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 Post subject: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Hi,

I want to replace my current PC with a little box I already have. I would upgrade the internals. The purpose is to use it as a media server (XBMCBuntu) and some light computing tasks (a few documents + surfing). The screen will be a Dell U2711 at 2560x1440, which I need to keep in mind. Here's the hardware I'm thinking of:

  • Case: reusing an AOpen EZ65. This is an old SFF that I've already upgraded with an Intel Atom330 board which is slow and doesn't take a lot of memory. So I'd kick everything out except the PSU, which is a custom AOpen model that is either 220W or 275W (I can't find that on the Internet right now and the case isn't here). Clearance from the motherboard up is about 7cm up to the PSU. The PSU sticks out only 6,5cm from the back of the case.
  • Intel DH67CFB3
  • Intel i3-3220T
  • Scythe Shuriken 2 Rev.B cooler, though I would like to let it blow upward to get the warm air out via the PSU
  • 2x4GB sticks (something just-above-rock-bottom-cheap like Corsair Value)
  • Samsung 830 128GB
  • ElCheapo (Samsung, NEC, whatever) SATA DVD writer because I currently only have an IDE one.
  • I would reuse a Samsung EcoGreen 1.5TB SATA-II drive for storage.

Total cost: around €400 + €650 for the screen.

Questions I have around this setup:
  • Any thoughts about reusing an old SFF case like the EZ65 ? How about the power supply ? Can I make the Shuriken blow upward to evacuate the warm air via the PSU ?
  • I want it to fly when I use it. I'm expecting the SSD will take care of this. My current setup used to be a Raptor 150GB + an old Opteron dual core + 2GB, so it should be way faster than that. Correct ? I can look at upgrading to 16GB but I don't expect it would make a difference.
  • I want perfect quality at 1080p. I expect the 3220T to be capable of this, even with subtitles etc, at 2560x1440 res. Correct ? If not, how does the Dell U2711 image look if I send a 1920x1080 image to it ? (my digital TV set-top box will have to do this anyway :()
  • I've read about passively cooling the 3220T. Is this feasible in this setup ? Does XBMC support the 3220T's hardware acceleration for HD playback ? If yes, I don't expect to ever really use the processor itself (maybe for some very infrequent photoshopping or audio transcoding).

Finally, backups would go to an external drive, either on the network, or connected using SATA.

Thanks for all your thoughts,


Peter.

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noisy: Raptor 150 ; noisy stupid graphics card (fanless TBD)


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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:39 am 
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Location: Germany
2560x1440 is only supported via dual link DVI or displayport. If your motherboard/monitor combo supports those, you should be fine.

But i haven't found any clues as to the GPU perfomance of HD 2500 at 2560x1440 resolution.


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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:18 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
2560x1440 is only supported via dual link DVI or displayport. If your motherboard/monitor combo supports those, you should be fine.

But i haven't found any clues as to the GPU perfomance of HD 2500 at 2560x1440 resolution.


Hi Pappnaas,

I've selected the motherboard & monitor to work together: they both support DP & DVI-D. The Intel HD2500 supports 2560x1600 resolution: pushing pixels is not the problem (and I won't do 3D). The question is about upscaling 1080p into the higher res for display. If XBMC supports Intel Clear Video for hardware accelerated HD decoding, then everything should be fine. But some input would be practical + about the image quality of 1920x1080 on a 2560x1440 screen. And of course on the heat/case aspects.

Thanks,


Peter.

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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:30 am 
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You'd need to use DP, then :)

As to the case: Haven't seen one, so i can't contribute any experience. But i suppose the PSU will be louder than anything inside, so you even might get away with intel stock cooler on the T-CPU.

Downscaling depends, so the sure path would be going with a 27" full HD or even a 32" LCD-TV.


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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:57 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
As to the case: Haven't seen one, so i can't contribute any experience. But i suppose the PSU will be louder than anything inside, so you even might get away with intel stock cooler on the T-CPU.


It's okay, actually. It'll be on the desk so I want to be a bit careful, but worst case I can rip it out for a TinyPSU.

I found a couple of pics that show the original configuration of the EZ65. The original motherboard is bigger than a miniITX one, with miniITX standard boards going right against the back of the case (under the PSU, to make sure the back connectors stick out of the back of the case, of course). The second photo doesn't have the PSU installed. On the first one, you can see how small it is.

Image
Image

Pappnaas wrote:
Downscaling depends, so the sure path would be going with a 27" full HD or even a 32" LCD-TV.


No, because I want to use it as a computer monitor as well :)


Peter.

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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in a Streacom case
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:09 am 
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Hi,

I just want to mention that I'm considering kicking out the EZ65 completely. I have a shelf about 13cm above my desk and ideally, my new PC would fit under it. Because I want to use it as a media server, it needs to be visible for the remote control to work (can't find BlueTooth remotes). The Streacom F7C looks like the ideal case: tiny, beautiful, with DVD slot and IR window, and it even includes an SD card reader. Main disadvantages are that it requires a different CPU heatsink (Kozuti), it has an 8cm whiny fan (but I have a good 8cm fan I can reuse to replace it) and it requires a new PSU (requires a power brick + PicoPSU, any info on their efficiency ?)

Here it is, tell me what you think of this case for this config:

Image


Peter.

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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Peter, an off topic question.

In the second picture of your shuttle. Below the CPU heatsink is a row of 6 small capacitors (small round cylinders attached directly to the motherboard), to the right of those 6 are 2 larger brown capacitors. Do they have flat tops or are the "bulging" and/or have brown stuff coming out of the top of them.?

I cant tell for sure in the picture but they look like bulging caps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

I have seen this on dozens of motherboards (and cards, and PSU's and a freeview TV box of my parents) and usually results in frequent crashing, and/or random issues such as onboard networking failure or performance issues or the PC not even turning on.


Andy

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 Post subject: Re: 3220T, mini-ITX in an EZ65
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:26 am 
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andyb wrote:
Peter, an off topic question.

In the second picture of your shuttle. Below the CPU heatsink is a row of 6 small capacitors


Hi Andy,

To clarify, I didn't take those pictures, I borrowed them from a review. I also don't use that motherboard anymore, I've replaced it by a mini-ITX one with an Atom. Which I will replace by the i3 one.


Peter.

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noiseless: Opteron 185+ThermalRight XP-120 ; Yesico fanless PSU ; Samsung EcoGreen 1.5TB
noisy: Raptor 150 ; noisy stupid graphics card (fanless TBD)


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