Mini Ryzen 7 + GTX 1080 Case Build

EaglEyd

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Feb 26, 2018
6
12
Hello Everyone!

I recently took a stab at building my own case using 10mm L profiles, 4mm plywood and a dremel in addition to a monitor for a laptop style desktop computer. But before I get into the details, the specs for the build:

Gigabyte AB350 N Gaming Wifi
Ryzen 7 1700
Noctua NH-L9a
1x Ballistix Sport LT Gray 16GB DDR4-2400
GeForce® GTX 1080 Mini ITX 8G
2x 2.5'' 2TB Seagate harddrives
FSP 500W platinum flex-atx power supply
8-pin EPS to 2x 6-pin PCIe power connector
2x Noctua NF-A4x20 PWM
EZDIY 20cm 90° riser cable

So far, a pretty standard build and similar to some of the things I have seen on the forum. Now for the atypical:

6-pin PCIe power connector to circular connector (built by myself)
HDMI LCD Controller board
15.6'' FullHD Screen

The idea behind having a custom power connector from PCIe to the controller board was the extra connector that was flying about in the case and the possibility of expanding to up to 3 screens from that one connector. Now for some images:



As you may have noticed, this build isn't finished yet. There are still some cutouts missing, two of the L profiles and the GPU arent even secured yet and the monitor is not finished at all. Plus there are a number of screw ups that I made, some of which are quite visible. But at least the system runs!

From the plan, the dimensions would add up to roughly 3.9 Liters inside the case. In reality, I added 2 cm to the length to accommodate one of the A4x20 fans right next to the CPU and the width and height are also a few mm larger. It comes out to roughly 4.4 Liters. The exterior dimensions came out as 35.5x26x6cm (~5.5 Liters). The reason for the increase in size is the wood. At 4 mm thickness, it adds 8 mm in each dimension. The L profiles are another mm so in total 1 cm in each dimension.

The monitor itself is around 4 mm thick and roughly 35x22cm and will be encased (top and bottom) in plywood to provide some protection against the environment. Thats roughly another liter.

To cut down the height of the case, I used the low profile noctua cooler that just fits into the 65W thermal specification of the Ryzen 7 1700 and used the popular FSP 500W power supply. Although the volume of the case could be less if I had used the HDPlex DC-DC converter, it would have meant an increase in total volume of ~0.2 liters (HD Plex + power brick) and in addition I would have had to use two power bricks, one for the motherboard and one for the GPU. On the other hand it could have lessened with cable clutter.

All in All I'm quite proud of my first case build but wouldn't do it again. It took me far too long to do myself and I'm considering using a cnc milling service to cut out metal sheets and then connect them on the outside with L profiles. This would probably keep the cost low (currently around 40€) while also having a nice DIY feel to it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Acalanata

ferdiptsy

Trash Compacter
Feb 19, 2018
47
22
Hey, I'm investing time in something like this as well lol, a case made of MXF, speakers, and maybe 18650 battery pack. I wonder where you got that power button, because I want one too. How does the 1080 cool itself without holes? Could you fit the display controller in the case and "hinge" the display to the case? If your gpu was flipped over you could've put SSDs above it akin to the Noctua but meh.
 

EaglEyd

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Feb 26, 2018
6
12
How are the temps on the GPU? Any plans on a custom IO plate?
I'm not going to put make/buy a custom IO plate, the one that gigabyte provided fits snug in between the top and bottom part of the case. GPU Temps I imagine would be soaring with the current build. No measurements yet but I have turned it on and started linux for a good half hour to see what happens at idle.

Needless to say the GPU really does not like not having any vent holes and thus the fan starts spinning faster and faster. The vent holes are less of a problem because I am planning to put some in the top of the case but fixing the gpu in place is quite difficult because there is only one proper mounting hole and 3 potential mounting points but all are on the IO panel, where there virtually no space left. The only idea I have at the moment is to prop it up from below with some of the excess wood I have lying around.

Hey, I'm investing time in something like this as well lol, a case made of MXF, speakers, and maybe 18650 battery pack. I wonder where you got that power button, because I want one too. How does the 1080 cool itself without holes? Could you fit the display controller in the case and "hinge" the display to the case? If your gpu was flipped over you could've put SSDs above it akin to the Noctua but meh.
The power button is called an anti-vandalism power button. You will need to solder/crimp on wires yourself. I got it at GME, my local electronics store. It costs a bit more, around 4-5€ but I think it is worth it. Even though it has an internal resistor designed for 12V input, the ring lights up without a problem. They come in all sorts of sizes, be careful though as some don't use an LED!

For the GPU Temps see answer above. Flipping the GPU was an idea I had also played around with, but it would mean that I have to make cut outs on both sides of the case. I also can already max out the SATA ports on the motherboard with my up to 4 SSD/HDDs stack. The 2TB drives are 7mm in height and can thus be mounted in a 1 cm L profile with 1 mm to spare above and below.

With the current setup I wouldn't be able to fit the display controller into the case but I could hinge the display to the case. If you are considering doing that also consider that GPUs are designed to face out of the case, so you would need to get rid of excess heat if you place a GPU deep inside the case.

I've also thought about making this a 'proper' laptop, but there are some issues, mainly the battery pack and the associated weight. TL;DR If you put it into a car where you dont have to move it, go for it, otherwise it probably isnt worth the hassle. With my setup, the power draw is simply too much.

This setup can easily pull 400-500W under load when it is fully built. According to PCPartPicker (https://pcpartpicker.com/list/ZnfGXP) I get an idle draw of around 84W. The screen takes another 24W at max, which is calculated with the minimum power supply requirement of 12V by 2A according to the hdmi controller label. now we are at 108W. Lets say the screen draws next to nothing when only showing black (the baclight still need to be on!) and so I'll continue with 90W.

The next part is the power supply, because energy needs to come from somewhere. Instead of the FSP 500W you would get a DC-DC converter and have a switching mechanism between the battery and mains power, ideally electronically and this mostly adds size. Even though the efficiency is greater, you would have a bit of loss (HDPlex has efficiency >94%). Lets be nice and say it would be 99% efficient, this means you would be drawing 91W from the battery pack @ idle. Ok, so now we know how much wattage would be drawn from the battery pack.

To keep this all running for just 1 hour, you would thus need 91Wh of battery, not accounting for the effciency of the batteries. I'll assume they are new and all 100% perfect. Voltages on 18650s vary from 3.3 to 4.7V, so if you put 5 of them in series, you can get the exact voltage range that the HDPlex can use -- what an awesome coincidence! --. Assuming each battery can hold about 11Wh of charge, you would need 9 18650s, 2 packs in parallel of 5 in series to make it fit nicely. Now there is another problem, cell balancing. I won't go into that though.

so 10 batteries... that would add roughly 0.46 Kg of weight (~10% of total) and take up about 0.16 liters (r=9 mm,L=62,5mm). Not too bad, until you realise that this is all running at idle. Now imagine I would be running 2 more HDDs, one more ram stick and 2 more screens, the setup I am actually aiming for... If I do the same Wattage calculation again for my setup as it currently stands at load I would need 33 18650s, so 35. This now comes out as 1,61 Kg and 0,56 liters. This is all for just 1 hour. In that one hour, how much are you really going to be able to do?
 

EaglEyd

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Feb 26, 2018
6
12
Update on the temps and some more images of the finished case: I've let Furmark and their CPU burner run and the temperature does not exceed 80°C on the GPU, where the limiting factor then becomes power. On the CPU side of things the hottest measured temperature in the case are the VRMs at about 85 degrees, the CPU sits at ~67 degrees, no thermal throttling observed.

Here are some images of the 'finished case', there is one more cutout for a 40mm fan on the opposite side of the psu where the motherboard is. In case you are wondering why there is newspaper underneath it, none of the screws are countersunk yet because I didn't have time before I started my trip to the UK, from where I am writing this post on said computer.





 

ignsvn

By Toutatis!
Moderator
Apr 4, 2016
1,081
890
How's the noise of that PSU on start, idle/light load and full load?

On start up, does the fan still start with a jet engine-like sound then go slower, or..?
 

EaglEyd

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Feb 26, 2018
6
12
I see you have some experience with this PSU...

Yes, it still sounds like a jet engine when it starts up. I once timed it and it took around 30-40 seconds to calm down. On light loads you don't even hear it over the other fans, not even with only furmark on. If I go full power with furmark and a cpu burner then it becomes audible.
 

ignsvn

By Toutatis!
Moderator
Apr 4, 2016
1,081
890
No, I don't have experience with that particular PSU, but I know that most FlexATX PSUs have that full speed blast during start up (i guess part of their start up self-diagnose or something)

I was hoping that this PSU no longer have this behavior, but seems that is not the case here.

Anw, good build!

Edit: I think you can have more intake/exhaust vents.
 
Last edited:

ferdiptsy

Trash Compacter
Feb 19, 2018
47
22
Because your build is so similar to mine;

Les be real. Are you going to haul this around the place as a laptop? Because that's kinda what I want to do haha which leads to other questions of maintaining that dream or not. I reckon the next few questions are if you will go this route.

What are your choices on input devices? Ever conjure up a laptop keyboard into usb?, cause that's what I might do but it's also very hard to solder stuff in that particular manner, even trackpad alone. Maybe a bluetooth keyboard and trackpad permanently connected to usb or molex? Or if your a mechanical keyboard guy that's fine... I guess. I just wonder how someone who's gone this far would lay out their keyboard and other things.

I'm kind of pushing your battery consensus but I still want to know your ideas about RC batteries, the quadcopter ones, for an example a 6600 mah 22.2 v battery. I'm thinking they carry more density and at the same time are less of a hassle to assemble. I could encourage you, meh, with a post detailing it very well, I guess I just want another opinion that's interrelated with a so-called laptop. https://randomfoo.net/2016/04/14/building-a-battery-powered-pc

Wow, there's honestly not much more to do with my build and maybe yours. That's cool. I mean it works as a case but a laptop would be an even cooler execution.

EDIT: nevermind what i said, this battery shiz is nightmare fuel
 
Last edited:

EaglEyd

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Feb 26, 2018
6
12
Hi, sorry for the late reply, I've been quite busy these past 2 weeks.

@ferdiptsy There is hardly any point in making a laptop keyboard... you would need cut outs all over the place, the right pcb to make it fit and make the darn thing. plus you would have the fans constantly sucking air in infront of your hands. Might be ok though!

I've actually lugged all the peripherals (mouse, keyboard, hdmi controller board, power cable, hdmi cable, DIY power cable) with me to the UK and back, I'm in the Czech Republic btw. It takes 5-10 minutes to setup, its really not that bad. I did that twice a day for the past two weeks, its fine.

You dont actually get more power density out of chaining batteries together, and li-ion really would be the way to go... but as you have realised yourself, batteries are a nightmare. There is also the danger of a MASSIVE fire (that is also hard to put out) if you get something wrong...

You can even optimise that process by turning the computer on while you are still plugging stuff in because you barely need anything to boot up, unless of course there is some sort of OS failure. One note though on the hdmi controller board. If you want to go that way, plug in the edp cable first and then turn on the power, less chance of frying the board by touching the wrong pins.

@ignsvn Ah ok, so its a general flex-atx thing... With regards to the intake/exhaust fans: I've actually concocted the next crazy idea which is watercooling by utilising the case as a radiator! Yes, this is insane and no, I probably won't be doing this in the near future...

However, the plan was/is to use one or two small pump(s) (Alphacool DC-LT) to push water through lots of - around 80 - small tubes, I cant remember the exact number that would fit. The would be 3mm pipes that incidentally will make up the case as well. The transistion from standard size tubing would be done using these 5-way splitters. Using a few fans (up to 6 100x100mm), the "case" could cool the whole thing down. Build it without a resevoir because that takes up to much space et voila, watercooling! The downside is it adds quite a bit of weight.
 
Last edited: