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DAN Cases A4-SFX Crowdfunded Mini-ITX Case Review

Manufacturer: DAN Cases

Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion

You really can't make a mini-ITX case with full-length GPU support any smaller than this.

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The motherboard is nearly up against the power supply, with just enough room for the ATX power cable next to the RAM. There is up to 48 mm of clearance for the CPU cooler, and this Cryorig C7 (which I reviewed last year) comes in just under the limit at 47 mm. Other popular options such as the Noctua NH-L9i will fit as well, and finding a good cooler for your CPU under $40 should be simple with this amount of clearance.

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My GPU is a little larger than a reference cooler in height and length, and slightly larger GPUs would still fit. However, you will be strictly limited to GPUs that are of dual-slot width.

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A look from above illustrates just how compact the finished build is, but the vented design should allow for normal performance from my components. Now to replace the top and side panels for some benchmarks!

Temperatures and Noise

Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i5-6600K
Motherboard EVGA Z170 Stinger
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4
Graphics Card XFX AMD Radeon R9 290X Double Dissipation
Storage OCZ Vertex 460 120GB SSD
Power Supply SilverStone SX500-LG SFX-L 500W
OS Windows 8.1 64-bit

We begin with a look at temperatures, which were very good thanks to the excellent ventilation.

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With the top, sides, and bottom of the case vented there should not be an issue keeping components cool even under these cramped conditions. This comes at the expense of noise output, of course, and your components will be nearly as loud inside this enclosure as they would be in an open test bench environment. (No direct comparative data was available with this hardware configuration, but for results from a similar mITX setup with a different CPU cooler check out our Fractal Design Define Nano S review.)

Moving on to noise, my assumption was correct about the output to expect, though this is a pretty quiet mix of components anyhow, with max SPL levels just over 36 dBA.

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Quiet in, quiet out; as with all highly ventilated enclosures.

Conclusion

The DAN Cases A4-SFX is an ingenious design that takes a mini-ITX gaming system down to its smallest possible dimensions, and does so with style and premium build quality. It really has no flaws as it is, from design to engineering, perfectly executed. Any limitations are known going in, such as CPU cooler height and power supply form-factor, and these do not detract from the experience in my opinion as they are absolutely necessary for this enclosure size to work.

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I assembled what is only a mid-range gaming system by current standards, but nothing would prevent a build with most powerful mini-ITX platform and processor, and GPUs up to the top of the line from AMD or NVIDIA. SFX power supplies have now reached 800W, which is overkill for a single-GPU system anyhow, and my 500W PSU would power just about anything I could fit in here.

The only problem with the A4-SFX is that it is not in mass production, which means limited availability and the cost associated with producing this case in small batches. However, if you desire the ultimate small form-factor gaming rig, you will not find a better case, period.

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Video News


April 19, 2017 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Mnemonicman

Got the case and really now just waiting on Ryzen itx motherboards. There are definitely cheaper itx cases but almost none this small.

April 19, 2017 | 12:39 PM - Posted by Ophelos

Your in luck, Biostar just lunched it's mitx board.

https://videocardz.com/press-release/biostar-debuts-worlds-first-mini-it...

April 19, 2017 | 01:38 PM - Posted by Mnemonicman

Yeah they look good but I'd trade in that dvi port for more usb ports. And I think MSI or Gigabyte announced/leaked a possible itx board.

April 19, 2017 | 11:30 AM - Posted by anonymous

So you're saying the gpu temps are better than the other cases?

April 19, 2017 | 11:51 AM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I don't think you'll see much of a difference between temps open-air vs. inside the case, no. It is a very well-ventilated design, with vents above, below, and next to the GPU cooler. Much better ventilation than the typical enclosure; but no additional airflow from case fans, either.

April 19, 2017 | 12:53 PM - Posted by overpowerlol

Man that thing is as tight and a nuns.... *cough* joke book!
Looks good for a front room setup but I wouldn't want to lose a half decent cooler on a gaming pc.
I'm still rocking Fractal Design's Node 304. It's not the smallest but still small. AIO cooler, full length windforce x3, 4x Noctua quiet fans and 2 SSDs with room to spare.

Really can't see me ditching it any time soon.
Might be a good option for some if this is difficult to get hold of.

April 19, 2017 | 04:10 PM - Posted by pdjblum

awesome review of yet another gorgeous aluminum mini itx case

you answered all the questions as to my concerns with tolerances in the build for heatsink, psu, and graphics along with everything else

still can't find the PC-Q17 WX for sale and this think is only available on kickstarter at the end of May

and those biostar mini itx 350 and 370 boards are also no where to be found

so want to build a system, but no one wants to take my money

thanks so much for doing another aluminum case review

maybe you can get one of these to review: LIAN LI PC-V359WRX Black/Red Aluminum MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case

yet another one I would be happy to use, but always shows out of stock at newegg; i don't know if it is discontinued or a new product that is still not in stock

April 19, 2017 | 04:19 PM - Posted by Chasp_0

Sweet little case! Could surely do with a better name though,
"whats that case?"
"oh its a Dancase"
"whos Dan and why do you have his case?"

yah see?

April 19, 2017 | 07:40 PM - Posted by LauRoman

Can you fit a quad channel, 44 thread, car priced build in there? Yes, yes you can...

April 20, 2017 | 07:05 AM - Posted by Jann5s

Dan is about to launch another kickstarter campaign at the end of May for the V2 version of the case.

April 20, 2017 | 08:38 AM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

If only it wasn't £250 :(

April 20, 2017 | 01:59 PM - Posted by Activate_AMD

Looked pretty hard at one of these as an alternative to my ncase M1, but it seems like HSF and motherboard compatibility are issues. Yes, there are options in the size range required, but as soon as you start looking to overclock the CPU a bit, the choice narrows a lot. Certain motherboards like the Asus ITX boards with the weird VRM daughterboard setup run into clearance problems and ram compatibility is a challenge. Even if I ignored the fact that I'd be replacing one expensive tiny case with another, the limitations seemed like a bit too much of a sacrifice.

It is beautifully designed though.

April 21, 2017 | 02:14 AM - Posted by Gerry

fair play to the reader who sent this in for review. really wanted to see more of this in depth. would love a build video [or a tiny tom logan~ type in depth review about it] but i realise its too late and probably too much too ask. i bought one of the first batch of ncase m1's and had i not i would have insta bought this, i think the concept of both of them is beautiful.

April 22, 2017 | 05:08 AM - Posted by ocmunkee

Just a quick update - I purchased the A4-SFX through the initial kickstarter.

I LOVE it, but it will perform better with a blower fan GPU as it helps exhaust the heat immediately.

I'm running a Silverstone SX500-LG to power:
Asus Z97I-Plus, i5 4570 (slightly undervolted and OCed), 2x8GB Corsair Vengeance LP
Gigabyte GTX 1080 FE (previously Strix 970)
1TB 840 EVO **AND** 2TB Samsung Spinpoint

It is 100% possible to run 2x2.5" drives with an SFX-L PSU.

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