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 Post subject: quiet low-power mini-itx i3 2100t build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:32 pm
Posts: 99
Location: Mexico
Finally, my build is finished, after asking here for advice (thanks to Abula, Hfat and other guys). Here is the link: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=62598

The goal: a new general-purpose main pc, mini-itx form, as quiet as possible, low power consumption, not too expensive. I had in mind this build for me but in the end I give it as a gift to my daughter; she needs it more than me (she works a lot with Photoshop and images)

Case: Pixxo CI-9E8C Slim
Motherboard: ECS H67H2-I-B3 **
CPU: Core i3 2100t
Memory: 2 x Kingston DDR3 PC3-10600 (1333Mhz) CL9, 4GB *
SSD (boot/software): Kingston SSDnow 100 V 64gb
HDD: Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB

I bought the case, the mobo, the HDD and the ram in "pc en linea" ( http://www.pcenlinea.com/ ): reasonable prices, fast shipping.
I bought the SSD in ebay and the CPU in amazon: good prices, but with additional shipping charges. The total cost was around 500 bucks.
I had spare at home: a PicoPSU, a power brick, and a case fan. I used a PicoPsu 90 with a power brick 12v -72w (generic, bought in ebay).

*I choose the kingston ddr3 because they are "low profile" sticks, and not very expensive.
** Hardwaremx has a review of this mobo: http://www.hardwaremx.com/index.php/Pla ... I-ITX.html
See also: http://www.guru3d.com/article/ecs-h67h2i-review/
and: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/sho ... re-i3-2120

Here are the images:

on my desk, case open
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a closer view
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another view
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side view
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inside, closer view
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front, case closed
Image

side view, case closed
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power consumption idle
Image

The pro: this build run windows 7 x 64 very snappy (thanks to the i3, the ram and the SSD). Is not expensive. Is quiet (not silent). Consumes very little power.
The bad: sitting on the desk the two fans are audible (both at 1100 rpm). I could go fanless maybe, but it would cost me more money.

Power consumption is 20w idle. 47w at startup, up to 36-43w under heavvy load. Not bad at all, I know that an Intel mobo would do it better, but the difference is minimal. The ECS board has a lot of useful features, for example allow undervolt the ram and control the fans. I'm not interested in break a record, just to have a reasonable low power consumption.

Temperatures: with only two fans (the stock intel cpu fan, and a small generic case fan) at low rpm the i3 runs at 43 to 47 ºC (ambient: 20 ºC).

*note: this is my first time using a SSD, the performance boost surprised me. It take some time to adapt and optimize all the software, but it is not difficult at all. My 64gb SSD is only 40% filled, with Windows 7, Office 2010, Firefox, and some other software. All the rest is on the HDD.

_________________
My current rig:
Athlon II x2 240 Regor @ 2.8ghz | Gigabyte 785g (GA-MA785GM-US2H) | Picopsu 120-wi + generic power brick 120w 18.5v |HDD 2.5" 250gb Fujitsu | 2 x 2 gb Kingston DDR2 800 | Dvd-RW Samsung|+ monitor LED Acer 21.5"
Wattage: PC is 30W Idle, 45W Fully Loaded | LCD is 13W


Last edited by greenfrank on Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: quiet low-power mini-itx i3 2100t build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:59 pm
Posts: 143
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Thanks for the info, greenfrank :)

Did you underclock or tweak at all to get the idle power down to 20W? That's a pretty good power draw for the whole system.


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 Post subject: Re: quiet low-power mini-itx i3 2100t build
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:32 pm
Posts: 99
Location: Mexico
yes leem, I tweaked all what the mobo let me change in bios for low power consumption. For example I undervolted a bit the ram (not too much, only from1.5v to 1.4v. I will try to push down the voltage a bit more). It isn't possible to undervolt the CPU, but the i3 is very efficient itself at stock voltages, I wouldn't touch it even if where possible to do. Of course, I tweaked windows 7 too.

A very importan thing in this kind of mini builds is to choose the right power supply. I had to quit the 450w psu that come with the case, because it was too loud and overkill for my small wattages. Imho the pico-psus are the best choice, or instead the winmate-like psus sold by electrodacus. You have to calculate first the whole and maximum wattage of your system, and then choose the closer model of pico-psu.

I'm happy with my 20w idle, is low enough for me. :D

_________________
My current rig:
Athlon II x2 240 Regor @ 2.8ghz | Gigabyte 785g (GA-MA785GM-US2H) | Picopsu 120-wi + generic power brick 120w 18.5v |HDD 2.5" 250gb Fujitsu | 2 x 2 gb Kingston DDR2 800 | Dvd-RW Samsung|+ monitor LED Acer 21.5"
Wattage: PC is 30W Idle, 45W Fully Loaded | LCD is 13W


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