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Thread: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

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    Default Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Is there such a thing as a Thin Mini-ITX MoBo that can be used with a modern GPU such as a GTX960 or even a 750 ti?

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperactiveSloth View Post
    Is there such a thing as a Thin Mini-ITX MoBo that can be used with a modern GPU such as a GTX960 or even a 750 ti?
    Well. Based on what I'm reading here: https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/ww...x-desktop.html

    I don't think so.

    The one's I've seen listed _sometimes_ come with a x4 PCIe Slot, but more often they are limited to mini-PCIe and on CPU graphics.

    A conventional mini-ITX of course supports that, but I'm guessing you're looking to minimize the overall height of the board??? Were you thinking of extending your PCIe port so you could mount a Video Card horizontally or something?

    Scott

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Yeah, but I've pretty much ruled that out. I found nothing above a PCIe x4 as well... and then there's the power issue as well. I've basically accepted that a standard Mini-ITX board is as thin as I can get for what I'm planning. I do still have a pseudo-laptop planned for my daughter using a Thin-Mini, though.

    My brain really needs to take a vacation. Fortunately I can't afford any of this... yet. lol

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Okay, so this has still been floating around in my brain and I've done a bit more research, but haven't found concrete specs on all of it. I have heard that low-powered GPUs are hardly affected by the reduced bandwidth of PCIex4 3.0 compared to PCIex16 3.0 so a 1050 TI would not exactly be gimped by using it in a x4 slot. Also, I was thinking that would be great since the GPU would be powered by the slot instead of needing secondary power allowing the whole thing to be powered by the built-on DC Connector on the board (such as this: GA-H110TN-GSM PLUS (rev. 1.0) - GIGABYTE - Motherboard , Graphics Card , Laptop , Mini-PC , Server , PC Peripherals and more for example). However, I then found mentions that a standard x4 slot only provides 25W which definitely wouldn't be enough for even a 1050 TI. Then again I could use a model with a power connector and use a Pico to power it with all that that entails.... maybe. I'm still working it out and don't have enough data to work from.

    Well, back to the googling for me. lol

  5. The following user thanks HyperactiveSloth For this above post:

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    Gu3
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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperactiveSloth View Post
    Okay, so this has still been floating around in my brain and I've done a bit more research, but haven't found concrete specs on all of it. I have heard that low-powered GPUs are hardly affected by the reduced bandwidth of PCIex4 3.0 compared to PCIex16 3.0 so a 1050 TI would not exactly be gimped by using it in a x4 slot. Also, I was thinking that would be great since the GPU would be powered by the slot instead of needing secondary power allowing the whole thing to be powered by the built-on DC Connector on the board (such as this: GA-H110TN-GSM PLUS (rev. 1.0) - GIGABYTE - Motherboard , Graphics Card , Laptop , Mini-PC , Server , PC Peripherals and more for example). However, I then found mentions that a standard x4 slot only provides 25W which definitely wouldn't be enough for even a 1050 TI. Then again I could use a model with a power connector and use a Pico to power it with all that that entails.... maybe. I'm still working it out and don't have enough data to work from.

    Well, back to the googling for me. lol
    I dunno Sloth. I'm not sure how the extra power connectors on these Graphics cards work. In theory, the card shouldn't care where the current comes from, but I don't know how the power circuit is designed on these boards. For example, if the board is designed to pull 40 Watts from the PCIE slot connector, and pull 20 Watts from the Molex connector and you plug it in...it might TRY to pull the 40 Watts from the slot...which your board can't provide.

    In actuality though, I expect the cards to be a bit smarter than that, as they have to know which voltage pins are available when runnning in various modes (single card, dual card, triple card, etc), so it seems like the GPU should pull the appropriate current from the appropriate locations. Wiring it up electrically might be a challenge, even with a PicoPSU, if you don't need the 12V aux connector, or the old-school molex connector on the PicoPSU, you might be able to simply adapt the 4pin (or molex) to a PCIe connection for the Video card.....fun stuff. For bandwidth, this article: Theoretical vs. Actual Bandwidth: PCI Express and Thunderbolt - Tested gives some interesting info on Bandwidth, and it seems like you'd have enough for even a high end card, as long as your thin-iTX is running PCIE 3.0.

    You'd need a x4 to x16 adapter too (or an open ended x4 slot), as an x4 slot won't (generally) take an x16 card. I think you can dremel out the end of the slot (!) to allow the x16 to fit, but you might void your warranty...oh wait...nvm.

    S.

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gu3 View Post
    I dunno Sloth. I'm not sure how the extra power connectors on these Graphics cards work. In theory, the card shouldn't care where the current comes from, but I don't know how the power circuit is designed on these boards. For example, if the board is designed to pull 40 Watts from the PCIE slot connector, and pull 20 Watts from the Molex connector and you plug it in...it might TRY to pull the 40 Watts from the slot...which your board can't provide.

    In actuality though, I expect the cards to be a bit smarter than that, as they have to know which voltage pins are available when runnning in various modes (single card, dual card, triple card, etc), so it seems like the GPU should pull the appropriate current from the appropriate locations. Wiring it up electrically might be a challenge, even with a PicoPSU, if you don't need the 12V aux connector, or the old-school molex connector on the PicoPSU, you might be able to simply adapt the 4pin (or molex) to a PCIe connection for the Video card.....fun stuff. For bandwidth, this article: Theoretical vs. Actual Bandwidth: PCI Express and Thunderbolt - Tested gives some interesting info on Bandwidth, and it seems like you'd have enough for even a high end card, as long as your thin-iTX is running PCIE 3.0.

    You'd need a x4 to x16 adapter too (or an open ended x4 slot), as an x4 slot won't (generally) take an x16 card. I think you can dremel out the end of the slot (!) to allow the x16 to fit, but you might void your warranty...oh wait...nvm.

    S.
    So, first thing, I guess that means what I've read is correct about a x4 slot being limited to 25W? Oh, and yes the GA-H110TN-GSM board has an open-ended PCIe slot for use with other PCIe connectors, but will still need a flex cable to connect it anyway due the desired positioning. Also, the MoBo doesn't even need a PSU because it has onboard DC-DC power management supplied by either a barrel connector directly to the MoBo (12v/19v/24v) or through an ATX P4-12v connector. The board will accept power from either source (but not both) and I originally had planned to just use the built in power port with a ~19v laptop charger to power it all. Nice and simple. However, my planned components total to an estimated max of 171W and I just discovered in the manual for the GA-H110TN-GSM that the DC conector "supports 12V/19V/24V power adapter of up to 150W" which would mean an alternative would need to be used anyway. So, my new thought is to instead use NEITHER the external DC connector NOR a Pico-PSU type device. Rather, I believe there is a simpler, yet more efficient way to achieve all of the above by using something like this:
    http://www.mini-box.com/12v-16A-AC-DC-Power-Adapter (192W)
    and this:

    along with this:

    with one leg powering the MoBo and the other powering the GPU by converting it into a 6-pin connector.

    I think I'm actually onto something now.

  8. #7
    Gu3
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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperactiveSloth View Post
    So, first thing, I guess that means what I've read is correct about a x4 slot being limited to 25W? Oh, and yes the GA-H110TN-GSM board has an open-ended PCIe slot for use with other PCIe connectors, but will still need a flex cable to connect it anyway due the desired positioning. Also, the MoBo doesn't even need a PSU because it has onboard DC-DC power management supplied by either a barrel connector directly to the MoBo (12v/19v/24v) or through an ATX P4-12v connector. The board will accept power from either source (but not both) and I originally had planned to just use the built in power port with a ~19v laptop charger to power it all. Nice and simple. However, my planned components total to an estimated max of 171W and I just discovered in the manual for the GA-H110TN-GSM that the DC conector "supports 12V/19V/24V power adapter of up to 150W" which would mean an alternative would need to be used anyway. So, my new thought is to instead use NEITHER the external DC connector NOR a Pico-PSU type device. Rather, I believe there is a simpler, yet more efficient way to achieve all of the above by using something like this:
    http://www.mini-box.com/12v-16A-AC-DC-Power-Adapter (192W)
    and this:

    along with this:

    with one leg powering the MoBo and the other powering the GPU by converting it into a 6-pin connector.

    I think I'm actually onto something now.
    Actually, that's a pretty elegant solution. Only problem I can see, is that your Video Card is possibly going to power up prior to the PC. Dunno what that will do to the boot process. Also, unless you unplug it, the Video Card is going to get power as long as the PSU is plugged in.

    That would seem a small dilemma, one that seemingly would be solved by inserting a relay in your secondary ATX P4 cable, and tying it to the power switch on the PC.... A latching relay perhaps? I'm not an electronics guy, but something like this: Elk Products Relay; SPDT, 12V perhaps?

    S.

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Hmmm, I figured there was something I was missing. I didn't think about the card staying powered on. I figured the card would only power up when the MoBo signaled it.

    How do MoBos with always on USB ports or a PC in S4 state (Hybernate) function if components continue to stay powered on as long as the PSU is active? Does an ATX PSU actually receive signals from MoBo to power off some circuits and power on others? I'll also need to research the design of the 1050 TI cards with 6-pin power connectors are set up to be powered on by the connector at all or if it's only used to draw extra power when necessary. Anyone know an nVidia engineer I can call? lol

    Edit:
    Nevermind on the Hybernate. I was thinking of the wrong state. Turns out that not only is the PSU "turned off" in S4 state, but also in S3 as well (one of the differences between S1-S2 and S3). By that logic at least some of the 5v pins must still be active when the PSU is "off." That, of course, is irrelevant to this situation but interesting nonetheless.

    I think the real question is actually, "Does it matter if the GPU has power even when the PC is shut down?"

    Edit2:
    That relay is great and would be very suitable. The trouble is that from what I know a relay basically is a switch that closes a circuit when power is applied to control circuit (or, if wired alternately provides power when the controlling circuit is open). Also, from what I understand the power button on a PC isn't actually a switch, but merely temporarily opens the circuit just to signal the motherboard to begin booting. In other words the power button would only activate the relay either for the moment it is pressed, then close the relay, or keep it powered at all times except while the button is being pressed. That works perfect for turning "on" a second PSU in a multi-PSU system, but does nothing to regulate a simple live wire. So, the relay would only work if I was able to connect it to two pins on the MoBo that are powered after boot, then un-powered after shut down (or vice versa, although I can't imagine the purpose of any circuit like that on a MoBo). I'm sure I could find a suitable connection on the board if needed by researching, but the main question still remains... "Does it matter?
    Last edited by HyperactiveSloth; 11-03-2017 at 21:24.

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Quote Originally Posted by HyperactiveSloth View Post
    Hmmm, I figured there was something I was missing. I didn't think about the card staying powered on. I figured the card would only power up when the MoBo signaled it.

    How do MoBos with always on USB ports or a PC in S4 state (Hybernate) function if components continue to stay powered on as long as the PSU is active? Does an ATX PSU actually receive signals from MoBo to power off some circuits and power on others? I'll also need to research the design of the 1050 TI cards with 6-pin power connectors are set up to be powered on by the connector at all or if it's only used to draw extra power when necessary. Anyone know an nVidia engineer I can call? lol

    Edit:
    Nevermind on the Hybernate. I was thinking of the wrong state. Turns out that not only is the PSU "turned off" in S4 state, but also in S3 as well (one of the differences between S1-S2 and S3). By that logic at least some of the 5v pins must still be active when the PSU is "off." That, of course, is irrelevant to this situation but interesting nonetheless.

    I think the real question is actually, "Does it matter if the GPU has power even when the PC is shut down?"

    Edit2:
    That relay is great and would be very suitable. The trouble is that from what I know a relay basically is a switch that closes a circuit when power is applied to control circuit (or, if wired alternately provides power when the controlling circuit is open). Also, from what I understand the power button on a PC isn't actually a switch, but merely temporarily opens the circuit just to signal the motherboard to begin booting. In other words the power button would only activate the relay either for the moment it is pressed, then close the relay, or keep it powered at all times except while the button is being pressed. That works perfect for turning "on" a second PSU in a multi-PSU system, but does nothing to regulate a simple live wire. So, the relay would only work if I was able to connect it to two pins on the MoBo that are powered after boot, then un-powered after shut down (or vice versa, although I can't imagine the purpose of any circuit like that on a MoBo). I'm sure I could find a suitable connection on the board if needed by researching, but the main question still remains... "Does it matter?
    Yup, that's the question, and I surely don't know the answer. You're correct the "power switch" on an ATX motherboards simply interrupts a voltage and that changes a relay in the PSU from on to off or vice versa. You could simply provide a hard switch to the auxillary PSU for the Graphics card, and then simply turn it on before powering up the main system...wait...I found something:

    https://www.amazon.com/Add2PSU-Multi.../dp/B009P98Q8U or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00R7P5YUM?psc=1 ...you could use 2 PICO PSU's...oh wait you had a different PSU in mind...damn.

    S.

    p.s. Found this on amazon as well: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZYYWUH?psc=1 makes me think checking the Open Mining sites might lead you down the appropriate path to an answer...

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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    This build wouldn't have a PSU at all. The power brick + MoBo acts as the power supply.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    Yeah, I got that. I realized after I posted that your brick wouldn't work with that little board. You need more current, so you're going to have to provide some external power somehow (other than your beefy brick). One option is to use a separate brick for your Video Card, but we're not sure if giving the GPU power separately would work as cleanly as you'd like. Using two 150W Pico PSU's would give you 300W, but you'd have to use something like the dual PSU board, which means ditching the brick you already have.

    This is a puzzler of a problem for sure. It's the ATX on/off thing that's the real problem. If not for that, you could simply wire up a bunch of independent bricks through one independent connector and customize your individual rails with whatever current you needed...<sigh>

    S.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    I'm still pretty sure my above plan would work fine. The GPU shouldn't draw any current when the MoBo isn't active, and both the MoBo and the GPU can draw current from the brick which can supply enough Amps for the total maximum of both. I may go for an even stronger brick (I've found some nice ones in the 210w-230w range made for gaming laptops) just to give it all some headroom, but it should be fine.

  14. #13
    Gu3
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      • System Name: Dark Matter Build: http://pcpartpicker.com/b/rrccCJ BIOS Overclock to 4GHZ. Memory @ Stock Speed. Purely an amateur, built for HandBrake.
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    Default Re: Modern GPU with Thin Mini-ITX?

    210 - 230w sounds perfect. Your plan is coming together....

    S.

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