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fonix232

N54L - Motherboard upgrade?

New N54 config?  

  1. 1. Motherboard

    • AAEON EMB-QM87A
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    • IBASE MI980
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    • MSI Z87I
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    • Asus Z87I-Deluxe
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  2. 2. 2.5" SATA cage

    • iStarUSA BPU-124-SS
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    • ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB994SP-4S
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    • ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB996SP-6SB
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    • Thermaltake Max-1562
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  3. 3. CPU

    • Built-in
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    • Intel i7-4770S
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    • Intel i5-4670S
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    • Intel i5-4670R
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    • Intel i5-4570T
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    • Intel i3-4330T
      0


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fonix232

Wow I just leave for a few hours and a lot of comments before the one I did not send in time... :D

So let's see, in backwards order.

This would be after you remove all of the electronic components from the case, MB, PS, backplane, usb ports, fans,

 

Of course it would be. But wrapping it up, adding a plastic bag, and doing the drilling is a lot faster and cleaner than all the soaking, washing, etc.

 

The only issue I see is getting licensing from HP to use their form factor (I suspect the have patents on it out of the yingyang :) ) -- $200 for an upgrade board would be very popular IMHO but HP would be "afraid" it could draw market share from their current and future lines.

 

No need. As I said, the holes are in the regular mini-ITX format, so we can go with such a board, plus a raised extra plane for the SATA connectors.

And it would not draw market share from them. Actually it would offer more market, and them getting rid of the already sold-cheap MicroServers that are unsupported (given that it would give a lesser performance server than their Gen8, no warranty from them anymore, and about the same price as their Gen8, plus gone warehouse stocks).

 

That includes the design and troubleshooting? Most circuit boards go through many interations of troubleshooting & tweaking to work out the bugs; things as seemingly simple as separating 2 circuit traces from each other because they're cross-talking and causing random lockups. Just tracking down issues like that can be hugely frustrating.

 

Put it this way: I'd be seriously impressed if they can design a stable, reliable board for only a few tens of thousands.

 

I'm in contact with a few Chinese manufacturers because of my job, and in regular, a socketed CPU board usually takes up about a month to design, and costs somewhat between 50.000 and 100.000USD. This includes design and manufacturing line setup, and 100pcs of the first RTM boards (the test boards are also included but they can't be sold, as they are prototypes).

Above that, we have to calculate with part prices (don't forget that smaller parts, e.g. capacitors, can only be bought in 10k packages, while more complex components usually have a limit of 500-1000pcs), manufacturing, packaging, and shipping (plus taxes).

 

By my calculations, the whole project could be done from about 200-250k USD, and that would include design, manufacturing setup, and the first 1500-1600pcs of the board v1 (after development, manufacturing price would be around 80-120USD/board including packaging and maybe even shipping. Now add import taxes, VAT, own profit maybe, and we're at 15-25k USD income from the whole project to continue on. From that we can get about, MAYBE 200-300 boards extra per month per sale).

 

There would have to be one heck of a lot of buyers. Designing a new mobo is no small task. It would certainly take many hundreds of thousands of $, if not more. I suspect the only viable way would be to contract someone like Gigabyte, Asus, or AsRock and see if they would entertain the idea of a custom design.

 

No, these companies would never take our request. But if we get the funds, and start a small company, we would be able to work with a smaller chinese manufacturer, they might see profit in it, and we might even get a price slice if we present high enough demand.

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schoondoggy

or we could save a ton of money and time and just build something that works and meets our needs,,,,,

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jmwills

^^ What he said.......

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fonix232

or we could save a ton of money and time and just build something that works and meets our needs,,,,,

 

Except that there's no matching case that would offer the same size, well-built internals, accessibility, and modular build.

As I mentioned, I'm yet to find a case that is in the "microtower" category, has four external bays, an ODD bay for further expansion, and bottom-facing motherboard.

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ikon

4 external bays, or 4 internal?

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fonix232

4 external. The HP MicroServer series' bays are *external* as they are accessible without disassembling the device, and use hard drive cradles. So something like that (I'm okay with a tool-less door with optional key lock).

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ikon

That's a new & different definition of 'external' for me. The bays are inside the front door of the unit so, for me, they're 'internal'. By your definition, I'm not sure any drive bays would qualify as 'internal'. :)

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rommel74

Pretty simple. The N54L's motherboard, while is indeed dedicated, approximately corresponds to mITX standard (bit longer so that it reaches from the back to the front panel). Even the holes on the motherboard tray are mITX distanced, meaning an mITX board can easily fit there.

 

Actually not true. 

I've been looking into upgrading the mainboard with a Haswel based Z87 board in the G7 as well, mainly due to the fact that no other case I looked at is this compact or well made and that my N40L mainboard has a faulty PCI-E x1 slot which I was planning to use for a proper network card.

 

I have hit a number of roadblocks which I'll list here in order of severity.

 

  1. Motherboard mounting holes do not line up. The G7 board being BTX format and not mITX as the OP suggested. Should be possible to drill new holes and use the standard brass mounting stands that come with most cases.
  2. The the back panel IO shield would not fit due the the FAN protruding too far down. Dremeling may be possible but the would have to extend past into the PCI-E 1x slot. One thing for sure, it would not look pretty.
  3. The PCI-E slot does not line up with the opening at the back of the case. Note mITX boards have only 1 PCI-E slot and this board has 2.
  4. The PCI-E slot is offset too far to the edge of the motherboard which would prevent fitting most video cards and some raid controller cards too.
  5. Most mITX motherboards require a 12V ATX four pin connector to power the CPU. The powersupply in the G7 (which appears to be Flex ATX format) does not have this connector. Potential solution to this is 1 buying an adapter (available on e-bay) and hope that the power supply can handle the CPU or buy a Flex ATX power supply which has the connector (found some on e-bay)
  6. Require  a low profile heatsink. Standard Haswell CPU heatsink would not fit but may be possible to just cut the plastic fan off the heatsink and hope that the airflow in the case can keep the CPU cool enough

 

The extra parts required and the effort involved in "maybe" getting this all done is a bit too much I think. I'm thinking that I will ditch the microserver and just get a Bitfenix Prodigy case. It is not as compact as the G7 case though and is missing the drive cage with SATA backplane that the G7 has.

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