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Case Mod - In Progress mALU - mITX media center - December 3rd: MOBO received & Test build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by its, 27 Oct 2010.

  1. its

    its New Member

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    Quick links!!

    - October 27, 2010: Casing
    - November 2, 2010: RAM Arrived!
    - December 3, 2010: Motherboard arrived & test setup!

    Hey guys

    Have long been thinking about doing an easy media center pc running Linux (Ubuntu) with Boxee on top, and have finally agreed doing that! :)

    I remember looking at motherboards with small form-factors a couple of years ago, but none of them really catched my interest. But now with the hundreds of nice mini-itx motherboards around, it's actually getting pretty hard to choose which one I should be using.

    However, two technologies has gotten my interest: Intel Atom and Nvidia ION.

    So after looking around, I have finally decided to use the Zotac IONITX-A motherboard. Why?
    - It has an 1.6GHz Atom 330 CPU and is based on the GeForce 9400 chipset.. This should be more than enough power to my little baby.
    - No internal PSU needed, as it will be powered by the following PSU-brick (as seen on laptops)
    - Runs relatively cool even without a fan on the heatsink.
    - Has HDMI 1.3 output which means it outputs both picture and audio! Nice!

    So, what case should I be using? Found a DAC-casing on eBay which should arrive from China today, so I can upload some pictures of it!

    It will be a tight one, since the internal width is only 180mm (where the mini-itx board is 170mm), but hey, that's nice! There will still be space for a 500GB Wester Digital 2.5" hard drive and an infrared receiver!

    Since the whole casing is aluminium, it will help the media center to be cool even without a fan.

    However, on the back, there will be a Skythe Mini-kaze 50mm fan that will help suck the warm air out of the case. :rock:

    So what I'll need for this little project:

    - Zotac IONITX-A
    - WD 500GB 2.5" HDD
    - Remote (Apple Remote)
    - Skythe Mini-kaze fan
    - Infrared receiver
    - 2GB DDR2 800mhz RAM

    Alrighty, already got some packages today with stuff needed.. Will be putting those in next reply!
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2010
  2. its

    its New Member

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    So, this is how I think the internals in the case will be:

    [​IMG]

    Have to make some space for the IR receiver, but I will figure that out later.

    Got a few packages this morning by mail, this is the first:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Nice little Apple Remote!

    Got two more:

    [​IMG]

    HP MCE Infrared Receiver! Yay.. Only one I could find that both supports the Apple Remote's weird signal AND LiRC (which is the infrared controller in Linux)!

    [​IMG]

    The damn small (and damn silent) 50mm fan I'm gonna use to suck all the warm air out of the HTPC ;)

    Hope the case will arrive tonight... Also gonna charge the batteries for my real camera.. That iPhone 4 doesn't make good pictures at all! :D :nono:
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2010
  3. JimmyTheHand

    JimmyTheHand What does this button do?

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    Sounds good.
    Good luck getting started!
     
  4. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Just some food for thoughts, as I've the same board with a single 2.5" HDD...

    I stuffed mine into a box of 19x19x8cm like THIS.

    I didn't make an outer shell so far tho, as I don't really need one for where it's used.
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2010
  5. its

    its New Member

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    @jrs77: Thanks for the advice! Amazing how much you got into so little space ;)

    However, my is another form factor which you will see in just a moment :)
     
  6. its

    its New Member

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    Case arrived!

    Yay! Package from China! Check out these (bad iPhone 4) pictures!

    [​IMG]

    The case itself:
    [​IMG]

    Front part:
    [​IMG]

    Back part:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the back part doesn't have the right labels and connections. That's because it's actually a DAC casing.. So gonna CNC my own back plate with the right connections! :)

    [​IMG]
    It's gonna be tight in there! But it WILL fit :)

    Test assembly
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Looking gorgeous...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Edit:

    Found my camera.. So no more crappy iPhone 4 pics from now on!

    Just a little picture of the fan:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2010
  7. BlackWhizz

    BlackWhizz New Member

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    Damn nice!
     
  8. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Ah OK. If you've allready made your mind about using a pre-made case, then your options are pretty much limited.

    Looks like there'll be enough space to integrate the infrared receiver into the case, which would make it even sweeter.
     
  9. its

    its New Member

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    jrs77: Yep.. And the plan was to integrate it into the case :) Going to disassemble it so it's free of all that plastic.. Because the hardware itself is way smaller :) Wanted to use one of the LED holes on the front panel's right side to the IR receiver.
     
  10. noobieocer

    noobieocer New Member

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    DAC = digital to analoge converter?

    what's a DAC case =/ can you give me a link to ebay page?
     
  11. Von Lazuli

    Von Lazuli I get by fine with a jig-saw.

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    Yeps, you got it.

    In Hi-Fi, external DACs are often used to convert say USB audio to analogue, since many amps don't have USB in or the like.

    While you would think that these would be tiny (look at USB soundcards for example), often these are highly complex and require a lot of space as well as external power. So this is a casing for some kind of largish DAC.


    Tis indeed a cool case. I look forward to seeing what you can do with it.
     
  12. its

    its New Member

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    Got my RAM today.. 2GB DDR2 @ 800MHz... Should work just fine in my little HTPC..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still thinking about how I will cool this *******...
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2010
  13. its

    its New Member

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    Motherboard received!

    Motherboard received!

    The IONITX-A motherboard came yesterday, so now I am almost ready to take off.

    [​IMG]

    Nice boxing.

    [​IMG]

    This is the place where it happens! :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Goosh! PC assembly simply needs a workstation that looks like a war zone..

    It was the first time I had the chance to test the OCZ RAM... And they were DOA! :(

    Alright.. Gonna get a replacement tomorrow, but right now there's not much I can do.. Found an old 256MB DDR2 stick in my electronics trash that works, but I really can't do much with 256MB RAM. :wallbash:

    [​IMG]

    Hmm.. Forgot the most elementary part: THE POWER SWITCH!!

    Alright.. The trash to the rescue again, where I found a switch.. Just did some quick wirering to hook it to the PWR SW on the mobo.. Gonna buy a proper switch later :)

    [​IMG]

    And take a look how the IONITX just fits into that DAC case! It's tight, but it fits like a glove!

    [​IMG]

    And no ... You won't get any outdoor pics.. It's freezing cold (-10c). :D

    [​IMG]

    Edit

    Actually tried installing Ubuntu 10.04 on the machine.. Runs pretty good even with 256MB RAM.. Video playback (720p) is OK, but program launch times, boot time etc. isn't that great.. But with 2GB RAM, it'll be butter smooth!

    Edit edit

    Also, I have finally figured out how to get the warm air out of the case.. I'll use a blower on the heatsink and the Scythe mini kaze to blow it out of the case.. I'll gonna drill some holes in the case for that.

    [​IMG]

    ... and nice view count:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 3 Dec 2010
  14. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    That's a sexy build. I probably would've just drilled a few holes in the bottom for a bit of venting and left it passive.
     
  15. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    You can't run this board passive...

    I know this as I got the exact same board running for a year now and it absolutely requires a fan blowing at the heatsink.

    If you put in a fan, then a 60mm fan on the heatsink is enough allready, if you drill some ventingholes into the case (side/top near the heatsink). A Scythe Mini Kaze is only 20mm, or you can grab a Pabst 612 FL - Ultra Silent Pro which is only 15mm thick. both are sufficient enough and allmost unnoticable.

    I don't know if the case is high enough, but if possible a 120mm @ 800 rpm is so big, that it's cooling allmost the whole board. That's what I've done atleast, and you can't hear that thing from 2m away, even if it's deadsilent in the room :p
     
  16. its

    its New Member

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    @Krikkit: Thanks! I'm also happy with the look :)

    Tried running it passively in the case (without the top-piece of the case) and just kept it in the BIOS on the hardware monitor. Average temperature was 51c degrees, so that's quite hot.. Gonna be hotter under load when playing 720p files.

    So I'm gonna drill holes and place a fan to blow out the hot air, and then a blower on the heat sink to lead the air away from it. That would do the job just fine :)

    If that doesn't work, I'll be going after jrs77's idea by drilling som holes in the top. :)
     
  17. its

    its New Member

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    Just a little update.. Got the new RAM today.. Just 2GB Corsair 800MHz budget.. But gonna be fine for this :)
     

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