Alternate cases for FW16

So I know there’s a recent post about how long the chassis will be supported, but I think the idea behind this one warrants a new topic.

My thought for this is what do you think the likelihood of having a case available for the FW16? I’m thinking like a Cooler Master case like the FW13 has, but for FW16 and it would need to support the expansion bay.

Really this is less of having questions and looking more for discussion. I’m super stoked to get my FW16! I was thinking the FW16 could be a pretty good small form factor PC. Something small like a laptop but be more of a stationary PC that doesn’t take up much room while still being upgradable.

This thought came to me while working on some VR stuff tonight. Having a dedicated PC for a VR headset for the family where they don’t need to use my laptop or desktop (desktop being way too big for being in the living room). Something really small that can be tucked away near the router.

What are everyone’s thoughts on this?

I’m sure there will be a CoolerMaster-like case for the FW16. But an official Framework case might not come until a next gen FW16 mainboard comes out. Since that was the biggest drive for the FW13 case, an easy way to reuse your old mainboard. Would be nice if it came sooner, but Framework doesn’t have any shortage of things they want to do, and there is only so much they can work on at once.

Before there was the CoolerMaster case, Framework did post files for us to 3D print a case. We might get one for the FW16. There are services that will do 3D prints for you if you don’t have a printer. Like craftcloud3d.com

github.com/FrameworkComputer/Framework-Laptop-13/tree/main/Mainboard/Printable Case

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At this Point I wouldn’t be too surprised, if an excellent community designed case will be the go-to for a while. I do agree though that there will definitely be an official (prbly cooler master) case sooner or later.

But also: since FW publishes everything you need, there might be community cases for specific or niche use cases. And there probably already are some for FWL13

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Well, over in the ‘what do we build next’ thread I suggested that they build a NAS box around the FW16 board. They already have a PCB design that allows NVME drives to be attached to the Expansion Bay PCIe lines, so essentially all they need is a box.

Now it doesn’t take much thought to see that what you are suggesting here, and what I suggested over there could have a common case design. The expansion bay area could be arranged to have multiple uses quite readily, including making it large enough for a next gen GPU. After all any free standing box like you and I are suggesting will want to be thicker than the FW16 base, so the expansion bay area could be set up as a multi-use area fairly easily.

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I asked Nirav about this in a Q&A during an interview, here’s his answer: https://youtu.be/1yB6Yk78DAQ?t=2967

In short, it’s harder than the 13, the size is a problem, they might have you combine something from the hardware store with some 3d printable parts, but they do intend to, although it sounds like they may wait til they have a 2nd gen motherboard (That is, when people start having spare motherboards coming out of laptops). He also mentions they would like to do another coolermaster case for the 16 as well.

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Would be nice to have a choice of a Cooler Master case like the FW13, but also a mini PC case that lets you break out the PCIe to traditional slots for a GPU or other things. If they can somehow make the mini PC case also configurable as a NAS enclosure (PCIE breakout to SATA back plane instead), that would make the mini PC case more versatile.

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