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[Build Complete] - Little Mac - World's Smallest 4.2L Gaming HTPC Steam Machine?

49136 Views 94 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Runamok81
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
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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.
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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by GermanFox-PC View Post

Will you do a video review on youtube about the finished build? I'd like to see it in action
smile.gif

BTW how performs the Gigabyte GTX 970 ITX with noises and temps? There aren't real reviews on it right now.
@GermanFox-PC

Video review is up, but it mostly covers my entire HTPC setup. The music is dimmed during PC power on so you can get an idea of fan noise. But honestly, there isvery little. It's awesome.
Cougar + Yate Loon + 7v Evercool fans make for a quiet setup. Enjoy.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runamok81 View Post

@GermanFox-PC

Video review is up, but it mostly covers my entire HTPC setup. The music is dimmed during PC power on so you can get an idea of fan noise. But honestly, there isvery little. It's awesome.
Cougar + Yate Loon + 7v Evercool fans make for a quiet setup. Enjoy.
Thanks for the cool video! The whole project was done very well and interesting to follow. Conrats man! Have fun with your Little Mac
thumb.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarekLogic View Post

Great looking build @Runamok81! Impressive creativity in getting everything to fit and function in our MC600 case. Going to throw a shout out to your video on our Twitter account (@LogicSupply).
Sweet! I'm trending!
smile.gif
Your crew at Logic Supply rocks. keep doing what your doing! I know you do primarily industrial stuff (used you for some PLC builds a few years back), but maybe dip into the enthusiast PC market with an LGX brand or something? Just a thought...
smile.gif
 

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you found that the HD Plex 250w was definitely solid enough for the 80w cpu and the 970? im considering using it for a project that will hopefully materialise. what have been your max tdp measurements from the wall?

http://hg-computers.eu/products/osmi/

this case may become available for purchase soon and instead of using an sfx psu id love to use the HD plex psu - hence freeing up a whole lot of space for a CPU cooler, maybe even enough for a noctua 92mm tower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by InfraRedRabbit View Post

you found that the HD Plex 250w was definitely solid enough for the 80w cpu and the 970? im considering using it for a project that will hopefully materialise. what have been your max tdp measurements from the wall?

http://hg-computers.eu/products/osmi/

this case may become available for purchase soon and instead of using an sfx psu id love to use the HD plex psu - hence freeing up a whole lot of space for a CPU cooler, maybe even enough for a noctua 92mm tower.
I haven't measured the power draw at the wall (hard to read a kill-a-watt behind the TV) but the HD PLEX 250W is definitely solid enough. A few folks have tested it up to 400W if you keep it cool. The one issue I've encountered that MAY be attributed to the HDPLEX is rapid switching max and min GPU power draw. Saw some brief stuttering in games when switching between low draw in game menus and high draw 3D gaming, Using EVGA PrecisionX KBOOST to keep clocks pegged fixed this.

Interesting case. What's the total volume?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runamok81 View Post

I haven't measured the power draw at the wall (hard to read a kill-a-watt behind the TV) but the HD PLEX 250W is definitely solid enough. A few folks have tested it up to 400W if you keep it cool. The one issue I've encountered that MAY be attributed to the HDPLEX is rapid switching max and min GPU power draw. Saw some brief stuttering in games when switching between low draw in game menus and high draw 3D gaming, Using EVGA PrecisionX KBOOST to keep clocks pegged fixed this.

Interesting case. What's the total volume?
from my measurements it should come in at about 8L - so about 33% smaller than my Ncase M1. yes the position i want to place it in would probably keep it cool enough i suspect. ill let you know if this build goes ahead - getting the case is already somewhat dubious at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #90 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick View Post

Im in love with your system, I want to build one so bad right now!

that PSU is incredible, only 1 250W psu is enough for both the GPU AND CPU?
It is. In testing, the HDPLEX has been shown to supply up to 400W IF actively kept cool. So far, so good with little mac as my daily driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #93 ·
A cheap PCIe cable might
Quote:
Originally Posted by bomerr View Post

I'm lucky i stumbled upon this thread. I was going to buy a cheap pci extension cable for my mini itx build.
I did the same thing. Started cheap, and then laboriously had to concede that I needed EMI sheilding. Check out LiHeat. They keep improving their product. In fact, they graciously shipped over their latest revision and it looks SLICK!

In other news, we now have more concrete info about the upcoming mITX Fury Nano. I'm not positive yet, but I think Little Mac might be getting an upgrade on September 10th!
wink.gif
Decisions...
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 · (Edited)
Post from the future. Little Mac 4.2L has been rebuilt! Now with RGB and custom DIY 3060 Ti
Light Entertainment Gas Audio equipment Neon
 
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