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kuhla

Mini ITX

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There has been a nice increase in "high performance" mITX options lately, in case you did not know. I felt like making a thread about this form factor because I find it very cool.

 

Newegg list of all LGA1156 mITX boards - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList....lue=757%3A20949

 

You'll note that 3 of them are H55 chipset, one is P55, and one is H57. There are no LGA1366 mITX boards (needs too many chips, not enough board space) although shuttle has made something damn close (search: SX58H7).

 

The DFI board has been favored for folks looking to do a bit of overclocking, but mostly on dual cores, very little quad core head room unless you are willing to deal with literally burnt up VRMs.

 

The bigger news today is the Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 is possibly the first mITX that can do some respectable quad core overclocking.

 

gigabyte product page - http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/products/produc...spx?pid=3455#ov

xtremesysems thread page 2 scroll down - http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showth...3539&page=2

 

dinos22 at xsys was able to get a 875K up to 3.7GHz for over 3 hours so that is pretty much stable but he said that is probably the max for the board due to VRMs. He was able to throw in a quick bench at 4.4GHz too.

 

The price of the board is not bad at all either at around $100. Paired with a case like the Silverstone SG05 or upcoming SG07, we are talking stupid amounts of performance-to-size.

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I know this may sound mean, but why exactly do you want an mitx setup. I mean, I was always the one interested in small form factor. Quite frankly what's the difference between a nice matx setup in a small case, which gives you more room and is in general a much easier setup to manage, especially if you want to pull shit like that and watercool.

 

I like small form factor but one of the key reasons why I originally went matx was because of the idea of a small footprint and lan capability. But considering we don't lan anymore (sad but true) and the footprint isn't much of an issue for your setup, I once again am confused by this seemingly irrational love of mitx suddenly. If I wanted an htpc or server I'd go for mitx but currently with the number of motherboards out, I'd prefer the matx setup, that way I can have a sound card and don't have to worry too much about fitting components.

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I'm going to have to agree with malaphax as to why you want MITX, as I don't see any particular issue regarding space that you have other than a crazy obsession over small things. A very Apple like thinking.

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The basic answer is I pretty much don't see the point to buy an mATX or ATX size motherboard anymore outside of certain unique situations (more on that later).

 

Almost all the limitations to ITX setups are gone. There are multiple cases now that allow full size cooling solutions, full size PSUs, full size GPUs, multiple hard drives in a very compact sizes. It isn't just cases though, this latest generation of ITX motherboard are pretty much feature equal with mATX and ATX size motherboards and have only a small price premium. Look up reviews for the (now discontinued) DFI P55 MI-T36 and the very popular Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 or the kind-of-ridiculous Zotac H55ITX-A-E.

 

The only real limitations of the platform that I know about are:

 

(1) No X58 due to size limitations so no LGA1366 although Shuttle has made one damn close. If anything could swing me back to a larger sized motherboard it would probably be this because of the amazing speed at which LGA1366 stuff is dropping in price.

 

(2) No dual GPUs, obviously, but I've never wanted to go with that so there is no loss.

 

(3) Overclocking is much much much better on these current boards but still not equal to bigger motherboards and that is also not something I see as a big loss. Just about any CPU above $150 now overclocks itself a bit on it's own and very few things are CPU limited anymore so pushing the CPU another 1GHz at the cost of heat, noise, power and stability doesn't seem worth it anymore.

 

(4) Expansion slots for other things, malaphax brought out no room for a soundcard, my hope on a future setup is to use an external DAC connected to the optical out. That would be a strictly hardware solution because I don't want to mess with soundcard drivers ever again. I don't look back on my Creative history with happiness anymore.

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Looks like sandy bridge is going to be launching with a nice selection of mITX boards. This is a mix of old and new pics/info.

 

ASUS: Posted Image

source + info - http://www.tcmagazine.com/tcm/news/hardwar...rboard-previews

 

ASROCK: Posted Image

source + info (french translated) - http://translate.google.com/translate?u=ht...l=&ie=UTF-8

 

ECS: Posted Image

source + info - http://www.hypergearmag.com/events/ecs-get...ies-intels.html

 

Gigabyte: I saw one guy claim that they have said they are working on one but I haven't found the source for that.

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I'd almost consider going mitx if I could get all the features without much compromise. I think I remember reading that enthusiast matx mobos were rather common now, and that since everyone seemed to be moving down in sizes we might seem some early enthusiast mitx stuff.

 

Posted Image

 

EDIT:

 

I will probably start looking into a full build within the next couple of months. Ivy Bridge is around april, so I have a feeling I know what I'll be getting is roughly:

 

3770K (maybe something less like a 3570k, but we'll see)

 

Probably the Asus ROG Maximus V motherboard, it's matx and looks like it has the features I'm interested in (I'd of course be open to other options when more mobos come out)

 

AMD 7870 gpu, looks decent for the price, I've tended to stick with amd graphics and have not been disappointed with them.

 

The motherfucking trashcan, Honestly this part is one of the few I've been considering changing. I have heard some unpleasant things about vibration/noise from this, but we'll see if I end up going with a mini tower like kuhla's.

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So you want to go Z77 chipset+LGA1155 socket? Last time we talked, you sounded pretty sold on X79+LGA2011.

 

Yeah, the ASUS ROG Maximus V looks pretty nice but I'm still wondering what the hell I would do with that mini PCI Express card slot.

 

They make an ITX version of the trashcan: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1642182 it isn't as nice as the mATX version and they force you to use an SFX power supply, no full size, and it can't be modding into it without some very serious work (unlike the SG05 it seems to be based on).

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I know about the ITX trashcan. I dislike it. When I make mention of possibly picking a different case, I don't have too much in mind. Probably the closest contender would be this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...82&Tpk=tj08

 

I've heard rather good reviews about that case, and that the noise profile is very good. I am also considering going the slightly extra step of putting in acoustic foam, and with a more standard type of case this would eliminate some cutting and modification needed. On top of which the "upside down" issue of a heavy cpu cooler is completely eliminated if I end up going with a self contained water cooler and use the back 120 slot for the radiator.

 

I'll create a thread in a bit where I can discuss the greater and lesser merits of my plans a bit later today.

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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompa...0^13-131-840-TS

 

A few people have tried to do comparisons between these two and found them pretty much equal. The asus had more OC related options in the bios but they hit the temp+vcore limit on their chip before it really mattered. The Asrock has some kind of special feature that makes it boot faster. I expected the Asus to kick ass and take names but I guess not really.... it seems kind of like a tie with little special wants one way or the other. Both boards did 4.5GHz+.

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Before I go into details, I'd like to point out that technically there has been just as much hardware stuffed in smaller (in terms of liters/volume) size but.....

 

source - http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/other/display...ITX_System.html

image 1 - http://www.xbitlabs.com/picture/?src=/imag.../fnw_tiki_2.jpg

image 2 - http://www.xbitlabs.com/picture/?src=/imag.../fnw_tiki_3.jpg

image 3 - http://www.xbitlabs.com/picture/?src=/imag.../fnw_tiki_1.jpg

 

Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe itx motherboard

Core i7-3770K cpu

Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 video card

16GB of DDR3 memory

1x3.5", 2x2.5" internal drives

blu-ray, slot load, slim disc drive

dimensions: 4" w x 13" h x ??" d, less than 13" d

 

 

Xbox 360 dimensions: 3.27" w x 12.15" h x 10.15" d

PS3 dimensions: 2.56" w x 11.42" h x 11.42" d

 

 

So we have dimensions in the ballpark of modern consoles with very modern and very powerful pc hardware inside.

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This was apparently quietly announced a long time ago but I didn't know about it until today:

 

product page - http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=3102

info sheet - http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/upload/dow...uct%20Sheet.pdf

 

It looks like it is clearly aimed at the Silverstone SG05 and SG07. The fact that it accepts the biggest video cards, 3x3.5" drives and normal size PSUs is pretty good. You definitely pay for it a bit in size though at 20L compared to the SG05 (10.8L) and SG08 (14.8L).

 

If you took out the hard drive rack, put one of these (link) in the 5.25" with a 2.5", crammed a 3.5" somewhere else, you could probably squeeze an H80 in there. Maybe even push pull.

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Well damn. It may not be the most compact nor make the most efficient use of internal space but for $50 (link) they are definitely making a niche for themselves with the SG05 and SG07 coming in at $100 and $190 respectively. Although yes, both of those come with power supplies you could still easily add one to the CM case that would be bigger and better quality bringing you to the same $100 price point of the SG05.

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