Meet Cerberus: Crowdfunded Micro-ATX Case Made in USA

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, NCASE M1, Kimera Industries, enclosure, crowdfunding, Cerberus, case

Micro-ATX offers a compelling option for smaller system builds without the limitations inherent with the mini-ITX form-factor, and a new company aims to offer one of the smallest micro-ATX enclosures possible while still supporting full-size components. That company is Kimera Industries, a newcomer (founded in 2014) that will be turning to Indiegogo to fund the Cerberus mATX enclosure, to be built right here in the United States.

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Known previously as Project Nova, the Cerberus is reminiscent of the NCASE M1, a crowdfunded mini-ITX design that is ridiculously small even for mITX. In addition to supporting the larger mATX form-factor motherboard, the Cerberus is constructed from steel (rather than the M1's aluminum), and boasts an extremely compact size for an enclosure that can easily house a dual-GPU gaming setup.

“At just 18.2L, Cerberus is smaller than nearly all mATX (and many mITX) cases in industry today, yet supports flagship graphics and high-end PC components, making it a potent enclosure for hardware enthusiasts that want a compact and portable computer without compromises on performance.”

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A look at the interior with a complete system installed shows just how much can be crammed into this small space, just as with the NCASE M1. The inclusion of a hinged bracket for a liquid cooler (or other components) is a nice touch that should aid in system building with the Cerberus.

So, just how small is the Cerberus? A look at the full specs (available here) reveals dimensions of 320 mm height, 170 mm width, and 364 mm depth (12.60 x 6.69 x 14.33 inches). The enlosure, made from 20 gauge steel internally with 18 gauge steel panels on the outside, weighs in at 11.68 lbs.

Here’s a list of the features of the Cerberus enclosure from Kimera:

  • Size: At just 18.2L, Cerberus is smaller than some of the most popular mITX cases on the market, from Fractal Design’s Node 304, or BitFenix’s Prodigy. When compared to most mATX cases, Cerberus typically bests the competition by 10L or more - a whopping 40%+ volume reduction.
  • Quality: Made entirely of powder coated steel, and assembled in the United States, Cerberus is built to last for the long haul, with thoughtful features such as user-replaceable parts, durable metal hardware, and all-steel panel clips and pins.
  • Design: Cerberus embraces a minimalist, refined aesthetic, with a luxurious matte finish and industrial design that embraces clean edges and understated features over bright lights and garish plastic accents.
  • Customizability: With multiple colors on offer, additional colors available as stretch goals, and the option to add an optional metal handle and/or plexiglass window, Cerberus is engineered to be customized to enthusiasts’ exact preferences.
  • Flexibility: From SFX and ATX PSU support, to the hinged side bracket, to the innovative Infinite Vent system, Cerberus retains some of the most diverse hardware support in industry, and can comfortably contain systems as simple as HTPCs and as sophisticated as water-cooled, multi-GPU gaming powerhouses.
  • Craftsmanship: Through a unique partnership with Sliger Designs, every Cerberus is built by trained and talented engineers on Sliger’s production floor, located in Sparks, Nevada, USA. By manufacturing enclosures domestically, instead of through nondescript factories in China or Taiwan, Kimera Industries is able to maintain strict quality controls, communicate constantly with engineers on the floor, and greatly expedite production and shipment of units to backers - all while supporting local workers, businesses, and communities.

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The Cerberus is also available in white, shown with optional handle

The Indiegogo campaign launches March 1st, and additional information can be found at the Kimera Industries site.

Manufacturer: Phanteks

Introduction and First Impressions

The Enthoo EVOLV ITX it is not a new enclosure, but this striking color scheme - black with a glossy red interior - is. We'll take a thorough look at this mini-ITX enclosure in this review, and see how well it performs enclosing a gaming build.

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The EVOLV series from Phanteks includes ATX, micro-ATX, and this mini-ITX versions; with all three sharing a common design language, though some of the features naturally differ. With this smallest design Phanteks decided to retain enough size to permit the use of standard components, with room for ATX power supplies, full length graphics cards, and liquid CPU cooling with up to a 280 mm radiator.

The EVOLV ATX was my first experience with a Phanteks enclosure, and I was impressed with the build quality and thoughtful design touches. There is a different approach to building with mini-ITX that introduces new elements, including the ability of a system to remain cool and quiet with components in much tighter quarters.

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Continue reading our review of the Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX case!!

Lian Li PC-M25: mATX Enclosure with 5 Hot-Swap HDD Bays

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: small form-factor, SFF, PC-M25, micro tower, mATX, Lian Li, hot-swap, enclosure, case, aluminum case

The PC-M25 is Lian Li’s latest enclosure; a small micro-ATX tower with an emphasis on storage.

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“The PC-M25 includes a hot-swap HDD rack where users can conveniently install and remove up to five 3.5” drives with rubber suspension and without needing tools. The bottom HDD tray can mount an additional three 2.5” or two 3.5” drives. This makes a total of as many as seven 3.5” hard drives for advanced RAID storage applications.”

While a small form-factor design (all aluminum, of course), there is still room for a full system including long graphics cards and power supplies; though you’ll want a lower-profile CPU cooler as there is only 80 mm of clearance above the processor. Fans are included, with 140 mm intake and 120 mm exhaust pre-installed, though there is only a screen filter on the bottom intake (below the PSU).

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Specifications:

  • Model: PC-M25 A/ B
  • Case Type: Mini Tower Chassis
  • Color: Silver, Black
  • Material: Aluminum
  • M/B Type: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slot: 4
  • Storage:
  • HDD rack: 3.5" HDD x5 (Hot-swap)
  • HDD tray: 2.5" HDD x3 or 3.5" HDD x2
  • System Fan (Front) 140mm Fan x1; System Fan (Top) 120mm Fan x1
  • I/O Ports: None
  • Maximum Compatibility
  • VGA Card length: 410mm
  • PSU length: 230mm 
  • CPU cooler height:80mm
  • PSU Type: ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D) 199 x 322 x 441 mm (7.83 x 12.68 x 17.36 in)
  • Net Weight: 3.74 kg (8.25 lbs)

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Storage options for the PC-M25

The PC-M25 will be available this month with an MSRP of $169.

Source: Lian Li

Phanteks Announces Eclipse Series P400, P400S Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 9, 2016 - 09:06 AM |
Tagged: RGB, phanteks, mid-tower, enclosure, Eclipse Series, Eclipse P400S, Eclipse P400, case

Phanteks has announced a new enclosure series called ‘Eclipse’, which take the internal layout of the Enthoo lineup and packages it in a pair of affordable new enclosures; the P400 and P400S.

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“Without much effort, the P400 allows users to create a clean and beautiful system. Ambient RGB illumination adds character while the solid metal exterior gives the case a simple elegant design. The P400 is suitable for beginners and experienced system builders with all the extra features; the P400S comes with sound damping panels and a 3-speed fan controller to enhance acoustical performance.”

The internal layout of these enclosures will be familiar to you if you’ve seen the Enthoo series, with an open main chamber, a bottom partition for the PSU and hard drives, and all storage accessible from behind the system. There are a couple of notable differences between the Eclipse P400 and P400S, primarily the latter’s noise-reducing insulation and the addition of a 3-speed fan controller.

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Exploded view of Eclipse P400S

Side panel windows are available, with added style from the ambient RGB lighting on both models. The P400 and P400S are available in black, white, or grey, and the body panels are metal, which should contribute to a more premium feel.

Specifications:

  • Form Factor: Mid-tower
  • Materials: Steel chassis, steel exterior, ABS
  • Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX, E-ATX (up to 272mm wide, cannot use rubber grommets)
  • Expansion Slots: 7
  • Storage:
    • Internal 3.5” bays: 6x (2x trays included)
    • Internal 2.5” bays (dedicated): 2x (2x included)
  • Cooling:
    • 120 mm fan: Front, 3x (1 included); Top, 2x; Rear, 1x (1 included)
    • 140 mm fan: Front, 2x; Top, 2x
  • Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0, Mic, Headphone, Reset, LED control, 3-speed Fan controller (only available for P400S)
  • Side Window: Yes (also available with closed panel)
  • Soundproofing panels: (only available for P400S) Front/Top/Sides
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 210 x 465 x 470 mm (8.3 x 18.3 x 18.5 inches)

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No specific release date was announced, but full suggested pricing information is available:

  • Eclipse P400 (PH-EC416P) Black/Grey: $69.99 / White: $79.99
  • Eclipse P400S (PH-EC416PS) Black/Grey: $79.99 / White: $89.99
    • (P400S pricing identical for Silent Window and Silent Closed Panel versions)
Source: Phanteks

NZXT Introduces the Manta Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2016 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, nzxt, mini-itx, Manta, enclosure, curved steel, case

NZXT has announced their newest enclosure, a mini-ITX design with curved steel panels called Manta.

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This design looks quite round from the outside, and those added curves provide a lot of additional room for different cooling options in what is a very large case for mini-ITX. In fact, the Manta is actually bigger in overall volume than their Source S340, an ATX design! (The Source S340 is 7.87 x 17.52 x 17.01 inches, while this Manta is 9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches.) So how did NZXT allocate all of that internal space?

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The Manta offers a lot of room for fans and radiators.

Here's a look at the specs from NZXT:

  • Motherboard Support: mini-ITX
  • Expansion Slots: 2
  • Power Supply Support: ATX
  • Cooling System:
    • Front: 2x 140/120mm (2 x 120mm included) 
    • Top: 2x 140/120mm 
    • Rear: 1x 120mm (Included)
  • Radiator Support:
    • Front: Up to 280mm 
    • Top: Up to 280mm 
    • Rear: 120mm
  • Drive Bays
    • Internal 3.5”: 2 
    • Internal 2.5”: 3
  • Clearance:
    • CPU Clearance: 160mm
    • GPU Clearance: 363mm
    • PSU Length: 363mm
  • I/O Panel: LED On/Off, Audio/Mic, USB 3.0
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 245 x 426 x 450 mm (9.65 x 16.77 x 17.72 inches)
  • Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs)

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Front view of the Manta enclosure

The Manta Mini-ITX case is up for pre-order now with a retail of $139.99, with availability estimated for February.

Source: NZXT
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and First Impressions

The new Corsair Carbide 600Q and 600C enclosures are the company's first inverted ATX designs, and the layout promises improved airflow for better cooling.

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The Carbide Series from Corsair has encompassed enclosures from the company's least expensive budget-friendly options such as the $59 Carbide 100R, to high-performance options like the $159 Carbide Air 540. This new Carbide 600 enclosure is available in two versions, the 600C and 600Q, which both carry an MSRP of $149. This positions the 600C/600Q enclosures near the Graphite and Obsidian series models, but this is only fitting as there is nothing "budget" about these new Carbide 600 models.

The Carbide Series 600Q in for review differs from the 600C most obviously in its lack of the latter's hinged, latching side-panel, which also contains a large window. But the differences extend to the internal makeup of the enclosure, as the 600Q includes significant noise damping inside the front, top, and side panels. We'll be taking a close look at the noise levels along with thermal performance with this "Q" version of the new enclosure in our review.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair Carbide Series 600Q enclosure!!

Fractal Design Introduces Define Nano S Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2016 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, silent case, SFF, mini-itx, fractal design, enclosure, define s, define nano s, case

Fractal Design has introduced the Define Nano S enclosure; a new, mini-ITX version of their popular Define S mid-tower.

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The Fractal Design Define S was our pick for 2015 enclosure of the year (in our year-in-review podcast), and this new mini-ITX version retains the larger enclosure's design aesthetic - and its support for full-size components.

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"The Define Nano S is an ITX case that features compatibility with high end, full-size components, superior sound dampening, and an ATX-like layout."

Key features for the Define Nano S from Fractal Design:

  • A Define Series ITX case designed for silent computing with sound dampening and ModuVent™ technology
  • User-friendly construction with superior cable management and compatibility for full-size components
  • Flexible storage options with room for up to 4 drives
  • Accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting
  • Features two Dynamic Series fans — 1 GP-12 and 1 GP-14 — with an adapter included for motherboards with limited fan headers
  • Featuring an open interior allowing an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the case to the rear exhaust
  • Easy-to-clean filters on the top and bottom, spanning the PSU position, with the bottom filter ejecting from the front for easy-access.

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The Define Nano S offers a great deal of room for a mini-ITX enclosure (the Nano S is approximately 13.5 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 16.2 inches deep), with support for up to a 240/280 mm radiator on both top and front fan mounts, with 6 fan mounts overall (two of Fractal's Dynamic Series fans - 120 mm and 140 mm - are included). And an important detail; both the bottom and front fan mounts feature removable dust filters.

The enclosure offers the same "ModuVent" removable top vents, allowing more silent operation if the user doesn't need to use the upper fan mounts. There is sound dampening in place throughout, allowing for a quiet build. Storage mounts are behind the rear panel (as in the Define S) supporting two each 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. GPUs up to 315 mm and CPU coolers up to 160 mm are supported along with ATX PSUs up to 160 mm deep.

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Pricing will be $64.99 for the standard version, and $69.99 for the version with a window. Availability is set for March 2016.

You can check out the full specs for this new enclosure after the break.

SilverStone Displays Early Mini-STX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 12, 2016 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, Silverstone, SFF case, mini-stx, Intel 5x5, enclosure, CES 2016, CES

SilverStone had an early enclosure on display at CES for the upcoming Mini-STX standard, the tiny form-factor introduced with Intel's "5x5" motherboard (which we first reported on almost exactly one year ago).

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The simple black metal enclosure (as yet unnamed) looked and felt like a production unit, but we are still in the early stages with the first mini-STX motherboards being announced only this week. No details were given on when it would be available for purchase, or exactly how much it will cost.

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It is interesting to note the enclosure's I/O, which should indicate the standard for the new motherboards. On the front panel we had openings for a standard USB and Type-C port, and 3.5 mm audio; around back there were two more USB ports, LAN, DisplayPort, and HDMI. To the left of the HDMI port you can see the power input for the external power supply, as mini-STX will have a lot in common with the thin mini-ITX standard. (Thin mini-ITX optionally supported internal PSUs, but given the space constraints it looks like the mini-STX boards will be using a laptop style power supply.)

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The tiny Mini-STX enclosure fits easily in one hand

We will await any official announcement of this (and any other) upcoming mini-STX enclosure from SilverStone.

Source: SilverStone

Lian Li DK-04 Sit / Stand Computer Desk Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 11, 2016 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: workstation, standing desk, Lian Li, enclosure, DK-04, desk chassis, CES 2016, CES, aluminum case

Lian Li has introduced a new electronic sit/stand desk chassis, the DK-04, which holds a full system under its tempered glass surface and raises and lowers at the push of a button.

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On display at their booth at CES last week, the DK-04 offers a compelling option for someone interested in a standing workstation, with the added benefit of housing a powerful custom rig (and looking really cool in the process).

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There is room under the glass desktop (this model does not use a drawer) for up to an ATX motherboard with one dual-slot expansion card, which can be used with a GPU up to 320 mm in length. CPU coolers of up to 120 mm are supported, along with 120 mm width radiators up to 480 mm long.

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The front panel offers 4x USB 3.0 ports, RGB lighting controls, and a 5.25-inch optical drive bay; and there is internal storage support for up to 8x 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch hard drives. The entire unit is 47.24 inches wide, 29.53 inches deep, and can be adjusted from approximately 30 - 46 inches in height.

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The control panel for the electric height adjustment includes the option for up to 4 presets, allowing the desk to easily adjust to various pre-defined seated and standing positions.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but expect this to come in higher than IKEA's popular solution (which doesn't offer a the functionality of a full PC enclosure inside, of course).

Source: Lian Li

CES 2016: SilverStone CS380 and CS280 Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2016 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, NAS, mini-itx, enclosure, CS380, CS280, CES 2016, CES, case, atx case

SilverStone had a pair of CS Series enclosures on display at CES this year, with both ATX and Mini-ITX form-factors covered with these storage-oriented designs.

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Beginning with the larger CS380, an enclosure that had previously been shown at Computex in a Micro-ATX form-factor. This slightly modified final version now supports a standard ATX motherboard for additional build flexibility, but this enclosure is really all about the hard drives. With eight 3.5-inch HDD trays up front (along with a pair of 5.25-inch bays that can each be replaced with hot-swap HDD trays, sold separately), there is plenty of storage space for a NAS or storage server build.

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Inside, a pair of 120 mm fans keep the hard drives cool, and while the bare metal interior looks plain by modern standards these CS Series enclosures were build with enterprise standards in mind. The rest of the interior is pretty standard for an ATX enclosure, with a bottom PSU placement, 120 mm rear fan, and 7 expansion slots.

The smaller of the two storage enclosures, the CS280, is a mini-ITX design that scales storage support down to 2.5-inch drives.

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Offering 8 HDD/SSD trays and supporting standard mini-ITX motherboards with up to a 2-bay, full-height expansion card, the CS280 provides a lot of build flexibility. While it would make a very compact storage server or hold a tremendous amount of SSD storage for a high-speed NAS, the CS280 could also house a compact, high-power gaming rig with a GPU like AMD's R9 Nano - if you desired this much storage support, that is. 

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Panels in the front of both cases allow view of HDD activity lights

The two enclosures differ beyond size as the CS380 has a plastic front panel/door, and the smaller CS280 features a brushed aluminum front panel and a more rounded appearance. These enclosures will be priced a little higher than typical consumer drives given their construction and purpose, but we will await final retail pricing (and availability) to see where they fit in the market.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: SilverStone