Any good online guides?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by ToolPackinMama, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. Hi guys.

    Can you suggest any good online guides that show how to configure and
    assemble new technology PC? I am particularly interested in learning
    more about the cute little solid-state ITX form-factor ones.

    ToolPackinMama, Oct 3, 2014
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  2. ToolPackinMama

    Flasherly Guest

    It's mostly all built on old tech PC, just newer. Google search
    "assemble a PC" for a library full of it. Nothing is quite like
    having already done it several times, though. Main thing is getting
    known/reviewed quality components. Take your time figuring how it
    goes together. If you have that time and even a spare computer
    connected for researching questions and aspects as they crop up while
    building, you stand a better chance of getting really decent results.
    Won't have much extra room for a mini-ITX and overbuilding, so select
    parts for what you expect to do with it well.

    Never built an ITX myself. There's plenty small enough regular cases
    to where I'm comfortable with laying one over on its side. No
    comparison to functionality if expections change within standard case
    form factors, everything else in the way of parts are/were originally
    built for - excluding what's [not] cute about mini-ITX.

    Nope. Not the land of Dick Tracey and his wristwatch ITX mini
    computer quite yet.

    Main hit is going to be smaller PS units, though. Serious PS units
    for serious builds are far and few if at all between mini-ITX, cute,
    or what standard case factoring offhand has to offer.

    Not saying a little ITX "beater" with an economy AMD $40 quadcore,
    (also no shortage of ways to get into a modest power-draws setup),
    might be the cat's meow for plenty of things to do casually with

    A for-real PS unit would still be my biggest concern. Cheap ones,
    when they crap out can on occassion transgress into serious no-fun
    territory;- Make a believer out of you about buying only good PS
    units and stuff.
    Flasherly, Oct 3, 2014
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  3. I have a friend who only needs something for email and web-browsing.
    She's not what you'd call a power-user. I am not even sure why she
    wants a desktop unit, when she has a tablet. Maybe for the bigger
    monitor screen.

    I hear ya, brother. That burning smell is something you remember.
    ToolPackinMama, Oct 3, 2014
  4. ToolPackinMama

    Flasherly Guest

    Get the component brand selection right and I've built a lot of budget
    systems. They last people like that at least five years -- one, built
    on an Antec case/PS is going on 10 or 12 years old... Likely
    socketed with an AMD Athlon XP. Last I saw him, he was still using
    the same dialup modem I set him up with to connect.
    Flasherly, Oct 3, 2014
  5. ToolPackinMama

    Flasherly Guest

    Oh yea...I can still remember him driving me to a then nationally
    recognized WWW budget computer parts store -HQ's here within 20 miles.
    The parts build bill was $1200. I built it for him for nothing. I
    just wanted him to drive me there and pay for the parts, so he'd see
    and remember how "it happens."
    Flasherly, Oct 3, 2014
  6. ToolPackinMama

    Paul Guest

    Buy an Intel NUC. Less work.
    Processor is soldered in place. 15W processor. A bit gutless
    if doing Photoshop. 2 Core 4 Thread. 1.3GHz when doing multithreaded
    things like Photoshop or 7ZIP compression (7Z format). Turbo to 2.6GHz.
    Meaning when surfing, single threaded, the processor runs faster as
    long as there isn't too much background loading. Benefits might
    include less noise than other solutions.


    MiniITX has processor boards available with sockets. You can
    install a more powerful processor (fan cooling, a bit more noise).
    MiniITX tend to be powered by wall adapters with Pico power supplies
    for inside the box. Builders like to build compact boxes, but then
    you must pay careful attention to the dimensions of everything,
    like using slim laptop optical drives, laptop hard drives or SSDs,
    special low-profile DIMMs, and so on. Boxes typically include
    a single PCI Express slot, but depending on your power limitations,
    you can't put a low-profile gamer video card in there. The thermals
    would be too hard to get right.

    This combination site plus store, offers examples of mini-ITX.

    You can see on their feature page right now, an enclosure
    designed to dissipate heat.

    But the smaller those cases get, the harder the installer
    has to work. Lots and lots of dimensions to check. Does
    my cooling fan fit ? Will this 150W wall adapter be enough ?
    And so on.

    (Page containing AC wall adapter, Pico DC Converters to match...)

    (Specs for the Pico, usually found elsewhere...)

    12V @ 8A (Motherboard CPU power, CD/DVD if desktop drive)
    5V @ 6A (Used by hard drive, CD/DVD drive, motherboard)
    5VSB @ 1.5A (USB bus)
    3.3V @ 6A (Motherboard rail)
    -12V @ 0.05A (Serial port RS232 if present)
    Total = 150W of DC power

    Input - 12V regulated (presumably passed straight to the motherboard)
    Not for usage with car battery (not a "wide-range" input).

    On this page, I can see some "recommendations" printed next
    to the motherboards. Like 65W CPU plus LGA1150 (upgradeable)
    motherboard, to be combined with 150W wall adapter and
    150W Pico converter (for inside the box). The wall adapter
    makes a higher voltage, like just to make up some numbers
    maybe it makes 15V @ 10A. The Pico converter is a small board
    that plugs into the main ATX power connector, and it is mechanically
    mounted there. Unlike an ATX power supply, the Pico can be just
    a "buck converter" design, and needs to be 90% efficient so it
    will not overheat. The wall adapter provides isolation (has a
    transformer between primary and secondary side of switcher), so
    the wall adapter provides the same level of isolation as the
    ATX supply does. The Pico board then converts the 15V to 12V,5V,3.3V
    or whatever else is required. Each "rail" on the Pico has a current
    limit that must be followed.

    To be a petite system builder, I recommend the purchase of
    a clamp-on *DC* ammeter. You can buy an ATX extension cable
    (male and female connectors, 24 wires joining them), and
    you slip your clamp-on ammeter around the wires. You
    build up your mini-ITX on the bench. Use a Linux LiveCD,
    get a copy of Prime95 ( and do a
    torture test. Now, using the clamp-on ammeter, you verify
    the current flow levels coming out of the Pico.

    Wall_adapter -------- Barrel_connector ----- Pico ======== Mini-ITX DUT
    24 pin
    cable and loose

    The reason for doing this, is "characterization". Did I do
    my power calcs right ? Is the Pico close to overload ? How
    much air has to move through the Mini-ITX case to keep
    the casing cool ? These are things you are preparing for,
    by measuring the current.

    I haven't built any of these things, and I only recommend
    this tech to "well motivated" individuals. Do you really
    want to get into this business ? You will end up with
    a few leftover parts, as some experimentation will
    be inevitable as you "build and learn". Like those
    DIMMs you bought, which were too tall to fit under the
    CPU cooler. And so on. Really no different than the
    graveyard materials from ATX builds. A lot of the
    same principles apply. Really, you should have acquired
    all the skills to build a small box, from building a
    large box. If you build a gamer box for someone,
    you had to work out max_power for the internal components
    and select and position enough fans to keep the case cool.
    The smaller builds, it's like a "ship in a bottle". Everything
    you do is a mechanical disaster waiting to happen.

    Paul, Oct 3, 2014
  7. ToolPackinMama

    Flasherly Guest

    That doesn't remotely even begin to apply to some sorts, especially
    women. Anything resembling a bulky computer with visible wires and
    cabling reminds people of a work environment and everything that's
    wrong about intimidation: Not where I just left. I'm not having that
    thing In Here!

    Recalling the last woman I talked to about a computer for a music
    entertainment system.

    I'm sure I could do it acceptably with a laptop, although I hate
    working with those things unless I absolutely have to. Could be a lot
    of money for the look and something incapable or especially difficult
    to eventually repair.

    Can do the same thing on a shoe string budget, easy as cake with odd
    parts for next to nothing. Glue a keyboard and TTL to the case, even,
    for a couple hundred bucks.

    Which was a total and complete abomination to her, even though she
    recognizes the power and capacity of a computer.

    What she really wants is a one- or two-thousand BOSE system because it
    is correctly accessorized and matched to how she's done the interior
    decorating within an exclusive condo club. Hardy bigger than a
    oversized toaster for doing it all when living it up in high class.
    Seriously, there's units in there that look as if they were
    exclusively built by DisneyLand.

    (...Pictures of Maryln Manroe all over. Of course MM didn't get her
    head cut off for listening to music, but for dicking around with John
    F. Kennedy.)
    Flasherly, Oct 3, 2014
  8. I once saw a Bose clock radio with a burned-out power transformer.
    I thought transformers never failed except in cheap stuff that
    wasn't UL safety approved or when lightning struck, and the Bose
    transformer was definitely not cheap stuff because it was made
    with flat copper ribbon, not ordinary round copper wire, and
    while it wasn't very large, an eBay dealer wanted $75. Bose
    said either it was no longer available or wouldn't sell it.

    If my wife saw exposed cables, her only concern would be over the
    cables snagging and pulling out or a child getting strangled on
    them. If she cared about superficial looks, she wouldn't have
    married me. :)
    MANroe sounds like the name of a transvestite tribute act to
    Marilyn Monroe. :)
    larrymoencurly, Oct 4, 2014
  9. ToolPackinMama

    Paul Guest

    I have a transformer here, that I tried to use in an audio
    project, and with no music signal, the transformer gets
    too hot to touch after an hour.

    I have an older transformer, a 200W one, and if given the
    same chore, it would be still cool after an hour.

    I can only guess that the problem is eddy current and the
    laminations (not the wires) are shorted to one another. The
    output voltage appears to be normal. The laminations are
    ferrous, with a lacquer coating, and splitting them is
    supposed to prevent eddy currents from flowing. I can't
    leave that transformer in the amp, because it'll eventually
    overheat everything (the cooling on the amp, is only for the
    power device, and the heatsink for that is on the outside
    of the unit).

    Paul, Oct 4, 2014
  10. Good info, Paul. Thanks a lot.
    ToolPackinMama, Oct 4, 2014
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