Saturday, August 30, 2014

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 5)

Hello peepz :)

Today's article will be among the last (X500's hardwarewise) but certainly the most important as it's about cable management in order for the upper shell's cables not interfering with the innards of the case.
Yeah I know I'm a bit OCD with the cables :)

As you might have seen already in my initial X500 Evo presentation article, the upper shell case has 2x 50mm Fans with it's cables, a cable for the Power switch, and 2x quite lengthy thick insulated LED cables for Power/HDD activity.

Someone that has an Evo will realize that upon closing the case these cables tend to be all over the place. Sorry I don't like that as you can imagine :)
So, first thing is to gather all cables in one side, in order to have all in one place. 
The most distant cable is the power switch cable which was hotglued in place as you can see...

Then the Fan cables and Led cables where hold together via straps and the 2x adhesive mounters that Loriano has supplied.

Also, since I had one more spare internal USB header (motheboard has a dual USB2.0 header which one is occupied by the Cherry MX keyboard) I thought of taking advantage and putting inside a cheap USB WiFi/Blutooth combo adapter which was hotglued in place as well. Ofc I wouldn't solder directly to it (if I wanted to remove it at a later time), so I attached a female USB adapters that I had in my stash.

Ok so far so good. Every cable is in one place, and nothing interferes with the internal space. What I wanted now was a 14-wire cable in order to use everything on the upper shell (2 wires for power switch, 4 wires for the LEDS, 4 wires for the Fans and 4 wires for the USB header).
An old VGA extension cable was used for my needs :)

Once I measured correctly the length I needed, I removed the extra 2 wires (that weren't needed) and started to make the pairs by twisting the wires together.

Then the irritating part of putting the headers for each pair on the mobo side after insulating them wire-by-wire with heatshrink tube. Yep, you see correctly the USB header being A LOT longer than the rest. You'll understand later on.

Here you can see the headers for each pair on the upper shell side soldered and insulated by heatshrink tube as well. As you can realize, I have different connectors for every pair. Other for the fans, other for the LEDS and power switch and other for the USB header.

This is the finished product (lol).

Time to put it on shall we?
I started with the small headers and continued with the USB header.

And after everything was in place, I secured them with 2 more straps. Cool it's rock solid and unmovable now but if anytime I need to change the fans or LEDS, I can easily remove the straps, replace and remount them :) That's the good thing with having headers on everything.

Here I temporarily mounted the upper shell on the lower shell in order for everyone to see how the cabling is done and how it fits once closing the case without interfering :)

For the first test I haven't put anything in place leaving the wires (especially on the motherboard) loose.

Here you can understand WHY the USB cable was a lot longer than the rest of the wires :)

Initial test and Windows7 booting was a HUGE SUCCESS as everything worked out of the box! I haven't even done any error in Positive-Negative mounts of the LEDS which is typical for me :)
After everything was ok, I permanently put the USB wire in it's mobo header.

As all the other wires in the designated positions on the motherboard.
The round cable was secured with a strap, using 2 holes on the chassis (nice one Loriano)

...and here you can see how it looks with the upper shell in my hands and everything connected. I deliberately left some length in the round cable, in order to be able to put the upper shell on the left side anytime I wanted to check out or mod my case :) No need to dismantle everything when you mod.
After all, the round cable goes UNDER the keyboard on the left side (on the empty compartment left from the Hard disk area) and doesn't interfere with anything :)

One tiny detail that prevented the upper shell to close firmly was the damn huge USB3.0 connector that was thick and tall as fok touching the upper part of the shell :)

I decided to be aggressive so I removed the extra height it had by it's base (after I attached a stripe to keep both cables secure). A LOT BETTER now :)

Case closed successfully and at last I was excited and happy about it :)

Not much left to do tbh from now on (hardwarewise) but some minor details that I will put in a next (and probable last article about X500 Evo).

Stay tuned and I hope you enjoyed it as well :)

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 4)

Hey guys.

I thought of posting one little update but with much importance :P
First of all 2 days ago I received my original Cherry MX Brown keyboard from Loriano as by little mistake my X500 Evo had the Cherry MX Blue ones when I received it.
Not some biggie as everything's just fine now.

I thought to share some keyboard pr0n for entertainment purposes.

And after some careful time putting all the keycaps in place the keyboard was ready!

The most important thing that I lacked but wanted in my setup was the GPU!
So far I was running my system with the embedded Intel HD Graphics GPU of the Intel i3 3240 CPU which wasn't enough for my taste. Not to mention that I had enough extra wattage to spare alas I had to get one.

After searching for days, about what GPU cards was possible to be powered from the PicoPSU without issue, and also being able to be low profile and most important... being SINGLE slot including the heatsink's thickness... I was among the following:

  • ATI Radeon HD 7750 (Sapphire)
  • ATI Radeon HD 6750
  • NVidia GT640 (Asus - 1GB GDDR5)
  • NVidia GT730 (PNY - 1GB GDDR5)
The Sapphire 7750 is a truly nice GPU but sadly it's so rare to find (especially under the Sapphire name) that I stopped thinking about it.
The 6750 was easy to find and more affordable but was lower than my expectations
I already tried the ASUS GT640 (1GB GDDR5) in the past before giving it to my dad for his mini-itx PC, and the only thing I didn't like, was the noise which was kinda loud.

The GT730 not only was the latest of the series that could run in low profile, but it also had a really thin heatsink/fan combo. What drove me insane was the ULTRA LOW TDP it had at only 38W TDP!!! What a definite winner! After I managed to grab one from eBay, I waited patiently till it arrived today! These are some photos of the card itself.

Here's where I removed the normal backplate, putting the low profile one (and after removing the obsolete VGA ribbon - as I was using the space for the PicoPSU connector.

Just before I fire up the X500, I thought about testing how much wattage my system draws without the GPU. After some test I saw it was between 30W and 42W idle @ Windows7 desktop.

Here's the beauty inserted via the included PCI-e flexible ribbon riser making her first boot :)


After installing the latest NVidia drivers etc and after a reboot, I thought about checking out the watt-meter to see what's going on.
I was rather surpised seeing that the watt-meter idling @ Windows7 desktop showed lower consumption! lol

Ofc, that isn't such a great deal, as running some YouTube videos etc, raised the watts somewhere between 38W and 50W but still I was rather happy that I was within the required consumption.
Maybe I'll try a Prime benchmark at some point but for now I'm ok to go :)

Just before the end of the article, I thought of posting two screenshots of the Windows 7 benchmark:

Before (using the iGPU)

And after (using the GT730)

That's all for now.
Next article will be really nice as I'm preparing some custom mod and cabling for the upper shell.

Stay tuned :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 3)

Hey guys.

Not many updates these days as I'm still waiting stuff to arrive from overseas :(
One of the things that troubled me was were to put the 4-pin power connector.

As you might saw already, the X500 Evo has a small hole on the back side in order for a normal PicoPSU female power plug connector to be mounted.

Since I use the big PicoPSU 160W with a huge 192W power brick that has a 4-pin power connector I had to find a place to mount it properly without adding extra holes to the case.
After some thinking, I decided to use the little rectangle area above the PCI-E slot which normally was meant for the VGA connector (as most low profile cards have HDMI-DVI connector and a VGA connector to a second backplate via a mini ribbon).

After a lot of research I managed to find some schematics of the power plug so the only thing I wanted was a metal backplate of about 35mm x 15mm with a central hole of 11mm. The extra mounting holes of the power plug, would be drilled after  the power plug was glued to the metal surface for stability.

As always, my good friend Leo (Keropi) made me some metal backplates for testing purposes. Some were from galvanized sheet and others were from inox sheet. You can check the difference on the first 3 backplates (galvanized) comparing to the last one (inox). I chose to use an inox backplate due to it's hardness and better looks (lol).

So I covered all plastic area with instant glue and after it was in place, I inserted the power plug which has a tight fit by default in order to keep it in place tight :)

After some time... PERFECTION!

I realized that the power connector was glued so tight and firm that the extra 2 holes for the screws were obsolete. I of course tried inserting and removing the power plug numerous times without issue.
After I was 100% certain that it holds, I used instant glue to keep the whole inox backplate+powe plug combo in place...

After some time the plug was ready so I wired the power cable accordingly and voila!

Lets see now when the other components will show up :P

Stay tuned.