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Intel and AMD inside a cube

Last response: in Systems
May 14, 2007 12:10:43 AM

No longer in the planning stage my monstrosity is now complete. Intel CPU on an AMD chipset mobo OCed and crammed into a little cube case. Continued from this thread over here:
The build:

CPU: e4300 retail $130 (with mobo from Fry's. CPU is USED :twisted: )
Mobo: Abit F-I90HD* $121.95 (ordered from 03/08/2007, had to RMA once Sad )
RAM: 2x1gb DDR2-667 $109 (ordered from
GFX: integrated. waiting for x1950PRO w/ rear-exhausting HSF to come down to <$170
HSF: $20 (random TT orb thing from Fry's)
PSU: Seasonic S12 430w $83.22 (orderd from 04/24/07)
Drives: SATA HD and SATA Optical ~$100 (for price reference. I'm using a 36g Raptor and an 80gb 2.5" drive that I already had, no optical)
Case: Ultra Microfly ~$84 (for price reference. I'm re-using my X-Qpack)

I should have waited longer get my CPU :/  Mobo ended up being DOA and I had to wait anyway and I ended up paying $150 for CPU + HSF (plus an extra mobo that i guess I'll try and sell). There was also a piece of plastic rattling around in my PSU. I carefully removed the plastic without opening the case and then manually switched it on (jump the green wire to the black wire next to it, fyi. bridge those two same wires to another PSU for dual PSU mod) to test all the voltages with a multi-meter and it seemed fine.

I *finally* got all my parts together and some free time and put it together. I was able to post at 330mhz FSB without doing anything other than raising the FSB. With vcore set to 3.375 and FSB set to 446 in BIOS it posted reliably at 345mhz FSB (at 3.350v it sometimes crashes during memory count, at 345mhz it turns on at 344mhz) Memory stayed at 667mhz the whole time. I'm not sure what impact this has on performance yet but it sure makes OCing a breeze.

According to benchmarks this mobo is a few % slower than competing intel chipset mobos but they won't fit in my case anyway so I won't cry too much (just a little) and i'll try to see if I can tweak it to make up those few% or perhaps a BIOS update (I can always hope).

I decided that optical disks were way too unl33t for my main gaming rig and I'm not putting one in my 'puter (I almost never use them and i still have other computers that have them). This also made cable management much easier and my Raptor should stay nice and cool in it's new home in the 5.25" bay with the help of some adapter brackets. I mounted the 2.5" drive in the 3.5" bay below that (use less electricity, less heat, better airflow. Load balance less demanding/low priority applications off that drive and use it for extra storage).

For some reason my CPU temp in BIOS is reading very cold. Like -3c cold at stock frequency :/ 

This build has had more problems that weren't my fault than any other build I've done previously (I've had more disastrous builds before, but they were my fault so I don't talk about them much). Next time I'm buying a Dell...

More about the motherboard with stock BIOS:
- BIOS allows for setting 500mhz FSB
- BIOS allows for allocating up to 512mb to integrated GFX
- 3.325v is minimum setting for CPU
- 1.75v is minum setting for RAM
- 200mhz is minimum setting for FSB with my e4300 installed (so no underclocking or undervoilting)

More about : intel amd inside cube

May 14, 2007 3:50:30 PM

Ok, so it turns out that I may not be l33t enough to have a machine with no optical drive :( 

I booted from USB Flash into Puppy Linux and had fun playing around but I couldn't get the network card to work and thusly had no way to do a network install of a full-featured OS. I either need to get a 1gb flash drive and make a bootable ubuntu live flash drive or I need to try and get an add-in NIC working or I'll need to just hook a CD-ROM up to it temporarily...

Puppy Linux is pretty slick BTW. When your OS and all applications get loaded into ~200mb of RAM on boot-up things are faaaaaaast.

Oh, and the OC is soooo not stable at default voltage past ~260mhz fsb xD
May 14, 2007 9:07:46 PM

I just ordered a pair of 2x1gb Mushkin ddr2-800 for $97 from
I'm also getting the new qpack.
Hope things turn out great for ya, 200mb on boot sounds great! Skimpy on resources? Since when is a sans-optical puter l33t?
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May 14, 2007 9:51:24 PM

You have to be l33t to make it work. It's just kinda silly to download stuff and then put it on a CD or Floppy disk and that's the *only* way to make it work. Having CD burners, Floppy drives, and floppy disks that haven't gone bad or blank CDs on hand and ready to go at all times is hardly an elegant solution. I'm trying to learn to do without them. Off to a rocky start though :/  I actually burned Puppy Linux to a CD to boot into it to run the application that makes the bootable Flash Drive with puppy linux on it (the direction on the puppy linux site basically said "we could tell you how to do it, but we don't feel like it, burn the CD" and I've just gotten really tired of sloppy implementations that rely on my having all this extra hardware laying around especially since it isn't even feasible for mobile users which is the direction myself and many others are moving towards. I sure as hell aint gonna lug a FDD and CD-ROM around to use with my Cell Phone and I don't really feel like toting them around in a laptop either and I'm not going to wait around for a vendor to ship me physical media either. I need media-independent electronic distribution of all my data and software. I'm tired of waiting around for the mainstream market to do it so I'm going to try and push ahead without it. Buy-bye MS, CD-ROM, FDD. 7 years ago I thought FDD was great for compatibility and my 4x CD-Burner was teh shizz and Win2k rocked the house but that was a long LONG time ago. 1.44mb FDD is too small and too slow, 750mb CD is too small and too slow, 4.7gb is too small. By the time the BlueRay HD-DVD battle is over they will have likely both been outpaced by phase-change flash and network speeds anyway. By the time Vista is stable and it's outrageous HD requirements and DRM seem demure it will likely have been outpaced by linux (do a search on youtube for vista vs. beryl). I really don't feel like investing my time or money into more inflexible proprietary solutions. IO is IO and digital data doesn't care what medium it's on so I get really frustrated when I'm forced into using a particular solution (especially when it's a solution I don't have on hand lol).

Basically I'm using this as a stepping stone to a more mobile lifestyle. I still have a DVD-Burner in the computer across the room if I really need one but I don't feel like buying one for every single computer I own.

Also, it really does open up a LOT of space inside the case. A typical tower case is about 33% larger to be able to accommodate 4 or more 5.25" Optical drives than it would have to be if you didn't put any 5.25" devices in it. Most people barely even use the things. That's a lot of expense and desk space we're all paying to make it so that software and multi-media vendors don't have to modernize their distribution models. Think about that.

Nice price on that ram. Be sure to check out the PSU on the X-Qpack2. It's made by Wintech whereas all the rest of the Apevia PSUs are still made by someone else and let me know how it goes. I would still use a better PSU if you're doing GFX or OCing but the quality is supposed to be noticeibly improved and I'd appreciate it if you checked the voltages real quick. I think I might buy a TT LANbox for my next case but the X-Qpack2 looks pretty nice.
May 14, 2007 10:38:34 PM

Interesting...It does make sense though.
I'm actually doing this build for my sis, who's graduating. She likes anything green, i stubled on the ram and its got green heatsinks. It actually looks cool, mushkin heatspreaders stand out. The stock PSU won't be in there for long. I agree that it may not hold up reliably with a mid range graphics card and a mild OC. Right now i just want it to run. Later on i'll add an Antec NeoHE, a gfx card, and a juicy OC.
May 18, 2007 4:13:35 AM

FINALLY!!! Posting from my new system running xubuntu 7.04. I never did manage to get it to pull the image from my local server even after I got the PXEboot and TFTPboot working so I just installed it over the internet. But I did it! No FDD no CD-ROM :) 

There is some bugginess with the USB ports. I'm not sure why. I'll articulate it in more detail if I ever manage to figure out what's going on. It works but you might want to wait until rev. 2 on this mobo or at least a BIOS update that says it addresses something with USB. Or maybe my board just sux :/ 

I could not launch x-windows without plugging in an analogue monitor. I kept getting a "screen not detected" error. If I plug in an analogue monitor I can boot up and then unplug it and use a DVI connection to the HDMI port but at default settings x-windows refuses to launch.

Sorry, no pictures or the new setup. I forgot to take any videos of putting it together. I'd take some right now but it's dark and they wouldn't turn out well. You can find pictures of the last rig I put together in this case here:

This time I fixed the tab by the PSU though. I had my granddad cut off a chuck with a jigsaw and then I filed it down to not have sharp edges. And I have no Optical Drive and didn't use the HD tray and have a spiffy black grill in one of the 5.25" bays. I'll try to get some updated videos for you.

I've realised that I should be able to fit a thin tower cooler into the case with another small mod without removing the right side brace entirely. Something like this Thermalright Ultra-90(P4LGA-775) should fit if I cut off half the cross bar on the right side of the case.
2 small cuts and all the space above the socket. Just need a HSF that is not wider than the mounting holes.
May 18, 2007 4:20:09 PM

Some guy on SFF club fit a Sonic Tower in his MicroFly.
SFF Club Forum

Its not the greatest cut, but its pretty amazing to fit that in there.
May 18, 2007 5:02:52 PM

Yeah, but his is a full 1" bigger than mine... 8O
It looks like he's running that Sonic Tower with no fans

That's part of why I moved the HDs out of the tray, so I could cut part of the brace out from under it. Between the socket being moved slightly and getting rid of the optical drive and moving the HDs I should be able to fit a tall HSF in there, but I still don't want it to be too heavy. I thought about securing the HSF to the case to keep it steady but that could make it even worse since the case flexes a bit.

I should really go post on steve's forums... people here keep telling me to buy things that won't work well in a cube xD

me: "I have 78mm of clearance"
random forumzer: "buy this"
me: "that's 120mm tall... you fail"
May 18, 2007 5:53:51 PM

Yeah, but his is a full 1" bigger than mine... 8O

Haha...thats what "he" said
It looks like he's running that Sonic Tower with no fans

With a heatsink that big, i doubt you need a fan for it. Besides, there's that 120mm fan behind it. Although, hotspots might appear without a fan.
"Yeah just pop a Tuniq Tower in there"
May 21, 2007 5:08:26 AM

I was having some problems with 64bit Xubuntu 7.04 (my 32bit ubuntu 6.10 is working fine on another system so I dunno what the deal is) so I hooked up an optical drive and installed WinXP on the second HD.

That went fairly well. I was lucky enough to be able to use my SATA controller with a native driver. HOLY GOD windose update is the devil. Hadn't done that in awhile, almost forgot. So I'm still feeling motivated to keep pressing forward with my linux migration but I really wanted to just get teh stupid thing working already so I could move on to other projects.

Also, the forumz look like crap in IE7. The ads do this obnoxious text-wrapping thing. They're right in the middle of people's posts. I think I heard people complain about this before but didn't really know what they were talking about.

On to OCing!

Go into BIOS, set FSB to 266, save and exit. It's really that easy. I did that and then installed windows without problems.

Having temperature problems :(  BIOS and Speedfan show my CPU temp as being -7celsius at idle. TAT, however, gives a very different story: at 100% load it's stabalizing at 58 and 56, respectively, for the cores AT STOCK SPEED. At 266fsb the 90degree BIOS thermal protection kept kicking in when I set TAT to 100% and shut my computer off.... And then I would have to powercycle to get it to post. Several times I saw the cores throttle down to ~500mhz but then the computer just turned itself off anyway.

Which leads me to replicating the problem I was having with USB: Sometimes when power cycling the system and then turning it on USB devices do not get power. And it will be just like one of them (I'm using USB keyboard and mouse). Replugging the device seems to resolve the issue. Very weird though.

ARG! This sucks. It seems to be perfectly stable at 266 but it seems way too hot but I'm not sure if I can even trust my sensors. It's a cheapo HSF but it shouldn't be THAT bad. And why was my mobo turning itself off when TAT was only showing upper 60s? I have to figure out a way to get one of my thermal sensors closer to the CPU for a sanity check.

Well, I just did that and I can't get my thermal sensor to read over 32 no matter where I shoved it... around the CPU. So I should ignore my sensors it seems. Gah... I really hate to run without any kind of thermal protection enabled though. What to do?

This is what I get for trying to buy new computer stuff... I should have just stuck with socket A xD
May 21, 2007 5:29:39 AM

According to CoreTemp my load Tjunction temp is 100 celsius... as is my idle Tjunction temp. broxen :( 

*sigh* Maybe I can just sell it to someone...