Published on 9th September, 2018
The new RTX cards consume more power than their predecessors, which could mean we see fewer short (ITX) length cards this upcoming generation in the enthusiast category. For this reason I wanted to explore the possibility of adding some extra panel options that will extend the case by 80mm, allowing compatibility with full length graphics cards including the upcoming NVidia RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.
Extending the case has a number of other benefits, including opening up space in front of the motherboard for the SFX power supply to move into, which in turn opens up all the space above the motherboard for additional CPU cooling height. The result is a 9.99 litre shoebox style case with extreme air cooling potential. If this concept is to be taken forward then existing LZ7 cases can be upgraded with a set of 4 new panels (Top, Bottom and sides).
Here are some photos of the first prototype:
The extra room in the motherboard area opens up the potential for some creative windowed builds, this prototype is a concept of how a windowed version could be done. I wanted to create a sort of “frosted ice” look which would go nice with some white custom cables and perhaps some blue ambient lighting.
Using clear material for the top and side panels really opens the build up and allows you to show off the full system, but all the cables from the power supply and front IO can look messy if you don’t have custom length sleeved cables. To hide these cables the front half of the window panels are completely etched that fades out with a hex pattern.
The pattern and proportions need some tweaking but I am really pleased with the etching, it looks stunning in person and the frosted etch lights up very nicely from the Corsair RGB RAM being used in this build.
We may also do a black version of this case concept using smoked window panels instead of clear, I’m not sure how etching onto smoked panels will turn out yet, but it could be really interesting.
Unfortunately I don’t currently have the right hardware to truly show off this concept, it would work much better with a large tower cooler and modern full lenght graphics card. I will be trying to put together a better “showcase” build in the near future.
What we do have is this MSI R9 285, a bit outdated but with it’s 250w TDP it should be a good test for the thermals.
As you can see the 360 degree GPU exhaust ventilation that worked so well for the LZ7 has been maintained in this design, when used in conjunction with a positive pressure setup this will really help to flush out exhaust heat keeping thermals under control to maintain high boost clocks and lower fan speeds during heavy gaming.
The biggest point of contention with this concept will probably be the power supply cable, as you may have seen the power supply is facing down mounted to a bracket that is offset from the bottom panel, the power cable exits under the case. It actually works better than it sounds though.
Figuring out how to mount the power supply in front of the motherboard has been the most difficult problem to solve. Space is quite limited once you factor in the storage mount bracket against the front panel and the IO cables from the side panel.
Here is a better look at the PSU mount bracket, it is made from a series of layers which are secured to the base panel using long screws (not shown in the photo as I actually glued them together for the purpose of this prototype).
Anyways, I apologise for the long post and thank you for taking the time to read. If you have any comments please let me know below!