NFC Systems S4 Mini #72 Build

zhl146

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 14, 2016
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The "best" way to go about modding the Pico would be to create new harnesses from scratch and source both the pins and connectors for the Pico. The issue with this is that through my research, I was unable to find any pin that was compatible with the Pico connectors and 16 gauge wire. The connectors are simply to small to support that gauge. So I just ended up cutting the Pico harness about .5-1 inch ( the shorter the better) from the connector and spiced in my 16/18 gauge harness. I didn't bother touching the CPU wiring as I only have a 65 watt CPU. If going with a K variant and interested in overclocking I would suggest beef up that CPU harness as well.

Been running the setup for about a month now on the Pico and Xbox One power supply and have had absolutely no issues with stability! Peak power numbers are a little high though for my liking so I disabled the IGPU and undervolted the I5 some.... Got my 65 Watt processor down to 45 Watts with no hit in clock speed or performance. While I was at it, I overclocked the Kingston RAM to 2666Mhz with no jump in temperature or power. Makes me think that all of the Kingston memory chips are the same and are just factory limited in speed. Next up is getting that more efficient Pascal or Polaris GPU. Just waiting on official RX 470 benchmarks before I decide between it and a GTX 1060.

The ultimate goal is to have a VR ready PC at the lowest power consumption possible (and price). Right now from leaked benchmarks, the RX 470 seems to match the R9 290 which meets the minimum spec for VR. The 1060 gives more assurance about being VR ready but is also $100 more expensive..... Decisions decisions.....

I'm guessing that modding the xbone brick without the included power connector board would be more involved? Xbone bricks are fairly cheap, but if you need the part from the actual xbone, things become more expensive. It wouldn't be as easy as sawing off the end and replacing the connector type to 4 pin DIN, would it? I'm guessing there is some kind of feedback loop that tells it how to regulate or something?

Nice work by the way!
 
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CXH4

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 18, 2016
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To be honest, unless you are using a brick that is higher wattage than the default one pico-box supplies, you probably don't need to mod the wires. We're probably just being a bit OCD here and I want my wires to be sleeved to about the same thickness.

If you still plan to go through with it, I would suggest buying the right tools. Most of the stuff you can get from a reputable store like MOD ONE (https://mod-one.com/). They will supply you with:

- New wire
- New pins
- New molex connectors
- heatshrink
- sleeving (optional)
- crimping tool
- pin removal tool (if you plan on reusing anything)

You'll also probably also need a soldering iron and some solder and I would recommend that you get a nice wire stripper to make things easier and more uniform.

The basic idea is to use uninterrupted runs of new wire wherever possible and only splice (connect two wires together) when you absolutely have to. When you want to splice, make sure you solder the two wires together (look up a youtube video for this one).

As far as using new wire.

1) Cut it to the length you want
2) use a wire stripper to strip off 1/4 inch or so of insulation
3) use your crimper to crimp on the molex pins
4) sleeve it if you want
5) throw on the heatshrink
6) activate heatshrink
7) insert molex pins into connectors

Since you'll basically be recreating the original harness more or less, you can follow their pinning. If you want to learn more or if you want to alter it more, you can always look at a pin-out diagram.

I've only been asking other people for help, so I figured I would try and contribute. There are video guides out there too if you want a video walkthrough. It's fairly simple, but you need patience to get good results.

Hope this helps!
It helps a lot, and perhaps I am being OCD because I really want a system that won't fail on me like 99.9999999% of the time I use it lol. At the moment I currently have a 330 watt Dell power brick, and I also have a Z4 200 Watt PicoPSU on the way (Which is no longer being sold for some odd reason), but I was considering purchasing the 160XT PicoPSU as well and modding them, or just using an adapter to accommodate a 6 pin/8 pin PCIE connector for something like a undervolted/underclocked current generation GPU, such as the RX 480, maybe even the GTX 1070 if I was gutsy enough, and in the future a higher performing GPU with HBM2 because of the slowly but surely increasing efficiency in GPU power consumption. However, I have to wait until I have a little more money,the S4 to come back in stock, my Pico PSU to arrive, and to purchase the CPU and the GPU.
 

Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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I'm guessing that modding the xbone brick without the included power connector board would be more involved? Xbone bricks are fairly cheap, but if you need the part from the actual xbone, things become more expensive. It wouldn't be as easy as sawing off the end and replacing the connector type to 4 pin DIN, would it? I'm guessing there is some kind of feedback loop that tells it how to regulate or something?

Nice work by the way!

Thanks!

Actually! Modding the Xbox One power adapter without the connector is easier.... I wanted a more seamless look and since I already had a dead xbox with the connector lying around I went ahead and modified it that way.

Here is a link to show you how to modify the Xbox One adapter!

http://ielk.blogspot.com/2014/02/xbox-one-power-supply-pinout.html

The adapter has typical power and ground leads. The only difference is that it has a 5v lead and an power on wire. You simply need to cross these two wires together. These wires were used to tell the power adapter to turn on and off with the xbox.
 
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Zackmd1

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Given how many pixels VR pushes, and the fact that framerate issues can exacerbate simulator sickness, I wouldn't go for the minimum spec.

While true that going with the minimum spec is not the best, at 110 watts and basically the same chip as the RX480 I have some headroom for overclocking the 470. I could likely achieve 90-95% the performance of the RX480 (assuming it can be overlocked) while coming in at around 120-130 watts which is what my 960 pulls currently. That would also likely get me to stock 970 levels and maybe somewhat beyond. So at $150 it is hard to immediately dismiss the RX 470.
 

zhl146

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 14, 2016
102
67
Thanks!

Actually! Modding the Xbox One power adapter without the connector is easier.... I wanted a more seamless look and since I already had a dead xbox with the connector lying around I went ahead and modified it that way.

Here is a link to show you how to modify the Xbox One adapter!

http://ielk.blogspot.com/2014/02/xbox-one-power-supply-pinout.html

The adapter has typical power and ground leads. The only difference is that it has a 5v lead and an power on wire. You simply need to cross these two wires together. These wires were used to tell the power adapter to turn on and off with the xbox.

Oh, cool. I wasn't able to find something like this. I kept getting hits for the xbox 360 mod and not the xbox one. Maybe I'll give it a shot sometime.

Also, the 1060 just came out today. That might be a better choice since it's only 120W and it runs at least on par with the 480 as far as I can tell.
 
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zhl146

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 14, 2016
102
67
It helps a lot, and perhaps I am being OCD because I really want a system that won't fail on me like 99.9999999% of the time I use it lol. At the moment I currently have a 330 watt Dell power brick, and I also have a Z4 200 Watt PicoPSU on the way (Which is no longer being sold for some odd reason), but I was considering purchasing the 160XT PicoPSU as well and modding them, or just using an adapter to accommodate a 6 pin/8 pin PCIE connector for something like a undervolted/underclocked current generation GPU, such as the RX 480, maybe even the GTX 1070 if I was gutsy enough, and in the future a higher performing GPU with HBM2 because of the slowly but surely increasing efficiency in GPU power consumption. However, I have to wait until I have a little more money,the S4 to come back in stock, my Pico PSU to arrive, and to purchase the CPU and the GPU.

Make sure you get the s4 mini before Josh stops making it! :eek: I think he's on his last run (if I understood correctly) :(
 
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CXH4

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 18, 2016
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Make sure you get the s4 mini before Josh stops making it! :eek: I think he's on his last run (if I understood correctly) :(

Well damn, I might end up getting two. I wanted to build one for my friend too.
 

Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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Oh, cool. I wasn't able to find something like this. I kept getting hits for the xbox 360 mod and not the xbox one. Maybe I'll give it a shot sometime.

Also, the 1060 just came out today. That might be a better choice since it's only 120W and it runs at least on par with the 480 as far as I can tell.

I saw that the card was released. Of course absolutely no inventory though. I like the card, the performance, the efficiency (only 60C under load for the EVGA variant!) but not liking the price.... I got my 960 for $160... It is hard for me to justify spending more then $170-200 on a video card.
 
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zhl146

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Jul 14, 2016
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Zackmd1

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http://slickdeals.net/f/8944523-zot...00a-10l-6gb-gddr5-super-compact-249-99-5-ship

It's actually $225 today!

Also, I think it's at least 2x faster than the 960!

Placed an order for the EVGA 1060 SC! Finally popped up on amazon which allowed me to use my gift card balance that I have been saving for a video card! No estimated delivery yet unfortunately but I am in no real rush. This also means my 960 SC will be up for sale if anyone is interested! PM me if you are!
 

zhl146

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Jul 14, 2016
102
67
Placed an order for the EVGA 1060 SC! Finally popped up on amazon which allowed me to use my gift card balance that I have been saving for a video card! No estimated delivery yet unfortunately but I am in no real rush. This also means my 960 SC will be up for sale if anyone is interested! PM me if you are!

Awesome! Let us know how it goes :D
 

Zackmd1

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Awesome! Let us know how it goes :D

It was just canceled by amazon..... :mad: The EVGA listing now says "currently unavailable". The Zotac mini showed up as in stock for about 5 min but then went to unavailable as well. I don't think I am getting my hands on one for awhile....
 

zhl146

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Jul 14, 2016
102
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It was just canceled by amazon..... :mad: The EVGA listing now says "currently unavailable". The Zotac mini showed up as in stock for about 5 min but then went to unavailable as well. I don't think I am getting my hands on one for awhile....

Amazon will usually give you something for free if they cancel your order ;)
 

Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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And the Zotac has shipped! Should have it by Tuesday. Expect an update then! :cool:
 

Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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It has arrived a day early! Already installed :cool:

This is how the Zotac 1060 compares to the EVGA 960 SC.




And here is the 1060 installed in the S4 Mini!



Some initial observations:

The Zotac unit had some coil whine very early on when I was installing drivers, very first game runs, etc... Since then though the coil whine has subsided. I am not to impressed with the cooling solution though. The fan idles at 40% and core temp is 36C. 40% is just barely audible but while gaming it will go up to 70% which sounds like a jet engine on throttle up and core temp is hovering around 82C. Might be looking into modifying the cooling by making use of that 120mm fan bracket in the S4.

New power numbers for the system are as follows.

Idle: 40-50 watts
Typical Usage: 55-60 watts
100% CPU: 80-90 watts
100% GPU 30% CPU (gaming): 175-180 watts
Full artificial load (100% CPU and GPU): 200 watts with peak numbers around 218 watts.


Not much has changed in terms of power readings which is good! What has surprised me is that I am no longer getting power spikes past 220 watts with the 1060 at full artificial load!

My build is now officially VR ready! :)
 

Zackmd1

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Titanfall at max settings 1080p pulls a whopping 92 watts max system load! Doom at Nightmare settings 1080p pulls 170 watts. The thing to note here is that Titanfall is limited to 60FPS due to its vsync where as Doom is running under the vulkan API with no vsync. Average FPS in Doom is in the high 80's with peaks as high as 150FPS. This means that Titanfall is only using about 50-60% of the 1060 where as Doom is maxing it out at 100%. Since I don't need any FPS higher then 60 on a 60hz monitor I would like to look into a FPS cap. If I can get most games only using 60-70% of the 1060 then my total system power wouldn't go much above 125-130 watts which is exactly where the xbox one sits when gaming so I would not be taxing the power brick any more then it was originally designed for. Other then that I am loving the performance! This is the first card I have had where I can completely max out game settings and still reach 60FPS at 1080p. So used to compromising on some setting in order to reach that magical 1080p 60FPS.
 
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NRG

Cable-Tie Ninja
Oct 30, 2015
213
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Those numbers are magic! I'll be acquiring an EVGA 1060 in the near future, Must say I'm excited to have an itx card thats affordable and still performs extremely well!

If you have firestrike, could you perhaps compare it to a 980 with a similar cpu? Thanks
 

Zackmd1

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Jun 3, 2016
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Those numbers are magic! I'll be acquiring an EVGA 1060 in the near future, Must say I'm excited to have an itx card thats affordable and still performs extremely well!

If you have firestrike, could you perhaps compare it to a 980 with a similar cpu? Thanks

The EVGA 1060 is certainly the way to go for quieter and cooler operation. Very happy with the numbers so far though for the 1060. Unfortunately I do not have firestrike though. Couldn't bring myself to spend money on a benchmarking program I am only going to use a few times...