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 Post subject: HTPC: 1 fan, small and silent! NSK1380, PicoPSU, GeForce9400
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:06 pm
Posts: 27
After much research I finally assembled my HTPC. If you are curious about anything or want any more pictures feel free to ask!

Antec NSK1380
Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H
Thermalright HR-05/IFX on IGP
Intel E5200
Rosewill RCX-Z4
GeIL Green DDR2 800 2x2GB
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EADS
LG Blu-Ray/HD-DVD/DVD-RW Drive GGC-H20L
Scythe Slip-Stream 120mm 800rpm
PicoPSU-150-XT
110w Power Brick from DC2DC.com

I chose the antec NSK1380 because it was the only case with such a small form factor that allows for a rear-exhausing 120mm fan. This was key for the HTPC's final resting place. I was also able to acquire one at much less than retail used on eBay (with a few scratches on the side/top -- but you will not be able to see them once I have them in my cabinet.

The Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H simply has the most powerful IGP on the market -- the only other board is a more expensive DFI board. It has many nice features. The IGP runs extremely hot and the stock heatsink is pretty terrible so I replaced it with a HR-05/IFX -- which I would recommend to anyone without hesitation for a NB cooler -- it dropped my temps by roughly 15C (idle -- I never got a good load reading).

The E5200 is definitely capable enough for this purpose. I was able to playback the "Killer Sample" video floating around just fine most times (but sometimes it hiccups right near the end!) -- luckily this is overkill. I have it running at 1.15V - its stable, and I haven't even tried any lower yet -- but I will soon.

I eventually chose the Rosewill RCX-Z4 over a Mini Ninja because I was having trouble locating one cheaply. I saw another SCPR member using an Akasa EVO (of which the RCX-Z4 is a clone) in the same case and it allowed me not to have to modify the drive cage and it opens up a lot of free space inside the case. it almost looks like it was made for this application! I removed the shroud from the heatsink. It never even feels warm to the touch and is total overkill.

The GeIL Green has the unique distinction of being able to be run at 1.6v -- I figured I'd squeeze 2-4 more watts out of the system, but the motherboard only allows overvolting -- I might swap this into my main rig, or maybe find someone to swap with.

The WD Green drive is plenty fast enough during normal use - something I was concerned about. I eventually started comparing the speed to drives that were considered "fast" just a few years ago and was surprised to see that it held up against them. I have wished for a faster drive a few times while installing programs -- but eventually this will be a moot point. I have the drive on rubber grommets and I cannot hear it unless doing heavy copying -- even when I was using the computer with a side panel off -- I had to use a regular PSU while waiting for my brick.

I have the Scythe Slip-Stream plugged into the CPU fan header, running @ 12v at all times and it makes barely a whisper when you're on top of it -- my TV makes more noise (I'm going to be looking into replacing it's fan soon). I chose it over the S-Flex and GentleTyphoon because it simply has a better CFM to DB ratio.

The PicoPSU-150-XT is great! I do not understand why there are not major commercial power supplies like this! My unit's connector was slightly bowed and difficult to get in the first time. The cords are *just* long enough. I would not use it in a case larger than this. It has a 24pin atx connector and a P4 ATX connector already built in. It has 1xSATA and 1xMolex/4pin. I paired it with a 110w power brick and it has handled everything I've thrown at it. The fan inside is loud but only turned on when I ran Orthos and Furmark simultaneously. It silently handled everything else I threw at it.

You may have noticed a lack of tuner --- I am using a HDHomeRun which streams ASTC antenna signals over the network.

Pictures
Click for full size


Views without the drive bay:
ImageImageImageImage

Views with the bay in:
ImageImage

This picture shows the clearance the drives have from the RCX-Z4 and the fan.
Image

This shows the clearance between the HR-05 and my HDD -- the SATA power just clears it's side and the right angle plug has some room, however I could rotate the HR-05 to accomodate a regular SATA cable.
Image

The back -- I drilled out a screw hole from the original PSU for the power brick plug.
Image
Image


Temperatures
Ambient temperature was 76F (24.4C) and the central air was not running.
CPU: 38C idle / 47C load
GPU: 44C idle / 58C load

Here is my Furmark (renamed to avoid Nvidia throttling) after 16 minutes. As you can see it levels off after a few minutes. The heatsink gets very hot to the touch especially if the case sides are off (no airflow forced over the GPU) - I thought about ducting but after these results I am very pleased without it.
Image

Here is Orthos. Load temps cycled between 44C and 47C. The heatsink never feels warm even at the base. Temps drop to 38C immediately after orthos is halted (as seen in picture)
Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 316
I like your cooler; it's very Shuttle ICE-like. That being said, it seems like something's not doing its job. Your CPU isn't especially hot, yet even with only one fan, I'd think your idle temps should be a lot lower. Especially since there's not another graphics card in there to heat things up.

Is that Rosewill heatsink just not capable enough, or the TIM isn't applied right, or something? Maybe the IGP puts out enough heat to rival a discrete graphics card.

You've otherwise got a real nice build! I'm considering using this case for my own system, which I'm looking to downsize. I do love cube cases, and the NSK1380 is the smallest microATX cube that I've found.

One last question: is your NSK1380 deeper than it is wide? I can't find any decent top-down pictures of the case, and all the dimensions I've seen don't say which is depth/width/height. My desk is quite a bit shallower (19") than yours, so I have to be careful what I set on top of it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
nightmorph wrote:
One last question: is your NSK1380 deeper than it is wide? I can't find any decent top-down pictures of the case, and all the dimensions I've seen don't say which is depth/width/height. My desk is quite a bit shallower (19") than yours, so I have to be careful what I set on top of it.

From the Antec site:

7.9" (H) x 10.6" (W) x 13.2" (D)
20cm (H) x 33.5cm (W) x 26.9cm (D)

The metric version of the measurements don't match the imperial units - they appear to have the width and depth swapped around.

Given a mATX motherboard seems just barely to fit the NSK1380 in terms of width of the case and the mATX form factor is 9.6" x 9.6" (or something like that) and based on a visual inspection of the pictures in this thread, then I would say the imperial measurements above from Antec's site for the NSK1380 are correct, and the NSK1380 is deeper than it is wide.

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My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:06 pm
Posts: 27
The way that the heatsink is mounted does not allow for any real tension against the cpu. It is screwed into a fixed-height platform. It is far from being the best performer. All of the dissipation is pretty much solely through those 3 heat pipes - no fins @ the base. But from what I've read, lots of people have higher temps with the E5200, although its hard to find anyone running it stock speed. It is irrelevant though, the temps will never rise anywhere near dangerous. I did notice the GPU temp rising 3C-4C when stressing the CPU (see Orthos screenshot). The GPU is very hot, with the stock cooling the sink was almost too hot to touch. Just for comparison, I have a E8400 (also a Wolfdale) overclocked to 3.6ghz (but but also @ 1.15v) with a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and a 5v 1200rpm slip-stream),that is sitting above a fanless 4850. And the temps look about the same -- 37C Idle, 50C load.

The dimensions are:
7.9" Tall x 13.2" Deep x 10.6" Wide

edit: JamieG is right about the metrics being wrong. mATX boards are typically square (mine is) -- check out my top down pictures and look at all that real estate in the front of the case!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 316
Thanks, that clears things up nicely. The Antec page was one of my sources of confusion. 13" deep is still pushing the limits, but it's shallower than most vertical cases I've run into.

sp0n, did you consider using a horizontal fan on your CPU to blow upwards through the top vent, rather than out the back? Why or why not?

Also, where'd you stick the internal bits of the PicoPSU? There's usually another little board with wires coming off it, right? Got another picture? Your mounting scheme must have been so clever I completely missed it. :D How'd ya do it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2005 12:21 am
Posts: 12
Location: Finland
nightmorph wrote:
Also, where'd you stick the internal bits of the PicoPSU?

If you look at the product picture ( http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-150-XT ) it's build as 24-pin connector for the motherboard.

It can be seen in this picture:
http://img32.imageshack.us/my.php?image=3nobayfront.jpg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 12:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 316
atha wrote:
nightmorph wrote:
Also, where'd you stick the internal bits of the PicoPSU?

If you look at the product picture ( http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-150-XT ) it's build as 24-pin connector for the motherboard.

It can be seen in this picture:
http://img32.imageshack.us/my.php?image=3nobayfront.jpg

Yeah, I know that. It's just that some setups I've seen also have a smaller circuit board with extra connectors I guess, or some kind of convert for AC/DC stuff. Maybe there's no need if you get the right external brick, or don't need more than a couple of drives.

I've got four SATA drives in my current setup, plus a Molex-driven fan controller, so finding a PSU with enough leads for them is a bit trickier, especially if there was a separate power PCB to install somewhere in the case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 4:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:06 pm
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I did not use the top vent because its really small and it would interfere with the airflow I have set up from front to back. I did not mention it in my post but I actually covered the vent so the fan wouldn't draw air from there and would pull stronger from the front. This is going to be in a cabinet that is enclosed but has a hole in the back. I made a duct from a soft drink 12-pack taped to the back -- just a little larger than 120mm - a perfect fit! Fresh air is fed from the front intakes, gets pulled over the components, then out the back through the duct. I am debating closing up the PCI holes -- but haven't gotten around to it yet.


The PicoPSU's designers simply had a stroke of genius and made the board and connector one piece and tiny. Other small DC->DC boards were typically separate boards that connected with an ATX extension cable. You can see a bunch of different boards here http://www.dc2dc.com/catalog/index.php? ... x&cPath=66 -- the size of the board has little to do with it's specifications.

There is plenty of room in the front bottom to mount something like one of those boards. Either on the front mesh or even on the floor.

You can make the PicoPSU have as many leads as you need with splitter cables.

You really should rethink your setup: do you really need 4 drives? Its extremely power hungry and wasteful! However, in this case, I could easily fit 2 more hard drives on the sides and maybe a 4th against the front -- definitely if we're talking a 2.5" or SSD.

I believe I have enough headroom on the power for at least one more hard drive. I want to take a Kill-A-Watt meter to my rig but I am not going to shell out $20 just to know.

I'm still curious about how far I can push the power brick with a "real world" load without the fan turning on. I might put Halflife 2 or maybe Oblivion on there this weekend and just see how well they run. The most I've pushed it is Skulltag and some 3d MAME games.

edit: I haven't done full testing -- but N64 emulation runs smooth with maxed out video settings @ 1280x720.


Last edited by sp0n on Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
sp0n wrote:
I'm still curious about how far I can push the power brick with a "real world" load without the fan turning on. I might put Halflife 2 or maybe Oblivion on there this weekend and just see how well they run. The most I've pushed it is Skulltag and some 3d MAME games.

With only an IGP in there, you are more likely to get the highest load with a CPU stress test using something like Prime95, or even double up by running CPU and GPU stress tests simultaneously, like how SPCR runs its motherboard power tests - check out a review for what software is used.

I've got an E5200 (slightly underclocked) with a G31-based mobo running off a 60W brick, which is stable after running Prime95 for a while, so your usage might be lower than you think.

_________________
My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)


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 Post subject: Re: HTPC: 1 fan, small and silent! NSK1380, PicoPSU, GeForce
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:19 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:47 am
Posts: 3
Have read some info about NSK1380 on the sites and think that it's really what i am looking for. just need to compare the prizes


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