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Thread: Motherboard Stumped

  1. #1

    Motherboard Stumped

    Hi all, first off i like to say that this site has been very resourceful when it comes to modding or just any info im looking for. So thanks for all the good info and good reads!
    So i've been wanting to make my first few mods to my extremely small case but my problem is what motherboard should i use?!?! I've been researching and could only find a few mobo's out there that will fit my case.

    The form factor on my case is H10.4" x L12.4" x W3.9" "NOT including front bezel"
    Manufacture/Model Acer X1200
    CPU AMD Phenom Triple core 2.1Ghz
    Memory 2x2GB DDR2 = 4GB
    OS Windows 7 64bit
    NB Nvidias chipset 720a R2
    PSU 220watts ops:

    And a image to boot...

    So as you can see its a small case. If i measured correctly the board is 8.25"x9.5" remembering that its only 8"1/4" TALL and 9"1/2" long. And notice the Sata connection? Not sure why its not with the other one.

    As you can see its been pretty hard to find something to fit. closest mobo i found was the mini mobos by zotac but there form factor is 6.7"x6.7" a little small for what i want but it my have to make do.

    Also i was thinking of moding my case an extra 3" in length and removing the PSU but not sure but would be nice if i could get a bigger mobo inside. In need of some expert advice and ideas on this. Thx in advance

  2. #2

    Motherboard Stumped

    After dealing with small standard (Factory) cases for years one of the first things i did when i came to this site was to get away from the factory form designed cases and moved up to a standard full tower and for many good reasons.
    1) No or few liitations.
    2) Many different components available in multi combinations within one system.
    3) The ability to easily expand or add on.
    4) Wider range of better motherboards.
    5) Cable Management

    With that said though if your current case is your only case for the time being then we'll go on that assumption. Despite the size of the Zotac mobos from everything I've heard, they more than deliver in the areas you'll probably need it most. Regardless of the size, if your case is a closed case the "look" of the motherboard is really unimportant where as the real functionality of it IS important. Because of the size limitations you'll run into other limitations as well such as what cooling can you use, what GPU can you use (if any) and so on. What you should probably concentrate on is how to get the most bang for your buck within your means, both physically and fiscally. Working within that box will cut your workload in half because you can better focus on what WILL work instead of what will hopefully work. If it's to be a modded case/build then your doors are much more open but you'll still have to work within the physical limitiations of the case.
    I would eclusively look at some of the small form factor builds on here and other sites to get a better idea of what your likely to be looking at and dealing with. From there you can put together an arsenal of potentials and then narrow that down to your most likelys. Either way it's always interesting and fun to create your own build regardless of it's size. You may also want to check on sites such as and to see what mobos are available in the size/form factor you need and from there you can start the process of elimination. Figuring out which processor you want to use first makes everything much much easier though.

  3. #3

    Motherboard Stumped

    Well you gave me a something to think about, now I'm not sure if i'm going to up grade this case reason's being that the PSU is only a 20+4-pin while all the boards i'm thinking about (micro-atx mobo) are 24-pin with the 8-pin connector. Now I've done some research and its seeming like its not worth it.
    Now i'm not totally discouraged but i'm now leaning towards a whole new case.

    As of right now i'm still going to search for a PSU that i can work with but finding a 24-pin Mini PSU is seeming to be a impossible bout. Or maybe i can mod a PSU to fit in my case or pin it underneath but in the low profile way.
    Anyway I will continue my search and update when i find something i can use or end this bout of low profile comp and move on.
    Tell then!

  4. #4

    Motherboard Stumped

    Ok so i found some adapters for my PSU but wouldn't this over load my PSU making my 20-pin to 24-pin and also for the 4-pin to 8-pin?
    I mean that really seems like i would over load those wires or even my PSU


  5. #5

    Motherboard Stumped

    Well i have done my research and now i know what to do with my PSU problem, I have found a PSU calculator from outervision and found a great article from

    The article basicly explains the in's and out's of a working PSU. So from my understanding i can run a PSU for the mobo and CPU while running another PSU "in my situation an external PSU" for the harddrives and Optical Drives.

    The run down on a PSU differs from low-end to High-end PSU's but all have the same function, obviously high end PSU are the way to go because they have more functions as the PWM which can control the current so you don't run your devices on high 24/7 so having this type of controller for your PSU is almost a necessity.

    So for my concern taking the power from my sata cables and using them for my mobo and CPU is possible because it all comes from the same +12v rectifier which in turns can use any of the +12v lines coming from the PSU, but making sure i don't draw to many AMP's as it will shut the PSU down.

    As i found all this information it really opened my eyes to how a pc gets its power and how the internals work in a PSU.

  6. #6
    Master Modder Tazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Motherboard Stumped

    Although your current setup isn't the top of the line, it's more than capable for the normal stuff.

    What is it you plan to do with your PC once your done making changes? Gaming? Workstation? and etc...

    You've mentioned changing the board, and mention the PSU and so forth.

    The Zotac boards come in a variety now-a-days and some of them would make for great LAN party rigs. While others would only be suitable for a HTPC or the likes. The system you currently have is considered a SFF (Small Form Factor) rig and it should (unless its proprietary) allow for the installation of other SFF motherboards. Sounds like from the measurements that you list, that its a micro-ATX setup. If that's the case then it should accommodate other micro-ATX boards with out having to step down to the mini-ITX ones like the Zotac's.

    On the PSU side of it. Moving up in the mobo area doesn't necessarily mean you need to do the same with the PSU. What you need to do is decide what the end result is going to be doing. If your building a gaming system and want to run a higher end video card that is going to require more power, then yes you will need to consider a PSU upgrade. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of options for SFF PSU's. The only decent units I have seen done are standard size with shorter cables. Now Silvestone does offer a mini-ITX configuration that comes with a smaller sized PSU unique to that setup. Adapters are not going to necessarily cause your unit to be overloaded, they will create another point that can be the source of a connection issue.

    A PSU is only going to put out as much power as is needed. A 600W PSU doesn't put out 600W all the time, nor could most of them. If the system that it's connected to is only requiring 100W's then that's all the PSU is going to give it.

  7. #7

    Motherboard Stumped

    The rig that i'm working towards would be HTPC/ gaming PC. I know its won't be powerful enough to run high end games but i wouldn't mind being able to run WOW or even my current Outspark game.

    Now the thing with the micro ATX boards, the one's i have found wont fit unless i take out the PSU because micro ATX boards are to tall to fit my case. Also the fact the HDD sits so close to the board its going to be hard to use the sata connections and the main power plug on the mobo.

    So this is why i want to remove the PSU from the case and mount it underneath, so i can fit a 9.5"x 9.5" micro ATX board which in turn hope to get a better mobo, but this is why i may need another PSU to run my drives. Otherwise my PSU would be running at max with a low end graphics card.

    Items i want for this build:
    -micro ATX board
    -Graphics card
    -Mod this case to get the WOW factor and mount the PSU underneath

    Items i may consider:
    -Slim sata cd/DVD drive (to fit 4 channels of ram)

    Here is an image of my case with out the PSU, and with a few outlines of where things sit and the sizes.

    So as it stands right now its just planning out this build a bit more before i start buying. Also i have a limited budget for this build.

    On the PSU topic there is actually PWM controller in the PSU that controls current going to the +12v, +5v and +3.3v lines to each component/ and the mobo :wink:
    The power supply used on the PC uses an even better approach: it is a closed loop system.The circuit that controls the switching transistor gets feedback from the power supply outputs, increasing or decreasing the duty cycle of the voltage applied to the transformer according to the PC consumption (this approach is called PWM, Pulse Width Modulation). So the power supply readjusts itself depending on the consumption of the device connected to it. When your PC isn’t consuming a lot of power, the power supply readjusts itself to deliver less current, making the transformer and all other components to dissipate less power – i.e., less heat is generated.
    And this is why we cannot use two PSU's on one mobo but we can for other devices in a computer.

  8. #8
    Master Modder Tazz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Motherboard Stumped

    On the PSU topic there is actually PWM controller in the PSU that controls current going to the +12v, +5v and +3.3v lines to each component/ and the mobo :wink: And this is why we cannot use two PSU's on one mobo but we can for other devices in a computer.
    I stand corrected... That's twice this week that I have posted before thinking things through... These damn paint fumes are frying my brain.

    As far as the rest goes... The additional pic cleared up what I could see in the 1st. So it does look like its a proprietary design. Now this is just my personal preference, but I would look at picking up an inexpensive case that will support the standard micro-ATX boards. You can pick up decent steel chassis fairly cheap, and there are some out there with some real potential on the modding side. 2&IsNodeId=1&name=ATX%20Mid%20Tower

    There are several cases on that page that are $25 and less. To me to mount the PSU externally and deal with the hassles of routing wires (hoping their long enough for the relocation) and building the mounting system/housing for the new location would just be a bit of an overkill when you can pick up a cheap mid-tower that will allow you more room to grow as time goes on.

    Doing this also eliminates the hassle of looking for a specific sized PSU. The new case is going to be more user friendly when it comes to mounting the rest of the hardware as well.

  9. #9
    Wet Sanded
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Motherboard Stumped

    Another option is one of the CD drive Auxiliary PSUs. Usually people use them to run their super duper extreme graphics cards, but I'm pretty sure there was a version with standard molex connections.

    This one for example...
    or this,
    or this one too...

    Unfortunately I can't seem to find one in stock, but perhaps Ebay has one....

  10. #10

    Motherboard Stumped

    Well that is a defiantly a good find, I been thinking about something along these lines but again its the SFF of my case that limits me from doing much, just as Tazz has stated it would be an idea to upgrade my case to a standard micro ATX case, but takes away from the SFF which i like "small but packs a punch"

    But again everything is still up in the air and i need to make a plan for the ideas i have. Its always nice to get a few ideas from someone else just in case i missed something. :wink:

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