Building A Silent Linux Desktop For 2022 With The Streacom DB4

Written by Luuk van der Duim in Computers on 20 January 2022 at 08:00 AM EST. Page 1 of 4. 23 Comments.

(Thanks to Phoronix reader Luuk van der Duim for this guest post outlining his experience on a recent Linux build involving the Streacom DB4 fanless PC enclosure.)

Streacom DB4 at a body of water

The long time Phoronix reader, with an excellent long-term memory, may remember an odd article from back in August 2017 on buying a passively cooled computer. It tells the tale of the consumer who decided to buy a rather niche, fanless, therefore passively cooled computer.

Well, that was been my computer for four and a half years. Even though the I7-7700T the article portrayed has served me well. It did start to show age a little. Especially as of late, it will sometimes spontaneously reboot. It does so very rarely, without prior warning and seemingly unprovoked. Its a bit of a nuisance.

While I wrote that article in 2017 I had also come to learn of the existence of the Streacom DB4 The DB4, of all computer cases that allow for their innards to be passively cooled, has since always been the proverbial unattainable love to me: Stunning, exciting, exclusive and she knows it.

Some people are practical and move on to find a just-as-suitable, much more attainable fling and find peace with that. I can too, but while I can suppress, I cannot forget - and if I do forget, there will be a residual emotion that lingers, a strange reminiscence of something amis. Some things or beings just have their own way in my brain. Without ever needing keys or consent they will casually wire up to some emotional lobe, to forever steer me clear of the notion of free will - until perhaps one day, they themselves get bored. It might also just be that I am a romantic of the very worst kind and I fell in love with Streacoms DB4.

 *The prettiest things look the way they do, because of what they are.*

The Streacom DB4 is an extraordinary, and striking computer case. Its design’s guiding principle seems to be that elegance comes as a consequence of integrating utility into its shape. I suspect that industrial designers have a term for this principle. Maybe it is called ‘functional elegance’ or something else that sticks. It doesn’t really matter what it is called. It paid off. The DB4 is beautiful.

Streacom DB4

The DB4 in essence is fanless mini-ITX case, a cube - well, nearly as it measures 260 x 260 x 270mm which amounts to ~10.24 x ~10.24 x ~10.63 inches. Its four side panels are made out of thick, extruded, CNC’ed aluminium (or aluminum if you wish). These panels serve as both walls and radiators. The panels have extrusions which, when looking at the panel along its surface top-down somwhat resemble a row of capital letters ‘T T T’. These shapes result in much increased surface area, needed to radiate heat more easily, but also form half open pipes by which natural convection may occur to aid its cooling even further when the panel heats up. According to Streacom it supports CPUs up to 65 W on a single panel and CPUs up to 105 W TDP when employing the LH6 kit. The case supports the use of a discrete graphics card with the GPU cooling kit with support for 65W TDP cards. It weights 7.5 kilos (~16.53 pounds), it can house a maximum of 5 x 3.5″ or 12 x 2.5" drives (or a mix of both).

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