Introduction

HTPC enthusiasts often place a lot of emphasis on silent systems for obvious reasons. We have looked at systems with passive thermal solutions before, but never presented the build process for one. Back in May, we had covered Streacom's announcement of the fanless FC9 and FC10 chassis. With support for passive cooling of CPUs with a TDP of up to 95 W and a sleek industrial design, HTPC enthusiasts have been eagerly waiting for these units to hit the market. After some delays, Streacom finalized the design and started shipping the units to resellers in mid-November. We requested for samples of the FC10 chassis and the Nano150 PSU and Streacom's shipment reached us in the first week of December.

Dustin usually handles case reviews and Martin handles PSUs, but, with the Streacom components, we are going to take a different long term approach. We will be using the FC10 and the Nano150 as building blocks for a fully passive HTPC. We also intend the HTPC to act as a testbed for evaluating discrete HTPC GPUs.

The Streacom offerings introduced in May also included the FC9 which supports mITX and uATX motherboards. However, the FC9 supports half-height PCIe cards only. The FC10, on the other hand, supports up to two full height PCIe cards. Hence, we took the decision to go in for the FC10 despite our plans to use a mITX motherboard.

In today's piece, we will first check out the Streacom components in detail. Following that, we will take a brief look at the other components of our passive HTPC build. After that, we will go through the build process in detail and also present some thermal performance results. In the concluding section, we will have a sneak peek at what lies in store in the remaining parts of the HTPC series.

Passive Build Chassis & PSU
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  • Hardcore69 - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    I built myself an Antec ISK HTPC, then promptly replaced with a WD Live Gen 3 less than 3 months later, which plays back 99% of whatever else you need played back. No mess and no fuss. The reason companies barely focus on anything HTPC is that it is only for the hardest of the hardcore geeks and also completely unnecessary. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    So, your WD Live Gen 3 plays games as well? Great, hit me a link and I'll buy one! Reply
  • Gigaplex - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    You want a media player that does games too? Try a console like a PS3. Reply
  • Sivar - Tuesday, January 01, 2013 - link

    PS3s and X-Boxes are nearly useless as media players because they don't play MKV files.
    The formats the consoles do play do not support subtitles so those subtitles need to be stored as a completely separate file, kept in the same folder as the video file, and make a bit of a mess. Lack of MKV support is an instant cross-off when even $40 Android-based media players support it.
    Reply
  • Cardio - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Even with the discount from the MSRP of $430. If you add some necessary add-on's the price is $511.50 + shipping. That is really absurd as far as I am concerned. The size is also just too large for somethiing you intended to use as an mini ITX HTPC or even a mATX. What is the attraction here? Silent is just not that hard to achieve. Cooling doesn't have to be passive either. Have made a number of HTPC's that are inaudable and run much cooler that this thing. Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    It is all a matter of perspective and styling. What is silent to me and you needn't be silent to someone with very sensitive ears. The size of the FC10 is no different from any other A/V component in the rack (say, an AV receiver) Reply
  • colonelciller - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    I agree completely on the case size... there is a new case in the pipeline from Streacom that is way smaller while still being passively cooled. I'm waiting on that one :) Reply
  • Aikouka - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    Streacom already has a smaller and silent case called the FC8 Evo. I know because I own one! ;) Reply
  • bse8128 - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Could you please add a version of the image with temperature in Celsius which at least 90% of the world population uses? Thanks! Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Sure, will do that in the second part of the series. Reply

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