Crowdfunded NCase M1 Mini-ITX enthusiast chassis inches toward reality

By on February 15, 2013, 7:30 AM

Although there are some solid small form factor cases available, none of them are perfect -- at least not if you're Wahaha360 and Necere from HardOCP's forum. Disappointed by popular enclosures such as the SilverStone SG05, the guys teamed up last year to design their ideal chassis. After months of feedback from HardOCP members and Lian Li engineers, the pair have unveiled the fruits of their labor: the NCase M1.

Some of the M1's specs could change by the time it hits production, but on paper, the 12.59-liter box has the features you'd expect from a standard enthusiast chassis. At 160 x 328 x 240mm (250mm with the feet -- 6.29 x 12.91 x 9.44in), the case is designed for Mini-ITX motherboards, which is more compact than MicroATX at 170mm long versus 244mm and allows the M1 to house a power supply in a unique top front position.

Besides supporting standard ATX power supplies, the M1 can accommodate a triple-slot graphics card up to 317.5mm (12.50in) long, a processor cooler up to 105mm (4.13in) tall, four 120mm fans and one 80/92mm fan, dual 120mm radiators, as many as three 3.5in or four 2.5in storage drives, and one slim slot-loading optical drive. The front panel carries two USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks around a central power button.

As we hinted above, the M1 is still in a prerelease phase. NCase wants to have two prototypes made by Lian Li soon, but they need a few bucks to get started. The team is asking for $3,000 via Indiegogo and they're a little over halfway there with four weeks to go. Once the prototypes are created and the design is refined, NCase plans to gather funding for a limited production run where the M1 will be sold for $160 to $200.

There are only four donation tiers: $1 gets you a pat on the back, $5 earns you a mention on NCase's site, $10 puts you on a priority shipment list for the production run and $2,000 scores you a prototype when NCase is done testing. Besides helping two enthusiasts build their dream case, NCase says backing the project will prove to companies that getting involved with the community can break stagnation and promote innovation.




User Comments: 16

Got something to say? Post a comment
Stupido Stupido said:

Actually a nice case (layout), but too expensive... me thinks...

EEatGDL said:

I like it for its size. What they did to being able to put the PSU that way is pretty nice.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Unless you're the type of person who likes to lug your case around I see no reason for them.

Guest said:

Wait a minute, you can donate $2000 and get a prototype or wait until their done and buy one for 160-200?

Let me think about this...

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's good to see individuals innovating and they do need financial backing but ~200 skins for a case of this size & type is ludicrous.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

It's good to see individuals innovating and they do need financial backing but ~200 skins for a case of this size & type is ludicrous.

It's not. I pay this much for all my lian-li cases. I've bought about 8 in the last 3 years. For someone who demands quality and a certain aesthetic, it's worth it. I cannot stand the design of most cases; they look far to aggressive and weird. I prefer a monolithic, elegant look. You need to pay for quality manufacturing with aluminum instead of plastic and steel.

Unless you're the type of person who likes to lug your case around I see no reason for them.

Again, not true. I spent a lot of time modifying a Lian-Li PC-Q25 (a similar size case) for my desk so that that it could still have the power I needed and fit comfortably on my desk without taking up too much space. I have a large desk, too, but I need work space for projects.

Littleczr Littleczr said:

I love the case. To bad I already bought an corsair obsidian 550d, which is still in a box next to my speakers. I been wanting to build one of these, but don't want to sped the extra money.

howzz1854 said:

Unless you're the type of person who likes to lug your case around I see no reason for them.

I don't lug my case around, but I find those cases useful. for one in the bedroom. I don't foresee myself putting a 65lb full tower on top of our dresser. that for sure ain't gonna sit well with the wife.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Damn, I've been trying to work myself into the mainstream and try to make a matx or atx build... Trying to convince myself that I was done with my ITX fad... but this case is basically a temjin 07 or 08e but better airflow/ options for liquid cooling, which is basically want I want (except in the mini ITX fflavor). While the price of the case is out of my comfort zone, I can still see myself getting one.

Trechie said:

The closest thing to the perfect smallish form factor case imho is the Silverstone Temjin TJ08B-E. I have it sitting on the floor next to a shelf below my flat screen and use it as an HTPC with an old iPhone using HippoRemote as the mouse/keyboard. These guys need to move the power button and usb ports closer to the top of the case for easy reach (like the Temjin), make sure they have easily removable dust filters at all fan entry/exit points (like the Temjin), and make sure their fans' speed can be controlled by the processor (unlike the Temjin - this is a weakness of the Temjin - although it does have a hi/low option for the main fan). Also, versatile slim loaded drives (that can also burn BluRays) are expensive, hard to find, and don't play dvds of all sizes. With the price of this case at $200 already, you are looking at an expensive build for no reason. Close to perfect? maybe. Perfect? Not yet. (the Temjin can also house micro-atx boards unlike this one, which can only support mini-itx)

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

Looks nice, I haven't been overly impressed with previous Mini-itx cases, so I'm hoping this changes things.

JC713 JC713 said:

Very interesting

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The closest thing to the perfect smallish form factor case imho is the Silverstone Temjin TJ08B-E. I have it sitting on the floor next to a shelf below my flat screen and use it as an HTPC with an old iPhone using HippoRemote as the mouse/keyboard. These guys need to move the power button and usb ports closer to the top of the case for easy reach (like the Temjin), make sure they have easily removable dust filters at all fan entry/exit points (like the Temjin), and make sure their fans' speed can be controlled by the processor (unlike the Temjin - this is a weakness of the Temjin - although it does have a hi/low option for the main fan). Also, versatile slim loaded drives (that can also burn BluRays) are expensive, hard to find, and don't play dvds of all sizes. With the price of this case at $200 already, you are looking at an expensive build for no reason. Close to perfect? maybe. Perfect? Not yet. (the Temjin can also house micro-atx boards unlike this one, which can only support mini-itx)

I've been looking long and hard at the Temjin 08B-E, wondering how I can shoehorn two AIO liquid cooling loops (140mm in the front and 120mm in the rear) but still get as many 3.5" HDD drives in as possible... If I forgo the optical drive I can fit four up top, but I want an optical drive... another option is to get a slim tray burner and bytecc adapter that allows a HDD in the same spot, which would be two drives up top, but a slow(er) optical drive. Oh the options...

If I were to build using this M1 though, I'd basically have to forgo mechanical drives entirely, since many configuration options reduce your storage options.

Trechie said:

I've been looking long and hard at the Temjin 08B-E, wondering how I can shoehorn two AIO liquid cooling loops (140mm in the front and 120mm in the rear) but still get as many 3.5" HDD drives in as possible... If I forgo the optical drive I can fit four up top, but I want an optical drive... another option is to get a slim tray burner and bytecc adapter that allows a HDD in the same spot, which would be two drives up top, but a slow(er) optical drive. Oh the options...

If I were to build using this M1 though, I'd basically have to forgo mechanical drives entirely, since many configuration options reduce your storage options.

If you need mass storage, Synology offers some of the best NAS boxes around. You can have a small SSD for your OS and stream everything from the NAS.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have enough older computers lying around that I'd just run one of those as my mass storage. Wait, I already do that with a 2U chassis and parts from a computer I made 3 years ago. I have this dumb assumption that I'll always want significant mechanical storage for every computer I build. I do know Synology makes solid NAS solutions. =o

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

That's probably the nicest looking mini itx case I've seen yet.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.