{COMPLETE}-ish 2.7L Brickless 2200G: Emulation Station

Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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So this is babby's first build log. Caught the SFF bug after building with the S4M recently and after hearing about the 2200G and the 2400G and the iGPU performance being comparable to a GT1030 I got carried away with some ideas.
I seen the Realan E-W60 case on a youtube video and noticed the included DC-ATX PSU was very... unoptimised. It took up a whole load of space that could have had an internal brick instead. These 2 things gave me my ultimate goal.

Goal: To have a brickless <3.0L build primarily for emulation and some light PC gaming. A console PC if you will. Ideally I'll have this boot straight into my favourite emulation front end, Launch Box (Big Box mode) to give it a proper console feel. Small size is for taking to friends' houses on games night.

GREAT SUCCESS: Here are some glory shots, I'll move my wee diary down a post now

 
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Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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I set to work gathering dimensions. I put together a super quick CAD model and it looked like the HDPLEX 160W AC-DC might just fit but I was aware of the relatively large PCB for the power switch and LED right where I wanted the brick to go.


The case was only £40 (US$56) including shipping so I thought why not just buy it and see. There was no customs charges either! I also ordered the HDPLEX Direct Plug 160W and AC-DC 160W. After I received these both in mid-late March I done a quick test fit using my ITX motherboard from my S4M build and power test of the HDPLEX combo and this highlighted some expected problems:
1) the case's power switch PCB will interfere with the internal brick
2) with the 24 pin motherboard connector to the front of the board, the direct plug PSU will clash by ~3-4mm with the other side of the brick

Now I'd already considered problem number 1 as I was anticipating this and knowing what I'd planned this build for I looked out some different power switch options. I came across this handy little device by SilverStone, a wireless power switch (also comes in a PCI variant). I figured this would give the build that console feel of sitting down, turning on the controller and the system powering up. I guess in this case I'd need to press a key fob too but that's close enough for me!
With this in place I can unscrew the PCB and power switch and either unplug them or try and move them off to the side. Ideally I'd like the underside power LED functional so I'm going to need to find some way of keeping that PCB but somewhere else in the case.

For problem 2 I had a couple options after looking a bit more. To get the internal brick to fit, it needs to lie on its side and after opening it up I could see there was a couple mm gap at the top including the thickness of the aluminium casing so option A is hack the brand new internal brick to bits and force fit it alongside the direct plug PSU. I wasn't keen on this option.
Option B was to find a motherboard that had the 24 pin motherboard power connector in a non-standard position i.e. away from the front of the board. The Gigabyte AB350N done exactly that so I went with this option.
Now satisfied that my fitting problems were solved I had to find a space for a C8 Power inlet and drill/grind out a hole for it. This was pretty simple, there was a couple of circular cutouts on the side to the rear of the case originally intended for a power inlet so this gave me a great starting point. Masked and cut out a 12mmx20mm hole for an inlet, got a nice snug fit for it. Now I'm just waiting on gas for my soldering iron so I can wire the inlet up.
That brings us to today, all my other components have been delivered (Parts list and prices paid), with the exception of a few small bits to tidy it up. This let me do a basic fit test and this brought up a couple small problems:
1) the direct plug PSU interferes with the retainer clip for RAM slot 2
2) of course the motherboard didn't have the latest BIOS
3) the USB wireless power switch PCB is too tall

Problem 1 was an easy solve, snap that little clip off and pretend it was never there in the first place. Direct plug PSU fits nicely now.
Problem 2, I've got an older gen CPU on the way to allow for a BIOS update
Problem 3, I've ordered a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 cable to allow me to plug the wireless power switch PCB into the USB 3.0 header and orient it however I like. This will also allow me to use the front panel USB 2.0 ports (only 1-off 2.0 header on the motherboard)

And that's where the build stands at the minute. I'm hoping to get it finished off by this weekend and will post updates over the coming days. Here's some in-action shots to show where it's at just now and hopefully paint a better picture than my wall of text. Please excuse my phone camera.


1.update the BIOS - DONE
2.connect C8 inlet to connector, secure to case - DONE
3.get wireless power switch operational/fitting using ordered adapter - DONE
4.secure now redundant front power switch in place - DONE
5.get underside power LED working (may do a workaround using LED header on motherboard) - DONE, motherboard has built in LEDs and shine through underside cutouts nicely.
6.install internal wi-fi/bluetooth antennae
7.general software stuff, OS, emulator front end etc. - DONE
8.thermals check, my initial thoughts are this case will get very warm. I'll see how they are and I can cut hole in the top plate if required. Worried about how hot that RAM may get. - Oh dear on thermals... 3D printed a new top cover, problem temporarily solved! - DONE(ish, still weant to tinker and eventually use the aluminium top plate)
9.play around with thermals more to allow some overclocking, including; delid/liquid metal, thermal pads for PSU, more fans
10.have C7 come out at 90 degrees so power cable angles backwards
 
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Flumper Dinkle

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Love this idea.
Thanks! I can't take full credit for the idea though, lots and lots of inspiration came from the rest of the forum.
I'm in the middle of ticking off some of my to-do list right now so I'll hopefully have an update later on or tomorrow. So far it's shaping up nicely!

Update: Got windows and a couple of benchmarking and temp reading programs installed, stuck everything back together, lid included and lets just say it is toasty in there! CPU was idling at around 50C and under load it started throttling at 96C by about 20%, 3.5ghz down to 2.8ghz. With the lid removed idle is 30C and load is 82C with no throttling, in fact it's able to turbo to 3.6ghz.
So priority is to now to sort this thermal issue, which I was half expecting. Options include, delidding and swapping out thermal compound for liquid metal, breather holes in the lid and some kind of fresh air intake. I might also thermal pad the AC-DC PSU to the bottom of the case.
Ideally I'll do all of these but I might struggle with the air intake one.
 
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Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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Having looked over the images of the Realan E-W60, it is apparent that the vents on the bottom should be on the top. Flipping the motherboard over will not work either. Hmmm
Precisely! I'm not exactly sure what the vents on the bottom are achieving, the case is so tight with everything installed that I'd be surprised if any air is passing through them.
I'm going to try and squeeze a Noctua 40mmx10mm next to the direct plug PSU but I'm doubtful this will fit.
For that top plate I'm trying to find someone with a milling machine to stick some matching vents in it. Failing that I'm thinking of cutting one big hole above the fan and using a fan grill or something. I'd much prefer the machined slots.
 
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Soul_Est

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Precisely! I'm not exactly sure what the vents on the bottom are achieving, the case is so tight with everything installed that I'd be surprised if any air is passing through them.
I'm going to try and squeeze a Noctua 40mmx10mm next to the direct plug PSU but I'm doubtful this will fit.
For that top plate I'm trying to find someone with a milling machine to stick some matching vents in it. Failing that I'm thinking of cutting one big hole above the fan and using a fan grill or something. I'd much prefer the machined slots.
I have another idea. Use standoffs in the corners to evelate the cover by however many millimetres you need to. Either set the side fans to intake and the heatsink fan to exhaust or the heatsink fan to intake and the side fans to exhaust. You may require custom ducts to get either configuration working. Cheaper and less frustrating than going the milling machine route.
 

Shahmatt

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Sep 6, 2017
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Those side vents accommodate twin 5010 fans I believe. Why not purchase a couple and stick them on as intake?

Edit: Sorry I was completely wrong and did not read carefully the whole thread. You've got just the one 5010 mount and that's partly blocked by the dc-atx unit.

Edit 2: My limited experience with the W80 case was that the fan mount (twin for the W80) was setup so that the fans would only exhaust. I ended up using double sided sticky tape to affix the fan on to the mount in the intake orientation. I would guess that the W60 is much the same, so for your purpose I suppose it would not be of much benefit. What about using the opposite side vents to intake?
 
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Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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I have another idea. Use standoffs in the corners to evelate the cover by however many millimetres you need to. Either set the side fans to intake and the heatsink fan to exhaust or the heatsink fan to intake and the side fans to exhaust. You may require custom ducts to get either configuration working. Cheaper and less frustrating than going the milling machine route.
I originally looked at using standoffs with the CPU cooler on intake and it didn't show any benefit. I'll need to look at this again and in different orientations now that I have my 40mm fan delivered. I'm hopeful for it! The good news is that I can fit the single 40mm fan in next to the direct plug PSU just barely. I think I'll have this exhausting.

Those side vents accommodate twin 5010 fans I believe. Why not purchase a couple and stick them on as intake?

Edit: Sorry I was completely wrong and did not read carefully the whole thread. You've got just the one 5010 mount and that's partly blocked by the dc-atx unit.

Edit 2: My limited experience with the W80 case was that the fan mount (twin for the W80) was setup so that the fans would only exhaust. I ended up using double sided sticky tape to affix the fan on to the mount in the intake orientation. I would guess that the W60 is much the same, so for your purpose I suppose it would not be of much benefit. What about using the opposite side vents to intake?
I have managed to fit a 40mm fan in my one available space and I did notice I had lots of space on the opposite side of the case. So I'm going to do some more fit testing today to see what the 40mm fan would be like there. All going well I'll buy a couple more and work out something like tape or cable ties to secure them and have them as intake, get some fresh air circulating around the free space.
This has been great help and advice both of you. Thank you!
 
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Flumper Dinkle

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OK, little update mainly regarding thermals. After undervolting the CPU and iGPU, I got the thermals down a good 15C however with that solid top cover installed it was still hitting 100C and throttling hard, eventually something was overheating enough to crash the PC (no BSOD, just straight up freeze) and this was consistent with the top cover on.

So I eventually bought a Noctua 40mmx10mm and played around with positioning, it's now jammed between the PCI slot and the side of the case and exhausting around the RAM, AC-DC PSU and front edge of the CPU cooler. This still wasn't adequate even with the top cover on standoffs. It was still easy to recreate the crash. This setup was giving the best thermals though.
So I, very crudely, lay my S4M side panel over the top to see how slots would help. No surprises there, it held up perfectly, temps topping out at around 72C (about 65C with no top cover).
So I measured out the top plate and the slots in the base plate and created a model for 3D printing at work (shh, don't tell my boss) and I now have a nice wee plastic top for it and thermals are great! Just as per my crude S4M cover test. Impossible to recreate the crashes from before.
I still have some stuff on delivery for helping with thermals, including liquid metal, a delid tool, thermal pads and extra 40mm fans so I'm going to bash on with all of that anyway and see if I can help the thermals any more (not that they're currently limiting or bad).

Ideally I'd still like the aluminium top plate with slots, something larger, maybe like the below image. So I'm going to ask some guys in the machine shop at work and see if anyone likes the idea of getting paid in beer.



I also got my USB 3.0 header to USB 2.0 adapter cable today so I've now got my wireless power button up and running. I can probably get rid of that horrible power cable hanging out the side of the case.
I'm now just waiting on gas for my soldering iron (fingers crossed for tomorrow) so I can get the C8 connector wired up and secured to the case and I can have it completely enclosed. I'm also waiting on a right angled C7-C8 connector so I can point the power cable to the rear and I'm waiting on internal wi-fi antennae because I stupidly ordered PCI and not M.2 antennae so they don't fit onto the wi-fi card.

Some pictures from today's work. Apologies for portrait pictures, I went full noob from excitement of low temps.
 

Shahmatt

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Sep 6, 2017
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Hey great work. It's fantastic you are able to cram so much into such a tiny case.

Have you tried the 40x10 in intake orientation? Also since you are ordering a second fan you could use a PWM splitter cable to regulate both through BIOS.
 

Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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Hey great work. It's fantastic you are able to cram so much into such a tiny case.

Have you tried the 40x10 in intake orientation? Also since you are ordering a second fan you could use a PWM splitter cable to regulate both through BIOS.
I tried it as intake before I had a vented top cover and again temp differences were negligible enough for it not to matter which way it was facing. However with the top cover on I assumed it would be better as an exhaust due to the CPU cooler acting as intake. I'll have a play around again when I get home and see if I can optimise airflow a bit more. As far as I know the 40mm fans I have don't have PWM (3-pin connector) and I think you only get PWM on the 40mmx20mm. Either way these fans are whisper quiet at full tilt and I have the low noise adapters handy if multiple fans make a racket. I will need to use a splitter cable as there is only 1 chassis fan header on the motherboard.

If I can get my temps low enough I may attempt overclocking the iGPU. However my tests so far have shown its fine so far for my use case without an OC. It's been handling emulation perfectly and it's even been managing Rocket League at 1440p. The value for the 2200G is just incredible.
 

Shahmatt

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Sep 6, 2017
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I tried it as intake before I had a vented top cover and again temp differences were negligible enough for it not to matter which way it was facing. However with the top cover on I assumed it would be better as an exhaust due to the CPU cooler acting as intake. I'll have a play around again when I get home and see if I can optimise airflow a bit more. As far as I know the 40mm fans I have don't have PWM (3-pin connector) and I think you only get PWM on the 40mmx20mm. Either way these fans are whisper quiet at full tilt and I have the low noise adapters handy if multiple fans make a racket. I will need to use a splitter cable as there is only 1 chassis fan header on the motherboard.

If I can get my temps low enough I may attempt overclocking the iGPU. However my tests so far have shown its fine so far for my use case without an OC. It's been handling emulation perfectly and it's even been managing Rocket League at 1440p. The value for the 2200G is just incredible.

Mind if I ask what voltages your CPU, iGPU and SOC are set to?
 
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Windfall

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My current project has the same base idea: HDPlex and Ryzen apu's, but should have enough more room that some problems present here won't exist. And good job, looks sweet.
 

Flumper Dinkle

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Feb 26, 2018
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Mind if I ask what voltages your CPU, iGPU and SOC are set to?
For my CPU I've turned off the turbo and set the clock speed to 3.4ghz (I could probably get away with 3.5 now) and it's set to 1.1v (default 1.225v)
My SOC is set to 1.075v (default 1.1v)
iGPU is 1.025v (default 1.1v) and stock speeds, 1100mhz
I've set both CPU and SOC LLC to medium which I think is level 4/7.
My current project has the same base idea: HDPlex and Ryzen apu's, but should have enough more room that some problems present here won't exist. And good job, looks sweet.
Thanks, I've finally got it assembled back together so I'll be taking more glory shots later on today. Yeah this case brought up some problems that will be solved by default in other cases, I definitely wouldn't recommend this case for using a PC under any kind of load or for a brickless build.
 
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Shahmatt

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Sep 6, 2017
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For my CPU I've turned off the turbo and set the clock speed to 3.4ghz (I could probably get away with 3.5 now) and it's set to 1.1v (default 1.225v)
My SOC is set to 1.075v (default 1.1v)
iGPU is 1.025v (default 1.1v) and stock speeds, 1100mhz
I've set both CPU and SOC LLC to medium which I think is level 4/7.

Thanks, I've finally got it assembled back together so I'll be taking more glory shots later on today. Yeah this case brought up some problems that will be solved by default in other cases, I definitely wouldn't recommend this case for using a PC under any kind of load or for a brickless build.

Thanks. So you've generally adjusted settings to be conservative thermal wise. I'd be interested to know if you can push the iGPU to 1500MHz whilst keeping the CPU clock and voltage low. For gaming I believe the CPU would not be much of a bottleneck.

Is your RAM working at rated frequencies? Sorry I forgot to ask in my previous post.

I have the Realan W80 case and am planning to build a 2200G with external brick. I've received everything except the brick, which should be with me in a day or two. I've installed everything and booted using my old PC power supply to check that nothing is DOA (with open case).

The difference is obviously that the W80 has a lot more headroom compared to the W60, and with external brick should be cooler on the inside. But how much cooler is the big question I am looking to answer. Mine is a straightforward build with no mods as you have done. Anyway, I will create a thread about it shortly. Thank you for sharing. Most appreciated!
 

Flumper Dinkle

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Thanks. So you've generally adjusted settings to be conservative thermal wise. I'd be interested to know if you can push the iGPU to 1500MHz whilst keeping the CPU clock and voltage low. For gaming I believe the CPU would not be much of a bottleneck.

Is your RAM working at rated frequencies? Sorry I forgot to ask in my previous post.

I have the Realan W80 case and am planning to build a 2200G with external brick. I've received everything except the brick, which should be with me in a day or two. I've installed everything and booted using my old PC power supply to check that nothing is DOA (with open case).

The difference is obviously that the W80 has a lot more headroom compared to the W60, and with external brick should be cooler on the inside. But how much cooler is the big question I am looking to answer. Mine is a straightforward build with no mods as you have done. Anyway, I will create a thread about it shortly. Thank you for sharing. Most appreciated!
Yeah this was all done before I had my printed top cover so I might try everything back at stock and see what happens. I got such a big thermal drop by undervolting the CPU and changing the LLC that I'll probably revert back to the undervolt even if stock works fine thermally. And I agree, I highly doubt the CPU will ever be the bottleneck for gaming. From what I see online the iGPU can hit those speeds but I'll give it a shot with my cover on and off and with the CPU undervolted and I'll get back to you.

The RAM is running absolutely perfect on the 3200mhz XMP, I've been told for an iGPU you want both slots filled and the fastest memory you can afford, which makes sense. Oh and I've also manually allocated 2GB/8GB to the GPU default is 1GB.

Sounds good! I'll keep an eye out for your post, hopefully you can get the temps much better than I've managed.
 

Flumper Dinkle

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I've not had a chance to play around with clock speeds and such today as planned but here's some "completed" build photos. Really happy with how it's turned out. Boot time from off-login is sub 15s, I have Launchbox Bigbox set to boot on startup too, that takes maybe another 15s but it's worth it. Totally has the "console feel" I was going for. Similar connections to my PS4, C7 power cable, HDMI, controller front ports and ethernet (until I get my internal antennae for bluetooth and wi-fi).
I have a small logitech wireless keyboard with a trackpad for the odd occasion I should need a mouse and keyboard.
Also super happy with that subtle underglow, turned out much better than expected. Still some minor things to do to it but all in I'd consider this a success!

 

smitty2k1

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I have the Realan E-i7 case and you have inspired me to try to mod it to have no power brick! It is a decent amount larger than yours, so I think it should be do-able.

I'd really like to put a standard Flex ATX PSU in there if I can... hmmm...
 
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