Stalled UniQ-1 :: 11.2L mini-ITX - Uniquely Air-Cooled - Truely Silent - High Performance Case

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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UniQ-1 :: 11.2L mini-ITX - Uniquely Air-Cooled - Truely Silent - High Performance Case




Case panels view with PC-stack inside


Case Skeleton and Sample Front Plates. ** Green/Red GPU mounting mechanism, ** Blue - SSD mounting brackets


V2B-The Dark Tower design

A couple of weeks ago I started a thread to document my experimental mini-ITX builds where the aim was for a completely silent PC with no performance compromise (using high-end components i7-8086k & RTX 2080 Ti).

The concept was to use high TDP CPU cooler to cool the GPU in a unique stacked formation/orientation that makes airflow and cooling efficient. Efficiency in airflow greatly reduces the need for high fan speed rpm to keep the components cool while being very quiet.



Here's a link to the thread if you want to look at the details in my experiments.

https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/mini-itx-build-with-noctua-d15-performance-gaming-pc.9833/

From there, you'll get a much better understanding of my motivations plus design choices and considerations.



The result is UniQ-1, a 11.2L (7"x7.5"x13") case that not only house the very unique mini-ITX build that is very unorthodox from the norms yet very efficient in the use of space, but also able to support the various conventional builds.



Components support:

Motherboard: mini-ITX

GPU : Up to 300mm

SSD/HDD : 1 HDD, or 2 SSD, or 1 HDD & 1 SSD

PSU : SFX/SFX-L

Air Coolers : As large as Noctua NH-D15, C-14s, Dark Rock Pro, Dark Rock TF, etcs

AIO Cooler : 120mm, 140mm, 240mm (maybe)



The design:

The objective of the design was to use large heatsinks for both GPU and CPU, and later expanded to use AIO's. Because of how efficient these heatsink are at cooling the components, fan speed can be very low ( 30% - 120/140mm fans), and together with an open-air vent enclosure, yields a very silent PC with zero compromise in performance.




GPU Mounting brackets

The GPU is vertically mounted and is facing the motherboard (opposite of convention mounting), using a folded pcie riser cable. I have designed a bracket so that GPU can be mounted vertically and can be shifted vertically and horizontally. This is done because GPU can have different mounting holes and it directly dictates how the GPU heat sink can be stacked or placed with the CPU coolers. The brackets I have here can be pivot left/right via the slider, and screwed straight into the legs of the chassis, it's not shown here but there will be various holes/screwing points to allow for different vertical mounting position of the green plate. The vertical mounting point on the leg is not a slider (for now) to make sure the mounting is sturdy on the vertical junctions.



The case allows for easy removal of the side/top panels and front plate. The top plate is especially useful to remove quickly to gain access to the GPU outputs.



The temps I'm getting is around 55-60C for CPU & ~55C RTX 2080 Ti (OC'ed) & ~45C GTX 1080 Ti (OC'ed), under full gaming load. This is all done while the fan speed never goes past 40%, making the rig technically silent in operation. More thermal studies will be done with the actual case later. I suspect it could raise the GPU temps by 5-10C.



This is my first draft of the case with my intention to allow for better supports with various components and not just the ones that I have tested. I haven't finalized the design of the front plate, but with the current infrastructure of a panel system, all the panels (including the front plate) can be replaced with different design/material.



Note that the case was first designed for my unique stacked tower builds, but the sides can be modified with brackets to allow for full AIO supports that can be mounted front, side, or rear. This is for those that want to start out with AIO's that they already own and not want to invest in expensive air coolers such as the Noctua-D15/DarkRockPro4 or Nocuta-C14s/DarkRockTF.



My main goal is to design a case for myself but I've got many requests to commercialize this product for public consumption so this is my attempt at designing a case that could be used not only with my design but just about anything that's available out there. My first hope is this case will allow people to join in and hop on my innovation in PC design in contrast to the more conventional (abeit outdated ATX platform).



Keep your mind free and never stop challenging the norms!



**Please reply to the discussion to help me improve the design that works for the general audience. I will monitor the interest base on activities to decide if I want to pursue a large order from a case manufacturer.



Update #1 - Using non-moded GPU & 120mm AIO




Non-Modded 3-slots GPU & 120mm and 240mm rad AIOs for CPU

It seems there are a lot of interest in using this case with non-modded GPU. Although this is not the case designed purpose, there's no reason it wouldn't work! So I mock up some models and this is one of many ways you can use non-modded parts with this case. I'm going with the extreme and use a 3-slot GPU (real dimensions) in this mock to demonstrate how much room is there to accommodate "normal" components. Given that front, right side, and rear are open air space, you can practically mount the 120/2400mm rad anywhere. This is just one example.

Update #2 - Modular T-sandwich layout




T-bracket Addon : For sandwich layout

Someone mention the word "modular" somewhere in the post yesterday and it got my juice flowing. Here's my take on modulating my case to include a T-backet addon that can me mounted to the base frame of the case to allow for the sandwich layout that made popular by Dan A4 and similar case. This is definitely a deviation away from my original layout, and don't get me wrong, that's still the top priority. Hence this is why I call this an addon or expansion.


I believe with a simple addon like this it will allow the case to be very versatile. Not only will it house my original stacked design, but also able to allow for more traditional and modern placement of components for those who don't want to attempt modding their GPUs.

THe T-layout is not final, it's just one configuration that I came up with, it can be refined.

In the above picture, the case is now laying sideways. the top mounted 120mm fan is use as intake and the C-style (C-14s or Dark Rock Pro TF) will exhaust the air out to the front. I also show how a 120mm AIO can be mounted, this can be used either for the CPU or GPU (kraken G12 or hybrids). The PSU is mounted at the bottom of the case and connector will be extended to the back. 2 SSD can be mounted righ above the PSU directly to the new T-bracket.



The "divider" is currently placed this way to house a 110mm tall CPU cooler (the Dark Rock Pro TF is used as an example). And there's still space left over for a full size GPU with a maximum length of 330mm.



As for side panels, a few of them can be re-used (maybe 5?) from the original orientation. The old bottom panel will be replaced with the T bracket (in reference to the new design) since it needs cutout for the mobo and gpu mounted back-to-back.



I hope this makes sense and this can add another layer to original case design.

Update #3 - Pseudo prototype




Got some free time tonight so I went to home depot and grab some cheap materials to build a prototype case. Not a "real" aluminum prototype but one made out of wood/aluminum angle to house my V2-b. I'm most interested in making sure that the pcie bracket works as I have imagined.

Not quiet done yet, but hopefully I'll complete and test the bracket in the new few days. Will update when I'm done!

Update #4 - Sandwich Addon - Configuration Testing

I wanted to test the Sandwich layout to see if it's really compatible with my modular framed case design. And I'm glad to say that I've got some things worked out for proof of concept and here are some pics:









Couple things that I was considering:

1) the divider in the middle can be moved or changed so that you can prioritize using different cooling method. Some people might want to use accelero/morpheus coolers with regular sized fan, that would take up 3-4 pcie slots (like ncase m1 does), and they can do that by moving the divider more toward the middle, and there's still space for the CPU to use a slim cooler or an AIO.

2) It was important for me to allow for this to happen without changing the design of the original case frame so I can still build the stacked rig with this case. Afterall, the sandwich layout is an addon/accessories and not the main focus.

3) Re-usable panels from the original case design so that only the "top" panel needs to be swapped out since that would be where the I/O would come out in the horizontal/sandwich position.

4) In the pics above, I wanted to showcase what I'd say the most optimized config for the Sandwich layout. Air-cooled CPU & Hybrid (Kraken g12) AIO cooled GPU. It will fit a C14-s (115mm tall 225 TDP cooler!), no longer will you need to resort to "slim" design, I think this will be especially useful for those that want to go for high-end i9-9900k or Ryzen threadripper builds. And with a Kraken G12 or hybrid CPU, there's space above the SFX/SFX-L PSU that can house a 120mm rad and fan. The push/pull 120mm mastercooler aio is placed there to show that there's plenty of room for the AIO coolers. It can be used for either the CPU or GPU.

I did put a lot of work into making this work as it wasn't as easy to allow for modulation of so many different builds without adding more volume or major changes to the case frame. These prototype aren't perfect but they help give me an idea of what works and what doesn't when it comes to actually trying to stitch all the small designs together.
 
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pillagemyvillage

Chassis Packer
Nov 26, 2018
14
4
First off very "UniQ" heh :) design! I'm all about low temps and low noise. Currently rocking a Morpheus II on my 1080ti with temps maxing at around 45 degrees at 40 percent fan speed!

I know this is still very early concept, but would we be expecting the standard 250-300 dollar pricing for this as well or maybe a little more if you got it out released to the public.
 
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neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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Added Update #1 - Using 3 slots GPU (non-modded) with 120mm rad cooler for CPU.
 

neyurt

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Jul 26, 2018
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First off very "UniQ" heh :) design! I'm all about low temps and low noise. Currently rocking a Morpheus II on my 1080ti with temps maxing at around 45 degrees at 40 percent fan speed!

I know this is still very early concept, but would we be expecting the standard 250-300 dollar pricing for this as well or maybe a little more if you got it out released to the public.


Seeing how my case rear on the "simple" side in term of design, I hope that manufacturing cost won't be high? I'm completely new to this so it's hard for me to put a price on something like this until I find out more about what is the fixed cost related to it. Seeing how high-end sff cases are going for ~$200, I'd mostly aim for well below that.

Let's face it, a lot of people are looking for alternative because they can't afford or don't want to pay that much for a pc case!

If I were to throw out a price today (and please don't hold me against it later!), I'd say this case is somewhere between $100-150. Maybe a bit more if pcie riser cable were to be included.
 
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pillagemyvillage

Chassis Packer
Nov 26, 2018
14
4
Seeing how my case rear on the "simple" side in term of design, I hope that manufacturing cost won't be high? I'm completely new to this so it's hard for me to put a price on something like this until I find out more about what is the fixed cost related to it. Seeing how high-end sff cases are going for ~$200, I'd mostly aim for well below that.

Let's face it, a lot of people are looking for alternative because they can't afford or don't want to pay that much for a pc case!

If I were to throw out a price today (and please don't hold me against it later!), I'd say this case is somewhere between $100-150. Maybe a bit more if pcie riser cable were to be included.

Wow that would be awesome! I'd definitely be interested in this would that be the case. But I've already broke the bank once with the Cerberus once, so what's a couple hundred more dollars in the mix? Either way, good luck to you man. This looks like a very promising project, and I hope to see it progress well! Will be watching this thread closely.

Happy new year!
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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Wow that would be awesome! I'd definitely be interested in this would that be the case. But I've already broke the bank once with the Cerberus once, so what's a couple hundred more dollars in the mix? Either way, good luck to you man. This looks like a very promising project, and I hope to see it progress well! Will be watching this thread closely.

Happy new year!

Thanks, and happy new years to you too!
 

teodoro

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Oct 8, 2018
109
77
As someone who’s currently figuring out how to reduce psu noise, the option of atx (even if limited to 140mm units) would make things a whole lot easier. The concept is great though!
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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As someone who’s currently figuring out how to reduce psu noise, the option of atx (even if limited to 140mm units) would make things a whole lot easier. The concept is great though!

The most effective way I've seen is just replace the stock PSU fans with noctua ones.

For exmaple, I have replaced the noise corsair SF600 stock fan with an A9-14mm fan from noctua and it's now dead silent.
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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Added a huge update #2 - Addon for Sandwich Layout. It's a big new idea so do scroll up to read it!

I think some of you who are looking to use non-modded parts with this case will be very happy!
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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I am currently reaching out to engineering services such as sliger, protocase, ects to get a quote for a prototype & engineering work done.

I am seriously going to push for a real prototype done by professionals. I'll update once I find out more


Please continue to comment or at least reply to show interest so I know I have a real audience!
 

LegendsofMace

Average Stuffer
Oct 7, 2018
58
27
I am definitely interested. Been a longtime lurker on the forum and just recently joined. Always excited about new projects and this one has me hooked. Very cool idea for switching it from a vertical to horizontal position when you like.
 
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neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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I am definitely interested. Been a longtime lurker on the forum and just recently joined. Always excited about new projects and this one has me hooked. Very cool idea for switching it from a vertical to horizontal position when you like.
Thanks for the encouragement!
 
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VegetableStu

Shrink Ray Wielder
Aug 18, 2016
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I am currently reaching out to engineering services such as sliger, protocase, ects to get a quote for a prototype & engineering work done.

I am seriously going to push for a real prototype done by professionals. I'll update once I find out more

check in with wahaha360? I think he's reaching out to a few manufacturers as well (although his scope is currently with his immediate projects (if i understand right) but it'll expand to SFFLabs creators afterwards)
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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check in with wahaha360? I think he's reaching out to a few manufacturers as well (although his scope is currently with his immediate projects (if i understand right) but it'll expand to SFFLabs creators afterwards)


I'm currently talk to yawacoo from Li-Heat. He's been pointing me to some good contacts! I might reach out to wahala360 as well
 
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Aux

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 5, 2018
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For a costing idea, there is a costing breakdown (overview, not detailed) on the sentry as well as the s4 mini, available on this site

on this thread.
NFC S4 Mini 3D Printed

could help you work out a better costing
 

neyurt

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Jul 26, 2018
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For a costing idea, there is a costing breakdown (overview, not detailed) on the sentry as well as the s4 mini, available on this site

on this thread.
NFC S4 Mini 3D Printed

could help you work out a better costing

Hey Aux, thanks for pointing that out and it was a great read! I read through all 3 pages of comments because it seems like there's a handful of experienced case builders joining in on the discussion. One thing I find in common is the defensive tone and I can imagine how they (and yourself) can be offended by people constantly downplaying the effort it takes to produce a low-volume custom pc case.

I have only started this process for a couple of weeks so I can imagine it for those who's been at it for years.

I really appreciate it, and it's definitely informative and educational for me to get a better idea of the actual business side pf things.
 

Aux

Cable-Tie Ninja
Dec 5, 2018
179
155
no worries, there are other costing breakdowns on here, but not so good as these two.

re case prototypes, try drawing something up first and make it in acrylic with a heat gun. will be cheaper than protocase, It looks like you are a pretty experienced scratch builder already. You can even acquire a small sheet metal folding press cheaply now too.

re protocase, I would only go to someone like them just before production for the final prototypes and build. Get the layouts and structures right.
It might be that you can find a small sheet metal workshop in your local area cheaper than protocase.
 
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SilverJS

Airflow Optimizer
Feb 8, 2018
242
117
Very rapid developmental pace so far! I can barely keep up, and all I have to do is read!! :) . This is most exciting, really pumped to see this coming together.

Speaking personally, the Dark Tower build is by far what captivates my interest the most, but the low vertical profile of the aio build is also tantalizing. Although, again only for me, aio's are a no-go due to the intent to use as a traveling PC. Some have taken their chances and gotten PC's with aio's past airport security, but I'm not sure I'm willing to take that risk.

Either way, keep up the fantastic work!
 
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neyurt

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Jul 26, 2018
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no worries, there are other costing breakdowns on here, but not so good as these two.

re case prototypes, try drawing something up first and make it in acrylic with a heat gun. will be cheaper than protocase, It looks like you are a pretty experienced scratch builder already. You can even acquire a small sheet metal folding press cheaply now too.

re protocase, I would only go to someone like them just before production for the final prototypes and build. Get the layouts and structures right.
It might be that you can find a small sheet metal workshop in your local area cheaper than protocase.

Yeah, I think those are good tips. I'm definitely more handy with wood working so that's usually my default and go-to material to use. So i'd most likely use a combination of wood, acrylics, aluminum - things that I can source from the local hardware store to build my first mock prototype. It'll also be a good bench for me to work out various design mechanics.

Step 1: mock prototype
Step 2: local metal folding/cutting
Step 3: real CAD/metal sheet design by engineering firm (protocase, sliger, etcs) for a real production quality prototype

I definitely want to at least go through with step 1 & 2 to showcase working ideas to present to the public in hope before doing a kickstarter campaign to gain funding for step 3 (as it seems to be very pricey - $4-5000 estimate for engineering & first prototype unit). Through step 1 & 2, my wish is for people to see how it'll work in the real world and not just concepts, enough to back a kickstarter campaign.

I think it's a good idea to take these things 1 step at a time so it'll give the public some time to digest and embrace the design and it'll be a good indicator on how many people would actually buy the product if I choose to go to production.
 
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