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Life and times of Austere Box | Ol' Beastie's lofty adventures | tabascosauz's boring keyboards

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@Mussels
never said their the best or non-plus-ultra.
so:
show me 1 or 2 more cases from "name" brands (on the market for at least 15y) that have a midi tower
with TG (not just a cut out in panel), space for 140 sized fans all around (rear/top/front/bottom,
and space for two 120 fans on the (right) side panel, and allow to remove any internal cage/mount incl psu cover.
 
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System Name Austere Box R1.3
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Ol' Beastie's ride isn't over! The odometer won't be stopping at 54,000km, ladies and gents. And it's all thanks to this find:

IMG_20200830_170112__01.jpg

It's $40, and designed to hold four PAR lights. It weighs about nothing (especially compared to the Pelican 1510) and still manages to be padded, and almost exactly as big as the M1. With the dividers removed, it evidently fits a M1 pretty well (not my photo):

Np9IUwR.jpg

The Pelican case still doesn't fall within Air Canada's carry-on spec, and would limit me to British Airways, while also being a general pain-in-the-ass to carry around the airport and elsewhere whenever the ground is too rough to safely let it roll along. This bag, by contrast, is comically light and small compared to both the Pelican case and all airlines' international carry-on allowance, and might even fit beneath the seat in front. In addition, both my T60 and X60 R barely fit in the side pockets, but that will depend more on how much weight I feel like carrying on that day.

Also, going to be picking one of these tomorrow, while selling my old B450I Aorus:

202005201058579178e1ae74c793c58734873f2fabf53d2a_src.png

It's an astoundingly inexpensive board for what it offers. 6+2 x ISL99390 SPS with a heatpipe, 2 x M.2 slots, a full coverage metal backplate (!!), an 8-layer PCB (my B450 was 6-layers, pretty much bare minimum for ITX). Only stickler is Gigabyte BIOS again, but while it could be much better (Asus), it could also be that much worse (ASRock, MSI).

The only issue here is that the socket placement only allows me to use a U9S, but a flat enough fan curve adjusted up to 77C or so should be able to do the trick. I could pop in my 3700X when I'm about to leave, but that's a little bit of work and I can't do that until I leave because it's in my main PC.

The alternative would be to set everything up now and wait for a Vermeer Ryzen 6-core. Will be absolutely plenty of power for a secondary PC, better suited than an 8-core to the U9S in thermal output, and will give me some experience in working with Ryzen 4000's cores, IMC and Infinity Fabric before I eventually come back and upgrade Austere Box to Vermeer.
 
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It's been a little while. Can't recommend the PAR F4 bag enough; it's cheap, nice for transport, nice for storage.

I have a 4650G Renoir APU arriving this week, as well as a Viper Steel kit coming (cheap single rank B-die, 4133CL19). Don't care much for the single rank penalty, this one isn't for gaming.

NCASE (largely empty after eliminating SATA drives, front I/O, and discrete GPUs) just waiting for its 4650G:

IMG_20201111_062750__01__01.jpg

Gonna have a bunch of stuff I need to sell though.
  • GTX 1070, because the only thing it's doing with Renoir in there is blocking the airflow from reaching the CPU and RAM
  • 4Gb E-die probably, will be sad to see it go but it is old and somehow questionably slow even at the exact same timings compared to CJR and probably won't do 3800 16-18-18 at less than 1.5V so kinda pointless for Renoir
  • 3700X when my 5900X eventually decides to show up sometime in the coming decade kek
  • NH-D9L, had it for 5 years but haven't used it on anything since the U9S and C14S showed up 14 months ago
 
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Hey, I didn't know you were a fellow SFF enthusiast. I've drooled over the Cerberus since it was first announced (pre-kickstarter) - sadly importing one to Norway was way out of my budget range - and the M1 is also pretty high up the list of great cases. Some really nice builds here! That 4650G deserves a more fitting case though, that is complete overkill for such a tiny powerhouse ;) Something like a Lone L5 (sadly not currently in production) would seem to fit your tastes. A shame it needs an external power brick of course, though there might be room in the unused GPU space to fix that. Maybe a J-Hack Pure X or one of the million SFF cases from Custom_MOD?
 
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Hey, I didn't know you were a fellow SFF enthusiast. I've drooled over the Cerberus since it was first announced (pre-kickstarter) - sadly importing one to Norway was way out of my budget range - and the M1 is also pretty high up the list of great cases. Some really nice builds here! That 4650G deserves a more fitting case though, that is complete overkill for such a tiny powerhouse ;) Something like a Lone L5 (sadly not currently in production) would seem to fit your tastes. A shame it needs an external power brick of course, though there might be room in the unused GPU space to fix that. Maybe a J-Hack Pure X or one of the million SFF cases from Custom_MOD?

I used to strive for the best performance-to-size ratio like most do, but at some point I realized that having no wasted space cuts both ways and makes it absurdly frustrating to troubleshoot or work on, or even just for overclocking where I want easy access to the CMOS header. So for me, the initial enthusiasm for ever-smaller cases burned out long ago haha.

I really like those small cases as well as the Velka. Next media or office PC build I do I may consider one of them or one of those Aliexpress cases. Or the L5 if they make it again, domestic shipping ftw

Problem with those cases right now is that they don't give me the airflow I need right now for memory, and not as much CPU cooling headroom as I'd like. I either need case fans or ability to use a C14S for DIMM airflow above 1.4V, otherwise the RAM is not sustainable. As for CPU cooling, these cases only support up to a L9x65; I had the L9x65 for about a year, and was thoroughly unimpressed in relation to the D9L and U9B SE2. I guess I just don't like seeing 70-80c. The L5 comes closest to meeting those requirements with 2 80mm fans and the ability to use a L12S, but that side panel is too restrictive.

I love the Cerberus. I can still brag about it being "small", but it's big enough for me to make for easy upgrades and maintenance. Perfect for a daily driver for sure.
 
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I used to strive for the best performance-to-size ratio like most do, but at some point I realized that having no wasted space cuts both ways and makes it absurdly frustrating to troubleshoot or work on, or even just for overclocking where I want easy access to the CMOS header. So for me, the initial enthusiasm for ever-smaller cases burned out long ago haha.

I agree with statement small densely pack small form factor gets frustrating the smaller it gets and like you I value my sanity at the end of day rather than going smaller. For me ease of maintainance is my number 1 feature vs smaller size now. It can be a bit bigger if it less frustrating. Ncase M1 aged well for it designed in this regard with its screwless removable all panels.

I guesd there is not much option if you wanna go big cooler on an itx beside the Ncase M1 or the things like Raijintek Metis a frustrating case btw. Water cooling is needed for smaller sizes which is not my thing.

I always wanted a Ceberus case that why I got a Scythe Fuma 1 the largest tower possible for it. Well the Ceberus is just out my reach haha. Put 3 noctua fans on it and it'll shine as good if not better than a d15.
 
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I used to strive for the best performance-to-size ratio like most do, but at some point I realized that having no wasted space cuts both ways and makes it absurdly frustrating to troubleshoot or work on, or even just for overclocking where I want easy access to the CMOS header. So for me, the initial enthusiasm for ever-smaller cases burned out long ago haha.

I really like those small cases as well as the Velka. Next media or office PC build I do I may consider one of them or one of those Aliexpress cases. Or the L5 if they make it again, domestic shipping ftw

Problem with those cases right now is that they don't give me the airflow I need right now for memory, and not as much CPU cooling headroom as I'd like. I either need case fans or ability to use a C14S for DIMM airflow above 1.4V, otherwise the RAM is not sustainable. As for CPU cooling, these cases only support up to a L9x65; I had the L9x65 for about a year, and was thoroughly unimpressed in relation to the D9L and U9B SE2. I guess I just don't like seeing 70-80c. The L5 comes closest to meeting those requirements with 2 80mm fans and the ability to use a L12S, but that side panel is too restrictive.

I love the Cerberus. I can still brag about it being "small", but it's big enough for me to make for easy upgrades and maintenance. Perfect for a daily driver for sure.
I completely agree that there's a clear point of diminishing returns in terms of effort vs. compactness. Of course that's also down to case design and build choices as much as the case size - my water cooled H200i build is quite terrible to work on, and that's a "not really SFF" 26l case. I guess I've kind of disqualified myself from arguing for ease of use when I've gone with a custom water loop, though to my defense I'm planning to add QDCs in between all major components - the inability to easily disassemble the build is definitely bugging me. Still, I see those "let's cram as much power as we can into a tiny case" build more as an exercise in seeing what's possible than anything actually practical - impressive, but only feasible as a secondary PC. Which was definitely what I was aiming for back when I crammed an RX 570 ITX into an old Optiplex 990 SFF :p I mean, I wanted to see if I could build a capable, somewhat portable SFF gaming PC for as cheap as possible, but over time it just morphed into a "I wonder if this can actually be done" hobby project. I doubt I'll be doing anything like that again in the future, unless the dumpster diving DIY bug bites me again. My main reason for liking SFF is just annoyance at the sheer size of conventional cases and how much space they take up - the difference even moving from my old Define R4 to an NZXT H200i was massive, and I could finally get the PC off the floor, keeping it a lot cleaner over time.

Now, I am planning to move to a smaller case in the next year or so, but size isn't the main concern there. It's mainly to add radiator space (speaks to the inefficient layout of the H200i!) as I'd want to replace my 120mm rad with a second 240 or a 280. For now I'm considering the CM NR200 due to the price, though the M1 or Dan C4 are also extremely attractive (and the NR200 reportedly has some QC issues). The Cerberus is still on my wish list, but the lack of official 2xdual rad support makes me a bit wary - I've seen plenty of dual 240 or 240+280 builds in Cerberuses, but I'll need to be able to bring my current EK 240 PE with me, which makes figuring out compatibility a hassle. I'd also like improved airflow over the H200i, which is too closed off for its own good, and a more space efficient layout would be a nice added benefit, even if I don't necessarily feel a need for a smaller case in and of itself.

For your APU build, have you looked at the Lazer3D HT5? It can fit an NH-L12s or Big Shuriken 3, so RAM cooling shouldn't be an issue. The top panel vent is a bit small for those coolers, but Kevin over at Lazer3D can whip up a different top panel for you for cheap (I'm in the process of ordering the second one for mine :p). I don't know how well an acrylic case like that would work for travel, but at least it feels very sturdy. Oh, and it's gorgeous. And it's easy to fit an internal PSU setup in it - it has built-in mounts for HDPlex PSUs, but I don't generally like 19VDC systems, so I went with a MeanWell RPS-200-12C AC-12VDC unit (200W with 10cfm forced air, 150W passive) and a G-Unique ArchDaemon pico-style DC-ATX converter. It's actually a bit overkill for my 4650G (I've never seen it exceed 110W at the wall, though I haven't run any combined CPU+GPU torture loads), though that just means I could add a low profile dGPU if I wanted to at some point. If you're comfortable doing your own wiring, a setup like that can't be beat for compactness, and it's still easy to work with.
 
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So, I guess we finally found out where the limit of this 4650G's Infinity Fabric lies. 4400 runs 1:1, 4466 automatically steps down to 2:1. 4466 still has good R/W bandwidth, but the unsynced IF is obvious.

Well, it's already way past what I'm expecting from a six-core. Everything up to DDR4-4400 was 1:1 and done with just 1.2V VSOC. No crazy overvolted SOC or undervolted/underclocked cores as the leakers showed in the 4750G leaks way back before they released.

renoir 4400 50ns.png renoir 4466 not 1 to 1.png

Gonna spend the next few days to see if I can break 70GB/s R/W on higher 2:1 speeds.
 
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So the 4650G has kinda crappy cores, can't get AVX workloads stable at 4.3GHz 1.35V. But leaving it on Auto it boosts like a champ on every core up to 4.3GHz in single threaded workloads, so I'm not complaining; the spec is supposed to be up to 4.2GHz like the 3600.

Hunting all the bandwidth I can get because my FPS in Genshin on the 4650G literally scales with memory speed, so I decided on 4200 17-18-18 instead of 4000 16-16-16. The game won't stop crashing on 140ns, but 145ns is just fine (300 or so tRFC @ 4200).

renoir 4200 17-18-18.png

As for the main rig, been making some upgrades with a new audio interface, a new mic, a new desk, some new lighting.



My 3700X seems to have some kind of terminal illness. Couldn't run 3733 anymore all of a sudden, nearly bricked itself. Then at 3600, couldn't even do 250ns tRFC anymore, nearly bricked itself. Then at 260ns tRFC, couldn't help spitting WHEA interconnect errors with Cstates on for data fabric. At goddamn 3600. Should probably take it out back and give it some mercy like Old Yeller.

Since the 5900X is nowhere in sight 9 weeks after preordering it, I'm tempted to cancel it and get a Z590 board when they come out. When the new Rocket Lake chips hit the shelves, then I could grab one and complete my move back into Intel by then selling my 3700X and TUF board. Specifically, it's this board that has my attention:

z590i vision d.jpg

I don't even care that its heatsinks are worse than the similar Z590I Ultra, this board is absolutely gorgeous and pairs perfectly with my Cerberus. But if the 5900X decides to show up in time, a switch back to Intel may yet be averted.

Don't care much for this 3700X. I love my 4650G, but this 3700X is a turd. Core 0 is so bad it belongs in a 3600, chip barely does 4.1GHz @ 1.25V, still doesn't go over 4.325GHz ST in any meaningful way (discrete and snapshot clocks), can't run 1866MHz IF stably, can't even run 1800MHz IF without Cstates off...

Especially having experienced the amazing stuff that Ryzen (Renoir) can do when it's not glued together.
 
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Is your main rig now the 4650G? How is the gpu performance? Would be great for a compact NAS.


Your photography of your items makes them looks so nice and neat! You sure have some high memory clock standards for your rig, I am here just with my Jedec Ram lmao just satisfied if it just works. The upcoming intel cpus I think look rather promising if your focus is not heavily threaded programmes also can't believe I am saying this but Intel now is better budget option than AMD plus their Cpus are always in stock. It would be cute having an itx board in an MATX ceberus ahha.
 
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Is your main rig now the 4650G? How is the gpu performance? Would be great for a compact NAS.


Your photography of your items makes them looks so nice and neat! You sure have some high memory clock standards for your rig, I am here just with my Jedec Ram lmao just satisfied if it just works. The upcoming intel cpus I think look rather promising if your focus is not heavily threaded programmes also can't believe I am saying this but Intel now is better budget option than AMD plus their Cpus are always in stock. It would be cute having an itx board in an MATX ceberus ahha.

It's not my main rig - with just a 256GB PM981 I couldn't dream of fitting 1/10 of my stuff on there haha.

You are much better off with JEDEC RAM than I would be since you have a dGPU lol. I can play pretty smoothly @ 60fps with the Vega 7 at 4200; at 2133 I was averaging about 20 fps haha. The entire APU is so constrained for power when gaming that the best way to boost performance is with fast B-die.

How's the 3900 RMA btw?

I just use it as my media PC and on the go if it's a holiday I'm spending with my parents. Works great for casual games like Ori, Setsuna and Genshin. I'll probably keep it the way it is until the Lone Industries decides to make the L5 again, might look to put it in that case.

Keeping an eye on how Intel prices the 11700K. Would have to relearn most of DDR4 timings again though. Comet Lake IMC seems to be less forgiving than the K17.6 UMC, but i hear the firmware is better at not being a flaming turd and recovering from bad mem settings
 
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@Valantar I've actually been thinking about that HT5 suggestion. Since the L5 won't be back anytime soon and the Velka 3RL is B-stock and doesn't provide the airflow I need for my B-die, the HT5 has been looking like a decent alternative.

Only problems are that it's not cheap especially to ship here, and I have no idea about the L12S' compatibility with my board and RAM in its various orientations.

I would have appreciated a lower price tag but there aren't really other options. And I can actually buy one (well, place an order and wait for it to be made).

E: well, went ahead and bought a HT5 and a Blackridge cooler. Guess it's time to peel those shitty heatspreaders off the Viper Steels - they're not going to fit otherwise. Probably will run it with the SF600 and open top until I can figure out whether I want a brick in the case (HDPlex's 200W combo) or a brick outside the case (Streacom 160W).
 
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I hope you like it, and that shipping doesn't take too long! In my experience Kevin at Lazer3D is incredibly helpful and responsive (including whipping up a couple of custom top panels for me for quite affordable prices!), but sadly he isn't in control of the shipping companies or customs :( My second top panel (with added ventilation for semi-passive cooling + a 140mm fan mount) is currently in covid19-christmas-brexit shipping limbo, in the process of being handed off between various carriers somewhere in Europe. Hopefully it will get here at some point :p You being in Canada might actually make shipping smoother than for me here in Sweden, considering the circumstances!

Btw, if you went for one of the wood fronted versions, I'd recommend oiling the wood relatively soon. My HT5 spent a year in storage before I got around to building, and by that time the wood had warped slightly. Not enough to be an issue beyond needing to apply some force when installing it, and not anything that's visible unless you're really close and actively looking for it, but worth looking out for. Some bog-standard benchtop/cutting board mineral oil, or whatever else wood finishing oil (linseed oil, whatever) should work fine. Besides, oiling the wood makes it look better too!

As for power, here's another alternative for you: user TheHack over at sff.network has a business making cases and power supply setups, and makes a custom-designed 12VDC-ATX converter board bundled with the excellent MeanWell RPS-200-12C. I used a different DC-ATX board (from another user on the same forums, GuryHwa/G-Unique), and I'd really recommend that type of setup. It's a bit cheaper than HDPlex, smaller, higher efficiency (the RPS-200-12C delivers >90% efficiency from 20% load and up on 115V, and MW's detailed testing reports are pure gold for SFF builders), the DC-ATX boards are smaller and run cooler thanks to not needing to convert 19V to 12V, and fits nicely in the HT5. I mounted mine to the right/top of the motherboard, where it fit perfectly, but it should fit fine next to the PCIe slot if that suits you better. I did have to drill two new holes in the PSU's frame and screw it in with some m3 screws and nuts (screws fit through the accessory panel mounting slots in the motherboard tray), but it was a very small, easy and safe mod. You could always just stick it down with double sided tape if you want to.

Oh, and even if you already ordered a Blackridge, another option is the ID-Cooling IS60k (or the lower profile IS-47k, which is the same cooler just with one less fan). There's one drawback with these though: the included mounting hardware has poor pressure, and users have reported much better thermals when mounting it using a Noctua L9i-to-AM4 adapter kit, though that's a bit of a hassle. ID-cooling is reportedly adding a backplate to a new revision of the cooler, but that's not due to arrive for a while still. But if the BR doesn't work for you, at least that's another option to try :)
 
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Audio Device(s) Scarlett Solo gen3
Power Supply Seasonic SGX-650
I hope you like it, and that shipping doesn't take too long! In my experience Kevin at Lazer3D is incredibly helpful and responsive (including whipping up a couple of custom top panels for me for quite affordable prices!), but sadly he isn't in control of the shipping companies or customs :( My second top panel (with added ventilation for semi-passive cooling + a 140mm fan mount) is currently in covid19-christmas-brexit shipping limbo, in the process of being handed off between various carriers somewhere in Europe. Hopefully it will get here at some point :p You being in Canada might actually make shipping smoother than for me here in Sweden, considering the circumstances!

Btw, if you went for one of the wood fronted versions, I'd recommend oiling the wood relatively soon. My HT5 spent a year in storage before I got around to building, and by that time the wood had warped slightly. Not enough to be an issue beyond needing to apply some force when installing it, and not anything that's visible unless you're really close and actively looking for it, but worth looking out for. Some bog-standard benchtop/cutting board mineral oil, or whatever else wood finishing oil (linseed oil, whatever) should work fine. Besides, oiling the wood makes it look better too!

As for power, here's another alternative for you: user TheHack over at sff.network has a business making cases and power supply setups, and makes a custom-designed 12VDC-ATX converter board bundled with the excellent MeanWell RPS-200-12C. I used a different DC-ATX board (from another user on the same forums, GuryHwa/G-Unique), and I'd really recommend that type of setup. It's a bit cheaper than HDPlex, smaller, higher efficiency (the RPS-200-12C delivers >90% efficiency from 20% load and up on 115V, and MW's detailed testing reports are pure gold for SFF builders), the DC-ATX boards are smaller and run cooler thanks to not needing to convert 19V to 12V, and fits nicely in the HT5. I mounted mine to the right/top of the motherboard, where it fit perfectly, but it should fit fine next to the PCIe slot if that suits you better. I did have to drill two new holes in the PSU's frame and screw it in with some m3 screws and nuts (screws fit through the accessory panel mounting slots in the motherboard tray), but it was a very small, easy and safe mod. You could always just stick it down with double sided tape if you want to.

Oh, and even if you already ordered a Blackridge, another option is the ID-Cooling IS60k (or the lower profile IS-47k, which is the same cooler just with one less fan). There's one drawback with these though: the included mounting hardware has poor pressure, and users have reported much better thermals when mounting it using a Noctua L9i-to-AM4 adapter kit, though that's a bit of a hassle. ID-cooling is reportedly adding a backplate to a new revision of the cooler, but that's not due to arrive for a while still. But if the BR doesn't work for you, at least that's another option to try :)

I got the sole remaining white/oak one on OCUK so hopefully on Monday I'll see a ship notification. Think they ship via DHL so no Royal Mail/Canada Post BS. Developed something of a penchant for white-coloured cases recently :laugh: I can definitely put it up next to the Cerberus for a nice little family photo

This whole oiling thing is new to me. Might have to ask some woodworking friends as to the oil and methods to use. Thanks for the heads up. I think I will probably move it in soon after I get it, just not with a proper PSU yet.

As for the PSU, really not sure yet. I do like not having a brick, but I wouldn't mind having to carry one around and wouldn't mind the extra space in the case. Problem is the only external brick setup I can actually get my hands on - the Streacom - costs me somewhere between 50% and 100%+ the value of the PSU to ship.

Leaning towards the HDPlex as they have the 200W in stock, but do I have to mount the with double sided tape? I could have sworn there were mounting holes for the HDPlex, or was that for the 400W HiFi? In any event, the 400W is too expensive and too overkill for me.

It doesn't look like the Meanwell combo is available on the Jhack website.

Also, the HDPlex and Black Ridge are going to be a tight fit together.
 
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Joined
May 2, 2017
Messages
3,432 (2.52/day)
Location
Lund, Sweden
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Motherboard Biostar X370GTN
Cooling Custom CPU+GPU water loop
Memory 16GB G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 C16
Video Card(s) AMD R9 Fury X
Storage 500GB 960 Evo (OS ++), 500GB 850 Evo (Games)
Display(s) Dell U2711
Case NZXT H200i
Power Supply EVGA Supernova G2 750W
Mouse Logitech G602
Keyboard Lenovo Compact Keyboard with Trackpoint
Software Windows 10 Pro
There are mounting holes (with threaded inserts) for some HDPlex unit in one of the side panels, though I'm not sure which - I've never really considered it. One external brick option worth considering for a quick, cheap solution is getting one of those Dell 12V 220W DA-2 bricks (from uSFF Optiplex workstations) used off Ebay - they're big, but they're reliable and deliver plenty of power for a build like this, and will work with any 12V DC-ATX board (PicoPSU, J-Hack, G-Unique, etc.). I got one for ... something like €15 including shipping. So even as a temporary solution that's worth looking into, though it would lock you out of the (19V) HDPlex ecosystem.

I get where you're coming from with considering a brick. Essentially this case allows for any two out of four options: 2x80 mm fans, HDD/SSD bracket, internal power brick, or HHHL GPU. I have a 140mm fan in the top set as exhaust, so I don't see the need for any side fans, but I can see their utility with a different layout. I also only need an m.2 for storage in the HT5. I still have room for a dGPU should I want it though! But if you ever wanted for example 80mm fans and a dGPU, a brick would be a requirement.

Asking someone experienced in woodworking about oiling the wood panel is probably a good idea - especially the white/oak one I'd expect you don't want the oil to tint it darker, so doing some research is likely a good idea. One suggestion: there is this white pigmented furniture finishing oil (AFAIK some sort of mineral oil+a white pigment) that's used for a lot of oak products (my dining room table is white tinted oak, I got a care set alongside it including a bottle of said oil), and the look it creates is absolutely beautiful. It makes the wood a kind of grey-ish pale wood tone that works really, really well. I don't know if oil like that will work well on the panels used for this case (or if it would be recommended to use some other finish first), but it would probably match the white case very well. If not, then plain mineral oil is color neutral, cheap and widely available (and non-toxic, as it's used on cutting boards and stuff), but I have little doubt there are things out there that can give better protection or a nicer finish.
 
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