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G1217 AMD AM1 SFF quad core Mini ITX desktop build / business machine

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Garage1217, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    It has been a while so I decided to build something rather different.

    My needs:

    - Super small desktop that sips power as the unit will run up to 14 hours a day
    - Must sit on the desktop / take up as little room as possible. No larger than 8x8x2"
    - Must be as affordable as possible
    - Decent sized drive / must be SSD
    - Powerful enough to run standard business software (visio, power point, excel, word, light graphics and photo programs, website programs... and so on) without hesitation or noticeable performance drop off.
    - Also dual or triple monitor support

    Basically everything but a gamer.

    Building on some recent experience building a simple AM1 based machine and knowing how snappy it was with all the software I use, I decided right away this would be the base. Some say the AM1 is good for nothing but a file server or HTPC. After using one for a short time and getting a feel for it... anyone that browses, uses basic software and so on could live with one of these and never want more if they do not game or do things like heavy photo / video work. The darn little thing just runs like hell for normal / basic use!

    So I built my parts list
    - 5350 AM1 CPU $65. Using stock headsink with a super low profile fan (additional $10)
    - ASRock AM1H-ITX mobo (with direct DC input as this is critical for me / keeping it tiny) $60
    - 8gb dual sticks of corsair Vengeance LP (I would recommend a single stick of 8 or 4gb. No reason for dual since AM1 is single channel - slight waste of power. I had these so making use of them) $40-$90 depending on what you buy
    - SSD Corsair Neutron GTX 240gb ssd. Refurbed for $95. This could also be a much smaller SSD from $60-$90 depending
    - Meanwell GS90 19V DC power supply, direct into the AM1H Mobo! No ATX supply to deal with, thus dropping the size of the pc drastically $30
    - Wireless AC module $20 for an EDIMAX (love these cheap things) or do not use wireless and hard line at no cost
    - Using windows 7 pro 64 that I already had. Or buy it for $90.

    For this particular build the cost is $460 with OS if one purchased everything new which is a little silly for a machine like this. Understanding many do not show the cost of the OS when showing their build sheet, that would put the build at $370. Still is to high for a system like this. Take away the not necessary ram I used, take away the wireless module and take away the large capacity SSD and one could have a system like this for..
    - $60 cpu
    - $65 mobo
    - $30 PSU
    - $40 single stick of 1600 found used all over for $40 or less
    - $60 120gb refurbed SSD
    Total: $255 or $345ish with OS.

    Here is a photo of the Mobo as it stands waiting for the slim fan to arrive. I put some sunglasses in the photo so one can get an idea of the size the PC will actually be when finished. Chassis will only add about .5" per side all the way around. The loose battery and cable looks like crap. I will probably re-locate this to the bottom of the PCB and hide it.
    [​IMG]

    Now onto the chassis. I run a small business designing affordable HiFi headphone amplifiers and such. The way we build our affordable chassis will directly apply and work for how I will be building the custom chassis for this PC. It utilizes standoffs, a little hardware, rubber feet and laser cut and etched acrylic. Here is an example of one of the amps and how a simple chassis works... (shameless plug)

    [​IMG]

    The chassis is built in layers like this...
    [​IMG]



    I also have to work in and build in the hard drive mount which after measurements, will have to go under the PCB. Good news is that I have figured this out while keeping the design slim. Also cables will be close to 100% hidden so all one will see is the connections at the back of the amplifier. If possible I will build in a pair of drive mounts but have to make more measurements to make sure this can happen.

    The only bad news is that I have to travel to Australia on business all next week so there will be a little delay until I am able to show the finished design (if anyone cares) a "lord business" machine is nothing impressive to the masses :)


    Kudos to ASRock for bringing more mobos to the market with direct DC in!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
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  2. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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  3. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Very cool - checked it out! HA = we use the same fan for the stock heatsink :)

    I mostly finished the chassis design last night. Sending it off to my laser cutter guy to make it happen. Wish I did not travel all this next week or I would have it together this weekend. Chassis ended up 7.75 x 7.75 and is a littler taller than I wanted at about 2.25". It could have been smaller but I added some angles and curves to the acrylic as it accents lighting when done this way.
     
  4. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Nothing big, just one part installed before my trip out. 50mm low profile fan. Cable was silly long so I reduced the length significantly. Also used 4-40 stainless socket caps to mount the fan. The little details matter :)
    - Still need to take care of the cmos battery cable setup as it looks ugly
    - Custom momentary switches that will attach to the top panel will hopefully be in when I get back late next week. Their wiring will route behind the ram so it will barely be seen connecting to the mobo

    Wish the manufacturers got their arses in gear and released their low profile fans for the AM1 already. Each I spoke to said late next month. Ugh... This works though. Also crazy to see some overclocking the 5350 past 3ghz! Most around 2.5 stable. Fascinating what this little cheap toy chip can do.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    And... 99% finished :) She turned out great - exactly what I had envisioned.

    - Excuse the red sata cable. Was a tad long and it was supposed to be black but was shipped the wrong cable.
    - Final dimensions are 7.75" x 7.75" x 2.25" This is one small quad core!

    Some photos:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You can see how small it is next to my mouse and laptop..
    [​IMG]

    Barely takes up any room on the desktop!
    [​IMG]

    An image of how the hard drive is mounted on the bottom and cables routed...
    [​IMG]

    Drive is physically bolted to the bottom
    [​IMG]
     
  6. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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    OMG, that is like distilled sex *** NERDGASM *** :respect:
     
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  7. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Much appreciated!
     
  8. newtekie1

    newtekie1 Semi-Retired Folder

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    That is awesome looking!
     
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  9. Devon68

    Devon68

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    I must be missing something. How is it powered I don't see the 24 pin cable connected or the PSU for that matter
     
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  10. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Good question, the AM1H-ITX is the first AM1 mobo to take direct DC input (19V) like a laptop. The DC jack is located at the right rear of the mobo. No messy ATX supply needed - regulation is on board. The PSU I used is a meanwell 19V / Model GS90A19-PM1.

    Props to ASRock for building the board this way! I definitely have a few wishes for a future rev of this board...
    - Do away with the ATX header totally and all associated
    - Put power, reset buttons and leds right on the front edge. Maybe even a pair of USB
    - Get rid of the PS/2 port, MOAR USB
    - Bottom of the PCB, add a socket for a full sized SSD or M-PCIE

    Understood that the PCB layouts (atx, micro atx, mini ITX and so forth) are designed to make things compatible.... with pretty much everything. But think outside the box manufacturers. Build a killer board designed around being compact and functional. Then the aftermarket will respond. I tried to do this as much as I could with this mobo in making everything on board in a compact chassis but the layout is limiting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
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  11. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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  12. Devon68

    Devon68

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    Didn't know a thing like this existed. That's kind of awesome.
     
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  13. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Very awesome. I always wanted a socketed mini itx mobo with dc input and could never figure out why a manufacturer did not make one. Was browsing and just happened upon this board - got all nerded out and bought it straight away!

    I know if more people knew about it, they would buy it! DC input Makes builds simple, and eliminates a load of wire clutter (which could be further reduced per my above suggestions) And with more efficient processors coming out all the time / better APU's, going this route makes a lot of sense for business applications and light duty gamers.
     
  14. stinger608

    stinger608 Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder

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    Very awesome little build!!! Man, with I had the resources to build a custom mITX case!
     
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  15. james888

    james888

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    That case is just amazing. That is low cost? It looks premium.
     
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  16. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Much appreciated! and yeah - the case is pretty low cost. With power switches (would have to DIY cables for power / reset and leds / sata and whatever else) it would run about $39.99.

    I have to say it does everything I ask it to do and plenty quick! I can recommend this combo to anyone looking for a low power setup for business / streaming / surfing applications. It rocks!
     
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  17. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Just running some general power measurements on the AM1H-ITX mobo and 5350...
    - Idle is 19-20w
    - General usage 22-25w (browsing and so forth)
    - Streaming Netflix 28 - 32w

    No undervolting. I could undervolt the ram but no options for the cpu with this mobo. So with my combo - it is what it is. Also if one used a single stick of ram, that should help a small amount as well in lowering overall draw. Not bad! And virtually no heat production - just even so slightly warmer air than ambient around the heatsink which is great for my hot AZ climate.
     
  18. stinger608

    stinger608 Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder

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    And you can build these for standard mITX motherboards?
     
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  19. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Notta, I would have to design one for each mobo individually. I just did the one for this mobo only
     
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  20. red_stapler

    red_stapler

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    Needs a banana for scale.

    (Also, I'm considering building one of these myself!)
     
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  21. Recca29

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    Just one word "awesome".
     
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  22. stinger608

    stinger608 Dedicated TPU Cruncher & Folder

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    Well damn........:p I suppose you would have to have the motherboard in front of ya to design the case. Dang it. :p
     
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  23. Garage1217

    Garage1217

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    Indeed :)
     
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  24. james888

    james888

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    So that leaves us the option of purchasing the case he has designed... Or him being a small business owner might consider giving you a case at cost if you send him a board to design a case off of for a short time... Heatware depending.
     
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  25. puma99dk|

    puma99dk|

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    really good looking itx system, i hope the cpu fan ain't killing ur ears :roll:
     

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