Version 3 of the NCASE M1 Crowdfunded Mini-ITX Case up for Pre-Order

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 15, 2014 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, ncase, mini-itx, m1, enclosure, case, aluminum case

The NCASE M1 once famously posed next to a can of soda, and the rest is (unlicensed) history...

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The M1 next to a can of some mystery drink that I've never seen before

Now the M1 is back for another round of pre-orders, with the price set at $185 for the microscopic, all-aluminum enclosure. The catch is that once again the enclosure ships directly from the OEM (Lian Li) in Taiwan, which means that import duty and taxes will be extra. Shipping this writer's abode in the province of the USA known as "Michigan" ranged from $30 for the slowest imaginable ocean freight, to a (comparatively) reasonable $55 for much faster air shipping.

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Christmas is coming... Why not order 2? Or 5?

You may have been one of the (approximately) millions who read our review of this fantastic little enclosure, but just for old time's sake you can always read it again! The review features many photos of the case interior and exterior, as well as a some build examples to give readers an idea of what to expect before committing to the case sight-unseen.

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Exploded view of the aluminum (or aluminium for our readers in the UK) construction

So what's different with the 3rd version? Here's the official change log from the hardforum page:

  • Braces added to bottom corners of chassis for increased rigidity/decreased probability of wobbling
  • 0.3mm decrease in side and front panel height
  • Extra QC for wobbling & panel uniformity
  • Changed model ID plate to read "V3.0" in place of "V2.0"
  • SFX bracket raised 2mm and flange trimmed for better SFX-L support
  • Additional motherboard standoffs added for compact mATX boards (226x173mm max w/SFX bracket)
  • Slightly increased CPU cutout size

The M1's dimensions are just (HxWxD) 240mm x 160mm x 328mm, which translates to 9.45" x 6.30" x 12.91". The pre-order is currently open, but no offical word on when the newest production run will be finished and shipping just yet.

Source: NCASE

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December 15, 2014 | 10:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

these cases....the less material they use, they more you have to pay for it.

December 15, 2014 | 11:52 PM - Posted by Cw (not verified)

As a small run case. This is not that expensive.

I have a V1 and it look very good. You can get water cooling and a high end graphics card in a very small area.

December 16, 2014 | 02:24 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

you must like getting ripped off or over paying for things.

185 USD is expensive for any case.

December 16, 2014 | 03:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well its not on the cheap side but its also a Lian Li case with high build quality and a huge amount of flexibility.

But yes you can get cheaper cases like the Node 304 but i just ordered my V3

December 16, 2014 | 03:47 AM - Posted by Dood (not verified)

These cases are great. I have 2 of them (A V1 and a V2). While there was some problems with fitting some parts in there because of its small size, it is well worth it. The only thing that comes close are the Silverstone HTPC cases.

December 16, 2014 | 05:48 AM - Posted by MC Mikey Mike (not verified)

The main problem I guess, is that the V3 doesn't come in a third colour, so there no point collecting them all!

December 16, 2014 | 08:33 AM - Posted by Cybergit (not verified)

Yes it's expensive but as someone who has been building PCs since the early 90's this is the best case I have ever used. There comes a time in your life where you just want the passive components of your system, to be well designed, work well and last. I've had it with cheep cases! This case will last me 10 years, with a planned upgrade of the internals every three years. With a good quality case I get to concentrate on the active components of the system rather than the "box". Thhink of this case as a once in a decade purchase!
The fact that it was designed by case nerds (boffins for UK readers) shows in every single part of the design. Putting my system together with this case was so easy and the build time I save was well worth the extra cost. Designed and built by nerds for nerds.

December 16, 2014 | 11:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

sure for us its always good to get a solid case and upgrade the insides.

I've had my rock solid case for 10+ years as well.
but try to explain this to your everyday person looking for a new rig, they'd rather keep that 200 in their pocket and worry about the case when the time comes.

not many consumers have that forward vision.

December 26, 2014 | 04:47 PM - Posted by icebug

I have a V1 myself and I also feel the same way. The best part of this case is even though it is super small it is still one of the most versatile cases out there. It's really like 8 cases in one! I think it is the best PC hardware purchase that I have ever made.

December 16, 2014 | 09:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Surprisingly given the size, assembling a system in my Ncase (V2) was the easiest assembly I've ever done, compared to a P180 and a 550D. Very well designed.

December 16, 2014 | 11:11 AM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

These things look amazing. If only there was a mATX version of it I would place an order in a heart beat. I currently have a Cooler Master 690 and am moving every desktop in the house into a mATX form factor. ATX cases are a waste of space and having all my machines on the same platform size makes it a lot easier for me to move parts between them as I go through repairs or upgrade cycles. Typically as I upgrade my gaming machine the parts get passed down to family members gaming machines and their old parts end up in the HTPC.

December 16, 2014 | 12:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

While not mATX, the Ncase can fit mini-DTX boards (like an ITX extended to have 2/3 PCI-E slots). These will often be sold as 'mATX' boards.

December 16, 2014 | 05:00 PM - Posted by Grimmy

Amazing case. I got the version 1.
With some few modifications I got i5-4670K, Corsair H60 Hydro, GTX780Ti and full ATX600w inside. 2x 240Gb SSD and 1x 4Tb HDD.
All my 300+ steam games (and Origin, GOG & uplay)
Crazy small and light & silent.
Move it between my "game"-room and the tv room :)

wish that the SFX600 had been available in dec 2013 when I built my system then it would have been easier to fit.

December 17, 2014 | 10:37 PM - Posted by PCPerFan (not verified)

I got my v2 for $185 + 20. I'm disappointed that the price has actually increased.

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