Aleutia H3-R Fanless Core i5 Media PC

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TEST RESULTS

Power Consumption

Test Results: System Power Consumption (AC)
System
Custom mATX System*
Aleutia H3-R
SolidLogic Montevina
CPU
i3-2100T
i5-2390T
Celeron T3100
Sleep
2W
2W
2W
Idle
30W
15W
19W
H.264 Playback
35W
22W
26W
CPU Load
62W
55W**
45W
CPU + GPU Load
74W
55W**
48W
*Asus P8H67-M EVO with Seasonic SS-400ET PSU
**before CPU throttling

Given the superb energy efficiency of Sandy Bridge platforms, it was not surprising that the H3-R used about 4W less than the Montevina system with a Celeron T3100 when idle and during high definition video playback. In addition, compared to an i3-2100T using desktop hardware, the HR-3 used 13~15W less.

The fanless enclosure was fine with the Montevina configuration pulling 48W at full tilt, but the new Sandy Bridge setup was a different story. The power draw topped out at 55W and stayed there for 10~15 minutes before it dropped to the mid 40's. The CPU had overheated and throttled down to 1.6 GHz to relieve the thermal strain. It seems that the i5-2390T is simply too much for the case to handle, at least when it came to synthetic stress testers (Prime95 and FurMark).


SpeedFan screenshot: CPU temperature on load.

With Prime95 running the CPU seemed to slow down when the temperature reached about 70°C. After cooling off for five minutes it would ramp back up again to normal speed and consequently overheating once again. We repeated the Prime95 stability test with only one thread and got the same result, only it took about twice the time before throttling.

Thermals

With the system failing our synthetic tests we moved on to real world applications running for more than 60 minutes. This time we also recorded temperatures via SpeedFan (the board surprisingly offers four different internal sensors) and externally with a infrared thermometer checking the hottest point we could find on the exterior (between them, the three sides never differed by more than 1°C).

Operating Temperatures
System State
Idle
H.264 Playback
iTunes
Media Espresso*
Hand Brake*
CPU
38°C
44°C
65°C
58°C
69°C
VRM
43°C
47°C
61°C
58°C
63°C
RAM
40°C
43°C
50°C
51°C
53°C
PCH
49°C
53°C
63°C
55°C
66°C
Exterior
34°C
36°C
45°C
40°C
47°C
Sys. Power (AC)
15W
23W
42W
47W
55W
Ambient temperature: 24°C.
*before CPU throttling

The CPU survived audio encoding with iTunes without throttling, staying at 3 GHz or above throughout despite relatively high temperatures. Encoding video with HandBrake caused it to throttle just as it did with Prime95. As the i5-2390T supports Quick Sync, we also tried the same encode using Cyberlink MediaEspresso (one of the few programs that supports this feature). This caused only 10~15% CPU utilization with the integrated graphics chip doing most of the heavy lifting. In this test the CPU also throttled but in an odd way. The CPU clock varied between 2.0 GHz and 3.1 GHz at first, then halfway through it started to shift between 1.6 GHz and 3.1 GHz and we noticed it hitting 3.1 GHz less often. The estimated encode time also increased significantly after this point so it was clear that the CPU had slowed down somewhat. Even more odd was that the throttling occurred despite lower temperatures than when it was running iTunes, though the power draw was higher due to the GPU being tasked in the encoding process.

The exterior of the case heated up quite a bit during the iTunes and HandBrake tests, exceeding 45°C at the hottest point. At this temperature it was rather uncomfortable placing a hand on the machine but it wasn't hot enough to cause damage, at least not for short periods of time. It's best to leave the H3-R out in the open, not encapsulated in a home theater cabinet where it could get muggy quite quickly.



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