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Case Mod - In Progress Il•lu•sion - Worlds Smallest Watercooled Pico Itx, Watercooled Shuttle & LCD Screen!

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Mojo, 5 Jan 2012.

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Do i add in a 7" screen to the facia as well?

  1. Yes

    83.3%
  2. No

    11.9%
  3. I have a better idea...

    4.8%
  1. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Il•lu•sion - Worlds Smallest Watercooled Pico Itx & Watercooled Shuttle

    Introduction
    Il•lu•sion - A deceptive appearance or impression: "the illusion of togetherness".

    For years I have felt intrigued by Small Form Factor computers. I don't know if it’s the small compact dynamics, the portability or the real belief 'good things come in small sizes' but ever since i saw my first Shuttle SFF I knew I wanted one. Like all spoilt little brats I wanted one. My parents refused to buy me one on the grounds that we had a perfectly good computer. On a lone mission I saved for a whole summer holiday to be able to build one - at the age of 16 at the time.
    That’s a lot of summer holiday jobs!

    It finally arrived in all its glory... it seemed to take forever to arrive but it arrived none the less and I was happy and content!
    It even had a couple of the optional extras; Black carry bag and mesh sides!
    But to my dismay It was stolen in a house burglary 2 months later.
    Bugger!
    :duh:
    [​IMG]

    How does this bring us to now?
    Well 8 years on I was in the market for a new computer. A possible long distance commute to work (300 miles once every month) meant I needed something which was powerful enough to do coding, web design and general odds and sods but small enough that I could carry it if need be.
    Add into the equation that it would be used by the lads for our occasional games nights.
    As a self confessed geek and Years of reading bit-tech, various computer magazines and seeing some simply incredible pieces of art work I decided I needed to give it ago myself!

    Why is this project called Il•lu•sion?
    As the quote says – ‘a deceptive appearance or impression: “the illusion of togetherness”
    The small constraints of the case wouldn’t immediately make me belief this system was particularly powerful nor that it contained 2 computers. Coupled with my thoughts on layout I hope to have a seamless setup with as good cable management and pipe management too.
    I love the feedback I get from friends and family when I water-cool a computer as I’m sure many of you will know. It’s widely accepted that electronics and water don’t exactly go hand in hand but watercooling is nothing to worry about and people’s impressions seem unlikely to change.

    What makes this any different from any other shuttle system modified?
    Like many of those before me, I am attempting to achieve a water-cooled shuttle system whilst retaining everything within the constraints of the case lid.
    Some have managed it with fans on the outside or pipes hanging out of the sides. Some even mount the radiator externally and run the pipes in. I hope to have everything internal and ‘stock looking’.

    What about a water-cooled pico itx setup in the drive bay?
    Possibly even the smallest water-cooled pico setup in the UK? Europe? The World?
    (Okay okay... it might not be!)

    [​IMG]

    The pico system will house a complete watercooling loop of its own; Pump, radiator, and waterblock whilst being filled through a t-line. All of these parts will be specialist and as far as i can see not used to cool a pico system previously.

    A full ‘gaming spec’ shuttle with its own water-cooling housed internally and not a sealed loop either – pump, reservoir, blocks and radiator.
    Coupled with a full sized graphics card, a decent power supply – none of this 200w rubbish,
    Capable of driving 2 screens and with the ability to be easily upgradable.
    What am I using as a base?
    This computer will be a bit of a Frankenstein
    Face plate from a SN85G4 and the chassis from a SB61G2
    Power supply from a J series and a lid from both.

    The chassis from the SB61G2 has a circular hole for the power supply fan.
    As opposed to the SN85G4 which is squarer.
    My reason for doing this is that modifying the J series power supply will be more seamless and give a more professional looking fit by the end. (I hope)
    Its unfortnate that on previous power supplies they used either 60mm fan facing into the chassis or a rear venting 40mm fan. Not a rear venting 50mm - Some modification will be needed!

    On the exterior Shuttle clearly takes time and consideration designing these small forms so they don’t immediately stand out as computers at first glance. They aren’t the traditional size which I think adds a little to the mystery of what could lay beneath the shiny cover!
    Internally, upgrade options are often limited by the non-standard motherboards, cramped interior space, with both power and airflow concerns to boot. I love a challenge!

    [​IMG]

    Shuttle clearly takes time and consideration designing these small forms so they don’t immediately stand out as computers at first glance. They aren’t the traditional size which I think adds a little to the mystery of what could lay beneath the shiny cover!
    Internally, upgrade options are often limited by the non-standard motherboards, cramped interior space, with both power and airflow concerns to boot.

     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2012
    yassarikhan786 likes this.
  2. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Nobody wants to hear me bang on about this rubbish!
    "Where are the pictures!?"
    What am i working with?

    /start strip down
    [​IMG]
    Wow doesn't that look cute? Notice the correctly placed Phenom sticker in advance?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Back in all its glory

    [​IMG]
    Very sad looking top case!

    [​IMG]
    graphics side without case
    These will take a full sized card with some slight modification!
    (it should be duly noted at this point that they dont take a twin slot card as standard)
    [​IMG]
    Power supply side – 250w power supply...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Cdrom and hard drives removed.

    [​IMG]
    ICE Cooling unit removed as well as graphics card.
    [​IMG]
    Shuttles revolutionary ICE cooler

    [​IMG]
    Rather lonely looking power supply

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    A rather empty shell....

    [​IMG]
    It even has its own home!!

    /End of strip down​
     
  3. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Specifications and components
    Physical size and space constraints were my biggest concern with regards to this project not only interms of performance but also price. After deep consideration and careful deliberation i chose the components. This may not be to everyone elses choices but i felt it was right for me at this point whilst keeping my key tasks in mind.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Main Motherboard - Zotac 890GX Wifi – A-E
    The Zotac board sports an impressive array of features which made it a deciding factor to be the heart of the system. The board makes use of the mini-itx form factor, integrated 802.11n wifi, HD and DVi sockets, PCI Express x16 Slot, Sata 6.0GB, USB 2.0 and 3.0 sockets.
    It makes the perfect AMD powered mini itx board with a socket for AM3 processors; This brings some of the bigger players to the table with offerings of Phenom, Athlon and Sempron processors. Allowing the use of single, dual and quad core processors.
    It supports a total of 8gb DDR3 1333 ram and houses a Radeon HD 4290 GPU.


    [​IMG]
    Pico PX1000G
    a VIA EPIA-PX10000G Pico-ITX board. This is a very, very, VERY tiny little motherboard with integrated CPU, sound, and graphics.
    The prospect of a computer this minuscule really IS worth sacrificing the performance gained by Intel or AMD offerings. Not to mention the power issue - a Pico-ITX board like this will cost mere pennies to run, with its low power drain, compared to a "full" desktop system.


    [​IMG]
    AMD Phenom X2 955 – Black Edition
    The brain of the system and a clever one at that!
    Having both space restrictions and power constrictions to boot I had to be picky about which processor would meet up to the criteria. The power consumption of the Phenom X4 is significantly lower than the core to quad and the core i7 both at idle and load!
    Clock speeds have been recorded at around 4.00 GHz on air.


    [​IMG]
    Corsair 8GB XMS3 Memory Kit – 1333mhz
    These modules allow users to experience outstanding memory performance and stability. Available in Corsair's XMS heat spreaders, each module is built using carefully selected RAMs. Apparently!


    Hard Drives – These are currently missing in action.
    I have hard drives available to me.. but I am hoping to be able to get 3 matching solid state drives to retain system noise levels!


    [​IMG]
    GTX550 TI Direct CU – Graphics Card
    The gtx550 was a impulse buy – being unsure what sort of heat or power the final system would be was always going to be a worry on the back of my mind. It occurred to me that it would be worth testing a lesser card to keep in reserves just in case.
    The GTX550 will be just a place holder for bigger and better things in the future!

     
  4. KidMod-Southpaw

    KidMod-Southpaw Super Spamming Saiyan

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    Nice start to what I think will be one of this year's most interesting projects! If you manage to cram in a watercooled ITX system AND a pico system I'll be very impressed!
     
  5. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Watercooling Components
    Starting with the Pico Itx Kit


    Pump and Radiator kindly supplied from TCS
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    TCS M400K
    Lightweight / higher flow micropump range for liquids
    • Brushless drive motor + Integral controller
    • CNC machined. All metal construction
    • Quiet pulse less smooth flow
    • Small size only 41 x 26 x 25mm
    • Weight 33g


    [​IMG]
    TCS-330 Miniature heat exchanger (radiator)
    Size 75x50x9mm
    90x cooling elements
    3.2mm tubing connector
    Suitable for M200 and M400K series pumps

    Supplied by Kustom PCs - At this point i'd like to personally thank Graeme for putting up with the millions of questions i have put his way!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Aquacomputer twinplex GPU Straight
    The twinplex is designed even more modularly than the cuplex and can be attached to practically all current graphics cards and mainboards. Meanwhile they supply 14 different versions of the twinplex and all can be combined with the plug&cool connectors as well as 8 and 10 mm barbs. This will be the waterblock i will be using with the pico.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some very very small 3mm OD connectors and some 8mm Reducers as well
    [/CENTER][/CENTER]
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2012
  6. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Shuttle Watercooling


    [​IMG]
    Magicool CPU Cooler Black Edition

    [​IMG]
    SINGLE MagiCool Radiator 120mm with Black Shroud

    [​IMG]
    Magicool pump 12V - 280lp/h including reservoir

    [​IMG]
    XSPC Rasa High Performance Universal GPU Block

    [​IMG]
    Custom made 180 degree loop and 90 degree angle

    Some fancy bits

    [​IMG]
    Compact USB 125kHz RFID Reader.
    USB plug in module, works with every USB host which supports HID Keyboard and CDC
    Built-in 125kHz antenna
    Read RFID125 kHz tags from up to 5-15 cm distance
    Emulates USB keyboard or Virtual COM port

    Dimensions: 50x20x5mm (2.0x0.8x0.2")


    [​IMG]
    Aerocool Touch-1000 Temperature & Fan controller
    Which we will be squeezing into the drive bay as well! :rock:

    [​IMG]
    One USB controlled VFD screen
     
    Last edited: 5 Jan 2012
  7. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Lets do some modding then!

    *i apologise at this point for the rubbish camera i used part way through!*

    Before we can do any sort of sizing up its important that there are no previous standup which could short out the board.... so lets have them out!

    [​IMG]
    Feels roomier already!!

    After a lot of swearing, marking up.. and having attacked the case with a dremel and having had a clean up i could see the start of something very special. :dremel:

    Having cut the back panel.. this is how it looked
    [​IMG]

    Looks to fit just great!
    but at this point there were no standoffs..... so onto my next task..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Motherboard in and screwed down.

    This build is sponsored by Nerds! :hehe::lol:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Angel OD

    Angel OD Pump Killer

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    I'm gonna be following this, that's for damn sure! :thumb:
     
  9. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Next step would be trying to house a radiator in the nimble parts of the case.
    Before ordering the radiator i did a few measurements and found that only one radiator seemed to fit 'nearly' and it was worth the risk just to see!

    For this i removed the rivets front and back and removed both the arms. and removed some material from the left side only. Whilst these arms were off they were polished to a high gleam!

    [​IMG]
    Before
    [​IMG]
    After

    The right side houses the power supply bracket which i wanted to try and steer clear of.
    a scrap piece of metal cut to size would act as support to hold the radiator in place.
    This also seemed perfect to house the VFD screen in as well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Radiator in and level too!
    [​IMG]

    The bracket will be powder coated black along with the other parts of the case later in the project.

    My issue with mounting the VFD screen was how tight the radiator came against the panel so rather than use m3 nuts and bolts i used some high strength velcro.

    [​IMG]

    I'm not entirely sure about the velcro idea as it seems a bit of a shortcut.
    We'll see what happens as i progress
    i thought looking back through the pictures that i had mounted the VFD upside down but it is correct.

    [​IMG]

    Its also very close to the edge!

     
  10. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    The next big problem i saw myself having was lack of power.
    These shuttle systems are made with limited specifications to start with.
    My only option was to add a larger power supply... which in my case came from the H series.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Laying them side by side its quite daunting what laid before me. Would it fit?
    Scratching my head and more measuring i decided to go for it!

    [​IMG]

    after playing for over an hour.. i decided to just take the dremel to it! :thumb:

    [​IMG]
    well it fits but its not very tidy!!

    After hunting around for a little while i came up with the plan that a small template might help me redeem myself!

    [​IMG]
    printing it onto a sticker...

    [​IMG]
    It wasn't that far off!!
    Thats a job for tomorrow with a round file.
    I also had to trim the bottom of the power socket by 1mm in order for it to clear the back plane. :)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2012
  11. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys!!
    As the project goes on... i'll be looking for input from the forum from guys just like you!
    If you can think of anyhing please do not hesitate to comment!! :)

    Matt
     
  12. Tangster

    Tangster Butt-kicking for goodness!

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    That's tiny!
    This looks like a very interesting project.::)
     
  13. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Whilst i wait for the arrival of the last of the watercooling couplings and bends i wanted to see if my graphics card idea will work. Lets have a quick look at the card itself and then the waterblock.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    It takes up two pci slots at the rear; the card occuping one and heatsink the other.

    So off with the heatsink and the rear plate.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I then added 5 of these little fellas.
    [​IMG]


    a quick test fit...
    [​IMG]
    it fits.... JUST! :thumb:


    The graphics block of choice is the XSPC Rasa.

    [​IMG]
    The Rasa GPU is fabricated from copper and Acetal, and its housing is CNC-milled from solid black Acetal. There are two G1/4” thread ports on the side of the housing, spaced 20mm apart, and are compatible with most compression fittings. XSPC engraved their logo on top of the matte black housing, and also included the word “IN” to specifically identify the inlet port. The copper base is mirror-polished to maximize the contact surface. The 0.25mm micro-pin matrix design is similar to the Swiftech block, and this design creates a high surface area to improve contact and thermal performance, sporting over 1200 individual micro-pins.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bottom is polished to a high standard!
    :jawdrop:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    and fitted with barbs and the special made pipe!​
     
    Last edited: 6 Jan 2012
  14. mat0tam

    mat0tam Mr I Dont Know What I Want

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    Possibly my favourite idea so far. Sub'd for sure.

    Looks awesome and really nice thread :)

    Good luck mate :)
     
  15. cerbrus2

    cerbrus2 New Member

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    What I realy want to know is, WHERE THE HELL DID YOU GET NERDS FROM??????? Havent seen them in 2 decades lol

    No that is an awsome idea loving it.
     
  16. Mojo

    Mojo Well-Known Member

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    Cheers for the comments lads!
    If you have any suggestions it would be apprechiated!!

    Nerds - we found them by mistake when shopping in Newbury, Oxfordshire. They have a sweet shop which sells nerds, lucky charms, etc :)
    Horrifically expensive though!!!
     
  17. M3cael

    M3cael New Member

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    They sell nerds in Liverpool too.
     
  18. NoobNeb

    NoobNeb Enthusiastic Lurker

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    This is a really nice worklog, mod on :)
     
  19. yassarikhan786

    yassarikhan786 Ultramodder(Not)

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    A wc system inside that THING!!! Looking forward to seeing this come to fruition. Looking good so far and will be watching this intently like others.
     
  20. Korvus

    Korvus May contain traces of sanity.

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    Intrigued to see where this goes... have always wondered how small a W/C setup could be... :eek:
     

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