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Pics of mini-itx tiny, clear plexi-glas build

By Row1
Nov 20, 2013
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  1. Hi - I am posting pics of the min-itx computer I made within a clear, very small plexi-glas case.
    I was motivated to do this after reading abt the mini-itx form factor, including reading that it basically can do what a full ATX format MB could do, with some limits on RAM slots and vid cards, and reading abt the low-power, 35w tdp intel chips, with native video, that were a really cool fit between low power/low heat atom processors, and the usual intel or amd desktop CPUs. the low power makes it easier to have adequate cooling.

    it had to have a max power demand level that would allow a laptop-type power supply, with heat sink in the power cable and not in the computer case. --the micro-psu atx power supplies, plus appropriate laptop-type power cord, are a great set-up to allow this. [ I am fascinated by the atoms, but still not knowledgeable enough or excited enough to figure out my own build based on an atom.]

    I told my 7 year old son that we would make a computer together. he likes looking at lego dots com and other kid stuff. It would be small, since it was just for a boy. it would be cool since we like things to be cool.

    for items that might be visually cool to shop for, we shopped. the case was found on ebay. I though some aggressive, cool heat sinks on ram would fit, per my calculations, but I was wrong. I ordered g-skill ram with cool heat sinks, but had to remove the heat sinks to fit the case. temps are fine. that was abt it for what would look cool. the rest - not much - hard drive and cpu cooler - just had to fit.

    video was not a big concern. these intel chips have onboard, and these MBs know it. and, we are not intense gamers. [the future - maybe not so much I hope he is not living in my
    basement in 20 years playing rpg.]

    specs in next post.
  2. Row1

    Row1 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 355   +8

    Specs.
    intel g630t. a great price point with the performance we need for everything, at low power - 35w - our needs do not include rpg etc but includes web-browsing, transfer of pics from digital camera to hard drive, some MS Office stuff. ----stock cooler is very low profile, and fits.

    4 gb gskill ram.

    win7 home 64bit.

    Kingston 120 gb hd --repurposed from some other comp I had done.

    repurposed 40mm fan as case fan.

    usb 150mb/sec transponder -- from Frys for $10.

    Oh- big deal - MB is Intel mini-itx dh61dl. you can build a typical atx computer with this, but with limits - the only card slots are 1 (one) mini pci-e and pci-express.
  3. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,468   +622

    Cool, throw some of those pics up! I'm interested. :)
  4. Row1

    Row1 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 355   +8

    What would I do differently?

    the I/O shield that came with the MB did not fit the case. I saw no easy fix, since space is limited - in a big box, you could rig something to fit. I decided to just leave out the I/0 shield. if heat and airflow were an issue, I would rig something up. the problem now is that the shield does not contribute strength when pulling on connections.

    Since temps/cooling is not an issue, the open back is not an issue. Still, this represents an unsolved challenge and limit. in all of the comps I have built, the I/o shield dimensions have always been close enough for govt work. The Hong Kong manufacturers might want to accommodate typical I/o shield dimensions.

    I am not using the mini-pci-e connection at all.

    this is terrible . the mini-pci-e form factor is really cool.

    there are two likely ways to use this: wifi or hard drive. the case accommodates a 2.5 ssd very well - the way this case is set up, there is no space or temp advantage. the case could be shorter by eliminating the vertical space allowed for below-MB ssd - there is a limit, since this below-MB space also is part of cooling. the possible advantage might be 1/8 inch. so, going for pricey mini-pci-e SSD versus 2.5" ssd is just not worth it.

    The mini-pci-e slot could be used for wifi. But the USB wifi was easy, and works well. If you need higher transfer rates, you might have to figure out a mini-PCI-E solution. The challenge is where to put the antenna --

    you can use a min-PCI-E card - but you need to connect a typical stick antenna with a lead that connects to the mini-pci-e wireless cord by a connector standard called U.FL -- U.FL has a very small connector, then a very small wire lead leading to a stick antenna. The wire can easily be crimped, impairing performance. Plus, you have to have the prototypical wireless stick mounted somewhere - there is a hole above power supply hole that may be for this.

    so, I have not yet taken advantage of one very cool and tiny connection.

    otherwise, no great comments on what I would do differently.
  5. Row1

    Row1 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 355   +8

    Pics-

    Attached Files:

    cliffordcooley likes this.
  6. Row1

    Row1 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 355   +8

    Co01 - top view.
    two RAM sticks can be seen at right side, and pico-psu connection can be seen at upper right.
    Back with connections is at upper left.
    Co02 show comp from top, with tape measure showing 9 inch greatest dimension; also, plugged-in small speakers and plugged-in external CD-ROM (bottom) are visible - Win& loaded from Ext CD-ROM.
    co03 - micro-psu close-up. -a big deal is appreciating now the power supply is diff from a regular ATX. power demand is low, and heat sink is in cable, as in laptop. Cords pretty much stay where they are, and due to tight space, can be laid pretty darn close to cpu fan without special attention.
    co04 - underside; 40cm exhaust fan and vent holes can be seen - also - at top right is the 2.5 ssd mounted below MB, and to the left of that can be seen the CPU mount, from underside. -- the other set of vent holes, to the left, are to accommodate a SECOND 2.5" drive. Yes - you could have 2 SSD below MB, plus one mini-pci-e HD on MB - wow - think of the possibilities. heat would not be a big issue!
    co05 - close-up showing 40mm case fan (almost an oxymoron) and pci-e connection - you cannot see the hole in the rear panel that might work well for a wifi antenna - I do not believe there is a pci-e wifi card that would fit in the slot and fit the case side panel hole. but I have not tried. unlikely.
    co06 -rear panel with connections. tiny stubby usb wifi can be seen to left.
    ext speakers with traditional green plug can be seen, and 2.5 barrel power supply plug, laptop-style, can be seen at upper right. also seen is USB connection to USB multiplier, and video connection.
    co07 -- not a great pic, but the 2.5 ssd can be seen below MB - it is grey with white label, below MB where RAM socket of blue can be seen.
    thanks!
    misor and cliffordcooley like this.
  7. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,468   +622

    That looks pretty cool! Good job. :)


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