Trying to work out a case layout...

LjSpike

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I'm trying to work out the best layout I can come up with for a microATX, which will have at least 2x 2.5" bays for SSD's, at least 1x 3.5" bay for a HDD, and preferably if possible a 5.25" bay for optical drive for installing things (or for a fan controller if I so choose). The last in the list isn't a complete necessity, but would be nice, I'm trying to work out what layout would be best to go for. The GPU im planning on is a RX 480 or perhaps RX 470 then I'm thinking of using a Corsair CXM 450W PSU.

The approximate external dimensions I'm having to work to is 250x350x350mm (WXDxH), for those of you with imperial thats 10" by 14" by 14" (again W D H).

So I'm simply wondering, has anyone got any ideas.

Note: If necessary I can always push an extra inch or two for more depth, and the right side of the case will be against a wall, the back nearby but not against a wall (so rear fans can work).
 

Thehack

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Smallest size you can go with is PSU mounted above the CPU, use a low profile cooler, and in the bottom PCIe slots that aren't occupied, mount your drives there.



The most accommodating would be a normal case layout. Cooler Master N200 for example, without that much depth.

The Corsair Air 240 and the Silverstone TJ-08 are both close to your desired dimensions, though a lil' bigger.
 

LjSpike

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Smallest size you can go with is PSU mounted above the CPU, use a low profile cooler, and in the bottom PCIe slots that aren't occupied, mount your drives there.



The most accommodating would be a normal case layout. Cooler Master N200 for example, without that much depth.

The Corsair Air 240 and the Silverstone TJ-08 are both close to your desired dimensions, though a lil' bigger.

That's an interesting layout if I'm correct about what I'm seeing. The PSU is sat behind the motherboard there? I wonder If I'd be able to fit the 2.5" drives and perhaps 3.5" drive in the space forward of the PSU but still behind the motherboard...

The 5.25" drive and PSU were giving me most problems, as it was hard to work out how to prevent them intersecting, however tucking the PSU away like that could be quite a nice fix.
 

Thehack

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That's an interesting layout if I'm correct about what I'm seeing. The PSU is sat behind the motherboard there? I wonder If I'd be able to fit the 2.5" drives and perhaps 3.5" drive in the space forward of the PSU but still behind the motherboard...

The 5.25" drive and PSU were giving me most problems, as it was hard to work out how to prevent them intersecting, however tucking the PSU away like that could be quite a nice fix.

The case you see is inverted. The PSU is above the CPU, and the GPU on is on top. Did you look at the air 240? You can also use that layout as well.
 

LjSpike

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The case you see is inverted. The PSU is above the CPU, and the GPU on is on top. Did you look at the air 240? You can also use that layout as well.

Yeah the air 240 looks interesting indeed.

Quick Question: The cables you can use to mount a GPU with a bit more freedom than directly connecting it to the motherboard, do they impact performance? I ask this question as if they don't impact performance I needn't worry as much about lining the GPU up to the socket on the motherboard, but if they do impact performance then I have to work out the location of the socket.
 

Thehack

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Yeah the air 240 looks interesting indeed.

Quick Question: The cables you can use to mount a GPU with a bit more freedom than directly connecting it to the motherboard, do they impact performance? I ask this question as if they don't impact performance I needn't worry as much about lining the GPU up to the socket on the motherboard, but if they do impact performance then I have to work out the location of the socket.

If the cable is of good quality then no impact. I don't recommend it as that brings a lot more complexity. You have a fairly large space to work with so I don't see why you need to do that. The location of the socket is well documented.
 
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LjSpike

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Ok, yeah, I'll mount the GPU directly to the socket then.

One other question: I know SSD's can be mounted on their side so they take up less width in the case, can HDD's have that done as well or do the disks rattle when not horizontal? (I've not seen a HDD mounted like that, however if they can be I should be able to solve all remaining problems regarding width and everything can fit in easily then)
 

Thehack

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Ok, yeah, I'll mount the GPU directly to the socket then.

One other question: I know SSD's can be mounted on their side so they take up less width in the case, can HDD's have that done as well or do the disks rattle when not horizontal? (I've not seen a HDD mounted like that, however if they can be I should be able to solve all remaining problems regarding width and everything can fit in easily then)

They are fine in that orientation.
 

LjSpike

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Here's a case with your dimensions. It looks like any small mATX case might be able to do the job.



Here's a smaller one (350mm H x 250mm D x 156mm D). Keep in mind I assumed reference RX 480 and air cooling here.

So HDD's can be horizontally mounted then? Great!
I'll probably still horizontally mount the optical drive for two reasons, 1) It looks a tad bit unusual from the outside mounting like that and 2) The disk could fall out when opening/closing with it horizontal.

I'll need to check the Micro-ATX spec for the clearance on each zone, and I'll need to just double check some bits regarding the GPU size, but otherwise I shouldn't expect any more problems. I'm quite glad that I should be able to easily fit in a nice 200mm fan in the front.

One thing to quickly ask:
Would my GPU (presuming a 4GB 480, probably from gigabyte, potentially ASUS) go down or up from the PCI-E slot? I'm presuming it'd go up as there is less for it to obstruct above, but I just want to double check (as could effect exact PSU placement) (IMAGE BELOW FOR REFERENCE)
 
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Thehack

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It goes down.

All these questions shows that you aren't familiar with actual physical placements of components. You should buy all the parts you want and a case to build it in. This will give you an idea of the size and cooling aspects of the case. Once you are familiar with it, then you can design your own case.

 
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LjSpike

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It goes down.

All these questions shows that you aren't familiar with actual physical placements of components. You should buy all the parts you want and a case to build it in. This will give you an idea of the size and cooling aspects of the case. Once you are familiar with it, then you can design your own case.


Thank you for the information that it goes down. I may well yet buy a case, I've not yet committed myself either way, however I am familiar with manufacturing methods. Measurements are just numbers, I can find those numbers via enquiring and conducting research, and by being thorough I can ensure I do not overlook anything. I shall not pretend I'm some god of modding, hence why I ensure to double check anything that I'm unsure about.

I'll have to double check a couple of measurements from the motherboard, thankfully I've managed to get an image nice and scaled to provide accurate enough measurements (as I'm ensuring everything has clearance). All I need to do is rise the motherboard up about 20mm, I might make it 30 just to be safe, and the PSU will have enough clearance, I'll then position the 5.25" bay and just sort out the specifics for the mounts of the SSD's and HDD's (I should be able to find some specs to work out the positions for screws, and I've found some pages on the screws often used). I'll also want to double check the Micro-ATX spec, and perhaps the Mini-ITX one too, just to ensure the clearance meets spec (and preferably exceeds the required clearance).

After that it'll be a case of sorting the externals, and planning through each step of manufacture.
 
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It goes down.

All these questions shows that you aren't familiar with actual physical placements of components. You should buy all the parts you want and a case to build it in. This will give you an idea of the size and cooling aspects of the case. Once you are familiar with it, then you can design your own case.

To be fair, ISA cards do go to the other side. Although, I don't think he's gonna use any of those.


Thank you for the information that it goes down. I may well yet buy a case, I've not yet committed myself either way, however I am familiar with manufacturing methods. Measurements are just numbers, I can find those numbers via enquiring and conducting research, and by being thorough I can ensure I do not overlook anything. I shall not pretend I'm some god of modding, hence why I ensure to double check anything that I'm unsure about.

I'll have to double check a couple of measurements from the motherboard, thankfully I've managed to get an image nice and scaled to provide accurate enough measurements (as I'm ensuring everything has clearance). All I need to do is rise the motherboard up about 20mm, I might make it 30 just to be safe, and the PSU will have enough clearance, I'll then position the 5.25" bay and just sort out the specifics for the mounts of the SSD's and HDD's (I should be able to find some specs to work out the positions for screws, and I've found some pages on the screws often used). I'll also want to double check the Micro-ATX spec, and perhaps the Mini-ITX one too, just to ensure the clearance meets spec (and preferably exceeds the required clearance).

After that it'll be a case of sorting the externals, and planning through each step of manufacture.


Use this for measurements (assuming you use SketchUp). If you don't, mATX is 244mm x 244mm and mITX is 170mm x 170mm. You can find more detailed drawings online.
 

LjSpike

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To be fair, ISA cards do go to the other side. Although, I don't think he's gonna use any of those.

Use this for measurements (assuming you use SketchUp). If you don't, mATX is 244mm x 244mm and mITX is 170mm x 170mm. You can find more detailed drawings online.

I probably won't use the motherboard (except perhaps the 3D for the PCI-E slot) as I've already got a microATX motherboard 3D model with my currently chosen motherboard option and the holes for it cut. Although I may just check the I/O and clearance around I/O with that one.

Thanks for that resource though, should be pretty useful. I might spend some of the weekend working out the clearance of each area on microATX motherboards, the Mini-ITX spec is quite clear with it's clearances, but the ATX spec is a bit of a jumble. (Working off the premise the clearance of the areas of an ATX that are on the microATX is identical)

EDIT: Looking at bay caddies now, hopefully I'll be able to find a really cheap one for 3.5" inch drives and 2.5" drives, however if they can just be a metal frame (and the MOBO SATA can directly interface with the SSD/HDD) then I might be able to use a spec for one to create up a CAD file to cut it from 1 sheet on metal, and then work out where it must be folded.
I currently found one here which looks to be the simplest 3.5" caddy google throws up as being able to be bought currently, however it's a hotswap one (and I don't see why I'd ever be hot swapping HDD's)

EDIT EDIT: If you don't happen to know the answer to the following question, I'll look for a spec showing it, however is the clearance around the graphics card I/O the same as that around the MOBO I/O (2.5mm), or is it different?
 
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I probably won't use the motherboard (except perhaps the 3D for the PCI-E slot) as I've already got a microATX motherboard 3D model with my currently chosen motherboard option and the holes for it cut. Although I may just check the I/O and clearance around I/O with that one.

Thanks for that resource though, should be pretty useful. I might spend some of the weekend working out the clearance of each area on microATX motherboards, the Mini-ITX spec is quite clear with it's clearances, but the ATX spec is a bit of a jumble. (Working off the premise the clearance of the areas of an ATX that are on the microATX is identical)

EDIT: Looking at bay caddies now, hopefully I'll be able to find a really cheap one for 3.5" inch drives and 2.5" drives, however if they can just be a metal frame (and the MOBO SATA can directly interface with the SSD/HDD) then I might be able to use a spec for one to create up a CAD file to cut it from 1 sheet on metal, and then work out where it must be folded.
I currently found one here which looks to be the simplest 3.5" caddy google throws up as being able to be bought currently, however it's a hotswap one (and I don't see why I'd ever be hot swapping HDD's)

EDIT EDIT: If you don't happen to know the answer to the following question, I'll look for a spec showing it, however is the clearance around the graphics card I/O the same as that around the MOBO I/O (2.5mm), or is it different?

No problemo!

If I were you, I'd just grab one of those free craigslist cases and chop it up.

I don't know the GPU clearance, but I'd imagine it's the same
 
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LjSpike

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No problemo!

If I were you, I'd just grab one of those free craigslist cases and chop it up.

I don't know the GPU clearance, but I'd imagine it's the same

Alright, I shall at least for now work off the same GPU clearance (I actually think the tolerance a GPU I/O is made to is more precise than the MOBO after viewing a few images).

Just as a little side note, I was looking through the ATX PSU specification. I've not missed anywhere where it's mentioned the dimensions of connectors and so forth have I? I can't find them. (Spec Here)
 

LjSpike

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I don't see anything either. You may have to look up the dimensions on the Molex site

Ah, so all the PSU connectors for ATX-spec ones are Molex designed? (Both the input and outputs?)
I'll try searching through their website, haven't been on it before but shouldn't be too tricky.
 
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Ah, so all the PSU connectors for ATX-spec ones are Molex designed? (Both the input and outputs?)
I'll try searching through their website, haven't been on it before but shouldn't be too tricky.


Sort of. If you want, I can measure the connectors on my old PSU when I get home tomorrow.