Streacom FC8 Evo Fanless Mini-ITX Chassis

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Streacom FC8 Evo Fanless Mini-ITX Chassis

January 29, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Streacom FC8 Evo
Fanless Chassis
Manufacturer
Street Price
£104

For most of our readership, the concept of a fanless PC that suits their needs is a dream just out of reach. Passively cooled cases and systems with the cooling capacity to handle a standard desktop processor are prohibitively expensive, and often large and unsightly. Smaller, more affordable models can't dissipate as much heat and are thus limited to mobile or nettop chips which have more limited capabilities.

Last year we reviewed the Streacom FC5 OD, a passively cooled microATX case that held up fairly well to our scrutiny. The FC5 OD is in a low profile desktop style to match classic A/V gear, with a footprint that is massive for its 8.8 litre volume. The FC8 Evo is more compact, accepting mini-ITX boards only, but it is taller, using the extra vertical room for drive mounting rather than the space around the motherboard. Its form factor is closer in line with a typical SFF case, rather than one specialized for an home theater cabinet.

At Computex Taipei in June 2012, SPCR Editor Mike Chin found that Streacom's fanless case lineup had expanded quite a bit. A dozen cases are listed on Streacom's product page today, and eight of those are passively cooled. Admittedly, there are only four basic fanless designs, each one offered in two variants (such as with or without optical drive slot, USB 3.0 or 2.0 front ports, etc), but it is still an extensive range for a relatively small niche market. The FC8 is the smallest; the others are wider and deeper.

Other fanless AV style cases for computers include those used in systems and/or offered by Logic Supply, Tranquil PC, A-Tech Fabrication, and HDPlex. The closest in pricing and market position is HDPlex. Logic Supply leans to industrial and commerical customers, Tranquil sells complete systems, not cases by themselves, and A-Tech is extremely upmarket, with obviously higher quality and pricing several times higher. There are other passively cooled heatsink cases in the industrial/signage'embedded sector, of marginal interest to home or business end-users.


The Streacom FC8 Evo.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the FC8 Evo is its price, £104 at QuietPC.com, about 40% cheaper than the FC5 OD. As the FC8 has a volume of just 6.0 L, much of the savings is in materials. The heatsink portion is only on one side and while the fins are larger, they are more densely arranged as the case lacks depth. CPU cooling in the FC8 Evo is handled by four short copper heatpipes and two aluminum blocks securing them to the side. In comparison, the FC5 OD has six very long pipes and three blocks. Contrary to this apparent downgrade in cooling materials, according to the specifications, the FC8 Evo can handle a maximum CPU TDP of 95W, a claim that raises immediate skepticism as the FC5 is only rated for 65W. The case also supports a slim slot-loading optical drive and one 2.5 inch and one 2.5/3.5 inch drive, a low profile expansion card, and a pair of USB 2.0/3.0 ports.


Mounting gear.

The installation hardware includes everything you need to assemble the cooling system with the exception of thermal compound. This is disappointing as a significant amount is required to ensure proper heat dissipation between the various components and aftermarket TIM is generally subject to hefty markup. The case also doesn't ship with a power supply — it's designed to work with a DC-DC model like the picoPSU. In addition, it lacks an IR receiver despite the presence of a dedicated port. While this gives users some flexibility, a fully inclusive package would be a nice option.

Another omission is a compatibility list — Streacom does not state what motherboard models have the proper layout for use with the FC8 Evo. In lieu of a motherboard compatibility list (which they did offer in the past for the FC5), they offer a System Build Guide, which helps users with component selection, including motherboards, for their various cases. Judging by the placement and length of the heatpipes and position of the heatsink blocks, it's designed for a board with the CPU socket near the center-bottom, which includes the majority of LGA1156/1155 mini-ITX models. The heatpipes run toward the top of the board so there shouldn't be any large obstructions (heatsinks, primarily) situated north of the socket.

Specifications: Streacom FC8 Evo
(from the product web page)
EAN Material: All aluminum, 4mm thick body
Case Type Silver / Black – sandblast finish
Mother Support Mini ITX
Hard Drive Bays 1 x 2.5" + 1 x 3.5" or 2.5" (shared bay)
Optical Drive Bays 1 x Slim slot loading drive, universal eject button
Front Ports 2 x USB2.0 (*USB3.0 Ready, cable sold separately)
Expansion Slot 1 x Low profile expansion card
Cooling Heatpipe Direct Touch 4 Pipes – Max CPU TDP 95W**
Dimension 240 x 250 x 100mm (W x D x H)
Power Supply NanoPSU & AC Adapter (not Included)
Remote Control MCE Compatible IR Receiver & Remote (not Included)
Net Weight 2.5KG



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