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

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

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.

Mini-STX Has Arrived: Meet the ECS H110SU-02 Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | January 13, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-stx, LGA 1151, Intel H110, ECS, CES 2016, CES

ECS has entered the brand new Mini-STX market with their H110SU-02 motherboard, one of our first looks at a motherboard based on Intel's 5x5 concept for a sub-mITX form-factor.

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The ECS H110SU-02 (Image credit: Maximum PC)

As you can see this tiny motherboard offers a standard LGA 1151 socket for Intel processors up to 65W, and uses SoDIMM memory (DDR4). The board only offers one SATA port, with a pair of M.2 slots in a stacked configuration for both full-length (2280) SSDs and the shorter (2230) cards such as wireless network adapters.

Specifications:

  • Platform: Intel H110/B150 chipset
  • CPU: LGA1151 socket for Intel i3/i5/i7/Pentium/Celeron Processors (65W)
  • Memory: 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 slots
  • Storage: 1x M.2 Slot (2280); 1x SATA
  • Networking: RJ45; 1x M.2 Slot (2230) for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card
  • USB: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Audio: 3.5 mm combo jack
  • Power Supply: DC-in 19V, 90W
  • Dimensions (W x D) 140 x 147 mm

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Mini-SFX vs. Mini-ITX comparison (Image credit: Maximum PC)

Maximum PC posted this video with their overview of the motherboard:

With no PCI Express slot and the limitation of a 65W processor (which eliminates current high-end models such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, both at 91W) this is targeting a different audience than those choosing mini-ITX for a small gaming rig, for example. Still, there will undoubtedly be a number of applications for a system of just over 5 inches square; though Intel's existing NUC platform provides essentially the same experience in a smaller package, minus the socketed desktop CPU support, of course.

No details were given on pricing or availability.

Source: Maximum PC

CES 2016: ECS Introduces LIVA One Mini PC

Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 03:40 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-pc, LIVA One, LIVA, ECS, Core i3-6100T, CES 2016, CES

The newest member of the LIVA family is here, and this time we have a larger footprint but a thinner device with significantly upgraded internals. Teased back in December by ECS, we now have all the details about this new LIVA One.

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Powered by an Intel Core i3-6100T, a 35W 2 core/4 thread part that operates at 3.20 GHz, the LIVA One is a big step up from previous versions including the LIVA Core, which used the 4.5W Intel Core M-5Y10c. The new LIVA One also uses M.2 storage and comes with an 80GB Intel SSD in its default configuration, along with 4 GB of DDR3 SoDIMM memory.

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Full specifications from ECS (default configuration):

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100T
  • Chipset: H110
  • Memory: 4GB SO-DIMM DDR3
  • Expansion Slot: 1x SATA; supports 2.5” HDD
  • Storage: Intel 80GB M.2 SSD
  • Audio: 1x Combo Jack
  • Networking:
    • 1x Gigabit LAN
    • 1x Wireless Combo Card
  • USB:
    • 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Port
    • 4x USB 3.0 Ports
  • Video Output:
    • 1x HDMI Port
    • 1x D-Sub Port
    • 1x DP Port
  • Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
  • Dimension: 173 x 176 x 33 mm
  • Card Reader: MicroSDXC
  • Adapter Input: AC 100-240V, Output: DC 19V / 4.74A
  • OS Support:    
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10
    • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The LIVA One can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of memory, and storage up to 4 TB from the SATA 2.5-inch expansion bay (though no 4 TB drives are yet available at 2.5"). The M.2 storage used for the One's OS drive offers up to 1 GB/s of transfer speeds according to ECS.

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ECS says LIVA Core is "one-liter of book size" computer

The LIVA One also offers Intel WiDi, USB 3.1 Type-C, is VESA mountable, and has a native microSDXC reader built in. Pricing and availability was not announced, and the One has yet to appear on Amazon/Newegg.

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: ECS

CES 2016: Zotac ZBOX E1751 SFF PC with Intel Core i7, Iris Pro

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2016 - 11:46 PM |
Tagged: zotac, ZBOX E1751, zbox, SFF, iris pro, i7-5775R, CES 2016, CES, Broadwell

Zotac has a new enthusiast ZBOX in the E series, the E1751; a small form-factor PC with an Intel Core i7 (Broadwell) processor and Iris Pro graphics.

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The Intel Core i7-5775R processor is a 65 W 4 core/8 thread part that operates from 3.3 - 3.8 GHz. There are two DDR3L SoDIMM slots supporting 1600/1866 MHz memory (the CPU supports up to 32 GB of RAM), and storage options are limited to SATA/mSATA drives (no M.2 support for the latest NVMe storage).

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Specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-5775R, quad-core up to 3.8 GHz
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
  • Memory: 2x DDR3L 1600/1866 SoDIMM slots
  • Storage: 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay, mSATA 6.0 Gbps slot
  • Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display output: 2x DisplayPort, DVI-D (single-link)
  • USB: 3x USB 3.0 ports (1x front, 2x rear)
  • Audio: 3.5 mm input/output; digital optical audio output
  • Card reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC

In addition to the kit specified above, the “PLUS” models will include 8 GB of memory and a 128 GB SSD.

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Pricing and release date were not yet available.

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: Zotac

CES 2016: Zotac Fanless C Series Mini-PC with Skylake i5

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2016 - 10:39 PM |
Tagged: zotac, Skylake, SFF, passive cooling, mini PC, Intel Core i5, fanless, CES 2016, CES

While there were both passive and actively-cooled systems on display in Zotac's suite at CES, one of the most interesting was a new fanless computer in a larger form-factor than previous C-series mini-PCs - and it's powered by an 6th-gen Intel Core i5 6300U processor.

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“The ZBOX C Series returns with an Intel Skylake CPU while delivering the same silent performance in an all new ZBOX size. More processing power, more entertainment and more productivity is contained within. The new C Series also support USB 3.1 Type-C, perfect for connecting to new gadgets and more bandwidth.”

Here are the specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6300U processor (dual-core up to 3.0 GHz)
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • Storage: 1x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps bay
  • RAM: 2x DDR3L-1600 SoDIMM slots (up to 16GB supported)
  • USB: 2x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Video output: DisplayPort, HDMI

Previous 'nano' systems in the C-series have offered VESA mounting, and this new system is no exception. A completely fanless system, this unit was quite heavy in hand but should pose no issue for most larger displays.

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Networking includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi

No specifics on pricing or release date just yet.

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: Zotac

So what if it is small, this Breadbox can play Crysis

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2016 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: SFF, gigabyte, GA-Z170N-Gaming 5, i5-6600K, G.Skill Trident Z, GTX 970

The Tech Report has a bit of a soft spot for what they refer to as Breadbox builds, aka SFF systems and recently one of their members built a brand new system.  Hidden in the tiny EVGA Hadron Hydro case is a watercooled i5-6600K, a tiny Gigabyte GTX 970 GV-N970IXOC-4GD, 16GB of DDR4 and two OCZ Vector 180 SSDs all installed on a Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 mini-ITX board.  The installation went well though the EVGA Hadron Hydro has a bit of a personality to it which you can read about in the full article right here.

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"Our Editor-in-Chief has always had a soft spot for Mini-ITX systems with big performance, and Gigabyte, OCZ, EVGA, G.Skill, and Logitech were happy to help him build a Breadbox system with some high-octane parts. Here's how he put it all together."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems