Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy
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Author:  moritz [ Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:30 am ]
Post subject:  Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

I'm thinking of moving my current mini-ITX SG05 (shoe box) build into the still mini-ITX but much bigger BitFenix Prodigy.

The SG05 is kind of crazy, since I've got a 100W CPU as well as a mid-end gaming graphics card in there. What's really crazy is that I killed the original PSU while trying to silence it and crammed a full size Seasonic S12 into the case! It sits in the front part of the case (maybe I'll take a photo when I'm home). I had to partially dismantle the PSU to make everything just about fit.

The PSU draws fresh air from the big front vent, the GPU gets fresh air from the side, the CPU... well it pretty much just steeps. It was never silent, but it's surprisingly quiet when I'm not gaming.

The GPU died on me for unrelated reasons recently, and after plugging in a borrowed ATI card, I just can't be bothered to put this mess back together. I'm thinking of transplanting the whole thing into a BitFenix Prodigy, which has a luxorious amount of space in comparison, and which lets you use an ATX PSU without hacking it in. I'm hoping for extremely quiet operation in idle and quiet under medium load.

I'll probably go with a new Seasonic PSU, though maybe I salvage the hacked S12 (I guess it'd be a shame to waste it). And I'll get whatever the current Nvidia $200 generation is. I think the case should be flexible enough that my next build or two can happen in there, too. I haven't heard too much about the Prodigy from the silent PC community, though the OC enthusiasts seem happy. The non-black variants of the case have a less perforated front, which some enthusiasts decry for reducing airflow; I think it might actually improve acoustics by letting less noise escape. But I'm not sure if there's any point in putting a very large fan in the front (it can accomodate up to 230mm!) if it's hardly perforated. I'll probably try using the fans in the box downvolted to 5 or 7V, but replacing them might be an improvement.

An alternative would be a TJ08E, which is roughly the same size but can fit m-ATX. But I've got a perfectly fine mini-ITX board, anyway, the Prodigy seems better from a cooling/acoustic perspective; it's also a tad cheaper. I've also considered a Define Mini (too big) and the FT03-mini (looks fantastic but it's only viable for gaming with water cooling, and even then it's not exactly quiet; and after the SG05 I've had it with ultra cramped spaces).

I've got to say I'm wary about buying a case that's not had the SPCR treatment! Hence my post. Any opinions or advice?

Author:  edh [ Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

The Prodigy is massive for a MiniITX case. As you point out its as big as some MicroATX cases and there are some MicroATX cases which will also support a MiniITX board.

I'm not entirely convinced of the value of this. You have a system which is a bit of a mess perhaps, but a new case is an expensive way of solving the problem especially when you're also talking of getting a new graphics card and perhaps PSU at the same time. Just how much of a mess is it? If you get a new graphics card then it will most likely be smaller than the existing card as latest generation cards have shrunk significantly and have reduced power consumption. This on it's own might greatly improve the problem in the existing case.

Author:  moritz [ Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

It's a big mess. I like the case, and I'll probably reuse for a home server/NAS thing at some point (maybe transplanting the current mainboard+CPU back). But it's not well suited to power hungry components and obviously cramming a full size ATX PSU is kind of perverse. I took some pictures. Gentle souls may want to avert their eyes. :D

Image Image Image

The first one is a perspective shot; note the bundle of excess PSU cabling spewing out of it. With the last card (the one that died), I crammed it all in there somehow, mostly in the tiny space between the graphics card and the front of the case. I think the replacement card is a cm longer, so that's going to work right now; ie. I can't close the case at the moment.

I gingerly folded up the hard drive (the system was running) for the second shot, which shows off the internal configuration. You can see the S12 PSU in the front, under the SSD which is separated from the PSU by insulating foam. I removed part of the PSU casing -- better not touch those high voltage internals -- because it just wouldn't fit otherwise (I didn't have a spare ITX PSU lying around). The tiny ITX mainboard is almost but not quite touching the PSU, and so is the graphics card (I put some insulating tape between GPU and PSU just in case). The CPU HSF and the graphics card also almost touch, but that's normal for ITX.

The third drive is a frontal shot that's not very remarkable.

I made a sizeasy thing comparing SG05, TJ08E, Define Mini and Prodigy: http://www.sizeasy.com/page/size_compar ... efine-Mini The SG05 is tiny! Clearly all of the alternatives will be huge in comparison. They're all broadly comparable I think; the Define Mini is the largest in volume; the Prodigy's values do include the stand and grip.

While the two alternatives support m-ATX, ITX support is getting better and better (right?), and they're not really more expensive than m-ATX boards, so what's the downside? The upside is that, all other things being equal, a case designed for ITX will have more room for the other components and cooling equipment. At least that's my theory.

Author:  moritz [ Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

If anybody is interested how this turned out: after getting a slight electrical shock from touching the case, I ordered replacement components. (The HDMI connector to the projector also made little sparks when touching the case. Apparently that sometimes happens when the devices are plugged in different circuits...?! It went away when I plugged the projector in the same power strip as the computer, anyway.)

I got the BitFenix case, an Asus GT 660 CU2 and a Seasonic G360.

The 15cm long G360 fits perfectly, but I'm glad I didn't get the 16 cm semi-modular G450. The fact that the GT 660, unlike the GTX, makes do with one power plug makes it a good fit the G360 (of course you could use a molex adapter for a two plug card). The graphics card is mostly very quiet, but one of the fans has a very light click; the other fan doesn't which makes me think this is a fault and I should return it, but what a bother.

The case is a pleasure to work with. I guess having it basically empty helps! I removed both hard disk cages: the SSD sits flush against the right side, the HDD is soft mounted in the 5.25 cage. There is nothing in the "interior" (the PSU is in its own isolated compartment, drawing air through a filter from below and expelling it back) besides the mainboard and the graphics card. I guess it is kind of crazy big for so few components. It's a good height to rest my feet on, which is a bonus. The fact that the elastic (allegedly "de-coupling") stands make the case a bit wobbly is a bit strange, though.

The case fans need undervolting or replacing, though. I'm actually running this thing without a CPU fan for the moment, with only the two 3-pin case fans connected to the mainboard headers. Despite this, running 4 instances of cpuburn doesn't get the CPU to engange the thermal throttle. One of the case fans sits right above the heatsink, which is the Samuel 17 from the SG05 build; the case would fit a much larger cooler though the mainboard compatiblity is an issue. I'm thinking about get a slow-running 14cm fan for the front...?

Here's a few vanity shots:
Image Image Image

Author:  CxP [ Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

I would love to hear what you end up with. I'm building a system in a Prodigy and am making a bracket to allow my Scythe Ninja cooler to fit. I plan to run the cooler fan-less on my i3570 and have the case fans provide the required airflow for the cooler (front to back with positive pressure).

Would like to know a good silent fan combo or the front and back. Was thinking a larger 200-230mm fan or the front and a 120-140mm for the rear. I just don't know if there are any quiet fans in the larger size or what the latest way to make them quiet.

EDIT: My P8Z77-I DELUXE may allow me to control the fan speeds adequately but I'm not sure...have not tried it yet.

Author:  moritz [ Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Transplanting my SG05 system into a BitFenix Prodigy

I got a generic 14cm fan for the front from a local store for the front. I think it's supposedly (only) [email protected], but even undervolted to 7V it's still audible. I'm pretty sure the fan is crap (it was just what they had there), I'll get a replacement sometime soon. Don't know which model or even which size, yet. The SPCR recommended fan list has a few larger fans, but not a lot of them IIRC.

I put a PWM controlled 12cm fan on the CPU heatsink, which turns off completely when the CPU is idle or mostly idle and is practically inaudible at medium load, as well; at prolonged full load it spins up to about 1krpm, making it the noisiest component unless the GPU ramps up fully.

I had a 12cm fan in the back, but I've disconnected it with no particularly dire consequences. With my tiny heat sink, I don't think the back fan contributes a whole lot to cooling it, apart from drawing hot air from the case. With a tower heat sink (and a mainboard that has the CPU in the same spot), using the back fan to directly cool the heat sink would be viable I imagine.

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