Small Form Factor Build Log

The Power Supply

The NSK 1380 comes with a 350W power supply rated at 80 PLUS efficiency. It is a proprietary design, specific to the chassis so my guess would be that if the PSU died, replacing it would probably mean looking for a new case. One of the compromises Antec had to make was the placement of the PSU with it’s 120mm fan. The location of the power supply and its size means that you will need to use a low profile CPU cooler if you want to use something other than stock. In this build we are using the stock AMD cooler, I’ve told the future owner that we can replace it with something else if he finds it too loud.

The PSU has a 120mm fan inside and doesn’t make much noise at all. 350W, a lack of PCI-E headers and a serious lack of space, for a full height PCI-E card will limit options for graphics cards in this chassis. Even if you were to mod the drive cage, the power would almost certainly fall short of the requirements.


Motherboard installation

The Gigabyte M-ATX GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard was once the HTPC motherboard of choice and it performed well as a home server too. It has onboard graphics with D-SUB, DVI and HDMI output, Optical, coaxial and analogue sound outputs, e-SATA and an RJ45 network connector. There are also PCI-E  and PCI slots so you could upgrade the graphics, storage options  or stick a legacy TV tuner card in there.

It was and still is a great motherboard – depending on what you want to do with it and what CPUs you can find to go with it. The socket limit is a 95W AM2+ which is likely to mean swap meet, ebay or a trading forum.

IMG 4847

Motherboard installed with the RAM and the CPU fitted but without the CPU fan attached. 

The clearance of the Antec power supply was a major constraint and made getting the motherboard in position awkward. I could have removed the power supply but that would have involved pulling half the case apart and seemed overkill.

In the end, I secured all of the power and front panel cables out of the way to provide some room to move and slid the board into place. I’m not sure if it was the I/O shield or something else but I needed to slightly persuade the screws to line up by about 2mm. As mentioned before, the NSK 1380 case only has 2 traditional standoffs with screws for the motherboard, the other standoffs are more like clips. Once the screws were in, the board was perfectly flat, no flexing or bending to be seen and felt very secure.

IMG 4834

The motherboard is in place and the CPU power connected. This is the point where I started to doubt how neat this build’s cable management was going to be. 

IMG 4835

This photo shows the clearance issue a little better. In hindsight, I could have snipped the zip tie holding the bulk of the power leads together and re-ordered them. One day, I’ll take the time to play with re-sleeving cables but not today. 

IMG 4836

The above shot shows the motherboard installed from above. It doesn’t look too cramped with the drive cage removed and working with motherboard headers etc  was straight forward. 


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