Low power Haswell ITX build

presslab Offline
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Post: #1
I have built a few home stereo devices: a DAC, room EQ DSP, and two Tripath amplifiers using the Hi-fi 2000 cases. They are nice quality and easy to work with. We have been using an older Logitech Revue Google TV device, but I wanted to build a custom HTPC to round out the equipment; my goal was to have the idle power consumption better than the Google TV it is replacing which is around 12 W. Like the Revue, this HTPC will not be turned off or put in standby.

[Image: IMG_20131026_083826.jpg]

Hi-fi 2000 ITX 288 Case
Intel i3-4330 CPU
Intel 7260 AC WiFi/Bluetooth card
Intel X-25M 80GB SSD
ASRock H81M-ITX Motherboard
G.SKILL 2x2GB 1.35V DDR3-1333 DRAM
Pico-Box Z2-ATX-200 Power supply
Sparkle 12V 60W Power brick
Ubuntu 13.10 Operating system

I've undervolted the CPU a bit and overclocked both the GPU and DRAM to 1600 MHz; everything is stable. The ASRock board has a lot of tweaking ability. It consumes 10.6W on the desktop with display on and WiFi connected, display off is 9.5W. 15.5W when playing Bluray rip. I needed to tweak Ubuntu a bit to lower the power; basically I enabled the "laptop on-battery" features at all times by modifying pm-utils. This had virtually no negative performance impact.

Initially I put a G3220 CPU in, and while it was fine for XBMC, it wouldn't play the Wii emulator games that well. The i3-4330 is about twice as fast in the GPU, and only consumes a little more power at idle. The AC wireless works very well, I get over 37 MB/s file copying speed from the NAS and it takes little power. I suspect the speed will improve as Linux drivers get better. The speed is important as I keep all the emulator ROMs on the NAS.

My next modification is to add a graphical OLED display to the front of the case. I have already bought the display and finished writing the Linux drivers, next thing is to machine the opening in the front panel. The display will connect to an internal USB header and has 256x64 resolution, 16 grayscale. This display will show nowplaying information as well as the GUI for a Squeezebox music client.
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Jetster Offline
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Post: #2
Nice job
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presslab Offline
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Post: #3
Thanks!

Here are some pics of the other devices going into this system that I've built. The DSP device has a custom FPGA which handles switching the inputs as well as controlling the power to the amps. They consume about 40W idle which is necessary for the high signal-to-noise ratio, but they power down when not in use.

[Image: P1000502.JPG][Image: P1000506.JPG]
[Image: _1030150.JPG][Image: _1030154.JPG]
[Image: P1000720.JPG][Image: P1000723.JPG]
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zag Offline
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Post: #4
Very interesting, love the amplifiers!

HTPC - XBMC Gotham, OpenELEC, Harmony Smart Remote, Intel Haswell NUC, 40gb intel SSD, Core i3, 4gb RAM
Storage - 2 x qnap 8tb 419p+ NAS
Display LG 46" LCD + Casio Bulbless projector [PICS]
[Image: widget]
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FredG89 Offline
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Post: #5
Those are nice man!
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Morphy99 Offline
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Post: #6
Hi Presslab came across your post as was looking at that asrock mainboard myself. Its a good price and meets all the criteria I have laid down for a new HTPC system. Your amps and DSPs look quite impressive, I would love to find out more about your setup. Also the DAC youve built interests me if you got any info. How are you integrating the HTPC into all this? Also how are you getting on with the LCD display?

I'm looking to put together an openelec or ubuntu htpc with the best features for as little cost as possible so will probably go with the g3220 cpu as its half the price of the i3-4330. When you had this was it capable in xbmc with a heavy skin like aeon nox?
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presslab Offline
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Post: #7
(2013-12-05 01:29)Morphy99 Wrote:  Hi Presslab came across your post as was looking at that asrock mainboard myself. Its a good price and meets all the criteria I have laid down for a new HTPC system. Your amps and DSPs look quite impressive, I would love to find out more about your setup. Also the DAC youve built interests me if you got any info. How are you integrating the HTPC into all this? Also how are you getting on with the LCD display?

I'm looking to put together an openelec or ubuntu htpc with the best features for as little cost as possible so will probably go with the g3220 cpu as its half the price of the i3-4330. When you had this was it capable in xbmc with a heavy skin like aeon nox?

Thanks! I'm still getting things put together. The DAC/DSP unit uses a MiniDSP, two "2496" AK4396 DACs, a custom TI ASRC, and a custom low jitter clock source. It does room equalization and the crossover for the subs and the tower speakers. Basically I can calibrate the speakers to the room with a reference microphone and a laptop, automatically.

The HTPC is the source, I use the TOSLINK output. For music I use a squeezebox server on the NAS, along with Jivelite/Squeezelite. And XBMC of course for movies and streaming.

I can't seem to settle on an LCD, I just got another one, but higher res. I need to get my CNC mill working again so I can cut the front panel out. I did just get the capacitive touch sensor working for the power button, it's neat.

I haven't tried Aeon Nox on the G3220, but for everything in XBMC it was very fast. Only the 3D for playing Wii games wasn't good enough, so I upgraded.. Even though it's cheap it's got a lot of bang for the buck.
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presslab Offline
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Post: #8
I did get around to trying the Aeon Nox skin. It's very smooth.
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jmrpet Offline
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Post: #9
(2013-10-28 04:25)presslab Wrote:  Hi-fi 2000 ITX 288 Case
Intel i3-4330 CPU
Intel 7260 AC WiFi/Bluetooth card
Intel X-25M 80GB SSD
ASRock H81M-ITX Motherboard
G.SKILL 2x2GB 1.35V DDR3-1333 DRAM
Pico-Box Z2-ATX-200 Power supply
Sparkle 12V 60W Power brick
Ubuntu 13.10 Operating system

I've undervolted the CPU a bit and overclocked both the GPU and DRAM to 1600 MHz; everything is stable. The ASRock board has a lot of tweaking ability. It consumes 10.6W on the desktop with display on and WiFi connected, display off is 9.5W. 15.5W when playing Bluray rip. I needed to tweak Ubuntu a bit to lower the power; basically I enabled the "laptop on-battery" features at all times by modifying pm-utils. This had virtually no negative performance impact.

Do you mean the power consumption of the whole build was 15.5W when playing bluerip? Or do you mean power for the cpu alone?
I recall measuring a Intel NUC with a low power ivy bridge i3 and I think it did about 16W when the machine was one an desktop showing (not doing anything).
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presslab Offline
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Post: #10
The 15.5W (and the other measurements too) is total power consumption of the computer as measured at the wall outlet.
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piik Offline
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Post: #11
Presslab.
I don't know you can ever see this reply or not
but let me ask you a stupid question.
How did you undervolt CPU? I have the same Mobo but different CPU (G3220)
I cannot adjust any voltage offset option in bios. Vcore, GPU offset option says 'AUTO' with white background. I cannot adjust it.
DRAM voltage is the only adjustable item.
CPU may not allow voltage adjust. But your i3 is NON-K which shall have the same feature
Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.
(This post was last modified: 2014-04-03 15:31 by piik.)
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piik Offline
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Post: #12
(2014-04-03 15:10)piik Wrote:  Presslab.
I don't know you can ever see this reply or not
but let me ask you a stupid question.
How did you undervolt CPU? I have the same Mobo but different CPU (G3220)
I cannot adjust any voltage offset option in bios. Vcore, GPU offset option says 'AUTO' with white background. I cannot adjust it.
DRAM voltage is the only adjustable item.
CPU may not allow voltage adjust. But your i3 is NON-K which shall have the same feature
Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance.

Self Answer to my own question.

I am a stupid... Smile
UEFI BIOS is different from traditional Bios.
Field with Gray background, I can hit enter and select option from drop down list
However, white background field needs '+' or '-' key to change it's value. Enter button does not do anything.
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mika91 Offline
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Post: #13
(2013-10-28 04:25)presslab Wrote:  I have built a few home stereo devices: a DAC, room EQ DSP, and two Tripath amplifiers using the Hi-fi 2000 cases. They are nice quality and easy to work with. We have been using an older Logitech Revue Google TV device, but I wanted to build a custom HTPC to round out the equipment; my goal was to have the idle power consumption better than the Google TV it is replacing which is around 12 W. Like the Revue, this HTPC will not be turned off or put in standby.

[Image: IMG_20131026_083826.jpg]

Hi-fi 2000 ITX 288 Case
Intel i3-4330 CPU
Intel 7260 AC WiFi/Bluetooth card
Intel X-25M 80GB SSD
ASRock H81M-ITX Motherboard
G.SKILL 2x2GB 1.35V DDR3-1333 DRAM
Pico-Box Z2-ATX-200 Power supply
Sparkle 12V 60W Power brick
Ubuntu 13.10 Operating system

I've undervolted the CPU a bit and overclocked both the GPU and DRAM to 1600 MHz; everything is stable. The ASRock board has a lot of tweaking ability. It consumes 10.6W on the desktop with display on and WiFi connected, display off is 9.5W. 15.5W when playing Bluray rip. I needed to tweak Ubuntu a bit to lower the power; basically I enabled the "laptop on-battery" features at all times by modifying pm-utils. This had virtually no negative performance impact.

Initially I put a G3220 CPU in, and while it was fine for XBMC, it wouldn't play the Wii emulator games that well. The i3-4330 is about twice as fast in the GPU, and only consumes a little more power at idle. The AC wireless works very well, I get over 37 MB/s file copying speed from the NAS and it takes little power. I suspect the speed will improve as Linux drivers get better. The speed is important as I keep all the emulator ROMs on the NAS.

My next modification is to add a graphical OLED display to the front of the case. I have already bought the display and finished writing the Linux drivers, next thing is to machine the opening in the front panel. The display will connect to an internal USB header and has 256x64 resolution, 16 grayscale. This display will show nowplaying information as well as the GUI for a Squeezebox music client.

Hi,

I've bought the same CPU + motherboard combo, and I'd like to undevolt the i3 (TDP too high for my fanless HFX micro case)
I don't see a simple "CPU voltage offset" in the bios, but "cache", "IO", ...
Can you please give me your settings? (for CPU undervolt and GPU overclock)

Thanks Smile
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presslab Offline
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Post: #14
(2014-08-09 18:59)mika91 Wrote:  Hi,

I've bought the same CPU + motherboard combo, and I'd like to undevolt the i3 (TDP too high for my fanless HFX micro case)
I don't see a simple "CPU voltage offset" in the bios, but "cache", "IO", ...
Can you please give me your settings? (for CPU undervolt and GPU overclock)

Thanks Smile

I have "Vcore Voltage Additional Offset" of -0.100 V, and "GT Frequency" of 1300 MHz.

Here is the manual, look at page 50 and 54.
http://ftp.66.226.78.21/manual/H81M-ITX.pdf

But with a TDP too high for fanless case maybe you should just limit power with "Long Duration Power Limit".
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mika91 Offline
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Post: #15
ok, thanks a lot Smile
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