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Cases < 300mm deep, Silverstone LC-02?

Posted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:34 am
by pelago
Hi,

I'm trying to spec components for a low power (SDTV-only) HTPC, to replace an Xbox running XBMC. See viewtopic.php?t=38642 for more details of what I'm trying to do.

For the case, it needs to fit on a shelf underneath the TV of dimensions 460mm wide, 125mm high and 300mm deep. I could possibly adjust the height of the shelves to get more height but I would rather not. I might be able to squeeze a couple more centimetres in the depth - there is further room behind that for dangling wires but the shelf itself runs out at 300mm. The width is completely fixed at 460mm maximum. Finding a case which will fit in here is tricky. Most HTPC cases are 400mm deep and quite a lot taller.

The only two cases I've found which seem suitable are the Silverstone LC-02 and the LC-04. The LC-04 is a little bigger which seems good for cooling, but I worry it might be too big for the shelf it's going into - the sides and top would only have a gap of a centimetre or two before the sides of the shelf.

So, I'm really looking at the LC-02, which will have about 40mm gap either side left and right and about 25mm gap at the top. I like the fact that I can put MiniITX, mATX and full ATX motherboards in this case. However, all the reviews of the LC-02, from around 2004 when it came out, complain about it running too hot.

Questions:
- Does anyone know of any more 300mm deep cases I should look at?

- Do you think I'll have heat problems with the LC-02 case and the components I'm choosing (see my other thread)? Have components got cooler since the 2004 reviews?

- Would taking out the PSU and replacing with an external power brick help with heat?


Many thanks in advance.

Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:12 pm
by AndrewD
Pelago,

I'm currently looking at building an LC02 based HTPC too. My main requirement is SDTV recording/playback so don't need anything too high-end. I've been searching for a long time and struggling to find any nice looking HTPC case that will fit my space - a shelf in my TV cabinet about 470mm wide x 110mm high x 380mm deep. Allowing for some clearance, I basically want something the size of a VCR.

Some of the cases I've looked at:

LC-02
LC-19
LC-04 (too tall for my requirements)
Hiper HMC-1S53A / 2K53A (at only 57mm high, too challenging to cool)

GMC AVC-S7
http://www.gmc.co.kr/products/itemView_ ... 1&itemID=4

Lix Systems Lx8100
http://www.lixsystems.com/lix/product_f ... -A8NVN.htm

Along with countless others, but every other case I've looked at is too deep or too high.

The GMC isn't available here in Australia and the Lix case is only available as a barebone package for single unit purchases, so works out to be very expensive. So I'm resigned to going with the LC02 and doing whatever it takes to make it work well enough. I really like the GMC case though and if that becomes available at some stage and isn't too expensive, I want to give that a try.

Here's the spec I'm looking at:

Case: Silverstone LC-02
CPU: AMD X2 3800+ 65w undervolted
Mobo: ASUS M2A-VM or MSI K9AGM2-F
RAM: Corsair 1Gb PC6400 (2x512Mb)
HDD: Samsung HD501LJ 500Gb SATA
DVDRW: Pioneer DVR-K06 slot load
Tuner: Hauppauge Nova-T 500 (dual HD/SD digital tuners, PCI low profile)
Wireless: D-Link 802.1g (PCI low profile)
CPU Cooler: AMD stock with fan replacement (92mm Nexus if it will fit)
Case Fan: 1x 80mm Nexus

I'll be running MCE2005 and using it with a Sony 32" TV on VGA at 1366x768.

I've decided on the 690G mobo because it has VCore adjustment, HDMI output (don't need at the moment but might be useful in the future), slighty better video performance, and the reviews indicate it runs cooler than the 6150 based boards, consuming about 8W less at both idle and load.

I'm not 100% sure about the CPU. Best low power options are Sempron 3400/3600, Athlon 3000/3200 or a X2 3600/3800. I'm hoping the X2 3800 will run cool enough when undervolted. I'd prefer a 65nm Brisbane but the only one available here so far is the 4000+ and it's a lot more expensive than the other options. I might just put in a cheap Athlon 3200 for now and swap over to a dual core 65nm down the track if I need to.

I plan to put a duct on the CPU cooler and have the fan blowing upwards out the top vent. That should keep the CPU from heating up the case. And a single 80mm case fan at the left/rear position - leaving the 2 front vents as intakes. Will have to play around with it and see what configuration provides the best cooling. The vents seem quite restrictive, so it might be necessarily to open up the side ones. I'd prefer not to, but keeping that as an option if all else fails.

The PSU is the major concern so I'm going to see how it goes, and if it runs too hot or the fan isn't quiet, replace it with a power brick and 120W PicoPSU. I've got a spare 130W Dell laptop brick that I'm hoping will work ok with a Pico. I think my configuration shouldn't go above about 90W at full load, so the Pico should be feasible. I've also got a spare Phantom 350W so I could use that and sit it behind the case.

For the CPU cooler, I was planning on a Zalman 7000 @ 5V, but I'm not sure it will fit - height is ok, but it looks like the drive tray might overlap that area of the mobo too much. I don't know how tall the stock AMD cooler is, but I'll try that first and if it fits, will try a 92mm Nexus on it. If the 92mm won't fit because of the tray, I'll use an 80mm.

One other low profile cooler I've looked at is the Hiper HFC-C1 (35mm high). I think it's a rebadged Coolermaster 1U cooler. The fan is apparently fairly quiet, but looks like it would have limited cooling potential at low speed. Might be ok for a Sempron though.

Your spec is lower than mine. If you undervolt the Sempron - it should run at about 1V and won't produce too much heat. I think my spec is probably about the limit of what the LC02 can handle, but I like a challenge ;-).

Good luck with the build... Once I've got mine up and running, I'll post some details (assuming it isn't a complete failure! :? ).

Cheers.

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:40 am
by pelago
You sound like you're building a similar system to mine, except I'm going for Nvidia graphics as I'll be running Linux.

You mentioned a 80mm fan, but I believe the LC-02 uses 60mm fans.

I wonder if you might have better cooling if you put your tuners and wireless card outside the case, as USB devices?

I'm almost certainly going for an LC-04 case now, if you look at later posts in my viewtopic.php?t=38642 thread, as the LC-02 worries me heatwise being so small. The only thing that's stopping me buying an LC-04 straight away is the question as to whether the 2 centimetre gap either side of it and 1 centimetre gap above will be too small to get a decent airflow for cooling. Do you know anything about this?

Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:11 pm
by AndrewD
The LC-02 officially allows for 60mm fans, but a couple of forum members have said 80mm fans fit just fine. The case is 100mm height in total, so I'm guessing the interior height is about 83mm. Also looks like a 92mm fan should fit above the CPU.

I thought about using USB dongles for the tuners and wireless too. I might end up doing this for the wireless but prefer to keep the tuners internal if at all possible. But I'm not sure how much power the tuner card uses and how much heat it will pump out. Anyone have any idea on that?

The LC04 definitely looks like the safer option and I'd go with that as well if I didn't have the height restriction. For clearance, my guess is that at least a couple of inches all around is the ideal minimum. With the LC02, I'll have about 3 inches either side but only about 0.75 inch above. Just hoping this is enough!

Using the top vent as an outtake and the sides for intakes should help? With the better case and lower power components, it could be ok.

Well I'm about to pull the trigger and order the LC02. Then there's no going back. :lol: