Author Topic: A Computer Case Cluster?:  (Read 1017 times)

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Offline jacethesaltsculptor

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A Computer Case Cluster?:
« on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 06:53:33 »
Intel 9th Generation NUC - Make sure to turn on translation, it's all in Mandarin.

This is an interesting piece of hardware, an entire computer on a chip. I've heard of them for Industrial purposes, but never a widely marketed one like this.

here's a video review, the first 5 minutes have all the best stuff:

If it works inside any regular system, I'd love to stuff a case full of these and build myself a little "Hardwarevisor" where I could run tons of OS's on different machine, all in one case.

It'd be a really cool thing. I'm kinda hyped for this.

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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 08:21:18 »
Hrrrrrrm.... It's not like we're getting many upgrade paths on mobos anyway, so it might all fold up and those are the only products in the future.

The terminal section just has to be fast enough. and that's what's happened, it's all gotten there.

Anyone who needs more than 8 cores is prolly better served by cloud applications

Offline jacethesaltsculptor

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 19:18:21 »
Hrrrrrrm.... It's not like we're getting many upgrade paths on mobos anyway, so it might all fold up and those are the only products in the future.

The terminal section just has to be fast enough. and that's what's happened, it's all gotten there.

Anyone who needs more than 8 cores is prolly better served by cloud applications


I don't think mobos would fold up, but I think for sure they'd get smaller like they have been. ITX boards are a huge thing now, I never saw that coming.

For me, I need more than 8 cores, and I have solar panels in Arizona, so my electricity is about as free as it gets, with old server processors being cheap, I can get many cores, tons of memory and run any application I need that needs more than 4 cores, without hosting fees from Amazon or Google.

Or if I want to keep my data off the grid I've got enough cores to host tons of servers from all together. It's about the flexibility, and privacy.

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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 19:28:20 »
This is similar to Lenovo's Blade system (look into these if you want a cluster, better yet, just do Pis) and old server backplane systems, that said, for home use, this is utterly moronic.

In fact this entire idea is moronic.
I like Nucs (I've sold a bunch of them), and I do think desktop memory needs to die so we can reduce the computer size, I also think laptops are reaching a point where you really could easily replace most desktops with a laptop cpu (hello Ryzen 4000!) but this whole concept is just dumb.

People buying Nucs don't upgrade, most are also not gamers. Nuc people want a small quiet system, gamers want raw power, and yes, I just said laptop CPUS are pretty much there, but to upgrade this CPU (which is more likely on a gaming rig) you're going to basically be buying a whole new Nuc every time since the cpu is soldered to the motherboard. Don't forget to reach your primary ssd and memory, you will have to disassemble and remove the heatsink/shroud... How exactly is this better than what we have? And this idea of more drives, most people have a singe drive and as ssd sizes increase and get cheaper, fewer and fewer will need more than one or two drives even for data hoarders. Most Intel based ITX boards already have dual nvme slots.


But the whole thing is more compact! No, it isn't.
Ever see a Dancase A4, Ghost S1 or a Sliger? They are all as small or smaller (Dancase) than this is and they pack not only a desktop cpu, but a standard ITX motherboard, desktop ram, and a common SFX power supply, you can even put watercooling in them(!). I admit it's a tight fit, but it works. Use a lower heat output cpu (65 watt Ryzen or laptop cpu) and laptop memory and suddenly it's not every tight any more. Not to mention in all these cases the cpu cooler isn't breathing the hot air coming off the GPU like this thing does.

This is not going to be any cheaper than building a nice, tiny mini-ITX box, though obviously not if you use those cases, but more are coming, look at the Lian-Li TU150. Even if it the system was cheaper the first time you go to upgrade it those minimal saving will go right out the window. Need a new psu because your CPU/GPU needs more power, good luck. Too noisy, too bad there's no new heatsinks that fit, or you have to buy a case/heatsink combo, if one fits your particular setup. These setups exist already for current Nucs and they can often cost as much as the Nuc, mainly because Intel keeps altering the design and you can't make anything universal. Nuc is a mess, there's almost no standardized format and that is done on purpose so Intel can control it. Go with one of the setups I mentioned and you do have options, they may be limited, but you have them and at reasonably prices.

It's not all bad, there is potential here, it just needs tweaking.
A MUCH better option would be to move the ram to the back as I previously mentioned (or flip the cooler) and then put the rear IO on the backplane (lower plate). This way you aren't having to pay to replace those every time you upgrade the cpu. That may seem like some silly cost cutting measure, but there's more to it than that, the first is that all those connectors cost money and time soldering, it's a pointless waste to replace them. Also the whole idea of this is speed, I'm not sure why you need to be able to replace this so quickly, but if the connectors were on the backplane you wouldn't have to disconnect any perpherals. This would require a larger slot for the card to slide into, but this has been done many times before. This also gives motherboard manufacturers something to fight over, with the current design the "computer" (cpu, mainboard, I/O, heatsink, shroud) would be almost exclusively built by Intel, leaving motherboard makers to find some really "creative" ways to make you think their backplane was actually better than the next, even though there's almost nothing there. What do you have as a selling point? Who cares about them right, why create a market we don't need, but if the ports were on the backplane you could have various models with some offering 10gig networking, sata ports, esata ports, more type C vs type A connectors and more. As it stands, if you want to increase network performance or have a new type of USB connector you need to buy not just a new motherboard, but a cpu as well. Ouch, wasn't the whole point easy upgrades? As it stands if you want a 10gbit networking model Intel would require you to buy an expensive Xeon model even when all you needed was a Core I3, you just wanted some faster data.


So what is good?
Besides the use of laptop memory? The power system, this was something I mentioned in another thread recently. The 24pin ATX12v power connector needs to be updated. BADLY. We are up to 32 and sometimes even 40 power pins with up to 6 connectors just for the motherboard, we need something better.  At the very least, eliminate the 3v, 5v and respective ground lines altogether and merge them into a single connector, this would greatly simplify wires and power supplies.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 January 2020, 19:33:28 by Leslieann »
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 20:22:24 »
I forgot one thing...
Smaller rear I/O, many boards have huge gaps on the rear I/O as we simply need fewer things back there now. Remember, when ATX was designed we still had serial and parallel ports which were massive. Those are long gone so why not shrink it? 

Switching to a smaller motherboard and rear IO wouldn't be a hard sell like Intel's plan which throws everything out the window. The changes I mentioned require only minimal changes adapt current parts to it. Cases could just add a breakout I/O cover to make the rear I/O interchangeable and a few extra mount points on the motherboard tray to mount the smaller board, just align it to the pcie slot. PSU would simply need an adapter plate, just like converting ATX to SFX power supplies and for teh wires an adapter would be all you need to use an older psu with a new board. This doesn't put laptop cpus into desktop but we've had adapters in the past where the mobile cpu was soldered to what looked like a desktop wafer.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 20:26:38 »
Cough... cough.. Tp4 would prefer all boards came with 232 and parallel port.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 22:39:51 »
Cough... cough.. Tp4 would prefer all boards came with 232 and parallel port.
You probably long IRQ conflicts as well.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 08 January 2020, 23:45:00 »
Wow, okay..  so I just watched more coverage on this "modular" computer.

All this is is a riser card. More precisely, a bifurcated pcie riser card.
What this means is they split a single pcie 16x into multiple pcie lanes/slots and anything you plug into it is going to be sharing bandwidth. While this isn't really THAT big of an issue, it's not really what all they are making it out as being is it? It's just a Nuc with a PCIE slot (which already existed), and shoved it into an e-gpu box, it even looks like the Razer E-GPU in a lot of ways.


I also found info on price... The Razer model with I9 and rtx 2080 will probably be around $2800, about what a Nuc I9, 2080 and Razer EGPU would cost. There's at least two other companies also making these, but even with mid range components don't expect to pay much under $2000. Do you know how nice of a desktop you can build with $2000?
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Offline Findecanor

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 04:18:43 »
I suspect that the CPU card is some kind of server component. Intel has made compute-cards with Xeons before.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 09:28:04 »
There's that new Lenovo laptop that's supposedly designed for external GPU,  Not sure how that thunderbolt works since i thought they're only x4

Offline Findecanor

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 12:28:36 »
Yes, I think this computer on a PCIe-card is ridiculous.
But I think NUCs are ridiculous too: small mostly for sake of being small because Intel's marketing team wants to show it off.
People do want to expand their storage (it always fills up sooner or later) and people do want to do casual gaming, and they do find the need to upgrade their memory. It is just that all PC users are not "hardcore gamerz" with the latest and greatest powerful and expensive hardware. I think that is a trend that needs to go a way. It's not 1997 any more, when you needed the latest graphics card to even do OpenGL. Game devs should concentrate on the gameplay not on photo-realism ... The best-selling PC games of all time do have relatively modest hardware requirements.

I used to have an EeeBox as my main PC. It was slim and vertical, with ports at the front at a very reasonable height above the desk: just high enough to get above the usual desk clutter. Most of its weight was in its wide foot, which was needed only to make it hold the cables jutting out of its back without toppling. I had got this particular model because it had NVidia graphics, which made light gaming possible.

I think the ideal for a typical desktop PC would be a box in a size somewhere in-between the size a mITX system and a NUC: more like a bounding box of my old EeeBox with foot or like the PowerMac G4 "Cube" but that's still a relatively large size interval. Not optimised for size but designed in a smart way for versatility.

ATX and its subset mITX are just crap. There have been a few attempts at interesting form factors somewhere there but none has taken off:

BTX was smart in that the CPU and its heat sink were situated directly behind a fan that was also an intake fan.
The heat sink was directly on the CPU, not somewhere else connected with heatpipes or water-pipes to clear the clutter of components around it like ATX and its subset mITX. BTX machines tended to be only a little bit smaller than ATX machines. Unfortunately, BTX didn't take off only because the industry had invested too much in ATX.

STX has a motherboard size of 1414, and there have been a few with several NVMe on the back side and place for MXM GPU on an extension but the layout has otherwise been the same as for ATX, just more cramped. Very little selection of cases and motherboards, but standard desktop CPUs (low-profile cooler only), SODIMMs and NVMe SSDs.

There have also been a few similar to the Mac Pro "ashtray"/"trashcan", with a single fan in vertical form factor, relying on hot air's tendency to rise. All have been expensive custom designs. There was the Mac Pro itself, and then the MSI Vortex, both with a triangular cross-section in a cylindrical or near-cylindrical case: the Mac Pro with a shared heat sink in the middle and the Vortex with heat sinks around the sides.
Then there was a smaller "Gigabyte BRIX Gaming UHD" which was a bit too optimised for size, with a square cross-section and the logic boards on the diagonal inside to use that space to its fullest. Then there are a few vertically oriented mITX cases, but several of these have needed to put the I/O ports at the top.
The MXM GPUs are not a replacement for PCIe, because MXM was never designed to be replaceable - only to allow system makers to provide different configurations at the factory. The motherboard BIOS needs to contain explicit support for the MXM module...  :rolleyes:

The PIO form factor is like mITX but has the port on the opposite side, facing sideways so that an expansion card is facing the same direction as the components on the board. There are few such boards, and I think most have been for industrial computers. These can be slim, in a "console-sized" layout. The MSI Trident 3 gaming PC has this layout, but I think the motherboard is custom.

you can even put watercooling in [mini-ITX cases]
In many mITX cases, an AIO watercooler is not an even but a have to because the layout is so cramped and airflow around the CPU is bad.
It is first when you go with 2140 or 3120 radiators that you would see better cooling than with a boxy air cooler, but mITX cases don't tend to support such radiator sizes.

A MUCH better option would be to move the ram to the back as I previously mentioned
The latest Mac Pro is built like that. The CPU cooler is directly on the CPU directly behind the air intake (like BTX). The CPU is closely surrounded by banks of RAM like on a server motherboard except that the RAM sticks are on the opposite side of the PCB where they are out of the way of the CPU's heat sink.

then put the rear IO on the backplane (lower plate). This way you aren't having to pay to replace those every time you upgrade the cpu.
Interesting...

I think that in general, a motherboard standard should have the components that need cooling on one side, and the components that don't on the other so that the latter don't get in the way.
Maybe the case for such a standard should be providing the cooling solution, with the cooling designed especially for the layout of that particular case. Heat sinks could max out the available space inside the case, and with fans at the "walls" of the case like BTX.
A somewhat larger case with more expansion might best be designed with airflow from front to back, but a smaller case could have semi-passive vertical airflow. In either type of case, the I/O panel should be at the back. If the I/O panel is on a separate board then the orientation of the motherboard could be independent of the placement of the I/O ports: the design of the I/O backplane configuration would not be fixed in stone, but be part of the case design.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 16:55:54 »
If it were up 2 Tp4,   They'd only need to make 2 PCs.

1x $500 one,  8 core, 2080ti

1x $1000 one, 32 core, Quadro


If the entirety of the computer world was consolidated, that's a very doable price.

Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #12 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 19:05:00 »
I suspect that the CPU card is some kind of server component. Intel has made compute-cards with Xeons before.
Nope, core I9 mobile cpu.
If that was a server cpu that thing would sound like a wind tunnel with such a small heat sink.



Yes, I think this computer on a PCIe-card is ridiculous.
But I think NUCs are ridiculous too: small mostly for sake of being small because Intel's marketing team wants to show it off.
Nucs are awesome for offices and stores where you don't need a ton of power.


In many mITX cases, an AIO watercooler is not an even but a have to because the layout is so cramped and airflow around the CPU is bad.
It is first when you go with 2140 or 3120 radiators that you would see better cooling than with a boxy air cooler, but mITX cases don't tend to support such radiator sizes.
Any ITX case that holds a 360mm radiator is an MATX masquerading as ITX.

The SFF community is almost exclusively air cooler because while you can fit a 240mm radiator in some of them, it's a very tight fit. More importantly, when you get down this small, temps are not the main priority, noise is. No one builds such a small box and then hides it down on the floor so noise becomes the main concern and in these tiny boxes, the GPU is the bigger problem.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #13 on: Thu, 09 January 2020, 19:11:13 »
Update:
Cooler Master's model is going to sell case, psu and bottom card for about $200-300.
I'll believe it when I see it, they want to redesign the Intel cooler so expect a higher price.

Also, regardless of the case offerings, Intel isn't going to make every Nuc compatible with this, only the more expensive ones. Then you still need ram, gpu and ssd.
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 10 January 2020, 14:36:01 »
I saw the demo when it came out and ever since I have been really excited for this PC design.  Although I have not upgraded my PC in a long time I realize that I would normally only every upgrade my PC in two ways:

1 - upgrade the GPU
2 - upgrade the mobo / memory / cpu

This design really streamlines that process (assuming Intel continues to support it). 
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Offline Findecanor

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 10 January 2020, 16:01:28 »
Nucs are awesome for offices and stores where you don't need a ton of power.
I think the only thing they have going for them compared to a similarly-specced low-profile mITX with external PSU is if you could mount them at the back of a monitor. If left on the desks, they would tip over by the weight of the cables you plug into them ... :p
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 10 January 2020, 20:34:58 »
I think the only thing they have going for them compared to a similarly-specced low-profile mITX with external PSU is if you could mount them at the back of a monitor. If left on the desks, they would tip over by the weight of the cables you plug into them ... :p
I only use these for home/office low power setups where they use only a few cables I can easily hide.

The last one I setup, the USB hub was larger than the system (not joking). This is the same problem I have with Raspberry Pi and such, it's a small package, sure, but you have cables and dongles sticking out all over the place making them quite ungainly. We've reached a point where small for the sake of small is actually detrimental.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 10 January 2020, 20:35:30 »
This design really streamlines that process (assuming Intel continues to support it).
It doesn't streamline it.
The Nuc must be disassembled to install the memory and ssd. It may be a little faster but do you upgrade often enough that an hour or two really matter every few years.

Intel is only going to support this on high end stuff, unless it really takes of and it won't unless Apple or AMD get onboard, Apple won't because they are leaving Intel and don't want anything like this (would have made for a great desktop or Mac Pro) and AMD won't pay for the license (which will be expensive) or won't have access to it.

Without those it will be a fringe thing, and while Intel may keep at it, in limited amounts, it could do exactly what has happened every time they've done things like this, drive it into the ground with royalties/licensing fees. Tech history is littered with the remains of this sort of tactic, a great many of them by Intel and Sony. The latter of which got what was coming to them.

If you buy one of these, assume it's disposable.
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 02:00:01 »
It doesn't streamline it.

Oh it absolutely does.  I've been building PCs for 20+ years and for me personally that process is no longer that interesting yet I still have zero interest in a prebuilt. 

As I said earlier upgrades for me always come in two flavors either being (1) a GPU upgrade or (2) a CPU / Memory / Mobo upgrade and this formfactor treats those as two distinct units.  I don't have to concern myself with mobo / chipset / cpu compatibility as that is abstracted away into a discrete PCIe card created by Intel (and hopefully also some other vendors too).  I'm also not concerned with the time associated with installing an NVMe drive or SODIMMS.

I own one of their other NUC systems and the selling point for me was that I could not build a machine that small had I tried.  However the limitation of that system is that I cannot upgrade the components at all.  The CPU and the GPU are all in one discrete package and everything is soldered onto the motherboard.  This solution removes that major limitation while still affording a formfactor that is smaller than I could realistically build myself.

If you buy one of these, assume it's disposable.

Well that's all technology though.  For example the AMD Athlon Thunderbird machine I built years ago never again found usefulness once it was upgraded and the platform was abandoned.  However in that case CPUs stopped being made for the socket and AGP stopped being a standard.  With the backplane design we're now reliant on something less rigid (the PCIe standard) as opposed to something that continually evolves over time (northbridge chipsets, cpu sockets, memory sockets, etc.) 
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 02:46:45 »
As I said earlier upgrades for me always come in two flavors either being (1) a GPU upgrade or (2) a CPU / Memory / Mobo upgrade and this formfactor treats those as two distinct units.  I don't have to concern myself with mobo / chipset / cpu compatibility as that is abstracted away into a discrete PCIe card created by Intel (and hopefully also some other vendors too).  I'm also not concerned with the time associated with installing an NVMe drive or SODIMMS.

I own one of their other NUC systems and the selling point for me was that I could not build a machine that small had I tried.  However the limitation of that system is that I cannot upgrade the components at all.  The CPU and the GPU are all in one discrete package and everything is soldered onto the motherboard.  This solution removes that major limitation while still affording a formfactor that is smaller than I could realistically build myself.
It takes longer to install the ram (which you don't seem to mind) than it does to check cpu/chipset compatibility. Just seems like such a nothing thing to fret over.

Anyhow,
As for it being smaller, true, you can't build something that small using common off the shelf parts by major vendors, but step out from mainstream and into smaller boutique manufacturers and you can build something half that size.

Look into the Velka 3, MI6(?) and Sunmilo, there's also quite a few on Taobao.
Many of these are limited production, and many are often pre-order only (Ncase and Dancase are almost always sold out first day of preorders), and if you hate researching chip compatibility, you will probably HAAAATE going down this path as nearly everything has to be accounted for (ram height, cpu height, air flow, follow what worked for others), but when it's done you end up with a full desktop gaming rig inside something as small or smaller than these Nucs.

Then again, it just may reignite that spark for building, it certainly has for many who've been doing it for years.
Anyone can slap an ATX or even MATX system together and have it work, these take patience and care to make work properly. Most stuff in them is off-the-shelf, it's just not what you would normally choose.

I think most people would be shocked at how many custom sff cases exist and how many people are building computers with them. Ncase and Dancase are over 5 years old, this stuff isn't new, it just hasn't gone mainstream. There's enough out there to support several businesses, Youtube channels and chat forums.
« Last Edit: Sat, 11 January 2020, 02:56:14 by Leslieann »
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #20 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 03:26:10 »
It takes longer to install the ram (which you don't seem to mind) than it does to check cpu/chipset compatibility. Just seems like such a nothing thing to fret over.
To clarify: choosing the parts is a non-issue I don't think anyone struggles anymore with how to pair a CPU with a motherboard or memory especially since some of the logic has been moved from the motherboard (i.e. north bridge) onto the CPU itself.  The point is that it is impossible for me as a consumer to know where Intel is going with their platform or infrastructure.  It's not uncommon to build a computer that is made irrelevant in 6 months due to changes in platform, architecture, sockets, etc.  I hope that makes sense.
Anyhow,
As for it being smaller, true, you can't build something that small using common off the shelf parts by major vendors, but step out from mainstream and into smaller boutique manufacturers and you can build something half that size.
The drawback of this approach is that this requires a lot of time and planning.  For example if you are building a PC into a case that will result from a groupbuy this can push your build out months to years.
Look into the Velka 3,
Not currently for sale [1] and visually appears to be twice the physical size [2] of the reference NUC [3].
MI6(?)
Again this case appears to be at least twice the size of the reference NUC [4]
and Sunmilo, there's also quite a few on Taobao.
Again, these cases are in an entirely different class and cannot be compared.  This case is at least twice the size of the reference NUC [5]
Many of these are limited production, and many are often pre-order only (Ncase and Dancase are almost always sold out first day of preorders), and if you hate researching chip compatibility, you will probably HAAAATE going down this path as nearly everything has to be accounted for (ram height, cpu height, air flow, follow what worked for others), but when it's done you end up with a full desktop gaming rig inside something as small or smaller than these Nucs.
I've built plenty of small formfactor PCs but as explained these solutions do not result in something the size of the reference NUC so the comparison based solely on size is not relevant. 
Then again, it just may reignite that spark for building, it certainly has for many who've been doing it for years.
I've shifted my focus elsewhere because as I mentioned building PCs just isn't as interesting anymore.  If I am spending my time building it's on some other project.
Anyone can slap an ATX or even MATX system together and have it work, these take patience and care to make work properly. Most stuff in them is off-the-shelf, it's just not what you would normally choose.
I'm not sure the intent of this comment - it seems as though you feel like because I disagree with you on the merits of this architecture that I must somehow fall into a category of people without "patience and care to make work properly"?  Seems to detract from your point.
I think most people would be shocked at how many custom sff cases exist and how many people are building computers with them. Ncase and Dancase are over 5 years old, this stuff isn't new, it just hasn't gone mainstream. There's enough out there to support several businesses, Youtube channels and chat forums.
Probably.  I really wanted to build my next PC into the DR Zaber Sentry [6] but as I found it's basically impossible for me to buy one.  Frustratingly every youtuber I follow seems to have one.



[1] https://www.velkase.com/products/velka-3
[2]
[3] https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/7/21051879/intel-pc-nuc-9-extreme-ghost-canyon-element-hands-on-teardown-ces-2020
[4] https://tekeverything.com/ccd-mi-6-mini-itx-case-review/
[5] https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/sunmilo-s01.9956/
[6] http://zaber.com.pl/sentry/
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #21 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 03:53:05 »
To clarify: choosing the parts is a non-issue I don't think anyone struggles anymore with how to pair a CPU with a motherboard or memory especially since some of the logic has been moved from the motherboard (i.e. north bridge) onto the CPU itself.  The point is that it is impossible for me as a consumer to know where Intel is going with their platform or infrastructure.  It's not uncommon to build a computer that is made irrelevant in 6 months due to changes in platform, architecture, sockets, etc.  I hope that makes sense.

Not sure what makes you think it's irrelevant or even outdated in 6 months, just because there is something newer doesn't make it irrelevant.
Buy an I5 or better and you should be good for a couple years AT LEAST.


The drawback of this approach is that this requires a lot of time and planning.  For example if you are building a PC into a case that will result from a groupbuy this can push your build out months to years.
Don't do a group buy.
I never said they were all easy to get, and those I mentioned were just the names I could remember off the top of my head.

Not currently for sale [1] and visually appears to be twice the physical size [2] of the reference NUC [3].
Again this case appears to be at least twice the size of the reference NUC [4]
Again, these cases are in an entirely different class and cannot be compared.  This case is at least twice the size of the reference NUC [5]

Did you even watch the video in the first post?
No one is arguing these are smaller than a Nuc by itself, we're discussing a Nuc with a full size desktop graphics card, shoved into a shoebox.
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #22 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 04:11:07 »
Not sure what makes you think it's irrelevant or even outdated in 6 months, just because there is something newer doesn't make it irrelevant.
Buy an I5 or better and you should be good for a couple years AT LEAST.
Again, buying a complete CPU, Motherboard, and RAM only to find that the next generation is not 100% compatible with your hardware is not a good look.  To me discrete drop-in card is a good solution to this.
Don't do a group buy. I never said they were all easy to get, and those I mentioned were just the names I could remember off the top of my head.
Many of these cases are not available outside of group buys.  You made the argument that one just needs to "look outside the mainstream" but as we know that is not always realistic.
Did you even watch the video in the first post? No one is arguing these are smaller than a Nuc by itself, we're discussing a Nuc with a full size desktop graphics card, shoved into a shoebox.
Of course I did and it was the second video I saw on this architecture.  The reference NUC includes a desktop GPU (albeit not a full width one).  This is a discussion on the NUC architecture not on the fact that one offering includes the ability to have a full length car. 

Additionally you say "No one is arguing these are smaller than a Nuc by itself" but earlier you state that "[building a non-mainstream PC] when it's done you end up with a full desktop gaming rig inside something as small or smaller than these Nucs.".

So what is your point?  So far you've raised none that actually talk to why this is a bad solution generally speaking but instead it's clear you personally just don't like it (which is fine) but that does not preclude me from finding it to be advantageous to my needs.

edit- actually you did raise one fair point about licensing and whether or not other CPU manufacturers can play in this space and I agree that is a point of contention.  I'd love to see an ecosystem where Intel or AMD or whoever can make their system card for this architecture but I guess it remains to be seen.  Additionally your point about Intel sunsetting this platform prematurely is also a concern.  My thoughts are even if Intel abandons this platform after one iteration I don't feel high and dry because I can replace the video card.  For any other NUC I cannot do this.
« Last Edit: Sat, 11 January 2020, 04:19:22 by 1391401 »
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #23 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 17:09:37 »
Of course I did and it was the second video I saw on this architecture.  The reference NUC includes a desktop GPU (albeit not a full width one).  This is a discussion on the NUC architecture not on the fact that one offering includes the ability to have a full length car. 

Additionally you say "No one is arguing these are smaller than a Nuc by itself" but earlier you state that "[building a non-mainstream PC] when it's done you end up with a full desktop gaming rig inside something as small or smaller than these Nucs.".

So what is your point?  So far you've raised none that actually talk to why this is a bad solution generally speaking but instead it's clear you personally just don't like it (which is fine) but that does not preclude me from finding it to be advantageous to my needs.

edit- actually you did raise one fair point about licensing and whether or not other CPU manufacturers can play in this space and I agree that is a point of contention.  I'd love to see an ecosystem where Intel or AMD or whoever can make their system card for this architecture but I guess it remains to be seen.  Additionally your point about Intel sunsetting this platform prematurely is also a concern.  My thoughts are even if Intel abandons this platform after one iteration I don't feel high and dry because I can replace the video card.  For any other NUC I cannot do this.
Sorry, I just happened to see Intel also had a Nuc with GPU in another video and it is using a shorter ITX card. I'm not sure if I missed that in this video or not.

This thread was never really about Nuc architecture, the initial post was trying to use it as a cluster by putting multiples of these into a system like a Lenovo Blade system, which was not going to work. Everything since has been discussing this whole concept as a whole.


While small, that Intel is actually not THAT small. People better at it than me estimate it to be about 9-10 liters, a Dancase is 7.2 liters (something like a Velka is closer to 5liters). So yeah, these are smaller than even the Intel. Most of the ones I mentioned have the PSU inside the case with an option of an external brick, while the Intel only uses a massive external power brick (you can see the dc-dc converter inside). Power bricks are fine but it's not fair to say your computer is smaller when you leave out a large, major component.

As for the case, some are pre-order and you need to hurry, but all it takes is a little timing. Besides, it's a case. You can buy used or even build in one box and move to another later. Finding a case is actually less a hassle than finding the best cooling solution for it. All this can be fun (new hobby) or a nightmare depending on the person. I saw it as a new challenge.


You asked why this is a bad solution?  Nuc is not a standard, it's a product line.
Sure you can slide the mainboard out, making for easy upgrades (modular!)... However, how many people are going to buy the case and Nuc separate? If it's like the current Nuc aftermarket it will be a mess, seriously, have you looked at aftermarket Nuc cases? This case works with model A and B (model A is discontinued), this other case only works with model C and D and this other case only works with model B and D, C can work but only if you get an early model... They may as well just sell you the whole kit minus GPU, which is probably what Intel will do, not sure about Razer and others. And if you never plan on upgrading it, the modularity becomes pointless.

You complain about Intel longevity, this is no different, all they have to do is move a power connector and half the cases built for it no longer function (see above). Worse, if Intel only offers this on an I7 or I9, guess you're not building that I5 system. Maybe next year they only offer it in the I5, or maybe none. None of this solves the problem of CPU/socket being depricated in 6 months, they could depricate them all. Worse, not only will you have to buy a cpu/motherboard combo every upgrade cycle, now you have less choices and you may have to buy another case and power supply as well.

This isn't better, it's vendor lock in at it's finest.
You want to buy it, go ahead, but I'd highly recommend you take note of the current aftermarket Nuc case market and more importantly the MXM graphics card slot and it's failures. MXM was a "universal" graphics card slot for laptops, and while the slot was standardized, it didn't define much of anything other than the slot itself. As such the location of the chip was free to roam, meaning you couldn't take an MXM card from one laptop and put it into another laptop with an MXM slot because the cooling wouldn't line up, no aftermarket cards were made either for the same reason. Nuc has the same problem, Cooler Master already said they need to redesign the cooling fan on the Nuc because it rubs the GPU (why not make the case wider?), they claim it's not a problem but when has a company changed something that was not a problem? They haven't even launched and already it's fragmented with one of them needing a different cooling system.

Mark my words, this is going to be a mess.
It may get solved with some standards (doubtful since Intel wants Nuc for themselves), but I wouldn't go near it until then except for cheap disposable systems.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 11 January 2020, 17:35:02 »
Intel pricing.
$1700 - Core I9
$1200 - Core I7 (not overclockable)
$1000 - Core I5 (not overclockable)

These do not include ram, drive or gpu.
« Last Edit: Sat, 11 January 2020, 17:37:45 by Leslieann »
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #25 on: Sun, 12 January 2020, 03:42:52 »
the reference nuc pretty clearly has a PSU inside the case so I'm not sure the point of the external brick comment but regardless an external power brick does not take up space on a desk so often times this is a fair balance to reduce the size of the case

i'm not following how the current gen NUC case compatibility is even relevant to this discussion given that the design of the current NUCs are small integrated PCs without concern for upgrades (something that this future gen NUC seems to want to solve).  why would someone replace the case on a NUC?  the only reason I can think of is maybe for an industrial purpose.

the reference NUC is 5 litres (according to a youtube video) so I guess maybe slightly larger than one of the cases (Velka) but again for me personally I did all of this stuff years ago and isn't all that interesting to me anymore

other videos showcase non-intel cases and specifically mention that the spacing between the PCIe slots has been made larger than the reference NUC design so I think not being able to fit a GPU remains to be seen and is entirely speculation at this point.

i don't see how giving a customer the ability to swap out their video card is going to be a mess really.  I already own a NUC so obviously I am comfortable with the limitations of that kind of platform and the ability to swap video cards only serves to extend the useful life of a NUC so for me as a consumer it is a win-win.
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Offline Leslieann

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 12 January 2020, 05:27:18 »
the reference nuc pretty clearly has a PSU inside the case
I take that back, just looked, Intel does appear to be using a dc-dc converter (at least on one model), but the psu was hidden under the daughter board on the cube.


As for the rest, watch this video, maybe this will explain how they are marketing this and then maybe the rest of what I said will make sense.
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Offline 1391401

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Re: A Computer Case Cluster?:
« Reply #27 on: Tue, 14 January 2020, 09:51:24 »
It's a NUC where you can replace the GPU should you want and they've comitted to supporting it for more than one iteration (per a Verge video).  I understand what it is lol.
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