Crono Labs Pitch The C1 Computer Chassis
PC cases have something of a size problem. Oh, it's not a huge problem you understand, and in the main we've adapted to compensate; but it's still fair to say that many just take up too much room, especially in an environment where space is at a premium. Various efforts have been made to address this problem - from shrinking the size of the PC down to absurd levels, through to AIO designs (which effectively build a laptop into the back of a monitor) - but none provide an ideal balance for those who want optimum use of space and high-end components. The question is, does an ideal compromise exist?
Irish startup Crono Labs believes that there is another way, and are setting out to solve the issue with a more universal solution than previous efforts. This small company is made up of just two teenagers - youths who cut their teeth in the prestigious F1 in Schools competition, reaching the finals in Abu Dhabi last year. Comprising an engineer and marketer, they aim to go where far larger entities have feared to tread. Their first project is the C1 Computer Case, a new take on the old problem.
In form, initial design concepts for the C1 resemble a rough combination of desktop chassis and monitor stand, obviously a fairly brute-force approach. The monitor is mounted on the front via a standard VISA bracket, whilst a motherboard tray behind the VESA mount point is where a motherboard would reside. In principle the centre of mass would be through the shaft connecting the frame to the base, ensuring that the whole system is balanced; naturally however that would depend on both the size of the monitor and weight of PC components.
Speaking of, the C1 design can accommodate monitors up to 27" and motherboards up to mATX. There's also enough internal space for a full-size ATX PSU, 10.5" graphics card (via PCIe riser), 120mm/240mm water cooling radiator and four storage drives. In theory at least the entire enclosure could handle very high-spec components indeed.
However, that's not to say that there isn't clear scope for improvements. Perhaps the most obvious is in the monitor mount, which currently appears to be static in height and with patch adjustment through a hinge in the supporting strut (which will be immensely difficult to engineer safely and effectively). Furthermore, getting a monitor flush to the base plate will be difficult due to the orientation of display connectors on many consumer-class monitors. Cable routing will also require addressing during the prototyping stage.
The other area of critical concern will be noise. Vibrations from moving components such as fans will be difficult to isolate, potentially transmitting that vibration through the entire case. Not only that, the system as a whole will be in close proximity to the user, which will cause problems without sufficient soundproofing.
So, there are a few concerns, but Crono Labs feel that they're far enough along in the design to begin prototyping. Unfortunately this requires funds, which as a startup are in short support. As a result they've turned to the wider PC hardware community to crowd-source the initial round of funding via an IndiGoGo campaign. The first goal - $2000 for a series of four prototypes - was achieved after only seven of the twenty-eight days the campaign is set to run. The next goal, $4000, will increase the number of prototypes they can create and hence help to refine the design still further. Contributors can also partake in tiered rewards which include simple recognition through to a C1 pre-order reservation.
Successful funding of the prototype stage is only the beginning however. Crono Labs' ultimate goal is a full production run of 1000 cases or more, which they hope to achieve by taking the project to Kickstarter. The final retail price of the cases should be around $150, but that has to be only a little more than 'best guess' at this stage.
So, with the first round of funding secured, the C1 looks like a concept to keep an eye on. The road to production for any new product is long and full of pitfalls, so they'll need a healthy slice of luck to reach their goals, but if you feel like risking a few dollars the link can be found below.
More information can be found at the C1 Computer Case IndieGoGo Page or directly at the Crono Labs homepage.
Source: Chrono Labs C1 Computer Case IndiGoGo Page