Level Eleven

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by slipperyskip, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    This project is inspired by my recent trip to San Francisco where I met up with a VIA Marketing rep at the Rods & Mods case mod exhibit. It was a great event and I came away with ideas and enthusiasm. A crowd favorite at the event was my Pico Bayard and it motivated me to do another Pico-ITX mod. I love doing the small stuff and I am due. Here goes...

    First...sponsors

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    This project will be matching up two of the latest pieces of equipment to hit the market, the VIA P820 Pico-ITX mainboard and a Crucial C300 SSD. More to come about the kit but first let's do some project log qualifying work.

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    A sheet of birch plywood from my local supplier. My working surface is the backside of a chess board I bought in Spain many years ago. I don't know what kind of wood it is but it is very heavy and more importantly, extremely flat. I've been using this board for years with all my small projects.



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    This sheet cost me $19 which is kinda crazy but what you get is a 5-ply laser-cut piece of very nice wood. It's just not smart to skimp on materials and tools...IMHO, of course.



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    Using clamps to fix the straightedge I make my mark first in pencil and then in razor. I've learned over the years to spend the time to clamp these things properly instead of using human clamps.



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    Replaced the straightedge with a 1/2" square laser-cut board to use as a fence.



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    Weapon of choice is an X-acto Razor Saw with a fresh blade. I usually grasp it in the center instead of using the handle...better control of downward force and I can keep it up against the fence better this way. I saw it half way through then reset the fence on the other side. At intervals I'll run my razor knife down the trench just to "abuse" the saw cut.



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    That done, I set up another fence to cut a short piece.



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    The final "cutting-through" of the sawing process is always done with my razor knife. Keeping those edges clean.



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    The second piece will be exactly the same size as the first. I could measure it but I prefer not to measure anything if I can. Using the two original laser-cut corners as reference I clamp the two pieces together. Sure, I could make a mark and then saw it but I'm going to use the first piece as a fence to cut the second. After about a third of the way through I'll replace the original board with a proper fence.



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    Clamp the two boards together and "work" the edges over a piece of sandpaper to clean the edges up a little. Not a lot of work done here.



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    The result is two identical pieces of wood with perfect 90 degree corners. Took around an hour and a half.



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    I need to sprinkle this first post with some sponsor goodness so here is a SODIMM of Crucial 2GB DDR2-800. Thank you Crucial!



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    This is my concept of Sketch-up. There will be equipment mounted to both sides of this board with openings for both cables and ventilation.



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    The two boards I just cut will sandwich this slot-loader slimline optical drive. The drive's face plate has been removed.

    That's all for now. Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
  2. wookiie

    wookiie Member

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    Looks interesting nice work so far
     
  3. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Cool!:thumbup:


    Here goes the unboxing ceremony. I try not to do these but this IS unobtainium (at least for now) so I give myself an excuse.

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    Box



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    Box inside box. Plain brown no-frills industrial box.



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    Mostly air and packing material inside the box. Welcome to the world of itty-bitty.



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    Ta-da! The VIA EPIA P820-12L Pico ITX board with a P720-A daughterboard installed.



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    VIA Nano 1.2GHz 64-bit x86 CPU.



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    Turned around. The single 3Gbps SATA connector has a hole cut out of the heatsink just for it. To the left is the 44-pin IDE connector. I'll be using both of these. Lined up along the front are the pin headers for four USB ports, audio, power, reset and a bunch of stuff I don't care about. :D



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    Backside showing where the SODIMM goes. The yellow thingy is the CMOS battery. Yes, a remote CMOS battery. My biggest complaint about the PX10000 Pico-ITX board was the battery holder soldered to the bottom making the unit much thicker than it needed to be.



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    Didn't have a Coke can handy so I thought this iPod touch might do in a pinch to show comparable size. Does that work for anybody?



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    The P720 daughterboard adds 2 USB ports, a VGA port and a Gigabit Ethernet port to the mainboard's onboard HDMI port. That's what I said...HDMI. :thumbup:



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    Misc. cables I'll look at later.



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    For me, one of the most amazing things about this board is that it has an onboard power supply. This connector allows you to connect a standard external 60W ACDC power brick directly to the Pico-ITX. I don't have to use a Pico-PSU with this project like I did the last one. TBH..I'm...just...shocked. The power for the rest of the system like the SSD, optical drive and cooling fans comes directly off headers on the Pico board.

    So what will this little sucker do? According to VIA I should be able to watch H.264 (BluRay) at 1080p with about 20% CPU utilization. Total system power should max out at around 20W. We'll see.
     
  4. de_overfiend

    de_overfiend Member

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    that is one very cool little motherboard :). Cant wait to see what you have planned. *subscribed*
     
  5. Ravennoir

    Ravennoir Member

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    wow thats tiny
     
  6. kombiman

    kombiman Dis-Member

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    Wow! What motherboard?:lol:
     
  7. Chewman_BG

    Chewman_BG Member

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    that's what she said.

    ONTOPIC: This shall be awesome. I've been wanting to build a Pico-ITX system for ages, when I do I'll look upon this for inspiration.
     
  8. nEBUz

    nEBUz Member

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    Hahaha. Love pico-itx, it's even smaller than the ARM9 dev kit on my desk :lol:

    GL with the project
     
  9. NavidsonRecord

    NavidsonRecord Member

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    Will a Pico Mobo run a few dedicated servers at a LAN? Like afew TF2 servers at the same time as a few COD4 and CSS servers?
     
  10. CirCit

    CirCit Member

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  11. Sumomaniac

    Sumomaniac Member

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    I would love this :) connected to my 24 inch LCD for work...
     
  12. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Looks awesome!
    how much are one of those itx MB/CPUboards and a daughter card worth? if you dont mind me asking.
     
  13. swan14

    swan14 Member

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    Mate thats fantastic.

    Small builds like this excite me!:shock:

    Let us know how it runs once you get the chance!
     
  14. ShaneHm2

    ShaneHm2 Member

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    Looks very impressive indeed. Can't wait to see more.
     
  15. AgB deano

    AgB deano Member

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    That thing is tiny!

    Keep up the updates yo!
     
  16. Nonimus

    Nonimus Member

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    why??? I'd rather a little more grunt and run a mini if you like compact windows or OSX whatever is your flavour.. or something similar to a mini (i hear dell have released something similar)
     
  17. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    I appreciate all the comments guys. I guess that iPod touch comparison did the trick or was it something else? It IS tiny. For the record, it is the exact same size as a 2.5" hard drive or SSD. They stack nicely. :thumbup:


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    The power accessory cable. The tiny connector on the right is plugged into the Pico board. SATA, 4-pin molex and floppy connectors come out the other side. I won't be using all these plugs and the lengths will need to be modified.



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    I will call this photo "Tail Wags Dog"



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    Mugen meet Pico. I love the exclamation mark on the base of the Mugen. Makes for a fun photo.

    "I wonder if I'll need to use that support bracket on the back of the motherboard?"


    Here's a VIA video demonstrating the P820 installed into one of their AMOS cases. The most interesting thing here is the h.264 1080p demo at the end.



    Note: No, I'm not going to install the Mugen. Just having fun...OK?
     
  18. Micah.

    Micah. Member

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    LOL at the CPU spiking but yea other wise that's pretty nice :D
     
  19. Mistikal

    Mistikal Member

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    That thing is TINY! Will be keeping an eye on this thread :)
     
  20. matthew-r88

    matthew-r88 Member

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    looks good, we use a similar type of board at work for processing stations, in which heat can often be the biggest problem, so will be really interested to see how it stacks up in the specs compared with the Wafer-945GSE2 we use which admittedly is a bit larger.

    looks nice though, will be following

    mind if ask what you paid for the board?
     

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