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Mac mini and mini atx motherboards

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I wouldn't call them affordable, or at this point possible to buy, but there is a PICO ITX board with an integrated i7 processor. quad core + HT on a motherboard about the rough size of an iPod Touch...roughly, because I don't know the exact dimensions, that's just the best size reference I can give you.

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Sounds cool... Although I don't see the use for such a size with a i7, sounds like i3 would be more adapted for the types of use. Not that it makes it any less cool :)

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Sounds cool... Although I don't see the use for such a size with a i7, sounds like i3 would be more adapted for the types of use. Not that it makes it any less cool :)

 

 

+ 1 Same here too..... that tiny thing won't even handle more than 2gb or maybe 4gb of ram.... if the extra tiny machine were to have i7 that should have ram slots for a minimum of 16gb, then it would be worth it for real, being so small its impossible to give use for an i7.

 

So yeah i say it must have an i3 not an i7 as well... sounds impossible (that CPU if its were i7 it must have a massive cooling solution as well they get Extremely hot)

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They're not that hot, mostly because it's the mobile version of the CPU. The same one that's used in the i7 laptops, just BGA form (not sure if that's correct, soldered directly to the motherboard).

 

it's a very small board, it has separate RAM/VGA/Power add on boards...I don't remember the details of it, I read about it before i5 even came out, at the time it was pretty impressive, albeit not very practical.

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I spent a fruitless afternoon searching for people who had modified old Mac Minis to take newer motherboards but evidentially this is not a popular pursuit. I think the Mini's external dimensions, by which I mean the outer case, are about half a centimeter smaller than the smallest motherboards that I have been looking at, which are typically 17cm x 17cm. I will keep looking, though, and if I take delivery of a friend's old Mini at the end of July will open that one up and take measurements. I am looking at installing Linux on it, though, so the motherboard I go for, if I can find one, won't necessarily be of interest. 

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I think what we are looking for is something in between Mini-ITX size, which is 170 x 170mm and Nano-ITX size, which is 120 x 120mm. I have had no luck finding anything of that size, or anything especially small that isn't, at best, Intel-Atom 510 based. Also, they appear to be niche market and expensive. Another consideration is that the graphics output is always going to fall short of reasonable, to me.

 

I might end up using the Mac Mini case to store the hard drives, Blu-ray and power supply while encasing a Mini-ITX board in a base unit that I would fix to the back of my Dell monitor while leaving the Mac Mini case freestanding. The idea of a cable tether between the two doesn't thrill me but hopefully it could be hidden from view.

 

If anyone has any better ideas, I am all ears!

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I think what we are looking for is something in between Mini-ITX size, which is 170 x 170mm and Nano-ITX size, which is 120 x 120mm. I have had no luck finding anything of that size, or anything especially small that isn't, at best, Intel-Atom 510 based. Also, they appear to be niche market and expensive. Another consideration is that the graphics output is always going to fall short of reasonable, to me.

 

I might end up using the Mac Mini case to store the hard drives, Blu-ray and power supply while encasing a Mini-ITX board in a base unit that I would fix to the back of my Dell monitor while leaving the Mac Mini case freestanding. The idea of a cable tether between the two doesn't thrill me but hopefully it could be hidden from view.

 

If anyone has any better ideas, I am all ears!

 

Hey there, long time no chat :)

 

It sounds like maybe what you want to look at is the motherboards that Aopen uses in it's miniPC. I have an MP945-D here (I know, older than you want), and I think the motherboard would be just the size you're looking for. They made many newer revisions to this line, and I think they kept the basic form factor. It may be worth looking into getting one of these boards, or even just buying and gutting a miniPC for your project. Even my lame GMA950-chipset based one works excellent for a home theater pc running Windows 7, with full 1920 x 1080 HD output via HDMI to our 40" Sony HDTV.

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Hey there, long time no chat :)

 

It sounds like maybe what you want to look at is the motherboards that Aopen uses in it's miniPC. I have an MP945-D here (I know, older than you want), and I think the motherboard would be just the size you're looking for. They made many newer revisions to this line, and I think they kept the basic form factor. It may be worth looking into getting one of these boards, or even just buying and gutting a miniPC for your project. Even my lame GMA950-chipset based one works excellent for a home theater pc running Windows 7, with full 1920 x 1080 HD output via HDMI to our 40" Sony HDTV.

Hi CharredPC, how's your Acer Extensa 5620 project going? :D The MP945-D is too large for the Mac Mini, as are other MiniITX boards. I am hopefully taking apart my friends old Mini this evening and will take measurements, though it won't be a full strip down at this point; I just want to get the square dimensions of the motherboard/mainboard.

 

------------------

 

Without stripping everything down, using a measuring tape, I make it roughly 14.2cm or 14.3cm, the measurement made additionally difficult because the corners of the motherboard have a gentle curve, like a British penny. To the side of the mainboard, and if seen from underneath the Mini, you can see rectangular ventilation slots. It would seem a bad idea to cover them. 

 

If you throw out the base, measuring just the internal dimensions of the main metal case and keeping in mind the curved inner edges, it's about 14.5cm by 14.5cm, but you would be blocking the base's ventilation slots.

 

 

The inside base of the case to the top of the DVD gives a depth of 4cm

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There seem to be more Nano-ITX motherboards showing up (1200x1200mm) but either Via or Intel Atom solutions. Have yet to find one that at least has Nvidia ION version one or two. I really want an i3 or quad core in there.

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