Small form factor cases usually require significant compromises in compatibility, quality, and aesthetics, in order to achieve a compact profile. From restrictive component support and flimsy materials, to ugly exteriors covered with awkward vents, the industry has lacked an enclosure that strikes an ideal balance across power, efficiency and design.
For this reason, we've designed Cerberus, an 18L mATX enclosure that delivers the best of both worlds to the most demanding enthusiasts: incredibly flexible component choice, in a desktop you'll actually want to put on your desk. By combining minimalist design, top-tier hardware support, innovative features and premium materials, we believe that Cerberus represents one of the most modern and forward-looking incarnations of a desktop case available today. And we hope that you agree.
Originating in a thread on HardForum, Cerberus was at first a build log and project created by a frustrated enthusiast, who found existing cases on the market to be bulky and poorly designed. Although Cerberus's humble beginnings included little more than sketches and mockups, the enclosure would eventually transform into a collaboration between designer and audience, as more and more people began following and contributing to the project. Eventually, the collection of comments and feedback from an engaged enthusiast community would yield Cerberus's final design: a mATX enclosure that was portable, yet remarkably flexible; beautiful, yet completely functional.
Of course, the design of Cerberus wasn't simply left up to conjecture. Throughout its creation, Cerberus embraced robust and repeated testing, with a lineage of prototypes — from crudely constructed cardboard mockups, to the very first prototype off the manufacturing line — undergoing thorough inspections at every stage of the design process. In addition, specialty equipment and software, coupled with meticulous testing and rigorous analysis, yielded significant data sets and insights, which enabled precise tuning of Cerberus's thermal and other characteristics. All while the results of repeated thermal and performance testing were shared with the public in real-time, encouraging dialogue that directly inspired features and design improvements.
Tired of flimsy meshes, cheap plastics, and awkwardly placed vents, the appearance of Cerberus was a primary concern, rather than an afterthought. Thus, instead of relying on gratuitous lighting or plastic accents, we aimed to achieve the sort of refined and minimalist aesthetic that would be welcome on almost anyone's desk.
To do this, we went back to basics, and kept the construction of Cerberus beautifully simple. Uniform steel panels devoid of seams or screws grace the exterior. Geometric vents and slats add visual contrast and enable ample airflow. A premium powder coat finish provides vivid color and a fine matte texture, that's fingerprint and dust-resistant. Even the case feet are robust, having been carved from solid aluminum billets, and coated with hardened Alodine.
In spite of all of this engineering and care, Cerberus's size has remained strikingly small, at a scant 18.2L. In fact, even as it supports the much larger mATX standard of motherboards (compared to mITX), Cerberus is actually smaller than some of the most popular mITX solutions on the market — from Fractal Design's Node 304, to BitFenix's Prodigy and Corsair's Bulldog. And, when compared to other mATX units, the space efficiency of Cerberus is simply unparalleled, besting most other enclosures by 10L or more. Never before has an enclosure so small been able to do so much — and look so good while doing it.
While most cases are only offered in black, and offer little in the way of customization, Cerberus embraces individuality. With a family of vibrant color options for the case panels — Obsidian Black, Pearl White, and (as a stretch goal) Carmine Red — you can easily coordinate the style of Cerberus with the rest of your components. And, with options like a solid metal handle, or a side plexiglass window, you can adapt the exterior design and functionality of Cerberus to your exact preferences.
Most SFF cases only work with mITX boards, severely limiting what components you can use. Cerberus, comparatively, supports the mATX standard, which allows for more memory, multiple PCI devices, dual graphics, and more.
Of course, larger motherboards aren't useful when enthusiast-grade components can't fit, so we've also provisioned 329mm of clearance for graphics cards, and up to 148mm of clearance for CPU coolers. There's even an extra expansion slot, allowing for spaced dual-GPU builds, or for bottom-mounted fans and drives.
To make the most of every litre of volume, we've designed a clever side bracket for Cerberus that lets you mount a variety of hardware above the motherboard. It's perfect for 120mm or 140mm radiators, as well as fans or storage.
Of course, if you'd rather not have the bracket, it's easily removed. But even when installed, the integrated hinge make it dead-simple to access internals.
Most enclosures rely on hooks or screws to secure panels, but these can look ugly, and quickly become cumbersome. Clip-and-pin systems, comparatively, provide convenient toolless removal, but they use plastic clips that wear and break easily.
For Cerberus, we wanted the best of both worlds: the convenience of a clip-and-pin system, with the durability of metal hardware. So, we've sourced industrial-grade clips and pins, made entirely of steel, that allow us to create panels that are as convenient to remove as they are reliable.
To maximize the capabilities of Cerberus, we had to rethink how fans and drives could be mounted in such a small enclosure. Thus, following extensive development, we've invented a feature called 'Infinite Vents', which utilize a low-restriction grille pattern that doubles as a mounting system for hardware.
The components supported by this are numerous: 92mm, 120mm and 140mm fans; bracketed 2.5" and 3.5" drives; and even radiators up to 240mm in length. Coupled with extra 2.5" mounts on the motherboard tray, Cerberus's flexibility belies its diminutive size.
Cerberus is designed first and foremost to support SFX power supplies, which are substantially smaller than their antiquated ATX counterparts. With their compact profile and shorter cabling, they're an ideal choice for small enclosures, especially since they make cable runs neater.
Once a huge sacrifice to power, SFX units today are capable of delivering over 600W of power — and Platinum-rated SFX-L 700W units are already on the horizon — making practically any build you can imagine possible, including most dual-GPU configurations.
Of course, some builds will require the lower noise and higher power delivery that ATX power supplies can provide. So for those systems, we've developed an ATX edition of Cerberus, that enables users to mount full-sized power supplies at the rear of the case.
Although this restricts CPU cooler height clearance, it also opens up the entire front of Cerberus for mounting additional hardware — including radiators up to 240mm in size.
Even with Cerberus's small size, we wanted to make transporting the enclosure as easy as possible. So we've designed an add-on handle upgrade, milled from a solid block of aluminum, that makes one-handed carrying convenient and sturdy.
We've also developed a side panel upgrade, that puts a plexiglass window on the bottom third of the case. For displaying graphics cards, or presenting a meticulously-assembled build, it's a simple yet beautiful way to have your rig look its best.
To truly realize all that Cerberus could be, we knew we couldn't have just anyone create it. So, we've spent considerable time and effort developing the production chain that can build our enclosures with the same care we've taken in conceiving of them.
The result of this work is a unique partnership with Sliger Designs, a manufacturer based in Sparks, Nevada, USA. By relying on a qualified and reputable domestic manufacturer, we're able to maintain strict quality controls, and ensure that seasoned engineers assemble every enclosure we make. All while supporting local workers, businesses, and communities. Learn more about our work with Sliger >
The steel used throughout Cerberus provides exceptional durability, and the thickness of the metal was specifically chosen to properly balance case weight and material strength. Far more practical than aluminum enclosures, Cerberus is meant to be easily carried, yet durable enough to survive all but the roughest of journeys unscathed.
Not a single surface of Cerberus is left bare. Instead, every millimeter of the enclosure receives an industrial-grade powder coating, that's electrostatically applied and cured in an oven. This yields a luxe matte finish that's refined, vivid, and resistant to fingerprints and dust — all while being more durable, and more eco-friendly, than anodization.
Every fastener inside Cerberus uses solid steel pressed-in nuts, ensuring that secured screws don't budge, and that all fastner threads last for the long haul — even with frequent part swaps. The clips and pins used to secure the panels are also made completely of steel, alleviating any worries that they'll break or falter after years of repeated use.
Even the little things are made of metal. Cerberus's power button is a standard 16mm anti-vandal switch. The optional case carry handle is milled from a solid billet of aluminum, and chamfered for a comfortable grip. And the the case feet are cut from aluminum blocks on a lathe, before receiving a durable Alodine coating.
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