Easy mini-ITX? Who would ever have thought you’d hear those words strung together? Not me, that’s for sure, and a lot of the PC building community would be inclined to agree. But despite that, the folks from a small Swedish company called Louqe have just conjured a new chassis that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It is, above all else, minimalist, elegant, beautiful, and to my surprise, possibly the easiest Mini-ITX case the world has ever seen, all while also being incredibly compact and thermally capable.
But there’s a lot missing in this equation for simple perfection too. For example, there’s no watercooling or radiator support, and nor air filtration. Heck, there’s not even any front IO beyond a USB Type-C port – and that’s at one of the back corners of the chassis. And it’s expensive, carrying an MSRP of $329.
The Louqe Raw S1 is, in that way, not a versatile case. There’s only one layout. But in not trying to be everything at once, I believe the Louqe Raw S1 may have come close to mini ITX perfection, fitting for our Best PC Cases list. Let’s get to know it, shall we?
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||14.9 x 6.8 x 7.5 inches (379 x 172 x 191 mm)|
|Max GPU Length||12.6 inches (320 mm)|
|CPU Cooler Height||2.95 inches (75 mm)|
|Max PSU Size||SFX, SFX-L|
|Internal Bays||1x 2.5-inch|
|Rear Fans||Up to 1x 120mm|
|Top Fans||Up to 1x 140mm|
As you tour around the Louqe Raw S1, it’s immediately obvious that there’s not much to this chassis. It’s incredibly compact at just 14.9 inches tall, 6.8 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep. In ITX terms, this chassis has a volume of 12 liters, which is indeed very small – for context, very, very few cases achieve a volume below 10 liters, and any that do have to make significant sacrifices to pull it off. Even the small Meshlicious case from Lian Li spinoff Ssupd is noticeably larger at 14.67 liters.
Coming back to the Raw S1’s outer shell: It’s made from a single piece of milled, bead-blasted, etched and anodized aluminum in a classy ‘Rhodium Gray’ color. Along its sides are large cutouts from the milling process, creating a mesh-like intake with a playful, yet strong industrial look.
This design, paired with the thick shell makes the Raw S1 ooze quality like few other cases do. It might not come with filtration, but the ‘Raw’ part of its name is very appropriate. It’s aggressively open on the sides, allowing for plenty of fresh air intake.
Circle to the rear of the chassis, and you’ll spot the same mesh pattern, but only at the top. This is the exhaust location. The top of the chassis is almost entirely closed off, but with an assisted exhaust at the rear, I don’t think this will be a problem.
You’ll notice that there is no immediately visible front IO. This is because the Raw S1 basically doesn’t come with any, other than the Type-C port at the back. Of course, this isn’t really an issue, as the system is light and it’s easy to tip over to access the full-glory IO at the bottom, but it’s something to keep in mind when planning a desk setup.
A Quick Comparison
Placing the Raw S1 between my trusty first-gen NCase M1 (I know it looks a little worse for wear, it has served me well) and the Phanteks Evolv Shift 2, it’s clear that the footprint of the Raw S1 is smaller than both these cases. It’s also significantly more expensive than the other two, with the NCase M1 currently costing about $210 and the Evolv Shift 2 just $100. But the materials quality of the Raw S1 is miles ahead of both these alternatives, so I wouldn’t say that the $330 price is unjust for what it is.
Opening up the Raw S1
To open up the chassis, you start by laying it upside down on a cloth. Then, you undo four securing screws on the outside of the chassis and undo the locking mechanisms on the USB Type-C port and power button and budge these out of place.
Then, using the handle in the middle, you simply pull the core out from its outer shell.
The case’s core is built with a red spine to house the sandwiched layout system. On its left side you’ll spot room for an ITX motherboard and the SFX power supply at the top, and the right of the spine is where you’ll install the graphics card.
But there’s room for a little more. At the top, behind the power supply, you’ll be able to install a cooling fan, and underneath the PSU there’s room for a 2.5-inch drive – though chances are you’ll want to use an M.2 drive, as space is a scarce commodity here. You can install a 140mm fan at the top exhaust, but it will require taking apart the top of the outer shell to reach the mounts. And connecting the cable will be challenging, as it would be the only component that’s not fixed to the main core of the chassis itself.
Confusing? Worry not, the build on the next page will make it a lot easier to visualize a system in this case.
In designing this chassis, Louqe also wanted to ensure native PCI-Express 4.0 support, which is why that blue ‘ribbon’ cable looks as funky as it does. Traditional PCIe Riser cables generally have a lot of issues with PCIe 4.0, and even those claiming to support Gen 4 often don’t. Louqe claims that this is one that really does support PCIe Gen 4, but because I don’t have a Gen 4 GPU nor a Gen4 ITX motherboard & CPU on-site to test with, the best we can do is take their word on it.
A Tiny Collection of Included Accessories
What you see here is the entirety of the box and contents of the accessory bag. You get the chassis, four screws to secure the PSU, and eight (mine included one too many) more general-use screws for securing the motherboard is all you get. But chances are you won’t need even half of them – I only needed four.