Slim Black HTPC V8.0

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pm.stacker
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Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:21 pm

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CPU Intel Core i3-2120T 1.6GHz 0.95V
CPU Cooler CoolJAG DEN-7
Mobo Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H
Memory 2x2048MB Kingston KVR1333D3N9 undervolted 1.35V
Power Supply Seasonic SS-350M1U GOLD without top cover to fit 40mm height
HDD0 OCZ Vertex3 60GB
HDD1 Intel 330 series 180GB
HDD2 WDC WD10JPVT
HDD3 WDC WD20EARX
ODD Optiarc BD-ROM/DVD-RW BC-5640H or BC-5500A
TV Card Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-4400
Audio Card ESI Juli@
Front Display Tinsharp 40x2 HD44780-compatible negative blue STN on LPT1
Case Tailor-made by myself based on a 1U all-alu box, Lian-li SD01B feet, dimensions including feet: 435x58x357 mm (17x2¼x14 inches)

Building is 90% complete, I have to make the CPU air duct and check all cablings.
The Seasonic 1U runs in fanless mode until load is 40-45% so it should always run like this, since this build was easily handled by a PicoPSU-150-XT in the previous case I made, but I wanted to have an internal PSU.
A fully vented top cover is available as option, with that I might try fanless cooling of the 2120T. ;)

Have some other pics :mrgreen:
Last edited by pm.stacker on Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:03 pm

Here's one, while I was finishing the front bezel.
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Horgrim
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by Horgrim » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:16 am

Great 1U build :) respect for the patience needed to put everything inside + a lot of manual work and moddifications.

Horgrim Approves™©®

Best regards from Poland

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:18 am

This one was piece of cake :mrgreen: compared to the former 1U I built in Feb 12, 2¾" shorter was way more crammed with components :-P I decided to get the deepest 1U they make to fit the internal PSU and less HDD cramming, considering there's a 24-ATX cable now it turned out good. And I directly chose the all-aluminum version, which had a 3/8" thick front panel but I could not use it due to material working difficulties with the equipment I have downstairs. And this time 50% less industrial work switching from handsaw to jigsaw :mrgreen: 1 hour working time for each panel (20 mins the backing plate) 8-) was longer designing inernal layout and components position...

Horgrim
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by Horgrim » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:48 am

Maybe some more pictures of the inside? Detailed look on all of the critical components etc.
Once again - great build :)

Best regards
Horgrim

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:17 pm

The empty box before I started working on it :mrgreen:
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First clearance test with old components
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Preparing the rear ATX ports
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Fixing power supply
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Cutting a tab from the HVR4400 card to fit the audio above
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Fitting the 3.5"
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Fitting the 2.5"
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Front button
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ODD suspended cage
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Case feet with M4 countersunk bolts
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Parallel display system
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Horgrim
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by Horgrim » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:48 pm

Thank You for the pictures.

I'll say this for the third time - great build. Now only thing left is to hope that everything will work well and nothing will break down.

+1 for the effort put in building this monster :)

Also, in Poland there is a stereotype, that people from Italy are somewhat lazy bastards ;) and You just crushed this opinion into pieces :D

Best regards from Poland
Horgrim, PhD student.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:22 am

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pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:48 am

Just some little modifications. Moved the CPU fan ¼" to the right to have it in line with the rear port, now all I need is a simple straight piece of plastic :mrgreen:
Might swap it with an i3-3220 too maybe.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:28 pm

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pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:30 pm

Testing leaks on the new exhaust, optimal considering response on curtain :mrgreen:
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Of course 6180RPM is anything but SPCR :mrgreen: but look at the positive side: CPU stays below 30°C in every condition. :lol:
Now switching to Silent mode... :arrow:

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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by MikeC » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:52 am

pm.stacker wrote:Of course 6180RPM is anything but SPCR :mrgreen: but look at the positive side: CPU stays below 30°C in every condition. :lol:
Now switching to Silent mode... :arrow:
Obviously you have lots of cooling headroom to work with! I cringe to think what that fan sounds like at 6180rpm. I don't think there is even one fan in my whole house or office running >1200rpm.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:34 am

That's not the loudest I have... I have a couple of old serverline Panaflo PWM blowers, 4" diameter 1" thick, 10,000RPM. Soft-start, current rating 2.6A.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:37 pm

Since I was working on it, I decided to make a little modification: with a 1984 vertical drill and pushing the jigsaw to max speed with special blades I finally made a true Hi-Fi front panel using the 3/8" thick aluminum one :mrgreen: was really a PITA working that but it turned out pretty good. Let's see display readability since it's 3/8" deep... :roll:

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:12 pm

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Maybe I will enlarge the display opening, since 3/8" of metal in front might be an issue.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:14 am

The new power button PCB with industrial grade button and recycled LED
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Having a choice, which one is better?
Slot-load, no front signs, no protruding parts, more complex mechanically.
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Tray-load, simpler mechanics, proven reliability (good old PATA drive), some sign up front.
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:wink:

Ralf Hutter
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by Ralf Hutter » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:18 am

pm.stacker wrote:
Having a choice, which one is better?
Slot-load, no front signs, no protruding parts, more complex mechanically.

Tray-load, simpler mechanics, proven reliability (good old PATA drive), some sign up front.


:wink:
Being a "form follows function" kind of guy, I'd go with the tray-load version.

And if you black out the bright silver area of your newly created display opening (using paint, Sharpie, etc) that should make reading the display panel much easier.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:34 am

Already planned on blacking out that, I just wanted to enlarge that opening since being 3/8" thick it can cast a shadow from some viewing angles, blackout or not. :wink: it should not be too much awful to see some display frame since it's black. :-)

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:44 am

Power tests: average power consumption is 40W with single channel RAM, CPU underclocked to 1.6GHz, single display, front LCD and 3+1 HDD. Not much more than my DLNA server (25W with CF+SSD and Wifi)...

I am thinking about replacing some HDDs in here with SSDs and dropping the DLNA server, recycling the Atom mobo for our home server. :roll:

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:16 am

Made some solid state exchanges and tweaked a little.
For now the DLNA server has been powered off.

SSD exchanges:
Intel 330 series 180GB from laptop to HTPC as music library volume (SATA2), replaces Seagate ST9750420AS. Now it is dual Sandforce driven: OCZ VTX3-60GB for boot and Intel 330 for music :mrgreen:
Corsair Performance Pro 128GB from DLNA server back to laptop, heavy-duty MLC cells and Marvell controller that doesn't suffer uncompressible data. Lightweight, lower power consumption and less heat.

HTPC tweaks:
Intel Core i3-2120T now underclocked from 2.6 to 1.6GHz 0.95V, maintains more than acceptable performances.
Dual channel Kingston DDR3-1333 underclocked to 800 and undervolted to 1.35V (like a LP-DDR3).
Intel HD Graphics fixed at base speed of 650MHz.
Intel 330 series SSD in place of the Seagate 7200 laptop drive, less noise less power and less heat. Instant access to music collection! :mrgreen:

Total system power consumption now is 40W average, 54W full load (Linpack 4T-2000MB), with 2xSSD 2xHDD two cards and ODD. For comparison: the DLNA server uses an Atom D525 with just a CF card, 1xSSD and a Wifi card, it averaged at 30W. :shock:

Now testing with Linpack if the Kingston DIMMs can handle 1.35V under load: seems to handle it, now lemme try again! :-D

Other possible HTPC tweaks:
Try 2x2048MB LP-DDR3 (if it's supported... let's see.)
Further underclock iGPU to 400MHz (if it can still handle HD video - reduction might not be noticeable).
Swap the WD20EARX for a WD20EFRX Red (maybe 1W less).

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:27 am

Trying again Linpack with 4 threads and 2000MB memory usage (x32 OS). Underpowering works: full load CPU struggles to reach 40°C and fan spins... 1000RPM. :shock: :shock: :shock:
Fanless operation should be piece of cake this way. But there's one caveat: since the Seasonic SS-350M1U power supply has a fan that never spins if load is <50% or temp <60°C, removing the CPU fan would mean absolute no forced air circulation whatsoever inside the case, that would rely only on natural convection from the front bottom grilles to the top cover to cool the HDDs. Don't know if it would work... :roll: I had already designed it this way (turning the bottom cover to have the grilles up front where the HDDs would have been, like some Lian-Li cases), now I'll have to get the fully vented cover and do some tests with some 1U passive heatsinks I have laying around... :mrgreen:

flemeister
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by flemeister » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:12 pm

I would put black paint on the front of the optical drive too. Also, +1 vote for the tray loader, it just looks neater to me than having an ugly slit in the middle of the optical drive.

Bonus points if you can achieve a faux brushed aluminium look with the paint. Surely doable if you use shiny black paint and brush sideways? :)

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:28 pm

Tried with a black marker and on the ODD it looked good, but as always with ink it's somewhat shiny, I'll try searching for satin black model paint and a very small brush. :wink:
Meanwhile, today I modified the inside of the 3/8" panel to allow protruding display mounting screws (they were countersunk head before, flush with the backing front panel), to gain more freedom in positioning and aligning. To achieve this I turned my 1984 vertical drill in a plunge router :mrgreen:, using a couple of metal routing bits dad had in his tools, they still work decently, of course the drill stand can't be fully locked but setting 2nd gear max speed (and wearing hearing protection...) does a good job in flattening edges or horizontally enlarging blind holes. :-)

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:32 pm

On the left, 3/8" normal blind holes about 50% deep. On the right, I routed it extending an indentation that was already present on the panel, to mount the handles I think. This way I can use any screw type and have more position adjusting.
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Now remains to finish the window and place some paint.
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pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:29 am

Got some water based retouch to try. First, LED and ODD holes.
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A couple pics of the milling machine. :mrgreen:
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pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sat Feb 23, 2013 8:38 am

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Unfortunately without primer it doesn't stay on too much, but I didn't want to buy an entire can of primer just to use it now.

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:29 pm

Testing a Ivy Bridge CPU (i3-3220) standard power. Seems 22nm did the trick: forcing 1.6GHz we have 4W less than the i3-2120T, during Mediaportal use (that stresses the HD2000 GPU). Without underclocking RAM (officially I.B. should work only 1333-1600 while S.B. worked 1066-1333) and keeping HD2500 stock

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:29 am

Last night when I had done everything and mounted the PC in my Hifi, surprise: it kept powering on and then off without booting :-x already had this happen once with the i3-3220 and solved it by clearing CMOS and restarting. Thought it was something with system memory, 2x2048MB Kingston that always worked fine with the i3-2120T, since they're not true identical DIMMs (one with Elpida branded chips, the other with Kingston rebranded) I removed them and switched to 4096MB single channel, should have less problems and for a HTPC that's more than enough. :wink:

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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by xan_user » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:53 am

did you try memtest 86+ on the offending stick(s)? (good to rule out bad memory, for piece of mind, and so it doesn't possibly cause headaches if used in another build.)

pm.stacker
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Re: Slim Black HTPC V8.0

Post by pm.stacker » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:55 am

It is not necessary: last night I powered it up after leaving it unplugged on the table for days, and it did not boot. Tonight, prepared to do some troubleshooting I removed it from the rack, opened it, retried... and it booted straight away :-|, then I tried RAM troubleshooting: single channel CH0 then CH1 with both sticks, then swapping sticks in dual channel and it always worked. With the i3-2120T it never had a problem in every setting (800 1066 1333 even at 1.35V), so I think the Ivy Bridge memory controller may be somewhat more tricky in dual channel mode with non-identical modules. They are the same model (single-sided Kingston KVR1333D3S8N9/2G low profile) but one is ELP-KM001CK 9905474-019.A00LF (Elpida chips), the other KTC-SS041C9 99U5474-012.A00LF (Kingston rebadged, maybe Toshiba?). PCB revision is the same (2025474-0F1A00) but the DIMM sticks are not identical.
When I installed the IB CPU I sometimes had a problem with ASIO streaming that messed up and required playback restart (seemed somewhat like a clock sync problem), it might have been related to RAM too.

Now it works, at least until now no problems... I don't have other DDR3 platforms to test those sticks (apart from rebuilding the old H67+2120T board).

PS: took me almost 18 months to rule out the freezing problem that affected my Portege R700: the i3-380M did not like 4096MB Kingston 1333 SODIMMs and sometimes the memory controller messed up. Now with the original 2048MB Samsung sticks no problems (old i3-380M can handle memory at 1066 max). So to put 8192MB on my laptop I should get two system specific 1066 sticks. :roll:

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