Gigabyte's New Essence Chassis Enables Fanless Mini PCs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 17, 2014 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, gigabyte, fanless, essence, Bay Trail

Gigabyte recently rolled out a new small form factor case called the Essence for DIY PCs. The chassis measures 300mm x 234mm x 74mm (~11.8" x 9.2" x 2.9"), comes bundled with a 120W PSU, and will happily hold a Mini ITX motherboard and laptop-sized hard drive. Large mesh vents on the side panels allow for plenty of airflow and ventilation to run a fanless system.

Gigabyte Essence SFF Case.png

The Essence case uses a SECC frame along with ABS plastic. A rectangular base, which hosts the front IO ports, holds the machine vertically and at a slight backwards tilt. The DC power components are mounted to the bottom of the motherboard tray and are driven by a 120W external power supply (Similar to the type of setup the Xbox 360 uses). The red removable motherboard tray (accessible via the right side panel) allows you to screw in a Mini ITX motherboard and a single 2.5" SSD or HDD up to 9.5mm thick.

Gigabyte Essence SFF Case With Removable Motherboard Tray and Components Installed.jpg

The front IO includes two USB 2.0 ports, one headphone output, and one microphone jack. Aesthetically speaking, the Essence looks nice with its red faceplate, silver power button, and black mesh side panels with embossed shapes. It is small enough that it could easily sit next to a monitor and act as a low power desktop or next to the TV as a home theater PC. So long as you do not mind it not fitting into an AV rack/stack, this case could be used along with a cheap SSD and fanless Bay Trail or Kabini-based system for a silent media box or streaming client for Steam games. 

Gigabyte Essence SFF Case With Removable Motherboard Tray.jpg

The Gigabyte Essence is now available in Japan for 13,800 Yen or approximately $125 USD. It comes with a one year warranty. There is no word yet on availability in other countries at this time, however.

Source: FanlessTech

Does your NUC need a nice quiet home?

Subject: Systems | November 28, 2013 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: htpc, fanless, nuc, Logic Supply, LGX ML300

Logic Supply's LGX ML300 lineup offers you choices from an empty case to a pre-built system costing over $1000, allowing to pick and choose the HTPC system you want.  The case is completely fanless and the system sent to Silent PC Review consisted of a Core i5-3427U, 8GB DDR3-1333 and a 128GB mSATA SSD.  The outputs offer enough choice for most users, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, two mini DisplayPort a mini-HDMI and gigabit LAN.  Thermal performance was great with this case compared to some previous NUCs and SPCR had no issues with overheating during their tests.

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"A slim, silent, fanless case for an Intel NUC with room enough for a 2.5" drive is Logic Supply's latest passively cooled project. With the right NUC innards, it becomes a perfect ultra-mini media PC with both zippy performance and enough storage space."

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Systems

IDF 2013: Intel Shows Off Haswell-Y and 14nm Broadwell Chips In New Devices

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2013 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf 2013, idf, haswell, fanless, convertible tablet, Broadwell, 14nm

New Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage at IDF 2013 to talk about Intel's future and the PC market. The CEO believes that there is more innovation in the PC than ever before as the company introduces new Haswell and Broadwell chips, new form factors are being experimented with, and Intel moves from traditional CPU to SoC type of architectures.

Two such chips that Intel showed off that are aimed at consumer PCs include a new Haswell-Y chip and the launch of a 14nm Broadwell SoC.

Haswell Y is an ultra low power variant of the Haswell processors that have been avaialble in desktops since June. This new chip is a 4.5W TDP chip that will enable fanless mobile devices such as laptops and slate tablets. The x86-64 chip will allow fanless mobiles that run Windows and should be a good bit more powerful than current Atom-powered Windows mobiles!

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A fanless Haswell Y system.

In addition to Haswell Y, Intel is introducing a 14nm Broadwell SoC. The Broadwell chips will be used in both servers and consumer products in 2014.

Intel IDF 2013 Haswell Y.jpg

The 14nm Broadwell SoC.

Interestingly, it looks like Intel is well on its way to shipping chips as Intel showed off a working laptop with the Broadwell chip at IDF today. Further, Intel announced that the Broadwell chips will be shipping by the end of the year!

Intel 14nm SoC.jpg

A 14nm Broadwell-powered laptop.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information!

Intel IDF 14nm Broadwell working sample.jpg

CompuLab Launches SFF Utilite PC Powered By Quad Core ARM Processor

Subject: General Tech, Systems | July 14, 2013 - 11:51 PM |
Tagged: utilite, ubuntu, silent, SFF, linux, fanless, cortex-a9, compulab, arm, Android

CompuLab has announced a new fanless, small form factor PC called the Utilite. This new PC comes from the same company that engineered the MintBox, MintBox 2, and Fit PC series. The Utilite is a low-power desktop PC powered by a quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor and runs either Ubuntu Linux or Google’s Android operating system.

The upcoming Utilite measures 5.3” x 3.9” x 0.8”(135 x 100 x 21mm) and consumes anywhere between 3W and 8W of power depending on the particular hardware configuration. It is designed to be a quiet desktop replacement with plenty of IO.

Compulabs Utilite ARM Desktop PC.jpg

CompuLab will provide single core, dual core, and quad core CPU SKUs. Specifically, the Utilite is powered by a Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor that is clocked at up to 1.2 GHz. Users will be able to further configure the system with up to 4GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory and a 512GB mSATA SSD. Storage can be further expanded using Micro SD-XC cards (maximum of 128GB per card). The GPU in the SoC is compatible with OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 as well as OpenVG 1.1 and OpenCL EP. It is capable of hardware decoding multi-stream 1080p video in a variety of common formats.

Wireless functionality includes an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi card and Bluetooth 3.0.

Compulabs Utilite ARM Desktop PC Cortex-A9 MPCore.jpg

The Utilite has a dark gray case with silver front and rear bezels.

The front of the Utilite PC features the following IO options in addition to the power button and indicator LEDs.

  • 1 x USB OTG (Micro USB)
  • 1 x RS232 (ultra mini serial connector)
  • 1 x Micro SD card slot
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x 3.5mm audio jacks (line in, line out)

The rear of the PC hosts:

  • 1 x DC power input
  • 1 x Wi-Fi antenna
  • 1 x RS232 (ultra mini serial connector)
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jacks
  • 2 x HDMI video outputs

According to fanless PC guru FanlessTech, CompuLab will be releasing the ARM-powered Utilite mini PC next month with a starting price of $99 and a variety of SKUs with varying amounts of CPU cores, memory, and storage. The Utilite PC is a bit on the expensive side, but this is a system for industrial and enterprise use as well as consumers, and Olivier from FanlessTech notes that build quality should be on par with those goals/industry aims.

Source: Utilite

Logic Supply Launches New LGX ML250 Fanless PC

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | June 19, 2013 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: Passive, Logic Supply, Ivy Bridge, fanless

Logic Supply recently responded to customer requests for a high-end passively cooled system with its new LGX ML250 fanless PC. The new system is intended for industrial and mobile computing work where you need a rugged system that can be used in a wide range of environments.

LGX ML250.jpg

The LGX ML250 uses a metal chassis that doubles as a heatsink for the CPU. On the front of the case is a single power button and two USB 2.0 ports. On the rear IO panel, users are presented with:

  • 2 x COM ports
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x RJ45 LAN jacks
  • 3 x analog audio outputs

Internally, the fanless PC uses an ASRock IMB-170 motherboard, Intel Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPUs, up to 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 memory, and (up to) either a 1TB mechanical hard drive or 120GB SLC SSD for two SATA drive slots.

CPU options include the Sandy Bridge Celeron B810, the Ivy Bridge Core i3-3120ME, or the Ivy Bridge Intel Core i5-3610ME at 2.7GHz. The PC also includes Wi-Fi via a mini-PCI-E card. It can be pre-installed with your choice of Windows 7/8 or Ubuntu Linux operating systems. The LGX ML250 is rated for 40-degrees Celsius environmental temperatures.

Mr Walsh of Logic Supply stated that the company received numerous requests for a sub-$1000 machine with decent specs, IO, and with a fanless design. "The default config uses one of the new industrial-series ASRock boards -- the IMB170. From what I can tell, few IPC companies are using these boards in fanless systems, which is amazing given their price/performance specs."

The ML250 starts at $773 and is available for pre-order now. The price tag is steep, but it is a full system that is mostly aimed at industrial applications.

Source: Logic Supply

Streacom Unveils Cube-Shaped DB4 Fanless (HSF) Chassis

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 10, 2013 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: streacom db4, streacom, hsf, Fanless PSU, fanless, cpu cooler

Streacom recently showed off a new cube-shaped case called the DB4. The new case measures 250 x 250 x 250mm (a bit under 10 inches cubed) and doubles as a passive heatsink for internal components.

The Streacom DB4 is a large cube with vertical finned sides that is held aloft by a thin angled bar. The case is intended to be used as the base for a passively cooled desktop PC. Each side of the cube-shaped DB4 case can cool 65W TDP parts, for a total cooling potential of 260W. In addition to being able to cool processors and low-end graphics cards passively, the case also cools the bundled ZeroFlex 250W fanless power supply.

Streacom DB4 Fanless Cube Chassis.JPG

Unfortunately, Streacom is not showing off the internals or detailing how the PC components are connected to the side(s) of the case. When asked for details by Fanless Tech, Streamcom responded that "we will reveal the internal alyout after all patents are through."

Streacom expects to have the case available for sale sometime between late September or early October for 200 Euros. This is a neat case that is not only fanless, but a work of art. I could see myself using this. What do you think about the Streacom DB4?

Source: Fanless Tech

Cirrus7 Launches SFF Nimbus PC With Aluminum Fin Stack (Heatsink) Case

Subject: Systems | May 28, 2013 - 06:22 PM |
Tagged: SFF case, SFF, passive cooling, nimbus, heastink, fanless, cpu cooler, cirrus7

German PC manufacturer Cirrus7 has launched a new small form factor (SFF) PC called the Nimbus that uses slices of aluminum that do double duty as both a case and a passive CPU cooler (heatsink).

The Nimbus PC features an Intel DQ77KB motherboard and low-power Intel processor along with configurable DDR3 and mSATA storage options. The base model will come with 4GB of DDR3 and a 60GB mSATA SSD. CPU options include the Intel G1610T, G2020T, Core i3-3220T, i3-3470T, i5-3570T, and i7-3770T. From there you can add up to two 7mm 2.5” hard drives (or SSDs) and increase the amount of RAM (for a higher price, of course).

Cirrus7 Nimbus SFF PC.jpg

The Intel DQ77KB board supports vPro and KVM over IP on systems with the Core i5 or higher processor. It has the following external IO options:

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x Intel Gigabit LAN
  • 2 x Audio jacks (green jack is dual purpose, mini-TOSLink compatible)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort

The SFF PC comes preloaded with either Ubuntu 13.04, Ubuntu 12.04, or Windows 8 (depending on your choice at checkout).

Cirrus7 Nimbus PC.jpg

Check out more photos of the Nimbus at FanlessTech.

In order to keep the hardware cool, Cirrus7 has opted for an all-aluminum enclosure that is built around and over the motherboard in a fin-spacer-fin pattern. Each aluminum fin is 12mm high and the height of the system can be varied by adding or reducing the number of fins used. For example, using all fins allows Cirrus7 to support higher TDPs like the Core i7 3770T. Alternatively, if you are just using an i3-3220T, you could get by with a smaller (and lighter) case/heatsink. Notably, judging by the hands-on photos over at FanlessTech, the Nimbus does not use a copper CPU block which may have reduce the heatsink's effectiveness. That, or maybe Cirrus7 expects that they have slapped enough aluminum fins on the system that it doesn't matter much (heh). Also note that the case is not completely sealed, so although it is passively cooled, it is definitely not water or dust proof. Beyond that though, the case looks nice and the system would make a nice silent backup server, router, or HTPC!

The Nimbus will be available towards the end of June in Germany and Europe, with worldwide shipping available upon request. The system starts at €499 for the base model which is approximately $640 USD (before shipping). That price includes the case, processor, motherboard, RAM, and mSATA drive. Cirrus 7 has stated that Haswell-based models of the Nimbus will be available at some point, but are not expected until around the end of 2013 at the earliest.

Source: Cirrus7

Tranquil PC Launches £99 Fanless Case For Intel NUC Platform

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2013 - 06:14 AM |
Tagged: tranquil, nuc, fanless, case

Tranquil PC, a case manufacturer and system integrator based in the UK, recently announced a new aluminum chassis for Intel’s NUC motherboards. The new chassis acts as a heatsink and will keep your NUC system running cool without needing case fans. Tranquil is offering two versions of the case – the NUC-BY and NUC-YE – which are compatible with both the D33217CK (Thunderbolt-equipped) and D33217GKE (Gigabit Ethernet-equipped) Intel NUC boards respectively.

nuc_ISO1_Front__24297.1359146622.1280.1280.jpg

The two Tranquil NUC cases are nearly identical, but they differ in the IO cutouts offered (naturally). The cases measure 110 x 164 x 47mm and resembles a black heatsink with its horizontal fins and brushed aluminum design. The chassis is reportedly able to keep the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) system 5 to 15 degrees centigrade cooler than the reference Intel NUC case that uses an active fan. Hopefully, the case-as-a-heatsink design will help to mitigate the overheating problems that many reviewers (including PC Perspective) have run into when performing network transfers to the SSD over Wi-Fi.

 

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It is a streamlined design with port only the expected port cutouts and a rubberized power button on the rear of the device. No LED-lit logos or extra buttons to speak of. You can, however, have Tranquil laser-engrave a custom message onto the chassis for an additional fee.

The front of the case features a single USB port while the rear IO will depend on your particular NUC board. The D33217CK board includes one Thunderbolt, one HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 65W DC power input jack. On the other hand, the D33217GKE motherboard has a DC-in jack, two USB 2.0 ports, two HDMI outputs, and a single Gigabit LAN jack. Additionally, the Tranquil cases have a cutout for an externally-mounted Wi-Fi antenna (as the aluminum casing is not well-suited to housing an internal antenna).

 

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Both Tranquil NUC cases are available now for a base price of £99. A VESA mount adds an additional £17. Further, VAT and shipping charges may apply depending on where you are ordering from. In USD, the Tranquil cases have a base price of $155.62. While I do not get charged VAT, I do have to pay shipping, and it is not cheap at approximately $33 to ship to the mid-west US. In my case, ordering one NUC case and having it shipped to Illinois would cost $207.41. Ouch.

The Tranquil PC NUC case with its brushed aluminum and fanless design is extremely nice. Unfortunately, that build quality does not come cheap, and will add to the overall cost of putting together your NUC system. If you have the money for it though, it looks to be one of the best cases available for the new 4” x 4” NUC motherboards.

More information is available on the Tranquil PC website.

Source: Fanless Tech

HDPLEX Introduces H3.TODD and H5.TODD Fanless Cases

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2013 - 09:09 AM |
Tagged: htpc, HDPLEX, h5.todd, h3.todd, fanless

Custom case manufacture HDPLEX recently introduces two new fanless cases with the H3.TODD and H5.TODD. Both cases support mini-ITX motherboards and would blend well into your home AV rack. The fanless chassis are constructed of 6063T aluminum and come in powder coated black or brushed aluminum silver. The H3.TODD and H5.TODD are cases that also double as CPU heatsinks by way of copper heatpipes that carry heat away from the processor into the aluminum case. Both can support processors up to 75W TPDs without requiring fans.

Both the H3.TODD and H5.TODD are compatible with LGA 775, 1155, and 1156 Intel processors and AMD AM2, AM3, FM1, and FM2 chips. Further, the cases come with a single USB 3.0 port on the front. HDPLEX will also include a power supply and IR reciever with the cases for an additional fee.

H3TODD Case.jpg

The H3.TODD measures 325 x 298 x 60mm and weighs 12.5 lbs (5.5 kg). The case supports mini-ITX motherboards, 3.5” hard drives, and 12.7mm optical drives.

H3TODD Case (2).jpg

On the other hand, the H5.TODD is a wider case that can support both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX form factor motherboards as well as a single full height PCI-E expansion card. The case measures 325 x 438 x 60mm and is a total of 16 lbs (7.5kg) by itself.

The H3.TODD is available for pre-order now for $248 while the H5.TODD is currently in stock for $275. Pre-orders for the H3.TODD should being shipping on January 25, 2013.

You can find more photos of the cases on the HDPLEX website.

Source: FanlessTech

Kingwin aims to deliver silent power with their new 500W Stryker

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 3, 2011 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: PSU, Kingwin, Kingwin Stryker 500W, silent, fanless

Not too long ago Lee gave the PC Perspective Gold Seal to the Kingwin Stryker 500W Fanless PSU thanks to the superior power quality and five year warranty.  Just in case you weren't swayed by his testing, you can double check the results over at Think Computers.   They tried the same PSU with a different test machine set up and came up with the same results, a 80PLUS Platinum rated silent PSU that delivers everything you would expect.  Their only negative point was the same as Lee's, the price is more than double the cost of an equivalent PSU with active cooling.  You have to pay a premium for this type of PSU but it is worth it if you need it.

TR_kigwinstryker500.jpg

"Almost everyone wants the quietest yet most powerful computer possible. Most components generate noise because of the fans cooling them, or because of moving parts. Obviously, solid state drives have eliminated the necessity for moving parts for storage and liquid cooling can replace fans for most components. However, there’s still one pesky component which still generates noise: the high wattage power supply unit. Fanless PSUs have been around for a while, but they’re generally lower wattage and meant for business machines or ultra-efficient HTPCs."

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CASES & COOLING