Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Devonavar

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:50 am

I was browsing the local electronics surplus store and I found an Accent HTPC case new in box.

They are older Korean cases from around 2004 to a few years newer. They mostly follow a common formula: thick aluminum front pannel with a VFD display, a removable top that is aluminum I think and a steel chassis holding it together.

I have used two in the past, also surplus store finds. They are handsome and despite their age, they aren't really obsolete except for the VFDs which use a parallel interface (I just ignored it in my two other Accent cases).

Any way, my new one is an oddball and the best deal so far, $10. It was evidently custom made for a now defunct HTPC startup company.

The other two I built were mATX with a horizontal PSU and not very much HSF clearance which hurts since I love big cheap tower HSF's so much.

The new one is full ATX with the PSU vertical and taller with about 137mm of HSF clearance. Still not enough for a big tower but probably enough for a 92mm tower.

The oddball part of it is the right side offset optical drive bay with a spring loaded door for the tray to come through. Some of the newer Accent cases had a center mounted optical drive bay but the reviews I have read state that they used a stick on plate for the drive tray which was pretty universally despised. It seems like my case might be the best they made (to use today).

The optical drive bay is held inside the case by a steel drive cage that has one more 5.25" internal bay and next to that is another cage with two 5.25" internal bays. Luckily the second cage is held on the chassis with four screws. Since I don't need more than one internal 5.25" bay, I unscrewed the second cage and now the interior is much less cluttered.

My plan is a slow build to take advantage of Black Friday deals and anything else that falls in my lap. It's going to be a gaming HTPC, probably Skylake CPU and DDR4 so I'm not buying soon to be obsolete parts (DDR4 price is nearly at parity with DDR3 so I think the time to jump is now).

I'm really looking forward to the AMD R9 Fury Nano video card. It seems like the perfect thing for a quiet gaming HTPC. It should be pretty much 4k future proof and play anything very well at 1080p. It is also a very power efficient card if the specs AMD has released are true. If it's idle power is low, it will be just about ideal.

My computer will have a PSU fan, CPU heat sink fan and a GPU fan. The case also has slots for two 80mm fans. Hopefully the low power of the Skylake CPU will allow me to spin it's fans very low. Recent GPUs have semi passive modes with fans stopped at idle, I hope the Nano is the same. Hopefully I'll find a PSU with a quiet 120mm or 140mm fan with a good thermal ramp. I believe that a computer should always have some air flow through it to keep temperatures reasonably low and the way PSUs are designed, blowing warm air through them is enough to keep them happy because they are designed to run hot and at a much higher current than I'll typically draw. I would much rather have a quiet 140mm PSU fan spinning nice and slow than a pair of 80mm case fans and a passive cooled PSU...

Everything should be quiet and powerful and run cool.

Storage is a place where I think there is an advantage to be found. The latest NVMe SSDs are blindingly fast, perfect for a boot drive and with quite a bit of capacity too. So far the Samsung 951 looks like the best with high performance and a lot less heat than an Intel 750. I will probably go for a 256 GB 951 and a couple SATA SSDs for mass storage. It will all be fast and it will all be silent but I'm going to save some money on the mass storage part. The 951 is also an M2 part so it will bolt right to the mother board. No drive slot needed, no cabling, nice and clean.

The only part left is to see how it works out.

It will be a slow build and the specs may change depending on cost and new parts coming on the market but I think the plan is pretty well baked.

I may need to resort to some sound damping techniques. I already have a PSU gasket planned but I might add damping material to the case and the optical drive bay.

I would like to get the VFD working but as I understand it, the Z170 chip set might make the parallel port IRQs outside the range that the software can handle and USB to parallel adapters have similar issues. I might try to stick an Arduino in it to control the VFD but that's a decision I'll make later.

Any way, this is an exercise to see what happens when you use a medium sized "obsolete" (horizontal) case with some pretty powerful but efficient new parts.

It seems like most builds try to be really small and/or use a form factor that doesn't blend in with anything. Back in the day, horizontal cases didn't work out so well because the balance of performance vs thermals was hard to solve. There are probably a lot of older horizontal cases that will work much better today.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:56 am

Right now I think my biggest source of noise will be my BD burner. Unfortunately there is no easy way to mount it with grommets, gaskets or any other compliant mount. I could make a new drive cage but that seems a little extreme.

I could cover the cage and exterior of the drive with something like Dynamat. Has anyone tried that?

My second biggest concern is the case walls. The top is pretty flexible. I think it might be more effective to stiffen the panels instead of adding mass or something like Dynamat. I was just reading about automotive grade double stick foam tape, that might be just the thing for adding a diagonal.

I looked a little but didn't find any posts comparing the effectiveness of different acoustic treatments. I will probably try a combination but I'll be going on instinct.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:25 pm

So Skylake is here, sort of.

Reviews are on the web and i7-6700k looks like what I want. The problem is no one seems to be selling CPUs.

i5s are out there but places like Newegg are selling them bundled which isn't good if you want to wait and see which motherboards work well.

My ace in the hole is IDF. Hopefully I will find someone who can tell me where to find one there.

In the meantime, I am looking for motherboard reviews of the more budget oriented motherboards to find something that has the features and quality I want without paying a premium for an over clocking or gaming board.

Speaking of features I want, here is a list:

Full Crossfire/SLI compatibility with 16x PCIe/8x-8x PCIe slots.

An NVMe compatible M2 slot on the board (or two), hopefully in a place that can be accessed without removing the GPU or heat sink.

Enough phases of power to provide good clean power to the CPU and RAM. I don't intend to over clock but I might put in some fast ram.

I've heard Asus has an "over clocking" socket with extra pins to improve the power supply for the CPU, something like that would be nice.

Two ports of gigabit Ethernet would be nice. I prefer Intel controllers.

USB 3.1 with the new connector would be nice.

Decent audio would be nice.

Good PWM fan control with probably 3-4 headers.

General high quality construction and components.

BIOS that is fairly mature and doesn't require flashing to work.

A little style, heatsinks and connector covers make for pride of ownership but aren't required by any means.

So far the MSI Krait gaming seems to have the features I want, a reasonable price and I've had good experience with a MSI Z68 motherboard so I'm hopeful that it will be a good one.

The reviews I have read so far seem to suggest that Asus boards have the most mature BIOS but the sample size is small.

I'm going to keep reading.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:03 am

It seems like three places have listings for the i7-6700k but no one has them in stock.

One place wants $550 but doesn't have stock...

I am lucky that I can get an IDF badge through work.

Cistron
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by Cistron » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:25 pm

I think everybody is waiting for pictures of the case. At least I'm curious.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:35 pm

I have been waiting to get at least a motherboard for it before I take pictures.

Honestly, it's pretty plain (which isn't bad). The front looks like 1/4" aluminum plate that has been nicely machined and anodized.

I was looking through the bag of goodies and found that it does have an ODD button that floats between the front face and the ODD so that you can open the ODD. I was fooling around with a BD burner and the button and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but the button doesn't seem long enough to reach the micro switch in the ODD.

On the plus side for appearance, it comes with an aluminum drive tray cover with double stick tape so that the drive tray will look nice even when it's sticking out of the case.

The only other thing to see is the VFD display and that doesn't look like much when it's not displaying anything. I should either figure out how to make that work or find a USB version that I can plug in to a motherboard header.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:10 pm

I think I have found my CPU cooler.

There are a lot out there that will fit but not many that have good cooling and low noise.

The one I want is hard to find in the US but I think I found one. I'm waiting to hear from the retailer because I had a question but I'll name the cooler once my order is in.

Despite it being a low profile cooler with a couple good reviews, there does not seem to be many out in the wild.

When I get it all together my computer will be very unique.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:27 am

So I'm getting a Thermalright Macho 90.

It's a 90mm tower, a bit cheaper than Noctua and by some reports it keeps up with some of the decent 120mm tower coolers.

It should just fit inside my case, pretty much the most CPU cooler I can fit without a weird bent up design.

It should be pretty impressive on an i7-6700k in a Gigabyte Z170 Gaming G7 motherboard.

I will be buying the motherboard tomorrow at Newegg's IDF store area.

I'm still trying to find a way to get an i7-6700k but it will happen.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:03 am

Oh, RAM: I talked with the guy at Micron's IDF booth, evidently 16GB DDR4 sticks will become available some time in September. I want to get two for a total of 32GB and the option of adding two more later for 64GB.

He said that the bigger ram chips were just about the same as the old stuff in terms of speed so they should be able to hit the timings that people see with the 4*8GB DDR4 2133 kits (which seem to overclock pretty well).

It's another thing I'm waiting on but it seems like I should have something inside a month.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:46 am

I was going to post a long detailed description of IDF, FMS and the case but I keep getting "can't open selected file" when I try to attach an image.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:47 pm

I have returned from IDF with a bounty of new stuff and stories to tell.  I also went to the Flash Memory Summit last week and got some neat stuff which I will also show.

This was my first IDF and I didn't know what to expect.  At FMS last week they said not to miss the key notes by the CEO so I planned on seeing that.  Upon arrival, I got an IDF backpack with all sorts of zippers and compartments with a notebook, pen and some Intel and IDF sponsor info inside.

At the key note, I found a seat in the fourth row, to the side but pretty good compared to the number of people in the room.  There was some neat stuff and tech demos but I wouldn't call the CEO a dynamic speaker.  The big news is his Oprah moment when he announced that everyone at the key note (and maybe IDF) would get a free smart watch (it's in the mail).  The other big news was the announcement of 3D Cross Point memory with a running demo.

After the key note I went to the exhibit hall where I talked to people, got a lot of pens, thumb drives, a USB charger and some other stuff.  On the way out I looked at the Newegg store area and found a price sheet.  After some reading and research I decided to get a Gigabyte Z170 Gaming G7 motherboard when I returned.

I had to skip Wednesday due to work but I went back Thursday.  My plan was to get the motherboard and then see if I could win a raffle prize or two.  It turned out I could win two: one more Intel backpack (with a shirt and thumb drive inside) and a gift card.  I was also told about a maker area where you could get a free Galileo microcontroller board so I got one of those too.

Any way, here is a picture of the stuff I got at IDF (minus the gift card and smart watch).
IMG_20150822_005318.jpg
At the Flash Memory Summit the week before, I also got some stuff but not nearly as much or as nice:
IMG_20150822_010502.jpg
I guess that is the difference between a conference with free registration all the way up to the weekend before the show and a conference with $500 badges.  Luckily I didn't have to pay for my IDF badge.

But back to my HTPC, I said I would take pictures once I had a motherboard and now I have one:
IMG_20150822_010936.jpg
Hang on, that looks like an i7-6700k.
IMG_20150822_011014.jpg
Sadly its only the box.  That's as much as I could get.  There was a good deal on the i5-6600k but I want an i7.  Everyone I asked said that i7 was impossible to get right now.  I will be waiting.

Now to the case, an oddball Accent HTPC case with "Nuveon" branding that I found new in box for $10.00 at a surplus store:
IMG_20150822_011148.jpg
IMG_20150822_011216.jpg
The front and top are aluminum with the bottom and back in steel.

Continued in next post:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 22, 2015 5:52 pm

It came with two drive racks in the case, one positioned for the ODD slot and one centered.
IMG_20150822_011346.jpg
I have removed the center rack which was easy because both racks are screwed to the chassis rather than riveted or spot welded.
IMG_20150822_011357.jpg
With the central rack gone, there is a pretty open space in there.  What it doesn't have is a lot of height, only about 135-140mm of HSF clearance.  No big tower coolers for me, just a 92mm.  Hopefully the Thermalright Macho 90 I ordered will fit.
IMG_20150822_012233.jpg
The motherboard fits all right and there is plenty of space for a nice graphics card (as long as it isn't too much taller than the bracket).

It also takes a standard ATX power supply.
IMG_20150822_012250.jpg
Those fans over the IO shield are 80mm.  I put them in because I had them.  I may use them or may block off the openings.

I like the old style PSU on top tower layout because it let's the hot air rise and if the intake is low, none of the hot exhaust can re-enter the case before cooling enough to sink to the intake.

With a horizontal layout, everything is pretty much at the same level so hot-boxing can happen if you aren't careful.  Those 80mm fan spots are a potential problem waiting to happen. I'm thinking about making an external shield to encourage warm exhaust air to go up and out of the case instead of find its way to an intake.

Speaking of intakes, there are slots in the bottom and sides. I'm thinking I might enlarge the bottom slots in to ~120mm holes and use some magnetic fan filters to keep dust out.

Right now I'm spending some time reading the manual for the motherboard. One thing it has that you don't see every day: an LED lit ATX IO shield. I think that might actually be useful if it can be set to light up when hibernating or shut down using standby power.

I'm still waiting on the CPU, heat sink, NVMe M.2 SSDs, 16GB DDR4 sticks and AMD Fury Nano. I have a PSU that I can use before I find a deal on a good 80+ platinum PSU. I can also put in a GTX750 before the Fury Nano and I could put in a SATA3 SSD before I get M.2 but either way it will be a while before I get it up and running.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:32 pm

Well, I'm getting screwed by Newegg.

After buying my motherboard from them at IDF, they now are listing combos with i7-6700k CPU.

I saw them this morning and wanted to buy. The problem is I don't want two motherboards for one CPU.

I did a chat with their customer service people (when it worked a couple hours later) and they did not seem to understand that since I had previously bought a motherboard from them, selling me just the CPU would be the same as selling me a combo because I had already bought the motherboard from them.

Lesson learned here, don't buy a motherboard before you can get the CPU because idiots in management will punish you for spending money with them.

On the bright side that means I am buying a CPU, M.2 NVMe SSD, 2tb SATA SSD, R9 Fury Nano, power supply, 32GB of DDR4 and everything else from a different retailer.

Newegg, you are losing money on this. I'm going to avoid purchasing from you at nearly all cost and I'm going to tell anyone who will listen that your business sucks.

I don't want to be so cruel but this is the only way that companies learn. If I get around to it, I'll post this story elsewhere so that it gets seen in search results.

So Newegg, when an early adopter comes to you with money, think about customer service before you encourage them to spend their money at Amazon or Frys.com...

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:10 pm

I just heard Central Computers was getting Skylake CPUs tomorrow so went over to enquire. They let me pay for a CPU that I can pick up tomorrow.

I also received my Thermalright Macho 90 CPU cooler from Nan's Gaming Gear.

They were the only US supplier I could find so I placed my order and I also ordered a back plate because I don't like putting any more stress on the motherboard than necessary. There was a miscommunication between us when I ordered but Thomas at Nan's worked it out much to my satisfaction. Very good customer service.

Now I need some DDR4 and a little cable surgery to make the installation clean.

I'll put in a PSU and try the CPU cooler mounting to see which way looks like it will give the best air flow.

xan_user
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 2269
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Location: Northern California.

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by xan_user » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:00 pm

sounds like we have our first SPCR skylake tester (er victim...). :D

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:38 pm

First issues:

The VRM inductors are through hole pieces and some of the exposed leads are under the location of the CPU back plate. I think they would touch if I tightened everything up.

Since the back plate is steel, that is no good.

Luckily the clearance is tight because the leads were left pretty long, extending maybe 0.030" above the solder joint.

I'll get some side cutting dykes and trim the leads back to the solder. That and maybe a little foam tape should eliminate any contact and shorting.

I set the heat sink on top of the CPU socket and sighted along the top of the case to see if there was a clearance issue. There was but the plastic CPU socket dust cover is in the socket and I'm sure it stands taller than an IHS. Once a real CPU is in there, it will be close.

On the bright side, the Macho 90 look very nice, excellent fit and finish. The black anodized top fin matches the exterior of the case so it would look great if the rest of my parts matched...

Any way, it look like tomorrow is a busy day for me but I should be able to get it together on the weekend and hopefully start installing the OS.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:03 am

I got some RAM and "flush cutting pliers" so I now have all the hardware to put together a working PC.

The ram I got is Corsair DDR4 3200 2x4GB which I am going to use to see how memory overclocking effects performance. It's on the approved memory list for my motherboard so it should be good.

Now I just have to wait until after lunch to pick up my i7-6700k.

I also need to do more research on Windows 10 privacy concerns. It seems like Microsoft is trying to get in to the business of harvesting user information in addition to charging for their software...

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:18 am

I called Central Computer before lunch and their shipment of CPUs had just come in so I went over and picked mine up.

Now it's in my hands.

It might take me a while to get together even a preliminary report but I will be working on it.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:36 pm

I knew I was cutting it close but this is as close as you can get to not fitting but actually fit.

It didn't look good with the plastic socket cover in but I knew the IHS was a little lower.

Once I had the CPU in, I put the heat sink there, placed the top of the case on and felt for clearance through the PSU hole. There was no clearance but there was the plastic protective sticker on the base of the heat sink.

With the sticker removed, the CPU greased up and the heat sink torqued down, I placed on the lid and used a strip of ordinary copier paper as a feeler to see if there was a gap between the heat popes and case. There was a gap, roughly the thickness of a piece of paper because there was some drag when I moved it over the heat pipes. If I pressed down on the case top while the paper is there, the clearance goes to zero and the paper sticks between the heat pipes and case.

In my mind, that kind of sorta fits.

I might put some tape inside the case lid to shim it up off the base/motherboard tray and gain a few more thousandths clearance but that is a lot easier than what I would have to do if it didn't fit.

The back plate problem was easy to fix with the right tools. After a few snips the clearance issue was gone and seemed good enough to skip the foam tape idea.

Overall I really like the Thermalright Macho 90. The mounting is nice and would have been problem free if I didn't insist on a back plate. With that said, I still like back plates and I can tell that I put a lot more force in to the CPU mounting than I would be comfortable with pulling on the motherboard. I would recommend the back plate but I'm sure it works fine without. The fan mounting clip was a bit hard to install but seems pretty secure once its on there.

One thing I forgot was the anti-vibration foam triangles for the fan. I'll have to put them on tomorrow.

I still have to mount my PSU, route cables and fire it up. I hope I can get that done tomorrow.

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7518
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:46 am

QUIET! wrote:There was a gap, roughly the thickness of a piece of paper because there was some drag when I moved it over the heat pipes. If I pressed down on the case top while the paper is there, the clearance goes to zero and the paper sticks between the heat pipes and case.
What's going to happen with heat cycling? When the CPU and cooler warm up, they might expand a little bit. What's going to give more, the top of the case, the heatpipes, the CPU IHS, or the mobo?

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:00 am

The case lid isn't terribly stiff being thin aluminum sheet metal with no beads rolled or anything like that. Its slightly compliant.

The motherboard is not supported directly under the CPU socket and I would say that is slightly compliant as well.

I think the biggest issue would be setting something on top of the case but it would have to be pretty heavy and directly over the heat sink to do anything more than cause contact.

I think thermal expansion of the heat sink will be minimal, it was around 20° C last night and if it keeps my CPU die temperature where I want it under about 75°, the heat sink itself will probably not get hotter than 65°. The CTE for the copper heat pipes is about 17 ppm/° so (45° (∆t) * 135mm * 17)/1,000,000 = 0.1mm thermal expansion which is probably less than my clearance right now meaning it would not touch at all due to heat. If I shim the case I can probably double the clearance which should give me a little more comfort zone.

Any way, its a little close for comfort but looks like it should work.

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7518
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by CA_Steve » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:58 am

nod.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:47 pm

A few more things:
IMG_20150829_113253.jpg
That is what the clearance looks like, near zero.
IMG_20150829_113302.jpg
That's what the interior looks like, a bit crowded over the CPU but not like some of the mITX builds I've seen.

I forgot to install the anti-vibration foam for the heat sink fan. Thermalright provides four adhesive backed foam triangles and they suggest that you stick them to the heat sink. There are a couple problems with this, first the triangles seem to be sized for a much larger fan and second, there isn't much to stick to on the edge of a thin heat sink fin.
IMG_20150829_113334.jpg
My solution was to cut one anti-vibration foam in to four smaller triangles and stick them on the frame of the fan where there is much more area and I'm sure it will not block any air flow. As an added benefit I have three more foam triangles for other fans.

With the fan off I installed the memory kit and luckily it fits under the heat sink fan.
IMG_20150829_114259.jpg
One not so lucky thing is the power supply fit. There is a foot for the case screwed in right under the power supply location and it protrudes up and hits the PSU before it lines up with the mounting holes.

I had not intended to finalize the PSU mounting yet, I want to make an isolating gasket but now I need to remove the foot and file the screw down shorter. If the foot was moved inboard under the motherboard, there would be no problem but this is what you get with an oddball case.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:12 pm

The next step is to look at cable routing, then take out the motherboard and address the foot.

After that, make a gasket for the PSU and hopefully install everything for the second to last time.

I need a couple things. I think IcyDock makes a plastic adapter that turns a 5.25" bay in to a mount for 1 3.5" and 2 2.5" drives. I only need one 2.5" but just in case I ever want to add a 3.5" hard drive for mass storage, that will make it easy and the second 2.5" might come in handy too.

I also would like to get 2 16gb ram sticks for 32gb of ram and 64gb down the road if I need it. Those aren't quite available yet so I have to wait.

A ~500gb M.2 NVMe SSD for a super fast boot disk with plenty of storage.

A really fast but low power and quiet video card. I was thinking AMD Fury Nano but I'm not so sure any more. I was reading a comparison and it looked like the regular Fury uses something like 45 watts of power to play a Blue Ray disk while a GTX750ti takes only 7 watts. For a home theater PC that is a big deal and Nano probably won't be much better than regular Fury.

The reason why I was looking is that I have heard about people flashing Fury cards in to Fury X and while the Fury Nano looks nice, I thought how nice would a Fury Nano be with the regular Fury board with it's higher power capability, huge cooler and two 8 pin power connectors. I was thinking flash a Fury to Fury Nano and then maybe overclock a little to get the best of everything but if that burns 45 watts to watch a movie, it's doubling the total consumption at least and that is not good during the summer when it's hot already.

I think I am going to wait and see what the 14nm GPUs bring to the table. That process should have much less leakage and better power numbers. Hopefully AMD will figure out what they are doing wrong on Blue Ray playback and I'll have at least two good choices. In the mean time, I will install a GTX750 (non ti) that I have which should be ok since I only have a 1080p screen.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:08 pm

I went to the store (not Newegg) and got my IcyDock Flex Fit Trio.

It seems pretty neat and they have a video of how it works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV8yRaweFsU

It does a simple job but it does it elegantly. It is mostly tool-less and it uses the flexibility of the plastic it is made with to hold the three drives securely.

Compared to other 5.25" adapters out there, it is fancy but still reasonably priced.

My case is not the normal application of this product because the drive cage is funky and the 5.25" bays are internal but I think it is going to do exactly what I want. The only question I have is if the drive cage will block the plastic tabs that hold in the 2.5" drives. If they do, it will require removing the Flex Fit Trio to swap out a 2.5" drive. I'm pretty sure that swapping out a 3.5" HDD will require removal but since I don't intend to use the 3.5" bay at this time, that's not an issue right now.

I have not had a chance to install it but I will report on it when I do because this seems like a product that lots of people could use.

One warning, I'm not going to test it with a HDD so I won't know how it handles vibration. For me it's just going to handle an SSD or two with a little more grace than double stick tape...

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:31 am

The Flex Fit Trio is doing what I want so far. In my oddball case, the top 5.25" internal slot has some sheet metal preventing it from pushing all the way forward so only two screws can be used to hold it in my case.

I would prefer four screws but if I could push it forward, it would block the 2.5" drive retainer tab and lock the drive in.

I might have a four screw solution but I'll need to modify the drive rack a little.

Of course all of these issues are due to my case, not the Flex Fit Trio.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:31 pm

A little progress today:

I made a PSU isolation gasket from 1/8" sponge rubber. I also found some rubber backed steel washers. Since the gasket area is large and the washer area is small, I need a harder washer than the gasket to match the amount of compliance (or at least get closer). The washers are nice not only because the rubber is pretty hard but the washer is a conical shape so the steel will act as a spring as well as the rubber. I also made a sponge rubber shim to go under the PSU and avoid any rattles there.

I tried to file down my case foot screw that was causing clearance issues but it is a self tapping screw and I think the tip is hardened. I didn't have a good way to grab the screw so filing was not removing much material. Instead of fighting that, I found a washer to put under the screw head. That "shortened" it enough and now with the gaskets and washers, the PSU will only be touching nice compliant sponge rubber which will hopefully absorb/attenuate any vibrations in the PSU before they make the case sing.

While the motherboard and PSU were out, I looked at the Blueray burner. I had the faceplate off because it couldn't be loaded from the back through the drive cage and without the faceplate the eject button didn't hit the micro switch. What to do? Well I had to remove the Flex Fit Trio, the Blueray burner and the drive cage. After that I re-fit the BD burner faceplate, put it back in the cage from the front and test fit it with the eject button to see if it works with a faceplate. Luckily it worked but that is a poor design when you have to remove the whole drive cage to install or change the optical drive. I think there was one screw that would have been blocked by the other drive cage that I already removed so its even worse.

Luckily after that and a little fiddling with the BD burner position, I can hear the eject micro switch click when I push the button so hopefully it works.

After that I reinstalled the Flex Fit Trio and I'm almost ready to put the motherboard back.

I need some longer screws for the PSU mounting to accommodate the gasket and washer stack. About 3/16" longer should do it.

The last thing I did was break out two of the slot covers to take a dual slot GPU.

One more thing I noticed: with the motherboard out of the case, the memory and heat sink are much more accessible but stupid me installed that stuff with the motherboard in the case. Its installed now but it would have been easier the other way. I kind of followed an order to see how things were fitting and figure out wire routing but I left it in there too long.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Mon Aug 31, 2015 3:36 pm

Luckily for me, it seems that sanity has prevailed and PSU mounting uses inch threads. 6-32 by 1/2" long is the size I need to accommodate an isolation gasket.

Tonight I am going to make a second PSU gasket, my first was a little thin on one side. I have decided to oversize it because I can and the extra on the edges will help the material hold it's shape better.

After that I'll take a second look at cable routing and after I'm satisfied, I'll put the motherboard back in and see if I can get it to POST. If all goes well, I'll try for an OS install Tuesday night.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:01 am

Last night I made my second gasket and it came out better because I was more patient and the oversize doubled the width of the narrowest part so it is much improved.

The 1/2" screws and rubber backed washers finished the job nicely.

Looking at the wire routing and those 80mm fans on the back, I became concerned thinking that maybe my motherboard couldn't control the speed of three pin fans. It turns out I was probably worried about nothing. Tonight it gets re-assembled and hopefully POST.

So far, I've got the maximum heat sink that will fit in the case, I got the optical drive eject button working, I've got space for two 2.5" SSD/HDD and one 3.5" HDD without using the second 5.25" drive cage and I have soft mounted the PSU which will hopefully reduce my case vibration a bit.

The only remaining hardware thing that is not plug and play is the parallel port VFD.

I'm feeling good about this but I still don't know how it's going to work. Tonight will be either the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

QUIET!
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 8:33 am

Re: Old horizontal HTPC case (full ATX)

Post by QUIET! » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:32 pm

There was a little agony but victory in the end:

The fan wires gave me a headache. After the PSU was in place I couldn't jamb them in where I wanted but I couldn't get the PSU in with the wires where I wanted. Eventually I got it by removing some of the twist in the cables so it would lay flat where I wanted.

After that the cable for the lighted ATX shield is in that same corner with the fan cables, the ATX 12v connector, the PSU, the back side of the case and the heat sink. I would need baby hands to plug it in so the motherboard came out again. I probably should have installed the heat sink last and plugged in the ATX shield cable first and popped in the shield as I was putting in the motherboard.

Once I finally got everything where I wanted, I finished screwing in the motherboard and found that one screw was blocked by the BD burner. The one where you have to remove the whole drive cage to get it out...

Of course my screwdriver didn't have a straight shot at the mounting screws so when I went to reinstall it, the screws that go in to the front panel wanted to cross thread, in the one place where you really don't want to cross thread.

After all that it was finally together and once I plugged it in, it posted right away.

But that isn't the end. Before I could fool around with the BIOS, I realized the battery in my wireless keyboard was dead. I was able to pull out a wired keyboard and get in the BIOS.

Fan control seems to work.

I've got too much ambient noise to tell how silent it is but I have to stick my head back behind the case to hear the fans.

So far I have only set the fans to "silent" to see the RPM change but I think the manual setting might be able to go slower.

I'm not sure about the 80mm exhaust fans. They seem pretty quiet but the sound is more like scraping than wind turbulence. I think I can do better but that is something that will wait until after I get my OS installed.

Post Reply