Building a Thin Mini-ITX PC: Small and Silent Performance

By Julio Franco ยท 23 replies
May 20, 2013
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  1. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    A Haswell powered Thin PC plus a eSATA connected external enclosure... I could dig it. I Mean, a long time ago I'd have considered buying a Mac Mini to do the job, but having a do it yourself option would make me even happier.
  2. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    We already have a Haswell Mini-ITX board so expect that review once the platform is released ;)
  3. TechGamer

    TechGamer TS Guru Posts: 370   +40

    A PC as small as a modem just a bit bigger that would be so much better got a bulky Coolermaster elite 431 which is big as hell but it does have a lot of space for upgrades but this PC would be perfect just to use even in schools.
  4. sviola_1

    sviola_1 TS Rookie

    What about APUs? I want a small pc, but still want it to pack some GPU power to run games.
  5. Beaver

    Beaver TS Rookie

    Kinda disappointing that this case is actually a little bigger than a case like the M350, which in turn accepts full height ITX boards. So I dont see a reason to take it instead of an M350, since I also lose a lot of USB ports and other connectors when using a thin ITX board.
  6. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    If you don't see a reason you obviously don't care for a silent computer.
  7. Beaver

    Beaver TS Rookie

    Geez, I was only offering a different view. No need to get personal or defensive.

    I care a lot for silent systems. I always have been. I have spent lots of money and time to insulate all of my cases very thoroughly I have ever owned, just so I could still use powerful components without using liquid cooling. I have also always used magnet bearing fans since they were available, since conventional bearings are too loud and unreliable for my taste.

    The fact of the matter is, that a normal ITX system with a thin cooler and a good quality, slow spinning fan on it, offers better cooling and is only audible when you put your ear very close to it. This case doesnt offer any advantage, instead its much more expensive than mentioned example and its a lot of work (and costly, if you use expensive thermal paste) to open and close again, if you just want to change or check something. There are MUCH better cases for half-height ITX boards out there, which actually are much smaller than said M350, and thus would at least offer one advantage.
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    It is unfortunate that manufacturers didn't open up to the Nano-ITX factor. It is another reason platforms like Raspberri Pi are so popular. In the meantime, a few companies come up with PC-s that use their own design of Nano-ITX, and thus charge way too much for it.

    Maybe be presence of Haswell on the market will induce some manufacturers to finally design nano-ITX boards. I'd love to assemble a Nano-ITX PC for home use...

    Nuh, don't be hasty, just need to find a big enough hammer...
  9. Okay I can definitely see a usage for this. It'd never replace my HTPC, but it could sit in another room (bedroom?) to stream from the HTPC, although the mini PCs that ASUS and co make would do the same thing.

    Or the next Xbox could do this as well (better than the current one anyway), which would render this moot. Anyway, all food for thought, thanks for the article.
  10. I really like the Thin Mini-ITX form factor. I have an Intel DQ77KB with i3 CPU in an M350 case running as a small, powerful wireless router. I also have an Intel DN2800MT used as a small server, but I plan to replace this with another DQ77KB and an i7 or Xeon.

    Computing has become so small now that you can just place it in the corner of a room or on a shelf somewhere.
  11. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Yeeeeeeeeesss. Can't wait.
  12. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    What about the use of AMDs (APUs)? Is the TDP too high?
  13. Zoner1501

    Zoner1501 TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +17

    Is this motherboard even on the market yet? Thin Mini-ITX motherboards are near impossible to find for sale...
  14. Where's the discussion of input power? Can this fanless system run off of a conventional (fanless) laptop power adapter, or does it need a conventional (fan-cooled) PSU? Input power sources are a very important detail that has been left out of the article.
  15. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    In the pricing portion of the conclusion they mention a 120 watt PSU. This is most likely a pico PSU, which uses a AC power adapter. It should be fairly obvious considering the form factor that a standard desktop PSU of any size would not be used.
  16. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    All of these Thin Mini-ITX systems run off a power brick, so yes it too is silent.

    Not being nasty, it just seemed that you missed the entire point of this product by making an apples to oranges comparison.
  17. Beaver

    Beaver TS Rookie

    Yep, Ive said that a nice healthy apple would be smarter to eat than a rotten orange.
    Guess its too hard to understand...
  18. Are there any known thin mini-itx Haswell boards yet?
    This is a nice solution for a HTPC but to be future-proof (4k), we'll probably need that new Iris gpu.
  19. I've had my eyes on this MOBO ever since ASRock posted it on their website. You got my hopes up, thinking it had finally come to market :). But a quick search showed it still isn't available :( Steve, maybe you have an idea of when it may be available, if at all, since you have one yourself?
  20. I would also like to know when this motherboard will be more readily available. A search found only one on eBay.

    Would definitely be interested in building one of these if I could get my hands on the mobo.
  21. CZroe

    CZroe TS Rookie

    Is it a *THIN* mini-ITX Haswell (LGA 1150) board?
  22. seanp789

    seanp789 TS Enthusiast Posts: 111

    For an article like this I would expect to have a table somewhere with all the components listed, priced, and linked to buy. I am still trying to figure what PSU you used so I can replicate the build. I would appreciate if you could add it and also include similar summary information in future articles.
  23. Pittnuma_gaming

    Pittnuma_gaming TS Rookie

    Out of interest would this build be good enough for a dedicated rendering machine? Running just Vegas? I'm looking for a small PC that I can set to render only, I can just remote desktop to it so dont need keyboard or monitor etc. Want to take the load off my main PC.

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