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Scratch Build – In Progress DAN A4-SFX: The smallest gaming case in the world

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by dondan, 12 Sep 2014.

  1. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    If you buy one, you can try it ;)
     
  2. ApheX-E

    ApheX-E What's a Dremel?

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    Loving the case Dondan. It's a nice design, liking the simple, minimal look of the outside. I'd like to see if you could get a all in one cpu water cooler inside, however this would be something i would consider for an Itx build.
     
  3. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    Because the cooler test is still in progress here are three pictures to make the waitingtime bearable...


    MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G fits easily and perfectly in the A4-SFX
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Asrock Z77E-ITX with Phanteks PH-TC12LS (Scythe Kaze Jyu Slim 100mm FAN) fits also easily.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Dover8

    Dover8 What's a Dremel?

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    Weight?

    What is the net weight of the case, and the total weight of it with a full setup installed?
     
  5. ALS

    ALS Minimodder

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  6. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    DAN A4-SFX cooling performance:
    [​IMG]

    Introduction:
    Below, I want to inform you about the cooling performance of the DAN A4-SFX, because many potential buyers are sceptical that powerful hardware can be cooled in this case.
    Also, the test should determine which CPU coolers with a maximum installation height of 48mm is suitable for this case.

    Many readers are also interested in: How a Top-Blow cooler graphics card will perform in this case. This question is intended to clarify as well.


    Testsystem:
    The following hardware has been used for the results:

    • CPU: Intel Xeon 1230v2 3,5Ghz TPD 69W (Ivy Bridge)
    • GPU1: Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 reference design
    • GPU2: MSI Geforce GTX 970 Gaming 4G

    The hardware was tested in an open build (without case) and inside the case at a room temperature of 21-22°C. The fan speed is the same in both setups.
    All tests inside the case were made with the sidepanel Version 1, which will be used for the final product.
    This Version offers the better look and allows the same cooling performance as Version 2.

    [​IMG]


    CPU Cooling:
    As already mentioned, the maximum installation height incl. fan is only 48mm. This measurement refers from the top of the CPU to the sidepanel.
    Therefore the selection of suitable coolers is very limited. For the tests I also used coolers, higher than 48mm, which fit while using a thinner fan.

    Now I would like to introduce the test candidates.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Intel Boxed cooler:
    The Intel Boxed cooler is probably the most famous cooler at all. Every boxed Intel CPU includes this cooler. With an height of 47mm it fits perfectly in the case.
    However this coolers is not very popular, because of his bad cooling performance.

    Noctua L9i:
    The L9i is one of the smallest cooler in this test. With a height of just 37mm incl. fan, it is truly tiny. The cooler includes the Noctua A9x14 fan,
    which is also available without the heatsink. But the rotation speed is different for the standalone version. The L9i version offers 2500rpm and the standalone version 2200rpm.
    Therefore I use the 2200rpm version in the test. Due to the low height of the cooler, it can also be operated with a 25mm thick fan inside the case.
    So the L9i was also tested with the NF A9 PWM.

    Silverstone Argon SST-AR05:
    The AR05 is the smallest cooler in the test. Directly attached heatpipes to the CPU heatspreader are special for this cooler. This cooler was also tested with the NF A9 PWM.

    Cooltek LP53:
    With the default height of 53mm the LP53 wouldn't fit inside the case. But if you switch the f an with an thinner version like the A9x14 it fits.
    However the mounting of at thin 92mm FAN must be performed with cable ties, because the default 92mm fan has mounting points of an 80mm fan.
    As a special highlight I'm going to test this cooler with the Thermalright TR-Y100, which is the default fan of the AXP100 Cooler.
    Whats special of this fan are the dimensions of 100x100x15mm and the increased air pressure towards to the A9x14.

    Xigmatek Juno:
    Even the Juno does not fit without adjustments on it, because with its 60mm it would actually be too high.
    If you unscrew the 120mm top fan and change the lower 80mm fan to the Noctua A9x14, Thermalright TR-Y100 or Scythe SY1012SL12M the cooler fits.
    The lower fan was mounting in priming position through the upper heatsink. Mounting it the other way results in 10°C higher temperatures.

    Phanteks PH-TC12LS:
    The last test sample is the PH-TC12LS. With it's 72mm this cooler is too hight as well, but after unscrewing the top fan it fits.
    You can mount a Scythe SY1012SL12M (12mm) between the top fins and the lower heatplate.


    CPU cooler test scenario:
    The following tables are showing the test results in idle and under full load.
    The fan speed is fixed to 100% with Speedfan for all tests, to show you the best possible values. Of course, under you can setup the fan speed to 30% for low usageand you will never reach 45°C.

    For the idle test, the temperatures of all four cores without load were noted after 20 minutes on the desktop. The average value was insert into the table.
    In load mode, the system is operating in Prime95 20min in 8K test. The 8K test produced the highest temperatures on the cores.

    ATTENTION: The temperature values in Prime95 8K are not comparable to those in games or processor-intensive applications,
    since Prime achieved a 15% higher CPU temperature as other applications.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Overvolting and Undervolting:
    The next test should demonstrate what is possible by using the Cooltek LP53.
    Therefore, Prime has been tested both in undervolted and in overvolted state. A normal Ivybridge could reach the 4,2-4,5Ghz stable with 1,2V voltage.
    As you can see normal overclocking could be possible with the right cooler in this case. Or you can lower the noise level under load y undervolting the CPU.

    [​IMG]



    Graphics card cooling:
    Another important part of this test are the results of cooling graphic cards in this case. Especially the comparison between radial cooler and top blow cards is important.

    Info: Radial cooler cards blow the air out through the slot bracket from the housing.
    Whereas Top-Blow cards blow the air directly on the heatsink and and the air escapes mostly upper and lower side of the card.
    Only a very small part of the air escapes through the slot bracket.

    For the test I use a Nvidia GTX 780 in the radial cooler design and a MSI GTX 970 Gaming G4 in top-blow design.

    Graphics card test scenario:
    Such as the CPU cooler, the graphics cards were tested in idle and load mode. The fan speed was fixed to 30% under idle and 60% under load for both cards.
    The speeds was fixed with the tool MSI Afterburner. In the idle mode, both cards was very silent (subjective value).
    At a speed of 60%, the GTX970 was still silent, but you are able to hear the GTX780.

    For the measurement results, the cards were tested in 3D Mark Test Firestrike demo for 20min and 20min in idle on the desktop.
    The 3DMark test ran in continuous loop and the temperatures were recorded with the Tool MSI Afterburner.

    [​IMG]



    Case efficiency:
    The final test was to prove the housing efficiency. The efficiency is the overall avarage temperature difference between an open body usage and usage inside the case.

    [​IMG]




    Noise level:
    Finally, I want to say something about the noise level of the components inside the case. Of course, these results are subjective, so everybody will percipience it different.

    In idle and low usage mode (office, browsing or watching movies) each CPU can be cooled very silent. Under load you will hear the CPU cooler while testing with Prime95.
    But under normal load usage in games like GTA5 or high load applications like rendering tools you can set the fan speed to 60%.
    In this setup the cooler is far from being realy disturbing. By the time the game is starting with a normal volume, you can't hear nearly all coolers in the test.

    Under normal usage and with a fan speed of 30% both cards are very silent. Only while playing games or running benchmarks with a fan speed of 60% the MSI card is still quiet,
    but the GTX780 is definitely hearable.


    Final words:
    I hope I was able to convince even the last sceptics with this test, that it is possible to cool hardware from the impact of an NVIDIA Titanium X and an i7 4790K / 5775C in the DAN A4 SFX.
    However the remarkable thing about this case is the cooling efficiency. It can accumulate air at any point and every component works cool technically self-sufficient without an the need of case fans.
    Hot air rises and can escape directly over the top ventilation holes. All fans of the components blow into the case to provide pressure and promote a faster escape of the heated air over the top.

    Thank you for reading my test. I will be back soon with many professional made product pictures.
     
    Last edited: 31 Aug 2015
  7. Farsan

    Farsan What's a Dremel?

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  8. Nix

    Nix What's a Dremel?

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    Loving the Project!

    I notice that the prototype was created by lian li, my question is what is the likely hood of this case being mass produced?
     
  9. kelmannen

    kelmannen What's a Dremel?

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  10. Ca11idus

    Ca11idus What's a Dremel?

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    Cool story indeed, his is being mass produced and looks really clean all around.

    Yours is pretty cool too but that Lian Li aluminum feel is second to none when it comes to computer cases.
     
  11. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    Today I got the 300mm Version of the 3M risercard that was extra made for the A4-SFX from an employee of 3M.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. meandmymouth

    meandmymouth Modder

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    Can't believe I hadn't seen this before! Stunning little case. I want one!
     
  13. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    Here is a small preview of the product pictures. All 13 pictures of the case will be released on my brand new webpage.

    Greets Daniel

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    A4-SFX with Haswell-E​


    This test should demonstrate, what is possible with the A4 SFX. Therefore I did a build with an Haswell-E . It should be said, that some things have to be considered, to use Intel's Haswell-E inside the case.

    This is required:
    • Motherboard: Asrock X99E-ITX
    • Heatsink: Dynatron T318
    • FANs: one of the following...
    • Noctua A9x14
    • Thermalrigth AXP100 FAN
    • Deepcool GS 120
    • Yate Loon D12SL-12C 120mm
    • SilverStone FN123

    • other: thin cable ties


    Cooler Compatibility:
    The Asrock X99e-ITX is the only motherboard in ITX format for the socket 2011-3. Unfortunately, it use not the square base ILM like for any other desktop boards. The X99E-ITX use the narrow ILM socket for server boards. Therefore normal 2011-3 cooler do not fit. The board includes a tower heatsink, but this one is too high for the A4-SFX.
    Therefore we use the Dynatron T318 for this test. This is a 1U coolers, with an height of 27mm, made out of copper, with an Vapor Chamber on the ground and a cooling performance up to an TPD of 140W. Due to the low height of the heatsink, all fans up to 20mm could be mounted. The fan is fastened with cable ties on the heatsink, because it does not have a clamp or screw mount.


    Pictures of the build:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Cooling test:
    Depending on the quality of the CPU you will reach different temperatures. The processor I bought was well priced, because it one with a bad overclocking ability. I test the CPU in Prime95 8k test and Intel XTU cpu stability test.
    The Prime95 8K test generates temperatures that are 10-20 ° C higher as in normal usecase like games and rendering software. The XTU test shows how heavy Prime95 is, because the temperature values are around 10 ° C lower.

    A first test in Prime95 with standard voltage, inside the case and the Thermalright cooler result in 78 ° C, so I test also with an undervolted CPU. (-0.09 V - good CPUs can reach -0,14V and more). According to Intel, the 5820K has been approved to 105 ° C, therefore the 78 ° C would not be critical, but I'm trying to find the optimum.

    It should be also noted, that the room temperature was 25 °C . This is 3-4 ° C higher than in the old test.


    Results:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Someone would think that the 120mm fan of DeepCool would be the best, but much air passes by the heat sink and the air pressure is weaker than the other test candidates. Even if I covered the side of the fan, which is above the heat sink (see pictures), brought no real improvements.

    Final words:
    The test was able to demonstrate that it is possible to use a Haswell-E processor in the A4 SFX. In addition to the high cost of the motherboard and the CPU you have to do some points by yourself to make it possible. Somebody that will not run Prime95 or has no problems with temperatures around 78°C, can operate the processor with default voltage in A4 SFX. The optimum of this build would be an usecade with an external water cooling, e.g. with an 240 radiator. So you will be able to do overclocking around 6x4Ghz.

    Thank you for reading
     
  15. bionicgeekgrrl

    bionicgeekgrrl Minimodder

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    Nice work :) looks impressive and clean.
     
  16. ApheX-E

    ApheX-E What's a Dremel?

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    I'm really loving the progress that's been made on this case. This is defiantly something I'd buy for an itx build.
     
  17. dondan

    dondan What's a Dremel?

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    Last edited: 31 Aug 2015
  18. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Totally buzzing for this. Signed up to the newsletter on the site.
     
  19. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Oops! Missed the grand opening.
    Congrats on going on line with the project.:D
     
  20. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell What's a Dremel?

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    This is really cool man. I think there's definite trend now here bigger cases =/= better PC and people know it.

    I'm surprised to see the Graphics card choice though. Did you consider some of the latest cards that come watercooled as standard? They're SO much skinner. I'd be tempted to get some of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X or R9 Nano? :D

    https://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-231-XF
     

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