Those of you who know me on the forums will already be aware I am a media junkie and I have one of my customised Silverstone cases hooked up to a 42 inch Panasonic Viera 600hz Plasma. With a watercooled 920 i7 @ 4ghz, Raid 0 hard drives and a 5870 graphics card I want to make sure if I need to game on the TV after watching some bluray movies that the system will handle the job.
With this in mind we were recently contacted by two brothers in the USA who wanted to create a SFF chassis with no limitations for the hardcore enthusiast, so instead of just dreaming about it they spent a year of their lives trying to make it a reality. They seem to have succeeded and are even taking preorders for the launch on the 18th of December – their fledging company is called LAN GEAR and the customised chassis is called the Da Box 100.
We asked Matt why he decided to start this project over a year ago. “I decided to create a new SFF case in December 2008, when I ordered my third micro ATX case and was not entirely satisfied with it. At the time, I was upgrading two computers and had space restrictions. Mini ITX was not an option because I needed more than 1 PCI extension port. So I was looking for the smallest Micro ATX that would satisfy the use I had in mind: overclocking, gaming and modding. I started to work on this project by myself, until my brother finally joined me to help marketing the almost final product.”
We then asked Matt why he just didn’t opt for a prebuilt chassis already available on the market. He said “I was unhappy with the solution on the market because all the options that where around 23L in size would have the power supply placed right above the CPU or the graphic card, or both.”
Creating a chassis is not an easy job so matt was keen to tell us about the development stages throughout the year of hard work they underwent to bring this dream to a final shipping product. “The first step was to try to find a way to fit all the hardware I had in mind in less than 23L in volume. I spend about a month trying to arrange every parts so that the PSU would not be in the way of large (ATX compatible) aftermarket heatsink, while maintaining an excellent air flow to satisfy high end video cards (think 5970).
“The second step consisted in finding the manufacturer. Because unemployment was skyrocketing and the economy suffering here in the USA, I decided that people would appreciate if I made it right here at “home”. This is not an easy task as almost nobody else is making cases in the US or Europe anymore. However, it also leads to high production cost, but we decided to take as small as a margin as we could afford to launch the product and make it competitive price wise.
Once I found the manufacturer, we started prototyping. Then tooling. And now we are into the production stages.
The particularity of DA BOX is that the case was, in the late stages of its development, a SFF community project. I have to personally think HardOCP and CanardPC who allowed us to post on their forum and use the feedback received to perfect the case.”
Matt also pointed out that the case is an all American design from aluminum.
“DA BOX is made using 100% USA made aluminum. The outer shell is made of 2mm thick aluminum. The chassis and most of the other parts are made using 1.5mm thick aluminum, and 1mm thick aluminum for the HDD cage and 5.25” bay.
In its final version, DA BOX weights around 3.17kg.
DA BOX is different that most micro ATX case 23L and smaller. It offers the following benefits:
– Made of 100% aluminium
– Brushed aluminium finish (black anodize)
– Motherboard tray for easy installs
– Compatible with heatsinks as high as 190 mm
– Compatible with long graphic cards up to 322mm long, thus including HD5870, HD5970, …
– Compatible with ATX power supply and extra long ones.
– Separation of heat zones
– Hand screws
– Dust filters
– Anti theft system”
Matt rounded up the conversation by saying that they are already working on their next chassis as well as the next version of DA BOX and they are aiming to release it in Spring 2010 … a mini ITX chassis for gamers.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think it is great to see a couple of driven and clearly dedicated guys try and bring something fresh to market to appeal to the overclocking and discerning high end enthusiast audience – if you are interested in ordering one or having a look at their work in more detail head over to their home page – LAN GEAR