By 2012, he had had enough of the deplorable state of small form factor computer cases (SFF), two users on the HardOCP community forum decided to make one myself. Wahaha360 and Necere came up with the $200+ Case M1, a 12.7 liter marvel designed to make good use of every cubic inch of that space. Amazingly, they managed to get the attention of renowned PC manufacturer Lian-Li to manufacture small batches of their crowdfunded case from high-grade aluminum, and the result was greeted with rave reviews.
Nine years later, but Ncase announced that it will stop the M1 for good.
It’s a rare situation. Yesterday, the company posted that it had completely discontinued the M1 – but overnight the post was updated to read that only the current “classic” design is gone for good.
Ncase tells The edge that’s because a successor is on the way. “I can say that what we are working on will follow the formula the M1 has developed, updated and modernized to better reflect the current hardware market,” says Ncase, adding:
Video cards in particular have grown significantly larger on average in recent years – a fact that has affected the compatibility of the M1, which was previously very good for its size. The M1 was already highly optimized for space, so fitting such larger cards was not possible within the current design footprint. Hence the need for a more thorough redesign from the ground up, which also gives us the opportunity to explore alternative production methods, visual design updates and additional features.
It makes sense: this is not a product that is particularly outdated or where demand has suddenly dried up. Although there are many worthy imitators such as the Cooler Master NR200 or Lian-Li’s own TU-150 — also with a neat integrated carrying handle — the Ncase M1 is still widely regarded as one of the best cases on the market. Potential buyers eagerly awaited a new batch, tentatively scheduled for November.
But it’s true that some of the oversized coolers on the most recent generation of graphics cards prevent many of them from fitting properly in the M1. (Still, you can easily pop in an RTX 3080 Ti Founder’s Edition if you have enough airflow and a powerful power supply. I sure did!)
It’s worth noting that Ncase’s founders are working on other PC cases as well. For example: The 14.7 liter SSUPD Meshlicious, a mass-market case that SFF specialist YouTuber Optimum Tech dubbed “the 2021 ITX case to beat”, is also a Wahaha360 product made by Lian-Li. (For example, the 9.5-litre FormD T1, another case that is produced in small batches.) Ncase also contributed to a design called the Mach One, too – and if you told me it is LRPC concept inspired Microsoft’s Xbox One S, below I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
It feels premature to spend one for the best computer case I’ve ever owned, one that I plan to use for years to come, and one that will probably be used in more. roadside ratings than the ones you may have already clocked. But even if we ever get an Ncase M2, I wouldn’t mind pressing F for the legacy this brand has built. Ncase has helped change the face of SFF business, and whether you buy your next one from them or someone else, our agencies are better for it.