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Nick: jaeae  Info
Age: 32
Location: Turku

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htpc

Author: jaeae
Used time: 1 month
Cost: 800Ä
Categories: Full case | Cooling | Home entertainment

"micro-stereo-set pc"

I was using a quite noisy, big standard-sized pc, and @ summer 2006 I started to assemble a new, quieter and smaller one.

The chosen components:

- Enlight media center case; cheap and small, but a good starting point for modding
- MSI micro-atx K8NGM2-FID mobo (I wanted integrated graphics with DVI, and this board isn't bad otherwise either)
- Athlon 64 3500+ ,was cheap too
- 2GB of basic RAM
- 160GB Seagate, quite cool running and silent, only one platter
- Plextor PX-755A DVD, chosen because of the silent operation features
- M-Audio Revolution sound card, the onboard Realtek "HD" is just rubbish :)
- Seasonic S12 430W psu, should be enough for an adequate graphics card sometime in the future.
In this project, changing the psu isn't as easy as usually..

20.11.2006: Changed the Plextor dvd to Pioneer's
DVR-111. I have had compatibility issues between the dvd and motherboard. The mobo found the dvd drive only every now and then, even with the newest bios & firmware. Changing cables didn't help either. However, the Plextor drive works fine in my sister's PC now. Weird? :P


Modding the psu

The biggest problem in Enlight's case is the inadequate power supply, which only has 250 watts. There might be some 300W units, and maybe even more, but they aren't that easy to get. Luckily I noticed that a standard ATX psu's circuit board is just as long as the micro-ATX's board is wide, so it can be fitted in the smaller frame lengthwise. I had to buy a psu with a 120mm fan, because then the factory has had to use low profile heat sinks. If the psu is fitted with a 80mm fan, then the heat sink fins would probably be higher and the board would 
not fit into the smaller micro-atx psu frame.

I made a new bottom plate from 1,5mm galvanized steel, put threads to the screw holes and installed the psu board on the plate with bolts. I used the filter cap/coil assembly in the micro-psu frame, since the components seemed to be of same values. Actually, the psu boards look very similar. I guess they originally came from the same factory...

Next thing was to do a some kind of cover to install the psu fan on the psu heat sinks. I made it from 1,5 mm black polystyrene plastic (available from Teollisuus Etola). It's very easy to cut with carpet knife and shape with hot air gun, and it doesn't get so damned full of static electricity, like the similar plastic PVC does. I used a 80mm AC Arctic Fan 8 as the psu fan. The fan blows directly on the hotter heat sink, which also has the psu included fan controller sensor attached to it. I didn't make any plastic plates to cover the sides of the finished power supply, because the other side is quite tightly on the bottom of the Enlight case and the other side is sealed with foam.

alt

Airflow design

The MSSPC (new definition for small htpc? :D ) has two fans; one for the psu mentioned above, and one bigger 120mm fan for cooling the processor, system- and graphics controllers and hard disk. The 120mm Arctic Fan 12 draws air in from two places: (1) through the back fan holes, which originally held 2 x 60mm units and (2) through the perforation above the pci/pci-e slots. The psu fan helps by drawing the airflow to go through the processor heat sink (XP-90C).

alt

Those black plates are made of the same polystyrene as the psu cover. Without them, the air would just go around the heat sinks; straight from the openings to the 120mm fan on top. Airflow guides try to get incoming air to flow up the processor heat sink. Flow number 2. also sweeps the nforce gpu (that small silver heat sink behind cpu) and some of the nforce system controller too. This arrangement works well (so far), the gpu seems to stay at acceptable temp, although the stock heat sink is smallish. Cpu temps stay around 40...45 C.










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05.10.2007 05:49 bluebrightI dig those airflow setups. They really work too.
26.11.2006 22:38 JapalaSelect a thumb image for the project...