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Thread: Looking for a really small SFF barebone

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    Looking for a really small SFF barebone

    Hi there, my question is quite simple: I'm looking for a very small SFF barebone like the AOpen MP945-VXR or Shuttle's X100. The only things I really need are:
    - DVI output
    - S/PDIF output (either coaxial or optical)
    - Support for Intel Core 2 Duo "Merom", so a 945 chipset

    That's it basically. By this time you're probably asking why I won't stick with one of the above. Good question. The reason is I would choose the Shuttle, but it doesn't support Core 2 Duo "Merom", or at least: the system configurator only let's me choose between the older Core Duo's. On the other hand however, the AOpen lacks a decent graphics card. The size of it is also a positive argument, but I would rather have something like the Shuttle X100 with a Core 2 Duo processor.

    I've also contacted Shuttle to ask them when they are going to release Core 2 Duo's for the X100, but haven't heard from them yet.

    Any ideas? Thanks in advance!
    Careful what you wish for, you might receive it...




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    try a search on the X200

    alternatively you could consider a Silverstone LC19 case with an mATX board in it.

    even small than a G5 shuttle case volume wise.

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    Thanks for your reply!

    The Shuttle X200 seems to differ almost nothing from the current X100, only difference is (official) support for Core 2 Duo processors, a NTSC TV-tuner and Intel Integrated Graphics in stead of ATi's Radeon X1400. As I said before, the graphics card is the only reason I would choose for the X100/X200. Now they downgraded it, there's totally no reason for me to choose the X200 in stead of AOpen's MP945-VXR. Better than that: AOpen's barebone is quite a bit smaller, so that would be my choice at the moment.

    Although the Silverstone LC19 looks very nice and gives me the opportunity to choose the mainboard myself, it's way too big. It isn't really a small case except for the heighth.

    Some searching finally let me end up at Nexus' Psile case, which I can use in combination with a Commell LV-677 motherboard and even a PCI-Express graphics card. Maybe I could even stick with my passive GeForce 7600GT.

    Tips or suggestions are still welcome.
    Careful what you wish for, you might receive it...




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    the X100 only accepts MXM graphics modules, which is quite limiting. no X1900XT's.

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    I know. But if you look at it in this way: a X1400 is capable of playing recent games quite reasonable, which is out of the question with an onboard Intel Graphics. But since I will be using a Nexus Psile+ and a 7600 GT (probably), this 'problem' is solved for now.

    So my next question: does anyone have any experience with 7600 series or comparable graphics cards in combination with a small case like the Psile, which is 22.5x22.5x19.1cm (8.87x8.87x7.53inch)?

    I will be using a Core 2 Duo T7200 with a passive copper heatsink from Nexus, which is especially designed for use with the Psile and it's 8cm fan. Furthermore I don't know whether my passive ASUS 7600 GT will fit inside the case, I also have my doubts about the heat dissappation with only 1 8cm fan inside. A small custom water-cooled external system would be very nice to get a good cooling solution, but will be an extra investment in the already too expensive being system.
    Careful what you wish for, you might receive it...




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    Quote Originally Posted by MoodyBlues View Post
    I know. But if you look at it in this way: a X1400 is capable of playing recent games quite reasonable, which is out of the question with an onboard Intel Graphics. But since I will be using a Nexus Psile+ and a 7600 GT (probably), this 'problem' is solved for now.

    So my next question: does anyone have any experience with 7600 series or comparable graphics cards in combination with a small case like the Psile, which is 22.5x22.5x19.1cm (8.87x8.87x7.53inch)?

    I will be using a Core 2 Duo T7200 with a passive copper heatsink from Nexus, which is especially designed for use with the Psile and it's 8cm fan. Furthermore I don't know whether my passive ASUS 7600 GT will fit inside the case, I also have my doubts about the heat dissappation with only 1 8cm fan inside. A small custom water-cooled external system would be very nice to get a good cooling solution, but will be an extra investment in the already too expensive being system.
    Thanks for mentioning this case - I was aware of the x100 but I hadn't heard of the Psile and it would give me an opportunity to build it myself rather than rely rigidly on the x100 configuration.

    Have you put this system together yet?
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    No, not yet. I am still deciding which one it should be and what components should come along with it. Furthermore it isn't top priority at the moment (sadly enough) so I don't know if this project will be accomplished before the end of the year.

    But we'll see. When I finally will get it (up and running) I will post my experiences in this forum, so don't worry about that.
    Careful what you wish for, you might receive it...




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    Lightbulb

    Trouble is you have got me configuring systems on paper now - which means I am probably about to make the jump to a Core 2 Duo from my Athlon 2100+!

    I looked at the black Psile case on mini-itx and prefer it to any of the Shuttle offerings so I'm tempted to go for it.

    I am trying to now spec up the system properly: I've decided that I want to be able to use desktop components where possible so no SODIMMS and has to be able to take a proper graphics card (so had to reject the AOpen motherboard mini-itx offer because it doesn't have a 16x PCIe slot which makes it a bit useless) without breaking the bank completely!

    I am aware that the Shuttle X100 is only £699.95 and is smaller than the Psile, if potentally less powerful, and silent so that's my benchmark. I've heard about the X200 but this doesn't have a decent graphics card - I only want to play Civilisation 4 and Simcity 4 but still think that onboard graphics won't cut the mustard.

    If I can configure the system for less than the price of an X100 I will probably go for it.

    Specs of X100 (Upgraded):

    Shuttle X100
    Core Duo 1.6GHz
    1GB RAM
    DVDRW
    X1400 Graphics
    Shuttle Factory Upgrade - Disk 200GB -> 400GB Hard Disk Upgrade
    Shuttle Factory Upgrade - WiFI Intel Wireless Lan 802.11g 54Mbit/s Module

    Costs £789.95 inc. VAT from theglowlounge

    Self-build of Psile

    Black Psile Case & DVD Writer £207.98 incl. VAT & P&P (mini-itx.com)
    Commell MB & Power Brick £269.35 incl. VAT (icp-epia.co.uk)
    ebuyer DDR2 PC2400 Memory £64.99 inc. VAT (ebuyer)
    Core 2 Duo Mobile T5500 1.66Ghz £163.33 inc. VAT (mini-itx.com)
    500Gb Seagate SATA HDD £136.48 inc. VAT (ebuyer)
    Graphics card c.£100 for a silent 7900GT I'd reckon

    Total: £942.13 inc. VAT
    Last edited by philbarnes; 03-11-2006 at 05:02 PM.
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoodyBlues View Post
    I will be using a Core 2 Duo T7200 with a passive copper heatsink from Nexus, which is especially designed for use with the Psile and it's 8cm fan.
    Two questions:

    1) Where have you found this heatsink

    2) Where's the cheapest place you've found for Core 2 Duos and does the Commell take mobile ones or desktop ones? I'm assuming mobile ones.
    Last edited by philbarnes; 03-11-2006 at 05:03 PM.
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    eek
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    Based on the cost of that how about a mac mini and replace the cpu?

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    Smile Mac Mini too limited IMO!

    I have thought about that but the Mac Mini means you're stuck with a laptop hard drive, hence low capacity.

    I'd like to be able to run Media Centre edition stick in a 400Gb or even a 750Gb (but that's pushing the boat out a little bit too far) and get an Xbox 360 to act as a media extender (apparently you only need the newest Media Player installed on XP now so even easier) and then I can copy all my DVDs and CDs to the hard drive (using some form of compression) and that saves loads of space by the TV as I can pack away all the discs in the roof!

    That's useful technology in my eyes and the girlfriend can appreciate the extra space and won't shout at me for wasting money!

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    I'm getting fussy in my old age.
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    Cool Project may be delayed

    Something I've noticed is that not many places seem to be able to get their hands on Core 2 Duos!

    This makes it very hard to compare prices between websites and thus I'm probably going to end up paying too much for the system.

    I might sit on this project until the new year and see if stocks have gone up (and prices down).

    I'll get me spec fully up to date now with prices and then re-visit the project in the new year to see if the prices have gone down!

    Then, if they have sufficiently, I'll post pictures etc of the project.

    I reckon a Psile case-based computer will be cool kit!
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    eek
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    Personally, I wouldn't want all my media on a single disk without a backup. I thought about the single big disk solution and I'm instead going for a raid 5 solution made up of 5 250gb disks in the garage.

    I'm then going for a suitable box under the telly (probably the apple Itv is it copes with divx and h264, otherwise it'll probably be a mac mini running media center) with a ruckus wireless network between the two. The Ruckus stuff is great as it seems to protect media streams above anything else so I've not seen a drop out in the two months I've had then even on the larger files I've streamed to my laptop.

    Total cost is £400 for the mac mini, £400 for the raid set up (assuming £150 for a cheap second hand box) and £100 for the ruckus kit.

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    You have a point.

    I have an external firewire HD enclosure, so I could keep a "running" copy of all the compressed media on that whenever the collection is updated.

    I use Carbonite to back up my data, as a relatively inexpensive way of off site backup.

    The problem I'd have with your solution, incidentally, is that I only really want one computer in the house and this would be it. Each unto his own! So I'd like a silent box upstairs, so that it can be left on to stream video/music, and the xbox under the TV is relatively inoffensive and can be used to play games and DVDs too.

    I think it's a fairly neat solution.
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    Oooh. Looks like you can spec a Core 2 Duo in the X100 now.

    I think I might go for that actually. It seems to do what I want it to.
    Shuttle SN45G - Athlon XP 2100+ - Gainward Geforce 4 4600 Golden Sample - 512Mb DDR Crucial PC2100 - 1x Western Digital 250Gb ATA133 - 8x LG Super Multi Writer (DVD-R(W); DVD+R(W); DVD-RAM) - Microsoft Optical Desktop 2.0 - 22" Widescreen TFT

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    It's been a while since I've actually checked this topic. But better late than never, I guess.

    About a month ago I went to buy the following:
    - AOpen MP945-VXR barebone
    - Intel Core 2 Duo T5600
    - 1 GB TwinMOS sodimm DDr2-667
    - Seagate 80GB 2.5" SATA HDD

    Now I finally made my choice and having the system up and running, my first thought is that it's faster than I could imagine. Only the notebook drive lacks some real speed, although it's a 7200rpm.

    After trying out many different things, even the new Windows Vista, I'm not really satisfied with the results. Looks like I'm going to buy the Psile with a Commell board and normal nVidia 7600GT graphics card after all.

    One last thing about the AOpen barebone: although reviews say it's about as noisy (rather the lack of it) as a Mac Mini, my real world experience doesn't quite agree with it. It's much noisier than my normal Core 2 Duo system, which doesn't have any special cooling solutions. And even compared to the Mac Mini I find it quite noisy. Although I have to say I've only heard the Mac in the Apple Centre shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by philbarnes View Post
    Two questions:

    1) Where have you found this heatsink

    2) Where's the cheapest place you've found for Core 2 Duos and does the Commell take mobile ones or desktop ones? I'm assuming mobile ones.
    The heatsink is at Psile's website www.psile.com. They deliver to almost every European country.
    I bought my stuff here at local shops in the Netherlands, so that won't help you I guess. Although I take a look at Scan's website now and then to compare products, I don't know how their prices are compared to others.
    Last edited by MoodyBlues; 15-01-2007 at 07:32 AM.
    Careful what you wish for, you might receive it...




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