A Crowd Funded Mini-ITX Case, the NCASE M1

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2013 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: ncase, mini-itx, mini ITX, m1

We love us some mini-ITX products that enable us to build powerful PCs and HTPCs in smaller chassis and using smaller footprints than traditional ATX and even MicroATX designs.  We have reviewed several mini-ITX motherboards including EVGA's Z77 Stinger and even a couple of mini-ITX based pre-build computers like AVADirect Mini Gaming PC and the Digital Storm Bolt.  All of these products showcase the capability to get incredible computing and gaming horsepower in a small design. 

Recently I came across a thread in the /r/hardware sub-reddit discussing crowd funding for a new kind of mini-ITX chassis design.  In what started as a discussion on the HardForum has resulted in a design ready for prototyping and tooling. 

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That is where the community comes in!  The designers have started an Indiegogo.com project to help get funding from users like you and me to enable prototype units to be built and tested.  I already tossed in a chunk of money from PC Perspective and I think once you see what they have designed you'll be interested as well.

The NCASE M1 is a new Mini-ITX case that raises the bar in performance, versatility, and design for SFF PC cases. With support for 12.5” GPUs, water or air cooling, and a variety of drive mounting options, the M1 offers unparalleled power and flexibility for its surprisingly small footprint, all wrapped in an elegant, minimalist aluminum exterior.

We've spent months perfecting the design using feedback from [H]ardForum community and Lian Li's engineers. Our goal is to take this design to production, and we need your help.

The next step before production is to test a prototype of the M1. The funding goal is the minimum we need to produce a prototype plus a small components budget to test fitment, thermals and noise.

The more funding we're able to raise, the more hardware configurations we'll be able to test for, which leads to a better product. If we achieve our funding goal, don't let it stop you from backing us! Every little bit will help make the M1 better.

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Just look at the projected specifications and device support:

Dimensions: 240mm x 160mm x 328mm (250mm tall w/feet), 12.6L
Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Mini-DTX
Expansion Slots: 3
GPU Support: 12.5” (slot 1 & 2) or 11” (slot 3)
CPU Cooler Support: Up to 105mm tall; 120mm and 240mm radiators also supported
Drive Support: 3 x 3.5” HDD mounts; 3 x 2.5” drive mounts; 1 x slim slot-load optical drive mount
Power Supply Support: SFX or ATX (up to 140mm non-modular, or longer w/short GPU)
Fan Support: 2 x 120mm side & bottom mounts; 80/92mm bottom & rear mounts
Front Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, headphone and microphone

A chassis design that is built not just but a single engineer in Taiwan but rather by actual users that want to perfect a product based on the input from the community DIRECTLY - it is an incredible goal! 

I have included some additional images below but you should make sure you head over to the Indigogo.com project page and learn about the NCASE M1 and contribute any amount you can to make this a reality.  Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future we'll be able to pick up one for ourselves and showcase it on PC Perspective!

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Source: reddit

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February 17, 2013 | 04:15 PM - Posted by icebug

I was checking this out about a month ago on the [H] good to see that they are actually gonna get this going. I am definitely putting my name in for one of these guys for my LAN rig!

February 17, 2013 | 05:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It looks great until you look at it with all the cables installed. LOL

February 17, 2013 | 06:09 PM - Posted by deowll (not verified)

That most desktop machines aren't this size strikes me as computer companies not updating their designs. Maybe I'm wrong but if they can put the thing inside a much smaller case why use a big one?

February 18, 2013 | 12:00 AM - Posted by renz (not verified)

room for expansion?

February 17, 2013 | 09:34 PM - Posted by jtiger102

Awesome idea! I contributed as well.
Thanks for the heads up on this Ryan!

February 18, 2013 | 12:04 AM - Posted by renz (not verified)

i have to admit it does look nice. but will this case fit mobo that bigger than mini ITX size?

February 18, 2013 | 10:27 AM - Posted by mAxius

no its a mini-itx case perhaps their will be larger models down the line who knows

February 18, 2013 | 12:17 PM - Posted by mLocke

There's already a few on the market, here's my Temjin TJ08B-E.

From the IndieGogo site;

Q: Since it has three slots already, why not just add one more and make it microATX?

A: MicroATX boards are not just one more slot, they are also much longer than Mini-ITX (244mm vs. 170mm). The extra space required for an mATX board is occupied by the power supply; changing the design to accommodate the larger board would necessitate an unacceptable increase in size (and would result in a layout very much like the Silverstone SG09).

February 18, 2013 | 03:57 PM - Posted by mAxius

i really like that can use a standard psu

February 18, 2013 | 05:03 PM - Posted by Hawaii (not verified)

Actually it will fit Mini-DTX and a few microATX with smaller PCB (~170 x ~210 mm, 3 slots) as well. So practically the answer is no. :D

February 18, 2013 | 07:39 AM - Posted by Justin 150 (not verified)

Renz: "room for expansion? "

But with what. I have built machines using expansion slots for things such as sound card (MB sound is good enough for most people), RAID card (better than on board RAID but I have a separate NAS)and TV card (USB tuner will work as well)but these days other than a graphics card I am struggling to think what I would use the expansion slots for.

Most people simply do not need the extra flexibility

February 18, 2013 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why couldn't any major case manufacturer just copy this design (roughly) and have it out to us next month? I'm not patient enough for these kickstarter projects. I need a case now.

October 20, 2015 | 05:45 AM - Posted by n13L5 (not verified)

Well, Lian Li has (finally) a case with roughly the same size and layout in the PC-Q10, but I don't build in cases with a perforated top.

Find it too risky in case of a liquid spill.

true, perforating top and sides makes it a lot easier to get your component layout the way you want.

And this very case project has been mulled over by a lot of smart people for a long time now, I think you'll find it more optimized in the details than the Q10.

I am still forced to make my own one-off case with closed top, around 15 liters, with a similar concept of the PSU in the front, but I will use an SFX PSU, because there are now 2 good ones on the market and power requirements are actually declining with Intel's Skylake CPUs now and Nvidia's Pascal GPU's coming out in 2016.

This will do wonders for my electric bill :D

February 18, 2013 | 01:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

at leat in the provided mockup pic, there doesn't appear to be enough room for non modular psu cables. you going to have to seriously bend the cables. also if you go air cooled this thing is going to get seriously hot in such small quarters. i'm willing to reserve judgement at least until the prototype shows up.

February 20, 2013 | 03:50 AM - Posted by DrWattsOn

A "shrout-out" to Shrout:
You should correct the text in

you wrote:
A chassis design that is built not just but a single engineer

you meant:
A chassis design that is built not just by a single engineer

Just tryin' ta help, and found ur TWiT-TV sub-site on my Roku box:
good schooling for me. Thanks!
aka DrWattsOn (caps DWO are on PURPOSE:
ex-Electronics Tech. (55 yrs exper.)
(a real tech, not just a
button-pushin knob-twistin meter reader)

January 9, 2014 | 06:29 AM - Posted by Thintho (not verified)

I like this stuff mainly because of its minute compatibility. These are those rare products that showcase the capability to indeed get an incredible computing and gaming horsepower experience. Anyways thanks a lot for sharing such a lot of information.

May 9, 2014 | 08:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice case but still go for Silverstone SG09b. It accomodates mATX and Mini-ITX motherboards, dual GPU capable. 6-cooling fans.

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