Akasa Euler Fanless Thin ITX Case

Cases|Damping | Cooling
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TEST METHODOLOGY

The focus here is primarily on the cooling ability of the Euler case, and secondarily, on the power brick which came with the case. SPCR's usual suite of thermal and power tools were called into play. The system's thermal and power characteristics are recorded in idle, CPU stress and CPU+GPU stress conditions. The extended stress conditions, using Prime95 and Furmark, are totally artificial and over the top. Virtually no useful application actually can make components run as hot, but it gives us a good reference by which to compare the performance of cooling solutions.

Measurement and Analysis Tools

Before getting to the performance of the case, my impressions of this system, using either the Intel 525 mSATA SSD or the Kingston HyperX 3K SSD: It is quick, much quicker than you might expect of a "lowly" dual-core Pentium. It is still a 2nd gen Core Sandy Bridge chip and retains much of the performance of the pricier i3/i5 chips. For those who are curious, it is quicker than the Intel NUC. There is nothing I cannot do with this system that I can do with a Z77-chip i5-2500K ATX desktop. Except serious 3D gaming, of course, as this system is limited to the Intel HD graphics... which does a perfectly good job with everything else.

TEST RESULTS

The system was kept in each state for a minimum of 30 minutes. It is when the temperatures don't change for 5 minutes that stability is deemed to be reached. For the stress loads, stability was reached after nearly an hour. The entire case heats up, so it takes quite a while to reach stability. For Prime95+Furmark, the AC power began at around 50W, and it increased to 55W over time due to decreased efficiency as power components (especially the VRM) became hotter. This is normal.

Akasa Euler System Measurements
State
Idle
Prime95
Prime95 + Furmark
CPU
29°C
54°C
79°C
PCH
52°C
63°C
91°C
VRM
40°C
54°C
82°C
DIMM
40°C
53°C
81°C
SSD
31°C
34°C
38°C
Case
30°C
39°C
62°C
AC Power
16.5W
41W
55W
Noise
none
none
none
Ambient temperature: 22°C.
CPU - highest core temperature of processor
PCH - temperature of Platform Controller Hub (motherboard chip)
VRM - temperature of voltage regulation module
DIMM - temperature of RAM memory
SSD - temperature of Solid State Drive
Case - highest temperature on external casing

The temperature readings come mostly from AIDA64 Extreme Edition, which matches SpeedFan readings almost exactly. What's clear is that in any normal usage, the Euler keeps this CPU and motherboard perfectly cool enough for stable, long term use. Yes, at full tilt, with both CPU and graphics cores pumped to the max, everything gets pretty hot, yet the CPU never throttled, and not once did any kind of overheating misbehavior occur during testing. It's a short, positive outcome after the lengthy leadup: The Euler case works as intended, cooling the CPU and motherboard passively without making any noise. That's right, even with my ear almost directly atop the case or the power brick, there was no noise to be heard. OK, it's possible there was some hint from the power brick, but it's irrelevant because the level is so low as to be immeasurable and inaudible.

The 62°C measured at the hottest spot of the external casing is too hot to touch. In normal use, the case got warm but never too hot to touch. Changing the 2.5" SSD for the mSATA SSD had virtually no impact whatsoever on temperatures. Power might have been up by 1W with the SSD in some instances, but it's too small a difference to consider significant.

The 55W TDP of the Pentium G2120 turned out to be a false alarm. Since the AC power draw never exceeds 55W, there's no way it could possibly pull 55W by itself, at least not with our torture test apps. The latest version of AIDA64 Extreme Edition has an extremely interesting and useful addition in its sensor monitoring, which I believe probably works only with newer motherboards (and components): It tells us the power pulled by the CPU. Its accuracy is open to question, but the data is worth looking at. See the screen capture below.


AIDA64 Extreme Edition Sensor page for Intel DQ77KB w/ Pentium G2120 in Akasa Euler case at full system load.

The Power Values heading indicates the power drawn by the CPU. I believe CPU Package indicates the total power drawn by the CPU. Does 23W sound too low for a minimalist system that draws 55W AC total? Perhaps. It has to depend on motherboard sensors, and they can certainly vary even from sample to board sample. On the other hand, AIDA64 indicates 61W CPU Package for a Core i5-2500K in a Z77 board while running just Prime95, which seems pretty close to what I'd expect.

The Great Wall 120W power adapter was swapped out for comparison with a recent Dell 19VDC 80W power adapter that has high "V" efficiency rating. The difference in AC power demand in the various states between these power adaptes was less than a watt, so I can safely say the included power brick is probably >85% efficient, perhaps 87% at the full 55W power draw, about as good as power bricks get these days. The total system idle power of 16.5W is very modest, not as low as an Intel NUC, but then it's also a more capable system.



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