We are so excited, and so incredibly proud, to be able to introduce Project Nova's final form: a product that's the result of nearly two years of work, three generations of prototypes, hundreds of thermal and performance tests, and ongoing community discussion throughout. When James and I first began to work together, I don't know that either of us knew where Project Nova would ultimately take us - and yet, as we look at the final version of our project, everything about it seems completely logical, and beautifully inevitable. Our patience has been mightily tested over the past few months, but we are now able, at long last, to reap the rewards.
Friends, followers, and newcomers: the wait is finally over. Say hello to Cerberus.
The last substantive update we've provided on Cerberus, in terms of features and functionality, was all the way back in Fall 2015, and although we've mentioned or alluded to some of the changes we've incorporated since, their sum vastly exceeds the individual value of each one. The final version of Cerberus, even with its clear lineage with past prototypes, is very much distinct in both form and function. It is the essence of Project Nova, but refined in a manner only possible with experimentation and the passage of time.
Of course, our work has hardly been limited to design: everything from our manufacturing pipeline, to our crowdfunding campaign, has been in active development for months, and some of our most substantial (and late-breaking) developments will come from those fronts as well. A good design is merely half of the equation when it comes down to delivering quality enclosures to you all - a capable manufacturing pipeline, strong crowdfunding campaign and robust fulfillment plan all carry just as much weight, and therefore took up just as much of our time and energy to perfect.
In any case, the updated product page on our website details the fundamental features of Cerberus at a high level, but for our followers I wanted to provide a write-up that focuses on the specific changes we've introduced into this final version - as well as some more words spent on how Cerberus will be built and sold in the months ahead.
We've waited long enough! So let us begin to explore, starting with the newest features we've incorporated into Cerberus's design.
Part I: Features
Cerberus's final dimensions are 303 x 170 x 354mm, leading to an overall volume of 18.2L. Though this is a tad bit larger than the last prototype, the benefits of the minor space increase are substantial (and to which I'll elaborate on in a moment), and the increase itself constitutes a mere 5% difference that's imperceptible to the eye.
Even with this slight change, however, Cerberus remains class-leading in its space efficiency. After pulling out volume figures for the most popular mATX enclosures on the market, you can quickly see how small Cerberus (on the left) is in comparison:
mATX Enclosures, by Volume
We need not stop with mATX, either. Again keeping Cerberus on the left, we see that a similarly representative sample of the most popular mITX enclosures demonstrates how competitive Cerberus is, even when compared to cases that are vastly more restrictive:
mITX Enclosures (and Cerberus), by Volume
Portability and space efficiency were among the original tenets of Project Nova's design, and they remain in full force within Cerberus. For portable workstations, multi-GPU rigs and VR-focused contexts, Cerberus's combination of component flexibility and size make it a revelation, and a substantial leap forward, for enthusiasts and for the industry as a whole.
Cerberus sees a dramatic refinement in appearances for its final iteration, and its facelift is undoubtedly one of the most exiting updates we've made. Our last prototype embraced an industrial look to match the utilitarian focus of the design, but Cerberus strikes a much better balance, finding a way to retain that practicality and marry it with a refined, minimalist, and distinctive look.
Much of this evolution is a direct consequence of the materials and manufacturing methods made available to us through our manufacturer. For example, through them, we've been able to secure industrial-grade powder coatings that will be available in Obsidian Black and Pearl White as standard - with a rich Carmine Red available as a stretch goal for our crowdfunding campaign. And across all the coatings, we've selected a fine-textured matte finish that imparts an ultra-premium feel, exudes vivid color, and provides exceptional durability. For the black powder coat in particular, the texture and color lends Cerberus a particular sheen that catches the light in an interesting and eye-catching manner, shifting the hue ever so slightly as you shift your perspective.
Of course, changes weren't limited to our selection of coatings. Cerberus's panels have also seen a complete redesign: gone are the sliding hooks, and all the seams and bends they introduce; all panels on Cerberus are now uniform flat sheets of metal, with sharp edges that complement the enclosure's minimalist design. The face of Cerberus has eliminated several bends along the edges, embracing a simplified gull-wing-like profile. The I/O for the enclosure has been moved to the top, lending the front a cleaner and more understated look. And, best of all, we've adopted an industrial-grade pin-and-clip system to secure all panels to the chassis, relying on 100% steel hardware to provide convenient toolless removal, without the fragility of the plastic clips commonly used in industry.
Finally, the external vents themselves have been adjusted, with smaller cutouts, minor adjustments to positioning, and the elimination of the non-functional vents behind the motherboard tray.
Speaking of vents, perhaps the most impressive single feature we're introducing with Cerberus is an original and innovative mounting system, that we've decided to call "Infinite Vents". For past prototypes, we relied on traditional static mount points that essentially pre-determined where and what kind of hardware could be installed - but for Cerberus, we wanted a solution that could more effectively use the limited internal space of a SFF enclosure.
After considerable experimentation, we've developed a low-restriction vent pattern of tessellated slats, which freely allow air through whilst providing a continuous plane upon which hardware can be mounted. This means that, wherever there are Infinite Vents, anything from storage to fans to radiators can be secured to the enclosure, at precisely the desired location, with nearly infinite adjustability.
Another benefit of this vent design, coupled with the alterations in Cerberus's dimensions, is greatly increased component compatibility. 92mm, 120mm, and now 140mm fans can be mounted on the front or bottom of the enclosure. Pairs of 2.5" and 3.5" drives can be secured anywhere along the Infinite Vents by use of the included brackets. 120mm and 240mm radiators can be installed. Pumps and reservoirs are now more easily and readily installed, for the adventurous. And we've even put in place two additional 2.5" mount points on the motherboard tray itself, adjacent to the motherboard, for users who have many drives, or who otherwise want to keep the vents free to hold additional hardware.
With Project Nova, options for internal hardware were numerous. But with Cerberus, they are seemingly infinite, achieving a level of customizability that few enclosures of any size have been able to provide to date.
Cerberus's default configuration is that of mounting a SFX or SFX-L power supply at the front of the chassis, and we recommend this method for the great majority of enthusiasts and builds, even across most dual-GPU rigs. However, given the desire by some to use standard ATX power supplies, our most recent prototype included a (clumsy but functional) optional bracket that allowed for such units to be installed on the back, above the motherboard.
With the final version, however, we've been able to work with our manufacturer to provide a much more elegant solution: enthusiasts can now decide at the time of purchase whether they want SFX or ATX support, and they'll receive an enclosure that was designed and built specifically for that form factor. In this way, we're able to do away with brackets entirely, provide a clean and more rigid frame, and eliminate the extra cost of a bracket for those who choose to go the ATX route.
Finally, throughout Project Nova's evolution, we've been working on the option to add an integrated handle, in order to provide the absolute best possible portability to those who desire easy travel above all else. With Cerberus, we're now able to provide this solution as an upgrade that's custom-made for the enclosure, rather than as an off-the-shelf add on.
Each handle we make is custom-designed and carved from solid billets of aluminum, with chamfers and a powder coat finish offering superior ergonomics and just the right amount of friction to provide a confident grip. And the handle itself integrates directly into the internal chassis of Cerberus, with a pre-installed bracket providing the strength necessary to support carrying even the heaviest of rigs around.
Another popular (and frequently requested) option was that of adding a plexiglass window to the bottom of Cerberus, for those who desire to showcase their meticulously-built desktops from the outside, and we're very happy to say that this too will be available as an upgrade option for enthusiasts. With the recent attention that AMD, nVidia and component manufacturers alike have given to the aesthetics of GPU shrouds, the window is a simple yet powerful way to personalize your build, and show off the potent hardware that powers it.
Part II: Manufacturing
Now that the picture of what Cerberus will be like is complete, we should take a step back and explain how Cerberus will be made. As we've stated on numerous occasions throughout the past year, a considerable amount of our work and development on Cerberus involved us finding a manufacturer that would meet our exacting standards of quality and reliability.
During this search, we quickly realized that domestic manufacturing of Cerberus - compared to relying on third parties in China or Taiwan - would yield impressive benefits that lined up well with our biggest concerns and priorities. A US-based manufacturer would enable faster and more constant communication between us and engineers on the floor, for example, expediting production and enabling any issues to be resolved quickly. A local factory could produce enclosures rapidly, and get them to many of our campaign backers weeks or even months faster. And quality controls and engineering inspections could remain airtight, and follow our exact criteria.
Knowing all of this, James and I set forth on a multi-month odyssey, reaching out to a laundry list of manufacturers of all sizes, located throughout the United States. And every time we combed through our options, made calls, and sent out emails to potential partners, one firm stood out above the rest: Sliger Designs, a manufacturer based out of Sparks, Nevada.
Our manufacturing pipeline is so important that we've actually made a page on the website detailing what it looks like, and why it matters, so I won't elaborate too much on those points here. But to summarize: As we've worked with Sliger for the past six-or-so months, making the last run of prototypes and finalizing our design, their communication and craftsmanship alike have been superb, and we've been thoroughly impressed with the level of transparency and access we've been given into their production processes - all of which fulfill our primary concerns of ensuring timely delivery of quality cases to our backers. Furthermore, the facilities, capacity, and talent they have at their disposal is impressive, and builds significant confidence in their ability to deliver what we - and you all! - are looking for in a case.
Simply put, we are stoked to be able to work with them on Cerberus, and the prototypes they've provided to us already are a testament to the quality they can deliver, and that we've been looking to provide, come time for production. As a luxury enclosure, Cerberus is meant to be crafted, not made, and Sliger's engineers genuinely fulfill that title of being "craftsman" within their discipline.
Part III: The crowdfunding campaign
Finally, we end with perhaps the most important announcement of all: the timing of our crowdfunding campaign. Kimera Industries will be launching a crowdfunding campaign in support of production for Cerberus on March 1st, just over a few weeks from today.
Throughout the campaign, enthusiasts will be able to pledge to tiers that provide the default Cerberus configuration, as well as units that come with the optional handle and/or side window. For the campaign as a whole, we'll also have an additional stretch goal (beyond the standard funding goal) for enabling Carmine Red as a color option for backers.
We're not keeping our tiers to enclosures alone, however, and I'm excited to share that we'll also have a variety of tiers available to those who would like to support us, but aren't interested in receiving an enclosure themselves. Many crowdfunding campaigns will typically provide rudimentary tiers that have logo-emblazoned stickers or shirts as the reward, but for Cerberus, we wanted to do something a little more unique, and more special. As such, we've partnered with an incredibly talented local artist, and commissioned an original work in watercolor in celebration of the campaign.
Rather than slap our logo on some cheaply-made swag and shove it out the door, we've worked with Carissa Reynolds to have this beautiful illustration produced, and will instead be putting her work on limited edition stickers, prints, and shirts - all made by domestic manufacturers, using the highest possible quality materials. In addition, the artist-signed print itself will also be available as a tier, with custom framing at the backer's discretion included (assuming I don't buy the print myself)!
And finally... our thanks
To be honest, we weren't sure how to wrap up this announcement, other than to repeat over and over and over again how humbled and thankful we are for all of the dialogue, engagment, and support we've received over the past two years in connection to this project. So I'm just going to go ahead and do that:
Thank you to our first followers, and those who provided critical feedback and insight during the earliest stages of Cerberus's development.
Thank you to the professors, industry insiders, fellow project creators, and other community members that contributed their time and expertise (often pro bono) in order to realize our vision.
Thank you to the manufacturers and other third parties we've worked with, building prototypes, iterating designs, and spending long afternoons and evenings spent fixing those darn half-a-millimeter tolerance issues.
And, most of all, thank you to everyone reading this right now, for your interest, your support, and your care. We'll find a way to pay you all back, we promise!
In just a few weeks, we'll be launching a crowdfunding campaign that could flounder or flourish, but no matter the outcome, we couldn't be more proud, and more fulfilled with the work we've accomplished. As we feverishly promote our work, and prepare the crowdfunding campaign for launch, we'd like to encourage all of you to explore Cerberus, provide your thoughts and feedback, and get the word out about our impending campaign, as March 1st will be here sooner than you think!
As always, we will be following our thread on SFF Forum and providing quick feedback to all questions and inquiries.