The folks who hang out at PC enthusiast websites are usually pretty opinionated about how products should be designed. Now, a couple of guys over at the HardOCP forums are turning that community's collective creativity into something more tangible. They've come up with a custom Mini-ITX enclosure and funded the thing via Indiegogo. With three days to spare, the crowdfunding drive has more than doubled its initial $67,500 goal. This is what the fuss is all about:
The Ncase M1 is quite the looker, so I can understand why there's been so much interest. It should be well built, too. Lian Li is handling construction of the all-aluminum chassis.
With 9.8" x 6.3" x 13.3" dimensions, the M1 is relatively compact. However, it can still accommodate high-end hardware. The case accepts dual-slot graphics cards up to 12.5" long. It's compatible with water coolers, including some dual-slot radiators, and you can stuff in a decent-sized ATX PSU. There's also room for multiple 3.5" hard drives and 2.5" SSDs. And a slim optical drive. The list goes on.
Although the Ncase site says all 600 units are sold out, the Indiegogo page indicates that 627 of 660 units have been sold. You can secure one of the remaining units for $205, which includes shipping within the US. It looks like the number of units will increase to meet demand until the end of the crowdfunding campaign. However, the FAQ says the case won't be available after the Indiegogo drive wraps up.
The more I look at it, the more I like the M1's design. It looks like a nice balance between size and capacity, with plenty of thoughtful touches throughout and lots of cooling potential. I'm even more excited about the fact that the case was designed and funded by the enthusiast community—and that Lian Li was amenable to manufacturing the thing. Kudos to all involved for making this happen, and thanks to Oliver for the tip.