Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

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quest_for_silence
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:25 am

ces wrote:I don't think this will cost that much more. I think you can get a good Seasonic PSU for about $120 bucks. How much does the 160 watt Pico PSU cost?

I don't think it's just a matter of "cheapness" (an M2 with a Fortron 19V isn't cheap at all): those Pico-like PSUs (which I don't like so much) would be mute at whatever ambient temperature (I don't think it's an advantage, but so it would be), and moreover they could lean towards using much more effective CPU coolers (due to less space constraints).

Just as a side note (as it's not the case, pun not intended), in some enclosures (different from the PC-Q08, particularly the ones which use TFX/SFX or proprietary form factor PSUs) the Pico-like PSUs could be actually the only viable (quiet) option.
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:11 am

tim851 wrote:Even if a CPU spends the majority of its lifetime idling or watching videos at 12% load

Even so, a 2400S system (and with an alleged super-efficient Intel board) would add (at least) from about 12W to 20W to its idle power draw (so probably still a fair tad more than an overall 10W level)

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:53 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Just so you know, old video cards have crappy idle power. The stock 9800GT uses ~35W. I can't imagine the Zotac will use much less. A current gen card will idle at 10-15W. So, any efficiencies you might hope to get by using the picopower PSU and a gaming video card without an external connector just went out the window. We don't know what resolution you want for gaming, so can't recommend a specific gpu.

Yes, quad core = good for Lightroom and Premiere. Faster is also good. So, getting some downclocked/lower TDP variant is just slowing down your apps and costing you $'s. All of these Sandy Bridge quad cores will idle at about the same power level regardless of their rated speed/TDP. Consider the i5-2500k.

Don't know how much money you want to throw at this, but the HDD will probably be your bottleneck. Consider an SSD for boot/apps.
I may try playing at 1920x1080 when I get a new monitor, but right now I'm aiming at playing at 1440x900. Being able to play at max settings isn't a priority, my goal is to have a card that plays them with decent settings. I picked this card a year ago while shopping around so there probably is another card out there that will work better.



Regarding load/idle, 90% of the time I'm editing in lightroom/photoshop/premiere and the cpu load will be flopping all over the place as I'm working. I will be editing 1080p video, I can't right now due to CPU constraints and the editing is mostly cutting and arranging clips with some effects added in.



As for my budget, I'm a little flexible here so springing a little extra (i'm talking less then $100 more) will not kill me. The reason I picked the 2500T is because I don't want the overall wattage to exceed whatever arbitrary cap I come up with based off the final hardware build. Idle draw isn't as critical (I do want to keep it low of course) as the draw is at load.

ces wrote:
But it seems like a smaller Seasonic PSU in a PC-Q08 with a 2400 would be a reasonable proposal to make for his consideration. It will not burn up many more watts per month and will handle whatever encoding he does more quickly and crisply... and will permit him to add storage to the Q08 to store images etc in the future should he ever want to. And a 160 watt Pico PSU isn't that cheap. I don't think this will cost that much more. I think you can get a good Seasonic PSU for about $120 bucks. How much does the 160 watt Pico PSU cost?

I intended to reuse the MI-100 and modify the PSU mount to hold two 120mm fans (I have some silent thermaltakes from a previous build) to move air through it then slap a low-profile silent copper heatsink on there to dissipate heat.

As for the PicoPSU, paired with the DC power supply it would be around $90. I prefer not to use a full-size PSU as it's another vector of noise I prefer to avoid and takes up a whole lot of space in a small case (for example the MI-100 allows no room for much of anything with the PSU inside it so I would have to use a PicoPSU). On a sidenote I don't plan on expanding past that 500GB drive as everything else is hosted on the file server (only video footage is local as I don't want to deal with latency when scrubbing).

ces wrote:What memory are you using. I bought that board on sale a while back. I was planning on loading it up with 8G of the approved memory (2 sticks of Kingston KVR800D2N6/4G).
You shouldn't have any problems with approved memory, I went with a kit not on that list which is probably why it didn't work.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:20 am

Ashex wrote:I intended to reuse the MI-100 and modify the PSU mount to hold two 120mm fans
I have both an unused Lian Li q07 and an apex MI-008 (essentially the same as the MI100) one of which I am going to put my Zotax ITX board in.

On the Apex I was thinking about removing the PSU and instead using the fanless Seasonic external to the case. It's modular plugs make that easier to do in my opinion. I thought about your approach to the placement of two small fans... but there just isn't enough room.

What I am thinking of doing with this case is instead cutting a round hole on the top and covering it with a filter. I would use either a 140mm Filterright filter or the 180 mm filter intended for the 180mm silverstone 180mm fan. With the space that opens up I was thinking of putting a downdraft cooler.

I haven't measured the amount of height I have available to put a cooler in there once I remove the PSU? Have you? How much space do we have to work with?

The other alternative is my Q07 case. I am still thinking about using an external fanless Seasonic. In the case of the Q07 that will leave room for a Noctua downdraft or a Thermalright HR-01 or HR-02. I am also thinking about cutting a top hole and a front hole and covering them with black Filterright Filters.

Whichever case doesn't get the Zotac ITX will likely get a Sandy Bridge ITX.

So how much height have you measured as available for a cooler in the MI-100 once you remove the PSU? What fans were you thinking of mounting on the PSU mount after you removed it? What CPU cooler were you planning to use?
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:10 am

ces wrote: What I am thinking of doing with this case is instead cutting a round hole on the top and covering it with a filter. I would use either a 140mm Filterright filter or the 180 mm filter intended for the 180mm silverstone 180mm fan. With the space that opens up I was thinking of putting a downdraft cooler.

I haven't measured the amount of height I have available to put a cooler in there once I remove the PSU? Have you? How much space do we have to work with?

The other alternative is my Q07 case. I am still thinking about using an external fanless Seasonic. In the case of the Q07 that will leave room for a Noctua downdraft or a Thermalright HR-01 or HR-02. I am also thinking about cutting a top hole and a front hole and covering them with black Filterright Filters.

Whichever case doesn't get the Zotac ITX will likely get a Sandy Bridge ITX.

So how much height have you measured as available for a cooler in the MI-100 once you remove the PSU? What fans were you thinking of mounting on the PSU mount after you removed it? What CPU cooler were you planning to use?

I haven't measured it yet, I'm going to use the HIPER HFC-10828-C2 cooler which is ~25mm tall for the build. I was going to see how my Thermaltake A2329 fans would work in the case, I may go with a different one as having two next to eachother may create turbulence since they're multi-directional.


These are a couple shots of the case with the file server in it. You can see how the power supply eats up almost all the room in the case.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:39 am

Ashex wrote:Thermaltake A2329 fans
Those are 120mm fans. How exactly do you intend to use them? They can't fit they way I thought you said you were going to use them.... not even one let alone two?
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:00 am

ces wrote:
Ashex wrote:Thermaltake A2329 fans
Those are 120mm fans. How exactly do you intend to use them? They can't fit they way I thought you said you were going to use them.... not even one let alone two?

It was mostly brainstorming, I think 80mm will fit in there but finding quiet ones can be a bit challenging. I'm going to use tin snips to cut the opening and then block the rest with with something (perhaps a metal plate lined with foam).

The idea I have is to use the back for an exhaust then cut a hole in the top and fit a filter to it like you are planning, the case is already one leaky mess so getting air to pass through won't be much of a challenge.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:18 am

Ashex wrote:The idea I have is to use the back for an exhaust then cut a hole in the top and fit a filter to it like you are planning,
What technique do you intend to use to cut the hole in the top?

PS: Noiseblockers has a nice line of smaller fans.
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:25 am

ces wrote:What technique do you intend to use to cut the hole in the top?

I'm going to drill holes for each screw point then indent it with a screwdriver (so screws are flush with the case) and then scratch out the circle for the vent, drill a hole in the center, then use tin snips to cut it out.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:12 pm

Don't forget that although the PICO XT-160 is rated for a total output of 160 Watts, it's only rated for 8A on the 12V line. 8 x 12 = 96W.

Then remember that virtually everything in the build you specify - CPU, GPU and mobo/memory - will be running off that 12V line.

For these SFF builds, I personally favour the Winmate DD-24AX, which can deliver 10A on the 12V line (120W), but even then, you'd be struggling (to say the least) in any scenario where both CPU and GPU were loaded to any extent.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:21 pm

Johnsy wrote:Don't forget that although the PICO XT-160 is rated for a total output of 160 Watts, it's only rated for 8A on the 12V line. 8 x 12 = 96W.
Good Point!
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:08 pm

Johnsy wrote:Don't forget that although the PICO XT-160 is rated for a total output of 160 Watts, it's only rated for 8A on the 12V line. 8 x 12 = 96W.

I knew there was a limitation on the rails but didn't realize it was that bad. It looks like I would get by with that PSU without the video card, with it and I'm counting days until power failure (although with how much gaming I do it'll be months).

Perhaps I'll pick up a second PC-Q08 and use a low wattage Seasonic PSU then.

With that said, from the discussion regarding power output idle/load, I should go with a i5-2400 instead of the i5-2500T?

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:21 pm

Johnsy wrote:Don't forget that although the PICO XT-160 is rated for a total output of 160 Watts, it's only rated for 8A on the 12V line. 8 x 12 = 96W.
Since the picoPSU only passes the +12v source though that's mostly irrelevant. It's possible to feed stuff that needs 12v directly from the brick, bypassing the picoPSU. So this is in most practical cases a non issue. But I should clarify that I think that some tweaking (removing the weak barrel connector, feeding the ATX 4-Pin 12V power connector directly from the brick, etc) is required if the picoPSU is to be used with a relatively high power system.
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
HTPC: ASRock J4105-ITX | 4GB DDR4 | Intel 535 120GB | picoPSU | No moving parts
Gaming: Intel DH77EB | i5-3570K | GTX 1060 6GB | 16GB DDR3 | TJ08-E | RM750X
Server: ASRock N3150-ITX | ~30TB | G-360 | Idle ~25W

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:35 pm

Ditch the graphics card and you don't have a problem.
Ashex wrote: It's possible to feed stuff that needs 12v directly from the brick, bypassing the picoPSU
Interesting. Have you actually done this in practice? If so, how?

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:38 pm

The quote in my post above is mistakenly attributed to Ashex rather than Vicotnik. Apologies.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:09 pm

Johnsy wrote:Interesting. Have you actually done this in practice? If so, how?
I split incoming +12v, feeding ATX 4-Pin 12V power connector and the picoPSU in parallel. Since the ATX 4-Pin 12V power connector feeds the CPU (in most if not all cases) that takes the CPU out of the equation. Perhaps it's also possible to feed a power hungry graphic card with an external power connector the same way but I avoid those cards today so I haven't done it myself.

The picoPSU is a bit of a hack, but I like it. I've never had any problems with my picoPSU builds. I might use Electrodacus Winmate 130W for my next build though, since it's more reliable with a filtered +12v rail.
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:22 pm

Ashex wrote:With that said, from the discussion regarding power output idle/load, I should go with a i5-2400 instead of the i5-2500T?
Go for it! :D
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:24 pm

Vicotnik wrote: I split incoming +12v, feeding ATX 4-Pin 12V power connector and the picoPSU in parallel.
I was thinking more about the actual physical details: cables, connectors etc. I'd really appreciate it if you could run me through your method.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Vicotnik » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:41 pm

The specific method doesn't really matter. Split two cables using whatever. It's not rocket science but it takes a bit of skill. As I said it takes a bit of tweaking to make the most of the picoPSU as the power draw approaches "normal" where a regular ATX PSU also could be considered. Going into the details would hi-jack the thread. :) Besides, the details would depend on the specific setup.
Main: ASRock B85M-ITX | i3-4330 | 16GB DDR3 | Intel 730 240GB | HDPLEX H1-S | picoPSU | No moving parts | Idle 13.9W
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:03 pm

Vicotnik wrote:The specific method doesn't really matter. Split two cables using whatever. It's not rocket science but it takes a bit of skill. As I said it takes a bit of tweaking to make the most of the picoPSU as the power draw approaches "normal" where a regular ATX PSU also could be considered. Going into the details would hi-jack the thread. :) Besides, the details would depend on the specific setup.
Hmm . . . I'll draw my own conclusions from that reply.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:06 pm

Ashex wrote:Perhaps I'll pick up a second PC-Q08 and use a low wattage Seasonic PSU then.
Whi not place the Seasonic on the outside like you would have the Pico PSU? It can't be more work doing this than the alternative? The 100% modularity should make it relatively easy.
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:34 pm

ces wrote:Whi not place the Seasonic on the outside like you would have the Pico PSU? It can't be more work doing this than the alternative? The 100% modularity should make it relatively easy.
My intent with going with Mini-ITX + PicoPSU is to reduce the physical footprint of the computer. Placing the Seasonic outside the case would work against this and only increase the amount of space taken up and create clutter :(

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by tim851 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:45 pm

Ashex wrote:I knew there was a limitation on the rails but didn't realize it was that bad. It looks like I would get by with that PSU without the video card, with it and I'm counting days until power failure (although with how much gaming I do it'll be months).

With that said, from the discussion regarding power output idle/load, I should go with a i5-2400 instead of the i5-2500T?
Your card of choice currently is the Zotac 9800 GT. Not a monster. Incidentally, the Radeon 5670 performs pretty much the same. And uses a good 30w less power. Without a PCI-E 6/8-pin connector, which means it draws its power from the PCI-E slot. Which should reduce the 12v power draw.

If you combine it with the i5-2500T, the Pico-PSU should be able to power it.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:01 pm

Ashex wrote:
ces wrote:Whi not place the Seasonic on the outside like you would have the Pico PSU? It can't be more work doing this than the alternative? The 100% modularity should make it relatively easy.
My intent with going with Mini-ITX + PicoPSU is to reduce the physical footprint of the computer. Placing the Seasonic outside the case would work against this and only increase the amount of space taken up and create clutter :(
With the Q08, how many mm of space between the CPU and the ATX power supply do you have for the CPU cooler?
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:17 pm

tim851 wrote: Your card of choice currently is the Zotac 9800 GT. Not a monster. Incidentally, the Radeon 5670 performs pretty much the same. And uses a good 30w less power. Without a PCI-E 6/8-pin connector, which means it draws its power from the PCI-E slot. Which should reduce the 12v power draw.

If you combine it with the i5-2500T, the Pico-PSU should be able to power it.

I knew there was an ATI equivelant but was having trouble finding it, I'll go with that card instead. I forgot to include a Sata DVD drive (I've been going without one for awhile and connect the slimline when it's needed) but that won't be more then 5W. So I'm looking at:

(idle/load)
Sata DVD: 3/5
ATI 5670: 16/76
i5-2400: 4.6/55.3
WD 2.5" 500GB: 0.83/1.8


There don't appear to be any reviews out for the i5-2500t apart from this one which uses the Gigabyte board I'm looking at.
The build is vastly different so it's hard to determine the exact consumption but with an overall idle of 46w and load of 98w the PicoPSU could handle it. I did track down a review that compares a few sandy bridge cpus including the i5-2400 and i3-2100 which show almost identical consumption (i3-2100 does better under load it appears) so perhaps the better choice when not considering price would be the i5-2500t?

Edit: Re-reading the reviews I'm not seeing any huge performance differences between the i5-2500t and i3-2100t, am I seeing that right? If so, then the only real advantage of the i5-2500t is power consumption?
ces wrote:With the Q08, how many mm of space between the CPU and the ATX power supply do you have for the CPU cooler?
According to the SPCR review there's about 110mm of clearance total which would work much better. Paired with a fanless PSU and good ventilation it would work well.

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by tim851 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:55 pm

Ashex wrote:There don't appear to be any reviews out for the i5-2500t apart from this one which uses the Gigabyte board I'm looking at.
Whoa. The 2500T uses 18w less than the 2100. This is really impressive. Especially if you consider that with Turbo Boost, the 2500T will perform the same as the 2100 in single-threaded applications, but totally smoke it in multi-threaded things like video/audio.

And 18w is a lot if you operate at the limit. Plus, the other review shows the 2100 to use 20w less than the 2400. Which pretty much puts the 2400 out of the race, in my book. 40w difference between it and the 2500T is 40% of the Pico-PSU's rated 12v output. It's really a no-brainer. If you can afford it, go with the 2500T!

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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:58 pm

Johnsy wrote:Don't forget that although the PICO XT-160 is rated for a total output of 160 Watts, it's only rated for 8A on the 12V line. 8 x 12 = 96W.

Then remember that virtually everything in the build you specify - CPU, GPU and mobo/memory - will be running off that 12V line.

For these SFF builds, I personally favour the Winmate DD-24AX, which can deliver 10A on the 12V line (120W), but even then, you'd be struggling (to say the least) in any scenario where both CPU and GPU were loaded to any extent.
1. Why not use the winmate. It gives you 24 extra watts. You can use those watts for a more powerful cpu.
2. You probably have already considered this. But the 2500K has a double fast graphics processor. The 2600K graphics processor is about 22% faster than even the 2500K. Could you get by with just the 2600K graphics instead of the video card? It would make this configuration a lot simpler.
3. Keep in mind there are different wattage numbers
a. Idle - this determines how much electricity you will use per month
b. Typical light use - perhaps watching a video, surfing, etc.
c. Heavy use - something like gaming or encoding (this is the usage level that stock Intel coolers are designed to handle... Intel sees no need to provision it with greater cooling capacity... why??? because it doesn't need more)
d. Full Load - this is done with benchmarking systems - you won't ever see this load in real life. It is of interest only to someone who needs content for a review and to pimply faced adolescents (the kind you wouldn't dare lend your Corvette to because they would go out and try to see if it can really do 170mph... why??? because). You can choose to avoid this level of wattage merely be voluntarily refraining from abusing your computer with benchmarking programs.
e. TDP - This appears to be greater than even full load - At least with respect to Sandy Bridge chips, it is an artificial number that appears to have no relationship with reality or meaning except to the ignorant who insist on attributing meaning to it. Well I guess it is important to overclockers as well, they are the only ones likely to push the chip to such a high wattage.

Now I have to admit that I personally always over provision for full load. But then again I always buy more horsepower than I need as well. I guess that is the pimply faced adolescent in me. :D
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

Ashex
Posts: 185
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Ashex » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:51 am

ces wrote: 1. Why not use the winmate. It gives you 24 extra watts. You can use those watts for a more powerful cpu.
2. You probably have already considered this. But the 2500K has a double fast graphics processor. The 2600K graphics processor is about 22% faster than even the 2500K. Could you get by with just the 2600K graphics instead of the video card? It would make this configuration a lot simpler.

Now I have to admit that I personally always over provision for full load. But then again I always buy more horsepower than I need as well. I guess that is the pimply faced adolescent in me. :D

I don't really have much reason to not go with the winmate; My main reason for choosing a PicoPSU is because it's small, less wires, and I've used it before.

I dug around to find gpu benchmarks of the 2500k/2600k and came up with this review which shows the ATI 5570 outperforms both of them so it's best I stick with the ATI 5670.

So it looks like the build will be:


Winmate DD-24AX 130W
GIGABYTE GA-H67N-USB3-B3
Intel i5-2500T
XFX Radeon HD 5670
WD 2.5" Scorpio Black 500GB

I always try and build a system to match the full load as I aim to use my system for several years, meaning that in 4 years what may be considered regular usage then will be full load now :lol:

Johnsy
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:46 pm
Location: U.K

Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by Johnsy » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:44 pm

Obviously it's your decision, but as I said before, even with the Winmate rather than the PICO, and even with the 5670 (AMD TDP for reference card = 64W) rather than the 9800, you'll have basically zero (or less!) headroom.

Personally, I wouldn't even consider doing this.

ces
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Re: Low power Sandy Bridge Mini-ITX build

Post by ces » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:25 pm

Johnsy wrote:Personally, I wouldn't even consider doing this.
I agree. I think it needs a real PSU.
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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein

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