Concept Necere's concept/ideation thread

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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Every once in a while when I get an idea or get inspired by something, I'll create a new concept design. Most of these I never share. I thought I might do something about that. Also sometimes ideas get spun out of threads on other designs I'm working on, so it would be useful to have a place for those. That's the impetus for this thread.

Do note stuff I share here is just the random ideas I have that turn into concepts that seem worth sharing; for the most part, they won't be very fleshed out, mechanically speaking, or analyzed in depth for feasibility of manufacturing. Most likely they won't be considered for production. These are concepts, that's all.

As an aside, I'm not sure if this is the most appropriate subforum for this thread; if a mod feels it's better suited to another, feel free to move it.
 
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Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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Today's concept:









This is a thin mini-ITX-based design, with a window showing off the GPU (short cards only).

Specs:
  • Dimensions: 95 x 220 x 280mm, 5.85L
  • Motherboard: thin mini-ITX
  • CPU cooler: Intel HTS1155LP or custom derivative
  • GPU: dual slot, up to ~180mm long
  • PSU: HDPlex 300W AC-DC or similar
  • Drives: none (must use e.g. mSATA SSD)
  • Fans: 4x 80x25mm

You might ask why thin ITX? Well, it has some interesting characteristics: for one, the CPU socket location is defined in the spec, and there are specific keepout zones defined for the CPU cooler, which can be located adjacent to the motherboard. That lends itself well to certain layouts, such as this one. With the CPU cooler positioned towards the front of the case, the two foremost 80mm fans are used to push air directly through the heatsink, all the way from one side of the case and out the other.

Another reason is that the boards take 12v and/or 19v directly, which makes them potentially a good fit for a single voltage PSU like the HDPlex.

And of course, with an overall height 20mm lower than regular mini-ITX, they save space.

They do have some downsides though: selection is quite limited, and the available boards are mostly based on lower-end chipsets. You also lose out on some I/O, with fewer USB ports, and no front panel USB 3.0, for example.
 
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Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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Nice look and glad to see some thin mITX love. I am seeing my R9 nano model more and more lately ;-)
Hey, I'm glad someone made one! I can't be arsed to model video cards, personally. I need drawings, at least, to model from, and manufacturers never publish any for video cards. Plus a lot of the time they have ridiculous shrouds with complex geometry.

Nice build, clean and yet full of style. I'm just curious about one little thing: how do you intend to pair a R9 Nano with a Thin-ITX board? Are there any such mobo with x16 PCI-e?
No, not x16, but some have x4 slots. Bandwidth isn't the problem though - x4 3.0 still offers plenty, and you won't really see any meaningful performance degradation.

The real issue is that thin ITX boards only supply 25W to the slot, where GPUs expect the full 75W an x16 slot is supposed to have. The solution is to use a powered riser, that is, a riser card that has an auxiliary power connector to bypass the slot's power lines and run directly off the PSU instead. However, powered risers haven't really existed as far as I know (well, there may be some intended for crypto mining, but those are usually only x1 because they don't need the bandwidth), so it hasn't really been feasible to do in the past without doing the work of designing such a riser oneself. Fortunately, recently a couple people from this community have done just that, and they're now offering the powered risers for sale, right here on the forum. In fact, it was seeing that thread that inspired me to revisit thin ITX, since it's something I've toyed with before, but always ran into that roadblock with the riser. Now at least, for the first time it's possible to put together a system with a thin ITX motherboard and discrete GPU.
 

slimjim

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Jul 5, 2017
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how?!?! I tried forever last night to do an assembly style mockup in sketchup like I would do in Inventor and I couldn't even figure how to make an assembly and import the models I wanted :/
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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how?!?! I tried forever last night to do an assembly style mockup in sketchup like I would do in Inventor and I couldn't even figure how to make an assembly and import the models I wanted :/
Well, Sketchup was never meant for mechanical design. So in a lot of ways it sucks for that. But if what you're doing isn't super complicated - i.e., you're working with mainly right angles, and not trying to punch holes on curved surfaces or something - it works well enough.

As far as organizing things in the model, I use the layers and grouped objects mainly. Importing components is just done through file>import. Make sure .skp is selected in the open file window.
 

slimjim

Cable-Tie Ninja
Jul 5, 2017
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Oh, I was definitely overthinking it. Sad thing is I even tried to import but didn't even see that skp files were an option, thanks for the help man.

Also, I have a bit of a weird question about your case and I am gonna pm you so as not to threadjack.
 

owliwar

Master of Cramming
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Apr 7, 2017
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Hey necere, a question
how is the CPU getting cooled in this scenario? Is this a cooler that hangs to the sides of the motherboard?
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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Hey necere, a question
how is the CPU getting cooled in this scenario? Is this a cooler that hangs to the sides of the motherboard?
Yeah, it's designed for the reference thin ITX cooler, the intel HTS1155LP, pictured above. The thin ITX spec allows for the cooler to hang off either the left or front side of the board. For this case, it would be out front, and the stock blower fan's airflow provided by the 80mm case fans instead. Here it is with everything else removed:



Ducts (not shown) to channel air through the heatsink would help to optimize performance.

Additionally, there's enough space for a hypothetical larger version, for even better performance:

 
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GuilleAcoustic

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Jun 29, 2015
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Hey, I'm glad someone made one! I can't be arsed to model video cards, personally. I need drawings, at least, to model from, and manufacturers never publish any for video cards. Plus a lot of the time they have ridiculous shrouds with complex geometry.

Thank you, I am glad it can help the SFF community. This model is as much accurate as it can be. This is based on accurate external dimensions and then top/side/front/rear views for eye candy stuff. Applied what I do for organic polygonal modeling.
 
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AleksandarK

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May 14, 2017
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Today's concept:









This is a thin mini-ITX-based design, with a window showing off the GPU (short cards only).

Specs:
  • Dimensions: 95 x 220 x 280mm, 5.85L
  • Motherboard: thin mini-ITX
  • CPU cooler: Intel HTS1155LP or custom derivative
  • GPU: dual slot, up to ~180mm long
  • PSU: HDPlex 300W AC-DC or similar
  • Drives: none (must use e.g. mSATA SSD)
  • Fans: 4x 80x25mm

You might ask why thin ITX? Well, it has some interesting characteristics: for one, the CPU socket location is defined in the spec, and there are specific keepout zones defined for the CPU cooler, which can be located adjacent to the motherboard. That lends itself well to certain layouts, such as this one. With the CPU cooler positioned towards the front of the case, the two foremost 80mm fans are used to push air directly through the heatsink, all the way from one side of the case and out the other.

Another reason is that the boards take 12v and/or 19v directly, which makes them potentially a good fit for a single voltage PSU like the HDPlex.

And of course, with an overall height 20mm lower than regular mini-ITX, they save space.

They do have some downsides though: selection is quite limited, and the available boards are mostly based on lower-end chipsets. You also lose out on some I/O, with fewer USB ports, and no front panel USB 3.0, for example.
WOW. Keep posting your nice work. You are VERY talented.:)

Also, could there be a space for SSD over the HDplex, on top of it?
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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WOW. Keep posting your nice work. You are VERY talented.:)
Thanks. Though it's a bit of a tease, isn't it? Just pretty pictures if I don't follow through.

Also, could there be a space for SSD over the HDplex, on top of it?
Yeah, that's one possibility. The drive would reduce the amount of space for the CPU cooler though.



Also the front ports push it a bit too far back, to the point where it might conflict with the window mounting. Could reorient them so they're on the top instead, that would save some space.
 

aquelito

King of Cable Management
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Feb 16, 2016
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@Necere : thanks for the publicity ;) Great you're joining the party !


I'm also using that Gigabyte GAH110-TN board in my current build, mainly because it takes 12V input.
So why not going straigth for a 12V open-frame PSU or a 12V AC-DC Adapter for low power GPUs, to power both the system and the GPU ?

For 19V builds, better go with Asrock or better, Gigabyte MDQ17AI (B2B line) :)

Choice is indeed reduced but not that scarce either.

The main issue with thin Mini-ITX is the PCIe 4X slot, that may turn lots of people down.
To my knowledge, the only thin mini-ITX board with a full PCIe 16X slot is made by the chinese OEM Ling-Jiang with an old but still great QM77 chipset (i7 CPUs can be purchased for 50€...).

I purchased that little gem and my GPU runs indeed at 16X Gen.3 !

 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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I'm also using that Gigabyte GAH110-TN board in my current build, mainly because it takes 12V input.
Yeah, that Gigabyte board seems like the best of the current slim (hey, a pun) selection of thin ITX boards. Unfortunate that it's still using mSATA rather than M.2, but eh, beggars can't be choosers I guess. Edit: looks like the MDQ17AI has M.2, so perhaps a better option overall. I must've missed Gigabyte's b2b thin ITX boards completely when I was putting together this concept.

One thing I overlooked is that the HDPlex 300W AC-DC only supplies 19v, which is a problem since the powered riser for the GPU (and the GPU itself) needs 12v. I'm not sure there are any other suitable 12v AC-DC PSUs with a similar size and power rating, so that right there might be a dealbreaker for this concept.

The main issue with thin Mini-ITX is the PCIe 4X slot, that may turn lots of people down.
This is really an issue of perception and consumer ignorance more than anything. Tests have borne out that GPUs don't need all that bandwidth, and even at PCIe x4 there's little to no performance difference. Most people probably don't know that a PCIe x4 3.0 link has the same bandwidth as a x16 1.0 link.

Anyway, it's cool that you guys are making those risers available for people that want to do something like this.
 
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