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 Post subject: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:54 pm 
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Hi,

I have a 4-year old TranquilPC Windows Home Server system based on the Atom D330 that's getting a bit long in the tooth.

I'd like to upgrade the OS for which I'll need more than the 2 Gb I can have in this box, so I will probably be ripping out the innards and replacing them with something else. It's a Mini-ITX case with 5 hot-swap SATA drive bays designed to be as silent as possible at that time, so I am thinking it's a good base to build off. The motherboard is passively cooled, while the drives have a big but quiet fan behind them.

The Atom D330 was very low power (8W TDP), but the motherboard had a full desktop gfx chip (GMA950?), so was very power hungry, although I can't find anywhere quite how much. I presume that this means I can stuff something a bit more powerful and still be ok, since everything now comes with a built-in gpu. I use the server mainly for serving files (docs, music, video), so it doesn't get very stressed. I have discovered Plex though and I am thinking that I may start to use the box a bit more to transcode when I'm out of home, if I had the power. But this is not so important. I run it headless and serve the TV over wifi, not as an HTPC.

My plan (a) was to go with a Brazos 2.0 E-1800, just swap the motherboard, plug the drives to the SATA controller and be done. However, it's been months since the launch and I still can't find any of those around.

A possible plan (b) I've just thought of is to go with an i3 3240T on a DQ77KB motherboard. This would have a lot more oomph. But with a 35W TDP would it be too much?

I guess the question is whether I could go with a passively cooled i3 in the Tranquil case, or whether I should stay with the Brazos. f the latter, when will they finally be available? I'm not that sensitive to spending $1-200 more, but I'd feel bad throwing the whole system away, I guess.

Thanks for pointers!


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:31 pm 
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A 35W TDP might be OK in that case, depending on the heatsink, but no higher... assuming it is what I think it is. One of these?
http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/17/tran ... the-works/

The whole board is low power btw -- gma950 draws very little power. Tell us the model of the board and we can easily verify.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:41 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
A 35W TDP might be OK in that case, depending on the heatsink, but no higher... assuming it is what I think it is. One of these?
http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/17/tran ... the-works/

The whole board is low power btw -- gma950 draws very little power. Tell us the model of the board and we can easily verify.


Yes exactly, it's one of those machines. The motherboard is the standard Intel D945GCLF2. I have read that the whole problem with those boards was that they were pretty high power compared to the CPU. But I don't really don't know anything about this.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:51 pm 
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Power demand from the board (w/o other peripherals like HDD, etc) is not likely to be much more than 20W. The CPU is only 8W.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:40 pm 
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I'm sre you can replace the mainboard, but not without some effort. The board and CPU are passively cooled, and parts of the case (hard drive cage?) act as a heatsink.
The rear cutout isn't ATX standard either, depending on your choice of board you would have to cut it open.
The good news is the board in place has a standard atx rear panel, so height wise a Scythe Kozuti should fit.
Take a look inside the system to decide if it's worth the effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:42 am 
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boost wrote:
I'm sre you can replace the mainboard, but not without some effort. The board and CPU are passively cooled, and parts of the case (hard drive cage?) act as a heatsink.
The rear cutout isn't ATX standard either, depending on your choice of board you would have to cut it open.
The good news is the board in place has a standard atx rear panel, so height wise a Scythe Kozuti should fit.


I'm not so worried about the rear panel, since I don't actually attach anything to the server and I've taken off the service panel with which the ports are covered maybe a couple of times.

But do you think with this Scythe Kozuti it would be possible to put a 35 W TDP i3? Or that's way too much heat when you include the motheboard also (say compared to the ~30 W I guess it uses now).


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:35 am 
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MikeC wrote:
Power demand from the board (w/o other peripherals like HDD, etc) is not likely to be much more than 20W. The CPU is only 8W.

True, but the Intel D945GCLF2 board uses the 945GC chipset wich is a power hog at 22.2W TDP.

So from 8W CPU +22 W chipset to 35W CPU and 6W chipset (H61/H77), 11W more should be no problem for the power supply.

Can you remove that black heatsink block?

I think the Kozuti should work, unless you stress the CPU 80%-100% for long stretches of time.
I found two 1155 ITX board with 5 or more Sata ports: Asus P8H77-I and Zotac H77-ITX WiFi. Zotac H67 board has 6 Sata, too, but I don't know if it supports i3-3XXX CPUs. I would buy Asus.
With both boards you have the option to add a seperate drive for your OS, mSata (SSD only) for Zotac, Sata for Asus, something I would consider. My HP Microserver runs Ubuntu Server from a USB stick. Without the fan swap (no time yet) I envy the silence of a passively cooled system.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:57 am 
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boost wrote:
Can you remove that black heatsink block?


I hope so. I guess without that it will be a no-go. I didn't realise they went to so much effort to cool the CPU.

I've just realised that Tranquil did do an i3-2100T-based upgrade in the same case Leo HS4 a few years back. However, it did require them to sacrifice one of the drive bays to house a larger heat sink. I guess it doesn't bode well for my plans.

Would a Kozuti be much more efficient than a passive heatsink?


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:53 am 
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I looked at the pictures of the SQA-5H and the Leo HS4 again. There is, or at least was, an upgrade from 5H to 4HS available. Which makes me believe you can take the unit apart reasonably well. The back fan removes hot air from the case and there's a cutout below the mainboard for hot air from that area to be exhausted in the back. This should work with a different mainboard and Kozuti cooler.
I think you can be quite confident in your plan. Take a screwdriver and find out if it works as intended.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading a Tranquil SQA-5h
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:43 am 
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boost wrote:
I looked at the pictures of the SQA-5H and the Leo HS4 again. There is, or at least was, an upgrade from 5H to 4HS available. Which makes me believe you can take the unit apart reasonably well. The back fan removes hot air from the case and there's a cutout below the mainboard for hot air from that area to be exhausted in the back. This should work with a different mainboard and Kozuti cooler.
I think you can be quite confident in your plan. Take a screwdriver and find out if it works as intended.


Now that's crazy talk: me with a screwdriver. ;-)

Thanks for your advice. I'll investigate and report back!


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