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Scratch Build – In Progress Level Eleven

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by slipperyskip, 1 Mar 2010.

  1. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Skip ahead to final photos.

    This project is inspired by my recent trip to San Francisco where I met up with a VIA Marketing rep at the Rods & Mods case mod exhibit. It was a great event and I came away with ideas and enthusiasm. A crowd favorite at the event was my Pico Bayard and it motivated me to do another Pico-ITX mod. I love doing the small stuff and I am due. Here goes...

    First...sponsors

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    This project will be matching up two of the latest pieces of equipment to hit the market, the VIA P820 Pico-ITX mainboard and a Crucial C300 SSD. More to come about the kit but first let's do some project log qualifying work.

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    A sheet of birch plywood from my local supplier. My working surface is the backside of a chess board I bought in Spain many years ago. I don't know what kind of wood it is but it is very heavy and more importantly, extremely flat. I've been using this board for years with all my small projects.



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    This sheet cost me $19 which is kinda crazy but what you get is a 5-ply laser-cut piece of very nice wood. It's just not smart to skimp on materials and tools...IMHO, of course.



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    Using clamps to fix the straightedge I make my mark first in pencil and then in razor. I've learned over the years to spend the time to clamp these things properly instead of using human clamps.



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    Replaced the straightedge with a 1/2" square laser-cut board to use as a fence.



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    Weapon of choice is an X-acto Razor Saw with a fresh blade. I usually grasp it in the center instead of using the handle...better control of downward force and I can keep it up against the fence better this way. I saw it half way through then reset the fence on the other side. At intervals I'll run my razor knife down the trench just to "abuse" the saw cut.



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    That done, I set up another fence to cut a short piece.



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    The final "cutting-through" of the sawing process is always done with my razor knife. Keeping those edges clean.



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    The second piece will be exactly the same size as the first. I could measure it but I prefer not to measure anything if I can. Using the two original laser-cut corners as reference I clamp the two pieces together. Sure, I could make a mark and then saw it but I'm going to use the first piece as a fence to cut the second. After about a third of the way through I'll replace the original board with a proper fence.



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    Clamp the two boards together and "work" the edges over a piece of sandpaper to clean the edges up a little. Not a lot of work done here.



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    The result is two identical pieces of wood with perfect 90 degree corners. Took around an hour and a half.



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    I need to sprinkle this first post with some sponsor goodness so here is a SODIMM of Crucial 2GB DDR2-800. Thank you Crucial!



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    This is my concept of Sketch-up. There will be equipment mounted to both sides of this board with openings for both cables and ventilation.



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    The two boards I just cut will sandwich this slot-loader slimline optical drive. The drive's face plate has been removed.

    That's all for now. Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2010
  2. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Sub'd.

    Looking forward to seeing what you give us this time!

    Also, that C300 SSD sounds like a marvelous piece of kit. I hope you'll do a mini-review once you get it :D
     
  3. confusis

    confusis Kiwi-modder

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    Did they forget a stick of ram?
     
  4. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    Nah, IIRC this thing only accepts one stick of RAM up to 1GB, right?
     
  5. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Difficult to get one of the suckas 'cause everyone wants to review one. It should show up in a couple of weeks. I'm using an Intel X25 as a stand-in until then.

    Yes. Just one SODIMM slot. The new P820 maxes out at 2GB. It goes on sale here in the US on March 12th I think. Photos of the unboxing ceremony coming soon. :thumb:
     
  6. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Sweeeeet!:D
     
  7. Mach

    Mach New Member

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    Awww yeah, front row and center! sub'd! :)
     
  8. Boddaker

    Boddaker Still hangin around

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    Dang... I missed Halle Barry AND the VIA rep too??? Guess I was too tied up with keeping kids' grubby hands off of BSG. :p

    Nice work so far. Does that Xacto razor saw have any teeth to speak of?
     
  9. voigts

    voigts New Member

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    Sub'd
     
  10. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    "Gee mister," said a random lady in the crowd, "Is that a Battlestar Galactica computer?"
    "Yeah," Brian Carter replied, "And keep your kid's grubby hands away from it."

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    Sorry man...had to do it.
     
  11. Boddaker

    Boddaker Still hangin around

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    lol!
     
  12. shakka65

    shakka65 New Member

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    Sweet! Well you are off to a great start. Keep on modding
     
  13. slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Cool! Thanks.

    Thanks. I use the "Precision" 40 tooth per inch blade. X-acto also has a 52 tpi but I've never used one.

    Here goes the unboxing ceremony. I try not to do these but this IS unobtainium (at least for now) so I give myself an excuse.

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    Box



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    Box inside box. Plain brown no-frills industrial box.



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    Mostly air and packing material inside the box. Welcome to the world of itty-bitty.



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    Ta-da! The VIA EPIA P820-12L Pico ITX board with a P720-A daughterboard installed.



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    VIA Nano 1.2GHz 64-bit x86 CPU.



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    Turned around. The single 3Gbps SATA connector has a hole cut out of the heatsink just for it. To the left is the 44-pin IDE connector. I'll be using both of these. Lined up along the front are the pin headers for four USB ports, audio, power, reset and a bunch of stuff I don't care about. :D



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    Backside showing where the SODIMM goes. The yellow thingy is the CMOS battery. Yes, a remote CMOS battery. My biggest complaint about the PX10000 Pico-ITX board was the battery holder soldered to the bottom making the unit much thicker than it needed to be.



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    Didn't have a Coke can handy so I thought this iPod touch might do in a pinch to show comparable size. Does that work for anybody?



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    The P720 daughterboard adds 2 USB ports, a VGA port and a Gigabit Ethernet port to the mainboard's onboard HDMI port. That's what I said...HDMI. :rock:



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    Misc. cables I'll look at later.



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    For me, one of the most amazing things about this board is that it has an onboard power supply. This connector allows you to connect a standard external 60W ACDC power brick directly to the Pico-ITX. I don't have to use a Pico-PSU with this project like I did the last one. TBH..I'm...just...shocked. The power for the rest of the system like the SSD, optical drive and cooling fans comes directly off headers on the Pico board.

    So what will this little sucker do? According to VIA I should be able to watch H.264 (BluRay) at 1080p with about 20% CPU utilization. Total system power should max out at around 20W. We'll see.
     
  14. murtoz

    murtoz Busy procrastinating

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    What's an iPod?:D

    Seriously though - nice to see another project from you! Will be quietly cheering you on from the sidelines!
     
  15. rowin4kicks

    rowin4kicks a man walked into a bar ...

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    having had a pico board, i wish you the very best of luck with your project!

    those things are f**king tiny mate! Awesome amount of power when you put it next to a full sized board as well.
     
  16. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    1080p output from _that_?

    z0mg o_0
     
  17. Bullitdodger

    Bullitdodger If it ain't broke....Tweak it.

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    What he said.....:jawdrop:
     
  18. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

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    i smell much win accumulating in this thread. :)
     
  19. Dragonphreak

    Dragonphreak Member

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    Omg

    Must

    Watch

    That board is amazing.
     
  20. BigBazz

    BigBazz New Member

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    So whats the plan for this project? I followed your mission project for the cm competition absolutely loved your work (you got my vote ;)) You have great skills working with wood looking forward to seeing how this pans out
     

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