Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: A Tiny Side Project, and I mean Tiny

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85

    A Tiny Side Project, and I mean Tiny

    Since I've been slacking off on the Windows Home Server Cube, I threw something together over the last few days to get me back into the swing of things.

    The breadbox had an aluminum shelf inside, about 16"x 7.5". I also had a Commell LE-370Z. Hmmm, that's a nice and tiny board, pretty much the same as what I'd used in this system. That one was pretty small, but I decided to see just how small of a working system I could build with that board. Since the board is 4" x 5.75" x ~1" tall, I knew I wanted to stay as close to that size as possible. I ended up at 2.5" x 4.5" x 6.5", which I think is pretty damned good. Anyway, some specs, then some pics.

    Commell LE-370Z with onboard Celeron-M 600MHz(Banias core, 0K L2 cache)
    512MB DDR400@266MHz(but really good timings)
    40GB Seagate Momentus 5400.2 2.5" hard drive
    Broadcom 802.11a/b/g Mini-PCI wireless with external antenna
    60 watt external power brick

    And the pics, case was bent on an 18" break from Harbor Freight.










    I'll be cutting and bending a cover from some leftover mesh I have. May also add some feet just to get it off the desk. Doesn't require any real cooling, either. Should be fine without a fan, idling at the BIOS screen the whole system only pulls 18 watts of power. It also performs as good or better than most VIA C3 boards.

  2. #2
    Xtreme Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    307
    Nice, very tiny build. Quite probably the smallest desktop I've seen. Is there an optical drive hidden in there? I imagine software installation could be a pain otherwise. On second thought, scratch that. An optical drive would be about the same size as this!

    The first thing that came to mind, though was this line:

    "It's teeth are...It can jump...Oh, look at the bones!"

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail, for the uninitiated.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    No optical drive, even a laptop drive would inflate the size quite a bit, just about double the base footprint.

    The initial OS install will be done with a USB CD drive, everything after that will be done over the network or with a USB flash card reader.

  4. #4
    Xtreme Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Litchfield, NH
    Posts
    238
    That would make a sick carpc. Nice work!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    32
    I agree with slayer, a sick car pc it would make, and with a DVD monitor in dash, and the Streets and trips, a navigation system as well. That is too cool. Good work, looks great. Please post some more pics when you get the cover done please. looking forward to it.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    Cover has been bent up, but my drill battery is dead so I've got to recharge before I can get it installed. With the mesh cover it's taken on a definite 70's-electronic-test-component vibe, not sure if I like that. Only needs some woodgrain.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    And it's done for now. Decided against adding the parallel port, didn't want to clutter up the backpanel since it's so simple right now.

    And let me say, it photographs much better than it actually is. The mesh was a pain to get cut right, and then I ended up bending it just a hair too small. It fits, just a bit too tightly for my liking. Still, I think it's pretty cool, and that's all that really matters to me. All that's left is to install XP and configure everything. Oh yeah, and make a run to Hardware Hank or Radio Shack for the rubber feet I like.

    Anyway, the final pics.





    And just so the size is even more obvious, here it is with a 3.5" hard drive.


  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    Got XP Pro installed and started getting things set up. Trying to get a CPU temp while it's in Windows was a pain, but Speedfan seems to be working. This bastard gets HOT. Just doing the install and updates the CPU is hitting into the 60ºC range, hate to see what it would hit under a real load. Might have to try to squeeze in a fan. Unfortunately it would have to be mounted to the outside of the cover, didn't leave enough room internally. Tempted to bend a new cover that's a bit taller, make "flaps" to cover the gap that would be on the front and back. Not sure if I'm that motivated, though.

    I did check Intel's specs for the CPU and found it's rated to 100ºC, the board itself is rated for operating in temps from 0-60ºC, so I'm in safe territory. Still, the case gets almost too hot to touch, so I'm mulling the fan over a bit.

    I also had it running on the end with the CPU side of the board towards the top. Going to run it "flat" for a while with the whole top of the mesh available for venting. See if that makes a difference

    Oh yeah, and I really need to add a power switch somewhere on this. Been having it start when power is applied, but it's a pain and I don't want to damage the power connector. It'll have to be on the back of the case, the board uses a full size DIMM which doesn't leave much depth on the front of the case. Just wish there were small AND nice looking momentary switches. I've got a Bulgin vandal here for the WHS project, but it's so fricken big I doubt it would fit anywhere. I also have some small momentary switches from an old, old project, but they have ugly plastic knobs. Guess I'll keep looking.

  9. #9
    Xtreme Addict
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    1,450
    Sad about the new cover and flaps , but still very nice.

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    After an extended run, CPU temps were above 70ºC, so I really had to add on a fan. Went digging through my parts and came across a 1cm thick, 40mm fan that had been on the heatsink of another embedded board. And it JUST barely fits with the cover on.

    Second problem, it's really amazingly loud and whiney at 12 volts. The board doesn't have any fan controls, and access to 5 volts isn't easy. Ended up using two 3 pin connectors. One connects to a standard fan header on the board, only for RPM monitoring. The second three pin was modified to fit an onboard external power header Commell puts on the boards. It is a 4 pin male "floppy" power connector, so with a couple swaps of wires on the fan connector, I've got the fan running at 5 volts.

    With the fan CPU temps are staying in the 60-65ºC range. Not a great reduction, but at least now the whole case isn't getting too hot to touch.

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    Some final pics after a few fixes.

    -Added power and reset buttons from the parts bin
    -Added power and HD activity LEDs, also from the parts box
    -Added two quiet 40mm cooling fans. Originally planned on cutting round holes, but decided to make it easier on myself and just do a square cutout. Doesn't make much difference in looks, at least not to me.
    -Added rubber feet, only to find out that when the mesh cover is in place the body of the case is a bit warped. Not sure how that happened.

    Anyway, it's complete. Enjoy the last pics.




  12. #12
    Xtreme Cruncher
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    venezuela caracas
    Posts
    7,392
    im motivated to build a windows server too from what ive read the thing is great everyone is saying MS did a awesome job with the windows sever, and your work is outstanding congrats
    Incoming new computer after 5 long years

    YOU want to FIGHT CANCER OR AIDS join us at WCG and help to have a better FUTURE

  13. #13
    Xtreme Enthusiast
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    510
    gj there mate very nice
    Gaming Rig
    Intel E6300
    Intel Mobo
    2 Gig OCZ 800 (800 5,5,5,15)
    Saphire Ati 4870
    22inch LG Flatron W2230S

  14. #14
    Xtremely High Voltage Sparky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    16,043
    that has gotta be the smallest PC I've seen. How well does it run with only 600MHz and no L2? The lack of L2 is what bothers me the most.
    The Cardboard Master
    Crunch with us, the XS WCG team
    Intel Core i7 2600k @ 4.5GHz, 16GB DDR3-1600, Radeon 7950 @ 1000/1250, Win 10 Pro x64

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    85
    Performs much like a PIII-600MHz or a Via C3/C7@1.2Ghz or so. While it has no L2, it does have a pretty fast path to system memory. Of course, with only DDR266 it could be better. I do have another similar board with a 512KB cache Celeron-M 600MHz, but that board needs an ATX PSU. Even using something like a Pico-PSU that would need a larger case to hold the cabling.

    I'm mulling over throwing together an even smaller one. Can't cut the width or depth much, but I could probably cut the height down by a good inch with the AMD Geode GX board I have. Only 300MHz, but it has dual 10/100, will boot off a flash card, and runs off about 10 watts at 5 volts. Super-mini PC firewall, if I needed one. Maybe a FreeNAS box with external USB drives for storage?

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •