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 Post subject: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Do you think the 65W Llano A8-3800 (once it's released along with a mini-ITX FM1 motherboard) would work with Minibox M350 + 150W PicoPSU ? My main concerns are the thermal characteristics and the case height. I'm worried that the heat spreaders on a lot of DDR3-1600 memory sticks might be too tall to fit in the M350. Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:45 am 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Icteridae wrote:
I'm worried that the heat spreaders on a lot of DDR3-1600 memory sticks might be too tall to fit in the M350. Thoughts?


Heat spreaders are usually not needed, they are just for looks. I expect that you can find DDR3-1600 that does not use heat spreaders. Gskill even makes low-voltage RAM, they call it Eco. Gskill Eco sets run at 1.35 volts (0.15-0.30 volts less then normal) can be as fast as 1600 and the heat spreaders are not taller then the PCBs.

If you are going to use an APU, you might just wait and get a laptop. Sites are claiming that A6 laptops will start around $500, with A8 laptops costing around $650.


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:27 pm 
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The M350 is not designed for that kind of CPU. An Antec ISK-100 maybe? The trick would be finding the right heatsink.


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:38 pm 
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I wouldn`t right it off as a solution though it probably will be noisy at load. The problem with the m350 case is the position of the disk drive. Iven if you manage to mount a decent heatsink part of the airflow will be blocked.

A case like the antec mentioned will be better suited for the job. I also like the lian li pcq-9f which is a bit bigger (and comes with a power supply that you`ll probably want to replace with the pico psu ).

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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Thanks for the replies. The M350 specs say it can handle cooling up to a 65W TDP CPU with just the CPU fan, and I've heard of people using the i3-2100 in M350s, but I have no experience when it comes to dealing with enclosures that small. The x-bit labs review of the A8-3800 indicates a system power consumption of 65W under load while actually using less power than the i3 during 1080p video playback (29W) and idle (16W). Is that really too much for the case? If the M350 is unsuitable, I was thinking about the Sugo SG05 with the A8-3850, but that seemed like overkill.

I probably will get a Llano laptop if I can find a 12-14incher with the A8-3500M, and I suspect that will last me until Trinity/Haswell come out.


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Icteridae wrote:
The M350 specs say it can handle cooling up to a 65W TDP CPU with just the CPU fan, and I've heard of people using the i3-2100 in M350s, but I have no experience when it comes to dealing with enclosures that small.


I do not understand the desire to get a low-powered desktop. They are all the rage because people like the way they look, and they are more fun to talk about for lonely forum-dwellers, but SFF is a waste for most users. They eliminate the reasons to choose a desktop over a laptop.

    Their are only a few good reasons to use a desktop over a laptop these days.
  • You need high-powered components like graphics cards and multiple hard drives.
  • You need a huge screen (perhaps more then one screen) that could never be portable.
  • You have a collection of parts that could be re-used (like power supply, hard drives, optical drives).

Most SFF desktops do not let you use efficient, full-sized, and full-power components. The Lian Li PC-Q08 does let you use most of your old parts (everything but motherboard and CPU cooler), but that is the exception, rather then the rule.

The AMD APU's of today will be slower in all tasks, save media rendering, then a Pentium G840 system with a cheap AMD Radeon HD 5570 graphics card.

Other then performance, the two solutions are almost indistinguishable. They cost the same amount of money, Pentium and Radeon costs $140, while the AMD A8-3850 APU will cost $135. They even use the same power, at approximately 100 watts total.


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:02 pm 
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For me at least, the appeal of SFF desktops is in the small footprint. That means size/power draw/temperature/noise. For that, I'd be willing to pay a small premium (though probably not as much as a mac mini involves). As far as the comparison to laptops, I thought you laid it out pretty well. But conversely, the benefit to the laptop over a desktop is in its portability, a factor that has not been of major importance to me recently. And the ability to upgrade individual components independently and on an as-needed basis means lower costs in the long run (relative to laptop systems). I will probably always have at least 1 portable device, but for home usage, I'd like a budget system that is relatively cool and quiet, doesn't require lots of physical space, and I am content if that means using a system that is just *good enough* as opposed to focusing on the latest high-powered components.

As AMD improves their CPU with Bulldozer/Trinity, and Intel improves their GPU with Haswell (or even if something new and completely different comes along), I expect that the performance gap of integrated systems will matter less and less to mainstream users. Llano offers a good first step in that direction, and while I don't know if it's quite there yet, I've been looking forward to these sort of developments.


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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:46 pm 
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Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
PICO power supplies should be available all the way up to 220W, if not a little more, so if you were to get a good 16v power brick at around 13A, you'd be just shy of maxing out your PICO.
You logic is impeccable... but few if any human purchasing decisions revolve around logic.

For example, why would someone pay $1.5M for a Bugatti Veyron when a cheap $500K Ferrari, or $200K Porsche are just as good... and in many practical respects, better.

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 Post subject: Re: Smallest light gaming system?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:24 pm 
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ces wrote:
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
PICO power supplies should be available all the way up to 220W, if not a little more, so if you were to get a good 16v power brick at around 13A, you'd be just shy of maxing out your PICO.
You logic is impeccable... but few if any human purchasing decisions revolve around logic.

For example, why would someone pay $1.5M for a Bugatti Veyron when a cheap $500K Ferrari, or $200K Porsche are just as good... and in many practical respects, better.


That is not my quote, that is bonestonne's quote from this thread...


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