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Planning mini-ITX case design question

Discussion in 'Modding' started by jhanlon303, 22 Nov 2009.

  1. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    How would you guys design a mini-ITX minimal system with motherboard, 2.5" SSHD or HDD, picoPSU, and NOT end up with a Mac mini or Dells new mini-ITX desktop? Most look like motherboard sized cases with rounded corners and height barely above I/O shield. 180mm to 200mm square, round the corners and call it done doesn't cut it. Boring.

    Got any thoughts?

    john
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2009
  2. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    You're talking scratch builds only. An obvious exception is PC3 :naughty:

    The key is utility - not many of us mod purely for the sake of it. We identify a need and mod to suit that need. For example, PC3 was built as an HTPC/Media center. 180 or 200mm square with rounded corners probably seems generic because mITX is a great HTPC platform and that's a shape/size that goes nicely in the living room beside the receiver/under the TV.

    An exception was Cheapskate/Bill's epic Ion Cube - no constraints for utility and other silly things meant they could go do whatever they wanted.
     
  3. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    We all love PS3 and the ION cube. What I was thinking is more in the line of commercial possibilities like the Nexus Psile. Niche commercial cases with features to attract mini-ITX builders.
    Nexus is way expensive, the carputer cases to fit under a seat are pizza boxes with hetsinks.
    How do we encourage manufacturers to cater to mini-ITX and smaller. The newest Zotac boards are more powerful that HP compact or Dell desk tops.
     
  4. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    But all cases are boxes. Even if manufacturers do cater to mITX system builders, all they'll be doing is churning out 180x180x180 boxes.
     
  5. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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  6. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Manufacturing/financial concerns, I suppose?

    They look at what people need, and an overwhelming majority are just after plain-looking black boxes to match their a/v equipment. It's simple to make, so they aren't complaining, and it's what everyone wants so if they make it, they're guaranteed sales.
     
  7. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    What about Psile? A different approach but too pricey.
     
  8. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    The Psile is not particularly innovative in terms of aesthetics - isn't it what you were lamenting upon in your first post? A box with rounded corners.

    That's the real hurdle - how to build something innovative and _not_ mundane-looking without charging the earth and the moon for it.
     
  9. Moriquendi

    Moriquendi Bit Tech Biker

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    I think a lot of it comes down to materials and packaging. If you're working with metal then boxes are the easiest shape to make but plane boxes aren't fashionable at the moment so you round off the corners. Packaging is the other point, components are mainly rectangular cuboids, the most efficient way to fit them together is into a larger cuboid, there's no escaping that. If you were to go for a more interesting shape you would have to make the case larger than if you just made a box and at the moment, size is an important thing.

    Moriquendi
     
  10. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    Well not necessarily, if you're after scratch building you can literally make it *just* big enough to fit the components in, then add extra fancy bits afterwards

    Zotac 9300 mITX is 17x17cm, add a low profile heatsink and you're on about 17x17x3cm and this is about as small as mITX can go. I was looking into building an ultra compact case for photoshop on the go but I lacked funds and laptops are more plausible (board + PSU makes it around 15cm high and that still wouldn't fit in my bag :p)
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2009
  11. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    I'd make it as low as possible, with it being wider or deeper to compensate. Maybe 35x20x3?
     
  12. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    This is Thermaltake's new SD-100 mini-ITX case. My point is that it looks like a DVD player. No inspiration.

    [​IMG]

    I would love to see someone like Bang and Olufsen do a mini case. They know style
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2009
  13. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    That is nasty.

    I'd like to see a Chiaroscuro inspired design, with the disk drive and power button stealthed behind panels on the front. Gaps between the panels that light up, dark wood, exposed dovetail joints.
     
    llamafur likes this.
  14. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    I've just ordered the Zotac ION ITX A-E as it has an integrated PSU and I'm facing the same little question.

    A box of 20x20x??? cm is easy to build, but it's quiet unimpressive from a designPOV :geek:

    EDIT: As we're at it, does someone own the Zotac ION ITX A-E and what cooling-solution are you using? I'm thinking of just slapping a Scythe 120mm 800RPM fan above the mainboard not using the 60mm fan that comes with the mainboard. Would this be enough cooling?
     
  15. bigkingfun

    bigkingfun Tinkering addict

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    You should take a look at their BeoMaster5.
    Visit their site. You might just get some inspiration.

    A mediacenter in a BeoCenter2 would be quite nice.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2009
  16. Picarro

    Picarro New Member

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    the main issue with B&O is the price to be honest. You pay A LOT of money for a tv, which on the inside is basically Philips..
     
  17. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    An Audi TT is nothing but a Škoda Octavia underneath. Aesthetics can justify a lot, although you're right, B&O are at the stratospheric levels of pricing...
     
  18. Picarro

    Picarro New Member

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    Atleast with the TT you get a better engine, and some nicer interior. With the B&O you get the same kind of plastic, and if you are lucky a couple of cm2 of aluminium :p
     
  19. 13eightyfour

    13eightyfour Formerly Titanium Angel

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    Other than rounding a few corners, from a mass production point of view there isnt alot else you could do without making the case bigger than it needs to be.

    I actually like the design of the mac mini and mini dell studio.

    A few years ago i saw a philips hifi and the exterior was covered in thick bright red rubber and i remember thinking i could squeeze a computer in that, but i never got round to buying 1 and now i cant find them anywhere :sigh:
     
  20. bigkingfun

    bigkingfun Tinkering addict

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    OffTopic: That is because B&O TV's is about the design and audio. I Challenge you to find a flat-screen TV with better audio than a B&O.
    They are actually Samsung panels.


    OnTopic: Regarding the mITX I would love to see a bunch of these boards in a cluster setup, like this one.
     

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