Overclock.net banner
1 - 20 of 94 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Little Mac
The world's smallest gaming HTPC?

Weighing in at 4.2L with an Intel i5 CPU and an nVIdia GTX 970 GPU,
Little Mac want to be the HTPC Gaming FPS / Liter champion!

900x900px-LL-5485c0e3_WP_20150129_22_04_08_Pro.jpeg

Like this, but want smaller? Qnix has the H2O Micro. Custom case water cooled
16c23a7f_lovzbMd.jpeg



http://imgur.com/a/TLaX9
2015.png


Full Imgur Gallery

About Me
I am a Software Developer / Analyst. This is my second build log. The first was the 2013 Torch GP, a twin (CPU/GPU) AIO watercooled gaming HTPC.

Why this case?
Bragging rights mostly, Could we go this small? But, on a more practical note, I had recently moved and upgraded from a DLP TV to a flat panel. I switched out my first build and upgraded to an Intel NUC and a soundbar. In the process, I ditched the entertainment center and mounted everything behind the HDTV. I loved the look. Very clean. No wires. But the NUC wasn't strong enough for gaming. A new build was needed. One that could fit behind the TV, without compromises..

I had three goals.
Small enough to fit behind a wall-mounted television (sub 100m height for me),
Quiet enough for general HTPC use
Powerful enough for gaming.

In November 2014, two things happened in the market that allowed this build to take off. First, Gigabyte released the world's first stubby GTX 970 card. It fit into a mITX motherboard, the GV-N970IXOC-4GD. Second, Logic Supply released the MC600 and I stumbled upon this Reddit PC build thread using a it. I contacted the thread's author - who is also one of the engineers/designers of the case - and he turned out to be an all-around classy dude. I told him I was inspired, and he offered up one of Logic Supply's MC600 to be part of this build and I was determined to make it work. But industrial PC chassis' aren't meant to cool the consumer parts used in gaming PCs.

Case design and modifications
In order to fit everything inside, an unconventional layout is being used. It involves laying the GPU down next to the motherboard and using a flexible PCIe riser ribbon in order to connect the two. This is sometimes referred to as a Steam Machine layout, because of Valve's popularization of the design with it's prototype Steam Machines. Another trick used to reduce the footprint, is electing to use a DC power board instead of a traditional ATX Power Supply. This allowed most of the PSU to live in an external power brick similar to a laptop or Xbox One. (Props to Sony for not needing this!) The last hurdle was thermals. The stock airflow pattern of the Logic Supply MC600 was not engineered with the intention of dissipating 150 Watts worth enthusiast grade GPU heat. To fix this, I sketched out a crude CAD drawing and took it to a local CNC place. I had them cut two 120mm holes into the top panel. One above CPU and another above the GPU. Two fans were mounted there and blow cool air onto the components. Since the GPU side generates twice the heat, it gets two assistance of two additional 60mm exhaust fans.

Parts List
PC Part Picker List
Case - Logic Supply MC600
Mobo - Asus H97I Plus
CPU - Intel i5 4690K
GPU - Gigabyte Mini-ITX GTX 970
PSU - HDPLEX 250W + Voodoo Firebird 350w Power brick
RAM - 8GB Crucial Ballistix Very Low Profile DDR3
SSD - Transcend MTS800 256GB

CPU Cooling - Noctua L9i Heatsink (with 120mm Cougar Vortex)
GPU Cooling - Stock Gigabyte heatsink + 120mm Yate Loon D12SM-12C
Case Exhuast - 2x 60mm Evercool

Additional Items: LiHeat 250mm PCIe Gen 3.0 Shielded riser. Silverstone mesh grill covers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Benchmark Results

Heaven 4.0 - 1080P Maxxed - (Core 1608 MHz / RAM 8120 MHz)
Score - 1526
FPS - 60.6

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I'm glad to see this build again. Good luck!

Is there enough clearance above the GPU to fit a slim 120mm fan?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes there is space above the GPU. But a 20mm thick would be maximum. Either way, I am cutting a 120mmx120mm vent above that compartment,just in case.

Edit: Good to see you here Mert!
smile.gif
Are you still planning on doing a similar build?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts
I love it! I'm not a fan of external bricks, but the flipped GPU is very interesting to me. I would've liked to do that in my build, too, but after all I've read, I don't trust those flexible risers anymore. I hope you'll be able to finish what started with Neutronium V3.

Also, what is the volume of the power brick you'll be using?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@iFreilicht
This is my first external brick build as well. Not a fan either, but the challenge/novelty is appealing. It will be interesting to see if the HDPLEX 250W is up to the task. Reportedly it can be put out 400W if actively kept cool. As far as the riser, it will be my first time using one too. Interference could be a concern. If so, I've read wrapping the PCIe riser in aluminum and then electrical tape will do a decent job insulating it.

Update: The top panel laser cutting is complete. Will pick it up from CNC shop tomorrow and post some pics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Crosspost from [H] thread.
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Screes;1041255981
You sir are a genius!

I was planning this whole elaborate design where I have to cut the rear panel out and flip it and find a way to remount it, and now I just flip a bracket, no cutting involved.

Question: If you take the stock fan off the GPU heat sink, is there enough space above it to fit a 25mm thick fan like the one you have on the CPU heat sink?
Yes, the heatsink rises up to surround the stock 92x15mm fan. Here is a profile shot with the shroud and fan removed.

vHs29KUm.jpg


A 120x25mm fan would not fit above the GPU. I tried. The two options here would be a 120x20mm fan or a 92x25mm fan. The 92x25mm works due to the "stepped" construction of the heatsink. Here is the shot of the Noctua NF-A9x14 seated into the lower level.

CeAOxI0m.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As promised, shots of the top pane cuts.

I4RCeW5.jpg


120mm fan cutouts mirrored to each side. HDPLEX PSU mounts middle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Nice... Holes. The airflow is going to be great, but please tell me you're putting some mesh/metal grill over it.

Also, how much did the CNC shop charge you for that? Can they drill ventilation holes? I'm too afraid of making my own modifications with my dremel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This design was $60 from my local CNC place. I provided a CAD dwg, and they provided the laser cutter. I'm sure they could do ventilation holes and may have another go at this. Ventilation holes would be aesthetically superior, but this design can be replicated with a hole saw and drill. I'll post a mesh covered pic after the holidays. Happy Turkey day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not sure if I asked this yet, but how much space is there between the bottom panel and the GPU? Also, would it be a bad idea if I keep the GPU "unflipped" (in its original position) and just add ventilation holes to the bottom? There's not much room under the bottom panel for ventilation.

Also, any word on when that PCIe extension is coming in?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mert View Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not sure if I asked this yet, but how much space is there between the bottom panel and the GPU? Also, would it be a bad idea if I keep the GPU "unflipped" (in its original position) and just add ventilation holes to the bottom?
Depends how tall your case feet are
thumb.gif
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I don't feeling like drilling a hole into the case and screwing in some case feet, but I guess I could always just stack some books below it. This case barely has space.

Just look at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mert View Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not sure if I asked this yet, but how much space is there between the bottom panel and the GPU? Also, would it be a bad idea if I keep the GPU "unflipped" (in its original position) and just add ventilation holes to the bottom? There's not much room under the bottom panel for ventilation.

Also, any word on when that PCIe extension is coming in?
There is 8mm of space below the GPU. Here is a 10mm fan on left and 15mm on right.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Big update. It's alive!
biggrin.gif


Little Mac had first startup today. Installed Windows and did some initial stress / heat testing. Imgur gallery updated.


SSD with Phobya thermal pads.


Thermal pasting the i5 4690K


Profile shot of the RAM / Noctua L9i clearance.


3M foil tape, followed by Vinyl to shield PCIe riser.


Couldn't find a 12" PCIe riser. Ended up daisy chaining two. And sealing it to the bottom of the case.


This shot is fully wired. Just missing the 120mm CPU (Cougar) fan which I added and then took the setup to test bench.

Ran Heaven and Passmark for a few hours. Acoustically, the CPU fan is SPCR levels of quiet. The GPU fan at idle is audible, but not distracting. Perfectly fine for watching movies. During gaming the fan spins up to non SPCR levels of quiet. It takes alot to dissipate 145W of heat. I took some temps with software and an infrared gun. All tests were performed with the lid opened and propped as in the last picture.

PSU - 44°
CPU - 50°
GPU - 72° Chip - Heatpipes 55°

The CPU and PSU stayed very cool throughout the stress test. I'd say there is thermal and wattage headroom for overclocking. The GPU side stayed within operating temperatures, but was comparatively much hotter than the CPU side. The open air Gigabyte fans dumped enough heat into the case to make that side warm to the touch.. This has me considering the recently announced Asus blower version of this card. Until then, I'm constructing a heat barrier to wall off the PSU from radiant GPU heat and bumping up the cooling solution on the Gigabyte card... hint hint...

 
1 - 20 of 94 Posts
Top