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The Streacom FC5 OD is an obvious option for those seeking a silent HTPC case
to match high end A/V gear. The dimensions of 435W x 325D x 60H mm (17"
x 13" x 2.4") are just about right for use with full size audio video
gear or to fit in a slim shelf in a TV cabinet. Its fanless cooling system works
as intended with processors up to 65W TDP, which is well within the power envelope
of the picoPSU
power supplies recommended by Streacom. As with any low profile, fanless
cooling case, you need to choose the motherboard with care, because compatibility
can be tricky.
The port for an IR receiver is a good idea. I can't report on its functionality,
however, as Streacom did not include a remote control with the sample case,
despite it being equipped with an IR receiver.
The mounting hardware for the heatpipe cooling system is more cumbersome to
use that it needs to be, and its overall quality grade is only as good as it
needs to be. The good thing for most users is that it only needs to be used
once, and if you take your time, using only correctly sized tools (screwdrivers,
mostly), it's not an odious task. In actual use, my single biggest quibble is
the absence of any front panel USB ports. Trying to access the back panel of
any PC is almost always a hassle, and using a typical external expansion port
spoils the smooth sleek look, which is what attracts many a buyer to the FC5
OD in the first place.
Because of its passively cooled design, it is important to leave space above
the unit for the rising heat, rather than sandwich it between other gear, especially
hot gear. Taller feet for this case and any equipment if you must stack
them on top would be a good idea.
Any HDD used in this case should be chosen for minimal vibration. The rubber
grommets provided for HDD mounting are useless to prevent conduction of vibration.
Thicker, softer grommets would make a big difference here. You can probably
repurpose better grommets from other cases... or go for a small SSD and access
your media content via a wired network (or high speed wifi) on a home server.
The closest alternatives for DIY system builders to the Streacom FC 05 OD are
the H3.SODD, H5.ODD and H10.ODD fanless cases from HDPLEX,
which all have similar designs. Other current fanless "heatsink cases"
are either sold only in systems (HFX
and Tranquil PC),
styled for industrial rather than home A/V use (Logic
Supply), or priced way higher (A-Tech
The H10.ODD is a bit too deep a case to be as practical as the others, while
the H3 and H5 only take mini-ITX boards. The H3.ODD at least has one USB port
on the front panel, however. Having reviewed both the H3.SODD and H10.ODD, my
impression is that the front panels and cooling system mounting hardware of
the HDPLEX is somewhat more robust, but there probably isn't much (if any) impact
on actual performance. Pricing of the Streacom is a bit higher than the H10,
but it's close:
- Streacom FC 05 OD - €239.90 or ~$318
- H10.ODD - $298
- H5.ODD - $278
- H3.SODD - $248
Overall, the Streacom FC5 OD is a good case for a silent HTPC.
PS For those seeking fanless case for mini-ITX only, and don't need
a "classic" AV style, Streacom also offers the slightly smaller but
a 6-liter case that also has the convenience of USB and SD card ports on the
front panel. I expect to receive a review sample of the FC8 shortly.
Our thanks to Streacom
for the sample.
Streacom FC5 OD is Recommended by SPCR
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Articles of Related Interest
HDPLEX H3.SODD Fanless Mini-ITX HTPC
HDPLEX H10.ODD Fanless microATX Case
Silent SFF Home Server Build Guide
Fanless TC-100 mini-ITX case
mCubed's HFX mini: Fanless
HTPC "heatsink case"
Logic Supply SolidLogic Montivina
Fanless Mini-ITX System
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this article in the SPCR Forums.
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