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"Powerhouse" in MicroATX Slim Standard Case?

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April 24, 2012 1:04:11 AM

As I built a new computer earlier this month, I have my old Phenom II x4 B55 (unlocked and overclocked X2 555 @ 4.0 GHz stable, 1.44V) and an HD 6850 (bios modded to 900 MHz core/1150 Mhz memory) in a HAF 932 (older) full tower right now. Its on a Gigabyte 880 GMA-UDH2 mATX, 8GB of 1600 MHz ram, and a 64GB Crucial C300. I know, mATX in a full tower, but I was under the impression at the time that a full tower offered better airflow. At sustained 24 hour / 7 days a week load, temps average 60 C on the GPU, can't tell on the CPU (unlocking disables temp monitor, but its under a Cooler Master 212, so I'm sure its fine). It is rock solid in this configuration.

I want to put the whole kit, and maybe a HDD and a Bluray drive in a mATX Slim form factor case. I know the CM 212 won't fit, so I'll slap the stock cooler on it and drop the overclock altogether. As I have no idea how good/bad the cooling will be in such a case, and I have no idea what makes a case of this type good, my question first is if it is possible to run the Phenom II and HD 6850 at 100% load 24/7 in such a case (BOINC). What modifications would I have to make to keep the temperatures below 70 C? Heat shrouds, ducting, what? Ambient room temperature is 20 degrees C (68 F) year round, very well ventilated. Plus, currently the system has an 80 plus bronze Seasonic 650 watt power supply. The system under stress pulls ~240 W as measured by a Kill-a-watt meter.

I was looking at something like this, but the odd power supply shape/size turns me away:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Noise is not an issue unless it is pervasive. I have no issue hacking up the case to get it to work. I just want to budget a small DVD player-like case.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
a b ) Power supply
April 24, 2012 1:45:12 AM

Hi :) 

I run SETI 24/7 on some of my machines....

It runs my cpus HOT....

You NEED a bigger case....

All the best Brett :) 
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April 24, 2012 2:06:25 AM

Thanks for your input, Brett.

Does anyone out there have first hand experience with very small cases and high thermal output? I know it can be done, I'm just not sure how much fiddling around is involved. I'd CNC tasteful vent holes in the sides of the case and create a wind tunnel with 4 120mm fans, push-pull, if I have to. A cheap closed loop cooler like Corsair's or Antec's is at the top end of what I want to spend for cooling. As long as you move the air, the amount inside the case doesn't matter too much right? It's not like the air acts as a copper/aluminum heat sink would on a conventional cooler.

I just want feedback on other peoples experiences.
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April 24, 2012 11:49:53 PM

Yeah, that Inwin case isn't even tall enough anyway. PCI/PCIe specification lists a height of 4.2 inches for "half length" cards (HD 6850), so ~5 inches minimum including the motherboard and standoffs. Then you have to figure flowing air above the card. 120mm fans, or ~4.72 inch fall within the 5 inch minimum. 80/90mm fans just wont cut it. And then there is the power supply. If an ATX standard power supply is to be used, 5.9" of width need to be accommodated. So 6" is now the minimum.

My thought is that Silverstone amuffin listed does look nice, but I wonder if they can keep the width and height of the case down and improve airflow by moving the motherboard where the drives would sit normally, rotating it 90 degrees clockwise, put the drives in the 5.25" bays, and mount the fans on the rear mimicking the front. The only airflow issue they'd have to work around is getting air around the GPU. Another thought is getting a flexible x16 PCI-e extender and somehow mounting the GPU above the motherboard for better airflow. An "HDMI Panel Mount Cable" to the rear I/O would make this seamless. And then in this setup, the front becomes the top, so the power supply's power cord is now sticking out the side. Doing something like the panel mount HDMI with the AC might work, but AC inside the case is something I don't like.

Photo-shop modified Silverstone PS07 with 6850 mocked up above the motherboard:



I don't know. I think fabbing something up from scratch (rather than modifying) with steel would end up quite ugly. I'm unaware of any cases that mount like this, so I'm thinking of building another MDF case with HDMI/AC panel mounts and a front panel I/O connector. Paint it black, no one will know better unless they lift it :na: . They gouge for such small cases anyway.

Any other thoughts?

Thanks for the help!
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