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A Mini-ITX Case for Enthusiasts, by Enthusiasts, Crowdfunded

By - Source: Hardforum | B 30 comments

The NCASE M1 Prototype is a bona-fide enthusiast mini-ITX case. Yes, you read that correctly

We're not trying to get you to read an article about a so called "high-end" HTPC case, what we have here is a community designed and crowdfunded project to make a mini-ITX enclosure that will house the most powerful CPUs and hold the most brutal graphics cards. Combine this with the the capacity for internal watercooling and it's clear that the NCASE M1 prototype is something that PC enthusiasts can and should get properly excited about.

The folks behind this are two enthusiasts from Hardforum who designed this enclosure due to their belief that "the potential of the Mini-ITX form factor has been stunted by the lack of high performance cases currently available for the platform. We also share a dissatisfaction towards the overuse of plastic, mediocre aesthetics, bloated case dimensions and lack of watercooling support common to many Mini-ITX cases".

The case measures in at 240 mm by 160 mm by 328 mm and obviously the weight is unknown since no prototype has been built yet. The case supports both mini-ITX and mini-DTX motherboards, along with graphics cards that eat up up to three expansion slots. Graphics cards with two-slot coolers can be up to 12.5" long, and with three slot coolers up to 11-inces long. The CPU cooler can be up to 105 mm tall and the enclosure can support both 120 mm radiators along with 240 mm radiators in multiple positions.

Also included are up to three 3.5" HDD mounts, three 2.5" drive mounts and one mount for a slim optical drive. The power supplies that will fit include SFX and ATX form factors, the former giving a bit more room for expansion or water cooling. Front I/O features two USB 3.0 ports along with a headphone and microphone jack.

The NCASE M1 has already reached its $3,000 funding goal on Indiegogo and has announced that the chassis will be built by none other than Lian Li and is expected to have a market price of between $160 and $200. If you'd like to contribute to the project, $10 will get you on the early shipping list (delivery by April 2013) and $2,000 will get you the actual prototype after testing is complete.


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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , February 19, 2013 2:12 PM
    With Lian Li behind it this could be a sweet little quality case.
    Not sure if $160 is a bit on the high side, will have to see the details when it is actually available.
  • 10 Hide
    truprecht , February 19, 2013 2:38 PM
    This is clearly intended for high-performance graphics (3-slot cards) and overclocking (240mm radiator), not an HTPC. There are already plenty of similar HTPC-appropriate cases, for example:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112339

    That said, I don't know why Lian-Li wouldn't just make the case without the kickstarter rigmarole. There don't appear to be any radical new features that aren't already included in some existing Lian Li case.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    master_chen , February 19, 2013 2:05 PM
    Whoah...that looks even more interesting than BitFenix's Prodigy...can't wait to get my hands on this baby.
  • 11 Hide
    freggo , February 19, 2013 2:12 PM
    With Lian Li behind it this could be a sweet little quality case.
    Not sure if $160 is a bit on the high side, will have to see the details when it is actually available.
  • 3 Hide
    foxmulder_ms , February 19, 2013 2:26 PM
    Like it.
  • -7 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 19, 2013 2:27 PM
    I like the idea, the only issue that I can see is that exhausting lots of heat outside the case is not as good as not producing lots of heat to begin with
    ...
    If this was to be used as a HTPC, for example, it could potentially be placed in an enclosed cupboard with a glass front so IR remotes can be used, but heat exhausted from the case would just build up in the cupboard and the ambient temperature would overwhelm whatever cooling solution you used
    ...
    Sat on a desk, fine, sat in a cupboard, not fine
  • 10 Hide
    truprecht , February 19, 2013 2:38 PM
    This is clearly intended for high-performance graphics (3-slot cards) and overclocking (240mm radiator), not an HTPC. There are already plenty of similar HTPC-appropriate cases, for example:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112339

    That said, I don't know why Lian-Li wouldn't just make the case without the kickstarter rigmarole. There don't appear to be any radical new features that aren't already included in some existing Lian Li case.
  • -3 Hide
    Non-Euclidean , February 19, 2013 2:39 PM
    I really wonder why it needs watercooling. Arent we getting away from CPUs that produce prodigious amounts of heat? If so, then wouldnt fans be sufficient for the graphics card? Or is the driving force behind this to have a small case for you to burn up overclocked AMD CPUs in?
  • 8 Hide
    truprecht , February 19, 2013 2:45 PM
    Non-EuclideanOr is the driving force behind this to have a small case for you to burn up overclocked AMD CPUs in?


    The intent is to sell them in colder climates with AMD CPU's as combination gaming computers / space heaters.
  • 1 Hide
    Cazalan , February 19, 2013 2:59 PM
    The airflow doesn't look very good.

    3 - 120mm in, 1 80mm out.
  • -2 Hide
    Onus , February 19, 2013 3:03 PM
    Too expensive. If one can buy a modest, but decent, ATX or mATX case for $60-$70, why not mini-ITX at that price? Is engineering and construction that much more difficult?
  • -1 Hide
    MrSlavw , February 19, 2013 3:07 PM
    160 - 200$ ... ? I think the main concept of "mini " is lost.
  • 5 Hide
    RedundantInk , February 19, 2013 3:09 PM
    onusToo expensive. If one can buy a modest, but decent, ATX or mATX case for $60-$70, why not mini-ITX at that price? Is engineering and construction that much more difficult?


    Severe lack of competition combined with mini-ITX being a niche form factor is what keeps the prices high. I'm really hoping this case does well and hopefully we'll see more companies releasing these types of cases
  • 6 Hide
    mrmotion , February 19, 2013 3:11 PM
    Non-EuclideanI really wonder why it needs watercooling. Arent we getting away from CPUs that produce prodigious amounts of heat?


    If you have to ask, your not the market it is geared for. I love the idea. Good job guys, looking forward to having one!
  • 6 Hide
    bigdragon , February 19, 2013 3:40 PM
    I love that compact design, but I hate the asking price. I'm shocked no one has made a case like this yet. I've gotten really into shrinking the size of my desktop PC. Smaller Micro ATX and Mini ITX machines are so much more appealing than the old ATX behemoths.
  • 3 Hide
    pguerrerox , February 19, 2013 3:40 PM
    nice case,
    would like to have it (now that im completing my Mini-ITX build )

    but the price at 160 is expensive, maybe after the launch another brands copy some of the features and make some good ITX cases.
  • 0 Hide
    biggestinsect , February 19, 2013 3:42 PM
    This looks good. Case Labs also has an ITX case in the oven. It will be, of course, of outstanding build quality but probably cost even more. If price is the thing the BitFenix is the way to go. For ultimate quality and flexibility - Case Labs but this should be no slouch.
  • 4 Hide
    wunderlich86 , February 19, 2013 4:31 PM
    Dislaimer: I'm involved with this project

    The designer of this case has a Reddit post for inquiries.
    www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/18m5qm/ncase_m1_a_crowdfunded_miniitx_case/?sort=new
  • -4 Hide
    ta152h , February 19, 2013 4:54 PM
    I'm going to sue the company. Their design style clearly was stolen by a brick I have in the front of my yard.

    Probably Google photographed it, and they saw it and decided to make a case with the same "sexy" styling.
  • 0 Hide
    wunderlich86 , February 19, 2013 4:54 PM
    ......
  • -1 Hide
    spidey81 , February 19, 2013 5:15 PM
    As nice as that case is, I'd rather put my money towards a true community driven case. Check out the overclock.net mod of the month from November. There are a couple members there that are making this into a limited production case. Also, here's the h web page for anyone that's curious.
  • 0 Hide
    spidey81 , February 19, 2013 5:41 PM
    Don't know why the link didn't show up in my post...

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