Akasa Euler Fanless Thin ITX Case

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Accessories include the aformentioned 120W AC/DC adapter, which is amusingly branded "Great Wall." Its efficiency is not indicated. There are two short SATA cables, a collection of screws, brackets for mounting a 2.5" drive, a very short SATA power connector (to run from the Intel Thin-ITX boards) and a lock for VESA mounting. The bottom of the case has four slot holes which are intnded to be used with bolts threaded into the back of your monitor. The case then hangs off the four screws securely, especially when the VESA lock is used. The downloadable PDF manual shows the steps clearly enough. That manual is mostly pictorial, by the way, and good enough for the simple steps required to assemble a system in the Euler.

Accessories include a couple of very short SATA cables, screws, 2.5" drive brackets, VESA lock and SATA power connector (not shown here).

Label of the "Great Wall" power adapter.

The bottom has no rubber feet,but four 100mm VESA mounting holes.

Manual shows how to mount the Euler on the back of a VESA monitor.

The anodized brushed aluminum finish is nothing special, and it tends to pick up and show dirt and finger oils quite easily. Good thing it is small enough to be tucked away where it's not too visible. Because of the lack of front panel inputs, you won't have much reason to access it physically especially if you use sleep/hibernate mode like a good eco-citizen should. It's a bit big, but mounting it on any 20" or larger monitor will hide it nicely, and it's light enough not to be a concern for any monitor with a half decent stand.

About the lack of front panel ports and other facts about the Euler's origins, Alex of Akasa UK had the following to say in an email that came in just as this article was being polished up for publication:

"Both the Akasa THIN Mini ITX Chassis, active and passive, were designed and catered for Education and Digital Signage clients who did not require these ports and in some cases did not even want a front power button. In fact, we had not marketed the product at all and simply released the information on the website, but received numerous inquiries, and production levels have yet to meet the current demand.

"Based on Mike's (from Viridian) recommendation, we contacted you, and you are the first to review the chassis.

"We are planning more retail products as the THIN mini ITX boards become more readily available, where front USB ports and probably SD Slots will be prominent, although having said, that the boards currently only have USB 2.0 connectors internally.

"Regarding availability, we should be looking at February before they become easily and readily available in the US thorough our 3 resellers. As you mentioned GBP 61.95 EX VAT would be the expected equivalent in the US; thus USD 99.95 + Tax."

These comments help explain the Euler's unadorned exterior and lack of external ports. We'll have to keep a sharp eye out for more Akasa introductions into this market niche.

With the bottom panel removed, you can think of the Euler as a 5-sided heatsink. The top panel does most of the work, of course, but since all of the other panels (inlcuding the bottom once it is back on) are solidly connected to the top, heat conducts everywhere, so the entire case becomes a convection cooler.

Those looking for some kind of sophisticated heatpipe or vapor chamber cooling solution will be disappointed that a simple block of aluminum conducts CPU heat to the Euler case. This is the same cooling approach in Logic Supply's AG150 system. The difference is that the LS was designed for the heat of only one embedded CPU; there is no variation in the CPU TDP of the DN2800MT board. With boards the Euler was made for, users can choose from a wide variety of socket 1155 CPUs, including many that far exceed the 35W TDP said to be the approved TDP limit of the case. The fact that this TDP limit is not actually specified anywhere in the Euler's description is a bit... convenient, perhaps? At least for Akasa, if any ambitious user with a 95W processor complains of overheating.

Not that a 95W processor is likely to be used with either of the Intel Thin-ITX boards; among the 40 compatible processors Intel lists for the DQ77KB board, none have higher than 65W TDP. Ditto for the DH61AG.

If the CPU candidates are limited to 35W TDP, the list becomes quite short, perhaps 8 in total, and many are hard to find in the wild. Currently, only Intel i5-2000 and i3-2000 series desktop dual cores with the T suffix (such as i3-2100T), and Pentium G600 series dual cores, again with the T suffix, are 35W. At time of writing only one 35W socket 1155 processor is available at Newegg: An i3-2120T 2.6GHz Dual-Core with Intel HD Graphics 2000. Not exactly a pulse raiser for $125. We'll have to see how the Euler handles the 55W Pentium G2120 on hand, a dual core that is both faster (3.1GHz) and cheaper ($95 at Newegg) than the i3-2120T.

That's a block of aluminum which clamps to the CPU when the motherboard is installed. It is clamped to the top of the case with four bolts. The big zap strap, btw, is apparently to secure the power plug; the size seems excessive.

Here's a closer look at the case innards, from the back: Four standoffs for securing the board, and four more in the socket 1155 heatsink hole pattern to clamp the CPU tightly to the aluminum heat block. The finish on the mating surface to the CPU is not super polished, but then it doesn't have to be. Fine machining marks can be seen and felt, and it appears to be flat, or flat enough.

This is a view of the aluminum heat block through the I/O panel slot. That I/O panel opening, btw, is slimmer than usual, because the Intel Thin-ITX boards come with both standard 4.5cm and slim 2.5cm tall I/O panels. You might notice the four light-colored rectangles on the left side of the photo; these are vents covering a ~2x1" area.

Side vent. There's another one on the other side.

The heat block was easy to remove. There was enough TIM, probably not too much, and the contact looked quite uniform. The interface to the case is at least double the area of the top of an 1155 CPU, which is a good thing. The screws holding the block to the top panel/heatsink were not that tight; perhaps they loosened a bit in transit. A slight bit of tightening would be advisable before installation.

The area on the underside of the top panel next to where the heat block goes is where a 2.5" drive can be mounted. You'll have noticed the screw holes for this in the above photos. More on this later.

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