I have given it a name: the k-box! (I know, so original!)
Athlon 5350 w/ Gelid Slim Silence AM1 heatsink
ASRock AM1H-ITX with Intel 2230 wifi-n
2x2GB Hynix DDR3-1333 ECC
Lite-on 128GB SSD
Mini-box M350 case, using motherboard's integrated power
Around this time last year I put together a little Steambox
. It has served me well in that time, at first as a fun project, and then as a secondary gaming system, and now as my primary-use PC.
When I built it I had wanted to use a Kaveri APU, but you all remember how that launch went - even though the A8-7600 was hyped up in Janurary of 2014, six months later it still couldn't be found anywhere. And I didn't want to use one of the 95W black edition Kaveris (or K edition, whatever they're being called these days). So I decided to go with a lower power Intel processor and a discrete GPU, which, well, that turned into a whole separate thing
But I was an AMD guy back in the day, and I couldn't quite shake the desire to build an AMD system. One day I'll probably replace the Steambox' guts with one of AMD's new Zen processors. But until then, a combination of spare parts on my desk, a few Amazon Warehouse Deals, uh, deals and a lot of Amazon rewards points gave me the opportunity to put together a system using AMD's desktop Kabini AM1 platform without spending any actual money on new parts. Well, except on a heatsink out of sheer curiosity, but I'll get to that in a bit.CPUAthlon 5350
- Kabini is kind of old news at this point and, from what I've seen on various forums, is largely ignored by "enthusiasts" looking for that bang-for-buck sweet spot. There's really no upgrade path on the AM1 platform right now, and I don't know that we can expect to see a desktop version of Beema or the Puma cores, so I figured I'd just go with the top-end part.MotherboardASRock AM1H-ITX
- I'd originally been looking at ASRock's embedded Kabini motherboard, with the A4-5000 and a passive heatsink (QC5000ITX-PH
), but decided against it mostly because I couldn't find it on Amazon, and that's where my rewards points were. Also I wanted the extra 500MHz I'd get out of buying the Athlon 5350. Found a warehouse deal for this with "packaging might be damaged" that got the price under $50, too.
I also wanted a displayport output and a separate digital audio output for audio, so this was really the only option. The integrated power circuitry was an added bonus, because:Case and power supply
(see last post
for update on this, now using a Mini-Box M350)Antec ISK 110
the ISK 110's power adapter will plug right into it, freeing up a little extra room in the case when I remove the DC-DC power board inside. Which, as you'll see in the pictures (if you're not familiar with it already) is really useful, because they provided some unusually long cables on the inside of this thing. I wanted to build a system in the ISK 100 when they first released it but never had a reason to buy one. So another "packaging might be damaged" deal provided the opportunity to finally try it out (spoiler: the packaging wasn't even dented). The VESA mount is a neat feature that I don't know I'll use, but I'll play with it anyhow.
I haven't decided yet if I want to modify the lights in this the way I did with the pumpkinator. If anything I might switch them out to red ones, because AMD, but there's no real color scheme on the ASRock board and the Kingston RAM is on a blue PCB, so leaving the stock blue ones in place works too.All the spare parts!
You guys ever look in your closet, or under that pile of papers that's been on your desk for like, months now and you're totally going to sort through it one of these days, and find something you didn't even realize you had?4GB (1x4GB) Kingston PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) RAM
- I remember finding this when I built the pumpkinator, and it was handy because I wanted to test the system out before the memory I'd ordered for it came in. I think it has been on my desk, untouched, since then. I've no idea where it came from. I can't think of a reason I'd buy just a single DIMM and not a pair for dual channel operation, but it works out pretty well because Kabini only has one memory channel. So good job, past self?Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (2230BNHMW) 2.4GHz wifi-b/g/n & bluetooth 4.0
- a couple years ago I bought a laptop with this in it, and I promptly replaced it with a dual-band solution. I've long since sold the laptop, and I thought I sold this, too, but there it was on my desk. I had to pick up some antennae and cables
to go with it, and the ASRock's backplate has two little punchouts in it right where those can mount.Liteon 128GB SSD LCS-128M6S
- another pull from that same laptop, I'd replaced it with a larger drive and decided to hold on to this if the first generation 60GB OCZ Vertex in my file server failed before I'd saved up enough rewards points to buy a Synology appliance. I still haven't saved up enough points for that, but the Vertex is still going strong, so I figured I could re-use the drive here.the heatsink question
So the ISK 110 doesn't have the case fan that the ISK 100 did, which would have made this combination with the passive heatsink embedded board I mentioned above a truly silent PC. I might try that at some point down the road, with whatever Zen AMD decides to do as a follow-up to Puma. SPCR tested the stock heatsink, with the processor fully loaded at 100% for nearly an hour, at under 13 dba at 1 meter
, so it's not like this thing was going to be a real noisemaker.
That said, I was still curious about aftermarket solutions for the heatsink (I'm weird that way). I figured there would be a lot of cheap options - after all, desktop Kabini and the AM1 platform launched over a year ago, and 25W processors aren't going to need a giant copper block with heatpipes shaped like silly straws to be effectively cooled, so I figured there'd be a lot of $10-$15 options. Surprisingly, there are not. I guess in the same way that enthusiasts have generally ignored this platform, there isn't a huge market for aftermarket heatsinks when the stock one is so effective. I did a little googling and found a grand total of TWO real live purchasable heatsinks for the AM1 platform.Scythe Kodati Rev. B
The first is from a company most will recognize, Scythe. Their Kodati got a new version (rev. B) and a new model number (SCKDT-1100; the first version is SCKDT-1000), and with it came AM1 support. This is a heatsink designed to cool 65W processor so it's way overkill for an Athlon 5350. Further adding to the absurdity of buying this thing for an AM1 system is the price. I've found one vendor selling it on Amazon UK's marketplace
at a price of £30, which is roughly USD $45. Add in another $10-$15 for shipping, and the heatsink costs more than the processor. This is an easy pass - I can't see why anyone would buy one for AM1 use unless they were intending to re-use it shortly thereafter on a higher-power processor.Gelid Slim Silence AM1
I don't know if Gelid's name is as widely known as Scythe's, but I know their name as one of those companies that makes a lot of OEM-type heatsinks, along with some hilariously oversized enthusiast-grade heatpipey type of things. At $17 shipped on Amazon
, this is more along the lines of what I expected to see a dozen variations of when I googled.
I'd used my rewards points on the other parts, but I figured for $17 I'd indulge my curiosity and also share info on it with whoever might read this, in case they're technology historians curious about the only aftermarket heatsink seemingly designed specifically for FS1b (and not just given a fancy adapter, like the Scythe above).
I'm waiting on delivery of the motherboard and heatsink before I can get started, but they're both expected tomorrow. So I'm going to try and get a few pictures posted in the evening and then get to putting this thing together this week sometime.