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Want to Build the Perfect SFF Case?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Greetings everyone!

I've been a computer enthusiast for many years now and it has only been recently that SFF PCs have garnered so much attention. A few years ago, finding a mini-itx board with a dedicated CPU slot was hard enough, but now they can easily be found with a PCI-e slot and loads of extra features. Consequently, there are many cases on the market that cater to this "cram as much stuff into a shoebox" crowd. However, even with all these choices and options, no one case seems to be the right one.

So this is where we come in.

I'm asking for the overclock SFF community to help in the pursuit of perfection (yes, I did just rip off Lexus' slogan).

--------------

NOTE: I'm not guaranteeing that this case will make it to production, but this is not some half-baked project of mine. I've looked at most of the SFF over the years (pre-Falcon-NW Fragbox I days to the FT-03/Da Box/V354 of today) and studied their benefits and features. I'm sure everyone has ideas of what they want in a case too.

--------------

Alright, now time for the discussion:

Some questions or decisions to be made:
  • Mini-ITX or Micro-ATX in formfactor?
  • Preferred Materials?
  • Look of the case?
  • Preferred orientation? (in terms of motherboard placement)
  • Number of slots and bays?
  • Other matters or ideas?

Edited by SFF - 12/26/10 at 3:02am
post #2 of 21
Here's my take:
*mini-ITX
*plexi, all inside must be seen
*non-rectangular, must be creative; I built a pyramid, but I can imagine tubes, football balls
*depending on the shape of the case I would ditch the back I/O panel and do something more Apple-ish (aka user friendly). Mobo's placement should be as such to offer connectivity and image of the workings inside the case
*slim-DVD slot and some 2-3 2.5" slots for SSD/HDDs
*completely passive cooling, powered by pico-ITX DC/DC converters

Welcome to the forums
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post
Here's my take:
*mini-ITX
*plexi, all inside must be seen
*non-rectangular, must be creative; I built a pyramid, but I can imagine tubes, football balls
*depending on the shape of the case I would ditch the back I/O panel and do something more Apple-ish (aka user friendly). Mobo's placement should be as such to offer connectivity and image of the workings inside the case
*slim-DVD slot and some 2-3 2.5" slots for SSD/HDDs
*completely passive cooling, powered by pico-ITX DC/DC converters

Welcome to the forums
Thanks for your input dragosmp.

What I had in my mind for the SFF design is something that appeals more to the gaming/enthusiast community. Though a pure mini-itx design will be considered if that's what more people desire.

If these plans do come to fruition, having features such as a custom I/O panel and completely passive cooling will severely limit motherboard/part options. Large companies such as Apple have the luxury of proprietary boards, so they can control little things such as I/O placement. On the topic of passive cooling, I love silence myself, but only lower-draw parts can be feasibly passive cooled (sure, you can slap on a HR-02/Orochi and some massive GPU cooler, but that defeats the purpose of using a pico-PSU in the first place).

I really like the non-rectangular and aesthetic suggestions. Many enthusiasts buy color matching parts and great looking hardware, and it would be a shame to hide them. On the other hand, there is an equal bunch who wants to keep their machine minimal. Providing two options (window or non-window) seems to be an easy fix. As for overall case shape, I'm definitely not looking at just a plain-ole rectangular box.
Edited by SFF - 12/26/10 at 3:16am
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFF View Post

I'm asking for the overclock SFF community to help in the pursuit of perfection (yes, I did just rip off Infiniti's slogan).
Actually, that slogan belongs to Lexus
Iv'e always loved mini-ITX builds
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalisburySteak View Post
Actually, that slogan belongs to Lexus
Iv'e always loved mini-ITX builds
I stand corrected.

Anything you want to share? Any ideas are appreciated.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFF View Post
I stand corrected.

Anything you want to share? Any ideas are appreciated.
I would go for a micro-itx (personal preference) because they are smaller and allows much more creativity for the case. And since you are making your case, you dont have to worry about it being dual slot. I would need to know more about you to get a case idea.
PS: It's late and I tend to come up with crazy ideas) XD
Edited by SalisburySteak - 12/26/10 at 3:20am
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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalisburySteak View Post
I would go for a micro-itx (personal preference) because they are smaller and allows much more creativity for the case. And since you are making your case, you dont have to worry about it being dual slot. I would need to know more about you to get a case idea.
I'm not making a case just for me. We're making a case for us.
post #8 of 21
What if you make a a 3-d OCN Flame and it would be multi-layered? Where the Dark blue can be where components go and the outer light blue could be like a reservoir for water-cooling.
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post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SalisburySteak View Post
What if you make a a 3-d OCN Flame and it would be multi-layered? Where the Dark blue can be where components go and the outer light blue could be like a reservoir for water-cooling.
Interesting concept. Is it open air? Here's my thinking.

If the components are housed in a closed-flame shape, then the upper areas (the tips of the flames) becomes purely aesthetic and has no functional value.

If it is open-air, then certain issues must be addressed like protection from the environment (spillage, curious kids, neighborhood dog).

Either way, for those who aren't watercooling, the inclusion of a res might be seen as waste (though merely including this as an optional extra fixes this issue).

-----

Definitely like the multilayer idea though (perhaps have a side panel/motherboard plate/or a drive cage to be a res?)
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SFF View Post
Interesting concept. Is it open air? Here's my thinking.

If the components are housed in a closed-flame shape, then the upper areas (the tips of the flames) becomes purely aesthetic and has no functional value.

If it is open-air, then certain issues must be addressed like protection from the environment (spillage, curious kids, neighborhood dog).

Either way, for those who aren't watercooling, the inclusion of a res might be seen as waste (though merely including this as an optional extra fixes this issue).

-----

Definitely like the multilayer idea though (perhaps have a side panel/motherboard plate/or a drive cage to be a res?)
Hmmm. Never though about how it would be with open-air.
I shall keep on thinking
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