Project Jam-Pack – 4 Litre ITX Gaming Sandwich PC

CaneyJ

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
New User
Oct 5, 2016
8
18
A couple of years ago I lived on a boat and came to the realization that gaming was a luxury I couldn’t have access to with my current hardware. I set about designing a computer that was capable of decent gaming performance, had an excellent power-to-watt ratio and was as compact as possible.

Whilst I am now in a flat; the need for space was at a premium so I set about consolidating my idea into a reality.

The final build specs evolved into these:
- 4590S 65W i5 [planned on a 35W i5 but I got it at a good price, just disabled the turbo-core]
- Asrock H81 ITX Motherboard
- EVGA GTX750Ti Superclocked 2GB Graphics Card [Upgrading to a GTX1050Ti when they are released if they are short enough]
- 8GB Duel 1600 1.35V Crucial Ballistix RAM [will be swapped for 16GB duel in the near future]
- Samsung 500GB 850 EVO SSD [potential for an extra M.2 SSD if I upgrade the motherboard]
- Some form of DC-DC Power Supply so it can be easily hooked up to a solar or battery system

I came across a 2U riser that faces the PCIE card over the motherboard which got me thinking. In the end I decided to heavily modify a Powercool Q5 Aluminium ITX PC Case into a Micro-Tower with a expansion slot added and a new fan arrangement with the intake fan replacing the graphics card fan and the exhaust sitting under the motherboard.

It will serve as both my solo gaming rig and a HTPC fulfilling the minimal requirements to perform at 1080P on a basic 60Hz, 24” monitor [for now].

Clearance was tight but I found that the Silverstone NT07-115X CPU cooler still offered 10mm of overhead clearance which I determined was enough.

Intake and exhaust fans were a pair of matched Scythe Slim 120mm Fans behind Silverstone Filter Vents. All other holes in the case were sealed including the Optical Drive hole which I covered over with a dummy laptop drive bezel.

The Power Source is a Dell 150W, 19V Slim Power Brick powering a HDPlex 160W DC-DC Power Supply. I modified the modular looms to be shorter with the drive loom running only 5V to the single SSD and the errant 12V I had powering a short 150cm strip of red adhesive LED’s for a bit of bling.

The standard chassis comes in at under 3-litres in volume whilst the whole system after my re-jigging will be just over 4-litres if you include the projecting graphics fans and external power brick.

I suppose as a comparison, you could compare it to a Alienware Alpha, however mine is upgradable.

Stress testing found temperatures to be pretty good and there is potential space to fit a HDPlex 240W which would allow me to possibly fit a GTX1060 in there.

Using a wall meter, I measured the power drain from the AC Brick under various loads. It peaked for a second at 125 Watts, 3DMark / Gaming Average is about 105W, 45W during movie playback and 35W on Idle. These power levels should be about 10% less when running from a battery on a buck-boost converter as there is no AC-DC conversion.

USB dongles provide Bluetooth & DC Wi-Fi. My more portable setup uses a Gechic HDMI USB Powered Monitor and a beefy JBL bluetooth speaker.

Photos below initially show my case build followed by filling it with the hardware. I’m getting around 4377 in 3DMark Firestrike and 13256 in Skydiver. I could really do with a upgraded graphics card to play the latest AAA titles but at the moment I’m into Overwatch which isn’t too demanding for 60fps gaming.

Overall I’m pretty happy J. Updates will come as I have a layout change, cooling and graphics upgrade tweaks planned.









 
Last edited:

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
SFFn Staff
May 9, 2015
5,872
4,928
Welcome to the forum ! Living on a boat, you're exactly where I want to be in 20 years.

You mention running it off of a solar panel or battery, interesting.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Ray Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
2,234
2,557
I remember seeing a PC like this at [H], only it was with a J1900 embedded motherboard, but mostly the same parts all around. How loud is the Silverstone cooler? Does it give the same performance as the stock cooler but much quieter?
 

cleveland

Master of Cramming
Sep 8, 2016
455
240
I remember seeing a PC like this at [H], only it was with a J1900 embedded motherboard, but mostly the same parts all around. How loud is the Silverstone cooler? Does it give the same performance as the stock cooler but much quieter?

I second the question.
 

iFreilicht

FlexATX Authority
Feb 28, 2015
3,243
2,361
freilite.com
Don't want to be a party pooper, but is this still at 4L with the fan attached to the outside? Great build though, I like seeing these sandwich mods.