Power Supply HDPLEX 250W alternative - What would you like to see?

michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
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I've been in discussions with Pico Box who make a 300W DC-ATX power supply called the X3-ATX-300 which is a cheaper, more powerful alternative to the HDPLEX 250W especially where the 12V rail is concerned. Unfortunately the PCB is currently larger with the power connector soldered to the back and not well suited as an HDPLEX alternative for slim cases like the S4 mini, however Pico Box has been very open to my input recently and will be remaking the X3-ATX-300 to match the HDPLEX in size to bring some much needed competition to the DC-ATX market.

It will take them 2-3 weeks to make the new PCB and they will send me a prototype when it is done, but in the mean time because they have been so receptive to input I would like to get some feedback from current HDPLEX owners on any tweaks or changes they might like to see in an alternative made by Pico Box.

The obvious one that comes to mind for me is the included cable length, especially the 24 pin cable which is ridiculously long for small case builds like the S4 mini. I would like to see shorter cables or at least some option to choose cable sizes when purchasing.

Frank from Pico Box who designs these boards in his spare time is very keen to work with the SFF community and case manufactures small or large to cater to our needs, he expects his product line to increase in the near future as he is getting more interest from investors and different industries for DC-ATX power supplies.

So if you have noticed anything while using the HDPLEX or have any general ideas you would like to see in the area of DC-ATX let me know and I will pass it on.
 
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QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
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373
If they can manage to make a better transient capacitor buffer that would be amazing. Running something like the R9 Nano is hit or miss on the HDPlex depending on the brick you use.
So if there version can handle power spikes better then the HDPlex then I would jump on it immediately.

Considering the next generation of GPUs might bring more GPUs like the R9 Nano they might snag a bit of market from HDPlex.

Also mounting hole compatibility with the HDPlex would be nice but not that important.

EDIT:
Also having the DC jack input NOT solder directly to the PCB is a must! The HDPlex solution works great.
 

michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
117
73
If they can manage to make a better transient capacitor buffer that would be amazing. Running something like the R9 Nano is hit or miss on the HDPlex depending on the brick you use.
So if there version can handle power spikes better then the HDPlex then I would jump on it immediately.

Considering the next generation of GPUs might bring more GPUs like the R9 Nano they might snag a bit of market from HDPlex.

Also mounting hole compatibility with the HDPlex would be nice but not that important.

EDIT:
Also having the DC jack input NOT solder directly to the PCB is a must! The HDPlex solution works great.

Great feedback, I will pass that on and mention the R9 Nano specifically. The mounting hole compatibility and non soldered input are already on cards and they are planning to place the ATX connectors in the same place as the HDPlex, do you have any thoughts on connector placement? I found the connector position to be ideal when installing in the S4 mini recently and couldn't imagine it being any better having them laid out differently.
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
541
373
Well, an option for a right-angle mounted 24-pin would be nice and could help with orientation.
If I could really have my way I'd love for them to have a SKU that has 0 connectors, you would solder your own connectors or even cables directly to the PCB to reduce the height.
Not many would do it but I can imagine that some more mod/electronic savy people would like that, I know I would.

Edit:
I'll also volunteer as a test subject for a prototype PCB :D :D :D
 
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michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
117
73
Well, an option for a right-angle mounted 24-pin would be nice and could help with orientation.
If I could really have my way I'd love for them to have a SKU that has 0 connectors, you would solder your own connectors or even cables directly to the PCB to reduce the height.
Not many would do it but I can imagine that some more mod/electronic savy people would like that, I know I would.

The possibility of a right angle 24pin would be a great to have but it would be important to move the 24pin in front of the EPS and PCIE in comparison to the HDPlex to make it possible.

I really like your idea of having a 0 connector option much like Arduino breakout boards, this would open up some interesting build options and save a load of space in some tight fit designs, I can imagine a mass produced case coming bundled with one pre-installed with cables of correct lengths.

I imagine it is probably no extra effort or risk to them since it would really just be skipping one step that could be completed later if they need to move stock? I think a 0 connector option would be more likely than them offering an option with a right angle 24pin soldered unless there was significant demand, but then again they might consider doing a small batch to see.

I will pass these thoughts on to them.
 
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QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
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If the 0 connector PCB would be on their list, remember to have them include a clear pin out diagram.
 

michaelmitchell

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Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
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If the 0 connector PCB would be on their list, remember to have them include a clear pin out diagram.

They seemed very receptive to your 0 connector proposal so you might just get your way :)

What length cables do you think should be included by default? The 45cm cables included with the HDPlex are ridiculously long considering the cases they are likely to be used in. I wouldn't think anything over 30cm would be needed.
 
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QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
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373
If you consider the worst case that can happen in a case the size of the S4 Mini you'd theoretically have to go from the top of the motherboard all the way to the far end of the case to plug in a GPU PEG connector.
That would make 17cm for the motherboard + 17cm for the ITX GPU = 34cm

If you are looking at compatibility you need those lengths in some cases, of course not all.
Tucking away a GPU Peg connector is easier then the ATX connector.

In a case like the S4 Mini you might already have plenty of space with a 10cm ATX connector, I'm not sure. Although short cable are rigid and difficult to fold.

They could look into other wire types that are more flexible to help with that.
 

EdZ

Virtual Realist
Gold Supporter
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
One radical cable/connector solution would be a single breakout connector that would connect to a wiring loom having all required outputs on it. Less flexible in that you would need to customise the entire loom rather than just individual connector lengths, but you gain almost as low a profile as direct-solder cables, and you could potentially use a compact micro-fit or nano-fit connector with doubled/tripled-up pins for higher current outputs.
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
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I was thinking about that too, but I'm not sure what that would do to the BOM of the PCB. Mini-Fit is bulky but it is also so widely used that it's cheap.
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
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Not a design suggestion, but I think having an official store on eBay or Amazon would make their products much more acceptable to users here in the States.

Some of their stuff is listed on eBay but they all seem to be from 3rd party sellers from what I can tell. This makes me leery because counterfeit products are always an issue when ordering stuff from random Chinese sellers and a power supply is the last thing I'd take a chance on getting a counterfeit product.

So I'd gladly spend the extra money on the HDPlex for the better assurance I'm getting something that won't immediately catch fire.
 

michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
117
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Not a design suggestion, but I think having an official store on eBay or Amazon would make their products much more acceptable to users here in the States.

Some of their stuff is listed on eBay but they all seem to be from 3rd party sellers from what I can tell. This makes me leery because counterfeit products are always an issue when ordering stuff from random Chinese sellers and a power supply is the last thing I'd take a chance on getting a counterfeit product.

So I'd gladly spend the extra money on the HDPlex for the better assurance I'm getting something that won't immediately catch fire.

They have an official store on Aliexpress, but I will suggest they create an official store on eBay or perhaps sell through their website... or at least get their website working first.
 
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hdplex

Caliper Novice
HDPLEX
Apr 17, 2016
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www.hd-plex.com
If they can manage to make a better transient capacitor buffer that would be amazing. Running something like the R9 Nano is hit or miss on the HDPlex depending on the brick you use.
So if there version can handle power spikes better then the HDPlex then I would jump on it immediately.

Interesting, I thought it was due the AC adapter OCP kick in. So the Pico BOX 300W would have stable performance on R9 Nano using the same AC adapter while my 250W DC-ATX is not stable? If so, that worth investigating.
To really support more than 350W or 400W in a stable way, you would need much beefy inductor like this.

 

michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
117
73
Interesting, I thought it was due the AC adapter OCP kick in. So the Pico BOX 300W would have stable performance on R9 Nano using the same AC adapter while my 250W DC-ATX is not stable? If so, that worth investigating.
To really support more than 350W or 400W in a stable way, you would need much beefy inductor like this.


I am not sure they will be able to do any better than your HDPlex and it might just be a limitation we have to live with using the AC adapters, but its worth at least mentioning and investigating because if there is some way for the DC-ATX board to help ease the spiking that might trigger the OCP in the AC adapter that would be a great.

I'll also volunteer as a test subject for a prototype PCB :D :D :D

I will send it to you after I have an initial play with it, I am going to be in the midst of moving from South East Asia to Europe around that time and you are probably more suited than I to put it through its paces. Do you still have an R9 Nano?
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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If the 0 connector PCB would be on their list, remember to have them include a clear pin out diagram.

Speaking of diagrams, there really should be a spec sheet, at least for pinouts and power support on the individual rails. I don't see that on any of the power supply products from Pico-Box. I'll still buy the Z4 from them eventually, but even though some of their pics are proof of measurements I still want to see some detailed specs of what I'm getting.
 

michaelmitchell

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Mar 12, 2016
117
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Speaking of diagrams, there really should be a spec sheet, at least for pinouts and power support on the individual rails. I don't see that on any of the power supply products from Pico-Box. I'll still buy the Z4 from them eventually, but even though some of their pics are proof of measurements I still want to see some detailed specs of what I'm getting.

I completely agree, the only way I found specs for the Z3 was to do some digging. I don't know what happened to their website but it needs some urgent attention. I think they are a pretty small outfit and have mostly been working with suppliers in different industries directly.

http://web.archive.org/web/20150718055601/http://pico-box.com/z3-atx-200.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20150726151214/http://pico-box.com/x3-atx-300.html
 

QinX

Master of Cramming
kees
Mar 2, 2015
541
373
Interesting, I thought it was due the AC adapter OCP kick in. So the Pico BOX 300W would have stable performance on R9 Nano using the same AC adapter while my 250W DC-ATX is not stable? If so, that worth investigating.
To really support more than 350W or 400W in a stable way, you would need much beefy inductor like this.

It could well be the OCP of the AC adapter kicking in, as I've found no issue with the HDPlex using a 1000W 20V Powersupply. However considering the cost of a 300W+ AC adapter it would be beneficial if the DC-DC Board could somehow handle Peak power draw better I know it is a lot to ask, but if the R9 Nano is an indication of the trend of how power management is going to be in the future, Pascal and Polaris are going to have scenarios similar to this.

I am not sure they will be able to do any better than your HDPlex and it might just be a limitation we have to live with using the AC adapters, but its worth at least mentioning and investigating because if there is some way for the DC-ATX board to help ease the spiking that might trigger the OCP in the AC adapter that would be a great.
I will send it to you after I have an initial play with it, I am going to be in the midst of moving from South East Asia to Europe around that time and you are probably more suited than I to put it through its paces. Do you still have an R9 Nano?

If it isn't fixable that so be it, but if it is and the hurdle isn't to large to overcome this will improve compatibility of future small high performance cards like the R9 Nano and future ITX sized cards based on Pascal and Polaris.

Thanks for the offer, that would be amazing!
I still have my R9 Nano and the Voodoo AC Adapter for testing, I can also get some other bricks for further testing.

Edit:
@hdplex I haven't tested the 300W Pico box board. I have only tested with your 250W ATX board and my own passthrough PCB. As mentioned above it is highly likely the AC adapter OCP is at fault, and it would be great if the DC boards can compensate that. They already do to an extent I'd imagine but if that can be boosted to handle an R9 Nano I think we are in a good zone in terms of GPU support.

PS: I wouldn't mind the beefy inductors if that means support for the R9 Nano and perhaps a stock/undervolted GTX 980Ti
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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I completely agree, the only way I found specs for the Z3 was to do some digging. I don't know what happened to their website but it needs some urgent attention. I think they are a pretty small outfit and have mostly been working with suppliers in different industries directly.

http://web.archive.org/web/20150718055601/http://pico-box.com/z3-atx-200.html
http://web.archive.org/web/20150726151214/http://pico-box.com/x3-atx-300.html

Yes, those are very helpful and more detailed than the pages on Ali Express (photos look more professional too). I don't know what happened to the pico-box.com domain. All their links other than the home page re-direct to a 404 page. I could only make assumptions on the electrical specs of the Z4 by extrapolating the specs of the Z3 200w, but I would have to assume the 12V rail can support more amps now with the new design, and with the added heatsinks. Now here's hoping they could also make a PEG 6 pin connector to adapt to the molex plug, or CPU power plug.
 
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