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The story of the M1 started with a simple idea: motivated by the shortcomings of what had come before, we set forth to do better. The road would be winding, with many paths explored, and abandoned. A grassroots effort from its inception, the design process involved the community of PC enthusiasts at every step of the way. From the overall aesthetic design, down to the smallest detail, every facet was subject to the scrutiny and feedback of hobbyists, DIY'ers, and average users alike.
Through the support of the community, the project successfully raised funds to have a prototype built and tested. This paved the way to a second crowdfunding campaign for a full production run, contracted to the respected case manufacturer, Lian Li. Nearly one thousand first edition M1s were successfully delivered to people all around the world.
The road has been long, but the end result speaks to the passion, dedication, and support of the community and everyone involved. We'd like to offer our sincerest thanks to all of our supporters that have stuck with us and helped to bring this project to fruition.
The M1 sets itself apart with its unique combination of high performance capability and exceptional flexibility, in a deceptively small and appealingly understated package. Coming in at a svelte 12.6 liters in volume, the all-aluminum chassis has the proportions - and features - of a much larger case. Looking like a conventional tower case, but on a much reduced scale, the M1 has a footprint smaller than many "cube"-style small form-factor cases. It's compact enough to pack into a carry-on, while the featherweight, yet sturdy, aluminum construction makes it easy to travel with.
Designed for the mini-ITX motherboard form-factor for maximum space savings, the M1 nevertheless sports big-case features. Support for a dual-slot video card up to 12" is possible by utilizing the full length of the case; a specially designed opening at the front of the chassis allows long cards to be installed with ease.
While other cases in this size class place strict limits on CPU cooler size, the M1 is able to accommodate 120mm- and 140mm-fan top-down coolers of up to 130mm in height. Thanks to the innovative dual side 120mm fan bracket, a single 120mm or 240mm all-in-one water cooling radiator can also be mounted internally.
For the truly hardcore, the M1's dual side 120mm fan mount allows for custom water cooling loops using a slim 240mm radiator. Kits such as Swiftech's H220 and Cooler Master's Glacer 240L make it easy, and include everything needed for fully internal water cooling. They can even be expanded to include the GPU in the loop, for greatly reduced noise under load, or for more overclocking headroom. Never before has this level of capability been possible in a case of this size. With properly set up water cooling, high performance, low noise, and small size is no longer a "choose two" proposition.
With its sleek, subtly-faceted brushed aluminum front panel, the M1 presents a refined, minimalist face to the world. An angular, arched cutout exposes the front USB 3.0 and HD audio ports, flanking the central power button, whose two-color LED glows crisply - but not overly bright - when powered. Side and top panels are perforated with symmetrical ventilation areas, ensuring both visual harmony and proper system airflow.
Fully toolless exterior panels allow easy access to the interior, while keeping the clean, smooth surfaces free of the visual clutter of screws or fasteners. The simple upward-facing slot at the front of the top panel provides discreet access to the neatly integrated mount for a slim slot-loading optical drive.
Whether at a lan party, or entertaining guests in the living room, the M1's refined looks are eye catching in any setting.
The M1 was designed with flexibility in mind, so while long video cards and water cooling support are great features, not everyone needs them. If 240mm radiator support isn't required, a pair of 3.5" drives can be installed on the side bracket. At the front of the chassis, either an upward-facing slim slot-loading optical drive or a 2.5" drive may be mounted.
The fully ventilated case floor presents further configuration options, featuring a total of six different mounts for a combination of drives and/or fans. A single 3.5" drive plus an 80 or 92mm fan, or a 2.5" drive plus a 120mm fan are just two of the possible combinations. Utilizing the included stacking bracket, two 2.5" drives may be used on any of the 2.5" mounts. In total, between the side bracket and chassis mounting, up to three 3.5" drives or five 2.5" drives may be mounted, depending on other components.
The M1 is designed primarily to use an SFX power supply, for which it is best suited. However, if the dual 3.5" HDD cage or 240mm radiator support aren't needed, and a short GPU under (195mm long) is used, then an ATX power supply can be installed with an included bracket.
See the compatibility tab for component size restrictions.
Dimensions (H x W x D): 240 x 160 x 328mm, 12.6L (250 x 160 x 338mm overall including feet and rear protrusions)
Motherboard support: Mini-ITX, Mini-DTX
Liquid cooling support: Single 120mm or 240mm slim radiator
Power Supply support: SFX, ATX (limited; see compatibility section)
Disc Drive: Slim slot-load optical drive bay (vertically mounted with slot on top panel)
Front ports: 2 x USB 3.0, HD Audio
Power button: Red/blue power/drive activity LED
Material: 100% 1.5mm aluminum construction, brushed and anodized exterior, matte black painted interior
For specific components, the community has created a user-contributed spreadsheet (be careful! Edits are open and shared with everyone).
Other sources of information include:
Ordering is only opened at certain times - either when pre-orders are being collected for the next production run, or when there is inventory available.
For pre-orders, cases will start shipping as soon as the next production run finishes. Orders of existing inventory are shipped as soon as possible. In both cases, actual shipping duration depends on shipping method and destination country, as well as any delay resulting from the destination country's customs processing. Typically, shipping by air may take 1-3 weeks.
The M1 comes with the following: screws for drive and fan mounting, rubber softmounts for drive mounting, 3.5" HDD cage, 2.5" stacking brackets, slim optical drive bracket, SFX PSU bracket, ATX PSU bracket, front USB/audio ports and power switch, left-angle internal AC cable, 4x 120mm fan filters, 4x 120mm metal fan grilles. No fans or paper manual are included.
V2 and V3 have a few minor revisions. You can see a list of changes here.
Yes. The only difference is the top panel, which may be easily swapped out.
Yes. All panel versions are compatible with all chassis versions.
See this image.
The side, top, and front panels require no tools to remove. Using your fingertips, simply pull them away from the case by the edges.
There are two types of drive mounting:
Please see the compability tab for size restrictions and links to more information.
It most certainly can. Power requirements are often greatly exaggerated, by manufacturers and users alike. There are numerous examples of people running GTX 780s and R9 290Xs on Silverstone's 450W SFX PSU with no issues - even with overclocked CPUs and watercooling! In practice, such systems rarely exceed 350W. For those who really want to push mini-ITX to the absolute limit, a 600W SFX from Silverstone has been announced for release later this year.
It most certainly can. Radiator requirements are often exaggerated, but this also has to do with expectations and what your goals are. A 240mm radiator and full water loop in the M1 can significantly lower the noise of the GPU, while keeping temperatures below stock.
Additionally, other members of the community have spearheaded the development of the following accessories for the M1:
One of the primary design goals of the M1 was to be able to house, power, and cool high performance components, while being as small as reasonably possible. Mini-ITX is the smallest motherboard form-factor capable of supporting such a build, and is actually considerably smaller than mATX. In particular, the short length of mini-ITX is what allows the front-mounted power supply, and by extension, the side-mounted dual radiator. Keeping the same layout with mATX would result in a a significantly larger case.
MicroATX also has a higher set of requirements in regards to cooling and power delivery, necessitating a move to larger components (ATX PSUs) and less compact layouts to ensure good airflow.
"Any trained eye can see that the NCASE M1 is a passion project even without knowing its origin story. It's absolutely gorgeous and surprisingly compact considering the components it supports. The well-conceived design is so detailed that everything fits with very little room leftover. The vertical slot-loading 5.25 inch drive in particular was ingenious as it hides the increasingly unpopular optical drive option without using up much space. It's also clear that usability was a key factor. Every panel pops-out easily, giving users unfettered access to every corner of the chassis during assembly, while the alternate drive/fan placements allow for some nice flexibility."Full review @ silentpcreview.com
"The NCASE M1 is a beautifully simple enclosure that accomplishes the goal of creating a fantastic mini-ITX solution. It’s styled with a minimalist approach, and small enough to be unobtrusive just about anywhere. The quality of the case is high, and it certainly feels like a premium part - especially with its ultra-light aluminum construction. If these become widely available the M1 would make a solid recommendation for someone looking to go all-out on a mini-ITX build."Full review @ pcper.com