Discussion How to upgrade a 7" x 7" x 1-3/8" Desktop Office Computer (HP EliteDesk 800 G5 Mini) into a competent gaming machine while keeping its footprint Pt.1

Imacflier

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Hi, Guys

First a note to the Mods: I faithfully promise not to create any more threads touching on this topic, and my apologies for creating more than one.

And while I am apologizing: a note to my readers....if any: I have spent a career writing and so I have kinda fallen in love with my own text....so this may turn out to be rather wordy!

The Back Story (or how I came to be doing this) (TL:DR)

In January, three things occurred at just about the same time: I turned 80<!>, the last of my Program Management support contracts timed out and I chose not to renew them, and by sheer happenstance I serendipitiously found this video on YouTube:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRjSSglEKL8&t=60s
Take a few minutes and go watch....it is a bit of a spoiler, but it will show you why I am bothering.

In my forty years in the defense and aerospace business I have always been on the losing end of the battle between the need for useful desk space and the the need to have a computer on my desk! Indeed, in my first job out of B school I was recruited by General Dynamics and I was not given a desk at all, but rather my very own Hollerith Machine! A Hollerith Machine for all you youngun's out there is a key punch machine about the size of an executive desk and used to punch the cards used to input data into a Data Center mainframe. The only flat space was about the size of a legal pad. And so I have yearned for deskspace for a very long time! Finally I discovered the HP series of EliteDesk 800 Mini computers, acquired one off lease on EBay and fell in love! I now have three active in he house: one for me, one for my wife and one as TVPC/network server combination.....Oh, and a fourth to be the subject of this build!

Project Objective

To competently play most AAA titles at 3440 x 1440p, while maintaining, so far as feasible, the existing footprint.

Constraints

Use of Commercial Off the Shelf parts (COTS): Lets have only one development project at a time, thank you very much!

Use of HP EliteDesk 800 G5 as the basis for implementation. This leads to CPUs with 1151 pin sockets since the MB is not a standard size.

Use of ac/dc module power supplies (see footprint requirement).

Parts sourcing via Ebay (I have had nothing but good luck with Ebay), and Amazon if at all possible.

Preliminary Parts Selection

Base Unit


As mentioned earlier the HP EliteDesk 800 G5 was one of the constraints. The one I purchased from Ebay came with Win10Pro and a 256 GB M.2 NVME for $235 delivered

CPU

If you watched the video I linked to above, you will recall constant mention of the "Bottle Neck" caused by a low power processor., even though they were using the relatively weak 1650 GPU.
This led me to look for the most powerful CPU consistent with the 1151 socket. My research led me to the Core I9-9900k. In the past, Tom's rated it as the top gaming CPU. Further research indicated that HP had actually installed the Core I9-9900k in the HP EliteDesk 800 series....or at least claimed to since I have never seen one on the wilds of EBay. I guess they really did install them since they sell a custom heatsink/fan assembly (pn L31403-001) for 95w tdp processors. So far, this is the only part I sourced other than from Ebay and Amazon. The heatsink is quite a nice part: all copper, 4 tubes, and large enough to consume nearly the whole of the interior volume of the 800 G5 and only cost about $80 delivered.

Core I9-9900k should have plenty of power for any RTX 30 series GPU I can afford (I surely cannot manage an RTX 40 series) since in turbo mode it operates with two cores at 5 GHz, 6 cores at 3.6GHz, and hyperthreading on all cores. Sourced on Ebay from a vendor I have used before, with 90 Day warranty, for $350.

GPU

Given the performance requirements (3440 x 1440p) it appears that the lowest (read that as cheapest) 30 series GPU that will work is the RTX 3060. Maintaining the footprint requires it be an ITX version with a single fan. I found an open box PNY 3060 XLR8 for $325 and snatched it up!

End of Part 1, Next time, if there is any interest, Bring the Heat (power requirements and supplies) and Dumping the Heat!

Best regards to all with the perserverance to get this far and I really do solicit your opinions, recommendations (so long as they do not involve different MBs), and advice.

Larry
 

punkncat

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IMO, in this space there is not a better option than the G skew from Ryzen. Once you use an external GPU it doesn't really qualify anymore, does it? (does it?)

Once you pass that point, you may as well build inside the small ITX cases on the market. I know that personally I would rather go laptop than have some wonky GPU beside the case open to damage type situation.

.02
 

Imacflier

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  • punkncat
  • Today at 4:33 PM
  • How to upgrade a 7" x 7" x 1-3/8" Desktop Office Computer (HP EliteDesk 800 G5 Mini) into a competent gaming machine while keeping its footprint Pt.1
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you may as well build inside the small ITX cases on the market. I know that personally I would rather go laptop than have some wonky GPU beside the case

I am unaware of any ITX cases with a footprint even approaching 7" x 7". Could you please point me to one of them?

When laptops finally are available with nice mechanical keyboards I might consider one!
 

punkncat

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The 7x7 you are vaunting is actually two pieces that can't be readily moved and leave your GPU easily vulnerable to damage. Also doesn't include the desk space needed for the monitor and the keyboard/mouse combo. So, really what have you accomplished by creating this wonky setup that is "small" (in part) for no specific advantage or reason? (cause the total balance of the system REALLY isn't that small, as mentioned above)

/pointless
 

Imacflier

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The 7x7 you are vaunting is actually two pieces that can't be readily moved and leave your GPU easily vulnerable to damage. Also doesn't include the desk space needed for the monitor and the keyboard/mouse combo. So, really what have you accomplished by creating this wonky setup that is "small" (in part) for no specific advantage or reason? (cause the total balance of the system REALLY isn't that small, as mentioned above)

/pointless
Punkncat,

Why not simply admit that no itx cases exist with a similar footprint? We will eventually see just how close to achieving the original footprint actually is possible. Besides, what is important to one is unimportant to another.
 

Imacflier

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Hi, all,

Now that a bit of time has passed, perhaps we can reset this thread to make it more productive.

My intentions with this thread was to outline HOW to convert the HP EliteDesk 800 into a competent 1440p gaming machine....NOT to argue about the reasons for (or for not) making the conversion. My reasons are sufficient for ME! I hoped to learn if I missed anything in my approach or assumed anything in error (Lord knows I certainly know how to do that!) And perhaps point the way for any other fools (?) out there who might have similar interests.

Please take a moment to scroll back up to the top and look at the video to which I linked.

You will note the only real complaint was a lack of CPU power to match the GPU power.

I listed the constraints above and they basically are unchanged.

In summary I intend to:

  • upgrade the processor to an I9-9900k. This was a factory offered CPU so there is no substantial risk.
  • upgrade the heatsink to the same heatsink used by the factory for this CPU
  • upgrade the power supplies. I must address the 19v computer input and the 12v power for the GPU.
  • externally interface a PNY RTX3060 12GB (the smallest card available) using one of the commercially available pcie to m.2 nvme adapters.
  • mitigate any perceived risk factors.

Now a couple of questions for anyone who might wish to contribute:

1. I assume that the combination of an RTX 3060 12 GB plus an I9-9900k (two 5 GHz cores plus six 3.6 GHz cores in boost mode, all with hyperthreading) will be sufficient to run most AAA titles at playable rates. Is this a valid assumption?

2. US A/F Retired: WHY to you think this project is folly?

And once again, thanks to anyone who contributes.

Larry
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
2. US A/F Retired: WHY to you think this project is folly?
  1. Because starting from a SFF HP is likely bound by the limitations of the motherboard BIOS.
  2. Is all of the stuff you mentioned actually upgradeable inside that little box? Cooling, power etc.
  3. If you're going to add an external GPU, what is the point of starting with a tiny case? With that egpu, it is no longer 'tiny'.

It might be a fun project to try. But if the actual goal is to have a working, capable game machine, there are better platforms to start from.
 

Imacflier

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  1. Because starting from a SFF HP is likely bound by the limitations of the motherboard BIOS.
  2. Is all of the stuff you mentioned actually upgradeable inside that little box? Cooling, power etc.
  3. If you're going to add an external GPU, what is the point of starting with a tiny case? With that egpu, it is no longer 'tiny'.
1: Please recall that this general configuration as been DEMONSTRATED
2: the CPU is a FACTORY option, as is the heatsink. Power is via external A/C adapters and will be discussed shortly.
3:
NOT to argue about the reasons for (or for not) making the conversion. My reasons are sufficient for ME!

Thanks for the response, though!

Larry
 

Imacflier

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Bringing the Heat (or just how much power is required and how to get it?)

The I9-9900k, not over clocked, is reported to draw 165 watts, while in turbo boost 5 GHz mode, from the 19 vdc supply.
The RTX 3060 is reported to draw as much as 225 watts: 75 watts at 12vdc from the riser card slot and the rest of the 12vdc from a connector

As a good rule of thumb, I want to supply at least 20% more than expected to cover potential surges in current demand.

The remaining volatages and currents requred by the riser card are unknown but will be supplied by a 350 w pico supply acquired from Amazon and drawing power from the 12 vdc supply.

HP makes a 250 watt 19 vdc brick and that will be used to power the Elite Desk 800 G5 Mini and its I9 processor.
12 vdc will be supplied by a 50 A brick acquired from Amazon.

I believe that covers all the required power with only two ac/dc adapter bricks and only requiring two power leads from the bricks to the computer. The power adapter bricks will live behind my monitor next to my subwoofer.

Next time: How to dump the heat (and mitigating what I perceive as the only potential risk!)

Larry
 

Imacflier

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Taking a Dump (or Only YOU can Prevent a Computer Conflagration)

Hi, All,

This time I am addressing what I believe is the only significant risk in this project: internal case airflow and its effects on the Voltage Regulators.

I have converted the heatsink to the one used by HP for this processor. It is a really nice heatsink: all copper, preinstalled thermal compound and pads, and just about fully filling the volume of the EliteDesk 800 mini (it consumes so much of the internal volume that only M.2 NVME ssd's will fit....fortunately there are two slots for the NVME's!

I suppose I should be sanguine about what HP thinks is enough to keep things cool, especially since they provide an On-Site Warranty, BUT the ONLY air intake into the case consists of 36 1/8" x 3/4" slots, futher obstructed by a pierced metal filter. Ignoring the filter, there are only 3 3/8 square inches of intake area. With no evidence whatsoever, I am uncomfortable with such limited airflow and restriction....particulary since the computer has NO CASE FANS!!!, indeed, the ONLY HP fan appears to be a fan taken from one of their many laptops!

So, out of an abondance of caution, I have decided to add a 140 mm Noctua high pressure intake fan and take my trusty Dremal and open the top of the case to match. The Noctua NF-A4 PWM Chromax fan is rated at an airflow of 140 cubic meters per hour and a static air pressure of 2.08 mm of H2O. It really seems odd to compare the Noctua box to the EliteDesk 800 mini and discover the EliteDesk will fit INSIDE the Noctual box!

I am comfortable with the combination of the HP copper heatsink and the Noctua fan keeping the internals from becoming too toasty!

As alsways, I hope for your opinions, comments, and advice,

Larry
 

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