Also considered: Why? Just...Why?
Some months back, I posted a build I did for a friend of mine. Basically, he was complaining that he couldn't even play online chess on his HP 110-210 Pavilion Desktop PC. After discovering it wasn't an actual PC, but a laptop in a box, I built him a decent system in another Pavilion case that was configured for discrete graphics.
That is when my perhaps unhealthy obsession with saving Pavilions from the scrap heap began. I later modified the HP 110-210 case itself and turned it into a real, if less game-ready, PC. That left me with one Pavilion case--the 550-114nf. I got it because it had the backplate cutout for graphics and power supply and because, well, it's a Pavilion.
Irrelevant aside: People with the stupidest, most easily disprovable beliefs are the hardest to convince that they're wrong. They might believe, "The moon is made of cheese," or "I can save all the unwanted Pavilions in the world." In the face of irrefutable proof, they might even temporarily agree with you. But, as soon as you leave the room, they will think, "That guy didn't know what he was talking about."
Case History: Not my mental health...the Pavilion 550-114nf! This 2015 model could only be purchased in France. The US version 550-114na was an AMD A10 8750 without discreet graphics. By this point in Pavilion development, the motherboards at least allowed expansion, but with just an X16 and X1 expansion slot and 2 RAM slots. With the 114nf, the French at least got discreet graphics, albeit a Radeon R5 330. It was also an Intel system with a core i5-6400 processor. In the official specs, both the 114na and 114nf motherboards continued HP's strange obsession with calling what is for all intents and purposes a mini-ITX board a micro ATX. Ah, la vache!
I wonder why HP continues to this day shorting Americans on the graphics in these systems? I wonder how a 2 year old French Pavilion ended up getting parted out on eBay in the US? I wonder what I could have accomplished if I wondered about useful things instead? Revenons à nos moutons.
My other Pavilion builds were sort of purpose driven. This one, you might argue, is purposelessly driven. Okay, the facts:
- I hate wasting computer cases.
- I have an, uh, interest in Pavilions.
- I've wanted to do an AMD build for a while, but I couldn't come up with a good case idea.
- Putting an ATX board in a mini-ITX case is ridiculous and challenging.
- It makes a nice portable gaming rig. It's small, fairly light, and old HP Pavilions aren't usually the targets of theft.
Case modifications: First off, no other PCs were harmed in the making of this build. Where I added a case part, for example, the power supply support--hereafter referred to as the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM --I fashioned it out of other removed or unneeded case parts. I did use a pre-fab grill for the fan intake. I thought about drilling 50 or so holes in a circular pattern. That had the disadvantage of me sitting there for hours drilling holes, however. Here are the modifications I recall making:
- Added standoffs to the motherboard mounting plate to accommodate the ATX board.
- Removed the vertically oriented optical drive mounting assembly. I hated to do this, since these are a defining feature of the modern Pavilion design. There was just no way to install the RX 580 without doing it. I also needed the assembly to construct the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM.
- Removed the drive mounting plate support pillar piece, for the same reasons as the optical drive above. The support was not really necessary anymore, anyway, with the optical drive gone and only needing to install a 2.5" SSD drive.
- Cut out the 140mm intake fan hole and drilled the mounting screw holes. I used tin snips to make a rough circle, then attempted to make it circular by grinding and filing.
- Installed the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM several times. The assembly was necessary to suspend the PS over the motherboard. Unfortunately, the first time I sort of forgot that a power supply needs to be connected to the components to provide power. That's when I did the strange support arm bend and why I ended up with the extra pop rivets that attach nothing to nothing. I can hardly wait for the awards to start rolling in, particularly from France, I'm sure. I think I'm a shoe-in for either the Most Over-Engineered or Most Under-Engineered Part Design award.
- Crimped and cut back the storage support plate to accommodate the height and power connections of the RX 580.
- Painted the case.
Performance: The cooling in the case works just fine with the added 140mm fan for airflow. Basic benchmarking all checks out for a build with these parts. It's never going to be great for overclocking, but for regular work, it can do about anything up to a workstation application with this processor, graphics card, and memory configuration. SiSoftware Sandra: Rank #55 4.24kPT. Higher than 92.17% results. UserBenchmark: 77th percentile for computers with these exact components.
Note: This build would not have been possible without the little Silverstone SFX 800W power supply. I never could have gotten the clearance over the motherboard without it. It's really amazing that a PS you can fit in the palm of your hand can power a rig like this.
Bonus Procedure! Installing a Power Supply Using the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM
Installing a power supply using the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM is EZ! Simply do the following:
- Get someone, anyone, else to create the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM using parts from your HP 550 series Pavilion. If unsuccessful, do the following: a. Using tin snips, carefully remove the optical drive mounting assembly and storage mounting plate support pillar. b. Using the drive mount, support pillar, expansion slot covers, tin snips, pliers, vise, metal files, and power drill, cut, bend, straighten, curve, and assemble the carriage. c. Put on heavy gloves. This should probably be Step a.
- Drill 1/8" holes in assembly, case top, and backplate.
- Carefully measure the power supply and motherboard clearances and, upon discovering that you have carelessly misaligned mounting holes and failed to meet clearances, work the carriage assembly like a metal Rubik’s cube until it will fit in some way, and then drill new holes.
- Think about how smart it would have been to create a drawing before you started, and then begin formulating justifications for the extra holes in the case top and back plate. Consider "structural reinforcement," "artistic statement," or “Devenir chêvre!”
- Using the riveter, attach carriage assembly to case, and then realize that there is no way to install the motherboard after the carriage assembly is already installed.
- Using a power drill, remove pop rivets attaching carriage assembly to case, install the motherboard, and then re-install carriage assembly.
- Complete the build, and then test system function. I guess you really should have tested it earlier than this.
- Hire dexterous child or person with very small hands to do cable management.
- Admire the EZ Power Supply Carriage Assembly Par EleganceTM in action.
Edit: The guy that's getting the system needed wifi, which was not possible with the beefy RX 580 card I had installed. I swapped it out with the narrower GTX 1080, and that opened up a PCIe slot where I put the TP-Link Archer wireless card. The 1080 is obviously a much nicer card anyway, but I really wanted to go all AMD, so I'm a little bummed. It also makes the cut out and crimping I did on the storage support plate unnecessary and out-of-place looking. I've updated the parts list and I'll add a picture of the internals.