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Old 02-07-13, 02:00 PM
big.me big.me is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 13
Custom Designed m-ITX Case with a small footprint

Hey guys,

Got really frustrated trying to find a small as possible mitx case for the upcoming rog impact (i know its not even out yet) so I decided to spend my whole sunday afternoon drawing a CAD drawing of what I would consider a good case. Unfortunately, I only used a 2D-only CAD, but I hope you guys get it.

Let me explain all the different colours I used.
White = Case + all the dimensions
Dark blue = outline of the m-itx motherboard
Lightblue = Random important bits of the motherboard to help you orientate yourself.
Yellow = PCI-e + CPU socket. Bits that actually matter where they're located. (NOTE: that the CPU socket on the left is not where its meant to be. The one on the right should be more accurate.)
Orange = Fans of different sizes, I tried to label them. (hint 100mm = 92mm fan - I didn't want to make my grid any smaller than 5mm!) Fans at the bottom of the case are exhausts, anything else are intakes.
Green = the PSU. This is a standard ATX power supply though I did give it 190mm of room including space of the cables to bend and turn and whatnot. I based it on a silverstone strider series - figured that they're one of the smallest ATX power supplies. Also note that for both PSUs, its drawing air from the case to the outside (basically an exhaust)
Pink/Purple = Hard drive cage. Yet again i gave it extra room so it includes space to bend and turn the cables
RED = GPU... I made it so that even the largest of GPUs should fit quite comfortably in this. over 12" of room it should be ample. Hope you figured out by now that this GPU is a dual slot GPU. Who uses a single slot gpu these days... (sorry if I offend anyone )
The one on the left I was able to fit dual 120mm fans on the 'right' of the case. Maybe chance to fit a 240mm RAD? Who knows.

Oh. forgot to mention that the 'left' of the case will mainly be mesh to allow gpu to draw air directly from outside of the case and exhaust it - hopefully keeping it cool.

What do you guys think?

I know that this isn't much smaller than the coolermaster elite 120, I did a calculation
my smaller case is not smaller by much. (18,727,200mm^3 vs 19,921,680mm^3) but I think my design is better because it occupies a tiny amount of space on the desk.. unlike the elite 120. As you might've guessed, this is inspired by the silverstone FT-03 (mini), but there we go, this is my take on things. Just so you also know, I didn't look at any blu prints before doing this, I just started with a black screen with a million dots on it. hahaha.

Drawbacks about the case I've already noticed... I/O port and GPU I/O faces up I can't think of a way of minimising footprint without rotating the motherboard.. maybe riser card for the GPU? but I dont' like those things.

Please give me some feedback so that I could try to improve the design. I know that it won't go into production or something but its something for me to make my brain go in circlessss.

I could leave the actual draftsight file (.dwg) as an attachment for those who wants to play around with it! Hope you enjoy this and please leave a comment whether you like it or not!!


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Old 02-07-13, 09:11 PM
ClassicGOD ClassicGOD is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Posts: 4
I'm guessing you don't want to invest in FT-03 Mini and Node 304 is still to big for you (it has smaller footprint and is a bit smaller than Elite 120 overall).

There is one problem I see with this design - there is no direct airflow path, you are working against convection and close proximity of the fans blowing at 90 degree angles to each other combined with airflow from cpu cooler will create a lot of turbulence and turbulence creates noise. You could maybe consider one large fan at the bottom like FT-03 Mini blowing up.

When I was designing my firs custom case I made 1 basic mistake - i forgot to incorporate cable-runs in my design. I wasted a lot of acrylic that week I would recommend building the mock-up case from cardboard first and checking if all the cables fit and don't get in the way of the airflow to important components.

Have you picked materials for the case yet? Acrylic is easy to work with but can be noisy (it likes to transmit vibrations from everything).

[EDIT] also your design seems not to consider material thickness. This can create problems for you - for example you'll have to redesign entire case because HDD cage may be larger than you expect
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Old 03-07-13, 12:39 PM
big.me big.me is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 13
Its not that I do'nt want to invest in a FT-04 Mini, its just that I'm limited to a 10" GPU and an SFX PSU. That annoys me. And yes, the Node 304 takes up too much room on the table. Its the size of a printer!!!
Problems that you see:
No Direct airflow path - I'm using a silverstone SG-09 case, and that has no 'direct' airflow but i manage to keep my cpu temps 4-6C above ambient with the noctua D14 when light use/idle. Against convection, that could easily be solved, just swithc the directions of fans and stuff. And what materials do I plan on using? probably acrylic too, though i'd line all the 'junctions' with some kind of foam padding after hearing about what happened to you.
And yes, I will be building a cardboard version of my case soon after I finalise my design.
Material thickness - well I did include quite a bit of length for the hdd cage, but i only have 5mm to spare for the actual thickness of the cage on either sides of the hdd. Also thought about mounting an ssd on top of the cage if there is space.

But I have to say I didn't consider the turbulence issue that might be brought up. Interesting. I'l give it a think tonight
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case, custom, design, m-itx

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