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AOpen i945GTt-VFA & Silverstone Lascala LC-12
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Author:  Devonavar [ Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:55 pm ]
Post subject:  AOpen i945GTt-VFA & Silverstone Lascala LC-12

AOpen i945GTt-VFA & Silverstone Lascala LC-12: A Match Made Somewhere Warm and Toasty

Author:  TMM [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:38 am ]
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100ºC! wow. It looks to me that the main problem is that the CPU HSF is hugely underpowered. It doesn't look like it has a heck of alot of surface area - the chipset cooler looks like it has more surface area infact.

With the cover off it doesn't look like the case would be affecting the temps much more then if the setup was ran in open air on a bench - though the case design still needs work. They could make a duct from the top of the case, down through the large opening in the tray that the HDD is on, striaght to the CPU/chipset. That would lower temps a lot i'll bet.

Author:  jaganath [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:56 am ]
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Quote:
What was surprising was how long it took to throttle. The CPU remained stable and fully functional right up to 98°C. We'll have to rethink our ideas about what a safe CPU temperature is; Intel's new Core-series chips appear to be more heat tolerant (or perhaps just report higher temperatures) than the old Netburst-based ones


I don't think the Core chips are any more tolerant of heat than previous (true) mobile chips; P4-M, mobile Cel/Cel-M,Pentium M, all were rated for 100C die temp. see http://www.cpu-world.com/sspec/Pentium%20M.html

Quote:
When you have a 25W system that runs at 50°C in idle, your thermal engineers have done something seriously, seriously wrong.


Amen.

Author:  andyb [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 2:05 pm ]
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I wonder how much better the systems thermals would heve been if the cpu fan had been blowing up (out of the case).

That combination looks like a winner :lol:

I am sure that there are much better cases out there, it looks like a pretty poor effort from Silverstone.

That Aopen board is very inventive though, and I look forward to more mobile/desktop boards in the future.


Andy

Author:  DryFire [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:09 pm ]
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Is it possible to fit another heat sink on there? I'm thinking something along the lines of a socket 478 heat sink.

Author:  MikeC [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:31 pm ]
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DryFire wrote:
Is it possible to fit another heat sink on there? I'm thinking something along the lines of a socket 478 heat sink.

You must remember this..... Microcool NorthPole XE Whisper heatsink/fan

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 4:40 pm ]
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Hello,

I'll bet that the lack of adequate venting in the case, is largely to blame for the high temps. Was the system tested with the cover off? If so, what were the temps?

Author:  jaganath [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:01 pm ]
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NeilBlanchard wrote:
Hello,

I'll bet that the lack of adequate venting in the case, is largely to blame for the high temps. Was the system tested with the cover off? If so, what were the temps?


From page 8 of the review:

Quote:
All this pointed to the case as the culprit for the high temperatures, so we ran the test again without the cover. This dropped the CPU temperature by about 25°C — still high, but no longer dangerous. More significantly, the system power draw dropped by 6W, indicating that the power circuitry was no longer headed towards thermal runaway.

Author:  hmsrolst [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:11 pm ]
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I may not have read carefully enough, but did you try the AOPEN PSU, or just the Silverstone one?

Author:  NeilBlanchard [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:31 pm ]
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Hello,

So, removing the cover had a much greater affect than the 92mm fan, if my memory serves (which it obviously doesn't, at times!). And the PS was about 70% efficient, which contributes a lot to the heat, which then pushes the PS close to thermal runaway... :shock:

And the heatsinks only marginally cool things even with the case temp 25C lower than throttle temp. :shock: :shock: Yikes.

Just imagine how good this machine would be if the PS was 80-90% efficient (which is what that pica PS is, right?), and if the heatsinks were the skived, copper models that Mike C linked to, and if there was a wide open hexagon grill on the top, with a large intake grill on the bottom...to go along with it's very low power consumption.

Author:  MikeC [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:31 pm ]
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hmsrolst wrote:
I may not have read carefully enough, but did you try the AOPEN PSU, or just the Silverstone one?

The AOpen board cannot be driven by the Silverstone PSU; it requires a 19V DC input and has no ATX connector.

Author:  DryFire [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

MikeC wrote:
DryFire wrote:
Is it possible to fit another heat sink on there? I'm thinking something along the lines of a socket 478 heat sink.

You must remember this..... Microcool NorthPole XE Whisper heatsink/fan


Does that mean the hope of a larger heat sink is out of the question (without some large modification)?

If the mounting holes are not standard 478 distance apart would someone in the lab be willing to measure the distances?

Author:  Devonavar [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:52 pm ]
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No, the holes aren't Socket 478, they're much closer together. If you dig through the reviews we've done of previous AOpen MoDT boards, you should be able to find the exact dimensions, which should be faster than waiting for us to re-measure.

For all who missed it: The inefficient power supply in the Silverstone was not used; the integrated power supply in the motherboard makes it irrelevant.

Author:  merlyn [ Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:51 pm ]
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I dunno if anyone is interested but I just thought I'd mention that slipstreaming RAID drivers into an XP CD isn't that difficult and with so many systems not having floppies these days I think it's an essential technique. MSFN's Unattended Windows Guide is my personal favourite.

Author:  Mats [ Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:32 am ]
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Edit 3: It seems like I was wrong, it's not 41 x 41 mm on the AOpen mobo.
(It seems like this mobo have mounting holes that follows the standard for Pentium M, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo T, and Celeron M: 41 x 41 mm.
It is standard made by Intel for notebooks. The same design was used on the PM mobos from DFI. CoolerMaster (possibly not the actual manufacturer) have some copper heatsinks that look pretty serious compared to this one from Aopen.
)


Microstar have a mini-ITX mobo, the Fuzzy 945GM2 (MS-9642), with regular S478/P4 mounting holes (lower pic), so you should have no trouble finding a cooler for it (it haven't shown up on their mini-ITX site yet), it looks like a pretty good competitor. 3 x Gb LAN, 1 x PCI, 1 x PCIe16, and 1 x PCIe1 placed in the front! I guess you just remove the PCIe back plate and put it in the back, insert the PCIe card and get an extension cable between the card and the plate. The downside is that it is a server mobo so no DVI (supports DVI card), and only one RAM slot. Edit: Here it is, I had to enter the URL manually.
Edit 2: It looks like you can use both the PCI and the PCIex1 slot if they both fit physically.
The Fuzzy 945GM1 looks more like the Aopen mobo, with DVI, fewer slots. Two regular DDR2 slots though.
Commell LV-677 may be the best, but it also cost the most.

Even though a mini-ITX mobo fits a FlexATX case, I'd just like to remind people here that FlexATX have a bigger footprint with a maximum of 3 expansion slots. From formfactors.org:
Quote:
The FlexATX specification defines a 9.0" x 7.5" maximum motherboard footprint, a reduction from the 9.6" x 9.6" size specifies in the microATX motherboard specification.

More info here.

Author:  Mats [ Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:11 pm ]
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I'd really like to see if AOpens own S120 case would work any better.

Author:  qviri [ Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:12 pm ]
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merlyn wrote:
I dunno if anyone is interested but I just thought I'd mention that slipstreaming RAID drivers into an XP CD isn't that difficult and with so many systems not having floppies these days I think it's an essential technique. MSFN's Unattended Windows Guide is my personal favourite.


Can XP use drivers located on a USB floppy drive?

Author:  merlyn [ Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

depends on the BIOS but most modern boards I know of can yes.

Author:  Olaf van der Spek [ Thu Dec 07, 2006 5:21 am ]
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Quote:
The system was initially configured without the VGA card installed. The CPU fan was undervolted to 5V, and the two system fans (80mm Nexus models) ran at a full 12V.

What VGA card and what system fans?
I thought there was only a CPU fan?

Author:  Chris Chan [ Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

Discovered an error:
page 8 wrote:
including convection via the aluminum shell.

it's conduction via the aluminium shell. Convection has to do with the movement of air. Conduction is using the case as a heatsink.

Author:  Devonavar [ Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

Both fixed. Conduction is what was meant. The bit about VGA card and system fans is an artefact of the article template that this was based on. I've removed the offending sentence.

Author:  wim [ Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:59 pm ]
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ah, but convection cools the aluminium shell. i assumed that's what was meant..


the inclusion of floppy with drivers was not entirely stupid, you can use a USB floppy drive for these things

re slipstreaming drivers; i had to do a fresh windows install on SATA disk recently, with no floppy drive, and at first i tried the hack method linked earlier. but i had some troubles and eventually found an easier way, so if anyone needs to do slipstreaming i recommend this tool nlite which is a nice gui to make a custom windows install cd. you can also strip all the crap out of the windows install, for example i removed components like internet explorer and outlook express since i was intending to replace them with mozilla stuff anyway.

Author:  Spartanicus [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:16 am ]
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The AOpen board is almost the perfect board for me. First I thought that I wouldn't be able to get a case for it that I would like, but after a bit of Googling I found the Nexus Psile which I like a lot.

Having looked at that case I'm pretty certain that with a bit of ceative DYI'ing I could suspend a 2.5" HD in there, and it looks like there is room to fit another 2.5" HD behind the front panel for the determined DYI'er.

Or I could fit a large capacity 3.5" in the intended HD space purely for AV storage with that drive set to spin down when idle, with the main HD being a 2.5" suspended behind the front panel. Nirvana!

Almost that is; there doesn't appear to be a way to add a TV card to this board. A mini PCI TV card seems to have been developed: http://www.yuan.com.tw/ch/products/vdo_mpc622.html , but it seems to me that it hasn't reached the production stage. And even if it did, it would probably only be available to notebook manufacturers.

It appears that there are no other dual core Mini ITX boards that feature a DVI out.

Author:  floffe [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:47 am ]
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There are plenty of USB tuners though, so you should be able to have two tuners without too much trouble (or a dual-tuner card in the first place)

Author:  Spartanicus [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 8:30 am ]
Post subject: 

floffe wrote:
There are plenty of USB tuners though, so you should be able to have two tuners without too much trouble (or a dual-tuner card in the first place)


Two?

I suspect that a TV tuner connected through USB causes too much load on the CPU for my liking, and I don't want another loose box dangling off the main case.

Author:  Linus [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:04 am ]
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Would it be possible to get some efficiency numbers from the Delta 90W brick that came with the motherboard? Or does the 19V output make it more difficult to test?

Author:  MikeC [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:12 am ]
Post subject: 

Linus wrote:
Would it be possible to get some efficiency numbers from the Delta 90W brick that came with the motherboard? Or does the 19V output make it more difficult to test?

It can be done.... but it could take a while.

Author:  MikeC [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:36 am ]
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No need to test; Energy Star seems to have done it already. The power brick that came with our AOpen board is a Delta Electronics ADP-90SB BB. It is on Energy Star's list of Qualified External Power Supplies (PDF), which oddly cites 88% avg efficiency at 115VAC/60Hz and 85% at 230VAC/50Hz.

Author:  Linus [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:49 am ]
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Good find.

Note the Efficiency of 90% possible? thread, which includes information on a 19V Acbel brick that's 90%+ efficient at 37.5W. Swapping that brick out for the Delta might lower power consumption by a watt or two.

Author:  MikeC [ Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Linus wrote:
Good find.

Note the Efficiency of 90% possible? thread, which includes information on a 19V Acbel brick that's 90%+ efficient at 37.5W. Swapping that brick out for the Delta might lower power consumption by a watt or two.

From an energy efficiency PoV, the power reduction is not worth the trouble or cost because it'll really be no more than a watt or 2 (at most). From an environmental PoV, it's definitely not worth it because of getting a new power brick means more energy/resources gone into making it.

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