Cerberus


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Cerberus


 
 

Introducing Cerberus: the mATX SFF enclosure for those who demand the best.


Introducing Cerberus: the mATX SFF enclosure for those who demand the best.


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.

Before Cerberus was a case, it was an idea.


Before Cerberus was a case, it was an idea.


Collaboratively conceived.

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.

 
 

Methodically tested.

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.

We started with a clean, modern design.


We started with a clean, modern design.


Beautifully crafted, not made.

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.

 

 

Remarkably compact.

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.

 

 

Customizable by design.

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.

More features than meet the eye.


More features than meet the eye.


 

Full mATX support.

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.

 

Side bracket.

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.

 

Panel clips & pins.

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.

 

Flexible mounts.

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.

 

SFX/SFX-L support.

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.

 

ATX PSU support.

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.

 

Optional upgrades.

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.

Quality craftsmanship, built to last.


Quality craftsmanship, built to last.


A great design is nothing without a great manufacturer.

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 >

 

Quality materials complete the case.

All-steel enclosure.

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.

1.21MM

STEEL PANELS

5.30KG

CASE WEIGHT

Robust finishes.

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.

0.06MM

POWDER COAT

400°

CURING PROCESS

 

Reliable hardware.

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.

316L

STEEL HARDWARE

6061

ALUMINUM ALLOY

Metal components.

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.

16MM

VANDAL SWITCH

35MM

METAL CASE FEET

Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding


 

Cerberus. Follow our progress towards production on SFF Forum.

Complete Specifications


Complete Specifications


Dimensions & Materials

  • H x W x D: 303 x 170 x 354mm, 18.2L
  • H x W x D (overall): 320 x 170 x 364mm
  • Chassis weight: 5.30kg
  • Cerberus's internal frame is made from 20 gauge (.91mm) steel, cut and formed
  • Cerberus's exterior panels are made of 18 gauge (1.21mm) steel, cut
  • The case feet and optional case handle are machined from solid billets of 6061 grade aluminum alloy
  • The internal frame, panels, brackets, and handle are powder coated
  • The case feet are given a black Alodine coating
  • Exterior panels are available in Obsidian and Pearl. If stretch goals are met, panels will also be available in Carmine and Azurite (in order)

 

Motherboard support

  • MicroATX  (L x W: 244 x 244mm)
  • Mini-DTX  (L x W: 170 x 203mm)
  • Mini-ITX  (L x W: 170 x 170mm)

 

Power supply support

  • SFX  (H x W x D: 63.5 x 125 x 100mm)
  • SFX-L  (H x W x D: 63.5 x 125 x 130mm)
  • ATX (ATX frame only, any length)

 

Storage support

  • The included 3.5'' drive bracket supports either one or two 3.5" hard drives, and can be installed anywhere with Infinite Vents. If installed on the bottom, a single 3.5" drive interferes with use of the 5th PCI slot, and two drives interfere with use of the 3rd through 5th PCI slots
  • The included 2.5" drive bracket supports either one or two 2.5" drives, and can be installed anywhere with Infinite Vents. If installed on the bottom, any quantity of drives will interfere with use of the 5th PCI slot
  • 2.5" drives can be installed on each of the two mount points on the motherboard tray

PCI support

  • Total number of expansion slots: 5
  • Maximum PCI device length for all slots: 329mm
  • Maximum PCI device height for all slots: 130mm at the power plugs; 150mm overall

 

Cooling support

  • 92, 120 and 140mm fans can be installed anywhere with Infinite Vents. Using the 5th PCI slot limits bottom fans to 15mm thick
  • A 92mm fan can be installed on the rear vent of the case
  • The bottom and front support two fans, or a fan and mounted storage, in a variety of arrangements
  • The side bracket supports one 120 or 140mm fan; the 3.5" drive bracket; or a 120 or 140mm radiator and fan
  • A combination of fans and radiators (120, 140 or 240mm in length) can be mounted to the bottom or front, depending on the configuration of other hardware
  • CPU heatsinks can have a maximum height of 142mm with the side bracket installed, and 148mm without
  • On the ATX PSU model, the CPU heatsink height is limited to 48mm

 

Top I/O

  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Line in/out HD audio
  • 16mm anti-vandal power switch

 

What's in the box

  • Cerberus
  • 3.5" bracket and screws for two drives
  • 2.5" bracket and screws for two drives
  • Screws and necessary hardware to install components
  • Internal extension cable for front-mounted PSUs (SFX model)

 

Available options & accessories

  • Frame with ATX PSU mount
  • Carry handle
  • Windowed side panel

Component Recommendations


Component Recommendations


Graphics

  • In general, graphics cards with reference or blower-style coolers are recommended, as they exhaust most of their heat outside of the enclosure. If you use a card with a non-reference or open cooler, however, we recommend installing fans on the front and/or bottom of the case — such coolers dump tremendous quantities of heat inside the case, so fan layouts should be optimized to remove this warmer air quickly.
  • Graphics cards of almost any length will fit, but if you're planning to front-mount any hardware, make sure there's enough clearance for both components.
  • Graphics cards of most widths will fit, but some non-reference cards are very wide, and have PCBs or heatsinks that extend far past their PCI bracket. Consequently, we recommended that you double-check your card(s) to ensure proper clearance, both at the power ports, and across the whole GPU.

 

Processors

  • Any processors that are supported by mATX motherboards will work comfortably inside of Cerberus.
  • The side bracket can be removed for extra heatsink clearance, but unless the extra room is needed, it's recommended to leave it installed, as it helps to stiffen the internal frame.

 

2.5" & 3.5" Storage Devices

  • Since two 2.5" drives can be installed on the motherboard tray without risk of interfering with other components, we recommend installing drives there first for most builds.
  • Cerberus supports up to four 2.5" drives and two 3.5" drives out-of-the-box. If you need more storage, however, you can easily order extra brackets.

 

Power Supplies

  • For SFX and SFX-L power supplies, we reccomend units that are gold-rated, and that have modular cables. If noise is a primary concern, SFX-L power supplies tend to be the better choice, as they use larger (120mm) fans.
  • For ATX power supplies, the PSU can be mounted to draw air from the outside (through the side panel), or from the inside (above the motherboard). You may want to try both orientations to see which performs best, but we generally recommend orienting the intake fan outward.

Liquid Cooling

  • Cerberus supports nearly all 120mm and 140mm AIO coolers, when used on the side bracket. Some may be too thick to use in a push-pull configuration, however, so be sure to calculate the cumulative height of your radiator, fan(s) and block.
  • Cerberus also supports a multitude of 240mm AIOs, alongside 120 and 140mm ones, on both the bottom and front of the case. However, they generally take the place of other hardware, a few PCI slots, or longer graphics cards. Additionally, 240mm AIOs will only fit in the front of the enclosure when an ATX power supply is used (in lieu of a front-mounted SFX unit).
  • Expandable AIOs, pumps, reservoirs, and even multiple radiators can be used, but water loops of significant complexity will require some planning in order to ensure fitment. In general, we highly recommend using integrated pumps and reservoirs wherever possible, since they have a negligible impact on performance, yet save considerable space.

 

Overclocking

  • Graphics: On air, we strongly recommend that you install intake or exhaust fans directly in front of, or below, your card(s). On water, we recommend at least 120mm of radiator length for every GPU, and suggest having more. And with either configuration, we recommend that you ensure that your power supply will have enough wattage to supply power during full load.
  • Processors: If you're planning to overclock on air, we suggest that you use larger top-down coolers, pulling in air from the vent on the side panel (for heatsinks that are too short to intake air directly from the side, we've found that temperatures improve when a fan is mounted to the side bracket). On water, AIO's of any size (120mm and above) should work well, but larger radiators and fans have the benefit of better performance and lower noise.

 

Air Filters

  • Cerberus does not include air filters because of the flexible nature of the Infinite Vent system — as fans of various sizes can be installed, it is impractical to include many filters for all such options.
  • If dust is a concern, however, most filters on the market will do a decent job of keeping particles out of the case (with some brands, such as Demciflex, performing optimally). No matter the filters you use, however, we highly suggest orienting your case fans in a way that builds positive case pressure. This ensures that any vents without active cooling will see filtered air exit the case, rather than unfiltered air enter uninhibited.