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Streacom FC5: A Chassis To Build A Completely Fanless PC, Great For Linux HTPC/SteamOS PCs

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  • Streacom FC5: A Chassis To Build A Completely Fanless PC, Great For Linux HTPC/SteamOS PCs

    Phoronix: Streacom FC5: A Chassis To Build A Completely Fanless PC, Great For Linux HTPC/SteamOS PCs

    Earlier this year I tested the CompuLab Airtop as a completely fanless, high-performance PC. Many Linux users were interested in the Airtop and its innovative design. The only downsides with the Airtop is that it's very expensive to ordinary consumers and you don't have free rein over what components you wish to install. Fortunately, more standards-compliant fanless cases have been coming to the market -- including some that support fanless CPU cooling. One of the newer contenders in that space is the Streacom FC5 Alpha, which is a fanless aluminum case I've been using the past month and could work out well for a SteamOS Linux gaming living room PC or HTPC.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=23243

  • #2
    Doesn't look like this supports any kind of passive cooling fo a GPU, does it? So probably not great for a steam box except for light gaming. Could be interesting to use with the steam in-home streaming stuff though...

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    • #3
      If there's no cooling for a dedicated GPU and a proper ATX PSU, it's not going to be for a steam box. Gaming on an integrated GPU is quite limited, especially if the whole APU must fit in a 65W thermal envelope. Maybe for minecraft? On the other hand, for something that's meant as a streaming client, it's way oversized. Also, how well does the cooling work if you cram it into a tight phono rack in your living room?

      I could see it being used for a small headless server. Throw in a bunch of disks, use it as fileserver, streaming server, maybe install owncloud or something.. it's this weird middle ground between a raspberry pi and a proper desktop computer that's difficult to find a use for. Maybe place it in an elevated position, I'm sure cats love sitting on it.

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      • #4
        Wow, a PC enclosure that doesn't look like something that fell off of a megazord. It actually looks very nice, but that price tag...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
          If there's no cooling for a dedicated GPU and a proper ATX PSU, it's not going to be for a steam box. Gaming on an integrated GPU is quite limited, especially if the whole APU must fit in a 65W thermal envelope. Maybe for minecraft?
          If there is a motherboard with Thunderbolt 3 support, then the GPU could be place outside, but I am not sure if the situation for Thunderbolt 3 has changed for Linux.

          I could see this being a pretty good steaming server. Put a Blackmagic 4K in there and a decent CPU and you have a good server to stream to Twitch, Youtube, etc. in your living room.

          Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
          Also, how well does the cooling work if you cram it into a tight phono rack in your living room?
          I think all hardware suffer from the closed space. But that case seem a little too wide to fit in a cubbard.

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          • #6
            Michael, you said "Obviously given the height and fanless design, the power source for the PC has to be via a motherboard that supports an external DC power connection." but in the photos, it looks like there's a cut-out on the rear, next to the PCI card slot, to mount a standard IEC power inlet. So you install any low-profile internal power supply, although you might have to get creative with how to mount it inside the case, using zip ties or whatever. It also looks like that same spot has a round hole in it, where you could mount a coaxial DC power inlet, So you could use a DC-DC power supply like a PicoPSU or something like that.

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            • #7
              I've seen some people use PicoPSUs with their cases before. You should be planning a pretty low wattage system for this sort of case anyway, so it makes sense.

              I think a file server in this case would be a terrible idea with mechanical drives. You would burn those things up without airflow. It would be great for an SSD array though. I think the ideal use case for me would be a living room PC to stream video mainly maybe play some steam link games where another system is doing the heavy lifting.

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              • #8
                I love the concept. Even if the case is far too big and I did not see any 3"5 slot. With a sub 200$ price I would buy one because of the fanless/quiet system.

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                • #9
                  heh, with that price it's not anywhere near competitive. Ok, fanless, but 300$ Lolwhut?

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                  • #10
                    I've been investigating fanless computing for many years, and have owned fanless components such as the SilentMaxx 350W fanless PSU, or more recently, a SuperMicro a1sai-2750f motherboard combined with a AC-DC external power brick + DC-DC voltage convertor.

                    After a lot of investigation and experiments, I concluded that having a completely fanless system is rarely a good solution resulting in acceptable component lifetime.

                    You'll need a motherboard and add-in cards that have 'notebook-grade' components, as no airflow whatsoever can lead to very high local air temperature around components that dissipate heat.
                    Most motherboard will probably have an acceptable component lifetime with case temperatures in the 30-40C range, but at some point (which?) the lifetime will start to drop very fast.

                    So I'd strongly recommend to monitor the case temperature when using these solutions, and for most solutions it would be a very good idea to add a very quiet fan that can generate at least some airflow (preferably blowing it out of the case, generating an airflow where air at ambient room temperature helps to cool the system).
                    Once you add that single fan (strongly recommended), you might as well save the money of an expensive case with heat-pipes, and focus on a system that can do everything with a single fan and no heatpipes. It will be a lot cheaper...

                    Having said that, the Streacom FC5W case does look aesthetically very pleasing!
                    The HD-PLEX H5 looks like it needs to go on a diet when compared to the Streacom FC5WS.

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