STX with m.2 GPU fun build

TheGooseIsHere

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Dec 26, 2016
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Thought I'd make a thread for my ongoing experimentation with an STX + gpu build. It won't be in a fancy case like like Aibohphobia's build, but I may make a simple enclosure out of acrylic to case the gpu and PSU etc!

I will update this thread as I experiment more with various stuff and progress towards a finished build :)

The ultimate goal is to power all the components through one power brick, although for reasons discovered by other members of the forum this may not be possible with the currently available picoPSUs on the market (Motherboard takes 19V DC input, graphics cards need 12V DC input, not many wide input picoPSUs on the market that are capable of powering a high end gpu).

Parts Ordered/Owned (some may or may not be used in the final build)
ASRock DeskMini 110 case and 120W adapter
ASRock H100m-stx motherboard
Intel i5-6500 CPU
1x 8GB RAM ddr4 sodimm
MSI GTX 750 ti low profile (might buy a 1050 ti to upgrade)
Gigabyte GTX 970 mini (going to try it out as well)
Bplus P4SM2 m.2 to pci-e x4 adapter
generic 16x pci-e extension cable
generic powered 4x -> 16x powered pci-e extension cable (going to see which one works better)
Corsair SF450 PSU (to power graphics card temporarily until a new solution is found)

Thread contents
1. Intro (Case pictures / PSU / Cable discussion) (this post and following posts)
2. Pics after installing CPU/RAM onto motherboard
3. 5.5x2.5mm DC connectors tested/wires
4. Pic of motherboard / low profile graphics card
5. Powering both the motherboard and gpu off 1 adapter
6. Cardboard mockups of how the enclosure might look


ASRock DeskMini 110 case opened up
I'm glad that all sides of the case are separate pieces held together with screws, should be good for modding :)

I think it was worth buying the case instead of just the motherboard, since the motherboard plate is pretty awesome (pictures in the spoiler)


 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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So picking up from my build log thread, I don't see any reason to power the card from the riser instead of the P4SM2. If the power source is clean then you should have no issue powering the card from the P4SM2.

The main things to look at to prevent stuff from getting fried is the splitter and the AC adapter itself.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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So picking up from my build log thread, I don't see any reason to power the card from the riser instead of the P4SM2. If the power source is clean then you should have no issue powering the card from the P4SM2.

The main things to look at to prevent stuff from getting fried is the splitter and the AC adapter itself.
I don't know much about electronics, but most of the splitters I've found on ebay are sort of aimed at CCTV camera useage, which presumably doesn't need as much power as a PC... how could I be sure that the splitter cable could withstand high amounts of wattage? Would it be better to make my own splitter? I have heard of dual molex > pci-e cables getting fried when the wrong type is used for graphics cards, so it is a potential cause for concern...

For the AC adapter, I would definitely go for a high quality one (e.g. a dell 230w/330w one) over a cheap one. And for the power supply, would you recommend going with say an HDPLEX 250 over a 160w picoPSU? Or should either do fine?

Just found this video of an HDPLEX 250 powering a 1080 and an i7 with a 19.5V Dell adapter! Cool stuff.

 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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The picoPSU-160-XT is 12V input and the pico-PSU-120WI-25V can take 19V but is only rated for 120W. I know the 160W can be run a higher wattages than what it's rated at but it's basically just passing through the 12V, I'm not sure if the 120W can be safely pushed above what it's rated.

Running a system with a video card off the 120W would be cutting it too close I think. So that would leave either the HDPLEX 250W DC-ATX, or if you want to save space and can wait then the upcoming 160W (really it's 200W) direct-plug unit they'll be releasing hopefully next month.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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Found this paragraph regarding the 120w wide input picoPSU

If the input is 6 to 8VDC or 16 to 24VDC, the +12V output capability is only 4A.
(source http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story&reid=207 )

Meaning that even 48W might be too much for it to handle on the 12V rail

This article also tests all the picoPSUs but only up to 4A on the 12V rail, so it's hard to tell if they can support any higher than that.

So it seems the HDPLEX 250W might be the safest bet but it is quite expensive to import to the UK so I may end up waiting a month or two and seeing if anything else comes out..
 
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Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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Ah yes, I forgot that the picoPSU's can't do the full wattage on the 12V anyway.

HDPLEX has a Germany warehouse so I don't know if that helps.

For the splitters, I'm not seeing many options for 5.5 x 2.5mm. There's lots for 5.5 x 2.1mm but like you said, they're for security cameras and not higher-amperage applications.

So you may have to use something like this and cobble up your own harness: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-pcs-5-5-x...514121?hash=item3cf00e6989:g:xOYAAOSwyZ5Uq~OC

Or wait for the custom board @ilovelampshade is working on.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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The fact that HDPLEX has a germany warehouse would make it easier for me, but it's also the exchange rate from USD>GBP that has gone insane (thanks brexit). I guess I could still get it if it is the only option though.

I guess the splitter will have to be a DIY job then (the Dell adapter actually uses a 7.5x5mm output plug), which worries me as I may end up damaging components like ilovelampshade experienced. If it will theoretically work, I need to be sure that the wire and plugs I choose can withstand the wattage required without burning out (not sure if normal thin wire can tolerate that?). I'm not very knowledgeable about electronics so might need some advice on that.
 

Aibohphobia

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Feb 22, 2015
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Can't go wrong with 16AWG wire for the amperages we're talking about. 18AWG would work do if needed.

Keep in mind that with wire gauges the larger the number, the smaller the diameter.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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Cool, well I've ordered some 18AWG wire and a couple of 5.25mm plugs. Will do some experimenting on an old laptop charger and see if it still works after cutting it up and splicing in the new plug. Really tempted to buy an HDPLEX 250 but I will wait for now until I've tested the setup with a standard atx power supply first.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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Aibohphobia

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That first unit can only do 6A on the 12V.

The other one can do 8A which is better but I suspect that it's not designed to run a pure 12V load and may have the same instability issues I've run into.

Whatever route you go, if it's designed to power a motherboard with ATX connectors, then you'll have to jumper the PS_ON pin to keep the PSU on.
 

jtd871

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Jun 22, 2015
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IIRC, @QinX had an issue powering his GPU with a thin-mitx board for his now-defunct custom watercooled project. I think he worked up a custom riser to supply power from the power supply that was different from the 12V or 19V that powered the mobo. Maybe he could offer some guidance on this subject.
 

QinX

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The problem I anticipated with the Thin-ITX build is that the 4x slots is officially only suited for 25W on the slow, whilst 16x slots can be 75W
Since I already had to make a Riser I decided to disconnect the 12V from the slot all together and provide that via a secondary source to the GPU, the HDPlex in this case.

However the actual power problems only start occuring after I upgraded from a GTX970 to a R9 Nano and this is solely by the ridiculous power spikes from the R9 Nano combined with what @Aibohphobia said, the fact that notebook power adapters are designed to power a battery with constant voltage and current and not fluctuating current like with GPUs.

I've heard from some people that keeping the GPU powered constantly with 12V even when the rest of the system is of does not introduce any problems. I've not tested this myself since my solution ended up shutting down the HDPlex when the system is turned of.

Lastly I'd like to note that I'm running the R9 Nano with the HDPlex for almost an entire year and since I've gotten a proper high power PSU. The Meanwell ERP-350-24 I've never had any more problems with the R9 Nano outside of some funky Furmark tests.

I still need to test if I can run the entire system of the ERP-350-24 which includes a 4790K.
 
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Runamok81

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The problem I anticipated with the Thin-ITX build is that the 4x slots is officially only suited for 25W on the slow, whilst 16x slots can be 75W
Since I already had to make a Riser I decided to disconnect the 12V from the slot all together and provide that via a secondary source to the GPU, the HDPlex in this case.

However the actual power problems only start occuring after I upgraded from a GTX970 to a R9 Nano and this is solely by the ridiculous power spikes from the R9 Nano combined with what @Aibohphobia said, the fact that notebook power adapters are designed to power a battery with constant voltage and current and not fluctuating current like with GPUs.

I've heard from some people that keeping the GPU powered constantly with 12V even when the rest of the system is of does not introduce any problems. I've not tested this myself since my solution ended up shutting down the HDPlex when the system is turned of.

Lastly I'd like to note that I'm running the R9 Nano with the HDPlex for almost an entire year and since I've gotten a proper high power PSU. The Meanwell ERP-350-24 I've never had any more problems with the R9 Nano outside of some funky Furmark tests.

I still need to test if I can run the entire system of the ERP-350-24 which includes a 4790K.

@QinX Have you tried using Clockblocker to stabilize your R9 Fury? That may help. I've used the nVidia equivalent - KBoost - to stabilize voltage swings on nVidia cards.

AMD Clockblocker
Specifically, it was designed to do so on cards operating with the newest power-management scheme -- where customization of AMD's CCC profiles no longer works to lock clock speeds at the maximum. What makes the tool unique is that it does this in a very generic way through creating a near zero-load OpenCL compute workload ... this workload tricks the drivers (so to speak) in to believing that high clocks are needed, and thus prevents throttling of the card.

nVidia K-Boost
K-Boost disables all of the power saving features that current video cards use to aid with lower temperatures and lower power consumption. The major benefit of K-Boost is to help remove the sudden drops in voltage and clock speeds that happen dynamically when stressing video cards. Removing these can reduce performance inconsistencies and instabilities when overclocking
 
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TheGooseIsHere

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Dec 26, 2016
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The problem I anticipated with the Thin-ITX build is that the 4x slots is officially only suited for 25W on the slow, whilst 16x slots can be 75W
Since I already had to make a Riser I decided to disconnect the 12V from the slot all together and provide that via a secondary source to the GPU, the HDPlex in this case.

However the actual power problems only start occuring after I upgraded from a GTX970 to a R9 Nano and this is solely by the ridiculous power spikes from the R9 Nano combined with what @Aibohphobia said, the fact that notebook power adapters are designed to power a battery with constant voltage and current and not fluctuating current like with GPUs.

I've heard from some people that keeping the GPU powered constantly with 12V even when the rest of the system is of does not introduce any problems. I've not tested this myself since my solution ended up shutting down the HDPlex when the system is turned of.

Lastly I'd like to note that I'm running the R9 Nano with the HDPlex for almost an entire year and since I've gotten a proper high power PSU. The Meanwell ERP-350-24 I've never had any more problems with the R9 Nano outside of some funky Furmark tests.

I still need to test if I can run the entire system of the ERP-350-24 which includes a 4790K.

Interesting... So in short, you're saying that the HDPlex worked with the ERP-350-24 PSU, but not a laptop charger? I thought people had got other GPUs working with Dell chargers (e.g. 980s/1080s) before? (although not sure if they fluctuate as much as the nano).

I went and looked up the ERP-350-24 which outputs 24 V DC (21-26), which I'm not sure will be compatible with powering both an HDPLEX and the STX motherboard at the same time (which requires ~19V)
 
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QinX

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Mar 2, 2015
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@QinX Have you tried using Clockblocker to stabilize your R9 Fury? That may help. I've used the nVidia equivalent - KBoost - to stabilize voltage swings on nVidia cards.

No I haven't tried that yet, but as of right now I have no problems with the R9 Nano, but I'll look into that in the future.

Interesting... So in short, you're saying that the HDPlex worked with the ERP-350-24 PSU, but not a laptop charger? I thought people had got other GPUs working with Dell chargers (e.g. 980s/1080s) before? (although not sure if they fluctuate as much as the nano).

I went and looked up the ERP-350-24 which outputs 24 V DC (21-26), which I'm not sure will be compatible with powering both an HDPLEX and the STX motherboard at the same time (which requires ~19V)

The HDPlex works beautifully with laptop chargers, that is the intended use case. However the R9 Nano is a strange beast and it isn't the HDPlex that is at fault. Nvidia GPUs seem to have less problems and the R9 Nano seems to be an exception on the AMD side.

Since the GPU's you are looking to run aren't that power hunger, I wouldn't really worry much since a decent 300W brick should be more than enough for your system. I ran a GTX970 and 4670 for about 6 months with a single 350W brick, HP Voodoo.
 

TheGooseIsHere

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Thanks QinX, that is reassuring to hear!

CPU arrived today, so I finally got to test out the motherboard! Unfortunately the P4SM2 hasn't arrived yet (it's arriving tomorrow hopefully), so can't test it with a GPU yet.

First thing I feel when setting it up is the shock of how small it is. A full PC with desktop components in a container smaller than the average PSU.

To my surprise, it managed to boot into my other PC's windows SSD straight away without having to install any drivers :eek:

CPU temps are very low which isn't really surprising given that it's a lower powered CPU in an open case (hovering around ~50 degrees C after about 15 minutes of prime 95).

Pictures of the CPU, RAM and SSD installed





 
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TheGooseIsHere

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Ok so I made this extension cable out of 18AWG wire and a couple of 5.5x2.5mm plug sockets and just to test if the wire and plugs work.

In very feint writing on the side of the green part of the plugs it says: 300V 8A 14-26AWG. I can't imagine anyone actually putting 300V through this though lol.

Edit: tested it and it's working.

 
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ricochet

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Ok so I made this extension cable out of 18AWG wire and a couple of 5.5x2.5mm plug sockets and just to test if the wire and plugs work.

In very feint writing on the side of the green part of the plugs it says: 300V 8A 14-26AWG. I can't imagine anyone actually putting 300V through this though lol.

Edit: tested it and it's working.

Enjoying your detailed updates and pics... keep 'em coming! Good luck!