Other Besides cases, what other hardware do you find interesting ?

Which kind of hardware has your attention the most, besides cases ?

  • Processors

    Votes: 2 9.1%
  • Motherboards

    Votes: 11 50.0%
  • RAM

    Votes: 1 4.5%
  • Storage

    Votes: 4 18.2%
  • Graphics Cards

    Votes: 6 27.3%
  • Monitors

    Votes: 3 13.6%
  • Cooling

    Votes: 13 59.1%
  • Power Supplies

    Votes: 9 40.9%
  • Keyboard and/or Mouse

    Votes: 3 13.6%
  • Speakers and/or Sound Cards

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    22

Phuncz

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Most of us are here because we love SFF and the cases that are the backbone of this mindset. But what do you look forward to most besides the cases ?

Many people drool over new processors and graphics cards, I usually get emotional about new chipsets and storage solutions, most likely because I prefer revolution over evolution any time of the day. I’m more anxious about Kaby Lake’s chipset than the processors they’ll house. AMD’s Zen platform is interesting to me because of more than a few reasons, hoping it will be a competitive processor once more. But I am more curious about what kind of interfaces and connections it will support.

This is also true for storage, I was very excited for SSDs to touch the consumer market and if possible, I would have put up a camping spot in front of the store when NVMe PCIe SSDs were released. I had the first motherboard that had a SATA connector, singular. I was very happy to get the first generation of 3.5” WD Raptor drives and later on the 2.5” Velociraptor drives. When the first mITX board with PCIe M.2 support was announced, I was very enthusiastic, although it ended up not being a good implementation.

So what tickles your fancy ?

Some of my past note-worthy hardware:

Asus A7V8X-Deluxe motherboard (all sorts of new tech): https://web.archive.org/web/20110901164313/http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_Socket_A/A7V8X/
Asus P5E-VM HDMI motherboard (first custom SFF build): https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5EVM_HDMI/
WD Raptor 36GB SATA150 HDD (first 10k rpm consumer HDD): http://www.wdc.com/en/library/sata/2879-001069.pdf
Quantum Bigfoot 2,5GB ATA HDD (5,25" 3600rpm HDD, cheap): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Bigfoot
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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I agree, CPUs have been pretty boring for several years now. I find Zen interesting only because it will hopefully level the playing field.

Motherboards are currently much more exciting than the processors since what connectivity is implemented has a big effect on what all other parts can be used.

High-performance NVMe PCIe SSDs are neat but I'm starting to feel that we're reaching the limitation of software to take advantage of the faster storage, so much software is still designed with HDDs in mind.

Power supplies is one area I think has lots of room for improvement, at least for SFF form factors. ATX PSUs are so boring these days because modern, quality units are already doing so well for ripple, voltage regulation, and noise that there's not much room for meaningful performance improvements.

Enthusiast-grade SFX, SFX-L, TFX, FlexATX, and DC-DC units are still a very immature market so I'm excited to see what happens there.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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Power supplies are of interest to me because I feel they are far and away the biggest barrier to uCFF builds right now.
 

vluft

programmer-at-arms
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Jun 19, 2016
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Agreed that CPUs are mostly boring but I'm interesting in having some viable architecture competition to x86, which is looking increasingly feasible - iPhone 7 gets about comparable (per Geekbench) single core performance to Haswell i5s. Apple's pretty far ahead of other ARM licensees currently but that does show it's feasible, at least, and that with a ridiculous number of cores slapped on it could be pretty interesting.

AMD's A1100 stuff is not terribly up to date but http://www.96boards.org/product/cello/ should theoretically be shipping with it at some point, and for a reasonable (relatively) price. Gigabyte also has their MP30-AR (0 or 1 depending on uboot or EFI) which is allegedly available though I haven't run across a vendor selling it directly yet. That's using AppliedMicro's X-Gene 1 (8 2.4ghz cores in this config), but they're claiming that X-Gene 3 (second half of 2016) will be able to do up to 32 3GHZ cores, 8 channel DDR4, and 42 PCIe x3 lanes, which would be pretty interesting to play with.

OpenPower is also pretty interesting - https://www.raptorengineering.com/TALOS/prerelease.php - 100% open firmware, and now that Power8 can do little endian maybe it'll catch on a bit? :D The $3K price to get into one is pretty rough, though... well beyond what I'd spend on one just to play with it, anyway.
 

Phuncz

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SDR's & SBC's are currently holding my interest
I had to look up what those were referring to, although I had a hunch. It's funny to see where abreviations can lead to:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sdr&ia=meanings
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=sbc&ia=meanings

I think @j0rd meant Software-Defined Radios and Single-Board Computers :)

Power supplies are of interest to me because I feel they are far and away the biggest barrier to uCFF builds right now.
Very true, I'd like us, as a community, to find a partner corporation willing collaborate on this front to make PSU design <0,5L considerably better.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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Very true, I'd like us, as a community, to find a partner corporation willing collaborate on this front to make PSU design <0,5L considerably better.

I'm presently trying to get an engineering sample of a GaN 250W AC-DC specifically designed for AIO PCs through a company called Transform:

http://www.transphormusa.com/sites/default/files/public/All-in-One_TDPS250E2D2_0.pdf

Here is a Youtube video I found yesterday showing that this thing basically outputs from 93-94% from 0 to 250W which is pretty amazing.


I reckon if we could get one of these outputting to a 250W HDPlex or something we'd have far and away the smallest solution out there.
 
Last edited:

BirdofPrey

Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
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Agreed that CPUs are mostly boring but I'm interesting in having some viable architecture competition to x86, which is looking increasingly feasible - iPhone 7 gets about comparable (per Geekbench) single core performance to Haswell i5s. Apple's pretty far ahead of other ARM licensees currently but that does show it's feasible, at least, and that with a ridiculous number of cores slapped on it could be pretty interesting.
Well the issue is alternative processors haven't done so well in the PC space. About the only thing that made any inroads since WIntel became a things was the Macintosh (which is now also x86) and the Commodore Amiga (which hasn't existed since the mid 90s). There's a huge network effect at work, so most people and especially companies aren't going to support a platform that only supports a few programs and pieces of hardware when there's one that supports hundreds of thousands of diverse options. This is also why x86 needs backwards compatibility even when providing it is detrimental. Phones and tablets started from scratch, so it was easy to use ARM in that space.

ohhhhh
I figured it was single board computers. I find them a bit neat, but not enough for me to actually study and tinker with.
Didn't know what the other thing was supposed to be, but if it is software defined radios, that's pretty cool. Wish I knew more about that.

===
Anyways, as for me, I have always been interested in storage (I can tell you anything you want to to about storage from ST-506 and ESDI in a full height drive bay all the way to NVMe over PCIe x4 in an M.2 slot), and have a minor in peripheral buses.
 

vluft

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Jun 19, 2016
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Well the issue is alternative processors haven't done so well in the PC space. About the only thing that made any inroads since WIntel became a things was the Macintosh (which is now also x86) and the Commodore Amiga (which hasn't existed since the mid 90s). There's a huge network effect at work, so most people and especially companies aren't going to support a platform that only supports a few programs and pieces of hardware when there's one that supports hundreds of thousands of diverse options. This is also why x86 needs backwards compatibility even when providing it is detrimental. Phones and tablets started from scratch, so it was easy to use ARM in that space.

Yup, though I think there's still some potential for things to come in from other spaces. There's a bunch of ARM Chromebooks though they're fairly crappy, but for workstation purposes it's moderately feasible that we'll get something coming from the server side of things. There's not currently, afaik, a really compelling reason to use any of the various ARM server boards but that could change with more power efficiency, more core count, &c and then we'd start seeing more of them.

Realistically speaking I think the most likely vector for desktop ARM though is for Apple to start doing ARM laptops, which I don't think is even particularly likely - not because they couldn't, but because they don't care about the Mac enough anymore to make a change with that much overhead.
 

GuilleAcoustic

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On the small SMPS power supply side, I'm interested in the ConnecElectronic SMPS300R (manual here)



This is a 300W - 24V SMPS power supply, with 93% efficiency. The size is pretty compact too (100x100mm)
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Sooooo those GaN boards are 565 USD each and 517 in bulk. Gonna have to say no to that : /
 

EdZ

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May 11, 2015
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I guess "Monitors" and "Graphics Cards" mostly covers VR.
 

IntoxicatedPuma

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I am currently looking at the Yi Mirrorless Camera. Hopefully @IntoxicatedPuma might be able to give us his impressions on it in the photography thread?

At first I was excited but I have since heard mixed things about the software on it. I think you can pick up a Panasonic G7 (if you need 4k video) or an Olympus E-PL7 body for about the same price as the Xiaoyi kit. Kinda hurts that the Xiaoyi price in US is much higher than China too :(
 
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