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

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:14 am

Well, I went ahead and installed the new HTPC on Saturday morning. The only way I can make it crash is with synthetic tests and while I'm not 100% happy about that it works great for normal use. Best part is that the idle load of the new guy is nearly 7x less than the one I replaced. :o ~20w vs ~130w

Nice.

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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:08 am

The fan looks like it's almost touching the wall. Not good. I would suggest at least 1" between them (2" would be better)...unless the picture is misleading.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:14 am

I shouldn't be so eco-unfriendly, but I really never concerned myself with how much a PC was drawing for power. I give you guys props for putting the effort into it, but I do enough encoding and transcoding to make my X4 830 and its 95 watts busy. I had been running a 5050e that sipped power, but it took a lot longer to process those tasks.

We just received an electricity bill as well, and the power company sent us a letter stating we paid $1200 more last year than a 'green' family, at which point my wife pointed at my PCs and said "Are THEY causing this ??". I answered no, since most of the 4 PCs that are on are asleep during the day, but then pointed to the malfunctioning furnace and 8 person hot tub as the likely culprits - the heat pump ran all summer due to a slow coolant leak and the hot tub takes $3 a day to heat.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:15 am

DPete27 wrote:The fan looks like it's almost touching the wall. Not good. I would suggest at least 1" between them (2" would be better)...unless the picture is misleading.


Pete, that camera angle is playing tricks with your perspective. I see at least 3-5" of wall clearance there.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:40 am

Walkintarget wrote:
DPete27 wrote:The fan looks like it's almost touching the wall. Not good. I would suggest at least 1" between them (2" would be better)...unless the picture is misleading.


Pete, that camera angle is playing tricks with your perspective. I see at least 3-5" of wall clearance there.


That's correct.

Regarding the power draw, typically that doesn't concern me a lot either but it's starting to be more of a factor for me (especially with this system running 24/7). I wanted to make sure it was a priority for this build not only for "green" reasons but also for space and noise.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:24 am

Gotcha. :wink:

On a side note, is it safe to assume a PC costs $20-25/mo. in electric if powered on 24/7 ?? I used to do DC back in the day and had at least 6 rigs running full bore for UD. That stopped when UD stopped ... really sad to see that project ended, but c'est la vie. I have a very power hungry main rig running multiple HDDs and a GTX580, so I can only imagine what that thing pulls from the outlet when I'm gaming.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:44 am

By my math, assuming $0.12/kwh my new system should cost ~$1.80/month while the old one cost ~$11.60. That's only for the idle power consumption, I would have to track with the Kill-A-Watt for a week to know for sure.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:07 pm

Walkintarget wrote:Gotcha. :wink:

On a side note, is it safe to assume a PC costs $20-25/mo. in electric if powered on 24/7 ?? I used to do DC back in the day and had at least 6 rigs running full bore for UD. That stopped when UD stopped ... really sad to see that project ended, but c'est la vie. I have a very power hungry main rig running multiple HDDs and a GTX580, so I can only imagine what that thing pulls from the outlet when I'm gaming.

Depends on what it's doing, the difference between idle and full load can be pretty significant on modern hardware, especially if you're doing something that mainly loads the CPU versus something that loads both the CPU and GPU. If you don't have power figures available for your machine(s), check out the TR reviews for major hardware, particularly CPU/mainboards and GPUs. The power data is usually located near the end of the article.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:04 pm

Walkintarget wrote:
DPete27 wrote:Nice keyboard by the way. I have the same one, it's great for HTPC.

Agreed ! I just bought one a few months back to replace my original Microsoft Media Center keyboard.
Likewise. I bought one for my HTPC based on some other thread I read around here.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:32 pm

I had the same problem with my Mini-ITX build using the same components as you. I undervolted my a10-5700, RAM, and APU. and now I can run 100% without overloading the PSU. My cpu is running max 1.156 V
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:01 pm

Thanks for the tip, I'll be trying that. :)
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:12 am

The board is not in stock at newegg anymore and is listed as discontinued. So that's a little disturbing, but Asrock released a new BIOS 1.80 so maybe it'll solve some of the problems the board has. My board refuses to boot with the ram clocked any higher than 1600 even though I bought 2100 RAM
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:20 am

Newegg sometimes lists things that are just out of stock with no close ETA as 'discontinued.' It doesn't necessarily mean it was actually discontinued, and I doubt it was in this case since it's a brand new board.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:43 am

DRfish,
I know your build is pretty much complete but i see it is still crashing under syn tests. I came across this Phanteks PH-TC90LS Low Profile CPU Cooler It is 45mm high and has a very low profile fan that would remove the dead spot from the large fan.
They used it to cool a 2500k so it could be right up you alley.

Here is the link...... http://www.pureoverclock.com/Review-det ... pu-cooler/

I think it will possibly fit without the spacers if not with the spacers. And you could get rid of the shroud.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:16 am

Thanks, but I'm 100% sure that the crashing is a power issue not a heat issue. I'm in the process of slowly undervolting my CPU and RAM one step at a time. I'll share the results once I settle on the best values.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:47 am

Undervolting the CPU makes the biggest difference, then I undervolt the NB as well. Then I run furmark and prime95 at the same time to try and overload the powersupply.

Also Bios 1.80 allowed me to run my RAM at 1866. So I gained about 30fps in counterstrike :)
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:51 am

ManBOOYA, what kind of NB and CPU voltages are you running?

I've been following this thread as I've done a similar build, with the Asrock board, an a10-5700, same case, and a Kozuti CPU cooler. Undervolting my CPU has eliminated the stability problems I was having, but while the Kozuti is dead-silent at idle, under load it just can't quite keep up, so I want to get things even cooler if I can. It might help if Asrock would put ramps for the darn fan... it seems like the logic in the BIOS is "run at target speed until we pass the target temp, then run full speed"!

Have any of you experimented with undervolting the GFX Engine? I keep looking at that one, but I can't find anything that says what the voltage is now, so I have nowhere to start from aside from max voltage!

P.S. If anybody is using the Samsung 30nm RAM @ 1866MHz, I'd be very interested to hear what timings and voltage you're using! One note I can make- even though the sticks are spec'd for 1.35V, the BIOS runs them at 1.5V until you tell it otherwise.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:48 am

1.10V NB and 1.156V on the CPU. I overclocked the GPU from 733 to 800 (stock clock for a a10-5800) I noticed when I did that it seemed to lock my gpu voltage to ~0.95V instead of allowing it to move up

How did you manage to mount the Kozuti cooler? I heard there is components on the back of the board in the way. Also it's harder to mount the hard drives with a cooler that bolts through the board.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:22 pm

ManBOOYA wrote:How did you manage to mount the Kozuti cooler? I heard there is components on the back of the board in the way. Also it's harder to mount the hard drives with a cooler that bolts through the board.


The Kozuti doesn't use a backplate, just four screws with rubber washers.

One note, I've flipped the fan in the Kozuti and performance has really improved. Not sure yet if this is because I did a better job with the thermal paste this time, or actually because of the flipped fan, but what I noticed was the heatsink was radiating heat outside the case- directly into the fan's source of fresh air!

I've also put in an order for Noctua's new low-profile cooler. I'm interested to see how it stacks up. It uses a backplate, but I'll see what I can come up with. Maybe use the rubber washer screws from the Kozuti, maybe crack out my drill and hacksaw.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:10 am

ManBOOYA wrote:The board is not in stock at newegg anymore and is listed as discontinued. So that's a little disturbing, but Asrock released a new BIOS 1.80 so maybe it'll solve some of the problems the board has. My board refuses to boot with the ram clocked any higher than 1600 even though I bought 2100 RAM

I've been wanting to get the same AsRock FM2A75m-ITX board being discussed here as well. The newegg reviews seem largely negative, especially when paired with 100W APUs. This has made me a bit wary of buying one. It seems like AsRock could have really helped themselves with stability by simply adding VRM heatsinks (what's that cost them... $2.00?)

1) Has anybody used this board with a 65W APU? If so, how did that go?
2) drfish and manbooya: have you tried adding VRM heatsinks to the mobo? Does this help stability at all? It seems to me that if you have to undervolt your CPU to get stability with even a stock CPU cooler, then it's probably the mobo.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:37 pm

I have a A10-5700 in mine and the board is stable as far as I can tell. My problem is that I have a pretty lowly 90w PSU and it crashes if I load it up for a stress test. Maybe the board is a factor in that, maybe not - I'm not running the latest BIOS yet, just 1.5 I think - and my RAM ran at 1866mhz flawlessly even with the stock BIOS. During normal usage the board has been 100% fine - recording 5 shows at once and playing back another without issue - also playing Minecraft (but if its snowing in game the power consumption spikes and it crashes, again I blame the PSU).

I wish I could say more but my PSU just doesn't make it fair. Will keep undervolting until I can't blame the PSU anymore (if I can go that far).
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:19 pm

I have almost the same setup as drfish. I'm running an a10-5700 with a 90w power supply. Undervolting has allowed me to run CPU and GPU at 100% load simultaneously. Where as before I could only do one at a time. I'm 99% sure the blame lies with the power supply and not the motherboard.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:21 pm

I still think you guys should contact Antec to find out the ratings of the individual power rails on that DC-DC converter...I am pretty sure that would nail things down.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:00 am

I'll do that as soon as I get time - I haven't been able to play with undervolting it any further either...
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:45 pm

drfish wrote:"The stack" -> side, shroud, spacer, fan, and grille.
Image


It occurs to me that you might actually be able to further improve performance and reduce noise by stacking two of those spacers together.
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:00 pm

Aha! Techpowerup just posted a review of this case...and they give the power rail details for the DC-DC converter board. Turns out it's silk-screened onto the bottom of the PCB.

DC output:
12V@5A = 60W
5V@6A = 30W
3.3V@5A = 16.5W
-12V@0.1A = 1.2W (This, kids, is why you never use the -12V rail summed with the 5V rail to get 7V for fans.)
5Vsb@1.5A = 7.5W

I suspect the 5V and 3.3V are really a 'combined total' rating for those two rails so they can output up to 30W altogether...add to the 12V 60W rail and you've got 90W. But that answers the sketchiness due to power draw - only 60W on the 12V rail! It's good to be right :D

We know TDP != power draw, it just infers it and gives a maximum ballpark, but with under 65W it's no surprise the PSU in this case struggles with the 65W A10 but can power 65W TDP Intel iGPU systems all day - the latter has lower actual power draw. I also bet that the PSU would be fine running the lesser APUs that have 65W TDP because their real power draw would be lower than the A10. Mystery solved!
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:39 pm

Another under-spec power supply saves the manufacturer a few pennies to produce and causes big headaches for the PC enthusiast. That's not really a mystery, is it?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:33 pm

Funny thing is that deficiency might be the reason my board hasn't caught on fire yet like many of the ones others have hooked up to different PSUs. :o
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:37 am

drfish wrote:Funny thing is that deficiency might be the reason my board hasn't caught on fire yet like many of the ones others have hooked up to different PSUs. :o

Yeah, I'm still scared to press the buy button on that board because of that. I don't know the latest count on newegg reviews but I think it's at least 5 people that have had boards go out in a ball of fire from the VRM. How much does a VRM heatsink cost the vendor?
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Re: miniITX FM2 HTPC Build

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 11:32 pm

Alright, I got myself another project to work on in a similar vein to the one that I started this thread about. This time the case wasn't quite so extemely small and the cooling solution is internal and liquid.

Here's the specs:
Case: Jonsbo V2
Mobo: MSI FM2-A75IA-E53
APU: AMD A8-5600K
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 1866Mhz 4GB
SSD: Samsung 840 120GB
PSU: Silverstone Tek 450-Watts SFX Full Modular
HSF: Corsair Hydro Series H55

Couple notes on component selection before build pics. I LOVE the case, that was the reason for the whole build. I had to import it because no one is selling it in The States yet but I hope that changes because I want to build more in it - its really perfect for APU builds and Haswell too in the near future. Of course it needs a little help with cooling. The mobo was an obvious choice vs. the Asrock options out there since it comes with wifi built in and doesn't catch on fire. :wink: I chose a 100w vs a 65w CPU intentionally because I wanted to make sure my thermal solution would work for a worst case scenario. RAM and SSD are nothing special. The case came with a 300w PSU but because of the space issue I decided to go for the only modular SFX PSU out there (plus I had an Amazon gift card that made it half price). After some research the closed loop H55 seemed the best option for a single fan case/CPU cooling solution that would fit in the space available.

On to the build:
I wanted to test the system with the stock cooler and PSU so I assembled it that way first. Basically this was not pretty, the stock AMD cooler is nuts, it had to run at 5.5k+ RPMs to keep the APU around 70 degrees (OCCT and FurMark). It was really freaking loud and the entire case got HOT since the only exhaust was the PSU fan. This would not do. Of course it was fine at idle and during light use, usually around 2k RPMs and 40 degrees or so. A 65w AMD chip or something from Intel would probably be fine stock.

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So this became the goal, install the H55 on the bottom of the case and have it pull air in through the slots cut out for the 2.5" hard drive mounts. Four simple holes later and the radiator was mounted to the bottom plate and ready to test.

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Disaster! The shroud around the fan collides with the retentions screws on the water block mount. :( Initially it doesn't look like there is an easy solution but it turns out if I slide the fan to the right and position the screws evenly on each side of the shroud the whole thing drops just low enough that I can get the side on! Of course the four holes I drilled initially are now useless but who's going to see them anyway?

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It's in! There is no room to spare. To get the side cover on I have to lift the radiator off the bottom plate and slip the lip of the side under it. On the plus side even though the radiator is only held down by one screw (which happened to line up with one of the slots) it doesn't vibrate or move because of the the torsion from that lip and the hoses pushing against the sides/bottom. You can also see that the fan is also basically resting on top of the RAM, in fact I had to remove the screw from that corner otherwise is collided with the heatspreader. I got really lucky this worked at all.

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Now to add the PSU and finish the wiring. Feel free to mock my free floating SSD but I'm fine with it how it is for now. :P

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External shots of the case by itself and sitting on top of my home server housed in a Fractal Node 304.

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So, the results? Awesome! Well, considering... After 20 minutes of OCCT and FurMark the temps leveled off at 57 degrees and the case is warm but not HOT to the touch. The system is pulling air in through the bottom and exhausting most of it out the vented side. Its just great to have airflow vs. none at all! :) Of course the noise is way, way lower as well. The H55 doesn't have a PWM fan so the noise level doesn't go up as the temps increase or down as the temps head that direction - I'm ok with that for now but I'm already thinking I might want to replace the radiator fan with something fancier. For now though I'm pretty happy not being able to hear it from a few feet away instead of from across the room. Also something to work on down the road is opening up the bottom plate more for better airflow through the radiator. I think I can easily get a few degrees less with those changes but it's good enough for now.
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