DAN Cases A4-SFX Crowdfunded Mini-ITX Case Review
Completed Build, Performance, and Conclusion
You really can't make a mini-ITX case with full-length GPU support any smaller than this.
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.
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.
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
|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.
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.
Quiet in, quiet out; as with all highly ventilated enclosures.
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.
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.