josephclemente's ducted Shuttle KPC K45 SFF

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josephclemente's ducted Shuttle KPC K45 SFF

Post by josephclemente » Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:59 pm

This is the second Shuttle small form factor (SFF) system I have built. The first was an SS51G.

Parts used:
  • Shuttle KPC K45
    Intel E2200 2.2GHz Pentium Dual-Core Desktop Processor
    Cooler Master Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler
    2GB RAM (Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4)
    120GB 2.5" Laptop Hard Drive (Western Digital WD1200BEVS-22UST0)
    Nexus Real Silent 92mm Fan (Rear Exhaust)
    Nexus Real Silent 80mm Fan (PSU Exhaust)
    Noctua Ultra Low Noise Adaptor on 92mm fan
    CPU Duct created with Plastic from DVD cases
    Stretch Magic 1.8mm used for hard drive suspension
    Self-stick vinyl tile used for case panel dampening
    Acousti-Pack used for noise absorption (leftovers from my P182 install)
    Black wire fan grill and black 80mm fan gasket
    E-SATA Connector from Gigabyte PCI bracket
    Extra northbridge heatsink, mounted on top of existing northbridge heatsink.
    Radio Shack Nibbler used to cut all metal panels as needed
The 80mm Nexus Real Silent Fan mounted on the side exhausts PSU air.

A cute little case with an ugly 80mm fan mounted on the side! Why?! The original Shuttle case had a terribly noisy 40mm PSU exhaust fan, a Yate Loon D40SM-12C. I had to decide what to do: buy an external fanless power supply, or do something drastic and much less expensive. I decided to cut an 80mm hole through the existing PSU and then another 80mm hole through the case panel. Finally, an 80mm fan is mounted.

Custom E-SATA port below PSU. Fan grill cut out & replaced with wire grill.

The metal grill behind the rear 92mm fan was cut out and replaced with a less-restrictive wire mesh grill.

An E-SATA port was added below the power connector. This allows me to connect an optical drive or other SATA device whenever needed. I got the E-SATA port from a Gigabyte PCI-slot bracket that came with a motherboard. I wanted to be able to use my PCI slot in the future, so I mounted the port directly to the case.

PSU with 80mm circle cut out.

The 80mm circle cut out is close to the center. Air enters through the existing grill cutouts and the rear of the PSU where the 40mm fan used to be.

I gutted the old 40mm fan (removed the fan but kept the fan's frame installed.) A fan power connector was soldered to the existing fan power cable so I could connect the new fan to the PSU. An RPM sensor wire connects to the motherboard in order to monitor the new fan's speed.

The CPU duct. Picture shows top of duct flipped over.

In order to exhaust CPU air with only one fan, I created a duct which pulls air through the CPU cooler and exhausts through the rear case fan. This allowed me to use an inexpensive Cooler Master Hyper TX2 heatpipe cooler instead of Shuttle's "ICE Genie".

The duct was created using plastic from a few DVD cases. It is strong and easy to cut. The material can be bent 90 degrees: I just mark a straight razor cut and then bend the plastic where I cut.

The top of the duct has a bend which provides clearance above the CPU cooler heatpipes without letting air flow above the heatsink. It also has some Acousti-Pack applied.

Interior PCI side exposed. CPU duct reaches down to motherboard.

In the photo above, an additional northbridge heatsink can be seen mounted on top of the original northbridge heatsink. I used Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive. I think it helps a little based on touch-testing.

The PCI slot is still usable.

Bottom CPU duct ensures all air passes through CPU cooler.

The 2.5" hard drive is suspended using 1.8mm Stretch Magic. Unlike 3.5" drives, the bottom mounting holes of 2.5" drives are located closer to the ends of the drive. This allows you to add screws to the bottom of the drive which prevent it from slipping out of the suspension. If I tumbled the case down stairs, the drive would probably remain in place - not that I'd expect anything to survive.

Top case panel has self-stick vinyl tile and Acousti-Pack.

Self-adhesive vinyl tile provided a "massive" improvement to case vibrations. I lined the edges of the top tile with some aluminum tape, probably unnecessary.

Acousti-Pack was applied to the case panel. It surrounds the 80mm fan hole in order to work as a gasket between the fan and PSU.

Expandable sleeving was added to the fan's power wire to prevent it from getting caught between the metal panels while closing the case.

The CPU duct is nothing more than four pieces of plastic from DVD cases.


Ambient temperature was around 24C according to a sensor just outside the room. It is a little warmer in the room, however.

Real Temp during Idle (1 hour)

SpeedFan during Idle (1 hour)

Real Temp during Load (two instances of Prime95, 4 hours)

SpeedFan during Load (two instances of Prime95, 4 hours)

The Temp1 and Temp2 sensors in SpeedFan are very high during load. This might be normal - one of the first test configurations I had with this system had more extreme cooling: a 120mm fan blowing down over a stock Intel CPU cooler and hanging over the rest of the motherboard, and these two sensors were reading about the same.


Watts Idle: 40
Watts Load: 82

When the ethernet cable is disconnected, power consumption decreases by 2 watts, both load and idle. Measurements taken with Kill A Watt.

Added power consumption info
Last edited by josephclemente on Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by porkchop » Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:42 pm

thanks for this, i still haven't got mine yet even though i've been planning to for so long.

i'll actually be using it as my main system, so i have to ask: does the vga look ok on an lcd?
i'm asking because the vga out on my an-m2 motherboard is quite horrible on my acer lcd, and pci vid cards are expensive and difficult to find.

love the mods :D
Last edited by porkchop on Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by thejamppa » Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:32 pm

Nice looking system, very creative mods ^^ I like it a lot. I wish I would have similar system... Very well done!

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Post by blackworx » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:52 am

An excellent-looking wee system with well thought-out and executed mods. Very nice!

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Post by josephclemente » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:53 pm

Thanks for the comments!

The VGA output looks fine, at least on my Dell 2407WFP. I'm running it at 1920 x 1200 and the pixels look solid up close.

Right now I have the computer running Idle/Load tests again. I forgot I measured the machine while it was sitting on carpet. I'll see what things look like when the bottom vents can breathe. :oops:

The system runs slightly cooler on a flat surface than it does on carpet as I suspected. 4C cooler on each core. I replaced the Real Temp and SpeedFan pictures.

This is what happened:

SpeedFan Load Before/After:
Temp1: 76/70
Temp2: 74/70
HD0: 37/35
Temp1: 31/49 (this one seems useless as it is a locked number)
Core 0: 64/60
Core 1: 64/60

Idle numbers were pretty much the same as originally pictured. I'm still not sure what Temp1 (first one) and Temp2 is, if anyone has a K45 I'd be interested in knowing where you are at there.
Last edited by josephclemente on Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by frostedflakes » Mon Sep 01, 2008 1:37 pm

Nice job! Mods look very clean and effective. :)

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Post by porkchop » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:40 pm

thanks for the info.

i don't have a k45, but judging from the jump during load- i'm guessing one is for the 945gc chipset, and the other is for the vrms/power circuitry(i think that's what they're called).
touch testing should confirm if it's the chipset, and perhaps you can put some small heatsinks on the vrms and see if the temps lower- if you're inclined to of course.

edit- could also be the southbridge, i'm not too familiar with intel chips though.

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Post by that Linux guy » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:04 am

I've always wanted a Shuttle, and I almost built one too. I had all these mod ideas planned, gathered from nearly ever SFF forum on the net. Needless to say, josephclemente, you nailed every one on the head perfectly, and then some! I love this build and it should seriously be a testimate to what you can do with Shuttle's, a snipper, and some ingenuity. Great build!

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Post by nici » Tue Sep 02, 2008 6:40 am

Very nice system :) Particularly the CPU duct and the PSU cooling.

Don't know about this particualr board, but on my P45 based asus board the system temp is measured from(or very close to) the southbridge.

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Post by KyonCoraeL » Mon Sep 08, 2008 6:58 pm

wow looks very compact. Nice white table

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Post by edh » Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:47 am

josephclemente wrote:Temp1: 31/49 (this one seems useless as it is a locked number)
As you have a different temperature on each run, this may be the ACPI temperature. My old Shuttle SN45G has one too. It seems to be the temperature in the case when the system starts, it then doesn't change. I guess the first measurement you took was after the system had cold booted after several hours of inactivity (Shuttle's do hold their heat in for a long time) whereas the second measurement would be a warm boot with little or no time with the system off, hence the higher temperature.

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Post by matva » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:11 pm

very nice fitting build!
too bad shuttle doesn't have a 780g barebone. I like the case and the fit, but intel matx sucks IMO.

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