[Cerowrt-devel] hardware from hell

Jonathan Morton chromatix99 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 3 23:48:41 EST 2016

> On 4 Mar, 2016, at 05:11, Dave Taht <dave.taht at gmail.com> wrote:
> So I am hard pressed for space in the general case. "Quiet", and low
> power are always my watchwords, also. Yurt couldn't draw more than 350
> watts, for example.

If space is the overriding concern, you might stack several identical machines vertically using standoffs through the mounting holes, and use PicoPSUs instead of standard ones.  That would mostly save you length rather than width or height, compared to the InWin case, but it’s something.  The limiting factor for height would be either the CPU heatsink or the NIC.

Alternatively, the InWin case can be left horizontal instead of vertical, and then you can stack identical machines on top of each other without messing around with standoffs.

The AMD box draws at most 25W for the CPU, so the heatsink scarcely has anything to do, so it’ll be quiet as long as the PSU is.  It certainly draws less power than an Intel-based box, unless it’s based on one of those (frankly awful) Atoms, and even then it’d be tricky to find a full-featured Atom machine which reliably stays below 25W under load.  There’s very little active hardware on the m/board, since the “CPU” is actually an SoC, and the NIC is low-power enough to not require a heatsink.

The PicoPSU has the advantage of being fanless, as well as taking up almost literally no space.  The downside is that it (and the 12V brick to supply it) costs more than the entire InWin case (with PSU) by some margin.

I recently used my old passively-cooled E-450 board (displaced by an upgrade to a Kaveri APU), a spare SSD, a PicoPSU and a CarTFT case to build a truly silent PC (which also happens to be very small).  That however leaves no room to add a second Ethernet port - the CarTFT case has no external slot corresponding to the PCIe slot.  It does still have the ath9k card in the mini-PCIe slot, and I can still attach antennae to the connectors on the rear panel.  Because it is passively cooled, though, I am keeping it vertical to permit convection through the heatsink.

If you want to copy that, here’s the board - if you can still find it on sale - and the case:


 - Jonathan Morton

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