Saturday, September 13, 2014

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 8)

Hello guys.

After a really long time, those damn silicon fan mounts finally arrived!

After removing all the old black ones, I putted the new ones which despite not being white, but semi-transparent, they were really nice :)

Here you can see the right side's chipset fan

And here the back side's case fan

I really like that the silicone mounts look nice with the semi-transparent LEDs :)

Here's the side part with the changed USB3.0 Card Reader

...and the back side

The right side...

And last but not least, the lower side as I haven't took a picture ever :)

This article concludes my journey into beefing this wonderful X500 Evo case.
It wasn't anything difficult, as Loriano made quite an effort into giving us clever ideas for mounting stuff :)
Some custom ideas which were used in my build, really helped me with the cabling and in general I'm rather satisfied with this mini beast :) I'm quite impressed that my noble PicoPSU is able to power at ease the i3 CPU, the GT730 GPU and the other components like USB keyboard, USB WiFi/Bluetooth combo, USB Card Reader at only 40W idling and 90W on stress test.

I will certainly keep an eye on future CPU or GPU upgrades if my budget allows me, but for now, I'm rather happy with this beast.
In the future, I'll probably write article about how I use the X500 softwarewise, but for now this series is now done :)

Thanks for sticking as always, and I'm grateful for the warm comments I get from many of you guys.

Monday, September 8, 2014

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 7)

Hey peepz,

Despite thinking that this project was finished, I always come up with something else (lol).
Following my previous article and checking why my upper shell wasn't closing as well as I expected, I decided to make a little butchering by giving a tiny bit of carving on the spot where the PicoPSU is touching the shell...

Well, it might look kinda big, but actually is okey and it's a LOT better now. Case closed without a single issue :D
I also cut the rubber fan mounters that exceeded the fan.

OK, time for more important mods hehe.
After running the X500 for quite some time now, I realized that the upper shell 50mm fans are kinda noisy for my taste, so I had to do something about it.
One solution was to replace them with more expensive ones or try and make a PWM controller.

I remembered that in the past I have seen the EPIC A1200D PPC mod of Phipscube where he also putted a custom PWM controller on his BVision.
In this post, Phipscube shared his source of inspiration which was this article on Overclockers forum.
I bought all the necessary part from my local electronics store and started building it on the veroboard.
Since I bought enough components, I thought of making 2x PWM controllers just in case it was needed :)
After some time, the circuit was ready to test...

After some troubleshooting (because I made 2 errors that I easily tracked and fixed) the units were a success :D
I tried a rather noisy fan from a Commodore A590 hard drive and then I changed the pot lower and then higher again with quite a difference.
You can listen to it as well as recorded it using my iPhone here.

After tests were successful I cut both controllers to it's final size.

Ofc you can never have a custom mod, without custom wires with connectors. Damn I hate all this stripping, soldering and tubing, but it's an essential step for clean mods.

Finally, I thought about putting some layers of a silicone dual sticky tape that I had, in order to give it more height (here you can see 3 layers of this tape).

PCB was mounted  next to the other custom PCB that I made to power the fans.

Last but not least, it was time to fine tune the pot to it's final position after checking the fans every once and a while to the desired level

Mission accomplished. Now fan noise is a LOT better without sacrificing previous CFMs :)

Btw don't forget to take a look at other people's X500's :)

  • Kyle made an awesome job putting a SAM inside an X500 Evo! - Link here
  • Peter is starting making his own PC inside an X500 Evo as well. Good luck mate and thanks for mentioning my blog on your Blog. \o/ -  Link here 

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

X500 Evo: Stuffing da beast (Part 6)

Hello peepz!

Not many things to update these days, as the only thing I'm waiting atm are some white anti-vibration fan mounts.
Important things although needed my attention.
First of these (although not so important) was to change the storage Hard drive with a bigger one. Previous was a Seagate 500GB one, and now I decided to put a Western Digital 1TB just to be safe. Sadly there was not enough budget for the 2TB 2.5" one but I think that 1TB will be just fine for this middle-tier machine :)

Second but most important issue was that I discovered that the case doesn't close as firm as I would like. After examining further I realized that the problem was the PicoPSU's molex connector on the one side that was touching the upper shell upon closing. You can check the length of the lower connector on the picture bellow.

Instead of just desoldering the connector and soldering the cables directly on the PicoPSU, I decided to just cut the plastics of the connector and bending the pins down at about 20 degrees.

After putting the connector back on, you can clearly see that now it's a lot better :)

One more issue (lol), was that the case had one hole that was designed for PicoPSU's default power connector but as you know from a previous article wasn't used alas it was open.
As I didn't anything else I could use this hole for, I decided to put a Push-On switch in order to have it as Reset switch (I know it's not used at all most of times but ...oh well...).

OK. Now that I was set hardwarewise, I thought about checking 00some power consumption readings on my Watt-o-meter.
This is a standard reading when system is idle under Windows7 desktop.

After running a stress test on Furmark (stressing the GPU) though...

Yep. It skyrocketed (LOL) to ~85W. I thought about leaving it about 10 minutes and these was the results...

Not bad at all! :)
Next step was to check the power consumption of my CPU using a stress test of Prime95 for about 10 minutes as well...

Really nice temperatures (thanks to Noctua) but also nice consumptions, making PicoPSU show it's power and coolness :)
I'm really excited that the power consumption is under 100W even in stressful tests, and since I have an 160W tolerance I'm rather certain I'll be ok for a while :)

Stay tuned.