any hot air dumping out of the front of the GPU to vent up & away from the GPU intake…

If there needed to be a louver section at the back end of the GPU area (for the spacing of the fan grill intake insert), then it would be turned to face back & allow any hot air coming from the back end to the GPU to also vent up & away from the intake…

I would imagine 4 to 8 of these louver insert sections, depending on the size of the louver per section needed per chassis… The larger the louver, the bolder the look & less turbulence of airflow…?

That is my crazy thought for the day…!

Really would like to put together a Ryzen CPU & Vega Nano GPU build in this chassis, with a bunch of ugly two-tone baby poop brown fans front & rear…!

And if I could get it running reliably as a Hackintosh at some point that would be awesome…!!!
 

D_McG

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 17, 2016
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Hi Folks,

I just wanted to update that I'm still alive. I've been dealing with Life, the Universe, and Everything since my initial post. I do not wish the Flu upon anyone; especially with a work deadline to meet.

Thank you everyone for your feedback. I had read some of it last weekend and tried to incorporate bits and pieces.

I've looked into making the case deeper for the 8.3" Zotac 1080 Mini. In order to drop straight in without hitting the front flange, the case might as well be 9" deep. At that depth, there's probably room for a 240mm radiator or AIO in the front as an option to those that care (disclaimer, I'm still a believer that water and electricity don't mix, hence my preference for fans). The Zotac card is essentially the reference 6.8" card. The rad could then extend up to the top. Now, with only 14mm of space between the card and acrylic cover, is there room for tubing to do a loop to include the CPU? This would be a huge departure from the concept.... I'm torn.... but folks asked about AIO's.

I've looked into making the case taller to a) make more room for airflow to the GPU and b) make it easier for card flanges to clear the corner. I attempted to resolve both by adding a third slot; making the case 0.8" taller coming to 12".

9" x 12" x 5.618" would bring the volume to 9.94 liters; about 19% larger than the original design. At this size, I might as well add Flex ATX standoffs; though I don't know of decent modern boards, let me know. At this size, the NH-C14S is potentially back in play. I'd need to accurately model it and measure a number of motherboards to see if the CPU socket is forward enough to clear the rear fans. Just my curiosity at work here.

The reason for the power button on top and fans below, was to allow the shroud on the EVGA 1060 to overhang the fan while clearing the power button. Someone was concerned that power buttons in general are long. I'd use a stainless steel E-Switch PV6F240SSG-301 which is only 20mm long; minus the case material thickness. Moving the fans up means the case needs to be deeper still to clear the shroud.

In order to clear an air-cooled 8.3" Zotac 1080 mini, the case fans would need to be completely below the card. I experimented with a slotted vent design. The number of cutouts jumps from 10 to 127; however, it would give folks flexibility. I'm not sold on the look just yet myself. I may post pictures later on, but don't want everyone to think that it's set in stone, as it's just an experiment. With the slots, a 120mm fan and 92mm fan together could fit below the GPU. The second fan could also be omitted without leaving a big hole in the front.

The one dimension that I will not change with the Spartan line is the width. The design is based around a minimal footprint using an SFX PSU and 80mm exhaust fans. If the case were wider for out of spec GPUs or wire management, then one might as well use a larger fan and ATX PSU; and those cases already exist.

I have the 3/4 front view as my desktop
Wow! That's cool, I'm glad you like the design! I'm still torn on a few things. Lots of suggestions were made; I'm still trying to process them all while holding to my Spartan line design language. Vents on laser cutters simply cost a lot.
 

Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
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That flu bug is a PITA this year, it just lingers…!

I know I have given a handful of suggestions that move all over the map, but honestly, the only thing I really want to see is compatibility with the ITX-sized GTX 1070 GPUs (Gigabyte Mini & MSI Aero ITX), which are taller than the GTX 1060 ITX GPUs…

EVGA GTX 1060 is 4.68" tall, Gigabyte GTX 1070 Mini is 5.16" tall, & the MSI GTX 1070 Aero ITX is 5.08" tall…

Until the AMD infrastructure shakes out the MSI GTX 1070 Aero ITX would be my choice for this chassis, hoping it will fit properly…!

Too bad Zotac couldn't see their way to making an actual ITX-sized 1080 GPU; I believe the actual PCB is ITX-sized, it is the heat sink & dual fans that make it too long to be a true ITX GPU…

Biggest issue I see now with the chassis is the top venting for the GPU; with the other fan vents having the big hole / 'stovetop burner grate' fan grill motif, the top should be the same. But getting it lined up with the varying placement of fans on the various GPUs is an issue…

OH…!! Just realized a pair of NF-A9s would fit as well, and might give better over all coverage of the GPU heat sink & move more air about… So dual 92mm holes & fan grills…!?!

YES…!!! That should be the default top panel; dual 92mm holes (aka vents) with fan grills that match the others on the chassis, off centered (towards the windowed side) to line up on the GPU, & also "off-centered" towards the rear of the chassis, again to be more centered on the GPU itself…

This would accommodate most fans on the various GPUs out there, and allow those who might want to pull the GPU shroud and mount a pair of NF-A9s (or NF-A9x14s, depending on layout of heatsink) to do so with style & sticking to the Spartan design……
 
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Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
1,245
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To quote the article the pic is from:

"For anyone brave enough to cut off that last copper heatpipe, flush to the tip of the 2nd to the last heatpipe, the card would measure roughly 180mm in length. Just don’t expect to use the plastic shroud and fans after making this mod."

So, might JUST fit into the Spartan Jr. - a few requirements I might see:

Slim fans might be needed; NF-A9x14s up top on the GPU (assuming dual 92mm fan holes/grills up top) & the yet as released NF-A12x15 fans for the front intake

The power button may need to changed (by the end user) to a shallower unit
 

Thehack

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Mar 6, 2016
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Hi Folks,

I just wanted to update that I'm still alive. I've been dealing with Life, the Universe, and Everything since my initial post. I do not wish the Flu upon anyone; especially with a work deadline to meet.

Thank you everyone for your feedback. I had read some of it last weekend and tried to incorporate bits and pieces.

I've looked into making the case deeper for the 8.3" Zotac 1080 Mini. In order to drop straight in without hitting the front flange, the case might as well be 9" deep. At that depth, there's probably room for a 240mm radiator or AIO in the front as an option to those that care (disclaimer, I'm still a believer that water and electricity don't mix, hence my preference for fans). The Zotac card is essentially the reference 6.8" card. The rad could then extend up to the top. Now, with only 14mm of space between the card and acrylic cover, is there room for tubing to do a loop to include the CPU? This would be a huge departure from the concept.... I'm torn.... but folks asked about AIO's.

I've looked into making the case taller to a) make more room for airflow to the GPU and b) make it easier for card flanges to clear the corner. I attempted to resolve both by adding a third slot; making the case 0.8" taller coming to 12".

9" x 12" x 5.618" would bring the volume to 9.94 liters; about 19% larger than the original design. At this size, I might as well add Flex ATX standoffs; though I don't know of decent modern boards, let me know. At this size, the NH-C14S is potentially back in play. I'd need to accurately model it and measure a number of motherboards to see if the CPU socket is forward enough to clear the rear fans. Just my curiosity at work here.

The reason for the power button on top and fans below, was to allow the shroud on the EVGA 1060 to overhang the fan while clearing the power button. Someone was concerned that power buttons in general are long. I'd use a stainless steel E-Switch PV6F240SSG-301 which is only 20mm long; minus the case material thickness. Moving the fans up means the case needs to be deeper still to clear the shroud.

In order to clear an air-cooled 8.3" Zotac 1080 mini, the case fans would need to be completely below the card. I experimented with a slotted vent design. The number of cutouts jumps from 10 to 127; however, it would give folks flexibility. I'm not sold on the look just yet myself. I may post pictures later on, but don't want everyone to think that it's set in stone, as it's just an experiment. With the slots, a 120mm fan and 92mm fan together could fit below the GPU. The second fan could also be omitted without leaving a big hole in the front.

The one dimension that I will not change with the Spartan line is the width. The design is based around a minimal footprint using an SFX PSU and 80mm exhaust fans. If the case were wider for out of spec GPUs or wire management, then one might as well use a larger fan and ATX PSU; and those cases already exist.


Wow! That's cool, I'm glad you like the design! I'm still torn on a few things. Lots of suggestions were made; I'm still trying to process them all while holding to my Spartan line design language. Vents on laser cutters simply cost a lot.

Have you considered Necere's opinion on the layout. Frankly I do agree with him. Changing the layout has a few benefits:

1. It's only a small volume penalty.

2. It allows you to have a fully filtered case.

3. The GPU should be quieter since it doesn't have to fight restrictive holes.

4. Less construction cost. It is one less thing to punch out holes.
 
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Boil

SFF Guru
Nov 11, 2015
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Have you considered Necere's opinion on the layout. Frankly I do agree with him. Changing the layout has a few benefits:

1. It's only a small volume penalty.

2. It allows you to have a fully filtered case.

3. The GPU should be quieter since it doesn't have to fight restrictive holes.

4. Less construction cost. It is one less thing to punch out holes.

I think I agree, switching to the 'standard' (rather than 'reversed' or upside down) MB/GPU layout might be better from both the airflow to/from the GPU AND would clear up the whole top venting issue… No need to have a venting solution that does not match up with the rest of the fan vents/grills & no need to try & line up with all the different fan placements on the various GPUs out there…

I am definitely seeing this as a great chassis for a R7 / RX Nano enthusiast build…!
 

Phuncz

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May 9, 2015
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The Radeon Vega is on the edge of becoming vaporware if they keep this shroud of vagueness up.
 

D_McG

Trash Compacter
Original poster
Dec 17, 2016
41
75
Here's a mockup with @Necere 's suggestion to flip the layout. I added a third slot to provide the 20mm of clearance between the card and PSU. I haven't widened the case yet to fit taller cards, but that seems inevitable. Widening it will allow me to undo the PCIe cutout and make the outer flange continuous once again for strength; especially with the GPU in the middle.

This layout seems to make cable management for the motherboard more difficult. Would need to route power under the GPU.

Pictured dimensions are 11.8" x 8.1" x 5.5"



 
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Thehack

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Mar 6, 2016
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Keep in mind you don't necessarily need rear exhaust fans, as there is plenty of positive pressure to push the air straight to the back.

It seems like the volume penalty is about .3L. You can also move the PSU to the top instead. There are pros/cons to either layout.

If you decide to widen the case, there should be some space on the inside of the fans to route the cables. But honestly, difficult cable management comes with the territory of compact cases. That's why i prefer pure 12V builds ;)