Antec Makes Large Coolers. No-one Tell Morry.

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 4, 2016 - 11:32 PM |
Tagged: fanless, cpu cooler, antec

The folks down at FanlessTech found a giant heatsink that Antec showed off at Computex. It consists of three large stacks of aluminum, weighing about 3lbs, with potentially four fans moving air slowly across it. The original post doesn't mention whether it could be used in a fanless mode, but come on. It should be able to cool something without a fan directly attached to it.


Image Credit:

They don't seem to have price, availability, or even a model number yet, so details are scarce. It will have at least three colors, black, gold, and red, though, so you have a choice about how it will look in your case. Well, at least mostly in your case.

Update (June 5th @ 2:20pm): Turns out that I forgot to add the dimensions and specifications of this cooler. Its total size is 165mm x 142mm x 159mm. Its intended fans spin at 800-1800 RPM. At 800 RPM, they push 12.36 cubic feet per minute of air at 17.5 dBA. At 1800 RPM, they push 65.23 cubic feet per minute of air 25.9 dBA.

CES 2016: Zotac Fanless C Series Mini-PC with Skylake i5

Subject: Systems | January 8, 2016 - 10:39 PM |
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.

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Source: Zotac

MSI Rolling Out Fanless Braswell-Powered Cubi N PC

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2015 - 01:44 AM |
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.

MSI Cubi N Fanless SFF Mini PC.jpg

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).

Source: MSI

Logic Supply's Fanless PERFECTRON Announced

Subject: Systems | November 5, 2015 - 07:30 AM |
Tagged: ruggedized, fanless

FanlessTech was “salivating” over the PERFECTRON PC, which might be good for its cooling potential if the water doesn't short out the electronics. Logic Supply, designer of the fanless systems, specializes in ruggedized, industrial builds. Rugged, fanless, and high performance -- what's the downside?

They start at over $6,000 USD.


So for businesses (and probably only businesses or governments) that can afford these systems, you're probably going to get the computer equivalent of a tank. They are rated to operate in ambient temperatures between -40C (-40F) and 70C (158F). To put that into perspective, NVIDIA controls their overclocks to maintain 80C on the GPU, which is, generally speaking, in a system with ~30C internal temperature. These systems are rated to operate in 70C ambient. Again, that is about 20C hotter than my CPU peaks at load with my Corsair H100i. Actually, the PERFECTRON SR-700 ($13,793 USD) model can operate at up to 75C ambient.

That is some serious heat for any PC to cope with, especially rugged, fanless models. I guess “you get what you pay for” scales up pretty high. From what I can tell, they are rated to pretty much run these fanless PCs in a beef jerky maker and be cool enough to operate.

Source: Logic Supply

Qotom Fanless PCs on Amazon

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 26, 2015 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: qotom, fanless, Broadwell, SFF

FanlessTech found quite a few models of small form factor PCs on Amazon and, while it's not listed in the specifications, some of the manufacturer Q&A responses state that they are fanless designs. Each of these devices are built around the Broadwell Core i7-5500U, but that might not even be the best part. Each PC has 4x USB 3.0, 2x HDMI, and 2x Gigabit Lan. Dual LAN and Dual HDMI opens up quite a few possibilities for a cheap, silent PC, especially since it has a relatively high-performance processor.


Prices range from $360 to $444 for 2GB of RAM and 8GB up to 256GB of SSD storage (with several models between). A single 8GB RAM model, with a 256 GB SSD, is also available for $483. They also found one with an i3 processor, but you need to bring your own RAM, SSD, and WiFi. It does have the same port layout, four USB 3.0, two HDMI, and two gigabit LAN, but might make more sense to grab the Core i7 versions unless you already have DDR3L RAM and an SSD hanging around (or 2GB is insufficient and the 8GB model is out of your price range). At $221 USD plus these components, you probably will not be saving much to compensate for the drop in performance. You can also find some Core i5 models, too.

Quite a bit to consider, but I think that many would benefit from the thought.

Source: FanlessTech

Arbor Solutions Announces FPC-7800 Fanless, Rugged PCs

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 19, 2015 - 05:34 PM |
Tagged: arbor, fanless, ruggedized

This is an interesting product for a couple of reasons. First, it uses the fourth-generation Haswell processors, rather than the newer Skylake or Broadwell components. On the other hand, it uses LGA-1150 components up to the 45W Intel Core i7-4770TE, which explains the lack of Broadwell and Skylake, because only Core i3 Skylake processors fit both of those constraints currently.


The device is rated for -4F to 131F and an undisclosed amount of shock and vibration. They support 2.5” drives, but the site only lists Intel SSDs. You would probably not want a spinning hard drive in a PC that you are concerned about shock and vibration tolerances. It also supports up to 16GB of DDR3 (again, Haswell) RAM, which should give you a fairly robust system to leave running in the middle of nowhere.

Like other systems that we've seen earlier, the case itself acts as a heatsink, which brings the product's weight up to 14.1 pounds. When you deal with these types of cooling solutions, it's difficult to tell whether they are rated with still air, or a sufficient breeze to carry the heat away from the case fins. It's not something that's advertised.

No pricing or availability is listed.

More About HDPLEX H5

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 15, 2015 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: HDPLEX, h5, fanless

FanlessTech has another look at the HDPLEX H5. Their last preview did not have pictures of the case itself, so I needed to use a photo of the previous model when I wrote up our coverage of it. This time, seven whole months later, we have more details. It will weigh eight kilograms, its supported CPU cooling performance has been bumped up five watts to 95W TDP, and it will mini-ITX, microATX, and even full ATX motherboards.


Image Credit: FanlessTech

The chassis has 16 heat pipes connected from the case, which acts as a heatsink, to the internal components -- eight pipes to the CPU and eight to the discrete GPU (if installed). This makes it an effective home theater PC case, accepting CPUs up to the Intel Core i7-6700K (which is 95W). The same number of heat pipes go to the GPU, but that TDP is not listed. If it is similar to the CPU's 95W limit, that doesn't go too far in GPU land. Don't expect to passively cool a 980 Ti or anything. Still a discrete GPU of any magnitude is a nice addition to a fanless PC.


Image Credit: FanlessTech

One minor point before we close out, HDPLEX will apparently support custom aluminum power buttons and face plates. It's a small novelty but it could be nice if the system is in a visible location.

The HDPLEX H5 doesn't have a release date yet, but its price will apparently be under $300.

Source: FanlessTech

Asus Launches New Mini ITX Motherboards With Braswell-Based Intel Celeron Processors

Subject: Motherboards | July 4, 2015 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: SFF, mini ITX, fanless, Braswell, Airmont, asus

Asus has introduced two new small form factor motherboards featuring soldered Intel “Braswell”-based Celeron processors. The Asus N3150I-C and N3050I-C are Mini ITX form factor boards with decent connectivity and lower power draw with the processor options topping out at 6 watts.

Asus Braswell-Based Celeron Mini ITX Motherboards N3150i-c and N3050i-c.jpg

The two SFF motherboards are essentially the same, with the main difference being the bundled processor (see below). The boards have 24+4 pin ATX power inputs, two full-size DDR3 memory slots, two SATA 6 Gbps ports, a single PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot (open ended), and one mini PCI-E connector. The Intel processors on both boards are passively cooled by a large rectangular gold-colored aluminum heatsink.

The rear of the board includes the following I/O ports.

  • 2 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x RS232
  • 3 x Audio outputs

The N3150I-C board uses an Intel Celeron N3150 while the N3050I-C uses an Intel Celeron N3050. Both chips are 14nm and based on the newer Airmont architecture. These “Braswell” chips have incremental improvements in CPU performance and more significant graphics performance boosts with the inclusion of up to 16 execution units.

Specifically, the N3150 is a quad core chip clocked at 1.6 GHz base to 2.08 GHz burst with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs up to 640 MHz) and a 6W TDP. On the other hand, the Celeron N3050 is a dual core chip – also with a 6W TDP – clocked at 1.6 GHz base and 2.16 GHz burst paired with Intel HD Graphics (12 EUs) clocked at up to 600 MHz.

These new boards could be used as the base for a NAS box, home media server, or a router and wireless AP by using those PCI-E and mPCI-E slots. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced, however.

Source: Asus
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Zotac

Introduction and First Impressions

The Zotac ZBOX CI321 nano is a mini PC kit in the vein of the Intel NUC, and this version features a completely fanless design with built-in wireless for silent integration into just about any location. So is it fast enough to be an HTPC or desktop productivity machine? We will find out here.


I have reviewed a couple of mini-PCs in the past few months, most recently the ECS LIVA X back in January. Though the LIVA X was not really fast enough to be used as a primary device it was small and inexpensive enough to be an viable product depending on a user’s needs. One attractive aspect of the LIVA designs, and any of the low-power computers introduced recently, is the passive nature of such systems. This has unfortunately resulted in the integration of some pretty low-performance CPUs to stay within thermal (and cost) limits, but this is beginning to change. The ZBOX nano we’re looking at today carries on the recent trend of incorporating slightly higher performance parts as its Intel Celeron processor (the 2961Y) is based on Haswell, and not the Atom cores at the heart of so many of these small systems.

Another parallel to the Intel NUC is the requirement to bring your own memory and storage, and the ZBOX CI321 nano accepts a pair of DDR3 SoDIMMs and 2.5” storage drives. The Intel Celeron 2961Y processor supports up to 1600 MHz dual-channel DDR3L which allows for much higher memory bandwidth than many other mini-PCs, and the storage controller supports SATA 6.0 Gbps which allows for higher performance than the eMMC storage found in a lot of mini-PCs, depending on the drive you choose to install. Of course your mileage will vary depending on the components selected to complete the build, but it shouldn’t be difficult to build a reasonably fast system.


Continue reading our review of the Zotac ZBOX CI321 nano!!

Computex 2015: ECS Announces New LIVA Core and LIVA X2 Mini-PCs

Subject: Systems | June 2, 2015 - 09:30 AM |
Tagged: mini PC, LIVA X2, LIVA Core, LIVA, intel core m, ECS, computex 2015, computex, fanless

ECS has announced two new LIVA fanless mini-PC models, including a new "Core" version with an Intel Broadwell Core M SoC.


Here are the full specs for the LIVA Core:

Platform: Intel Broadwell Core M-5Y10C SoC
Memory: DDR3L 4GB
Storage: 1x 80G/120G M.2 SSD
Audio: 1x Combo Jack, 2x D-MIC (internal)
LAN: 1x Gigabit LAN
USB: 4x USB 3.0 Ports
Video Output: 2x HDMI Ports
Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions: 136 x 84 x 38 mm
Card Reader: Micro SD
Adapter    Input: AC 100-240V,Output: DC 19V / 3.43A
OS Support: Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10

The LIVA X has been refreshed as well with a new design and updated Intel Braswell SoC.


Here are the specs for the LIVA X2:

Platform: Intel Braswell N3050 SoC
Memory: DDR3L 2GB/4GB
Expansion Slot: 1 x M.2 for SSD (Up to 1TB)
Storage: eMMC 64GB/32GB
Audio: 1x Combo Jack, 2x D-MIC (internal)
LAN: 1x Gigabit LAN
USB: 3x USB3.0 Ports
Video Output: 1x HDMI Port, 1x D-Sub Port
Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11ac & Bluetooth 4.0
Dimensions: 156 x 83 x 51 mm
Adapter    Input: AC 100-240V, Output: DC 12V / 3A
OS Support: Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10 (Windows 7 supported by M.2)

These new LIVA models are listed on the ECS product pages and should be available soon through the usual retail channels.

Source: ECS