Project Orthrus - Smallest SLI mATX case (v2)

Discussion in 'Portable & Small Form Factor' started by LukeD_NC, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. LukeD_NC

    LukeD_NC Member

    Jul 21, 2016


    Over the past 18 months or so, I've been working on a project and it's aim was to create a quiet, extremely powerful and compact computer. Something that can live on a desk as well as a home theatre cabinet.
    Typically, when talking about PC's, those three adjectives can't really be used together, as powerful PC's usually draw a lot of power and exert a lot of heat, therefore need a lot of cooling, which is usually loud. This is how project Orthrus was born.

    Project Name:

    The name, which is only a working title for now, stems from Greek mythology. Its a symbol for a two headed guard dog (symbolizing the use of dual GPU's). Coincidentally enough, Orthrus was Cerberus' brother :) (My shout out to Kimera Industries guys here)

    Principal of the design:

    As mentioned previously, high performance computer parts and compact enclosures usually don't go well together. That is unless you move the components in the case around in a way which allows all of them to draw fresh cold air from the outside of the case.
    Putting the dual GPU's straight on the back of the motherboard, not only allows the two GPU's and the CPU to breathe their own air, but allows to minimize with width of the chassis, by putting the only 2 perfectly flat parts of the PCB's against each other.

    To achieve this, a number of design decisions were made:
    - PCIe risers had to be used to place the graphics cards on the opposite side of the case.
    - Longer than usual SLI cables had to be used to join the graphics cards together
    - Only 2,5" disks would be used (in SLI/Crossfire mode), as 3,5" disks are too big, and with the cost of 1TB SATA SSD's quite low these days, I didn't see a point.
    - Only low profile CPU and RAM could be used
    - And a long flat highly efficient power supply had to be used

    Evolution (V2):

    Along with the feedback provided by the community on the SFFForum, HardForum and OCAU I made a number of key changes to the case:

    - Case dimensions increased:
    Height: 33.00cm (unchanged)
    Length: 31.50cm to 34.50cm (3.0cm increase)
    Width: 11.50cm to 13.20 cm (1.7cm increase)
    This allowed the case to:
    • accomodate 240mm radiators and AIO coolers
    • accomodate taller CPU heatsinks (up to ~53mm)
    • accomodate high profile (tall) RAM
    • allow water cooling of CPU and both GPUs (with certain water blocks)
    • which also allowed usage of X99 platform in a quiet and cool manner where cpu's are up to 140Watt TDP.

    Other changes include:
    • Change the power button to a capacitative button.
    • Added support for 1 x 3,5" HDD and 1 x 2,5 HDD in the 2nd GPU bay (if 2nd GPU is not present)
    • On the motherboard side: 2 x 2,5" HDD's are now supported (increase from 1)
    • On the front panel: Oriented the USB ports to be vertical to allow usage of all 4 ports concurrently
    • On the front panel: Changed the proprietary HDMI passthrough jack to a keystone compatible port. This means if you don't need a HDMI passthrough jack you can change it to an audio, lan, or USB-C port if you like.
    • Added a badge
    • Changed the ventilation pattern to be more effective in cooling
    • Added a drain port near the PSU bracket (for custom water loops)
    • Added a 92mm to 120mm bracket when using air cooling on the CPU
    • Added a base plate for mounting a water reservoir / pump above the chipset on the mATX motherboard
    • Used Li-Heat for the top PCIe riser
    • Hid the SLI cables behind the GPU's
    • Created a cutout for access to the rear of the motherboard. For easier heatsink / waterblock swap out.
    • Added a plastic segregation wall to prevent the PCIe risers from making contact with the back of the motherboard.
    • Added a 1U PSU to FlexATX adapter bracket to support FlexATX PSU's.

    Case Details:

    Height: 33.00 cm
    Length: 34.50 cm
    Width: 13.20 cm
    Weight: TBD
    Volume: < 15.0 Litres
    Material: 3mm Aluminium
    Side Panels: 3mm Aluminium or 3mm Acrylic
    Front Panel I/O:
    - 4 x USB 3.0 (vertical orientation)
    - 1 x Keystone jack for keystone modules (including HDMI for VR Ready)
    - 1 x Power Capacitative Button
    Orientation: Horizontal or Vertical
    PSU: 1U IPC PSU (in this example: FSP Group: FSP700-80UEPB Link)
    PCIe Riser 1: Li-Heat Next Generation (300mm)
    PCIe Riser 2: Adexelec PE-FLEX16R (350mm) Optional for SLI/Crossfire setups

    Compatibility of Components:

    Intel 1151/2011-3
    AMD AM3/AM4

    CPU Coolers (up to 53mm - verified):
    Noctua NH L9i (Recommended)
    Thermaltake Gravity i1
    Akasa K25
    Silverstone AR05
    ID Cooling IS-VC45 (will be compatible with v2)

    mATX and ITX

    Dual GPU's supported
    - Length: Up to 295 mm
    - Height: Up to 112 mm (measured from PCIe connector to top of card)
    - Up to 250 Watt TDP (due to PSU restrictions)

    Any memory up to 53mm in height will fit.

    FlexATX or 1U PSU up to 250mm length. Recommended PSU's:

    1U PSU:
    For Single GPU builds: Modular:
    Seasonic SS500L1U (500W - Gold)
    For Dual GPU builds: Non-Modular:
    FSP FSP700-80UEPB (700W - Platinum)

    For Single GPU builds:
    FSP500-50FSPT (500W - Platinum)
    For Dual GPU builds: Non-Modular:
    FSP750-50FGGH1 (750W - Gold)
    FSP850-50FGGH1 (850W - Gold)

    Motherboard side: 2 x 2,5" disk
    GPU side: Replacing the 2nd GPU: 1 x 3,5" disk + 1 x 2,5" disk

    240mm Radiators up to 124mm wide, up to 278mm tall.
    Thickness of the radiator + fan should not exceed 58mm
    CPU Waterblock/pump height limitation is up to ~53mm
    GPU Waterblock support:
    - Full reference card waterblocks like EK and Bitspower are supported (for top GPU slot)
    - If doing DUAL GPU water cooling, for bottom GPU slot, a universal GPU cooler like the EK-VGA Supremacy or Koolance GPU-220 / GPU-230 is supported.

    2 x 120x120x25mm

    Comparison to other similar sized cases:

    Coming soon ...

    Benchmarks - Performance:

    Coming soon ...

    Benchmarks - Noise / Power Consumption / Temperature:

    Test Configuration:
    CPU - Intel 6800K (@3.4GHz)
    RAM - Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200MHz 16GB (2x8GB)
    MB - EVGA Micro 2 X99
    GPU 1 - nVidia GTX 1080
    GPU 2 - nVidia GTX 1080
    CPU AIR Cooler - ID Cooling IS-VC45
    GPU AIR Cooler - Founders Edition Blower
    CPU AIO Cooler - Kelvin S24
    CPU CL Cooler - Kelvin S24 (cpu block/pump combo)
    GPU CL Waterblock 1 - EK-FC1080 GTX - Nickel
    GPU CL Waterblock 2 - Koolance GPU 220
    Thermal Paste - EK


    Fahrenheit version:


    Thermal images corresponding to the tests above


    Photos (Case Only):

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Video Preview:

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  2. Madchimp

    Madchimp Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    Damn son...... That's very nice

    Just a shame you couldn't 'hide' the SLi cable someway. Also, what's with the unplugged power to the GPU's? Is that excess or something?

    But still, all in all, one very sexy looking system. When you planning on selling the case? :lol:
  3. OP

    LukeD_NC Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    I'm working on a custom SLI cable to put it behind the graphics cards.

    And yes, the dangling cables are excess. 1080's only need 1 x 8pin connector each, I've also got a spare 1 x 6pin connector for each card as I used to have 2 x 980 Ti's when i started this project.

    The plan is to generate enough interest so that it can be put on something like kickstarter ;)
  4. Madchimp

    Madchimp Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    Well consider me backer # 1 lol I'm very interested :thumbup:
  5. Cadal

    Cadal Member

    Jun 28, 2001
  6. AgenaFX

    AgenaFX Member

    Jun 23, 2008
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    Invading OCAU, Reddit and Small Form Factor forums!

    Amazing work, starting to inspire me to start reading up on Protocase myself.
  7. gibbz

    gibbz Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Adelaide, SA
    great case!

    love the minimalism... Got room for a handle and vesa mount ?
  8. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    Very nice. Some serious grunt in such a small case.
  9. DualBios

    DualBios Member

    Jul 5, 2004
    wow its beautiful
  10. Akh-Horus

    Akh-Horus Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    Western Vic
    Colour me interested as well, the thought also passes my mind - if someone is only wanting to run one GPU, are you going to make an adaptor so another hard drive or 3.5" drive can go into the space where you have currently allowed the second GPU? Just a thought.
  11. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

    Jun 27, 2001
    Yep, a lot this. Be great with a smaller PSU, some single GPU and room for a 3.5"
  12. OP

    LukeD_NC Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    Noted guys, thank you,

    Revision 2 is under design now and there will be provisions for 3,5" HDD's mounted in the GPU brackets (in case someone wants to use a single GPU)

    Also support for Flex-ATX power supplies which are smaller than 1U PSU's I'm using in this case now.

    Also ... support for a 240mm radiator in the front.
    It will be slightly larger (13mm wider and 30mm deeper) but i think its worth while for the water-cooling support it will have.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  13. mad_mic3

    mad_mic3 Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    sick as:thumbup:
  14. Near

    Near Member

    Feb 9, 2010
    Have been mulling and drawing up designs to CAD with a similar mindset, but trying to fit a rad + gear in as well. How difficult was it to build in? Custom cables seem to be a necessity.

    Amazing work though honestly, it looks great and the form factor is perfection.
  15. OP

    LukeD_NC Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    Thanks guys :) appreciate the positive feedback. It depends what type of system you want to build in this. If you want a Dual GPU SLI monsters with dual 250watt TDP GPU's, then yes you will need a 700W Platinum power supply and change the ends on them from EPS8 to PCIE8.

    However, if you're after a single GPU and 3,5" HDD in this box... you can easily do it with an off the shelf FlexATX power supply. FSP, Solid Gear, Sparkle sell them

    Working in the case is easy provided you don't try to cram too many cables in it. You want it to be neat because all the cables are visible, there's nowhere to hide them.

    P.S. Version 2 of the prototype will include a radiator and watercooling support :)
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  16. crag_v

    crag_v Member

    Feb 27, 2002
    This build is just spectacular, bravo!
  17. AntikytheraBB

    AntikytheraBB Member

    Oct 12, 2014
    Oakleigh East, 3166
    I love the idea of this.

    The cable in the middle right of the motherboard, perhaps USB? Could the rest of the cables in the case be these flat cables? I'm guessing they would have to be custom made to suit the PSU. The sleeved cables add much more bulk than ribbon cables would.

    Also M.2 for storage would be another bulk reduction possibility.

    Lastly have you tested the CPU cooler with the fan the other way up? So it exhausts directly out of the case.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  18. OP

    LukeD_NC Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    Heheh, funny you say that, i actually have a M.2 drive in there for boot, the Sandisk 1tb ssd is for mass storage :)

    The PSU cables i had to sleeve, but for version 2 of the prototype, which is almost complete, I will be making thin ribbon cables, like those found with silverstone modular PSU's.

    I haven't tested with the fan blowing out, its a good idea, ill give it a go :)
  19. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Melbourne, Victoria
    That is very nice indeed! Was this case custom made? Where and how do you get a custom made case?
  20. budzilla

    budzilla Member

    May 6, 2006
    Right There->
    Those are ridiculous specs for something that size.

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