ITXGamer Archives

How to Measure Your System’s Power Use

Several readers have asked me how I measured the actual power usage of my test system in last weeks article on power supplies. It’s a simple process that I recommend every system builder undertake at least once to get a first hand understanding of the power requirements of their systems. Here is a quick little step by step on how I did it: Go to your local hardware store and ask for a power meter. Plug the power meter into your wall outlet and switch the display to show ‘watts’. Plug the power cable from your computer (or your power bar if you want to measure …
ITXGamer Archives

The Sparkle One: A GTX 570 in a Single Slot.

A couple of weeks ago I was asking around on the forums for suggestions on a single slot graphics card for a build I was planning. The consensus was that the Radeon HD5670 would be the best bet, as I had originally specified ‘no external power required’. Now that I have a better understanding of power requirements, I was leaning toward the HD5770 as the best single slot solution. Or not… The Sparkle One has recently made an appearance at CeBIT and despite an obvious handicap (seems it’s about 13 inches long) that will prevent it from being used inside …
ITXGamer Archives

You Probably Don’t Need As Much Power As You Think!

One of the most common questions I am asked by readers is for recommendations on the best power supply for their mini-ITX gaming systems. It’s one of the more popular topics on our forums. Not surprisingly, many builders are faced with dilemma of trying to spec a power supply that will suit their builds. It needs to have enough power to run high end components, yet be compact enough to fit into their chosen mini-ITX case; two requirements that do not often go hand in hand. There is a solution, but it requires that I go out on a limb …
ITXGamer Archives

Intel Halts Shipments of Sandy Bridge Chipset

Reports are abound that Intel has halted shipments of its Cougar Point chipset for the Sandy Bridge platform and will be issuing recalls of the affected chips. Apparently, Intel has discovered a design flaw in the Series 6 chipset the affects the SATA II 3Gbps controller. Intel says that temperature and voltage will cause the link to degrade over time. They are expecting a 5% failure rate over the next three years. Enthusiasts who utilize multiple SATA ports and push heavy workloads are most likely to be affected. Intel expects motherboard manufactures to have the new silicon by February and be fully recovered by …
ITXGamer Archives

MSI Reveals AMD Fusion E350IA-E45 Mini-ITX

MSI has released the details for their upcoming E350IA-E45 mini-ITX motherboard. The board is targeted for the HTPC builder and due to its integrated AMD Fusion APU; it’s also suitable for light gaming.  MSI has also included a PCI Express x16 slot, a feature that was not included on its Sandy Bridge mini-ITX offering, but it’s limited to x4 speed. The E350IA-E45 uses the AMD ‘Brazos’ E350 Accelerated Processing Unit that combines a dual-core 1.6 GHz processor and a DirectX 11 Radeon HD 6310 GPU. Video outputs include an HDMI port and VGA connector. Memory support is provided via two …
ITXGamer Archives

Gigabyte to Release a P67 Mini-ITX Motherboard?

It’s no secret that Intel’s decision to hamstring the overclocking abilities of the H67 chipset has proved to be a big disappointment to enthusiasts. For most system builders, it means choosing between having on board video support with the H67 chipset or foregoing video for overclocking support with the P67-based boards. For ITX system builders, we have no choice. We are limited to boards with H67 chipsets and have no hope of serious overclocking. That is, unless Gigabyte makes true on their promise. A few readers have pointed us to a report out of CES 2011 from techreport.com that claims …
ITXGamer Archives

Overclocking the H67-based Mini-ITX Intel DH67CF

Overclocking is a common practice in the gaming world. With the cost of high end gear being so high, the ablility to coax as many MHz as possible out of your equipment can help gain free performance. Although the debate will continue on about whether there is any real need to overclock, many users will still try to push the limits of their hardware. Intel’s recent H67 chipset is at the heart of all the current mini-ITX motherboard options and users are already clamoring to know what overclocking capabilities this chipset has. I’m not much of an overclocker, but even I can tell, …
ITXGamer Archives

Lian Li PC-Q08: A Not-So-Mini Mini-ITX Chassis

A user emailed me a few days ago with a problem. He needed a case for a new build and he was having trouble finding one he like. This is not an uncommon problem. While a wide assortment of mini-ITX cases are available, very few of them are suitable for a gaming system. To be suitable for a mini-ITX gaming system, a case must have two specific features. First, it requires two expansion slots to allow the use of double-wide video cards which have become the standard. Second, the case must have the ability to utilize an ATX power supply …