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NUC in a Mac Mini case

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Those initial temps look great. I've got 2 17" iMac builds running, one with the i3 NUC and the other with the Haswell i5, and with all things pretty much equal, the difference in temps is significant. Seems the i3's are tougher to keep in check than the new Haswells are. Its a big plus to have the new model, MiniHack. From what you've shown so far, there likely won't be heat issues with your build. Looks good.


Cheers!

Thanks E.

I am happy so far. One thing that I do want to make very sure of is to keep the temp.s in check when the box is closed.

Air paths in there are restricted to say the least. Though I guess they should probably be no more restricted than in your Cube PSU restuffed.

The design of the pop off base leaves I guess about 1mm of air intake space around the base circumference, and I am anxious that a single blower fan might run the risk of just picking up air and re-circulating hot air inside the case - or perhaps picking it up from one part of the circumference and throwing it back out of another part - instead of sucking from the base and blowing out of the back.

I am going to have to think quite a bit over the course of this build about getting those parts right.
 
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A little progress to report.

Made my roof tray - can you guess what I used to make it from? Look closely….

IMG_1209.jpg

The 3mm aluminium is drilled 2.8mm and then tapped with M3 screw threads at positions to correspond to the NUC mount holes.

Then I salvaged some small springs from a G5 liquid cooler and used them and some M3 screws to provide a good sprung connection for progressively tightening down my home made combo plate to the roof tray.

IMG_1208.jpg

There is AS 5 between the copper plate and the aluminium.

The roof tray is almost ready to be bonded in to the Mini case. I can't do that though until I get the rear plate I have ordered so I can sort out final placement.
 
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A little progress to report.

Made my roof tray - can you guess what I used to make it from?


DAMNIT! I went looking all over the house for some 2-3mm aluminum sheet stock one day for a project and it never occurred to me to take the door off the G5 that was never going to be used for anything.
 
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DAMNIT! I went looking all over the house for some 2-3mm aluminum sheet stock one day for a project and it never occurred to me to take the door off the G5 that was never going to be used for anything.

Yeah, I've just cut windows in a couple of doors and the metal is too nice to waste…Thought the anodised silver look would go nicely in the Mini.:)
 
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Yeah, I've just cut windows in a couple of doors and the metal is too nice to waste…Thought the anodised silver look would go nicely in the Mini.:)


Looking forward to how it progresses. Very professional board mount, BTW.
 
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A little progress to report.

Made my roof tray - can you guess what I used to make it from? Look closely….


The 3mm aluminium is drilled 2.8mm and then tapped with M3 screw threads at positions to correspond to the NUC mount holes.

Then I salvaged some small springs from a G5 liquid cooler and used them and some M3 screws to provide a good sprung connection for progressively tightening down my home made combo plate to the roof tray.


There is AS 5 between the copper plate and the aluminium.

The roof tray is almost ready to be bonded in to the Mini case. I can't do that though until I get the rear plate I have ordered so I can sort out final placement.

Did you use any sort of adhesive between any of this or it just thermal compound?
 
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Did you use any sort of adhesive between any of this or it just thermal compound?

Between the original copper plate of the reclaimed NUC cooler and the 3mm copper shim there is thermal adhesive (as that is one part I want to keep as a unit). There is then Arctic Silver paste between the 3mm shim surface and the 3mm aluminium plate (what I have been calling a roof tray, but actually will be functioning too as a heat spreader)- as this is a part that I will be wanting to be able to remove for service or to be able to change connections to headers etc.

The roof tray will, when I have got the position correct, be bonded to the inside roof of the Mac Mini using thermal adhesive so that (hopefully) heat from the NUC will be dissipated passively by the whole combination of plates and case.....

I can get at all the nuts, springs etc through the base of the mini and the rear face to tighten/remove components as needed.

EDIT: But yes, in fact I could have actually skipped the step of bonding the shim to the base plate and just used thermal paste there instead (hindsight is a wonderful thing!). That also would have eliminated the true torture of drilling copper at all.....
 
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So I have almost got to the final decisions for this!

I saw this part referred to in another thread:
CA-058-BX_49602_600.jpg

It appears very space efficient and can bring both the two front USB 3.0 connections and the two USB 2.0s from the internal header to the rear. That and using a splitter to split the combined audio from the front plug means I can have all the NUC functionality at the rear panel of the Mac Mini case.

Next I will need to see if it will fit when it arrives after the easter break.
 
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I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that I was considering trying a capacitive touch switch to turn the Mac Mini NUC on by touching the Apple logo on the case top.

Well I have done some testing today of that concept to see if I can fit it into the case.

The arrangement I tried was like this photo:

52cc6b79ce395f363e8b456b.jpg

Except that the conductive copper tape I used was taped to the inside of the case underneath the Apple logo.

The board is this one: http://www.technobotsonline.com/at42qt1010-capacitive-touch-breakout-board.html

It is pretty simple to hook up as it needs 5V standby and GND (both from the 'Custom Solutions" header of the NUC) and then when a finger is placed near the pad (or the extended pad using copper tape) the Output pin goes to "high'" and an onboard LED indicates that it has sensed the touch.

Good news is the tests worked through the Mac Mini Apple logo. However, it is quite sensitive so I will have to be careful with wires inside the case to cut down on any false triggering. Also it has two settings "F" and "L". It automatically comes wired at "F" which is the most sensitive and changing settings means breaking a solder connection and making another to connect to "L". So that is something to try.

Because I need to use the output to provide a switch effect I have one of these chips to hook up to it:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/5v-single-pole-dil-reed-relay-fx88v

So the Output will drive the miniature reed relay which I will hook up to the Switch terminals of the NUC.

The switch board has an option to connect an external LED, so I think I will (if tests go well) connect one up in the 4mm hole at the front of the Mac Mini so I can see when a "touch" has been properly registered.
 
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So, after making a couple of modifications to the roof tray so that it fits around the new backplate, I have cemented the tray into place and the base cover is on. For the moment it is upside down while the thermal adhesive finishes setting.

I figure a little heat will help the adhesive to cure, so what better way than to run it and do a few tests!

for the minute it is all running passively and so the only noise is the very faint hum of the 1TB HD I have in there running as a fusion drive with my 128GB Crucial mSATA drive. In this config, you can only hear it is on if you put your ear to the case.

CPU temp.s are all good and holding out around the 35C mark.

The worry for me though is the mSATA. I ran Black Magic Speed Test (looping in the background) and did some geek bench testing and after not too long the temp of the mSATA went up to 72C (according to HW Monitor). At that point CPU temp seemed to have topped out in the high 40s.

The mSATA though, even when doing nothing much at all seems to creep up into the mid 50s.

I did a little googling and it seems the M500 series mSATAs do tend to run hot, but I think for some peace of mind I will need to cool it down. Unfortunately this probably does mean hooking up and internal fan as I don't think there is any way I can get the surface of the mSATA to contact the case material….
 
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