A Console-Size Mini-ITX Option
Examining the lower limits of enclosure volume has become something of a cottage industry in the last few years, with crowdfunded projects such as the NCASE M1 and the DAN Cases A4-SFX providing backers with custom designs that attempt to reduce the mini-ITX computer case concept to its absolute minimum size. The Sentry 2.0 differs in a few ways from those previous efforts, most obviously in that it is not a “shoebox” design, opting instead for a narrow game console-style layout. It is also a steel enclosure rather than the all-aluminum designs from DAN Cases and NCASE (both produced by Lian Li), making it quite a bit heavier while promising a more rugged construction.
“Sentry is the world's first truly console-sized gaming PC chassis. It houses powerful components within a volume below 7 litres, which over the decades has been considered the optimal size for all media appliances residing in front of a TV. Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, bringing more features and more performance in the same sub-7 litre package.”
The Sentry 2.0 is the follow up to the crowdfunded original Sentry case, both of which are game console-sized mini-ITX enclosures that are designed to house standard components within the limits of a 6.9-liter total volume. Unusually we are reviewing this case during its crowdfunding campaign - though it has actually been fully funded at this point and you can check out the page on Indigogo here. Pricing is similar to what we have seen from other crowdfunded cases, and while $260 might seem high (especially for a steel case rather than aluminum) there has been quite a bit of thought packed into the Sentry 2.0 design.
In addition to supporting mini-ITX motherboards the Sentry 2.0 makes use of SFX form-factor power supplies and can support a full-length graphics card if you are air-cooling the CPU (the extra space beyond an ITX-sized GPU could then support a 120mm radiator and slim fan). It’s a pretty straightforward internal layout, so without further preamble let’s check out the design and then move on to the build I came up with for this pre-production Sentry 2.0, which DR ZĄBER was kind enough to send to us.
First, however, a look at the specifications:
- Main body dimensions (WxDxH): 340 x 310 x 66mm, 6.9L
- Motherboard format: Mini-ITX
- Power supply support: SFX 100mm (SFX-L not supported)
- Expansion slots: 2, full height, ATX reference PCB width
- Main drive installation mounts:
- 1 x 2.5" partially above motherboard
- 1 x 2.5" next to SFX power supply
- Secondary drive installation mounts:
- 2 x 3.5" inside VGA bay
- Memory Compatibility:
- Standard profile DIMM modules
- Max 31.4mm tall pcb/34mm with heatspreaders
- Tall modules will obstruct 2.5" drive bracket
- VGA Card Compatibility:
- Full Length GPU for use without AIO Liquid Cooling or 3.5" HDDs
- ITX-sized GPU for use with AIO Liquid Cooling or single 3.5" HDD
- CPU cooler support:
- CPU Socket far from PCI-E Slot:
- Max height of 47mm (standard intel box cooler height)
- 120mm All-In-One Liquid Cooler, radiator + fan max height of 50mm
- CPU Socket near the PCI-E Slot:
- Max height of 47mm and primary 2.5" mount obstructed
- Max height of 37mm and primary 2.5" mount available
- CPU Socket far from PCI-E Slot:
- Front ports: 2 x USB 3.0
- PCI-E 16X Riser: high-quality shielded 50mm ribbon
- Material: 1mm galvanized steel with structural powder coating
- Security: Kensington slot
Pricing and Availability: $260, Indigogo campaign
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2019 - 08:38 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, sentry, enclosure, DR ZĄBER, crowdfunding, case
DR ZĄBER launched the crowdfunding campaign for the Sentry 2.0 on April 1, and the campaign on indigogo is well under way. Version 1.1 of the Sentry was successfully funded in 2017, and three days into this Sentry 2.0 campaign over a third of the $260,000 goal has already been reached.
What exactly is this new case from the Małopolska, Poland-based company?
"Sentry 2.0 is an evolution of Sentry, a 7L console-sized PC chassis that was crowdfunded in 2017, quickly reaching over 1000% of its campaign goal. Sentry 2.0 brings many improvements based on feedback from backers and sff enthusiasts community over original Sentry delivered in 2017.
Sentry 2.0 is a PC case highly anticipated by the small form factor PC enthusiasts, developed and improved upon original Sentry with community support, and was covered by leading PC hardware youtube channels such as LinusTechTips, Bitwit or Paul's Hardware.”
We are happy to report that a Sentry 2.0 has found its way to our secret enclosure testing facility, and a review is coming soon here at PC Perspective.
Subject: Mobile | November 19, 2018 - 05:12 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega8, Vega, Smach Zero, SMACH Z, handheld, gaming, embedded, crowdfunding, APU, AMD Ryzen
A crowdfunding campaign of lengthy duration (originally known as the SteamBoy in 2014 before the name first changed to the Smach Zero the following year) the handheld gaming device now known as the SMACH Z is finally slated for production early next year as reported by ComputerBase (German language), according to an update for crowdfunding backers posted by the company.
What makes this handheld relevant to PC gamers? The SMACH Z will now be powered by an embedded AMD Ryzen processor with Vega graphics, rather than the previously announced AMD Jaguar solution, with the description on the Indigogo page offering this:
"We have chosen latest generation of AMD Ryzen Embedded processors, the Ryzen Embedded V1605B SoC with AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. Thanks to their latest technological advances, the dream of playing your PC games on the go is becoming a reality."
What is the V1605B? It combines a 4 core/8 thread CPU clocked at 2.0 - 3.6 GHz with a Vega8 GPU offering 512 shaders and up to a 1.1 GHz core clock. The specifications on the Kickstarter page still list the AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421BD SoC with integrated Radeon R7 GPU, though the Indigogo campaign page has the updated SMACH Z announcement video (from March 2018) which refers to the V1605B instead.
The unfortunately-named SMACH Z is targeting "AAA" game support, but lower resolutions and detail settings will be required for smooth gameplay on this portable, of course (the company's video showcases Witcher 3 apparently averaging 40 FPS at 720p resolution, for example).
Subject: Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 04:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Eve V, Surface Pro, crowdfunding, thunderbolt 3
The Eve V exists because of a successful Indiegogo campaign run by a motivated group of techies who wanted to create their own competitor to the Surface Pro. Physically the design is very similar, a 12.3" tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard and a kickstand and the price range is similar, from $800 for the base model to $2000 for the kitchen sink. That price includes the keyboard and active stylus, something Microsoft's Surface does not. The hardware is similar, as will be the benchmarks, it is in the extra features that the Eve V stands out. The Eve V not only has an extra USB 3.0 port, it also has a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a separate Thunderbolt 3 port for a monitor or even an external GPU.
Check out more about this tablet, from it's clicky keys to standard wall charger at Techspot.
"For a first-generation product, the Eve V is remarkably solid. It's especially impressive when you consider its direct competition - the Surface Pro - is well entrenched in the Windows tablet market and known to be an excellent option."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Surface Book 2 review: Monster performance, but lightning hasn’t struck twice @ Ars Technica
- Acer Predator Helios 300 @ TechSpot
- 5 Affordable Last-Gen Smartphones That Are Great Buys @
- iPhone X review: Early adopting the future @ Ars Technica
- iPhone 8 @ The Inquirer
- LG V30 review: Good hardware design marred by bad camera, software @ Ars Technica
- Google: Pixel 2 'buzzing' glitch will be fixed via software update @ The Inquirer
- Ignore the Pixel 2 XL. Buy the Pixel 2 Instead @ TechSpot
- Google Pixel 2 XL @ TechSpot
- OnePlus 5T vs iPhone X @ The Inquirer
- OnePlus 5T review—An outstanding combination of specs, design, and price @ Ars Technica
- The ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro @ TechARP
- Honor 7X: First impressions of the sub-£300 Android mid-ranger @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | August 10, 2016 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sinclair, ZX Spectrum Vega, Spectrum Vega+, crowdfunding
If you like your drama and tech mixed you should pop over to the The Inquirer to read about what is going on behind the scenes at Retro Computers Ltd, who successfully crowdfunded the return of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Two founders and former directors quietly left the company back in April and are now loudly lawyering up in a suite they launched due to lack of communication from the remaining directors of Retro Computers. In return Retro have revealed that they too have lawyers, which are demanding information about unaccounted company funds which they believe were siphoned off or otherwise mismanaged.
Shortly after The Inquirer published their article both sides come out with updates about the case and more accusations. It could prove to be an interesting saga, especially with the upcoming release of the Vega+.
"Look, we're going to keep reporting this because it's fascinating, but at the same time, how much more of this dirty laundry is going to get aired, and why is it happening? There's a missing piece of the puzzle here. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashing under Avast antivirus update @ The Register
- Dota 2 Dev forum breach sees two million user records lifted @ The Inquirer
- Ubuntu 14.04/16.04 vs. Ubuntu Bash On Windows 10 Anniversary Performance @ Phoronix
- Google Chrome will beat Flash to death with a shovel: Why... won't... you... just... die! @ The Register
- Hot iron: Knights Landing hits 100 gigaflops in plasma physics benchmark @ The Register
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 12, 2016 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 31, 2015 - 05:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: matx case, Indiegogo, enclosures, crowdfunding, Crono Labs, cases, C1 Computer Case
Crono Labs of Galway, Ireland is a startup that hopes to “declutter your desk” with their C1 Computer Case, a unique enclosure that allows you to mount a VESA compliant monitor to the case itself, creating your own all-in-one system.
The C1 is a slim micro-ATX enclosure with support for standard ATX power supplies and graphics cards up to 10.5”, and it sits on a stand that looks like that of a standard monitor.
Here’s a list of compatible components from Crono Labs:
- mATX or ITX motherboard
- ATX PSU
- Two 3.5″ drives
- Two 2.5″ drives
- GPU’s up to 10.5″
- Low profile CPU coolers
- Four 120mm fans
- Water Cooling: 1X 120mm cooler and 1X 240mm cooler can be used, at the same time. Water coolers will not fit if an mATX motherboard is used
The Indiegogo page is now up, and with a modest goal of $2000 they hope to create their initial prototypes before moving to the next phase of funding for production. It’s an interesting concept, and it looks like they have thought this design through with some nice touches:
- A short VGA, HDMI and branching power cable come with the case for reduced cable clutter. Less mess, less stress.
- Rotated motherboard points the IO ports downwards for tidier cables. The motherboard is also raised up into the case to allow cables to go beneath it.
- Carry handle makes transporting the case easy, from desk to desk or room to room.
- The case has a very small footprint, leaving you with a much more pleasing work area, for all that important stuff you do.
The idea of creating a portable all-in-one type system is appealing for the space-constrained or for LAN gaming, and the ability to use full-sized components would allow for a more powerful, and lower cost, build. What do you think of this design?
Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2012 - 03:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: origin, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, pc gaming
EA wishes to foster independent game distribution on their Origin platform. Developers of games which are crowd-funded through a service such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter will receive 100% revenue share from the service for 90 days.
I need to give EA credit when they do something good.
The Origin online distribution system is not as appreciated as Steam has been but that does not stop EA from trying. The service was made a requisite for PC games such as Battlefield 3 which was an annoyance to gamers -- much as Steam was an annoyance to Half Life 2 players. Whether Origin was a good service or not was irrelevant as customers just do not like to be forced to use a service to access unrelated content.
Origin has decided to waive distribution fees for crowd funded content for 90 days -- wielding a carrot.
Maybe Warren Spector should crowd fund a small project at Junction Point -- publish on Origin’s Systems
It’d be like Tim Schafer, just more ironic.
Two main options for crowdsourcing projects are Indiegogo and Kickstarter. If you are one of our Canadian viewers than you are limited to posting your project on Indiegogo as Kickstarter will not fund projects outside the US; of course you can fund American projects on Kickstarter from Canada, just not create your own. With Origin you are then able to publish on an established platform and receive full revenue for the first three months.
Of course if you have licensed technology or assets such as Unreal Development Kit you are still obliged to follow those commitments. For the first three months EA will just keep their hand out of your pocket.