Should I attempt this idea? (3.9L AIO & 2.2L Layout/Design)

Should I?

  • Yes

    Votes: 6 66.7%
  • Waste of Time

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • Stop doing weird things with all your projects. Just no.

    Votes: 1 11.1%
  • Ditch the NUC,M-STX is where its at.

    Votes: 1 11.1%

  • Total voters
    9

ChainedHope

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 5, 2016
306
459
So I was playing with the idea of getting one of the Intel Skull Cannon Nucs for a (slightly overpowered) HTPC and mobile pc. Then after googling around I saw that someone had made an eGPU using a M.2 to PCI-e adapter and it worked. They tested the i7 version with a GTX1080 and was getting around 80% of the performance out of the GTX1080 which was completely fine for almost all gaming scenarios. The actual performance lose actually decreases when going up in resolution. Performance of 80-82% was at 1080p, then 86-88% at 1440p, and close to 96-98% at 4K. The comparisons were against a Z170 board running a 6700k. This sparked a lightbulb in my head and I started playing with ideas. I figure with a R9 Nano my performance loss would be less as it is a less powerful GPU.

Using the dimensions of the NUC casing I started playing with ideas and came with 2 designs. The first was an AIO design with an implemented front panel LCD. An Apple IPad Retina Display to be precise. The other design is similar but without the screen. The size difference between the two is so minimal that im not sure which I would attempt. The AIO has more room to add cooling, but adds around $250 to the cost of the build. The smaller build would be cheaper, but it also could only support small 40mm fans in addition to the blower cooler in the nuc and the reference cooler of the GPU. The DC-ATX psu is literally only used to power the GPU btw.

There is a bit more information in the layout pics. Sorry for the bland gray boxes, I was in a hurry. Not all components are there either (cables, risers, adapters) but from quick spec sheet skimming it seems the layout will work but will need slight modification.

Layout 1: AIO at ~3.9L. Could support better cooling, Has a 2048x1536 Display attached. Might switch to a smaller lower-res display however. The built in screen would only be used during travel/lan events/for setting up games pre-Vive game launch.


Layout 2: A ~2.2L Case. Very Small. Thats about it lol.


Extra Info

its not apparant but the HDPlex size was approximated (knew PCB size but not the hieght of the components), there is a 6-8mm gap between each component (its not apparent in the sketchup photos, namely layout 2). The designs both take advantage of the blower style fans in both the NUC and the reference Nano cooler with extra air intakes built into the sides (80mm for the AIO, 40mm for the smaller design) along with some venting on the top/bottom/back of the case.


So. Should I do it? Or maybe go with m-STX instead of the NUC and go with something like the STX160.0 build.
 

ChainedHope

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 5, 2016
306
459
The R9 nano still needs forced air if you don't want it to thermal throttle.

Nice idea though, keep up the good job.

Ive been using these nanos for a while now, they have throttled using everything but water lol. I already expect it to throttle, I just dont feel like buying a new card to try this project with. Was eyeballing a GTX1070 to use instead (lower tdp, less heat, more frames) but I would need to sell/trade one of my nanos to get the card and honestly I would hate to permanently cripple my main PC just to try an idea.