Originally Posted by assassin dpmb's zacate build
As you know dpmb graciously agreed to let me use him as a guinea pig so I could test out the zacate platform.
For those of you who don't know zacate is an AMD fusion motherboard which includes the motherboard, processor and graphics all in one piece in one box. It also has a very low energy use and as such has the makings of a fantastic HTPC.
Our parts list. dpmb really went all out on this zacate build which as his builder I really appreciated:Motherboard/CPU combo: AMD Zacate ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe Mini ITX - $175
He wanted a mini-ITX form factor and this is the most feature rich board available right now. It has onboard wifi internet which is great to leave the lone slot open for future upgrades. It also has built in bluetooth should you want to link it to your smartphone or bluetooth keyboard/mouse. This board is completely fanless with a pretty awesome mammoth heatsink which should be cool to see. Great build quality as usual with ASUS.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131698Case: Rosewill RC-CIX-01 BK ITX - $50
This was the component that gave us the most trouble picking out. We initially were discussing the Lian-Li and Silverstone from page 1 of my recommendation page but the Lian-Li didn't offer future expandability as it cannot mount a 3.5" storage drive and the Silverstone was $145 by the time you added a PSU. In the end the Rosewill is a very good case and PSU which allows for a SSD, 3.5" drive for storage and also a normal sized optical drive.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147133SSD OS Drive: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SATAII - $92 after rebate
I chose this drive over the 64GB version solely due to the price. Should be a fantastic OS drive for this little HTPC.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227550RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2GB DDR3 1333 - $47
I love G.Skill and this is great RAM. Should really work and look great in this system.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231275Storage Hard Drive: Samsung Green F4 2TB - $75http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152245Optical Drive: Lite-On Bluray - $55http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106326Operating System: Windows 7 Home 64 bit - $100
This is going to be a WMC/Mediabrowser HTPC.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16832116754
Total price after rebate:$594
with the Bluray drive and including the 2TB storage drive
Here you can see the size and pictures of all the individual components prior to install.Preparing the Install
This was really a phenomenal case to work with. Its well designed, small and whisper quiet for an ITX case. The only audible fan in this case was the rear chassis fan which I could hear only if I was up close. The case itself is very well thought out and well built for the money.
Standoffs are built in and ready to go.
Backplate/shield snapped in easily and lined up nicely.
The only issue I had initially is that I had 3 SATA devices (SSD, HD and Bluray) and only 2 SATA power connections --- 1 on each cable as you can see here.
This was quickly remedied with a trip down to the local PC store to buy an adapter to convert a molex plug to 2 SATA plugs. I now had enough plugs to power all my SATA connections.Installing Hardware
The motherboard slid in relatively easily from the side and did not require and moving the PSU which is often required in these really small ITX cases.
RAM installed easily and looks great. Plenty of clearance for the Ripjaws heat spreaders.
The case USB and Audio was installed to the appropriate headers.
Chassis fan was connected to the motherboard header (seen here but blurry).
Power including 4 pin power (seen here) was attached to motherboard.
Headers were connected to the motherboard. This case does not come with a speaker and does not have a reset button.SSD Installation Considerations
There are actually plenty of places to install a SSD in this case. There are approximately 1 inch "overhangs" on both sides of the case that could easily fit a SSD in a vertical fashion (there are also a few holes in the case at these positions that could be used). Finally you could velcro the SSD to the top of the PSU very easily as well.
As seen in the below pictures when I tried to use one of these holes the SSD touched the top of the PSU which was okay but not ideal in one of my builds. It also would have blocked the slot in the board which would have been a PITA for him later. I wanted to give dpmb a case that I would be proud to call my own. And thus began my modification of this case which is by no means necessary for other builders.
The right side of the case was more crowded with the PSU connector and cable so the left side of the case was where I targeted a custom install which was very easy to do. I also wanted to keep it high enough from the bottom and towards the front of the case so that if he ever wants to add a card he can do so (hopefully) relatively easily --- and if not the SSD can be moved to on top of the PSU and secured with two-sided velcro.
Thus began my modification...
First I used the 3.5" bay adapter as a template to mark for perfect screw hole alignment. The 3.5" bay could not be used as this was being used for the 2TB hard drive.
I used a mechanical pencil and extended the lead enough to reach the metal and mark my drill holes. Here you can see where the Bluray drive bracket is actually "bumped out" which meant the screwheads for this SSD would not interfere with the Bluray drive install.
Next I removed all components which was annoying but necessary to prevent any damage. Then I drilled holes at the markings. Now the SSD was very secure and out of the way. Here is the view from inside the Bluray drive bay.
And from outside the case
Next the 2TB hard drive was installed into the 3.5" drive bay.
The Bluray drive was installed on top of the 3.5" drive with relative ease. This case does NOT suffer from problems with the drive door not opening correctly.Cable Management
Cable management is pretty difficult in ITX cases but this one was much better than some others that I have worked with. I was able to get all the cables off the massive heatsink and there is pretty good airflow within the case.
Left sideBIOS and initial install
This ASUS board uses the new EFI Bios which is *mouse* controlled. The standard bios controls are horrible compared to this new modern wonder. I am a fan and will definitely be looking for this option on all future builds.
RAM settings proving yet again that this PC does take 1333 RAM
My Computer screen showing installation of 60GB SSD, 2TB Green hard drive, and Bluray drive
A really really fun build. Now I will start working on the software aspects.
These 2 round discs are the antenna for the wireless card.
A couple of pictures of this little HTPC in action.