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Old April 19, 2015, 06:33 PM
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Default Inverse: A Highly Versatile Console Form-Factor Case

Hi everyone, I'm here to tell you about an exciting PC case design that I am working on. It is called "Inverse". I would very much appreciate any comments and criticisms you may have regarding its design!


My venture into the world of custom-designed cases began when I started building in the tiny Minibox M350 case. Being in a long-distance relationship, I needed something small and powerful so I can take my research with me on a 13-hour train ride every weekend. My pragmatic need for a portable PC soon developed into a full-on obsession as I find myself endlessly tweaking parts and designing mounts to cram as many components as I could into every last bit of space. It is from this obsession that "Inverse" was born.

Shaped by the ethos of fitting the most performance and versatility into the smallest amount of space, Inverse is a sub-10L computer case that can accommodate a full-length graphics card, a 240mm closed-loop liquid cooler, 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives, and a SFX power supply. Its versatile internal layout accommodates hard-core gamers, enthusiasts enamored with water cooling, media hoarders looking to create their own home theater, and anyone in between. Its smooth yet eye-catching exterior will blend into and enhance any desktop or home theater setup.





No exhaust holes on top for a smooth and unobtrusive look.
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All intake holes on the bottom.
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Patterned exhaust holes on the front and side gives a unique flair.
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The power button, 2 x USB 3.0, and headphone/microphone jack are placed on the side. Internal components are inverted to allow a smooth top panel.
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Monitors, speakers, and other desktop peripherals may be placed on top to created an integrated entertainment unit with minimal footprint.
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Available in black, white, and possibly other colors. Let me know what you like!
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Specifications:
Dimension: 463mm x 308mm x 70mm (9.98L)

Material: 1.5mm aluminum for the exterior, and 1.5mm steel for the interior skeleton.

Inverse is designed with 4 interior configurations in mind, though other configurations are possible.

1) Gaming with air cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate air coolers up to 55mm in height.
v) Accommodate up to 3 x 3.5" drives and 4 x 2.5" drives.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

2) Gaming with 120mm closed-loop liquid cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate closed-loop liquid coolers with 120mm radiator and total thickness (including fan) of no more than 60mm.
v) Accommodate up to 1-3 x 3.5" drives and 2-4 x 2.5" drives, depending on the height of the water block.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

3) Gaming with 240mm closed-loop liquid cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate closed-loop liquid coolers with 240mm radiator and total thickness (including fan) of no more than 60mm.
v) Accommodate up to 0-1 x 3.5" drives and 2-4 x 2.5" drives, depending on the height of the water block.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

4) Media Storage
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
v) Accommodate up to 6 x 3.5" drives and 8 x 2.5" drives.


No ODD supported for any configuration. This is to maintain the smooth look of the exterior, as well as make room to accommodate a 240mm aio cooler.



Project Status:
1) We are in the process of contacting local workshops to do a first prototype for testing. Hopefully we can receive the first sample in a few weeks.

2) We are working on getting updated quotes from the hundred or so manufacturers we have contacted in US, China, and Taiwan. Prior negotiation suggests that we will be able to sell this for less than $100 USD/unit. We are continuing to negotiate a lower price without sacrificing quality. The goal is to get it close to the price range of the Silverstone RVZ01.



FAQ:
1)
Q: There are no exhaust holes on the top, only on the sides. Doesn't that go against "hot air rises"? How would that impact temperatures?

A: The effects of hot air rising are negligible compared to the forces produced by fans. Please read this article for reference.
2)
Q: You are drawing cold air in from the bottom only. How tall does the case feet have to be before heating becomes compromised?

A: I did a study on this, and it suggests that the case feet just has to be above 9 mm in height, which is pretty standard. I own the Silverstone ML07, and its feet measure 10 mm in height. Here is the link to the study I did.


Thanks for reading!
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Old April 22, 2015, 11:10 PM
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Only thing I noticed is that there isn't a reset button. I don't suppose it would be too difficult to locate it beside the power/usb/audio jacks.
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Old April 24, 2015, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krajee View Post
Only thing I noticed is that there isn't a reset button. I don't suppose it would be too difficult to locate it beside the power/usb/audio jacks.
That should be a very easy fix. I will look into that!
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Old April 24, 2015, 01:11 PM
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My only concern is with the "patterned" holes. While I agree it looks great it is really going to limit airflow in and out. Personally I would prefer larger holes....especially the bottom intakes which won't be seen (open the bottom intakes up as much as possible).
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Old April 24, 2015, 01:19 PM
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Also, not sure what the internal layout is like, but for future revisions, maybe see if there is a way to accommodate an ATX PSU...not sure what limitations it would cause. Not for all versions , but maybe one.
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Old April 24, 2015, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond007 View Post
My only concern is with the "patterned" holes. While I agree it looks great it is really going to limit airflow in and out. Personally I would prefer larger holes....especially the bottom intakes which won't be seen (open the bottom intakes up as much as possible).
Isn't this the same builder who presented us with quite substantial testing results WRT best placement of intakes?
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Old April 24, 2015, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond007 View Post
My only concern is with the "patterned" holes. While I agree it looks great it is really going to limit airflow in and out. Personally I would prefer larger holes....especially the bottom intakes which won't be seen (open the bottom intakes up as much as possible).
I'm kinda concerned about that too, so I decided to do some tests on the effects of exhaust hole area on heating within a confined computer case. Let me finish it up and then we can analyze the data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond007 View Post
Also, not sure what the internal layout is like, but for future revisions, maybe see if there is a way to accommodate an ATX PSU...not sure what limitations it would cause. Not for all versions , but maybe one.
I do have a design that accommodates ATX PSUs in mind, but that's for a future project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
Isn't this the same builder who presented us with quite substantial testing results WRT best placement of intakes?
I presented a test on bottom air intake a few weeks ago. The main gist of it is that if you don't block the holes that don't have intake fans over them, hot air recirculates and brings up the internal temperatures. However, that test does not quantify the effects of more exhaust holes on better cooling. I'm working on that right now.
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Old April 24, 2015, 02:29 PM
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Let me start by saying that I do like the case. Congrats!

BUT...with that being said you are fighting the natural flow of hot air. With the mobo upside down in the case...convection will have the hot air passively 'sticking' to the motherboard before being pushed out the sides of the case. That means higher CPU temps. IF you had flipped the mobo so it was sitting on the bottom the air would flow up and out the sides of the box without first heating up the mobo and cpu.

Yes it would mean losing the bottom mounted fan...but with a HTPC noise is the enemy....and to suck the heat out you will need high performance fan (ie high noise). If done properly (motherboard on bottom) the PSU fan itself would have create enough air flow to make a another fan unnecessary. The only way to salvage the setup is IF there is enough room for a single bay 120mm AIO....then the mobo orientation does not matter.
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Old April 24, 2015, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AkG View Post
Let me start by saying that I do like the case. Congrats!

BUT...with that being said you are fighting the natural flow of hot air. With the mobo upside down in the case...convection will have the hot air passively 'sticking' to the motherboard before being pushed out the sides of the case. That means higher CPU temps. IF you had flipped the mobo so it was sitting on the bottom the air would flow up and out the sides of the box without first heating up the mobo and cpu.

Yes it would mean losing the bottom mounted fan...but with a HTPC noise is the enemy....and to suck the heat out you will need high performance fan (ie high noise). If done properly (motherboard on bottom) the PSU fan itself would have create enough air flow to make a another fan unnecessary. The only way to salvage the setup is IF there is enough room for a single bay 120mm AIO....then the mobo orientation does not matter.
Thanks! I'm glad you like it.

Configuration #2 and #3 of Inverse supports 120mm and 240mm AIO coolers respectively, so I don't think you need to worry

Also, I believe the hot air sticking effect you described is negligible. Here is a test that I did where I inverted my Minibox M350 in the same fashion as Inverse. What I found is that as long as there is a >9mm space beneath the case, the difference in CPU load temperature between the upright and inverted configuration is negligible. This article further supports my findings.
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Old April 24, 2015, 07:17 PM
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If I am reading that article correctly it has more to do with vertical vs horizontal orientation. At one time it was thought that motherboard heatsinks would not work properly if not in the 'normal' orientation. Specifically the heatpipes wouldnt work. It was found to be incorrect long ago as the heatpipes have wicks in them that make it a moot question.

As for your test...you are using two 120mm fans. That is not what most people look for when looking for a small HTPC case. Passive is what most want. Redo your test without any fans, see what you get. ;)

Either way take it as feedback. Im not saying I am right, just giving you a POV on someone who builds a fair number of HTPC / SFF systems...and personally while I like the look of it, the layout is why I would skip the case for my customers builds. YMMV
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