Minimalistic Power Mini iTX System

Discussion in 'Small Form Factor Systems' started by Cov, May 10, 2009.

  1. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    Hi, I wanna build a Minimalistic Mini iTX System.


    CPU _ Intel Q8400 or Q9550S

    Mainboard _ Zotac GeForce 9300 iTX

    RAM _ G.Skill F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK

    HDD _ WD10EADS GP (3.5") / WD5000BEVT (2.5") / OCZ Vertex (60GB)

    PSU _ Pico PSU 150W and 220V > 12V Transformer

    PC case _ M350 ... 192 (w) x 210 (d) x 62 mm (h)



    [​IMG]

    The 2.5" WD Scorpio Blue 500GB SATA3 cost the same like the 3.5" WD10EADS.
    But the 3.5" HDD (1TB) has double the capacity of the 2.5" (500GB) one.
    I guess it has to be either the 2.5" HDD or the SSD, hmmm ... :confused:



    [​IMG]


    The case M350 is the actual reason for why I have started this thread.
    Being fairly confident in the other components I have chosen, I'm not sure how to prevent thermal problems within this case.

    Any ideas please ?


    [​IMG]


    This CPU cooler seems to fit but there is not a single online shop in Europe where I could order this from.
    Have not found any online shop in the USA who ships internationally and accepts PayPal.
    Life's a bitch !!!
     
  2. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    "Minimalistic" would mean an Eden Mini-ITX or a Pico-ITX system to me :p

    Good luck fitting this system together :)
     
  3. tiraides

    tiraides [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What are you going to use this system for?

    The M350 case works best with a low energy, (mostly-)passive system. One of the Intel Atom-based boards would be better suited for that case.

    The TT MeOrb may not fit inside, especially once you put in the 2.5 inch HDD/SSD.
     
  4. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    The thread title contains the word Power.
    I doubt very much that a Nano or even a Pico system could be as strong as Mini iTX.

    Basically for everything the system can cope with.
    From simple browsing ... over to Word / Excel ... and video editing ... to watching videos and listening to mp3s.
    If the onboard graphics was good enough for games - perfect !

    That's right, but not powerful enough for me.
    I still think that operating this system with reasonable temperatures is possible.

    The case has 62 mm height ... the MeOrb has only 47 mm height ... that should fit ... just about.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. praxis1452

    praxis1452 n00b

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    Try a zalman 8700.

    edit: damn zalman is too tall by 5mm. Silverstone NT07? Try cutting a 120mm hole and just put a fan filter over it. Should dampen the noise, or just run it on low through the motherboard.
     
  6. sleepeeg3

    sleepeeg3 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Just use the stock fan with a fan controller and save some money.

    Those Mini-Box PSUs are highly overrated... I've lost two M1/M2-ATX PSUs using about 2/3 of their rated power on Pentium M and C2D Mobile systems. They lack OVP. Just take a look at the mp3car.com forums... Although I think the PicoPSU is really just a regulator with most of the electronics in the brick so less to worry about from faulty Mini-Box designs. However, for an LGA775 quad system, I'd say it's a sketchy proposition.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  7. bobdole369

    bobdole369 Gawd

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    I'll verify that the picoPSU is really just a regulator, actually several of them. It's a fairly well put together set of them at that. I wouldn't run a quad off one either, just not enough power.

    I actually built that same system, except we used a zotac 630i board and an E7400, with the mini-box PicoPSU-80-WI-32 (needed the overhead as we run on 24V busses that frequently run hot (like up past 28V) on yachts).

    Actual pull is about 3A on 15V, and 2A on 24V.

    I used the stock heatsink and fan. It barely touched the top of the case and at load is 135F.

    The area on the back left side of the case is the warmest to the touch. The m350 only fits a 2.5" drive BTW. If you use the stock intel fan - you can't fit any fans on the second half of the drive mounts (the drive mounts on an included bracket, for $3 you can get another for another drive, but I couldn't use it as the stock fan touches the lid. No room.)

    It ran prime95 for 72 hours - no issues. I plan to put it in a cabinet with a ton of other PC's that normally stays about 110F. This is more like a real world environment ona boat where we plan to put them.
     
  8. Valnar

    Valnar 2[H]4U

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    I think a quad CPU is out of the question.
     
  9. elleana

    elleana 2[H]4U

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    You can look at the AC Freezer LP for your cooler.
     
  10. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    I have an E8400 currently in my mATX system.
    If it's not reasonable to employ a quad in a Mini iTX system, I could put the quad into the mATX and re-employ the Wolfdale on the Zotac then.

    But if the dual core should still get too hot despite using the stock cooler, does the Zotac board offer something like underclocking / undervolting ?
     
  11. drgnfang

    drgnfang [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm running a E5200 in the M350 case, great system. Temps are fabulous. Idle in the 30's, load in the 50's. Using stock cooler. Silverstone NT07-775 is actually shorter than the stock Intel fan (which fits by like 1mm) so it should fit fine. The Zotac i630 does not have underclocking, not sure about the 9300.

    What is the "width" (not height) on the fan you are looking at? If it is bigger than the stock it will not fit into the case.
     
  12. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    My mATX system uses the following CPU cooler:

    Coolermaster ICT-D925R-GP

    [​IMG]

    Fan Dimensions _ 95 x 95 x 25mm
    Heatsink Dimensions _ 95 x 95 x 38mm

    Height _ 25 + 38 = 63 mm ... I don't think I could squeeze that into the M350 case.


    The Intel low profile stock cooler

    [​IMG]

    Diameter (incl pins) _ 120 mm
    Height _ 42 mm


    You said that your E5200 (2.5 GHz) CPU runs in the M350 case just fine.
    Idle in the 30s and load in the 50s using the Silverstone NT07-775 ?

    If that was true, I don't have to be worried about thermal problems in that small case any longer.
    The E8400 runs at 3.0 GHz, but that's not gonna be an issue because I get the same temps as you in my mATX system.


    Silverstone NT07-775

    [​IMG]

    Fan _ 90 mm x 90 mm x 10 mm
    Heatsink _ 93 mm x 93 mm x 27 mm
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Total _ 93 mm x 93 mm x 37 mm


    I consider the question about cooling an E8400 in the M350 as clarified :D

    Thanks all


    @ drgnfang ... what motherboard is in your M350 again and what wattage is your PSU please ?
    I just hope the 150W Pico PSU will be sufficient.
    To be honest, the power brick (transormer) doesn't look high quality to me.
    Isn't there anything better to buy than what they usually sell together with the Pico PSU ?

    What ampere number should I look out for and how is the plug called for the power socker on the M350 ... leading to the Pico PSU ?

    Hm, or shouldn't I worry about that ?
     
  13. drgnfang

    drgnfang [H]ard|Gawd

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    Zotac i630 mITX (non-wifi - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500012). Running everything stock with 2x2g and a 5400rpm HDD.
    PicoPSU 150w with 80w (12v, 6.6a) brick.
    Idle at 30w, load (prime95) at 72w.

    As long as all of the "numbers" match, any brick will work. Just be careful to make sure everything matches. For example my Dell laptop brick has a 2.5mm jack (fits fine), but pushes out 19.5v - way too much for the picoPSU (which needs 12v). FYI, my brick is warm to the touch even though this system has been idle for days (it's a LAMP server).

    Temps are showing 44/43 for core0/1 right now. That's from the Linux lmsensors package so I don't know if needs adjusting or not. The idle/load temps listed above are from my initial Windows XP test (I know what software to run in XP, so I always test load with it). Those temps are with the stock Intel HSF. My Silverstone is in my mATX system on a E7200. Haven't decided if I'm gonna put on this system or not, the stock seems to be running fine.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  14. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    @ drgnfang ... thanks for the info.

    So, pairing a 150W PicoPSU with a 80W transformer, doesn't that limit the PicoPSU to max 80W ?

    Your 72W at load is pretty good but wouldn't that mean in long term to be stressing the transformer too much ?
    The system may be somewhere in the middle between 30 and 72W when you do normal stuff I could imagine ?!

    There are excellent pictures of the M350 to be found on the net.
    But do you think it would be possible for you to post one of your case please ?
    I just wonder how it compares size-wise with your environment.

    1. The front is plastic, but I hope the chassis doesn't feel as cheap ... what do you think ?

    2. The front has a blue power LED but doesn't seem to have an LED for the HDD, or am I mistaken ?

    3. If I wanted to install additional air flow, would there be ANY space for a couple of 40 mm case fans inside ?
     
  15. fr500

    fr500 [H]ard|Gawd

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    If the transfromer has a lower ampeage rating or wattage the transformer could die(and become an ugly burnt plastic cube), the brick should be of equal or bigger capacity, the voltage must match on both, as does polarity, if polarity is not the same it wont turn on.
     
  16. kencheeto

    kencheeto 2[H]4U

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    OP: I thought you were building in a LL mini-itx?
    Change of heart?
     
  17. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    Sorry, but I have no idea what a LL Mini iTX is ... :confused: :confused: :confused:

    Edit: Aaaahhh, you mean Lian Li !?!?!

    Ok, got ya !! Well, first of all it is still not available ANYWHERE in Europe and secondly I found the full ATX PSU ridiculous for a Mini iTX.

    Otherwise I would have bought it anyway ...
     
  18. kencheeto

    kencheeto 2[H]4U

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    Agreed, full atx is silly. Middle ground loses the best aspects of each form factor.
     
  19. drgnfang

    drgnfang [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes, I wouldn't try to push it over 80w.

    72w with prime95 means that the 80w is just about perfect. 99% of the time this box is well below what prime stresses to. I rarely load more than one core. I actually setup everything in a LL V350 with a ATX PSU just to get an idea of what my max load would be before I bought the picoPSU and case. I built the box so that it could sit idle 80-90 % of the time without wasting to much money on power, and it is working that quiet well.

    The case is VERY small, barely bigger than your mobo. The chassis overall is very nice. Metal (steel I assume), has some weight to it. I think I have my wiring backwards for the power LED, cause it only turns on during a soft reboot, not while the machine is on or off. There is room for a 40mm on the front-right, but I didn't bother putting one in. I think it will blow air mostly on the PSU/RAM.

    Here is a very bad cell phone pic: http://wyldwolf.org/images/h/M350.jpg. The wire racks are 8.5" x 16", and that's an 8 port 3com switch behind it.

    Why would you want the brick to be pushing more power than the PSU can safely handle? That seems very dangerous.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2009
  20. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    I hated the look of the Lian Li. But other wise, I loved the fact that it has a full ATX PSU. I don't trust the FSP PSU after looking at the rails/noise labeled directly on the PSU and finding a replacement that doesn't require modding is PITA.
     
  21. kencheeto

    kencheeto 2[H]4U

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    Definitely true on the PSU. However.. looking at the Lian Li, comparing it to a matx case/board I think you can get better value than a Q7 and Zotac board, considering you're sacrificing a trivial amount of case volume. If we could only get a quality standardized sfx psu with cases to match..
     
  22. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    Definitely.
     
  23. fr500

    fr500 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well, thats not how it works, you could say the brick will deliver the power it's asked, your PSU (the brick in this case) needs to be able to handle equal or more wattage than required but it'll only deliver the amount you need at a certain degree of efficiency (it'll consume some power on its own)
     
  24. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    It makes sense to have the AC-DC SMPS capable of providing more power than the subsequent DC-DC PSU can provide as the AC-DC part is the most efficient in the 40-60% load range, whereas DC-DC PSUs generally are 90+% efficient at any power level.
     
  25. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    I'm gonna order the following Pico PSU: 150 W XT 12V 24-Pin @ ddcom24

    DC plug female : 2.5 mm x 5.5 mm x 10 mm (not recommendet for current higher than 8A)

    But it is not easy to find a good transormer I have to say. Now I have found the following one as my life saver possibly: 12V 12.5A 150W @ eBay

    Input: 100-240V AC
    Output: 12V DC
    Max.:12,5A
    Connector: 5,5 outside (-) and 2,1 inside (+)
    Length of cable: 280 cm



    What do you think ? Is that gonna match ?
     
  26. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    Shop M 350

    Shop Pico PSU

    Manual for the 150W Pico PSU



    Oh, and just as a side note:

    I know that this is probably very off topic, but if you are interested in a high quality webcam I could recommend the following model:

    Philips SPC 1330 NC

    This one cost more than the crap you get usually, but it's far superior with 90 fps and lot's of other features.

    Check it out !!
     
  27. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    Sure, seems like the connectors match up, and the voltage is right. It can also provide the 150 Watt the DC-DC PSU can provide. I'd say go for it.
     
  28. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    I wrote an email to the seller on eBay and she replied now, pointing out that the PSU can't handle more than 8A while the transformer goes up to 12.5A

    So, what am I gonna do now ? Getting this weaker 110 W transformer or should I risk it with the 150 W transformer ?

    What is the worst that can happen if the number of amperes differ ?

    Crap
     
  29. fr500

    fr500 [H]ard|Gawd

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    If transformer can give you less amperage than required it will still work but transformer will eventually overheat and fry (it's like using a regular PSU at it's peak 100%+ for a long time), if the transformer can give you more amperage it will be fine
     
  30. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    Let me see if I understand that right:


    The number of ampers indicate only the potential of a transformer.

    Meaning: if I connect only a low power consumer to a high power PSU / transformer set, it will consume only the power at the consumer's rate and not more.

    If the PSU has only low power consumers connected, it draws less current from the transformer,
    the PSU as well as the transformer stay well under the full load limit,
    and every component works fine and stays cool or warm.


    If the PSU has to power 3 HDDs, a DVD-R, a quad CPU and a discrete high end graphics card, it demands as much current as it needs from the transformer / or as much current as the transformer can deliver.

    >>> If the transformer can't deliver the current requested, it runs at 100% which lets the components run just about, if at all ... and the transformer gets very hot and can get damaged.

    >>> If the transformer delivers the full requested capacity of the PSU (i.e. 8A), then the components and the transformer run fine, but the PSU runs at 100%, gets too hot and can get damaged as well.

    Is that about right, what I think how it works ?


    If yes, then an overpowered transformer (i.e. 12.5A) cannot damage an underpowered PSU (i.e. 8A), as long as the voltage matches (i.e. 12V), because the PSU is not able to draw more than the maximum number of ampers it can handle anyway (i.e. 8A).

    Or am I thinking wrong and the PSU, which is layed out to handle up to 8A, can in fact be damaged by connecting consumers drawing 8A or more ... which makes the PSU draw more current from an overpowered transformer ... following a damage of the PSU.

    Can you confirm or dispute ?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  31. fr500

    fr500 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yes you have 2 points of failure (power related)

    PSU and transformer, both are in risk if you ask them to deliver more current than they can safely deliver, you'll be fine with a transformer with more amperes than the psu and if you're power requeriments are lower than the maximum capacity of the picoPSU.
     
  32. Elledan

    Elledan [H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010

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    Okay, let me clarify this all...

    The PicoPSU page says:
    Meaning that if you want to use the full 150 Watt capacity of the PicoPSU, you would have to use this alternate connector. It seems to me like the PicoPSU's input side simply has too thin wiring to handle the current (sloppy design?). Swapping out the input power cable for a more sturdier one would probably fix things too.

    Anyway, so you can use the 150 Watt adapter and this PicoPSU just fine, you'll just have to make sure you don't melt cables at the latter's side.
     
  33. fr500

    fr500 [H]ard|Gawd

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  34. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    To understand how a PSU works is, not as easy to understand as I thought it was.

    Since I'm going to build a Mini iTX system, I learned that the PSU is actually divided into two parts.

    1. The transformer

    ... uses a transformer (primary & secondary winding) to reduce the 100 - 240V AC into 12V AC
    ... the rectifier diodes convert the 12V AC into 12V DC
    ... electrolytic capacitors compensate for varying load conditions, smoothing the output waveform and assists in limiting the current demand

    2. The PSU

    ... should actually be called power converter and not power supply
    ... lowers the 12V DC into 3.3V and 5V


    Elledan and fr500 ... Thank you very much for your help so far.
    I will continue with the subject PSU at my other thread ... you'd be very welcome to follow.
     
  35. Cov

    Cov Gawd

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    Hi, I have taken a few pictures of the 1:1 paper model ... 192 (w) x 210 (d) x 62 mm (h)
    ....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In comparison to the keyboard you can see how tiny this case really is.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The smallest active ultra low profile cpu cooler is just about small enough to fit in.


    Here a comparison of the M350 to the Silverstone SG01 ...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  36. Duster

    Duster [H]ardness Supreme

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    I own this case and a pico psu if you want pics let me know.

    I just have a Via C7 system in it running a firewall so I can not tell you how hot it runs and stuff.