SMD MIT6 – tiny gamer

matman

n00b
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
59
Power supply received. Seasonic S12II 620W.

OMG the bulk of wires spewing out of the back of this PSU is ridiculous. Needless to say it won't all fit.

I've decided to bite the bullet and slice off surplus cables. I assume the best plan is to open it up and sever the unneeded feeds from inside. I plan to ditch the all molex connections, the second EPS12V and all but 2 SATA connections.
 

m715

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
115
Interesting SFF concept with the exposed GPU on top.
subscribed to watch the progress...
 

Black5Lion

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
325
Interesting SFF concept with the exposed GPU on top.
subscribed to watch the progress...

Sorry off-topic, but how do you subscribe to a thread on [H]Forum? I've been hanging around for a while but never saw that option :O

Edit: never mind >.> shame on me I never looked at the thread tools >.>
 

m715

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
115
Sorry off-topic, but how do you subscribe to a thread on [H]Forum? I've been hanging around for a while but never saw that option :O

Edit: never mind >.> shame on me I never looked at the thread tools >.>

Yep, you've got it, I generally select the "instant notification by email" for the frequency.
Works pretty good, especially on projects that aren't updated that often
 

matman

n00b
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
59
Live testing
gN7XVNW.jpg

wiUBvWT.jpg


I'm still waiting on fan filter and front USB bits but it's otherwise functionally complete. The fit of parts is extremely close. In every dimension there is not even a millimeter of space that could be recovered.

Dimensions not including the PCIe slot excursion are:
168mm high, 158mm wide, 230mm deep, 5.52 litres (internal volume)

I made 2 compromises for this prototype that wouldn't work for a production case. I routed the cooling hose between the memory slots and the PCIe slot. There's no way of running the pipes over the top of the memory modules without blowing out width dimension at least an inch. For broader motherboard support I would need to flip the rad 180 degrees and bring the hoses into the motherboard from the side. That would still preclude use of those ASUS boards with a VRM daughter card down that side but most other boards would be fine I think. The other compromise was to butcher the power supply enough to fit all excess cabling. In a production design I think I would bring the front panel forward an inch which would provide much more room for PSU cables and room to spare for a 2nd 2.5" bay while allowing for thicker and/or dual fan radiators.

Accounting for those changes a production design would be about 6.5 litres

I've gone ahead and assembled it and installed windows for some testing.

CPU performance
Combination of a fairly weak watercooling product with a pull fan configuration and such restricted airflow produced results that could only be expected. At stock speeds the i5 4670K idled at 10 degrees over ambient. With a prime95 load though temps went to 68C (32 over ambient). I stopped overclocking at 4.4GHz which seemed stable but at that point temps were going up to 100. I plan to work on improving the temps starting with replacing the stock TIM and trying a push fan on the radiator. Even as is though I don't expect a stock i5 to be a bottle-neck for single card gaming.

GPU performance
I tested with a Gigabyte GTX 670 OC with a Windforce 3 heatsink. Using furmark the maximum tempertature I was able to achieve was 65C with the fan spinning at 40% duty (about 1900 rpm). This was with the highest stable overclock I could find at 1200MHz core and 3050MHz ram. As I had hoped this design seems to be optimal for non reference GPU coolers with unobstructed airflow out and away from the card. My GTX 670 at least can remain close to silent while pinned at 100% load.

Noise
At idle the only thing to be heard is a ticking noise from the Corsair fan motor and only audible from up to 3 inches from the front. Under load the ticking gets more offensive but is still inaudible from 2 feet away with headphones on. The graphics card never exceeded the noise floor of the radiator fan except during Furmark testing and even then I had to lean in to pick it out. The Seasonic power supply is probably too silent. At full system loading it's still inaudible. It could stand to do more to assist movement of the primary system airflow.
 
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ellroy80

Gawd
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Messages
643
This is a rough prototype / proof of concept although I do plan to use it as my primary machine until it falls apart. For production I envision it made from anodized aluminium, edge welded and/or folded. With internal space at such a premium, standard production methods and fasteners may well not fit.

Ah sorry, thanks for clarifying.
 

matman

n00b
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
59
I'm getting the feeling that there's not a lot of interest in this design and I don't feel like I can take this much further on my own. I've already spent more than I should have on parts and I certainly can't personally justify getting a Radeon 7990 to complete the package. I didn't actually need another computer. This was all about just getting the design out of my head and proving it.

I would call the project a mitigated success. Airflow to the graphics card is very optimal and my GTX670 at least remains cool and nearly silent at 110% TDP load. Cooling for the CPU and motherboard is however merely adequate and hardly optimal for overclocking. That's possibly a show stopper for someone willing to foot the cost of a dual GPU card. I was able to keep the dimensions down even though the clearance required by the watercooling block surprised me.

I'm very keen to hear if anyone is interested in pushing this project on. Something like:
  • would buy this but it needs ______
  • can do a shiny rendering/model of it to help people visualize it
  • have contacts that could fab it if there's demand
I live in Queensland, Australia by the way. That might become relevant. I don't know :)
 

m715

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
115
I'd say it is an interesting concept and nice job getting it done, but that's were i'd stop. With the GPU mounted externally without any protection, and very limited case cooling I'd pass.

If I had the cash to blow to build a mini-itx gaming computer I'd probably just get in line for a NCASE M1, but even that small case would be significantly larger than your concept. It would be 80-90mm longer than your GPU and 70mm or so taller.

BUT, I could see your concept being used at something like a trade show venue where they wanted to show off a full size graphics card and not be distracted by the rest of the system, with your design all eyes would be focused on the GPU.
 

matman

n00b
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
59
It's been a while but here's my final result.

Now called exfinium-6.

  • Added USB 3.0 front ports.
  • Added front filter.
  • Moved power LED and switch to front (push power LED to power on).
  • Relengthed and sleeved PSU cables allowing enough room for front USB and additional HDD.
  • Revised dimensions and joinery. Outer dimensions are now under 6 litres and case is more rigid.
  • 3 internal drives: mSATA, 9.5mm 2.5", 7mm 2.5".
  • Replaced H60 fan with a GT AP-15.

a0snwm1.jpg
C52ZguN.jpg

For comparison, exfinium-6 on top of a TJ-08E.
gcnERsZ.jpg


I think I have clearly answered the question I was asking with the design:

Q: How small can you make a computer that still can handle the most demanding graphics cards around?
A: 6 litres

After a break I plan to start working on exfinium-8, a step back towards mainstream but still an experiment in air cooled graphics.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Messages
674
The fit and finish is much better now that it's all painted up. I could see this concept being used (like another user said) as a GPU showcase at a tradeshow. Or even the guys at [H] that do GPU reviews; this is essentially a permanent test bench for that sort of thing. Overall it's pretty neat how much power is shoved in that tiny space.
 

m715

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 17, 2013
Messages
115
I'd agree end result is much cleaner looking and certainly an interesting concept :cool:
 
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