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neilhart's S4 Mini - NFC - project

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Up next is a S4 Mini - NFC . . .



Edit 03/20/2017 Added the Bill Of Material

Case: NFC S4 Mini - Case is from Josh Sniffen’s company NFC, $ 242 US (includes riser and shipping)
Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac, sourced from SuperBizz, $ 160 US
CPU: Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W), sourced B&H Photo, $ 320 US
Memory: G.SKILL Aegis DDR4-2400 -16GB (2x8GB) - low profile, sourced Newegg, $ 90 US
Fan: Prolimatech Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 - PWM - 15.8mm tall, 140mm with 120mm mounting holes - owned from a prior purchase. $ 20 US, Amazon
CPU Heatsink: Dynatron K129 Copper, heavy, many very thin fins - owned from prior purchase. $ 28 US, Amazon
SSD: Micro Center 2,5” SATA-II 64GB - Win 10 Eval installed. (used to config USB C TB port, removed and installed HDD)
HDD: Segate 2TB 2.5" hard disk drive - sourced from Amazon, $ 100 US
SSD: Crucial 525GB MX300 SATA-III 2.5”, sourced B&H Photo, $ 116 US
M.2 SSD: Samsung 960 256GB - planned but not purchased.
WiFi/BT: BCM94360CS2 with Apple to M.2 adapter, source E-Bay China sellers, $ 27 US, see post # 4
GPU: Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX form factor, used, source E-Bay, $ 120 US
Switch: 16mm RGB momentary switch, source Adafruit.com, $ 11 US
PSU: HD PLEX 300W Hi-Fi DC-ATX - New, $90, source Amazon
AC/DC Brick: Dell 130W LA130PM121, owned from yesteryear

And for more information on the case go to NFC and view the video: http://nfc-systems.com/s4-mini/


Good modding,
neil
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
178
Motherboard
GA-Z77MX-D3H-TH
CPU
i5 3570K
Graphics
VTX3D 7870 Tahiti (7950 variant; needs Aji in Clover config.plist or black screen.)
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
That is one gorgeous little motherboard. Not many dealers have it, over here (UK) and the price is quite high but Thunderbolt, right? I'm attracted to the idea of a powerful small, semi portable build that I can add a graphics card to via Thunderbolt, when needed. I keep hoping there will be a tiny 5x5 motherboard with a Thunderbolt port but I haven't come across any, yet. Looking forward to see what you do with this build.
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
That is one gorgeous little motherboard. Not many dealers have it, over here (UK) and the price is quite high but Thunderbolt, right? I'm attracted to the idea of a powerful small, semi portable build that I can add a graphics card to via Thunderbolt, when needed. I keep hoping there will be a tiny 5x5 motherboard with a Thunderbolt port but I haven't come across any, yet. Looking forward to see what you do with this build.
Yes these motherboards are just becoming available in the US and are being snapped up quickly.

I am waiting for a GPU and the case. Also I have a WiFi radio and adapter coming from China.

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Mod # 1 - upgrade the WiFi/BT from the non-compatible radio to one that is near OOB compatible.

I saw reference to a Macbook Air WiFi/BT module and adapter to m.2. I found these on EBay:





It took about 10 days for these to arrive from China.



So I pulled the module off the motherboard (2 screws from the bottom of the motherboard) and found that the cover to the module was not going to fit back in place with the new adapter and radio stack up. So this is it before re-installation to the mother board.



The S4 Mini case is very narrow and the new height of the module maybe a problem. As seen here it is about 50 mm tall.



Anyway I re-installed the module to the motherboard and was pleased that the WiFi worked on first boot. Bluetooth worked after I removed some patches, moved some kexts to the Clover kext folder and updated Clover to the latest v2.4k_r4035. Less is better.

WiFi:



Bluetooth:



Well that is it for now. The S4 Mini case and the GPU card are both due to arrive mid week next.

Good modding,
neil
 
Last edited:

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Small update:

The used Gigabyte GTX 960 2GB arrived (this is the ITX length form factor) and installed it into my bench bring up stand where I have the ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 running Windows 10 and Sierra 10.12.3. Windows noticed the GPU change and updated the drivers within a few minutes. In macOS, the Nvidia Web drivers would not load... What the .&@! So back to reading and found that I needed the "EmuVariableUefi-64.efi" so I re-ran the Clover installer and made the selection. A reboot and the Nvidia Web drivers loaded and the GPU is happy and so am I.

I expect the S4 MINI case to arrive today or tomorrow.

Good modding,
neil
 
Last edited:

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
The S4 Mini arrived late yesterday.

The case shipped UPS Ground across country and arrived in perfect condition. This is due to the excellent packaging as seen here.

The heavy duty corrugated cardboard box; I think that this is called double wall construction. Custom poly foam end bells hold the case centered in the box.













My first impression is WOW! My photos do not do the case justice, in person the case is very well done and I do not see a flaw any where.

I need to disassemble it and plan my plan.

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
The first test assembly pass to find out where the problems are at...



Check the full size image. The WiFi mod will work out okay but will need to trim the fan mount bracket to clear the radio. Also the PCB on the GPU intrudes into the mount area for the PSU input cable bracket ( the bracket will need some triming). Overall it looks very "doable".

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Mod # 2

I am using the HDPLEX 300W Hi-Fi DC-ATX PSU. The two studs with nuts at the center front panel that needed to be removed for the PSU mounting. Seen here red circled. I also removed a small section of the inner frame lip.



With this small adjustment, I can move the PSU to provide better cable management. I made up the 4+ inch 24 pin harness as seen here.



I am waiting on a 16mm RGB LED momentary switch that I hope will provide both power on LED and HDD LED function.

Good modding,
neil
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
The RGB LED power switch that I purchased from Adafruit had common anode configuration and I needed common cathode.

After spending several hours attempting to find a 16mm RGB LED switch that was common cathode. The only ones that I found would have to be ordered from China. I saw this as a last resort option due to the lead times being quoted.

So using my Dremel tool, I cut off the rear portion of the stainless steal housing and after being able to separate the switch, I modded the rear portion. I removed the RGB Led assembly and drilled two 0.118” holes and installed a Blue LED and a White LED. I used JB Weld to reassemble the switch.

This mod is a hack that I do not recommend.

Anyway, I achieved my objective of a blue power LED with a white HDD access LED both showing through the power switch light ring.

This is the final switch assembly:



and here it is in the case...



more to follow

Good modding,
neil
 
Last edited:

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,719
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
After completing the power switch, I proceeded to assemble the unit.

I shortened the input power cable by cut and splice and also the PCIE cable to the GPU. I made up a Y type power cable for the SSD tray.



Note that I also modded the SSD tray slightly by drilling another set of mounting holes (and counter sinking same). This change provides a little more space for cable connectors.

I modified the fan mounting bracket to provide a little more clearance at the WiFi/BT card. I also noticed that the fan housing was in contact with the motherboard PS2/USB IO module; I removed a small portion of the fan housing to gain clearance.



I ran the system in the case for the first time with the right side cover not installed. I was very pleased that everything fit and at how quiet the system was.

Then I found the lurking problem once I installed the right cover (7 screws). With the cover in place, the fan motor hum is clearly heard which I find to be very annoying.

I took the right cover on and off a number of times attempting to understand how the noise was being amplified with the cover installed.

As shown here the fan mounting bracket has been removed and the fan is held inlace with RTV (a flexible adhesive). With this mod were the fan does not touch the case or the cover and with the cover in place the sound was still present. My current final solution was to add a speed reducer resistor and now the motor sound can not be heard (by my old ears anyway).

I re-ran my thermal stress tests and could only get the system to 71C to 73C on the extended heat soak run. Good to go.

Here is the fully assembled system.





I would like to add an Samsung 960 M.2 SSD at some time and remove the Windows 10 SSD replacing it with a slim 2 TB 2.5" hard drive.

Good modding,
neil
 
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