miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **2nd system added!**

Postposted on Sun May 19, 2013 10:08 pm

Some taller feet might help temperatures as well. Even a 1/4" more could make a difference in the amount of intake area around the bottom perimeter of the case.

Also, fans are pretty easy to modify with a rotary tool and a sanding bit. It's not clear how much interference there is with the original mounting position but if it's just two small areas where the waterblock retention mechanism screws interfere and they don't go in as far as the fan blades, you could consider sanding out (melting, really, because that's what will happen with a rotary tool) some bits of the fan frame.

Did you even try it with just a regular fan for intake and the stock heatsink fan? It looks like the PSU covers up a lot of the stock heatsink so it might still struggle but with some actual air intake the difference could be enough to make it better for real-world use.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **2nd system added!**

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 7:02 am

Thanks for your input! Yes, taller feet are on the list of things to try as is sticking with the stock heatsink and putting a 120mm intake on the bottom (in fact I'm using my 2nd case for just that, I bought three to put together in various configurations and tackled the most extreme first). I'd like to get a filter in there too, another reason for taller feet. I considered taking a dremel to the fan housing but once I was able to get it to fit without hacking at it I left it alone since it wouldn't be very repeatable (it might not have worked anyway, I needed about 1/4").

I also want to try one with the Cooler Master GeminII M4 I used in the ISK 110 build, but this time make a fan duct that would pull air from the side, that might be the 3rd one, we'll see... Kind of waiting for Richland before I buy any more APUs... :-?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **2nd system added!**

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 9:08 am

drfish wrote:I also want to try one with the Cooler Master GeminII M4

How is that going to fit under the PSU? Your pics look like the stock AMD HSF barely fits under there.

MadManOriginal wrote:I got really lucky this worked at all.

Talk about zero clearance. Might want to drop down to 1600MHz for a Low-Profile Kit. That would make life much easier, for only a small performance hit. That kit is 1600 CL8 at 1.35V too, so I'm sure you could loosen the timings and get it up to 1866 without much trouble if you wanted.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **2nd system added!**

Postposted on Mon May 20, 2013 11:24 am

DPete27 wrote:How is that going to fit under the PSU? Your pics look like the stock AMD HSF barely fits under there.


There's room in that direction. I forget the exact number but there is enough space with about a centimeter to spare (its only just a little taller than stock). The bigger problem is where the CPU socket is on the motherboard... It will clear the RAM but might hang over the edge of the board.

DPete27 wrote:Talk about zero clearance. Might want to drop down to 1600MHz for a Low-Profile Kit. That would make life much easier, for only a small performance hit. That kit is 1600 CL8 at 1.35V too, so I'm sure you could loosen the timings and get it up to 1866 without much trouble if you wanted.


I was thinking about going the other direction. :wink: I'll put the 4GB I already have into the "stock" build... Also, in my own testing with the Heaven benchmark my minimum FPS jumped from 6.8 - 12.4 with the current memory at 1600Mhz vs. 1866Mhz. I need to run the test again to make sure it wasn't a fluke though (I'm pretty sure it was but it's interesting). Average FPS went up about as much as you would expect (some but not a lot)...
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:55 pm

Got an update for anyone that cares. Cut out the bottom of the system above but haven't put a filter on it or taller feet yet. It helped temps a lot, and the PWM fan helped noise a lot too.
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Here's the new one, the cool thing about it is that I'm going to install a PicoPSU in it when it arrives on Friday, I got a 192W one from Mini-Box.com. The V2 already has holes cuts for DC power so it was basically made for this option and I couldn't resist. With the SFX PSU out of the way I have room for a respectable cooler, though I had to use a 92mm tower instead of a 120mm one since there was only 146mm of clearance. Oh well.

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So now I'm left with a few options...
1) Button it up how it is and call it good, no mods.
2) Remove my 60mm fan and use my 2nd 4-pin fan header for a push/pull one the heatsink, no mods but no airflow in/out of the case either.
3) Remove my 60mm fan and mod the bottom of the case to hold a 120mm intake fan (also requires devising a new mount for the hard drive).
4) Same as #3 but use this fancy 140m fan instead (the only 15mm thick 140mm fan out there and the only one that will fit).
5) ???
Edit:
6) Go with the push/pull and build a duct to direct air from the heatsink out the back of the case forcing air in from the other vents.
7) Take the fan off the heatsink and try only using an intake from the bottom blowing upward to cool the "passive" heatsink.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:36 am

I think the most efficient setup is the one you've got now. Going passive heatsink would reduce CPU cooling efficiency. As long as the 60mm fan isn't too loud it's probably going to do the best job of pumping warm air out of the case. I would fab a plate to cover up the PSU hole to make things look nice though.

BTW, who are you building these systems for? I would kill to be able to do builds like this. Unfortunately, most of the people I know use laptops and tablets now, and I can only make use of (and justify to the wife) so many PCs around my house.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:31 pm

You're probably right, I did a lot of research before picking the 60mm fan I settled on and I am happy with it at 50%-70% speed when it comes to noise (wish it was PWM though). I will most certainly make a plate to cover the empty PSU hole. I'm not sure I can leave there though. Seems like I would learn more from some fiddling. I ordered another 92mm fan to play with the duct concept. Visions of a push/pull tower cooler that occupies ~50% of the volume of the case were just too hard to resist.

Who am I making them for? Well that's a bit of a secret to be revealed later. It's mostly just for kicks at the moment and learning about ways to solve heat and noise problem in small cases. There is a very specific reason I chose to work with this particular case though. :wink:
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:45 pm

drfish wrote:I ordered another 92mm fan to play with the duct concept. Visions of a push/pull tower cooler that occupies ~50% of the volume of the case were just too hard to resist.

Well, the hole for the PSU would definetly make a convenient mounting location for a well-crafted duct. (You're talking about something like Dell used/uses in their desktops, right?) Not sure that having a duct would require a second 92mm fan on the heatsink though. If you mold the duct right, you could leave the 60mm fan where it is. It provides good cooling to the hdd while exhausting hot air that may accumulate behind the CPU heatsink/inside the case.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:04 pm

You know what they say about great minds... ;)

I was thinking about the extra 92mm for pressure reasons - since I'm going to use those two internal fans w/ a duct as my primary means of pulling air into the case as well. I wonder if I'll need a shroud around the tower as well, it would certainly be easy enough.

The third pillar of tiny builds I forgot to mention before was dust. I need to work out a filter thing too and control where the air is primarily coming in from... Noise, heat, and dust management... Just can't stop thinking about them. I want the dust filter to be something I can just slide off and easily clean, that's why I like the bottom intake idea. I like the magnetic filters but my case is all magnesium & aluminum. I looked for a fan filter with magnets where the fan screws go but couldn't find anything... :-?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:20 pm

A 140mm fan with a dust filter on the bottom would definetly give you the positive air pressure you're looking for. All that intake would also negate the need for the 60mm fan. The top of the case looks prime for a hard drive mounting panel using the 3 screws for the top of the case that aren't obstructed by the mobo IO panel. Mounting the hdds on the top of the case would eliminate SATA cable spaghetti across the mobo completely.

I wonder if a cooler like this could be rotated to sit up against a bottom-mounted fan. Then that PSU hole cover plate could be used as a 60mm fan mount. Ducts just add a lot of obstruction to the inside of a case that small.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:05 pm

I keep coming back to the HD mount being a problem. Especially if a non-SSD is desired and it needs to be fairly secure (but who would want that, right?). So now I have a new idea, use the heatsink fans as an intake and bring the air in from where the SFX PSU would normally be. That way I don't have to cut or mod anything and it will be easy to filter as well. The crazy part is I think I'll do it all with fabric. :) More to follow on that later this weekend...

I ran into a small problem with the new power adapter. The pre-cut hole in the case is just a little too small. Not a big deal to drill it out but now I have to take the mobo out of the case (or do I?). There also isn't going to be much clearance from the picoPSU to the top of the case because of the way the cables come out of it. I think it will just fit though.

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:10 pm

You could always just get an ATX extension cable and 'mount' the picoPSU hanging off the end of the cable. You could either leave it loose, although that might risk shorting it on something, or use some velcro or double-sided tape in a creative manner to mount it to the side of the case. Or if the picoPSU has mounting holes (sorry, too lazy to look it up) put some standoffs somewhere.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Sat Jun 08, 2013 8:38 am

That's a great idea!

I've added the beginnings of my fabric duct. I have a thing about using tension to build structures anyway so this works out nicely. Now I just have to measure the pieces, mark, cut, and stitch.

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:44 am

I didn' make as much progress yesterday as I would like liked but I did get the picoPSU installed and the system runs great! Total system power draw at full load (Prime95 and Furmark)? ~70w! :D I did have to drill the hole for the power connection out slightly but it was really easy and a little sand paper (backed with duct tape for dust control inside) knocked down the metal burrs really well.

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I'm back to rethinking any ducting based ideas... Maybe I just need to go for the bottom intake fan and solve the filtering problem there instead... I've also thought about mounting an exhaust fan where SFX PSU use to be on the back. Now that I have a second 92mm fan I have a few other things I can play with including a bottom intake that doesn't require me to find a new home for the hard drive... My picoPSU also has one 4 pin molex to spare so I could power a 3rd fan from that as well... Decisions, decisions... FWIW this tower cooler based build vs. the black one with the H55 runs cooler and quieter. Of course the water cooled one is also a 100w CPU instead of a 65w but the difference is so noticeable that I think it would still be the case even if the cooling solutions were reversed.

One other thing, the case is so LIGHT without the PSU in it. Obviously there is a heavy external brick but still, it's quite amazing. That brings up another thought though, its actually not the most convenient thing in the world to pick up your case and also have to take the power brick with you as well. There is something to be said for having everything internal. Hmmm...
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build **3rd system added!**

Postposted on Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:23 am

If you're drilling a lot of holes that need their edges smoothed out, buy a deburring tool. (doesn't have to be that specific model) They work very quickly, leave no "chippings/dust" (just a strand of metal), and the edge finish is left very smooth.
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