Looking for minimal E-ATX case, ie no radiators, drive cages, or glass

I want to take my computer with me when I go to the caribbean this winter. If there are no good options I may just leave it at home.

The luggage has a 40lb limit, and several people’s luggage has been crushed by the tender mercies of baggage handling, so I may put it in an additional wooden box. While I am there, I am going to leave my NAS at home, and only operate off of M.2 drives.

Due to sticking it in my luggage, and it traveling through baggage handling, I don’t want any glass panels, also steel is lighter, and luggage weight is a concern.

I may use a 2.5 inch drive for archive and backups, but a usb drive is a valid option if the case does not have a place for one.

I will have the geforce 4070 GPU, and an x16 pcie to m.2 card.

Maybe also a second single slot gpu and a sas card.

If I can find a case small enough, maybe I can take it as carry on and not send it though baggage handling.

Leave it at home and bring a laptop in your hand luggage.

If you absolutely must bring the desktop PC, pack it in a hard plastic case. Cut out dense foam to fit it firmly. You can leave the M.2 breakout card plugged in, but remove the GPU and bring it in its original packaging. If you’re using an aircooler on the CPU, do the same for that.

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My air cooler disconnected the CPU from its socket when I had an small bump accident causing the tower to fall from the trolley i was using.

I was so lucky no pins were bent. It wasnt even a heavy tower cooler, just a single tower, single fan and not a dual tower like that noctua D15.

How much does your current computer weigh?
And would it fit in a large standard luggage carrier 28-32 inches ?

This ?

Packed inside with instapack foam?
And either wrapped with thick bubble foam, or if you can spare a bag, two inches of insulating foam?

Instapak Quick RT #10 (x2) Packing and Shipping Solution – American Bubble Boy https://a.co/d/i9Xaz1f

GPUs maybe in your carryon?

If I get the Cerberus x I think I can mount the PSU in the front position. So far I only have a power budget of around 600W, so I won’t need an oversized PSU.
CPU up to 200w (epyc 9124), but it should usually be 30w to 70w.
GPU up to 200w (geforce 4070), used for Stable Diffusion and some games
M.2 cards, should be less than 100w with all the cards.
SAS card, under 75w, ie uses slot for power.

Currently for a case I am using the P2 silent, which is similar to:

I will probably make this into a NAS case with a SAS expander, and let my new pc be the controller. The other benefit is that I can put the box with the hard drives in the closet away from my ears.

I have:
https://www.supermicro.com/en/products/motherboard/h13ssl-nt

I am using an epyc 9124 (slowest and cheapest amd epyc available, 16 cores, 12 ddr5 channels, pcie5, 112 lanes in this motherboard) which is only 200 watts, the cooler is rated for 320 watts, so overkill.
For a CPU cooler, I am using the Dynatron J12. I may need to rotate the CPU cooler putting the fan on the other side. The cooler is short and squat with wide mounting holes, but still massive. So far there are still only 3 CPU coolers available for SP5. ekwb makes a water cooler:

But I would not want to fly with a water cooler. TSA may reject it for containing fluid more than 5 fluid ounces.

The Cerberus x fits within carry on luggage restrictions. So I would not need to send it through baggage claim. And it takes a handle, so it may actually be convenient.

I think the P2 is 8 inches taller, 2 inches thicker, and 10 inches deeper. All of the edges are double rolled, the side panels are double thick with a vibration absorption insert between the panels. It is a great case, just a bit awkward to use or move. But is I use it as a disk shelf, it maintains it’s advantages, and I don’t have to deal with it on a daily basis.

If I had needed to put it as a checked bag, I could use the box it shipped in.

Nice setup :slight_smile:

That would be a pain to try and ship, maybe in a pelican case but would definitely cost $$$

That would be the best option imho … less hassle, other than if you break a pci slot because of the GPU falling off it’s still on you :slight_smile:
I would still use the expandable packing stuff just to be sure …

Ooooor, just, you know… Remove the GPU, put it in an anti-static bag and place it separately in your luggage (with plastic wrap)?

Anyway, EATX is tricky, ATX you have stuff like the SFFTime P-ATX and SFFTime N-ATX. The need for EATX is more and more disappearing and I even find ATX form factor is starting to become excessive for most needs - I haven’t needed anything more than a single GPU expansion card in ages, and for that mATX is plenty. MAYBE 10GbE on a secondary slot, but you can even combine those with MOAR m.2 slots now.

Doesn’t really help right now, but in the future a downsize to ATX or mATX might be a good idea. :slight_smile:

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If I’m reading/seeing this right, the mainboards standoff positioning are typical ATX
With the overall sizing, just that smidge wider

Finding with solid wall / mesh wall, is of course the difficult part nowadays
May not be the greatest solution, as its a bit older, but would well accommodate [to TSA]
+Can apply rack handles, to assist with carry ability
https://www.silverstonetek.com/en/product/info/computer-chassis/GD09/

I’ve run my XP-Box, through this case, including with all interim upgrades within
[From a dual socket mainboard → to its current single socket Core Gen4]
My main hotspot of case is by GPU, since its a blower style and a bit strung up [ HD4890]

Is the work you’re planning on doing requires a physical machine? Why not leave it at home and just remote-desktop/moonlight/parsec/RustDesk remotely? You won’t have reliable internet connection?

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I have a cell phone connection while on site with 1 bar of signal, it was not enough for 320x240 youtube video. That was fine for a 2 week vacation, but next visit will be several months. We will be working at our vacation venue. Everything is more expensive there than at home, including our labor, so it may be a net positive. Last time I was using 4G, my wife’s phone had 5G, still 1 bar, but she could watch tiktok with infrequent drops. By the time I get there I will have an iPhone 15, so 5G, but limited bandwidth for tethered devices. I may see if I can get starlink installed before I get there.

The only place I have been able to get more than 2 bars of signal was in the middle of the harbor. I did need to remote into a system while I was there last time, and took a ferry out to an island in the harbor so I could get enough bandwidth to stay connected while configuring a windows security camera system (blue iris) from my iphone.

St Croix usvi, The island was “the Cay” in Christiansted harbor.
google maps:
The Hotel on the Cay, Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI

During December - February the daytime high will be 82F, the nighttime low will be 72F.

I can take the gpu off and put it in my personal bag.

IF you go water-cooled - drain the system before you go.

what exactly are you trying to do while you are there?

I am not entirely convinced that laptop + remote, or even laptop + cloud instance would not be a better solution

for watching videos and media, might consider just taking an external SSD full of movies and TV

if you are doing Stable Diffusion, might consider just using a cloud instance with GPU acceleration enabled

if you can work headlessly, an ssh connection into a remote server uses minimal bandwidth

trying to take heavy hardware like this seems risky enough to the point where you might as well consider any expense paid to leave it safely at home as an “insurance” against breaking your good workstation in transit

surely the people on this island must have solutions for better internet, right? If you are staying for months at a time maybe you could get a real internet contract with a local ISP?

something else I remembered, I use Google Fi cell service here in the USA and it has worked really well everywhere I have traveled, and a quick Google gave some mixed but mostly positive sentiments about Fi service in the US Virgin Islands

you do not mention which cell provider you use, but if your current provider was not sufficient in the past, might be worth paying for a few months of service with other provider(s) that might have better deals.

Fi has been especially good for this since their basic plan has always been $10/GB up to 6GB, then unlimited until something like 15-20GB at which you still stay unlimited but start getting reduced speeds. And these prices apply outside the US as well. I made full use of this in places such as Peru where the cell data connection was stronger than the local Wifi and Ethernet

Mostly I downloaded operating system isos, and stable diffusion models. Though I will mostly have that loaded by the time I get there.

Several times I have diagnosed system issues by doing a physical to virtual on all the computers in a business, then attempting some tasks until failure. last big one I unbroke a dental office earning $7,000 a day. In another case I made a $430,000 piece of hardware continue to work on a supported operating system for another 7 years.

Other times I build a full application stack with client, web servers, databases, and data, then diagnose performance issues. Last big one of those my personal actions kept my client from losing the contract to manage 300 billion dollars of assets. To save their client 200 million dollars a week.

So medium storage, lots of io, medium cpu, lots of ram, often 12 VM displays open at a time while attempting to recreate windows race conditions on a database server.

I will pick up a 4K tv on site.

My wife went through 30gb of data streaming TikTok in 6 days.