Little machines need little PSUs; Seasonic's new TFX PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 16, 2012 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: seasonic, SS-350TGM, PSU, TFX, SFF

The PSU that you have come to know in your desktop is an ATX PSU but that is not the only choice, as server techs and SFF builders are well aware.  One of the alternative standards is the TFX which retains the ATX electrical and connection specs but fits it into a 5.75" × 3.25" × 2.5" (146 x 83 x 64mm) casing.  The 350W Seasonic SS-350TGM is not designed for SLI/CrossFire systems, indeed it does not have a single PCIe connector of any type which is not a problem for the type of machine this is intended for.  If you are planning on building an ITX box with an internal PSU, or even a small custom built case, you really should drop by [H]ard|OCP to check this little PSU out.

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"Today we tackle something a bit off the beaten path for us; a low power non-ATX specification power supply from Seasonic. We do know that many of our readers build systems that are not like all the others especially when it comes to crafting smaller purpose driven boxes. The 300TGM may be just what you are looking for."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Logic Supply has an interesting way of sizing their smaller HTPCs

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, Logic Supply, LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC, htpc, Atom N2800

Defining the size of the Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless Mini PC as being 1.2 litres is a unique way of describing just how small this machine is.  You can see from the picture below that a pair of serial ports takes up a significant portion of the front panel.  Part of the reason for this is the completely fanless design, the heatsink obscuring the Atom N2800 has TIM on it to allow the entire top of the case to distribute the heat.  The SSD drive also helps slim the machine down and also adds snappy performance as well.  The Intel DN2800MT mini-ITX board powers the SSD and can fit up to 4GB of RAM in its two slots and the Intel GMA 3650 powers the HDMI and VGA ports with enough processing power for you to watch HD video.  As it is a totally silent HTPC, it should come as no surprise that it was Silent PC Review who received this box for testing.

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"This new PC from specialist Logic Systems is based around the recently released Intel DN2800MT "Marshalltown" mini-ITX Atom board, a long-awaited follow-up to the original "Thin ITX" board, the Intel D945GSEJT. Super low energy consumption, 1080P video capability and a tiny 1.2 liter form factor should be compelling for Mini PC enthusiasts."

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ECS trims the fat off and presents two new mini-ITX boards

Subject: Motherboards, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: ECS, elitegroup, mini ITX, CDC-TI Thin, H61H2-TI Thin, SFF

The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX may not interest many readers as it is designed for an Atom processor which have never been terribly popular here at PC Perspective, even for HTPC builds.  The CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX is a totally different story as it can handle LGA1155 chips and has an HDMI out, making it a beautiful choice for an HTPC or even a SFF portable gaming machine although you might be disappointed by the orientation of the full and half length PCIe slots.  Consider it a challenge and see if you can get a decent half height GPU in there!

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), the world’s leading motherboard, graphics card, barebone system, notebook and mobile device manufacturer announces a variety of options of Thin Mini-ITX for users to meet their different demands with AIO (All-In-One) and motherboards. To target different segments, ECS Thin Mini-ITX motherboards are not only compatible with AIO but also with small form factor PCs, offering a wide range of solutions including H61H2-TI, H61H2-G11 and CDC-TI. With the growth in popularity of AIO, acceptance of the Thin Mini-ITX platform proves to be leading standard of this new trend, allowing for future-proof upgradeability.

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The brand new CDC-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard supports Intel® Atom™ D2700/D2550/D2500 Dual-core processors. The CPU and Memory are supported 100% by Solid Capacitors in order to provide better conductivity and longevity. CDC-TI features 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket supporting up to 4GB, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), VGA, HDMI and LVDS support. It is distinguished by its fan-less design because of the lowest CPU power consumption of <10W TDP. ECS CDC-TI not only works well for Thin Mini-ITX AIOs but also for other form factors that can take advantage of a low-profile board.

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The other H61H2-TI Thin Mini-ITX motherboard can support socket LGA1155 Intel® 2nd and 3rd Generation Core processors. It features Intel® H61 Express chipset with SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM socket up to 16GB, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 Mini-PCIe (1 Full/ 1 Half), 1 x mSATA, and HDMI input/output that deliver you an excellent performance and amazing experience. ECS H61H2-TI provides you a multi-functional solution within a limited space. Small but versatile.

Asetek Demonstrates Liquid Cooling For Laptop And All-In-One PCs

Subject: Mobile | March 20, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: SFF, liquid cooling, gaming laptop, asetek, alienware

The rise of mATX boards designed for high powered gaming machines, laptops with serious mobile GPU power and All-In-One Systems have increased the problem of heat generation in small systems.  A SFF system used to be a moderately powerful system good for use as a workstation or HTPC but now it could well be a multi-GPU gaming beast and the same goes for laptops.  

In an effort to stop baking laps and shortening the life of components in SFF systems Asetek has been working on liquid cooling systems for these types of systems.  You can see an example of a watercooling Alienware laptop on the YouTube video they produced and be sure to check out the links on this page if you are looking for more information.

 

Asetek Inc., the world leading supplier of liquid cooling for the computer industry announced today a new and groundbreaking slim form factor liquid cooling technology for extreme performance and workstation grade laptops and All-In-One PCs. Slim form factor liquid cooling enables laptop and AIO PC manufacturers to deliver mobility and sleek industrial designs without sacrificing performance.

“We see a growing need for higher performance personal computers, driven by ever more powerful modeling software for engineering, scientific and financial work, and for content creation and gaming,” said André S. Eriksen, Founder and CEO of Asetek. ”We also see high performance hardware expanding to more portable, sleeker devices like the highly successful M-series of notebooks from Alienware.”

“For laptops and AIOs to deliver workstation and gaming PC performance, these machines must be able to take full advantage of desktop grade performance hardware. We have identified this need and designed our cooling solution to target these thinner machines,” continued Eriksen.

The fundamental challenge in cooling desktop replacement laptops and All-In-One PCs is the lack of space for a proper thermal solution. Consequently, previous attempts at liquid cooling laptops have offered no performance improvement over traditional heat-pipe based heat sinks.

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“Asetek successfully cracked the code of improving acoustic and thermal performance in a notebook without increasing the form factor,” said Ole Madsen, VP of Engineering. “Our patent protected technology allows better utilization of the thermal modules used to cool the CPU and GPUs. That, along with our optimized coldplate technology enables the use of much more powerful hardware than air cooling could ever allow”.

Asetek is showcasing its new technology in an Alienware M18x notebook with the CPU overclocked from 3.5GHz to 4.4Ghz and the GPUs overclocked from 680Mhz to 800Mhz. In addition, the M18x achieved a 23% improvement in Futuremark’s 3D Mark Vantage benchmark while reducing the noise output of the stock air-cooled laptop. A video demonstration can be found at Asetek.com.

Source: Asetek

So you want to build an octocore mATX beast?

Subject: Systems | March 15, 2012 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79, SFF, mATX, hd7970, Intel Xeon E5-2690

The mATX ASUS ROG Rampage IV GENE X79 motherboard can hold more power than you might assume from its size, as you can see at VR-Zone.  Even though the board looks tiny compared to the heatsink needed to cool the Xeon E5-2690 and the triple slot HD7970 seems to barely fit beside the OZC Revodrive 3 X2 480GB, the components do work at full speed making this beast a real power house.  As Yoda said, "Size matters not."

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"What if I have about US$5000 to spend - Could I have a true 8-core/16-thread CPU in a small form factor setup without compromising on storage, thermals or online gaming prowess?" Well, we show that we can!"

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Source: VR-Zone

Zotac Launches Three New ZBOX Mini PCs At CeBIT 2012

Subject: Systems | March 10, 2012 - 02:15 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox, SFF, PC, hardware

In a recent press release, Zotac unveiled three new ZBox small form factor computers, including one PC that features a blu-ray optical drive. Specifically, the new models include the ZBOX ID82, ZBOX Nano ID61, and the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05. In addition, the company offers "plus" versions of the three ZBOX computers that add 2GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive to the hardware package. Carsten Berger, marketing director for ZOTAC stated that the company is constantly pushing the small form factor envelope and the latest Intel Core i3 Sandy Bridge processors "enables us to give demanding users the performance edge they need."

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The ZBOX Nano ID61

The ZBOX ID61 is the smallest of the three PCs and is the latest in their Nano form factor. It is powered by a dual core Intel Celeron 867 processor, a single DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, and an integrated multimedia card reader. Connections include HDMI, Displayport, 2 USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, 1 eSATA port, Bluetooth 3.0, and a built in IR receiver. The ID61 plus further features 2 GB of DDR3 1333 MHz laptop RAM and a 320 GB SATA III (6Gbps) hard drive.

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The ZBOX ID82

The ID82 represents the latest ZBOX PC, and while it is a big bulkier than the Nano series, it packs a lot more punch with an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3-2330. The new Intel CPU is a dual core 2.2 GHz processor which further includes Hyper-Threading tech for a total of four virtual cores. Further, the PC has two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, DVI-I, and Bluetooth 3.0. The ZBOX ID82 Plus includes 2 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 320 GB laptop hard drive.

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The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05

Finally, the ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 is a small form factor PC that moves to AMD for their processor and GPU with the AMD E-450 APU with integrated Radeon 6320 GPU. The extra hardware horsepower provides the "oomph" needed to support smooth blu-ray playback. The mini PC holds a 4x Blu-ray reader that doubles as a 8x DVD +/- writer. It includes support for two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots and an 2.5" SATA II hard drive. Connections include HDMI, DVI, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and one combo USB 2.0/eSATA port. The ZBOX Blu-ray AD05 Plus version further includes 2 GB of memory and a 320 GB hard drive.

All three of the mini ZOTAC ZBOX PCs (wow, that's a lot of caps) also feature Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a bundled Media Center remote and USB IR receiver. No matter the model, the user is still responsible for providing an OS as one does not come bundled. Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing or availability.

Source: Zotac

Xigmatek thinks big with their new mATX Gigas enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 2, 2012 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: xigmatek gigas, xigmatek, SFF, mATX

When you build a machine based on an mATX board, you tend to be aiming for a compact system that can be hidden away or is at least small enough that it is unobtrusive.  Xigmatek decided to toss that style away when they designed the Gigas, quite possibly the only mATX enclosure which weighs more than 20lbs.  At 10.94" x 12.68" x 15.59" you have a lot of space to work with and will find space for a lot more drives than you might expect even with a full size GPU and 1kg+ heatsink.   This is a perfect enclosure for some of the high end mATX board for sale currently, but as TechPowerUp points out in their review there are no grommets for watercooling if you wanted to upgrade your cooling solution.

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"Is it a mATX chassis? No! Is it a mid-tower case? No! What is it? It is the Xigmatek Gigas! Too big to be a compact mATX cube, but too compact to be considered a mid-tower. Will the Gigas end up being the Frankenstein of cases, or manage to impress with this new approach?"

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Source: TechPowerUp

A SFF case from Lian-Li you can pick up in stores now

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 11, 2012 - 04:39 PM |
Tagged: SFF, PC-TU200, Lian-Li

One frustrating thing about seeing all of the great new products at CES is that you can't always get your hands on them as many products are unreleased as the companies are showing off prototypes.  Take a break from the unobtainable with Think Computers who just wrapped up a review of the Lian-Li PC-TU200.  It is a squarish mini-tower, measuring 220mm x 320mm x 360mm (8.7" x 12.6" x 14.1") and will house Mini-ITX and Mini-DTX style motherboards.  Thanks to some decent spacing, you can fit many varieties of discrete GPUs and there is room for four 3.5" drives and a pair of 2.5" drives for those who want to include an SSD.  The exterior features a carrying handle, two USB 3.0 ports and eSATA connections, making it great for LAN parties and other purposes.  Check out the full review here.

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"I have to say I am a huge fan of small form factor (SFF) cases. Not only because they are small but I am amazed at all of the features they can pack into such a small case. Today’s case is no exception. It fits Mini-ITX and Mini-DTX motherboards, has internal USB 3.0 and eSATA compatibility, a large 140mm intake fan, room for both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard drives, a really cool side panel release system and even a handle on top for easy transportation. The case I’m talking about is the PC-TU200 from Lian Li. Read on as we have the review."

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Fractal Design thinks small with their Define Mini MicroATX Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 15, 2011 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: fractal design, Define Mini, MicroATX, SFF

SPCR has reviewed a case for those designing mATX cases, a shrunken version of the Fractal Design Define R3, the Define Mini.  The case is 210mm x 395mm x 490mm (8.3" x 15.5" x19.3") and places the PSU at the bottom which in this case made add stability to the design.  Careful attention was paid to the acoustical qualities of the case, with the stock fans cooling the system it produced 16dBa which should easily be drowned out by background noise.  Even in such a small case there is still room for six easy-to-access hard drives, six large fans, large CPU heatsinks, long graphics cards and the cable management holes will help make your build tidy.  No wonder this case received a recommendation from Silent PC Review.

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"The Fractal Design Define Mini is a smaller version of the popular Define R3. It might just be the answer to those looking for a solid microATX tower with all the trappings and conveniences of a modern ATX case."

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DeepCool's new heatsink has a shallow footprint

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 14, 2011 - 06:25 PM |
Tagged: SFF, quiet, IceEdge 400XT, Deepcool

At only 127x100x85mm and 585 grams the new Deepcool IceEdge 400XT heatsink seems rather small, as does it's 92mm fan.  It is not quite half the size of top end coolers but is certainly less than 2/3rds the size.  FrostyTech tested to see how the reduced weight and surface area impacted the effectiveness of this cooler in their latest review. The results placed it in the middle of the pack for both cooling performance and noise levels, with many other low noise heatsinks providing better cooling; however they also tend to be much larger.  If you are cooling a i5 or Llano based system with limited space then Deepcool's new heatsink is worth looking into.

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"Deepcool's IceEdge 400XT heatsink is a mid-size tower cooler that stands a modest 127mm high and weighs 585 grams. At its heart are four, 6mm diameter copper heatpipes and a 92x100mm stack of dark nickel plated aluminum fins. As with DeepCool's other heatsinks, the IceEdge 400XT ships with a novel rubber clad 92mm PWM fan. Every bit of the fan frame that makes contact with the heatsink is covered in a rubbery material so motor vibrations are greatly diminished. The 92mm DeepCool brand fan spins at 2200-900RPM and moves ~40CFM air according to the maker."

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Source: Frosty Tech