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.


February 12, 2016 | 07:42 AM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

Ew, steel.

February 12, 2016 | 08:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why? Thinner and lighter than Aluminium panels/frame while being stronger (because Aluminium panels of equivalent strength would be far too thick to reasonably manufacture as bent and punched sheets rather than milled).

February 12, 2016 | 09:57 AM - Posted by Aibohphobia

Hello, case designer and Kimera Industries co-founder here.

That's not quite true, we could use 1.5-2mm aluminum panels and it would be lighter without sacrificing too much strength.

But every mm counts in this design so it would reduce component clearance in a few keys areas. But mainly I prefer the density of steel, aluminum cases just feel flimsy to me and steel is less prone to vibration.

February 12, 2016 | 03:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How difficult/expensive would it be to make a case out of titanium?

February 12, 2016 | 05:22 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

It's actually not that difficult for regular grade titanium, it can be cut and formed similar to steel. The problem with Cerberus in particular is that it relies heavily on pressed-in hardware (threaded nuts and standoffs) which will be tricky with titanium. But for a different case design that didn't rely so much on those it would be fairly easy.

It is expensive though, I think it's about 3x-4x the price.

February 12, 2016 | 01:26 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I've used many Alu cases from vendors such as Lian-Li and Fractal and never had an issue with strength. Alu is much lighter. Even the NCASE M1 that is very small has given me no issues when it comes to strength. Most cases that still use steel these days are of the bargain (trash) variety.

February 12, 2016 | 01:38 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

Actually maybe Fractal's cases are steel, but they are very heavy. I prefer Alu.

May 30, 2016 | 10:34 AM - Posted by Cccc (not verified)

Is that atx power?

July 4, 2016 | 02:38 PM - Posted by bengrine (not verified)

I have built two systems and used SILVERSTONE SFX Series SX600-G 600W. It's a small form factor power supply. I can power a Skylake i7-6700, BD-ROM, corsair hydro H50i and 980Ti EVGA hybrid GPU.
This was pretty much the only power supply available at the time, but I would probably go for the Corsair SF600 today.

thanks

July 4, 2016 | 02:40 PM - Posted by bengrine (not verified)

(I build NCase M1 systems)

February 12, 2016 | 08:44 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Nova already exists...

February 12, 2016 | 08:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This IS the Nova!

February 12, 2016 | 09:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

That's correct - they called it Project Nova for a while, but changed the name yesterday. (Probably because there are already a few cases called 'Nova').

February 12, 2016 | 03:54 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Nova is ITX, this is mATX. So, no, not really Nova. At least, not how original Nova supposed to be. Maybe it's a second variant, or something, but it's NOT exactly the same.

February 12, 2016 | 05:23 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

The Kimera Industries Nova was mATX, Cerberus is just a refined version of it.

The Caselabs Nova is Mini-ITX.

February 13, 2016 | 02:55 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

I'm obviously talking about this: http://www.imagebam.com/image/fb67ef464923209 , this was initially an ITX case. I dunno what might've changed, but if it's the same thing from the same guys, then...it's not as appealing for me anymore as it was in the past, because I've felt in love with the original ITX design and concept, and I really don't like the whole "mATX" shtick at all. I simply don't like mATX boards and cases aimed at those specific sizes. When it comes down to small boards outside of Raspberry Pi - for me personally it's either ITX or nothing else.

February 13, 2016 | 07:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No, that's the Kimera Nova prototype 00 (hence the Unit-00 colour scheme). It's an mATX case, and has always been an mATX case.

February 13, 2016 | 07:54 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Never ever did I've heard or read anywhere about it being a "mATX" case. All the sites and hardware news outlets on which I've ever seen info on that particular Nova from the picture in my link, stated it's purely an ITX case. And it had a comparison photo to Ncase M1, in which M1 was just ever-so-slightly smaller (but not so much as constitute that "blue prototype Nova" as being an "mATX" case). Even original Prodigy, albeit it's size, is still a purely ITX case and not an "mATX" enclosure.

February 14, 2016 | 04:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well then the news outlets misinformed you because it always was an mATX case, see this post from [H], where the first prototype was unveiled: http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1041328159&postcount=556

The Prodigy and many other ITX cases on the market are a joke in terms of space efficiency. Cerberus is about half as big as the Prodigy in terms of volume, and the Prodigy has been modded to fit E-ATX with four GPUs.

February 13, 2016 | 10:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

look closely at the image you linked. Five pci slots down there. mATX case. mITX will still fit, and it will still be smaller than all but a few pure mITX cases.

February 13, 2016 | 10:56 AM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Read the commentary I've left right above this one of yours.

February 24, 2016 | 08:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Damn you are dense...

February 12, 2016 | 09:55 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I forgot to mention that. Fixed!

February 12, 2016 | 03:53 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Nova is an ITX case, this here clearly states it's mATX.

February 13, 2016 | 08:08 PM - Posted by Qrash

Dude, I love your passion, but you're wrong. Here is a post #14 (dated from 23-APR-2014) from the Nova thread at HardForum in which Aibohphobia, the case designer, responds to early questions and requests and clearly states the Nova is a microATX case:

http://hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1040786288&postcount=14

Yes, it could always fit a smaller mini-ITX motherboard, but it's always been designed for micro-ATX motherboards. The early pages of that thread are a good read about how the design of the case has evolved over the past 2 years.

February 12, 2016 | 09:43 AM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Looks good for a small form factor case. Isnt the lack of filters a pretty big draw back for having SFF. I guess a small case will likely be placed on your desk, which reduces dust a little.

February 12, 2016 | 09:44 AM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Duplicate (darn mobile site)

February 12, 2016 | 10:58 AM - Posted by YTech

Interesting!
There's not a lot of mATX case out there. Nice to see new businesses aiming to support the mATX crowd.

The case do look nice and compact, however nothing that fits my needs and the cost will probably be over my budget :(

So far, the CM N200 is my best options for my needs.

February 12, 2016 | 11:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Currently in the market for a new micro and initially was exited about this, unfortunately a complete lack of included filters rules this out, understood about the flexible fan options but having to mount Demciflex externally on intakes just wouldn't cut it :(

February 12, 2016 | 12:35 PM - Posted by Qrash

The panels are steel so Demciflex filters could be attached using their magnetic strips to the inside surface of any of the panels.

February 12, 2016 | 01:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Indeed, but I like my intake filters before my fans and easily accessible, they would have to be sandwiched between the panel and fan like that no?

February 12, 2016 | 01:33 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You could just have the filter on the exterior side of the vents, there's plenty of room to do that it looks like. So, FAN |VENT| FILTER

February 12, 2016 | 01:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Not gonna be pretty...

February 12, 2016 | 02:02 PM - Posted by Qrash

Yes. The Demciflex filters for the M1 have notched corners to accomodate a fan's mounting holes. These filters could go Fan | Filter | Vent and they'd easily attach to a steel panel using their magnetic mounting strips. Alternatively, you can use filters with holes that use the fan's mounting screws (or rubber posts) to hold them against the fan.

February 12, 2016 | 03:17 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hear what your saying but wouldn't either of those solutions involve removing the fan to clean the filer?

February 13, 2016 | 08:09 PM - Posted by Qrash

Yes, it would.

February 12, 2016 | 03:38 PM - Posted by ImmenseBrick

Wow this case looks really nice. I want an Ncase but dislike the price and a couple limiting factors of ITX in general. I want this...now. Hopefully it lands up being cost effective (I live in the great north where our money is now useless). Ncase lands up being over $300 Cad after shipping and usd conversion/taxes.

February 12, 2016 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

We're aiming for $250 so unfortunately if the M1 is too expensive it won't be any better with Cerberus.

February 12, 2016 | 05:37 PM - Posted by ImmenseBrick

Thanks for the response, I think if its in that range its a fair price, I mean I paid what $120 bucks for my corsair 350D, its a nice case but lacks both smaller size and lets face it. This Cerberus is one sexy case. I hope the indigogo goes well, I think unless I go itx, this will be my next case. I just want corsair to release their SFX PSU already (92mm fan vs 80mm on current silverstones).

February 13, 2016 | 05:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

ncase is $185, $215 shipped within the US

February 14, 2016 | 01:29 AM - Posted by ImmenseBrick

Yeah, unfortunately in Canada we get nailed on fees when it enters the country. Also pricing is in USD which used to be fine until our economy imploded and lost 25-30% value.

February 12, 2016 | 04:40 PM - Posted by Titan_Y (not verified)

Looks great but a couple of concerns:

1. I really wish this designed was adapted to MiniITX. The trend is to go small for the living room. I'd be all over this if it had gone for smaller SFX power supplies and been designed with the more compact dimensions of the Fury Nano in mind.

2. I have been burned by Indiegogo projects in the past. I'm not going to throw money away at anything on there anymore (TangoPC anyone?).

February 12, 2016 | 05:39 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

That's a completely different case though. I have a few ideas in mind for that but Cerberus comes first.

And that's understandable but there's no guarantee if the case will be available past the crowdfunding campaign.

February 12, 2016 | 06:13 PM - Posted by ImmenseBrick

Just so I am clear (I am sure it will be on the indigogo) if you back this project will you guaranteed get a case? I have no issue in backing something but I dont want to play a guessing game of maybe getting one. IF its 100% guarantee then hell I will back it right now.

February 12, 2016 | 09:29 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

Well, there's always the small chance that something will go catastrophically wrong but unlike some of the crowdfunding horror stories, there isn't any exotic, untested technology here. It's just a sheet metal enclosure so the risks are relatively low compared to something like Zano.

February 12, 2016 | 06:48 PM - Posted by darknas-36

I've been waiting a long time to see someone make an awesome looking Micro ATX case for gamers that like small systems

February 12, 2016 | 09:49 PM - Posted by Aibohphobia

Me too!

February 12, 2016 | 11:25 PM - Posted by erik_in_mich (not verified)

I like the case, and while the caselabs ITX solution is very nice, it seems to be geared to more complex watercooling setups at the sacrifice of a compact form factor. Cerberus is just (IMO) beautifully optimised to hold everything most could want except empty space. I also like the grassroots nature of its inception, but that US labor is painfully showing in the price point. I really hope it takes off, and I wish my use case (I have to use 5.25 bays for my work) and budget allowed for it.

February 15, 2016 | 12:18 AM - Posted by nem (not verified)

nice!.. shut up & take my bitcoins.. O.O

February 21, 2016 | 11:24 AM - Posted by vzangel (not verified)

It looks great, I'm looking forward to move my current system to a smaller case. I just wish it had support for ATX power supplies on the front, as I don't want to switch to water cooling.

March 1, 2016 | 11:44 PM - Posted by PylonSquelch

Love this case

March 12, 2016 | 07:48 PM - Posted by CJ WAKE (not verified)

I'm looking forward to seeing this being used as a frying pan.

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