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Building my own Steam Machine

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ThinkPad560X
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Building my own Steam Machine

#1 Post by ThinkPad560X » Thu Nov 12, 2015 2:03 am

I am wanting to get my PC that hangs with my consoles on the tv shelf up and running for PC games. Its a IBM ThinkCentre S50 UltraSmall. It is completely maxed for its time. Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 4GB RAM Max, Windows XP Professional. I looked at upgrading the graphics card to see it only has 1 Standard PCI slot, "no" PCIe x1,x8,x16. It does support 1 SATA port on the board. I am guessing it uses a ITX board but my main problems before I even do anything to it is, The PSU is a custom long thin box and then the Graphics card may not fit, Wanted to get the most current Nvida 980.

So is this machine just too small to upgrade?

I have both of these machines in this photo: http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/2004/0826/ibm210.jpg
IBM: 760XD,770Z,600X,560X,560Z,570,310ED,380Z,390X, i1200,i1400,A22m,A22e,A30,G40, R31,R40,R50,R60,R61,T20,T23,T30,T40,T43,T60,T61,X21,X30,X41,X41T,X60,X60T,Z60m, Z60T, X3200 Server, NetVista M41 6792,M41 6790,X40 Aptiva 2170,ThinkCentre S50,S50 Ultra,A50p,M50,M51,M82 WorkPad 20X

QWERTY Andreas
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#2 Post by QWERTY Andreas » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:49 am

ThinkPad560X wrote:I am wanting to get my PC that hangs with my consoles on the tv shelf up and running for PC games. Its a IBM ThinkCentre S50 UltraSmall. It is completely maxed for its time. Pentium 4 3.0GHz, 4GB RAM Max, Windows XP Professional. I looked at upgrading the graphics card to see it only has 1 Standard PCI slot, "no" PCIe x1,x8,x16. It does support 1 SATA port on the board. I am guessing it uses a ITX board but my main problems before I even do anything to it is, The PSU is a custom long thin box and then the Graphics card may not fit, Wanted to get the most current Nvida 980.

So is this machine just too small to upgrade?

I have both of these machines in this photo: http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/2004/0826/ibm210.jpg
Its too old to upgrade. No PCIe slot => no good GPU (and i seriously doubt the PSU can handle it anyway). Furthermore most GPUs require a dualslot PCIe.

There are no way you will ever get a 980 into that case, and it would require new mobo, ram, CPU and psu anyway,

So you have to build a completely new machine.. but fear not! There are many aestically pleasing, supersmall mITX cases out there.
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shawross
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#3 Post by shawross » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:11 am

I have the same computer on a TV shelf, although mine has only 1G of ram from memory ( no pun intended). I tested it with Win 7 a few years back and it was laboriously slow.
I didn't think it was worth throwing money into ram because of the Display limitation. Ok for XP and some retro gaming. Pity as I love the small footprint.
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#4 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:07 am

Looking at the HMM, the S50 Ultra Small probably has custom/proprietary sized board.
Hopefully there's enough space to put in an ITX board, but you will need to install new mounting posts. You may need to modify the rear I/O panel as well.

The position of the PCI slot (upper right area due to the riser card) will require that you use a flex riser like this, but I can't see from the diagrams if dual-slot video cards will fit, and you probably need to make intake vents on the top cover, or else the video card will overheat.

But the real limiter is the PSU. Based on the HMM, the only PSU available is 200w, and that severely limits the processors and GPUs you can use.
Unless you're ready to accept doing an ugly hack such as using a full-size ATX PSU and letting it dangle at the rear of the casing. :eek:

I don't know about the larger case underneath though, since you didn't mention its model number or MTM. :P
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#5 Post by ThinkPad560X » Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:42 pm

The one under it is a S50 non UltraSmall. It has a full size disc drive and floppy. Both uses a full 3.5 HDD in them too.

Here are all my desktops from small to large in case size.

S50 UltraSmall Front: http://cdn-ak.f.st-hatena.com/images/fo ... 231100.jpg
S50 UltraSmall Back: http://junkbox.cocolog-nifty.com/photos ... cf0100.jpg "Mine don't have that plastic"
S50 UltraSmall Opened: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Vl4g2Ys-QXI/maxresdefault.jpg


S50 basic Front and Back: http://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/201 ... back-2.gif
S50 basic Opened: http://cp24.pl/aukcje/a/ibm_thinkcentre_s50_sff_3.jpg

IBM NetVista 6790: http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-NetVista-67 ... xyaTxTTC9S

IBM NetVista 8306: http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-NetVista-Pe ... SwiCRUikLB

IBM NetVista X40 All-in one computer: http://s3images.coroflot.com/user_files ... EGYp14.jpg

Next step is the towers.
IBM: 760XD,770Z,600X,560X,560Z,570,310ED,380Z,390X, i1200,i1400,A22m,A22e,A30,G40, R31,R40,R50,R60,R61,T20,T23,T30,T40,T43,T60,T61,X21,X30,X41,X41T,X60,X60T,Z60m, Z60T, X3200 Server, NetVista M41 6792,M41 6790,X40 Aptiva 2170,ThinkCentre S50,S50 Ultra,A50p,M50,M51,M82 WorkPad 20X

axur-delmeria
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Thu Nov 12, 2015 3:25 pm

The Netvista 8306 is the easiest to upgrade since it looks like a standard Micro-ATX casing.
PSU is SFX-sized -- upgrades are a bit limited, but much better compared to custom form factors. I believe there's Silverstone 600w SFX PSU available.

Alternatively, it looks like there may be enough space in that area to squeeze a full-size ATX PSU. A modular PSU will reduce cable clutter greatly.

The casing's height might limit GPU selection, so measure the maximum height of video cards it can support.
You may need to put intake vents (with fans) on the left side for the video card, and hopefully the processor as well.

The height of the Netvista 6790 will severely limit GPU choices, but with an ITX board and a PCIe riser (flex or otherwise), it may be able to squeeze a full size video card if you lie it horizontally, then remove the expansion card brackets at the back, and maybe the optical drive bay as well. Without the ODD bay, the front can be used as an intake vent for CPU and GPU.
PSU selection is again limited, but check if it's a TFX size PSU. If it is, you may be able to find good upgrades.

The S50 will run into the same problems as the Ultra Small, But since it's a slightly bigger casiing, it may have a better chance of succeeding. The PSU is again proprietary, but try if an SFX size PSU will fit.
Last edited by axur-delmeria on Thu Nov 12, 2015 11:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#7 Post by Hans Gruber » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:08 pm

If you want to build something cheap. A Core2Duo CPU, 9800GT and 8GB of DDR2 memory. That should be enough to run a steam machine. That should be enough to run all the steam (valve) based games at 1920x1080 settings. Detail settings might have to be reduced to medium or low and no AA.
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#8 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:35 am

Hans Gruber wrote:If you want to build something cheap.
He wants something small enough, like a Steam Machine or gaming console, that wouldn't look out of place in the living room.

I've given my share of ideas.

IMO case modding is fun if you have the right tools (generally a Dremel/rotary tool and a drill) and materials like screw posts, drilling/cutting templates for different-sized fans.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#9 Post by Hans Gruber » Fri Nov 13, 2015 2:09 am

axur-delmeria wrote:
Hans Gruber wrote:If you want to build something cheap.
He wants something small enough, like a Steam Machine or gaming console, that wouldn't look out of place in the living room.

I've given my share of ideas.

IMO case modding is fun if you have the right tools (generally a Dremel/rotary tool and a drill) and materials like screw posts, drilling/cutting templates for different-sized fans.
Ok, Pentium G3258 (dual core) CPU which is a $60 Haswell. It should have integrated graphics built in on the CPU. An AMD 270X or a Nvidia 750Ti graphics card with 8GB of DDR3. A Corsair small form factor case with a micro atx motherboard.
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#10 Post by QWERTY Andreas » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:29 am

The S50 basic is your best bet. It is the only one that can fit a dualslot GPU.

But you have to mod it with a SFX psu and mITX motherboard, and then get a PCIe riser to fit a GPU in there.

The other option is to take the netvista 8306, and put in a low profile GPU (the fastest is the AMD 7850, but best bet is probably nVidia 750Ti)

But i would just take something like the nCase M1, or Cooltek coolcube/C2 and build in that. Small, and aestically pleasing. Ive just build one myself, but ended up with a Raijintek Metis because of some custom watercooling i used :)
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#11 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:23 am

Alternative: Maingear Drift
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#12 Post by axur-delmeria » Fri Nov 13, 2015 5:59 am

^ Isn't that just a prebuilt system on a Siverstone Fortress Z chassis?
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#13 Post by micrex22 » Sun May 31, 2020 2:30 am

I'm surprised I missed this thread!
QWERTY Andreas wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:49 am
Its too old to upgrade. No PCIe slot => no good GPU (and i seriously doubt the PSU can handle it anyway). Furthermore most GPUs require a dualslot PCIe.
There are no way you will ever get a 980 into that case, and it would require new mobo, ram, CPU and psu anyway,
So you have to build a completely new machine.. but fear not! There are many aestically pleasing, supersmall mITX cases out there.
Lenovo actually later refreshed the ThinkCentre S50 UltraSmall and produced a Core2 model:
https://www.cnet.com/products/lenovo-th ... dd-xp-pro/

It is possible to pop in a 8807 mobo and PSU and get better specs. Onboard Intel GMA 3000 graphics so don't expect anything *too* groundbreaking.

ThinkPad560X
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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#14 Post by ThinkPad560X » Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:13 am

Yea I already knew Lenovo made a Intel Core2 Duo version these but just didn't see a reason to upgrade my P4 one. And the Core2 Duo version has single slot that is PCIe. But I really don't think any GPU will fit that case, even if it was a 750Ti. It be too small and no air flow for it. So I just use my S50 for small light game play if I ever use it.
IBM: 760XD,770Z,600X,560X,560Z,570,310ED,380Z,390X, i1200,i1400,A22m,A22e,A30,G40, R31,R40,R50,R60,R61,T20,T23,T30,T40,T43,T60,T61,X21,X30,X41,X41T,X60,X60T,Z60m, Z60T, X3200 Server, NetVista M41 6792,M41 6790,X40 Aptiva 2170,ThinkCentre S50,S50 Ultra,A50p,M50,M51,M82 WorkPad 20X

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Re: Building my own Steam Machine

#15 Post by axur-delmeria » Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:45 am

Maybe a Ryzen 5 3400G, or a Ryzen 5 4600G if you can find one.
Daily driver: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

Backup: X601 Core 2 Duo T8100
Toy: X60F Core Solo U1300
On loan: X220 4291-P79 i5-2520M
In pieces: two retired but working X61Ts
RIP: 760XD 9546-U9E; X61 7676-A24; and a BOE-Hydis HV121P01-100 in failed SXGA+ mod
:cry:

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