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Exclusive: AMD's amazingly tiny and powerful Project Quantum dissected!

Gordon Mah Ung | Aug. 26, 2015
We tear down this little, liquid-cooled, two-story PC to find out what makes it tick.

3dprintedtankagain 
Here’s a better shot of the 3D-printed reservoir AMD made for Project Quantum.  Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

A view of the backside

Flipping Project Quantum around to give you a better view: The LiquidVR logo is prominently displayed and reminds you of Project Quantum’s original purpose: to showcase AMD’s VR program. The round port on the lefthand side is where the power supply goes.

One way AMD saved space was to move the PSU outside of the case. This meant a lot of tricks internally, but an external power brick on a desktop case isn’t unheard of, nor a bad idea. It gets the heat from the PSU out of the system and lets AMD run a much larger unit. Unfortunately, AMD didn’t make the brick available for this autopsy, but from pictures I’ve seen of it, it’s very hefty and I suspect fairly high wattage. 

One of the limiting factors on system performance in a small-form-factor gaming machine today is getting enough power to run all the hardware. Power supply maker Silverstone, for example, made a big deal earlier this year about its 700-watt PSU that fits into micro-towers. 

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Here’s a shot of the back of Project Quantum. Note the LiquidVR logo.  Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

Bottoms up

While the radiator, pump, and reservoir are all located on top, the bottom holds all of the electronics. To get inside it’s just four Phillips-head screws, and off comes the aluminum panel. The bottom half and the middle are aluminum, while the top is molded plastic.

With the bottom panel removed, you can see every single square inch of Project Quantum is put to use. Yes, that’s an AMD Radeon SSD, which is a rebrand of an OCZ SSD. Why AMD got into the SSD business (and memory business too) I’ve yet to figure out.

On the bottom is a Fury X card. As far as I can tell, it’s pretty much a stock Fiji XT card. I know, you were expecting a dual Fury X card, which AMD made a point of saying was inside Project Quantum at E3. I tried to get a dual-Fury X Project Quantum for this autopsy, but AMD wasn’t going to play.

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AMD uses every square inch of the Project Quantum.  Credit: Gordon Mah Ung

Conspiracy theorists unite

I know that’ll inspire the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists to say AMD never based any of the Project Quantum machines on a dual Fury X, and they faked the Apollo Moon landing too.

 

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