Thank you both for the insightful reply. To address some general points...
We are not kidding ourselves that we would be THE mainstream case. I mean, everywhere we looked, it's Meshlicious. And honestly, it's a compelling proposition with great flexibility in the layout. Personally I won't buy it because it is a dust magnet and steel cases are out.
That said, if we only look at how saturated the market is and give up, there won't be any new products.
We are focused on water cooling. If not, there won't be at least 80mm of space above the GPU water block for radiator/fan. Plus we like to not design until the last mm...
It's an interesting concept but I can't see you competing with the likes of NR200p/TU150. In order to do that, you would have to find yourself a niche - focus on watercooling maybe, make case 30mm taller to fit another rad on bottom + maybe make dedicated mounting for pump+res? something like EK FLT120 on top off PSU. This would appear to wider audience and be something new. Inverted ITX is always nice to see. Having space for 2 radiators would also solve GPU compatibility issue(2 slot, 300mm is not enough for today's standards), but with the focus on watercooling it's not a problem.
If we're not using the top space for rad/fan, a 3 slot card like the 3090 FE would actually fit. Practically, I don't imagine anyone would buy the case for air cooling.
With traditional design you wont be able to compete with sandwich, but that's fine.
We're not fans of using risers and given how low cost we want the product to be, it was never an option to begin with.
Welcome to the forums!
(FYI, new users can't edit posts until they reach a minimum number AFAIK.)
As for your design, while it's interesting, I think it has some issues that ought to be addressed (in order of severity as I see it):
- The GPU+radiator mounting setup is sub-optimal for cooling. Having the CPU rad and GPU in line means the only sensible radiator fan orientation is as intake (unless you want the rad to fight the GPU for air, harming the thermals of both), and you're then exhausting the heated air from the CPU directly into the GPU, heating it up. Of course this air won't be that hot unless you're running a 200W+ CPU, but it'll still hurt GPU thermals, and given modern GPU boosting algorithms, bring performance down somewhat. (Also, your renders seem to be showing a bottom-to-top airflow layout, which would result in the GPU and top radiator fighting each other for air. Reversed motherboard mounting and bottom-to-top airflow aren't really a good match.)
Actually I'm not quite understanding this point, perhaps the overview video is misleading. In a typical full watercooling build, this won't be an issue? Not sure if it helps but here's our recent build.
We kept getting questions on how tight the space is for the rad fan but in actual fact, there is a 30mm gap there and we took the opportunity to ran tubing in the space purely for aesthetics. A monster 280 x 45mm radiator would actually fit comfortably there.
- Those aluminium extrusion beams inside of the case seem to unnecessarily impede compatibility. I assume they are there for structural rigidity (and the middle one perhaps for GPU support?), but I can't quite imagine that this is the best possible solution for this. GPU support could, for example, be handled by an adjustable bar going front-to-back across the case (screwed in from each side, perhaps in a slot rather than single hole to allow for adjusting the position as needed), and structural support could be handled more along the sides of the case. This would allow you to open up the inner volume of the case more and thus allow for fitting more hardware, such as mATX motherboards or ATX PSUs.
You are right, it was there for rigidity but more importantly to support the GPU. We are changing this to be a cantilever support on the main back frame and also should improve the aesthetics of the front.
- An extension of the above point, the part of the side support bracket that surrounds the PSU area looks like it would make PSU installation a pain. I hope it can be (safely) removed while installing parts. Also, are those slots in it drive mounts? Fan mounts? Something else? There's a ton of free space next to the PSU after all. Looks like there would be room for 3.5" drives there, though they would be flimsily mounted from just one side.
Actually we have a timelapsed build video:
The PSU is actually very easy to install. When it comes to 3.5" drives... honestly not something we support because having ITX and older larger drives don't make whole lot of sense to us.
- (It looks like there would quite easily be room for a sandwich GPU position next to the motherboard, allowing for both reasonably thick GPUs and much better airflow. With a cutout in the back and an upside-down sandwich GPU (backplate facing the side panel) it would have access to plenty of cool air from the bottom intakes while allowing for bottom-to-top airflow and much thicker top radiators.)
I can imagine someone wanting to fit a 2nd 280mm rad/fan combo in that space. I don't think it will do much for aesthetics or performance but the space is there.
- SFX-L PSUs look like they would be problematic in terms of motherboard clearance - from the looks of it, the modular cables will be facing the motherboard, meaning they will be coming out exactly where the 24-pin and any I/O is on most motherboards. I see there is a gap, but remember that cables stick out quite a bit. I don't think it would break compatibility, but it would be a mess and likely difficult to build in.
All that being said, it's an interesting design, particularly the aspect of affordable and (relatively) simple production. The combination of laser-cut panels and aluminium extrusion seems smart if adjusted a bit. Still, you're essentially at the same volume as the Cooler Master NR200, have a reasonably similar aesthetic, and it has a much
more flexible layout than your design without the conflicting airflow issue. I can't see you beating them on price, which means the potential market for the case would likely be very small.
Yes the SFX output is very near the ITX board and actually we used a custom 100mm 24pin ATX cable. Out of box cables would likely be too long but actually there is at least a 50mm gap.
We do realise that we are assuming a lot on the user side for making those changes to fit their need. But honestly, that's what we would do for an ITX case of our own. Again, appreciate the feedbacks!