Building the System
The D Frame mini presents a fully open layout once the glass panels are removed. The panels are attached with four thumb screws each, and there are soft washers to cushion the glass from the frame at each screw:
The hard drives attach to trays that also double as shelves.
An interesting design, and easy to use given the use of two thumbscrews per drive tray, which are also spring-loaded captured screws. Very nice touch.
Hard drives are installed by simply screwing the HDD or SSD to the removable shelf
Down at the bottom (if you choose to orient the case this way) there is the sole fan mount. It's a dual 120mm frame which easily detaches with the same two captured thumbscrews as the hard drive trays. A 240mm radiator can also be installed here.
The dual 120mm fan bracket can be removed easily for fan/radiator installation
The only motherboard form-factor supported is mini-ITX, and this attaches with the usual four screws. One oddity here, given the design there is no use for the motherboard I/O shield with the enclosure. This adds to the feel of the D Frame mini an open testbench-type case.
With the CPU fan attached we see how open the case will be from the top
With motherboard and CPU fan installed, next up is the GPU.
The D Frame mini offers support for long graphics cards, and in this inverted motherboard position heat will rise up and out of the case. The design will prevent use of triple-slot coolers with the GPU, as there is only room for a dual-slot design with the PSU mount next door.
The power supply can mount to the top or bottom of the PSU bracket
I chose the top mount for my power supply, which allows the various power cables to be better hidden in the final build. Overall the back of the case ended up fairly well organized.
While I used an air cooler for this build, an AIO liquid cooler can be mounted on the dual 120mm lower fan bracket. I mounted a pair of fans to check the fit, though these were not used in noise/temperature testing.
The Completed Build
The cable organization is aided greatly by the included routing brackets, which can screw into various locations on the back of the motherboard tray. Clever.
The completed build with an air cooler looks pretty clean from the front.