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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  • sheh - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    I think most of the visitors here are US-based. Though yes, C would be better. :) Reply
  • Jaaap - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    On the Thermal Performance page, at the rop you say:
    ... because it is quite common for improperly designed thermal solutions to *not* prevent processors from reaching their maximum permissible junction temperature.

    not prevent?
    Reply
  • sheh - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    AKA, let CPUs overheat and start throttling. Reply
  • sheh - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    ...the woes of double negative. :) Reply
  • ganeshts - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Yes, it conveys that bad thermal solutions allow the processor to reach Tjmax. Throttling results and there is a loss in performance. Reply
  • mobutu - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    I hope you'll do a full stress test on the CPU and GPU simultaneous because it is not enough if the 150W picoPSU holds this setup only on idle and low-stress.

    Also please find out from Streacom when the 180W and particularly the 250W will be available for purchase.
    Interested in a i5/i7 + 7770 setup powered by that internal 250W max PSU.

    Thanks for the review!
    Reply
  • Subyman - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    I was interested until I saw the price. I know people will pay a premium for silence, but $430 seems somewhat excessive. Reply
  • agentsmithitaly - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    I know it has been already already debated, but measurement units are quite inconsistent in Anandtech's articles.
    Sometimes they report both Celsius and Fahrenheit for temperatures, as well as inches and millimeters for length measurements, in this case we see only metric units for the case weight, dimensions, celsius degrees for the ambient temperature, and only imperial units for case temperatures.

    Is it possible to have International system of units on all articles? Not only for the international visitors I'm sure Anandtech has, but also because this is technology website, which I think it could be considered as science. And scientists use metrical units, including NASA ones. You remember what happened to the Mars Climate Orbiter, right?

    Apart this, keep up the good work guys!
    Reply
  • Landiepete - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    I have a FC8 Evo case waiting for a build, and I'm going to try and build a HTPC with an AMD A10 on a mini-itx board. The A10-5700 has a 65W TDP AND 7660D graphics on board, and performane should be quite sufficient for HTPC. In a pinch I could try the 5800, but the 100W TDP might be just OTT;

    Incidentally, streacom does a nice infrared remote kit to go with their cases.
    Reply
  • cerietke - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    I don't know about the FC8, but for my FC5 the mini-ITX options available would not work due to something being in the way of the heatpipes (if you haven't you may want to check on that). Streacom told me they tried 95 W TDP processors for the FC5, but can only recommend them in areas with considerable airflow. My A10-5700 is already getting near 80 C, though so far I haven't been able to confirm or deny whether the case is to blame. Reply

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