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 Post subject: Newbie Here - Where to Post?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:13 pm
Posts: 6
Hello all, I'm a newcomer to this site and in dire hope of finding the answer/s I need for my PC related questions. However, given the size of this forum I thought I'd play it safe and first ask the veterans here which sub-forum would be most appropriate for my situation.

I'm looking into building my own Small Form Factor computer, and would like some recommendations on where to go for purchasing parts, getting info, and/or just hearing some basic knowledge on components relating to ITX or other minipc solutions. I've noticed a couple different spots that might be appropriate for this, however I'd like to hear your recommendations.

Thanks for your time!
Notch


Last edited by RelevantNotch on Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:25 pm 
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Location: U.S.A. Massuchusetts...... *Folding For SPCR*
first things first WELCOME TO SPCR

and second that should be posted under system advice, see u there :D

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And with that being said I have always been a bit proud of my 1337 computer sk1llz


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:44 am
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Welcome to SPCR!

I hate to say it, but this forum may be the best place to ask those kind of questions - at least until you have some direction for the build. Once you get some specifics, System Advice is the best bet.

If you haven't already happened upon these sites, have a look:
Mini-itx.com
logicsupply.com is a mini ITX supplier that ships to the US and Canada

This thread also might be of some use.

I can't find the link right now, but I found a company that makes fully featured mini ITX boards (lots of SATA2, PCI-16x, gigabit lan, good onboard audio - the works). When I find it, or someone else figures out what I'm talking about, it will get posted.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:09 pm
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Location: U.S.A. Massuchusetts...... *Folding For SPCR*
eh ok whatever what do i know :lol: well i know a little about mini ITX seeing how iv been looking into building one lately, so what questions do you have?

www.newegg.com , www.endpcnoise.com , www.zipzoomfly.com

i mostly use newegg

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And with that being said I have always been a bit proud of my 1337 computer sk1llz


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:44 am
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Here is that link I was talking about.

Have a look at what they have to offer. If you have the money, their miniITX boards are as good as you can get.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:26 pm 
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Thankyou for the Welcome! :D

To me the biggest factor is balancing speed versus heat and noise production. That intel you posted looks pretty fast, but at 65nm (and with a 16xpcie port no less) I imagine it produces quite a bit of both. (also, I had a hard time finding any prices on that site, are they hidden somewhere?).

Originally, I was looking towards something like Nano ITX, however there doesn't seem to be much of a market for them (or so I assume given how scarce they are). I'm still fairly new to the SFF market so all I really know at this point is VIA's ITX series (pico,nano,mini, etc), if there are other types of SFF components worth buying it would be helpful to know about them - though given your responses I'll assume there probably isn't. With all that said there was A mini-ITX motherboard that I spotted at newegg (a favorite of mine as well) that I thought looked pretty appropriate for me.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813153080

Of course, like so many computer products, there are many questions I have about this, the most prominent being:
1) Just how fast is thing? As far I know VIA mini itx boards only come in speeds of 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 ghz. (I might mention that I have no idea what that relates to in real pc usage). This motherboard doesn't list anything like that, so how would I find out?

2) What type of screen resolutions is thing capable of? I have a widescreen monitor that runs at 1280x768, can this thing do 1280x768? How can I know? And

3) Reliability? Anyone ever tried this one out before?

I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with my neediness, but I'd like to jump into this with a little more knowledge than I did my last computer. Again, thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearin' from ya'! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:31 pm 
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Location: San Jose, California
Have a look at this review. The new Intel mini ITX boards are getting a lot of attention because they are so much faster and cheaper than the Via alternatives.

Can I also ask, why do you want to build a mini-ITX system? What are you using it for? What are your space requirements? Why mini-ITX or nano ITX?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:24 am 
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
autoboy is right - the D201GLY2 is the miniITX way to go right now. They're aren't many comparisons of the D201GLY2 with other low power processors and I don't think many people have owned more than one of these boards. The reviews that I have seen show that it is clearly a better buy than anything VIA based.

I don't see any differences between the Jetway and the D201GLY2, other that the fact that the former has a slower processor and the latter doesn't have gigabit LAN and is less than half the price. You can compare the common miniITX boards here.

I'll echo autoboy again - what do you want to do with this system?

If you are going for low power/low cost, the D201GLY2 sounds like your best bet.
If you want the most computing power per watt, the miniITX mobile board that I linked to has integrated graphics, so you can't really get any more efficient that that (this system would probably consume ~1.5 times the D201GLY2). Depending on the processor you use, you could have 5 times the CPU power. The "Buy Online" link shows that it's $302 USD.
If space isn't really that big a concern, why not get a GA-G33M-DS2R (or something similar ...) and a celeron 420(35W TDP)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:37 pm 
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Hmm, well first and foremost my quest for a mini itx computer has mainly to do with sound, and low watt usage (size seems to merely be the result of those two):

As for sound, I've began to grow more and more annoyed by the various spinning and humming noises that come out of my computer. As I've began to use my PC more and more for work, movie watching, and just general browsing I become more and more determined to buy a computer that I won't notice while doing these things.

Low wattage, on the other hand, has somewhat to do with a paranoia of mine. While building my first gaming computer I became increasingly uncomfortable around parts that required a lot of energy to work. The more energy a part required the more likely it was to fail. Also, being around high powered equipment bugs me on a physical level as well - Often times it will cause me to feel like I'm having an anxiety attack of sorts. As I move onto greater and greater energy consuming computers this feeling becomes more and more prevalent. (So I'd like not too continue that trend).

One thing (perhaps the only thing) that concerned me in that review of yours was a paragraph I found on the last page

"One concern is the high CPU temperature without active cooling. It's clear that Intel intended for the board to be run passively, but there is no way to this in an enclosed environment. Some airflow is required to keep temperatures to a reasonable level. The EPIA is able to run passively, but then again, it draws just half the AC power of our D201GLY2 sample did at full load."

If it needs a separate fan to keep a fanless CPU cooled then I'm not interested (no offense :D ). However, what I did notice of particular interest was its listed speed - 1.33ghz. Now I'm confused (again), how did a 1.33ghz board beat out a 1.8 ghz board? Do those numbers even mean anything (cue confusion)?

With all that said I think I'd be perfectly happy with a SFF computer that's around the same speed as the one I'm typing on now. I imagine this shouldn't be too unreasonable given my pc was relatively cheap and not too up-too-date when I purchased it. However, given that review it seems there's no real way of determining the speed of an ITX board without trying it out firsthand (or having someone else try it out). This is disconcerting, and creates many more questions - but I think I'll take a time out before that.

(Rereads posts)

to Blue_Sky: I don't think I mentioned this above, but I'd like to have a ITX board with a built in processor - mainly for convenience's sake. I'm still trying to wrap my head around basic mini itx boards - throw separate processors into the mix and I think I'll need to lay down for a while. :lol:

Bah! and While I guess I said earlier that size wasn't that big of an issue the truth is I've been looking more and more excited at the prospect of a small, portable PC that I can simply unplug and carry anywhere around the house (I even picked out a case for it http://www.e-itx.com/comcase-1345a-mini-itx-case.html ) :lol: 8)

Well, I hope that answered your questions! Now excuse while I take a breather. :oops:


Last edited by RelevantNotch on Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:50 pm 
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Also, e-itx.com is really great place I found for mini itx components! :D


OH! And one more thing - I'd actually like to buy two systems if I can afford it - one for my television (just watching videos), and one for general computing (web browsing, flash animation, etc). Though the same rules still apply.









Bleh, all this mini itx is giving me a headache.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Posts: 1008
Location: San Jose, California
You have to rethink your assumptions here. You stated that you wanted small because you think that results in quiet. That is simply untrue. The smaller you get, typically, the louder it gets to cool that equipment. With two equivalent systems, the one with the larger heatsink will generally be quieter.

Yes, some small systems are fanless, but they tend to suck. Ghz does not equal speed anymore. The 1.33ghz cpu blows away the Via 1.8ghz cpu because the Via is an old design that wasn't even fast in its day. The 1.33 ghz Intel cpu is based on Intel's latest technology and is capable of handling most of todays tasks while the Via may struggle.

Fans do not always equal noise. This is a common misconception amoung new folks not used to the high quality, low speed fans that we use on SPCR. In my house right now, I am surrounded by computers with fans. There are 6 fans running and 2 harddrives, but because I used recommended parts found here, I can't hear any of them. Building fanless computers is not recomenended, and you won't find too many longtime members here that do it on a regular basis. The reason is that a few quality low speed fans controlled by fan controllers in a modern system provide so much better cooling than convection alone, without significantly increasing the noise, that it makes fanless systems a curiosity, and not the norm.

My suggestion would be to read up on people's systems here. Find someone building a system like the ones you want, and ask them questions, study their designs, and formulate your own strategy for your build. If small is really what you want, fine, but it will have serious limitations and may prove more difficult than you anticpate. If you are ok with a mATX motherboard and some quality fans and power supplies, then your options, and likely your satisfaction, will be much higher.

BTW, if you simply want a small, relatively quiet computer you can bring around with you, a laptop or Mac Mini are good options too. You may also think about the Zonbu fanless pc advertised all over this site.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:13 pm
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Thankyou for the reply! I'll have to research a few of those things you mentioned before I can give you a proper response though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:52 pm 
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Okay, I'm ready!

I think you hit the head on the nail with your last paragraph, but I'd like to address something else you said first: You say that smaller components produce more noise, but I can only assume you mean smaller fans create more noise (in regards to your heatsink analogy), as my videocard has a fanless heatsink which produces no noise that I'm aware of.

Anyway, when I started looking for a computer, basically what I had in mind was a laptop without a keyboard, mousepad, or monitor attached - something small, quiet, and relatively energy efficient that could be easily transported and perhaps even attach to my television when necessary. This is how I fell into the mini-itx market (VIA mainly), and at this point its really all I know in regards to SFF computers (and I still don't know much). Out of those three you listed the Zonbu looks the most appropriate for me, but at this point I'm not sure whether I should post my questions about it here, or finally move my query into another forum. ....


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