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Scratch Build – In Progress MiniMe - Smallest (ever?) Watercooled mITX PC - 22/03/2010 COMPLETE!

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by oliverw92, 27 Aug 2009.

  1. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Intro

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    Hi to everyone at bit-tech! My first time here! I thought i might run this scratch build on here, see what response i get! My main home is overclock.net so the first 4 updates are not really new! Hope i do everything right, i read the rules etc for modding! This is my second scratch build. My first was called Bloo Box, an acrylic mid tower case:

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    You can find a worklog with big pictures and a video here: http://www.overclock.net/case-mod-work-logs/510995-project-bloo-box-complete-24-6-a.html

    Well I'm back again with another mod! I've caught the bug :wheee::wheee:

    This time I am going small! My inspiration came from seeing someone on OCN make a tiny mITX case with a Zotac mITX MoBo. It looked so awesome I wanted one! So I researched hardware and found you could get really nice mITX socket 775 motherboards for not a huge amount of money, including a PCI-E x16 slot. With that in mind, I came onto the problem of cooling. To do any substantial cooling would make the case quite large. The low profile coolers normally do not give amazing temperatures, and making the case fit one of the giant HFS's would remove the point of the small case. It was then i saw an all-in-one liquid cooling system from SwifTech. And the idea clicked!

    Build the world's smallest watercooled computer!



    Components

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    Sponsors

    I am delighted to introduct my first sponsor, AquaTuning.co.uk! They will be sponsoring me with my watercooling equipment.

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    Their website can be found here


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    Ebuyer are also sponsoring me with a motherboard, processor and graphics card!

    Their website can be found here: http://www.ebuyer.com


    I would like to introduce my 3rd sponsor for this project, MNPCTech!

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    They will be sponsoring me with 1 of these:

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    http://www.mnpctech.com/Computer_Billet_Fan_Grills.html

    and a set of these:

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    http://www.mnpctech.com/Aluminum_Computer_Case_Feet.html

    Thanks very much to Bill :)

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    I would like to introduce AC Ryan! They will be sponsoring me with some materials like Aluminium sheet and CCFL's and such things. Thanks Guys!

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    WatercoolingUK will not be supplying me with watercooling equipment, they will be laser cutting metal and powdercoating for me! Thankyou to marcus there in particular!

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    Enermax will be sponsoring me with 2 fans and a keyboard! Thankyou!

    Case Plans

    The case will measure 20x20x20cm with everything inside, including radiator, fans etc. The case will be made out of a powdercoated steel frame with smoked acrylic filling the holes for the sides and top, and the front and back will be made out of powdercoated mesh. I am going for a blue and purple colour scheme inside (wiring, coolant, tubing etc). The metal will be cut on the CNC router at my school (it's tiny, about 30x30cm cutting area!). The plastic will be laser cut also at my school, and sponsor logos will be laser etched on during this process. All the cables will be sleeved in black and white sleeving.

    Final Photos

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    Thanks for reading :)


    Log

    #1 - Initial sketchup drawings
    #2 + #3 - More design improvement in sketchup
    #4 - First component + price list up
    #5 - Sponsorship stuff arrives from ebuyer :clap:
    #6 - Final sketchup work. Model made precisely to scale. PSU problem fixed.
    #7 - First PCB design for PWM fan controller
    #8 - More sponsorship arrives. Do some acrylic tests. First CAD layouts done. Second PCB fan controller design done.
    #9 - Sponsorship stuff arrives, more cad layouts, third PWM fan controller design! And a picture of a waterblock!
    #10 - Acrylic laser cutting done! Laser etching done! Hard drive bay tested. Custom waterblock arrives along with other stuff
    #11 - Watercooling sponsorship arrives! Mounted waterblocks on motherboard. Test fitted plastic + rad + fan + fan grills etc.
    #12 - First circuit boards fabricated and soldered up! Acrylic capillary bonded and test fitted with hard drives, entire drive bay assembled with CD drive.
    #13 - Second PCB made (first one destroyed). It works! First aluminium panel cut and mounted with acrylic. Test fit with motherboard tray and motherboard, gpu etc.
    #14 - Overclock.net logo, black oxide screws arrive, sleeving arrives from MDPC, sleeving and modding of the PSU galore!
    #15 - Fittings arrive, test fit of everything, WatercoolingUK sponsors announced!
    #16 - Video update of everything so far, Enermax announced as sponsors, updated price list!
    #17 - Enermax stuff arrived, new acrylic cubes with LEDs in
    #18 - Some acrylic done, new sponsor!
    #19 - Shell complete! Epic photos using new photography lighting toy
    #20 - Leaks, successes, epic photos, crazy lighting - the best update so far!
    #21 - No i'm not dead!
    #22 - Beginning of the end!
    #23 - Project Complete!
     
    Last edited: 22 Mar 2010
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    First off: I like that first case. -The design, the choice of materials, and the name.:D
    Second: You are in for a challenge.
     
  3. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Somebody call me?

    john

    /edit

    H2O-C7 is 31 x 22 x 13 and I have lots of empty space. Hmmmmm!
     
    Last edited: 27 Aug 2009
  4. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    what he said :hehe:

    i'll keep an eye! :naughty:
     
  5. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    I wish you all the best on this!

    That said, I have been spending the past few months pre-designing my upcoming case and have a 12"x12"x14.3" arrangement going - but that is with twin 240 BIX rads inside the case.

    I think you can do it, but you will be sacrificing ease of use (getting in the case for tweaking, removal/replacement of parts) for the tiny size.

    Good luck! I will be watching this :)
     
  6. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Update #1 - 31/06/09

    Did a sketchup of the case. This was my first time using sketchup. Quite a few of the components I got off the database of models but i made several. The whole thing is precisely to scale (to the millimeter) so i can take measurements etc off it.

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    Front

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    Back

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    Front

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    Side

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    Empty Case

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    WC'ing loop

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    Components

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    Hope this gives you a good idea of what it is going to look like!
     
  7. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Update #2

    This is what it would look like with the rad inside. I could do it like that, or make the box 3cm taller and have the fan inside too. I'm a bit worried about getting my tubing in at those angle though. Hmm....

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    Update #3

    Redesigned again. Managed to get the whole thing down to 20cm x 20cm x18cm - that is including radiator and, well, everything!

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    Getting the Apogee Drive will mean i can make the bottom compartment smaller and ALSO means i can have 2 2.5" drives! So potentially 1tb of storage at this point in time (maybe more if larger 2.5" drives are made). Anybody got any advice on those tight bends there? Does it matter how i have T joint being used (L joint in the main loop)
     
    Last edited: 27 Aug 2009
  8. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Update #3


    Redesigned again. Managed to get the whole thing down to 20cm x 20cm x18cm - that is including radiator and, well, everything!

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    Getting the Apogee Drive will mean i can make the bottom compartment smaller and ALSO means i can have 2 2.5" drives! So potentially 1tb of storage at this point in time (maybe more if larger 2.5" drives are made).
     
  9. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Update #4

    Ok so here is a price list!

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    I think what is going to differ this from other miniature watercooling rigs is the power. I have not seen any other mITX watercooled mini pc's with a Q9550 or even a dedicated graphics card. I was lucky to find the 4670, it is a perfect fit.
     
  10. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Update #5 - 20/8/09

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    A box arrives! I wasn't even expecting it...

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    Ebuyer sponsorship arrives :D

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    This motherboard is ridiculously small... i couldn't believe it when i first saw it

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    PCI-E x16 slot

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    Wireless module for it. Plugs into a USB header

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    GPU test fit

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    Fits the board perfectly!

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    My friend

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    So glad i chose this card, the blue is perfect for my colour scheme.

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    I never thought i would get to hold one of these...


    So yeah not much of an update. But progress! I can now confirm all the measurements for the motherboard. I didn't expect to have the mobo so soon because eBuyer were out of stock. Somehow they managed to get me one though!

    I would like to thank eBuyer again for their generous contribution, and especially thank my contact there, Charlie. She has been brilliant!

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    They really are the best computer e-tailer in the UK!


    Right now i have caught up with the missing log posts from OCN, time to respond to you guys!

    Cheepskate: Thanks very much! Bloo Box was a great venture and taught me so much. I was really pleased with the results of it too!

    jhanlon303: I will check out your build! Sounds intruiging... i think mine might be just smaller than yours if we go by volume!

    shomann: Thanks! About the ease of use, i don't think it will be to bad. You can remove both sides without disconnecting any components at all, and the back can be removed quite easily too so i dont think access will be too bad. In terms of access to hard drives, that is a little harder, but still not too bad, since you can unscrew the bottom, unscrew the mobo tray standoffs from the bottom and take the bottom off with the hard drives attached.
     
  11. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Smaller for now - we'll see what I can do. You need to include any external parts like fans or rads in the volume. An H2O cooled ITX is not common. Similar ideas can yield different results. I read your thread on the other site. I watch.

    john

    /edit

    I'll get H2O-C7 back and compare ideas. It's on display in my friends sports bar in Thornton, CO.
     
  12. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    How do you think you're gonna fire up all the hardware with a picoPSU ? :eyebrow:

    CPU: 95 Watts
    GFX: 60 Watts
    Rest: ~50 Watts

    EDIT: And by the way. Feel free to use my sketchUp of the Zotac GeForce 9300 ITX ;) http://scc.jezmckean.com/item/330
     
  13. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    The GPU is only 40W. I am getting a 200W pico psu, if you see the price list.


    And yeh i saw that sketchup! When i get some time i plan to swap in that mobo. Thanks!

    I have found someone on OCN, he may be here i dno, called Duniek who makes blocks for the Zotac 9300 chip. Do you think a single rad could handle watercooling the chipset + the cpu?
     
  14. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    I'd go for a 160mm Rad tbh. gives you much more space to play with a and a little better cooling too.
     
  15. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Well a 160mm would give me less space to play with :p Interesting point though.

    I can get the block for 27 euros. I think i will go for it! GOnna need some nifty tubing though...
     
  16. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    90 degree fittings are a SFF build's best friend.
     
  17. Fisher.

    Fisher. partially impartial

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    I would like to caution you as well, 200W is PEAK rating for your PSU, and running it at:

    95+40+~50=185-ish is probably going to shorten the lifespan and/or increase the heat coming from the pico-PSU. I understand quite well that they run at a higher effeciency, but I just don't want to see you fry such a nice piece of equipment.

    Also, are we counting power bricks as part of the dimension? If we have a race for "world's smallest" going, we should agree on the rules used. :D
     
  18. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    - Undervolt the CPU.
    - If you can, disable the 9300 entirely via the BIOS.
    - Get very low-power fans like the Scythe Gentle Typhoons, which only use ~1.5v at full bore.
    - Be sure you're getting a 200W AC/DC adapter to go with your 200W PicoPSU. A few of the bundles I've seen PicoPSU sellers try to pass off have PicoPSUs rated for a wattage higher than that of the AC/DC adapter they were bundled with...

    - Diosjenin -
     
  19. oliverw92

    oliverw92 New Member

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    Thanks for the warnings about the PSU. I think i will be fine, i may underclock the Q9550 a little to guarantee safety. I may also take some of the power straight off of the power brick, since the Xbox PSu has multiple rails, i could run 2 of each to the case and have 1 set for the PSU and then run HDDs, CCFLs and optical drive off of the other rail. Comments?

    Interesting comment about the Gentle Typhoons, do fans really use that much? I found soem really nice Aimaxx fans that are only 14db (i know someone at watercooled-pcs who just got them in stock and tested them) with an alright CFM at the same time. Are the gentle typhoons quiet?

    About including power bricks as part of the dimensions, i think not since there are so many different ones out there, there may be smaller ones available in other countries etc and different power ratings. Mine needs a 200W block, for example, which is why i am using an xbox one rated at 203W, whereas other mini ones only use 120W, requiring a much smaller PSU. Oh and jhanlon, all fans and rads are inside the cube now, as in the last sketchup revision. So yeh its 20x20x18 so 7200cm^3 volume :)
     
  20. GuyInTulsa

    GuyInTulsa Dremel Molester

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    Tagged this one. Love SFFs!
     

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