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Old November 6, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Shouldn't be much to this other than a few pics and some comments about Tiger Direct's Abysmal service here in Canada..... ;)


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Here's the new hardware I've received to date. AMD A8 6500 (Highest 65W A series proc I could find), Noctua NH-L9a low profile Cooler, Mini Box M350 mITX case, and I couldn't resist picking up a set of those 2133 ripjaws that CC had on for $85. I'm not sure how much of a difference the higher clock speeds will make, but logic would suggest that IGPs should get quite a boost from higher mem speeds.

Still to come is the Pico PSU from NCIX (was backordered, but is currently in transit) and the motherboard from Tiger Direct which has already done some travelling, but is currently sitting at their Naperville Il warehouse waiting to be shipped to me. (Rant to follow..... ;) ).

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My initial impressions of the case are better than I expected. The images I've seen led me to believe that it was mostly molded plastic construction, but instead it's a pretty solid metal construction except for the front panel. The only complaint I have so far is that the power switch feels flimsy, so much so that I initially thought it was broken until I had a chance to see how the internals work.


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The top cover is secured with a slotted rail system on the main body and held in place with a single screw on the rear panel. The front panel is held in place with plastic tabs similar to the front panel on a typical tower case, and gives access to the unshielded hidden USB ports (for Wi-Fi and/or wireless input devices) as well as the mount for a single 40mm fan.


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On the left is an image of the HDD mount which can be installed on either side of the case as required for clearance. Because of the way it's secured into slots on one end and then screws on the other it wouldn't be a simple thing to manufacture a second one so folks would probably be better off ordering a second one if they wanted to mount two drives. It's also interesting to note that there are mounts for two 40mm fans on this plate so if a person wanted to install a higher TDP processor (assuming they wanted to spend the big bucks on a 190W pico PSU), and weren't overly concerned about noise levels it offers a chance to improve internal airflow.

The R/H pic shows the slotted mounting holes on the bottom which can be used to mount directly to the back of a monitor (NCIX has vesa mounting screws for this purpose), or via 4 screws the same way as you'd mount a router or switch.


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Not much to see here other than the fact that forum posts sell hardware.... :) One of our members posted a member review on these sticks along with a link to a decent price at CC so I took the plunge telling myself that 2133 mem would be much better than any old 1600 I might stick into this build. :)


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Having never seen an A series chip I wasn't sure what heatsink they'd ship with thus wanting to ensure that I had clearance inside the M350 case I picked up this Noctua NH-L9a cooler based on it's 37mm height. This particular cooler is strictly AMD, but there are other versions out there. Certainly a quality package considering the PP price..... hell the metal noctua badge alone is worth the price of admission. :)


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Pretty straightforward looking heatpipe design, but damn that's some high density fins going on there. This thing weighs in at 465g which is surprisingly heavy for the size considering that a Hyper 212 weighs 626g yet is more than 4 times taller.


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Lastly here's a shot of the proc and a height comparison between the noctua and the stock AMD heatsink. Obviously my concerns about clearance were unfounded as the stock cooler is at least 1mm lower than the noctua. That said... I certainly expect that the noctua will provide better cooling at a much lower rpm/volume. Actually, now that I look at it again I was incorrect in my initial observation that the noctua is higher. If you look at the images you'll see that the AMD heatsink is sitting directly on the mating surface while the noctua has a built-in standoff that I didn't take into account. I'll have another look at the two once it comes time to start putting it together.

That's it for now... pico PSU is on it's way from the wet coast, and TD is due for another CS call from me trying to get the bloody motherboard headed my way. It's bad enough that TD Canada seems to ship most of its stuff from the US, but I'm especially unimpressed with the fact that an item listed as "in stock" on their website is actually dropshipped from a third party warehouse to them first and then sits around in their Naperville warehouse for more than a day (it arrived their on Monday and I'm still waiting) before being shipped to me.
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Old November 6, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Look forward to seeing how tight this is. :)
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Old November 6, 2013, 01:33 PM
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Can't wait to see some thermal numbers using the little HSF that could.
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Old November 6, 2013, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3.0charlie View Post
Can't wait to see some thermal numbers using the little HSF that could.
I've got a 40mm fan here that throws a hell of a lot of air around. With any luck there will be some kind of motherboard software which will allow me to turn a system fan on/off from outside of bios so that I could basically flick a switch from within windows (assuming I stick with windows) when/if I intend to put a heavy load on the system. I know for sure that I don't want to have a 40mm fan running 24/7.

That said.... this case is nothing but ventilation holes so I've got high hopes. :)
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Old November 8, 2013, 11:47 PM
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Interesting project

Love that Pic of the noctua cooler

She's a beaut
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Old November 12, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Crappy day outside so it's crappy indoor pictures for today.... ;)


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So after wending it's way through umpteen million US states and then across the border to Windsor / Concord the motherboard I ordered from TD finally made it's way to my door 15 days after the initial order was placed.

$100 + change doesn't buy a hell of a lot when it comes to accessories and features, but it does come with a mini slot for a wireless card. I threw in the shot of the backplate and motherboard to give some kind of reference scale. Until you play with one of these mITX boards you really don't get the impression of how small they really are.

So.... right into the build even though I haven't yet received the pico PSU. I figure I can even run it using a standard PSU for the install / testing / benching and that way I'll have a good idea of whether or not the 102W power brick I've got coming in is going to be sufficient.
All's going well until..........




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That bites!!! Not enough clearance between the CPU header and the Noctua HSF. Not sure if that's a motherboard issue or a heatsink issue. The documentation on the Noctua is pretty clear about not infringing on the area laid out in the specs for HSF clearance. I'll have to have a look at the header placement of other boards to see if this board is different from others out there.
Oh well.... I'll give it a try using the system header and hope that bios (or motherboard software) has the ability to tie that header to CPU temp / usage. That changes my plan(s) quite a bit as there are only two headers and I had hoped to run a 40mm case fan off of the system header in order to have the ability to turn the 40mm fan off completely unless there's a load.

And then this.................


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Well... that's that. It would be impossible to mount my SSD inside this case with the Noctua installed. There simply isn't enough clearance with a 92mm fan. :(
Fortunately it's not a complete loss... I now know that the stock AMD fan will fit inside this case so we'll have to see what the temps are like. Guess I'll have to find another use for that Noctua.
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Old November 12, 2013, 09:02 AM
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so if you push the fan over is in the way of the ram sticks?

man that sucks
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Old November 12, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
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so if you push the fan over is in the way of the ram sticks?

man that sucks
No, the memory is on the N/S edge, while the SSD mount is on the W/E edge. The memory is tight, but it fits. The fan can't be moved as the mounting screw anchors are holes incorporated into the HSF body. I could try to jury rig something up, but for now I'm just going to go with the stock cooler.

Oh... and the formatting issues aren't my fault..... ;)
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Old November 13, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Finally got the last shipment in for this build.


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In case you haven't seen one before. That's a Pico PSU. It's essentially a DC power brick with a few discrete components soldered directly onto the 24 pin motherboard connector. The "PSU" rating of this one is 150W, but apparently that's the rating of the 24 pin components with the power brick being rated at 110W. (More on that shortly.... ;) ).

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Tight spaces require a bit more attention to routing / clamping. It all fits, but I could have done without the 22" sata cable that shipped with the motherboard. I realize that many (if not most) of these mITX motherboards are going into larger cases which would need some length to the cables, but IMO, it'd be a lot easier to find longer cables if included short ones didn't fit than it would be to find short cables.

Currently doing stress tests with the case open in order to get a baseline for what effect the sides have on temps, but I've already run into a bit of a snag.... I was running a the 3dmark11 combined test in loop and had the PC reboot after about 15 minutes. When I checked, it probably wasn't temps that caused the reboot, I found that HWmonitor is reporting a peak of 148W on the "package" (I'm assuming that's both GPU and CPU) and the power brick was quite hot.

I doubt this rig will ever be asked to do that kind of combined load at any instance let alone over an extended period, but it does make me think that I might want to pick up a beefier power brick.
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Inwin 904 / Swiftech MCP655-b / Alphacool NexXxos XT45 120 Rad / 2X Scythe GT AP-15 / EK Supreme HF / Dell UltraSharp U2412M

Asrock AM1H-ITX / AM1 Athlon 5350 / 2X4G Gskill PC3-14900 / Intel 6235 Wi-Fi / 90W Targus Power Brick / 320G Seagate Momentus / Mini-Box M350 / 1X 22" Dell IPS / 1X 22" HP

Last edited by sswilson; November 13, 2013 at 01:00 PM.
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Old November 13, 2013, 07:59 PM
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great job on the cable mgmt. such a tiny tight build.
nice shot of the Pico adapter thingy too. thanks for sharing.
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