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COMPONENTS FOR THE TEST SYSTEM
There are only two components the Euler is designed to house: One or the other
of the Intel Thin mini-ITX boards, and a 2.5" form factor drive. The latter
can obviously be a notebook drive, or more ideally, an SSD. Both the Intel
DQ77KB and the DH61AG,
are fitted with mini-PCIe slots that can support mSATA SSDs, similar to the
Intel NUC, where mSATA is the only storage option. The 180GB Intel 525 mSATA
SSD which came with our sample of the NUC was pulled and used for this review.
HyperX 3K 120GB 2.5" SSD was also tried. In practice, both a 2.5"
SSD and an mSATA SSD could be used. Or for someone wanting more value storage,
an mSATA SSD for the operating system and programs, and a 1TB or bigger 2.5"
HDD. The latter would spoil the no-moving parts status of the system, though.
Components for System in Akasa Euler case
The Intel DQ77KB board is packed with goodies, including two mini PCIe
slots (one half, one full/half), dual gigabit ethernet ports on separate
controllers, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 4 SATA ports, HDMI and DisplayPort video
outputs, etc. Power comes from any 19V DC source with the right connector
(typical notebook power adapter) and power for peripherals comes via a
SATA power jack on the board (from which sprout those cables in the pic
above). All caps look solid state. For full details, please check out
the link to the Intel
The Pentium G2120 came in a retail box with low profile heatsink. Its
basics: 3.1 GHz, dual-core, no hyperthreading, HD Graphics @ 650 MHz defaul
and 1.05 GHz max, 55W TDP.
The Intel 525 mSATA 180GB 6GB/s SSD is tiny, just 5x3 cm.
It starts with pulling two screws from each side of the Euler case. This releases
the bottom panel. The 2.5" drive and the motherboard both screw into the
underside of the top panel, which is the primary heatsink for both CPU and drive,
though even a HDD only dissipates 1W on average, and perhaps 2.5W max. An SSD
runs a bit cooler.
Two aluminum bars are affixed to the SSD, then the protruding tabs are used
to screw down the SSD to the case. Cables from the drive and case power switch/LEDs
get connected to the board. Of course, the CPU is in place by now. A generous
dollop of TIM (about the size of a BB) is placed atop the aluminum heat block.
Then the board is positioned so the four standoffs on the CPU heat block fit
into the heatsink mounting holes in the board. This automatically lines up the
four board mounting holes around the perimeter.
I chose to affix the nuts for the CPU heat block first, to ensure best tightness
between CPU and heat block. The supplied round nuts are tiny and require a flat
blade screwdriver to tighten. This, to me, is a bad decision on a part that
probably costs less than a cent. The nuts have tiny slots, and the screwdriver
blade slipped once but once is all it would take to destroy one or more
of the trace-side components on the motherboard and make it useless. It didn't
happen to me, but a nicely designed low profile thumbscrew with a center Phillips
head would have been so much better. The four corner screws to secure the motherboard
went in without issue.
A flat blade screwdriver is needed to secure the nuts around the CPU.
Those are lousy nuts.
After the motherboard was installed, I removed it immediately to examine
the imprint of the thermal goop. As you can see in the above pic, the
contact was decent, but perhaps it could have used a tiny bit more goop.
Here's a wee bit more TIM for the CPU. The Kingston SSD was secured
with only two screws; the others weren't needed.
The board ended up being installed w/o the I/O cover -- oops! -- but I figured it wasn't a big deal, a little more venting would not hurt, and there's no dust issue with no forced airflow.
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit was installed from a USB key without issue, and we
were up and running 20 minutes after the case was closed up.
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