Concept The Slim Machine: a 4L gaming build

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Shrink Ray Wielder
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So I decided I'm going back to a HDPLEX unit for power, but not 250w. I'm still budget-minded so I'm getting the 160w power supply with an Alienware 19v adapter. These are pretty solid choices, I think.



Reason I went back with HDPLEX is for the wide voltage support. Finding a good 12v adapter within my budget is just harder with what I'm working with, while 19v-20v opens up a lot more options.
 
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Shrink Ray Wielder
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You could use the Pico Box Z4 as a wide input alternative, it is a little cheaper still and less footprint and cable mess.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...supply-board-with-12V/211500_32651583399.html

Z4 was gonna be my previous choice, but only disposable money I have at the time is PayPal and Bitcoin. I would totally buy it if I can use PayPal (plus don't need to make nice looking wire harnesses) but to my disappointment, Aliexpress stores don't support PayPal in general.

However, the good news is that I haven't yet bought the DC-ATX power supply. Is there any way I can arrange a PayPal purchase with Pico-box?
 
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Ceros_X

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Z4 was gonna be my previous choice, but only disposable money I have at the time is PayPal and Bitcoin. I would totally buy it if I can use PayPal (plus don't need to make nice looking wire harnesses) but to my disappointment, Aliexpress stores don't support PayPal in general.

However, the good news is that I haven't yet bought the DC-ATX power supply. Is there any way I can arrange a PayPal purchase with Pico-box?

http://m.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=P...TR0.TRC0.Xpico+box+z4+psu&sqp=pico+box+z4+psu

A lot of the Chinese sellers also sell direct on eBay.
 

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Minor update...

Not much going on, mostly waiting for some parts LOL. But I did say this is gonna be a slow-ish build :p I got my M14x power adapter in the mail today, it's not too shabby and not too big in size (in case anyone's wondering it's roughly 3 x 6 x 1 inches in size).



Still haven't bought the Z4 power supply but I already bought the Sintech 5cm riser and it was just shipped last weekend. Also, after selling off some old water cooling stuff I'd also be able to probably sell off my CPU as well, and replace it with a lower power i3 or i5 CPU.
 
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In the meantime, I'm testing an OLED display for programming. One of these is going into the case, to drive the logic between reading the CPU and GPU data from the desktop software to the hardware. It's a Digispark development board with an Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller, and true to its name it is very small.



I adapted some third party libraries to make the display work with the ATtiny. The following picture is a bitmap test. I will use a larger display for the actual case, but the IC drivers would be very similar so I don't expect to do a lot of changes to the programming.

 

Phuncz

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Very impressive ! I've always loved tiny displays for status info but I'm just too noobly for that.
 
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Shrink Ray Wielder
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Very impressive ! I've always loved tiny displays for status info but I'm just too noobly for that.

Thanks! Embedded programming is an area of programming I want to get into more so I figured, why not do something PC hardware related while I'm learning it. Some people get into it from an electronics engineering background, but others like myself are more software programming focused. I'm experienced in web development and am getting back in re-learning C and C++. I want to see how software works closer to bare metal.
 
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Soul_Est

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Thanks! Embedded programming is an area of programming I want to get into more so I figured, why not do something PC hardware related while I'm learning it. Some people get into it from an electronics engineering background, but others like myself are more software programming focused. I'm experienced in web development and am getting back in re-learning C and C++. I want to see how software works closer to bare metal.
It works really well. ;)
 

FCase

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In the meantime, I'm testing an OLED display for programming. One of these is going into the case, to drive the logic between reading the CPU and GPU data from the desktop software to the hardware. It's a Digispark development board with an Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller, and true to its name it is very small.



I adapted some third party libraries to make the display work with the ATtiny. The following picture is a bitmap test. I will use a larger display for the actual case, but the IC drivers would be very similar so I don't expect to do a lot of changes to the programming.


This looks awesome!
What is the max size limit LCD the ATiny can drive? Can it handle say a 5" LCD?

Mal
 

aquelito

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So I decided I'm going back to a HDPLEX unit for power, but not 250w. I'm still budget-minded so I'm getting the 160w power supply with an Alienware 19v adapter. These are pretty solid choices, I think.



Reason I went back with HDPLEX is for the wide voltage support. Finding a good 12v adapter within my budget is just harder with what I'm working with, while 19v-20v opens up a lot more options.

The HDPLEX unit price has been lowered to $35 :)
 
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Shrink Ray Wielder
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This looks awesome!
What is the max size limit LCD the ATiny can drive? Can it handle say a 5" LCD?

Mal

The limits depend partly on the power and current draw than on the size of the LCD, but I think it would have problems powering the backlight of most 5" LCDs. Maximum rated current output is 40mA per pin on the ATtiny and even then it's best to not get close to that amount to prevent hardware damage. Also, since a 5" LCD is likely to be full-color and at a higher resolution (at least QVGA) it's rare to have a low-powered processor with few pins control a display like that. It's better to go with one of the more capable AVR processors, or a Raspberry Pi (the Pi Zero would be enough).

The HDPLEX unit price has been lowered to $35 :)

Wow, that really opens up my options, doesn't it. I wonder what drove down the price. It will be a big tougher to install, what with the OLED circuit that I will also have to make and put in there, but that's part of the challenge of SFF isn't it :p
 
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Shrink Ray Wielder
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New parts get!!

I got my i3 4130T yesterday and just installed it tonight. It's working well- temps are curiously not that different from the G3258 and neither was the Cinebench score (I did OC the Pentium to 4Ghz to be fair though). But that's not the main point. I bought it to save on power and leave more overhead for the GPU.



Also, after weeks of waiting, the Sintech riser. It's finally here.



It's listed at 5cm long. Don't know how they measure it exactly, the inside part of the cable is a bit shorter than that. But it's all that I need for this case.



Next up, I'm probably getting the DC power supply and a new CPU cooler.
 

aquelito

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Wow, that really opens up my options, doesn't it. I wonder what drove down the price. It will be a big tougher to install, what with the OLED circuit that I will also have to make and put in there, but that's part of the challenge of SFF isn't it :p

I guess they lowered the price to cope with the fierce competition on this particular 150ish Watts segment.

  • Pros :
- Much less heat produced by let's say PicoBox units (good product but gets burning hot, while HDPLEX remains cool),
- Possibility to use either 5.5 or 7.4 barrel connectors.

  • Cons :
- More cables to manage (just the 24Pin ATX cable)

It is probably easier to address the cable issue than the heat issue !
 

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Shrink Ray Wielder
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I'm guessing it's also safe to operate the 160w HD-PLEX for a system that may use somewhat more than 160w, as long as it's under the 200w peak? Given the robustness of how much the 250w variant is pushed to go past that, I'm assuming so.

Edit: no matter now, I took the plunge and ordered the HD-PLEX :D
 
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aquelito

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According to HD-PLEX website, the 160W unit can allow 200W peaks (10A on the 12V line though).

Best is to send an email to Larry from HD-Plex, very helpful and quick to answer !
GPU can be indeed very demanding and have somewhat of an "erratic" power consumption.
 

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Shrink Ray Wielder
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According to HD-PLEX website, the 160W unit can allow 200W peaks (10A on the 12V line though).

Best is to send an email to Larry from HD-Plex, very helpful and quick to answer !
GPU can be indeed very demanding and have somewhat of an "erratic" power consumption.

Yeah, I can see power spikes being a potential problem. I'm not as concerned right now with a GTX 950 mini but looking into the future for a slight upgrade (maybe GTX 960) I probably have to upgrade the power supply anyways.

Power tests for my particular graphics model are hard to find. I just found a German website that reviewed my card, and has this chart for total system power. Keep in mind that these figures were on a system tested with a i7-4820k.



There's about a 80w difference between gaming and idle (which they considered to be regular internet usage). My CPU is more low-power so I expect gaming load numbers to be more reasonable, probably in the 110w-120w range. (I REALLY need to get a watt meter for power tuning, though :x ) This starts to reach the limits of the 12v rail of the HD-PLEX.

I'll email Larry to see if a GTX 950 would strain the PSU too much. I'd probably have to undervolt it.
 

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Shrink Ray Wielder
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Larry was very quick in responding, got notified that he emailed back last night. Good news, the 160w HD-PLEX should be sufficient to power a 90w GPU provided that I can supply power to its 6-pin connector.

The way I will probably do it is create a custom wire extension from the 4+4 pin EPS connector. Since I won't be doing any overclocking with the CPU (and possibly undervolt, in fact), I will only require 4 pins to power the motherboard, then I can split off the second 4-pin connector to a 6-pin adapter for PEG.

For the SATA connector, probably need just one connector for one secondary hard drive, as I already have an m.2 hard drive for my OS. The OLED display on the case won't need to be directly connected to the PSU, as it's powered by one of the USB motherboard headers to provide 5v to the display.
 

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Finally, remember way back (it seems like a long time ago!) when I showed the start of cutting the sheet metal for the frame? I didn't make much more progress on that. I'm gonna pass on using that sheet because at 11 gauge it's just way too thick to be formed and cut easily with hand tools. So instead I will get a 16 gauge or 18 gauge sheet and start over again.

Here is an up to date drawing for how the frame will be cut. The motherboard tray will be made out of two separate pieces on opposite sides. Only enough material would be cut to have the standoff holes for support.



The sheet will be bought pre-anodized and pre-cut to 24" x 8". I chose this size as being the most cost-effective I that can find with pre-cut sheets.

--------------------------------

I also got my HD-Plex 160w in the mail today. I think most of you know what it looks like already.



Also I pre-bent the riser cable a few days ago and it does a good job holding its shape. Just check out how much I had to form it for it to meet where the connector would be. I have yet to test to see if the card would actually run stable without any problems.

 
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