Projekt: Xephyr Driftr (Brickless S4M)

Selendipitous

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Apr 21, 2018
20
15
zeph·yr
/ˈzefər/

(n.)

A gentle, mild breeze. It does not disrupt, nor cause chaos; it merely brings a warm, pleasant sensation on a summer day.

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XEPHYR DRIFTR
West Wind Drifter
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Salutations, all!

I'm new to.. well, everything regarding building a PC, how the components work, and what each part does, but I'm determined to learn and pretty darn set on building something that's so intimately intertwined with my life and played such a large role in shaping who I am as an individual.

My main goal is this: to build a PC robust enough it can withstand constant travel, small enough I can slip it and all its needed cables and peripherals into a single backpack, and powerful enough to tackle modern games on high settings, at 1080p and with a stable 60fps.

So I did some research. Originally I was leaning towards the Silverstone Sugo SG13B, with the mesh front for improved airflow, when a kind Redditor suggested I take a look at the Skyreach 4 Mini... And, well; the rest, they say, is history. I fell irrevocably in love with the little aluminium enclosure, and my original 'portable PC' budget of $700 pretty much doubled as I tried to find parts worthy of being in such a beautiful case.

My eyes burn looking at my PCPartPicker list, haha.

Perhaps it's unnecessary when I could make a decent rig for half that price, but.. aluminium is much hardier than plastic. It'll be an investment!

So yeah. Without further ado:


TL;DR:
Newbie to PC-building, fell in love with S4M.
My budget weeps but my heart has hardened.
Halp



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P C • P A R T • P I C K E R • L I S T
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PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 1600 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor (Purchased For $176.00)
CPU Cooler: Noctua - NH-L9a 33.8 CFM CPU Cooler ($45.81 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus - ROG STRIX B350-I GAMING Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($139.99 @ B&H)
Memory: G.Skill - Trident Z RGB 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory ($204.99 @ Newegg Business)
Storage: Crucial - BX300 480GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (Purchased For $99.99)
Video Card: EVGA - GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB ACX 2.0 Video Card (Purchased For $179.99)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($89.89 @ OutletPC)
Case Fan: Fractal Design - FD-FAN-SSR2-50 4.6 CFM 50mm Fan ($11.86 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Fractal Design - FD-FAN-SSR2-50 4.6 CFM 50mm Fan ($11.86 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Prolimatech - Ultra Sleek Vortex 12 55.7 CFM 120mm Fan ($32.40 @ Amazon)
Other: NFC Skyreach 4 Mini ($199.00)
Other: Machined ON/OFF Switch ($32.00)
Other: SkyWire Cables - 8 Pin (CPU) ($12.00)
Other: SkyWire Cables - 8 Pin (GPU) ($15.00)
Other: Polarized C8 Connector ($9.00)
Other: 3D Bezel - Zebrawood (S4M) ($60.00)
Other: NFC Shipping ($15.00)
Other: Dynamo Mini 160 DC-ATX ($58.00)
Other: HDPLEX 160W AC-DC ($55.00)
Other: HDPLEX Shipping ($3.00)
Other: SFFLab Shipping ($25.00)
Total: $1475.78
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-05-01 22:33 EDT-0400


I've been looking into build videos and stalking-- I mean, scouring-- NFC's YouTube to try and glean what parts I could use for my own build, and it's largely similar to the Brickless BOM on his page. Haha. I was a little worried the G.Skill Trident Z's wouldn't fit, but they're listed in the BOM so they probably do?

Anywho- I'll probably switch the CPU out for something slightly weaker since I don't /really/ need an i7 in my build when i5 or even i3 will probably do me just fine... It'll make my budget sag a little less, at the least.

So yeah! I'm gonna paint this thing blue like the sky and name it something cool, but I wanted to know first if this looks like it would be a viable build before I go and actually buy the parts.. sometime nearer to summer, probably.​



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I N S P I R A T I O N
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The builds that influenced the final form.



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C H A N G E L O G
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The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.



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R E S E A R C H
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The research I've done in the pursuit of making this project a reality, compiled into a sort of 'masterlist' for anyone that might find it helpful to have all the resources in one area for easier, speedier reference.



1st grade level TL;DR:

The key is to look and see if the power supply is labeled DC-DC or AC-DC. You need both.

------------Step 1: AC-DC----------------

AC power is what comes out of your wall. DC power is what computer electronics run off of (and batteries).

You need to convert the AC that comes out of your wall to DC before your computer can use it.

This is accomplished with a AC-DC power supply.

------------Step 2: DC-DC------------------

Once you have DC power you need to get it to your PC components. Computers have lots of different plugs and voltages. You need a DC-DC power supply to handle the task of getting every part their correct voltage and power.

-----------Step 3: Why you are confused--------------

Think of a standard ATX power supply that you are used to as two power supplies in one. It is a AC-DC converter, and a DC-DC distributor. You plug in your giant ATX power supply into the wall, it converts the voltage to DC, and then it separates the the DC voltages into 12v, -12v, 3.3, and 5v and distributes it to each part in your PC.

-----------Step 4: Divide and Conquer-------------------

The MINI seeks to save space by chopping an ATX power supply in half. Outside of the case you have your AC-DC power supply or "power brick" and inside the case you have your DC-DC power supply (Dynamo Mini 200 DC-DC, HDPLEX 400 DC-DC, Pico 160 XT DC-DC, G-Unique DC-DC).

The theory here is that this saves space with the current PSU technology we have.

-----------Step 5: The exception to the rule--------------

The S4 MINI phenomenon has spurred progression in the development of compact AC-DC power supplies. Think of these as small power bricks that you can fit inside the case. Examples are the HDPLEX 160 AC-DC, and HDPLEX 300 AC-DC. You still need a DC-DC power supply so you can power your individual parts.

-------------Step 6: These aren't really steps anymore are they?--------------

You can post in @Kmpkt subforum as he makes power supplies for the MINI. I'll let him explain them.
 
Last edited:

Kooki

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Mar 30, 2016
129
56
It looks to be a good build!

Is there any special reason you included that Wi/Fi adapter when your mobo is laready WI/FI capable?

#awaitingforphotos
 
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Selendipitous

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Apr 21, 2018
20
15
Sounds awesome! I like "Zephyr" as a name :)

Thanks! That might be the one I end up settling on, haha! It's short and sweet, and something more easily referenced in conversation :>

It looks to be a good build!

Is there any special reason you included that Wi/Fi adapter when your mobo is laready WI/FI capable?

#awaitingforphotos

Thank you! I'm switching the CPU out for a Ryzen 5 1600 to bring the overall cost down and switch up the storage for the same reason, but it looks like that's gonna be the build I'm going with :)

And ah, I read reviews saying the built in WiFi wasn't fantastic and felt an add-on might help with that. It was there more to remind myself to get the adaptor if the built in capability wasn't enough.

#PartAcquisitionStarted... Slowly but surely! I've got the GPU, CPU, and SSD.

Also found a good deal on RAM and snatched it up! But uh, being a total noob and all got four sticks of 8GB when the mobo only supports two sticks. RIP. Not sure if I should return or keep half and sell half - they're the Corsair Ballistix Sport LT 2400, gray version.
 

Selendipitous

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Apr 21, 2018
20
15
Update on the project designation:

I've decided to go with Xephyr Driftr! Fancy shorthand for West Wind Drifter - a name, I think, fitting for a system that will be about as constantly on the move as I am.

I'm working on a sigil I can paint onto the main faces of the chassis, I'll post a draft when I get off work and acquire pencil and paper :) Maybe the tagline should be "Rx Wanderlust"? Haha!
 

Selendipitous

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Apr 21, 2018
20
15
After many scrapped concepts, much deliberation, and lots of editing... I think I've finally settled on a base design I like. It's got four core letters -- W, W, X, and D -- and they all come together to form a part of each other.

I'll play around with it a little more to flesh out the design and give it some form, but yeah. Here's a tiny update for ya'll!



Also, this particular build is on indefinite hiatus hiatus for two reasons; first, I need to figure out the power supply for a brickless build, especially since I'm considering upgrading to a 1060 6GB SC to bump the rig to one capable of handling VR, and might end up waiting for the new HDPlex 400W AC-DC to pair with its DC-DC sibling. Hopefully they'll both fit in the S4M! Theoretically it should, haha - just waiting on KMPKT's confirmation.

The second is that come November, I'll be moving out with my girlfriend! She's been using the family computer thus far, and likely won't be bringing it with her when she moves out. So, yeah. She loves playing Rainbow Six: Seige and Overwatch, and I love playing alongside her, so Xephyr Driftr will remain on hiatus until I get her own computer built... But it won't be too far off from what I planned for it, as she's been keen on getting the S4M since she saw me looking into it for my own project. Tentatively, I'm calling the new build Projekt: Skyfall -- also a brickless build -- and will be redirecting my focus and resources towards that.

Cheers!
 

Ghost

Average Stuffer
Jul 23, 2018
65
15
After many scrapped concepts, much deliberation, and lots of editing... I think I've finally settled on a base design I like. It's got four core letters -- W, W, X, and D -- and they all come together to form a part of each other.

I'll play around with it a little more to flesh out the design and give it some form, but yeah. Here's a tiny update for ya'll!



Also, this particular build is on indefinite hiatus hiatus for two reasons; first, I need to figure out the power supply for a brickless build, especially since I'm considering upgrading to a 1060 6GB SC to bump the rig to one capable of handling VR, and might end up waiting for the new HDPlex 400W AC-DC to pair with its DC-DC sibling. Hopefully they'll both fit in the S4M! Theoretically it should, haha - just waiting on KMPKT's confirmation.

The second is that come November, I'll be moving out with my girlfriend! She's been using the family computer thus far, and likely won't be bringing it with her when she moves out. So, yeah. She loves playing Rainbow Six: Seige and Overwatch, and I love playing alongside her, so Xephyr Driftr will remain on hiatus until I get her own computer built... But it won't be too far off from what I planned for it, as she's been keen on getting the S4M since she saw me looking into it for my own project. Tentatively, I'm calling the new build Projekt: Skyfall -- also a brickless build -- and will be redirecting my focus and resources towards that.

Cheers!
Like the name skyfall but y'all should build a or two pics together. Would be super dope you and your girl living the dream. Best luck to you. And yea I hope the 500w comes out soon want to do a 1070 brickless.
 

Duality92

Airflow Optimizer
Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2018
305
328
dont need 500W for a 1070.

My 8600K and 1070 under load pull under 200W while gaming. Synthetic, they reach 250W.
 

Ghost

Average Stuffer
Jul 23, 2018
65
15
My bad meant the 400w (was a typo). Yea my rig only pulls 250 or below at max. I have a 300 brick but won't fit. Might try to mod it or just get a Dell for the time being.
 

Ghost

Average Stuffer
Jul 23, 2018
65
15
You could with two 160 HDPlex.
Yeah thought bought that but prob would have to have a hd Plex 160 instead of 400 to fit. Plus how do you connect the power?

Plus I think I would have to switch to the Gigabyte 1070 instead of zotac
 

Duality92

Airflow Optimizer
Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2018
305
328
First HDPlex is connected to the motherboard as usual, with two wires soldered from PS_ON and Ground up to the second HDPlex's PS_ON and Ground. Then you take the EPS 8-pin, convert it to PCI-E 8-pin, then you have two 8-pin connectors! :)

Then take both set of wires leading in the 160W HDPlex, combine them for what ever method you want your brick to plug into!

"hardest" part would just be to find where and how to mount the second 160W HDPlex.
 

Ghost

Average Stuffer
Jul 23, 2018
65
15
First HDPlex is connected to the motherboard as usual, with two wires soldered from PS_ON and Ground up to the second HDPlex's PS_ON and Ground. Then you take the EPS 8-pin, convert it to PCI-E 8-pin, then you have two 8-pin connectors! :)
Then take both set of wires leading in the 160W HDPlex, combine them for what ever method you want your brick to plug into!

"hardest" part would just be to find where and how to mount the second 160W HDPlex.

Lol for real. Thanks for the how to def keep this in mind if I go this route.
 

Duality92

Airflow Optimizer
Bronze Supporter
Apr 12, 2018
305
328
You could even go as far as cutting away the 24-pin from the HDPlex for the GPU to have it even smaller, you'd have more room to solder the PS_ON and a ground on it to boot.