Mini STX water-cooled gaming build questions

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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Hey guy, first post here and I'm planning on making a build in a custom car geared around a mini STX board and a SFF GPU. I plan to use a motherboard with two m.2 slots and was wondering if it would be possible to use some sort of adapter to convert one or both to a PCI connector for use with a GPU. I will use a GPU like a half height 1050. For the cooling, I will use a 120 or 140mm radiator at the top. What do you guys think? I will make mock ups soon.
 
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eggDK

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Mar 14, 2016
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Unless new boards have arrived, I think you have just one option: http://www.asrock.com/mb/intel/H110M-STX/
As you see from their spec recap, only one of the M.2 slots is PCI-E.

Apart from that, I have been eyeing a very similar build for a while, but haven't really found funds for it yet..
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
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Feb 1, 2016
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I've been sitting on this build for a while and I'd advise you to wait if you can. From what I've heard you'll see a Mini STX with Dual M.2 NVME announced at CES in about two to three weeks which likely means an H270 chipset which is a clear upgrade over H110. While this build will work, you'll need to use a SATA SSD to boot and run the PC which adds bulk to the case. Furthermore powering this is a pain in the ass and for more information on this you can see Aibphobia's STX 160.0 build. Because the board runs on 19V and the GPU runs on 12V, you'll need to either use multiple adapters or use a buck or boost converter.

As a solution to this problem (as I think this sort of build has a lot of potential to the point that I am designing a case around it), I am having Larry at HDPlex do up a new DC-DC board for me that is going to make builds like this very easy from a power supply perspective and am hoping to have more information on that in the next couple weeks.
 
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GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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Sounds amazing. Let me know when you get the adapter to work. How would it power the GPU since you say it takes a different voltage yet draws power from the PCIe slot.
 

Aibohphobia

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Feb 22, 2015
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The custom board he's talking about would have DC-DC conversion for the 12V and 5V for PCIe, Molex, SATA, etc. but would also have an option to pass-through 19V from the AC adapter for Mini-STX boards, NUCs, etc.
 

Kmpkt

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The custom board he's talking about would have DC-DC conversion for the 12V and 5V for PCIe, Molex, SATA, etc. but would also have an option to pass-through 19V from the AC adapter for Mini-STX boards, NUCs, etc.

Exactly this. The board effectively acts as a 19V splitter to allow the end user to use a non-ATX device paired with a GPU, all powered from a single AC-DC source. Applications include NuC, STX and Thin ITX based builds as well as Laptop and eGPU based applications. I am also hopeful it would allow a battery source to power cordless VR builds that would operate on similar hardware quite efficiently.
 

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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How would it power the GPU? Would it use external connectors like those on ATX PSUs or could it somehow power it through the PCIe slot? I'm planning on using a solely PCIe powered GPU, so I'm not sure how effective that would be.
 

Kmpkt

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4 pin 19V flow-through to your motherboard/laptop and 8 pin PCIe/4 pin SATA to associated devices. If you are using a 75W PCIe powered card via M.2, you'd likely be able to route a cable from the 4 pin SATA to Molex and then from Molex to the M.2 adapter's 4 pin plug. Aibo has confirmed this will provide the full 75W through the PCIe 4x slot on BPlus' adapter.
 

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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That sounds perfect! Will the H270 STX board use a DC connection on the I/O or a 4 pin like on standard ATX boards?
 

Kmpkt

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I'm sure it will use a barrel connector the same as the present version. I am really hopeful that this board will also have a 2 or 4 pin power header right on the board however, as barrel connectors are kind of aesthetically unpleasing if you're using a solution like I am talking about,
 

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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What sort of GPU would you recommend? I think a 1050 ti is perfect for the bandwidth we have.
 

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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Why do you say that? I have a reference one I could use, but why should I use a 1080?
 

Kmpkt

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I was kinda joking. You can use whatever you'd like. If you're going for minimal size you could simply use an external brick and probably get the STX board and DC-DC solution in the same footprint.
 

GentlemanShark

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Dec 22, 2016
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Not sure what I will do since I might have an internal PSU with a splitter for 5V, 12V, and 19V, but the motherboard has an external power plug.
 

GentlemanShark

Asus RMA sucks
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Dec 22, 2016
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I was kinda joking. You can use whatever you'd like. If you're going for minimal size you could simply use an external brick and probably get the STX board and DC-DC solution in the same footprint.

I'm considering dropping doing mini STX, but I'm not sure since Mini ITX isn't that much bigger.