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ultra compact ITX build - HTPC/bedroom PC

Discussion in 'PC Build Logs' started by mAJORD, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Griffin , Brisbane
    Yet another ITX build..

    well hopefully not quite..

    Whilst there's a lot of off the shelf solutions, and run of the mill ITX cases about , frustratingly non of them tick all the boxes for what I'm after, especially in regards to size, with most ITX cases caterering or graphcis cards, PSU's and the like. and hopefully i'm not alone:

    I won't go into every requirement, but essentially: Small, attractive, CHEAP htpc / bedroom PC, able to play some basic games, and play DVDs.

    For the most part it will be running XBMC, controlled by both an IR remote, and via Wifi over android XBMC app. One of the requirements for the later is the ability to be woken over Wireless (WoWLAN)

    Will also be streaming things not available through XMBC, and playing my FLAC collection through an external Usb sound card, and likely foobar for that.

    Trying to keep the cabling to an absolute minimum, so will be integrating IR into the case, using my existing Haupagge setup, which will be a bit of a modding exersize I guess.
    ..

    PARTS:

    CASE:

    I'll start off with the case, which was the most dififcult to find something suitable local:

    http://www.minicase.net/product_E-Q5.html

    [​IMG]



    A Realan E-Q5 Hopefully in black, (but we'll see if the msg through), which is on its way from Hong Kong as I type.

    These go for varying amounts in various configurations (with/without internal Power supplies on Aliexpress

    This one was $62 shipped , and is a bare case, with no PSU.

    A tad expensive, but local options were extremely limited. The only option available locally was plasticy and ugly, and still $45

    This is a snug fit around the ITX MB, wth a bit of wasted space where its optional power supply goes up front.

    ITX mb size: 17 x 17
    Case Size (floorpan) 20 x 22.5

    ultimatly though, not getting much smaller than this with an ITX board, not unless it's some sort of tardis case.

    Height is where a compromise has to be made in order to go optical.

    ditching the DVD would have dropped the case height from 80mm to 56mm of the Q6:

    http://www.minicase.net/product_E-Q6.html



    This case supposedly comes with the DVD and HDD mounting brackets, but we'll see when gets here!

    Motherboard and CPU:

    [​IMG]

    so after a lot of debating in my head, I settled on this combo:

    Asrock AM1H-ITX with DC jack input : $66

    AMD Athlon 5350 QC APU with 25w TDP $64

    The main factor that made this the best value option was the DC input. This allows me to use one of the many laptop PSU's I have lying around.

    The second factor is the inclusion of a mini-pcie slot. Given no other boards have Wifi anywhere near this pricepoint, and the desired chassis has no pci-e slot this should hopefully work out ideal.

    Now this case as mentioned has an option for a built in PSU but tbh it looks a bit dodgy, and does add $40 to the cost, so DC input is not super critical, but it is nice.

    [​IMG]


    The 5350 is a Quad core, top of the AM1 lineup.. given the budgetary constraints I could have , maybe even should have opted for 5150 @$49

    RAM: 4G Hynix


    IR Remote :

    An existing Hauppage MCE remote with USB reciever.. The plan here is to disassemble and integrate inside the case.

    What are peoples thoughts on aternate (i.e bluetooth) remotes?

    Being an existing remote this option is likely what i'm going to stick with but depends how cheap an alternative is.

    I will be adding a bluetooth keyboard regardless, wondering what solutions are about that do both well..

    DVD-R:

    for now, just one I already had on hand -

    [​IMG]



    Parts Still to aquire:

    SSD: Samsung EVO 120

    WLAN card: Mini pci-e with WoWLAN Support!

    anyone with suggestions here? , know a card that definatly supports it?


    Condensed parts lis:

    Case: Reallan E-Q5 $62 shipped
    MB: Asrock AM1H-ITX with DC jack input : $66
    APU:AMD Athlon 5350 QC APU with 25w TDP $64
    RAM:Hynix single 4GB DDR3 1600: $41
    HDD: Samsung EVO 840 $78
    WLAN: Intel 7360 Dual band /w Bluetooth 4.0 $23
    DVD-r Existing

    Total so far: $336


    Will update as I go. Will pick up SSD this arvo I think.

    The build itself will probably be pretty uninteresting, bar maybe getting the IR integrated and pending packaging issues into such a small case. I will try to analyse performance and thermal situation best as possible though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  2. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
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    Case came in! , and picked up the EVO 840 120GB SSD


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    in the right colour!

    As I'm using this tray type drive, the slot plate is removed.
    [​IMG]


    HDD cage

    [​IMG]


    decided to mount SSD down the side. Will require an additional mounting hole.

    [​IMG]

    After a test fit of the mobo, it became obvious while the HSF did clear as predicted, it was only a small gap between it and the underside of the hdd cage.

    [​IMG]



    Dremel (until I remembered my tin snips) time, and a small mod was made. This part of the cage is redundant, up to where the DVD sits at least, so I took a section out.

    [​IMG]


    and drilled the hole(s) for SSD mounting

    I also noticed the zinc plated ODD/HDD cage was visable through the vents around the edges of the lid, so decided to paint the lot in satin black I had handy as I wanted to paint the cut edges of the mod anyway.

    [​IMG]


    I also had a sneak peak inside the IR module.. more in them than I thought

    [​IMG]
     
  3. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

    Joined:
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    Mounted the IR receiver

    [​IMG]

    As you can see I also shortend and fitted an internal usb header in place of the USB A plug (which I stole off an old ATX case


    [​IMG]

    SSD and DVD mounted



    [​IMG]

    cutout lined up nicely.


    [​IMG]

    Pretty happy with the SSD mounting too. They should have made this an official mounting location :p
    If not for the hsf height issue , I could have put two drives in (with the other in the official location below the DVD)

    Also Picked up an Intel 7290 mini PCI-e combo adapter with Blutetooth for $23
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2014
  4. /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

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    Very petite! :weirdo:;)
     
  5. ReigningChaos

    ReigningChaos (Banned or Deleted)

    Joined:
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    Melbourne
    Nice going. Subbed!
     
  6. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    [​IMG]

    the old bigpond 3g router.. ending its life (it wont be missed) as an organ donor for its panel mount antennas


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    tada.
    [​IMG]

    I had to pick up a slim SATA - SATa adapter. Unfortnatly only this Silverstone CP10 was available, which terminates to a sata data cable, and a 4 pin Molex

    [​IMG]
    Sooo I had to basically incorporate it into the little sata power lead that comes with the mobo. No big deal.

    [​IMG]

    and, all mounted up.
     
  7. newlife

    newlife Member

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    Looking good :thumbup:
     
  8. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    thanks peeps, well a bit of an update. I wasn't entirely happy with overal temperature(s) on 'silent' fan setting in BIOS.. After heavy use, everything starts to go beyond 60c (ssd, mb), and the case gets quite hot.. CPU temp itself was also north of 75c Convection just isn't quite doing it so..

    [​IMG]

    One 40mm fan , resistor dropped as slow as I can get it while starting reliably (around the 6-7v mark) with a simple series resistor.. The fan was a simple 2 pin job, so I had no choice here!

    [​IMG]

    Sitting on 5mm stand-offs with a "Temporarily tied" shroud in place.

    Airflow is .. minimal, but it's enough to lower overall MB/cpu temperatures a good 6-8c from initial testing

    Under full CPU+GPU load , CPU temp peaked at 70c motherboard sits on 53.8c , in an ambient temp of 28c



    Also, win 8.1 boot times.. Full boot from power off, no Quickboot or anything

     
  9. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    So I ended up biting the bullet and getting a decent 40mm for the case fan.. and a Logitech K400

    [​IMG]

    I was happy with the performance of the old setup, but the fixed fan speed, was frustrating, and also after some use the bearing on that fan was making some noise.

    The old one still went to good use.. as a shroud to keep it away from the perforated case holes

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    and I hope the final pic this time, before the lid goes on!

    [​IMG]

    Bit of touching up to do on my paint job..


    with a custom fan profile it's even cooler now under full load. and still extremely quiet.. Db readings to follow

    Have been running windows 10 on it for a bit, but am going to re install it from scratch
     
  10. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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  11. FuzzyKaos

    FuzzyKaos Member

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    I like the part where you came to the same conclusion for the remote and keyboard as I had.
     
  12. Hepsily

    Hepsily Member

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    Looks like that case is a knock off of the Habey 800b
    If its built the same then they are a great case, have been using one as my HTPC for almost 2 years! its crazy how thick the case is.

    Just watch out that the cables dont stop the cpu fan, I was having really intermittent issues with the machine and it turns out the DVD cable was stopping the fan and the system would overheat!
     
  13. hawpinghaxbag

    hawpinghaxbag Member

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    Your mum's place

    Definitely not, im looking for a m-itx case that can be thrown into a backpack to travel with
    I think i may of found a few suitable ones on that website you ordered yours from, but im going smaller then you, something like the Q6 or I3, and maybe modifying the top panel so i can showhorn a very low profile cooler in it. Thanks :D
     
  14. BluBoy

    BluBoy Member

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    Hate to be that guy, but did you think about getting an Intel NUC (or Brix, or zotac, or any of the others). They are smaller, they use less power, they are more powerful.

    I purchased an i5 NUC, with 8GB RAM and a 128Gb mSATA SSD for under $500. The 4250U beats the pants off the AMD Athlon 5350 in every single test.

    A simple "there's no fun in that" is an acceptable answer by the way. I'm looking for something similar and just wondering what the advantages are (other than the optical drive).
     
  15. OP
    OP
    mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    Everyone should be that guy. No point ignoring other options!

    I did consider the NUC's, but the only ones I could see in a comparable price bracket (~300) did not have the i5's, only celeron's which certainly weren't as fast (but were very low power ). Having to use an external DVD was also not appealing.

    The performance /watt of the i5's is certainly impressive though.

    "There's no fun in that" is always a factor, but never a reason on its own for me. If you can buy something exactly as you want, at the same price off the shelf I typically will, as much as I like DIYing :cool:
     
  16. stenchlord

    stenchlord Member

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    I put in an order for a NUC myself.

    Kogan was selling the i5 (mSATA and 2.5" storage models) for $412 shipped the other day (although can take up to 2 weeks before it's shipped). Just going to add in a 1x8GB and 1TB SSHD.

    They also have the i3 models for $330.

    If I needed an optical drive though, I'd have likely followed your example.
     

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