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Looking for Case and Power Supply

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  • Looking for Case and Power Supply

    I'm building myself a dedicated car pc, looking for a suitable power supply and case and have a couple of questions.

    I have previously used an old desktop pc and a 300w pure sine wave inverter which worked pretty well but takes up a lot of space, is noisy and made it a real pain in the arse to get to the spare wheel. This was running into my old trusty clarion in dash TV thru RCA which running off the TV output of the video card gave poor resolution.

    I have just ordered the innards of the system:

    -J&W MINIX 785G-SP128MB Mini-ITX Motherboard
    -AMD Athlon II X2 245
    -Samsung 500GB Spinpoint M7 500GB 2.5in SATA HM500JI
    -Samsung SE-S084C Slim External USB DVD Writer
    -Corsair VS2GSDS800D2 (1x2GB) SODIMM

    I already have:

    -Xenarc 700v-something 7" LCD touch screen
    -Haicom CF GPS or maybe my dads spare bluetooth one, not sure which I'll use yet.
    -USB card reader for the compact flash GPS if I use it
    -USB bluetooth dongle for the other GPS
    -USB WiFi dongle
    -USB 3G wireless broadband dongle

    Might Get/Use:

    -Xbox Live Vision Cam depending on how well it works in the car. I have like 3 of these sitting around doing nothing. They work great as a webcam.
    -An external SB audio card depending on how the onboard sound is.
    -Mini wireless keyboard and mouse depending how much of a pain the on screen keyboard is.
    -Second battery for when car is not running, most likely a deep cycle, which I will run through a redarc SBI12 isolator.

    Now, I'm looking for a power supply.. All the PSU calculators I have found don't list a motherboard like mine, so I'm not sure about the requirements.

    The board is a standard mini-itx with ATI 4200 integrated graphics.

    According to the PSU calculator on thermaltakes web site, It says I need 216w minimum if I choose regular desktop board, the correct CPU, 10 USB devices and 3 hard drives, but there is no option for integrated graphics, only AGP/PCI/PCIE slot based cards.. I chose 10 USB devices and 3 hard drives to allow a little headroom for expansion. Apart from the USB devices and the 2 extra hard drives, this figure seems a little high to me, seeing as it is a 65w CPU running on a board with integrated graphics. If I remove the 10 USB devices, and choose only 1 HDD, it drops to 198w which still sounds a little high to me... Can anyone confirm if this is correct?

    I would prefer the PSU to do the shutdown thing itself, rather then me having to manually power it down, as it will be installed in the boot out of the way, with the DVD drive in the centre console in the front via USB.

    I have been looking at the m4-atx, which has 250w to play with. This seems to have the shutdown feature I'm after, as well as a low input voltage so it doesnt drop out under crank. The car (Ford EB Falcon) being a V8, is going to pull some decent current/volts while cranking. Its starting to get cold here at the moment, so it's dropping to around 8 volts @ 0 deg C under cranking, so this unit should be safe.

    Reading through old posts on the forum, it seems a lot of people have issues with this unit. Is this still the case in current models? Does anyone know of anywhere to buy them in Australia other than from as I'd prefer to buy locally for warranty reasons. And I'm impatient and dont want to wait 2 weeks for it to come from the states :P

    Does anyone know whether this board and cpu setup will fit inside the morex cases in the store here? Most likely the 5677 or the mini-box m350. The m350 looks like it will breathe better. I havent seen the heatsink for the CPU, as it hasnt arrived yet. The pics for the m350 show what looks to be a p4 or later heatsink/fan combo, which are pretty chunky, so im thinking that I should have no worries with the AMD version. I dare say I'll need a bit of airflow too, with the car getting to over 60c in summer here when sitting parked outside in the sun.

    I have a couple more questions related to the audio and navigation side of it, which I guess I should probably post in the relevant sections rather then in here.

    Anyway, enough wall-o-text, So in all, Would the m350 case and an m4-atx be a good choice with this setup?


  • #2
    The M350 is TINY.
    I use them with atom-based setups at work. For my application, they're great.
    However, I don't know if the additional cooling needed for your Athlon II CPU would fit vertically within the case. Look for the lowest-profile cooler you can, preferrably something designed for a 1U server chassis.
    If you find something, that will make it fit in the M350, but will also reduce the cooling capacity of your CPU cooler. That could present problems on a very hot day, when temperatures will rise substantially over ambient outdoor temperatures.

    You're definitely not getting 3 physical hard drives in that case.
    You can get a mounting plate for a second, but both hard drives need to be 2.5" drives. If you have the second HDD mounted, you have even less room for a CPU cooler.

    Also, the M350 has no space whatsoever for a DC-DC PSU, save for the mini units that fit into the ATX power onnector (like the M3 or PicoPSU, neither of which are suitable for your hardware). It will have to be outside the case. I suggest putting it into a plastic project box, and running the ATX wiring to the M350 case. Considering there is no accommodation for the ATX power connector to come in from outside the case, you'll have to get creative.
    You could use the space for a 40mm fan on the front, possibly, but you'll need to cut away some of the plastic bezel on the front.

    Personally, I am leery of the M4, but others have had good experiences with it. I think it will suit your needs.
    Remember that AMD's architecture draws CPU power from the 5V rail, so you need to make sure that whatever PSU you choose has sufficient output on 5v rail for your PSU selection, as well as the large number of USB devices you want connected.
    Some of those USB devices you'll want connected directly to the motherboard (instead of to a hub, powered or otherwise). That will mean more draw on the 5v rail.

    All of this needs to be considered.
    I highly suggest planning everything out in as much detail as possible before you start purchasing anything. You'll save time, money and frustration in the long run.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?

    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


    • #3
      ok, sounds like the m350 is a no go then. If I was going with multiple hard drives, I'd make the others external anyway as I wasnt expecting them all to fit.

      I didnt know that AMD uses 5v for the CPU, which means i'll need over 12a on the 5v rail. I havent used anything AMD since the 586 days, I bought it for a bit of a change and coz it was over $100 cheaper then an intel similar spec setup.

      I was thinking along the lines of a project box too, but dont remember seeing anything big enough at the local electronics store though.. will have to do more hunting.

      The board has 6 or 7 USB ports on it, which is where I'd run all the power consuming devices like the gps and wifi from anyway.

      Looks like its back to the drawing board again..

      Thanks for that info, will come in handy