1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Build Advice General Purpose Passive Mini-ITX PC... NOW WITH PICS!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Blogins, 3 Oct 2014.

  1. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Inspired by Parge's thread...

    http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=275551

    ...and motivated by my aged ZBOX CULV ION PC that's simply not cutting the mustard these days, I'm looking for a cheap stylish upgrade. With a budget of £200 max and a few components under my belt I've got the following on my shopping list...

    CASE: Cooltek U1 (£50)

    [​IMG]

    PROCESSOR: AMD Athlon 5350 (£40)
    MOTHERBOARD: ASRock AM1H-ITX (£45)

    Choose that case because it's perfectly sized for my needs and the window adds a little something extra. As for the ASRock AM1H-ITX, I'm paying a premium for the option of using a laptop power supply over a regular bulky PSU. The only part troubling me at the moment is a good looking Heatsink that'll work with the 5350 passively. It'll be used in a dusty environment so that's the reason I'm going passive! Think something along the lines of a XIGMATEK Janus could be repurposed as a passive heatsink...

    [​IMG]

    Comparatively cheap and easy to add a fan if the passive theory falls flat on its face! Also plenty of mounting options that I hope can easily be adapted to the AM1 Socket. Any thoughts and suggestions welcome. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2014
  2. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

    Joined:
    27 Dec 2002
    Posts:
    12,754
    Likes Received:
    1,089
    I've just put together a J1900 server, passive by default, so also worth a look. 10w TDP vs the 25w TDP of the 5350, though some sacrifices in overall grunt.
     
  3. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

    Joined:
    20 Sep 2004
    Posts:
    5,305
    Likes Received:
    165
    You will likely find that the stock fan is near enough silent tbh.

    Main thing is eradicating the psu fan.
     
  4. BeauchN

    BeauchN Active Member

    Joined:
    5 Apr 2011
    Posts:
    884
    Likes Received:
    121
    That looks like a nice little case
     
  5. MSHunter

    MSHunter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Apr 2009
    Posts:
    2,461
    Likes Received:
    55
    That case does not look good for zero air flow cooling. Head over to quitepc.com and have a look at some cases there or if you can find a compatible fanless case (like automotive) that uses the case as a big heatsink that would probably be best for you environment. Also makes it super easy to just brush down if/when needed.

    mostly the heatsink cases are made with thin itx in mind though.
    Like this one
     
  6. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    mrbungle, could you measure the diagonal distance from the centre of the push pin to push pin on the stock 5350 heatsink pretty please! :thumb:
     
  7. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

    Joined:
    20 Sep 2004
    Posts:
    5,305
    Likes Received:
    165
    Last edited: 18 Oct 2014
  8. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Cheers! Had forgotten about that paper.

    Just drew a sketch to scale and it measures 85mm on the diagonal between the push pins. Opens up the possibility of water cooling using an Antec 620/920 with a Pulse Mod bracket. That'd be my full back position, at the moment I'm considering the Nofan CR-80EH. Although it means ordering it from SCAN something I try to avoid these days! Looks snug in the U1 though...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. GTIgeneral

    GTIgeneral Member

    Joined:
    31 Jul 2014
    Posts:
    589
    Likes Received:
    15
    Out of curiosity, why do you avoid scan? And watercooling would be an overkill for an AM1 APU, I'm liking the cooper cooler tho

    Sent from my Lumia 820 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    History of bad customer service.

    Last time I shopped with SCAN I had a lengthy RMA over a faulty Blu-ray drive. They wanted to charge me £25 because it was tested and found to not be faulty. I dug in and refused to pay so they eventually replaced the Blu- ray drive free of charge and it worked perfectly. So now I simply take my custom elsewhere and SCAN is a last resort if I can not find an item for a reasonable price elsewhere.
     
  11. CrapBag

    CrapBag Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    7,590
    Likes Received:
    363
    ^^ditto
     
  12. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Ordered the Case, Processor and Motherboard so I can get hands on with the practical issues of creating a custom mounting bracket for the AM1 Socket. I'll try the Antec 620 with Pulse Modding Bracket to prove it does work since I already have the components. Ideally, I still want to try the Nofan CR-80EH for a truly silent MITX build. Toying with the idea of a GTX 750 Ti as well, something along the lines of the Palit GTX 750 Ti KalmX. Although I'd have to give a great deal of thought about how to modify the Cooltek U1 to include a discrete GPU!
     
  13. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Got my hands on the Cooltek U1, ASRock AM1H-ITX and AMD Athlon 5350.

    I'm very impressed by the case, it has a nice brushed aluminium finish and the standoffs leave a generous amount of space behind the motherboard to hide cables. The HD Audio and Power/LED/HDD cables can easily be hidden away. Only fly in the ointment is the massive USB 3.0 cable that is stupendously long. Given this some consideration and I'll probably desolder the USB 3.0 cable and buy a shorter version such as this...

    [​IMG]

    Originally I was going to install an old C300 SSD but was so taken with the brushed aluminium I decided to conduct an SSD transplant. Stripped an even older Corsair F40 SSD that's conveniently housed in a black brushed aluminium case. Currently cleaning all the stickers off with some rubbing alcohol. Then the C300 will be dismantled and placed in the F40 shell!
     
  14. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Brief update on the build.

    Scored a Nofan CR-80EH off the bay and managed to install it on my ASRock AM1H-ITX by adapting the mounts that already came with the CR-80EH. It slightly spoils against the first memory slot so low profile RAM is a must but it works! Temperatures are well within check with the cores idling below 30 degrees and hovering around 45 degrees running Prime95 for 10 minutes. This PC has no moving parts runs 100% passive and is completely silent! :thumb:
     
  15. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    Picture time...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. mrbungle

    mrbungle Undercooked chicken giver

    Joined:
    20 Sep 2004
    Posts:
    5,305
    Likes Received:
    165
    I like that.

    Giving me ideas for my AM1 stuff.
     
  17. Darkwisdom

    Darkwisdom Level 99 Retro Nerd

    Joined:
    27 Aug 2011
    Posts:
    2,675
    Likes Received:
    63
    Thinking of something similar for a linux pc for steam streaming now. I can't believe how cheap AM1 stuff is. So ideal for steam streaming or small general purpose PC.
     
  18. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    I did give Steam Streaming a go on this machine after reading your thread. Saw minimal system resource usage whilst playing games, entirely dependent on the network speed and of course minimal specs to decode the stream!

    I've tried various video formats and it works flawlessly with 1080p at 30 frames per second. Suffers a little with 60 frames per second at 1080p. Also thrown 4K video at it but that was too much for my little box to handle. It made a fair go of it all the same!

    Few notes about the build. The BIOS that ships with the ASRock AM1H-ITX manifested many problems to the extent it wasn't possible to access Windows. This has been taken care of with the latest BIOS and is now rock solid. A nice little touch is the ability to Power Off the LED button which is a perfect feature to make the PC as unobtrusive as possible. Didn't like the bundled Sata Power cable so tried some BitFenix Alchemy Molex to 4 x SATA power extension cable. Looks better and works a treat!

    Since I'm using a laptop power supply there's a big hole where an SFX PSU should go, took care of that with an SFX Blanking Plate in brushed black aluminium to match the rest of the chassis. Been a pretty painless build on the whole, biggest surprise without a doubt is how effective the Nofan CR-80EH is. It's simply a sponge for heat and the temperatures never get out of hand even with no active airflow through the case. After a days use the CR-80EH is warm to the touch, one hell of a heatsink!
     
  19. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2012
    Posts:
    8,288
    Likes Received:
    453
    Blogins - what laptop PSU are you running?
     
  20. Blogins

    Blogins Panda have Guns

    Joined:
    3 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,878
    Likes Received:
    261
    At the moment I'm using one that came with my MSI Wind U100.
     

Share This Page