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

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  • Ruediix
    replied
    It would be really nice if the company would ship separate top clamp pieces for each hardware type. This would drastically reduce the tendency for clamp to protrude into surrounding hardware.

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  • FrankL
    replied
    Zero airflow often leads to elevated air temperatures inside the enclosure. If it gets high enough, the lifetime of the components inside the case will suffer badly.

    Taking into account countermeasures against elevated case temperatures (i.e. adding a fan to blow out the heated case air and suck in air that is at ambient room temperature, helping to cool the system), most fanless case designs are a waste of money: You can get similar performance by building a case that uses a (near-)fanless AC-DC PSU or DC-DC voltage convertor, with a huge heatsink-fan combination mounted onto the CPU. The heatsink-fan will perform various functions in this setup: cool the CPU, generate airflow inside the case to prevent stagnant air pockets from forming around individual components inside the case, and force the heated case air through the PSU out of the case (creating slight an under-pressure that leads to ambient room air being sucked into the case). This type of setup provides similar performance at a fraction of the cost, as you no longer need the expensive low production volume enclosure with heatpipes.

    Now... there's something to be said for the Streacom FC5WS:
    - aesthetically very pleasing! HD-PLEX H5 looks like it needs to go on a diet compared to the Streacom model. Would love to see a sbustantially cheaper '120 mm fan' model of the Streacom.
    - will probably not lead to very high case temperatures when combined with very low watt CPUs (my guess is that it should be safe up to 15-20W CPU; please consult reviews!)

    Michael: please measure the air temperature inside the case while the CPU+GPU is under sustained load, and provide power consumption figures for the whole system to put it into context.

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

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  • Passso
    replied
    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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  • Geopirate
    replied
    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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  • torsionbar28
    replied
    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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  • CuriousTommy
    replied
    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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  • devius
    replied
    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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  • rohcQaH
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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