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 Post subject: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:02 pm 
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I received an AMD A8 3870K as a gift. I just built a new system for my main desktop but have been wanting to make an HTPC.

Will this work?
CPU: AMD A8 3870K
MOBO: ASUS F1A75-I DELUXE
Memory: Samsung low voltage low profile 8GB
SSD: Undecided, but probably something between 60gb and 120gb. Would prefer to mount two 2.5" SSDs and run them in RAID.
Case: M350 with 150W PicoPSU and adapter

I'd like to mount the case to the back of my TV, which is why I have chosen the M350. If there are other suggestion for a case that will allow me to VESA mount it, I'm open to other suggestions

Questions:
1) Will this even fit in the case?
2) Will the stock cooler be enough? I noticed there is a new cooler from Gelid that is rated for 95W but I haven't seen this for sale yet
3) I am planning to undervolt the CPU since it seems like a pretty easy thing to do and a lot of people report success.

Inspiration for this build comes from the M350 RaceMachine


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Location: Germany
Did you notice the difference in fan size between the gelid one and the fan used in the race-machine?

Did you notice the race one seems to be pure cooper and the gelid seems to be painted scrap metall?

I think yes, it will work. No, i don't think a A8 can be housed in this case using the gelid cooler and turn out quiet.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:35 am 
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gomiflo wrote:
I'd like to mount the case to the back of my TV, which is why I have chosen the M350. If there are other suggestion for a case that will allow me to VESA mount it, I'm open to other suggestions


http://www.sundialmicro.com/lianli_gami ... _1945.html

http://www.sundialmicro.com/lianli_gami ... _2257.html

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:43 am 
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gomiflo wrote:
1) Will this even fit in the case?
Noctua NH-L12, with one fan should fit as it only needs 66mm. Can anyone confirm this fit?

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:02 am 
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ces wrote:
gomiflo wrote:
1) Will this even fit in the case?
Noctua NH-L12, with one fan should fit as it only needs 66mm. Can anyone confirm this fit?


From the website:

Quote:
Zero noise, small footprint and low power chassis.
The M350 is Industry's smallest universal case (192 x 210 x 62mm , 2.5L) capable of housing mini-ITX boards ranging from tiny Atoms to fully featured desktop or mobile CPUs. The M350 chassis permits fanless operation (natural air convection via hundreds of tiny holes) for TDP < 10 watts and CPU-only fan for TDP <= 65watts.


So 62mm is total case height. Judging from the pictures i don't think you have more room in this case than the tiny intel 35w TDP stock cooler needs.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:09 pm 
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The Scythe Kozuti is the only good aftermarket cooler that is truly tiny. Perhaps you should take a look at that. SPCR seems to think that it's a great cooler for its niche marked.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm 
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Posts: 220
Location: US
ces wrote:
gomiflo wrote:
I'd like to mount the case to the back of my TV, which is why I have chosen the M350. If there are other suggestion for a case that will allow me to VESA mount it, I'm open to other suggestions


http://www.sundialmicro.com/lianli_gami ... _1945.html

http://www.sundialmicro.com/lianli_gami ... _2257.html


LOL!

Image

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Case: Fractal Design Define Mini Fans: 2 x FD 120mm front, Scythe 120mm PWM rear Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 620


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Thanks everyone for the feedback. It looks like using the M350 with the A8-3570k will be a challenge. Is this thing going to melt even if it is undervolted? I typically turn off my machines when I do not use them, so the most taxing thing it will be doing is playing a 1080p movie for about 2 hours at a time.

The suggested Lian Li cases are way too big for what I am thinking of. My second choice after the M350 is the Habey EMC-800BL. My thoughts on this are:
Pro:
-Should be much easier to cool. I'll start with the stock cooler and if it turns out to be not good enough or too loud, I think I can fit a Scythe Kozuti in there.

Con:
- Can't mount on the back of my TV
- Included 120W power supply-is it enough?
- Is there any way to get two 2.5" drives in the Habey 800BL? Maybe if I don't put an optical disk in there?

Actually, does anyone know how thick a slimline optical drive is? Could I just stick a 2.5" SSD where the optical drive tray is, or is the SSD thicker than the optical drive?


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:27 am 
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Location: Helsinki
It will not melt. But you have to make sure you let enough airflow since there is no case fan (it seems you can mount some case fan on the M350 to I really recommend that if you plan to game, no need if you just plan to browse and watch movies and the iGPU will be lightly used).
Also check the air flow direction: if the CPU fan is pushing the air down but your case is designed with no fan the air direction should be up as shown in the picture (hot air moves always up). This means that you may need to put the case standing (as it is installed in the picture behind the monitor) for best air flow during the hot days (the room temperature makes a big difference).
Undervolting will help a lot. The motherboard has a lot of power saving features so remember to enable them to reduce power consumption (less power consumption = less heat).

120W power supply is enough. I reocmmend you the Pico-PSU (the one that comes with the M350 yellow color) they are much more efficient: usually >94% efficiency (the brick AC adapter efficiency is also relevant for power consumption but it seats outside of the case so it does not generate heat inside the case while the PicoPSU does).
The optical drive space is high enough for a SSD, the slim ones are higher than 10mmm wihile SSDs are made lower than 10mm nowadays. The Crucial M4 was 9mm thick.

As an advice I can recommend to avoid using Wireless as regular bases, try to run a cable to the Ethernet port.
Also be aware that your gaming with that rig will be limited and you cannot install a dedicated graphic card (for example you will be barely be able to play The Witcher 2 which is a very demanding game nowadays).


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:59 am 
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What i can't understand is, why are you trying to put a 100W TDP CPU into a case that clearly isn't suited for 100W TDP parts?

M350 is said to support up to 65 W TDP. Habey doesn't tell how much TDP you can safely use in their cases, but i suppose they weren't designed to host more than 65W TDP CPUs.

You wouldn't try to fit a 12 Zyl truck diesel engine into a Smart fortwo for obvious reasons....

If you really want to have a smallish htpc, then sell A8 and buy something more suited.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:34 am 
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@kubunteando: Thanks for the analysis. I was going to give up on the M350, but I'm considering it again. I think the ISK110 VESA would actually be a great choice for me except that the cost of it plus a replacement PicoPSU is pretty high. The Habey 800BL is a nice case too, but the adapter it comes with is 102W so I would likely be replacing it as well. The ISK300 series is nice but I lose the ability to Vesa mount it and it's actually quite a bit longer than I would like.

@Pappnaas: I have actually listed the A8 for sale, but I haven't gotten a single inquiry about it. I will not sell it for less than the cost of replacing it with a 65W cpu.

I figure:
- I have the CPU already and can't seem to sell it (locally at least)
- It will be used to watch some movies and will be powered off after each use
- I don't plan to game with it
- I'm willing to undervolt and underclock it to the point that it performs like a much lower class APU if that's what it takes to keep it cool. Unless I can sell the A8 at a price that will cover downgrading to a 65W or lower CPU, I don't see why I wouldn't just undervolt the A8

When I look at the system power draw people have reported, it looks like < 40W at idle and < 80W for a movie. Yes, it will go much higher if I run futuremark or Prime95 on it, but I won't be running it that hard.

I fully understand why you would question my use of a 100W part in a build like this. However, I will not be running it full load and it appears to scale down its power draw when running lighter loads.

It seems like I'm stuck with either:
- M350 with a 150W PSU for about $105: Might get too hot. Not sure if I can put two 2.5" SSDs in there without interfering with the CPU cooler

- Antec ISK 110 Vesa ($75) and 150W PicoPSU kit ($70) totalling $145: Seems like a good option. Vesa mountable and support for two 2.5" SSDs. No optical drive, but that's ok. Relatively expensive.

- Antec ISK300-150 for about $75: Optical, two 2.5" drives. Not a bad option, but no vesa mount, it's a pretty long case, and I expect it will be a lot noisier than the other options.

- Habey 800BL ($65) and 150W PicoPSU kit ($70) totalling $135: OK option. The included PSU is 120W but with a 60W adapter, so I might as well replace the whole PSU with a pico (or should I only do the adapter?) Case seems to be poorly ventilated.


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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:12 am 
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gomiflo wrote:
When I look at the system power draw people have reported, it looks like < 40W at idle and < 80W for a movie. Yes, it will go much higher if I run futuremark or Prime95 on it, but I won't be running it that hard.
Sometimes you can have a runaway process that will cook your CPU without you being aware of it. That happened to someone on these forums recently. So you want to keep that possibility in mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:09 am 
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gomiflo wrote:
- I'm willing to undervolt and underclock it to the point that it performs like a much lower class APU if that's what it takes to keep it cool.


If that's easily done with the CPU, you should try it. The M350 case is almost completely perforated. I can't imagine cooling problems if you have a CPU cooler with a fan. I could see issues with a passively cooled CPU, but the CPU fan should both cool the CPU and circulate air within the tiny case.

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 Post subject: Re: Can this be done in a small case?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:34 am 
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People is forgetting that the A8 is not a normal CPU, it is an APU and that means a quad core CPU plus a iGPU performing 30% below a HD 6570 dedicated GPU all integrated in the same chip.
So you cannot think in the same terms as an Intel CPU.

Check this link:

http://forums.itxgamer.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=695

The undervolting results are chip dependant so 2 different chips of same model will show different undervolting results. So take the figures as orientative only.
Also in the setup on the link the guy is using a dedicated GPU, that is why the power comsumption is high.

By undervolting you should bring the chip to around 80W TDP.
If you use the iGPU for movies and browsing and you don't use the PCI Express port x16 (no discrete GPU) the average TDP will get around 60W which is ok for the case. Even then the cooling and airflow in small cases is very important.


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