Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 18, 2016 - 12:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, silent case, SFF, mini-itx, fractal design, enclosure, define s, define nano s, case
Fractal Design has introduced the Define Nano S enclosure; a new, mini-ITX version of their popular Define S mid-tower.
The Fractal Design Define S was our pick for 2015 enclosure of the year (in our year-in-review podcast), and this new mini-ITX version retains the larger enclosure's design aesthetic - and its support for full-size components.
"The Define Nano S is an ITX case that features compatibility with high end, full-size components, superior sound dampening, and an ATX-like layout."
Key features for the Define Nano S from Fractal Design:
- A Define Series ITX case designed for silent computing with sound dampening and ModuVent™ technology
- User-friendly construction with superior cable management and compatibility for full-size components
- Flexible storage options with room for up to 4 drives
- Accommodates a variety of radiator sizes and includes brackets for reservoir and pump mounting
- Features two Dynamic Series fans — 1 GP-12 and 1 GP-14 — with an adapter included for motherboards with limited fan headers
- Featuring an open interior allowing an unobstructed airflow path from the front of the case to the rear exhaust
- Easy-to-clean filters on the top and bottom, spanning the PSU position, with the bottom filter ejecting from the front for easy-access.
The Define Nano S offers a great deal of room for a mini-ITX enclosure (the Nano S is approximately 13.5 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 16.2 inches deep), with support for up to a 240/280 mm radiator on both top and front fan mounts, with 6 fan mounts overall (two of Fractal's Dynamic Series fans - 120 mm and 140 mm - are included). And an important detail; both the bottom and front fan mounts feature removable dust filters.
The enclosure offers the same "ModuVent" removable top vents, allowing more silent operation if the user doesn't need to use the upper fan mounts. There is sound dampening in place throughout, allowing for a quiet build. Storage mounts are behind the rear panel (as in the Define S) supporting two each 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drives. GPUs up to 315 mm and CPU coolers up to 160 mm are supported along with ATX PSUs up to 160 mm deep.
Pricing will be $64.99 for the standard version, and $69.99 for the version with a window. Availability is set for March 2016.
You can check out the full specs for this new enclosure after the break.
Subject: Motherboards | January 13, 2016 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-stx, LGA 1151, Intel H110, ECS, CES 2016, CES
ECS has entered the brand new Mini-STX market with their H110SU-02 motherboard, one of our first looks at a motherboard based on Intel's 5x5 concept for a sub-mITX form-factor.
The ECS H110SU-02 (Image credit: Maximum PC)
As you can see this tiny motherboard offers a standard LGA 1151 socket for Intel processors up to 65W, and uses SoDIMM memory (DDR4). The board only offers one SATA port, with a pair of M.2 slots in a stacked configuration for both full-length (2280) SSDs and the shorter (2230) cards such as wireless network adapters.
- Platform: Intel H110/B150 chipset
- CPU: LGA1151 socket for Intel i3/i5/i7/Pentium/Celeron Processors (65W)
- Memory: 2x SO-DIMM DDR4 slots
- Storage: 1x M.2 Slot (2280); 1x SATA
- Networking: RJ45; 1x M.2 Slot (2230) for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card
- USB: 1x USB 3.1 Type-C; 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Audio: 3.5 mm combo jack
- Power Supply: DC-in 19V, 90W
- Dimensions (W x D) 140 x 147 mm
Mini-SFX vs. Mini-ITX comparison (Image credit: Maximum PC)
Maximum PC posted this video with their overview of the motherboard:
With no PCI Express slot and the limitation of a 65W processor (which eliminates current high-end models such as the Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, both at 91W) this is targeting a different audience than those choosing mini-ITX for a small gaming rig, for example. Still, there will undoubtedly be a number of applications for a system of just over 5 inches square; though Intel's existing NUC platform provides essentially the same experience in a smaller package, minus the socketed desktop CPU support, of course.
No details were given on pricing or availability.
Subject: Systems | January 9, 2016 - 03:40 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, SFF, mini-pc, LIVA One, LIVA, ECS, Core i3-6100T, CES 2016, CES
The newest member of the LIVA family is here, and this time we have a larger footprint but a thinner device with significantly upgraded internals. Teased back in December by ECS, we now have all the details about this new LIVA One.
Powered by an Intel Core i3-6100T, a 35W 2 core/4 thread part that operates at 3.20 GHz, the LIVA One is a big step up from previous versions including the LIVA Core, which used the 4.5W Intel Core M-5Y10c. The new LIVA One also uses M.2 storage and comes with an 80GB Intel SSD in its default configuration, along with 4 GB of DDR3 SoDIMM memory.
Full specifications from ECS (default configuration):
- Processor: Intel Core i3-6100T
- Chipset: H110
- Memory: 4GB SO-DIMM DDR3
- Expansion Slot: 1x SATA; supports 2.5” HDD
- Storage: Intel 80GB M.2 SSD
- Audio: 1x Combo Jack
- 1x Gigabit LAN
- 1x Wireless Combo Card
- 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Port
- 4x USB 3.0 Ports
- Video Output:
- 1x HDMI Port
- 1x D-Sub Port
- 1x DP Port
- Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
- Dimension: 173 x 176 x 33 mm
- Card Reader: MicroSDXC
- Adapter Input: AC 100-240V, Output: DC 19V / 4.74A
- OS Support:
- Windows 7
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 10
- Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
The LIVA One can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of memory, and storage up to 4 TB from the SATA 2.5-inch expansion bay (though no 4 TB drives are yet available at 2.5"). The M.2 storage used for the One's OS drive offers up to 1 GB/s of transfer speeds according to ECS.
ECS says LIVA Core is "one-liter of book size" computer
The LIVA One also offers Intel WiDi, USB 3.1 Type-C, is VESA mountable, and has a native microSDXC reader built in. Pricing and availability was not announced, and the One has yet to appear on Amazon/Newegg.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Systems | January 8, 2016 - 11:46 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zotac, ZBOX E1751, zbox, SFF, iris pro, i7-5775R, CES 2016, CES, Broadwell
Zotac has a new enthusiast ZBOX in the E series, the E1751; a small form-factor PC with an Intel Core i7 (Broadwell) processor and Iris Pro graphics.
The Intel Core i7-5775R processor is a 65 W 4 core/8 thread part that operates from 3.3 - 3.8 GHz. There are two DDR3L SoDIMM slots supporting 1600/1866 MHz memory (the CPU supports up to 32 GB of RAM), and storage options are limited to SATA/mSATA drives (no M.2 support for the latest NVMe storage).
- Processor: Intel Core i7-5775R, quad-core up to 3.8 GHz
- Graphics: Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
- Memory: 2x DDR3L 1600/1866 SoDIMM slots
- Storage: 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps HDD/SSD bay, mSATA 6.0 Gbps slot
- Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
- Display output: 2x DisplayPort, DVI-D (single-link)
- USB: 3x USB 3.0 ports (1x front, 2x rear)
- Audio: 3.5 mm input/output; digital optical audio output
- Card reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC
In addition to the kit specified above, the “PLUS” models will include 8 GB of memory and a 128 GB SSD.
Pricing and release date were not yet available.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Systems | January 8, 2016 - 10:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zotac, Skylake, SFF, passive cooling, mini PC, Intel Core i5, fanless, CES 2016, CES
While there were both passive and actively-cooled systems on display in Zotac's suite at CES, one of the most interesting was a new fanless computer in a larger form-factor than previous C-series mini-PCs - and it's powered by an 6th-gen Intel Core i5 6300U processor.
“The ZBOX C Series returns with an Intel Skylake CPU while delivering the same silent performance in an all new ZBOX size. More processing power, more entertainment and more productivity is contained within. The new C Series also support USB 3.1 Type-C, perfect for connecting to new gadgets and more bandwidth.”
Here are the specifications:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6300U processor (dual-core up to 3.0 GHz)
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520
- Storage: 1x 2.5-inch SATA 6.0 Gbps bay
- RAM: 2x DDR3L-1600 SoDIMM slots (up to 16GB supported)
- USB: 2x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
- Networking: Dual Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
- Video output: DisplayPort, HDMI
Previous 'nano' systems in the C-series have offered VESA mounting, and this new system is no exception. A completely fanless system, this unit was quite heavy in hand but should pose no issue for most larger displays.
Networking includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi
No specifics on pricing or release date just yet.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Systems | January 7, 2016 - 06:09 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, gigabyte, GA-Z170N-Gaming 5, i5-6600K, G.Skill Trident Z, GTX 970
The Tech Report has a bit of a soft spot for what they refer to as Breadbox builds, aka SFF systems and recently one of their members built a brand new system. Hidden in the tiny EVGA Hadron Hydro case is a watercooled i5-6600K, a tiny Gigabyte GTX 970 GV-N970IXOC-4GD, 16GB of DDR4 and two OCZ Vector 180 SSDs all installed on a Gigabyte GA-Z170N-Gaming 5 mini-ITX board. The installation went well though the EVGA Hadron Hydro has a bit of a personality to it which you can read about in the full article right here.
"Our Editor-in-Chief has always had a soft spot for Mini-ITX systems with big performance, and Gigabyte, OCZ, EVGA, G.Skill, and Logitech were happy to help him build a Breadbox system with some high-octane parts. Here's how he put it all together."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Building An Intel Xeon E3 v5 "Skylake" Linux System @ Phoronix
- Vibox Defcon 3 Red Gaming PC @ eTeknix
- MSI GT80S 6QF Titan SLI w/ Desktop GTX980's @ Kitguru
- Diamond Multimedia STREAM2TV WPCTV3000 Miracast, iPlay, & DLNA Endpoint @ MissingRemote
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 3, 2015 - 04:38 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: water cooler, SFF, mini-itx, liquid CPU cooler, H5SF, cpu cooler, Corsair H5 SF, corsair
Corsair has launched the ultra-compact liquid cooler from their Bulldog chassis as a standalone product, and it's a unique solution for mini-ITX CPU cooling.
Originally announced at this year's Computex as part of the Bulldog DIY system, this low-profile liquid cooler is designed to allow users of some of the smallest mini-ITX systems to not only keep their CPU's cool, but even allows some serious overclocking with up to 150 W of thermal dissipation. The design uses a blower-style fan that pushes air accross a compact radiator, and the entire unit is only 84 mm high for use in spaces that wouldn't ordinarily be able to support a powerful CPU cooler.
Corsair provides this chart comparing performance against SFF air coolers
"Further expanding Corsair’s best-selling Hydro series line of liquid CPU coolers, the H5 SF is Corsair’s first liquid cooler designed specifically to meet the thermal demands of small form factor PCs. Easy to install and just 84mm tall, the H5 SF is compact enough to fit inside the most confined PC case, yet still offers up to 150W of heat dissipation, enough to cool today’s demanding high-end CPUs with overclocking headroom to spare.
The all-new design fits directly on top of any Mini-ITX motherboard with no need to attach the H5 SF to any external fan mounts or brackets, maximizing compatibility across a wide range of Mini-ITX and small form factor cases. A high-performance copper cold plate efficiently draws heat away from the CPU, where it’s then transferred into the integrated 120mm x 40mm radiator and exhausted by the H5 SF’s low-noise tuned 120mm blower fan. What’s more, the H5 SF’s blower fan also draws air over other heat producing motherboard components such as VRMs and chipset heatsinks, helping to keep your whole system cool.
Fully compatible with Corsair’s Obsidian Series 250D, Carbide Series Air 240, and Graphite Series 380T cases, the H5 SF is also critical to Corsair’s upcoming Bulldog chassis, allowing the new case to deliver low-noise, 4K living room gaming without compromising CPU choice. Now enthusiasts can take advantage of Bulldog’s H5 SF cooling for themselves and fit even the most demanding of CPUs, into the smallest of cases."
The mounting system is unique, with a bracket that attaches inline with the screws securing the mini-ITX motherboard, requiring no additional contact with the enclosure. It's a clever idea that permits the installation of this liquid solution wherever an air cooler of up to 84 mm is possible.
Here are the specifications from Corsair:
- Socket Support: AMD: AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2, Intel LGA: 115X, 1366
- Cold Plate Material: Copper
- Radiator Material: Aluminum
- Radiator dimensions: 167mm x 40mm x 57mm
- Total cooler height: 84mm
- Fan dimensions: 120mm x 32mm
- Fan speed: 1000 - 1800 RPM
- Fan airflow: 12 - 24 CFM
- Fan pressure: 2.5 - 8.3 mmH2O
- Fan noise level: 36 - 42 dB(A)
- Tubing: Low-Permeability Tubing
- Warranty: Five years
The H5 SF carries an MSRP of $79.99, and this cost (which is in keeping with Corsair's existing 120 mm pricing) seems pretty reasonable considering the unique implementation and thermal capability. Available starting today, the H5 SF is already listed for sale on Newegg.com for the $79.99 MSRP.
Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2015 - 05:51 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: shuttle, SFF, broadwell-u, M.2, mini PC
Shuttle, once the king of compact PCs, is jumping right into the think of the tiny PC market with its new XPC Nano (NC01U) series, a half liter broadwell-powered black and gold affair. The XPC Nano boxes measure 5.55 x 5.55 x 1.14 inches, and while they are vesa mountable, the chassis design is nice enough to leave in the open as well.
The mini PCs feature two USB 3.0 ports and a SD card slot on the front panel, an old-school RS-232 port on the left side, and the following ports on the back.
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x Audio combo jack
Inside, Shuttle is using Intel’s Broadwell U processors and there are options from Celeron 3205U up to the Core I7 5500U. This chip is cooled by an allegedly “whisper quiet” heatpipe cooler. There are two DDR3L memory slots for up to 16GB RAM, a 2.5” (7mm) drive slot, and one M.2 port for a solid state drive. It further comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The XPC Nano systems will come pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home. The base model starts at $279 and there is a $10 mail in rebate if bundled with a keyboard and mouse from Shuttle’s website.
The base SKU with a Celeron 3205U (1.5GHz) and 2GB RAM is currently available for $275.77 on Newegg. The higher end models do not appear to be for sale yet, but should be soon. Product specifications can be found here (PDF)
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 12:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, hdmi stick, hdmi, chromebit, chrome os, asus, arm
Small form factor PCs are big this year, and Google is about to get into the game with its own HDMI dongle PC running Chrome OS. Google has partnered with Asus to release the Chromebit CS10 which is now avaialble for $85.
The small stick PC weighs 75 grams (2.6 ounces) and will come in black, orange, and eventually blue colors. The Chromebit is about the size of a flash drive with an HDMI port on one end, DC power input on one side, and a single USB 2.0 port on the other end. A removeable cap protects the HDMI output. It is small enough that you can toss it into a bag or tuck it behind a monitor or kiosk permanently. Asus includes an AC power adapter (18W, 1.5 amps) and a flexible HDMI connector (or a short extension cable depending on the region) along with velco stickers in the box.
The Chromebit CS10 is powered by a quad core Rockchip 3288-C SoC featuring four ARM Cortex A17 CPU cores and a Mali T624 GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and 16GB of eMMC storage. Connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radios along with the USB 2.0 port. Users can hook up a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and use the USB port for extra storage, or hook up even more devices using a USB hub.
So far, reviews are positive and generally state that (for example) while the Rockchip ARM processor is no racehorse, it is good enough for basic web browsing, media streaming, and document editing.
Of course, the Chromebit runs the Chrome web browser, but it also can run any of the apps from the Chrome Web Store including Netflix, Office, and any number of free games. Asus is aiming the Chromebit at digital signage, kiosk, thin clients for schools, and for on-the-go travelers.
The Chromebit CS10 is available soon (it is listed as out of stock on Newegg and has not shown up on Amazon or other sites yet) for $85 in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Taiwan. Business customers can further purchase the ability to use the Chromebit in a locked down single-app kiosk mode for $24 per user, per year from CDW.
- Intel Compute Stick Review
- Kangaroo is a Pocket-Sized Battery-Powered Windows 10 PC
- Google Chromecast coverage
Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2015 - 01:44 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, cubi n, SFF, fanless, Braswell, Intel Braswell
MSI will soon add a new small form factor PC to its Cubi lineup with the fanless Cubi N. Powered by an Intel “Braswell” SoC, the Cubi N is a silent PC capable of 4K video playback that fits in the palm of your hand.
Unlike the original Cubi bare-bones (which used a Broadwell Celeron), the Cubi N is fanless and uses a heatsink and a stylized wavy mesh case design for passive heat dissipation. The mini PC measures 116mm x 112mm x 44.47mm and is all black with rounded corners. The diagonal cut is gone from this model with the power button being in the front-left top corner instead.
Before diving into the internals, MSI has included two USB 3.0 ports and a combo headphone/mic audio jack on the front panel and HDMI, VGA, RJ45, and an additional two USB 3.0 ports on the back of the Cubi N.
Not bad, but not the most extensive I/O and the VGA output is a bit of an odd choice (though at this point it should be essentially free to add).
Internally, MSI is using an Intel “Braswell” Celeron N3150 SoC with Intel HD Graphics. This SoC (6W TDP) is a four core 1.6 GHz part that can boost up to 2.08 GHz with 2MB L2 cache and HD Graphics with 12 execution units. Users can add up to 8GB of DDR3L memory along with a single mSATA SSD and one 2.5” hard drive (though this makes the PC a bit taller at 55.5mm). The Cubi N comes with an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi card plugged into an M.2 slot.
The Cubi N will come in black or white and will be generally available as a bare-bones system. According to FanlessTech, pre-configured models will also be available including a version with a 32GB mSATA SSD, 2GB RAM, and Windows 10 Home for $249. MSI is allegedly also working on bare-bones models based around the Braswell Pentium N3700 (2.4 GHz burst) and a cheaper Celeron N3000 processors.
The fanless SFF Cubi N is not yet available for purchase, but it should be coming soon for under $400 all-in (adding storage and memory, more if you want a non-Home version of Windows).