Certified Silent: EPCN Streacom FC9 Fanless PC

SPCR Certified Silent PCs
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VISUAL TOUR

The EPCN Streacom FC9 Micro ATX Fanless PC sample arrived in one of EPCN's large signature cartons: They pack their goods really well to ensure safe delivery. The carton was double-boxed, with the inner box cradled in custom-fitted foam ends for a tight, secure yet cushioned fit.


The usual big double-boxed carton from EPCN.

The case/system is small, about 10 liters in volume and just under 6 kg in weight, with nothing marring the front fascia except the power button with a tiny drive activity LED, and a DVD slot with an eject button directly beneath it. In case you bemoan the absence of front USB ports, not to worry, there are two USB 3.0 ports hidden (but easy to access) between fins near the front of the right heatsink. The side heatsink fins are rounded so they don't pose any danger during handling. The bottom panel features a long slot beneath each back of heatsink fins to help with convection airflow, and there are small vent holes on both top and bottom panel. None of the panels is massively thick (and this includes the front panel) but they are thick enough to feel sturdy, with no chance of bending in normal handling.


The front panel is entirely free of clutter.


Two USB 3.0 ports are hidden on the right side.

The slots under the heatsink help with airflow. Note 12VDC input plug on the far side of the back panel. Three slots on the mATX board are accessible, but there's a definite height limitation for add-on cards.

INSIDE

The interior of the EPCN Streacom FC9 Micro ATX Fanless PC is fairly tidy as such systems go. The optical drive and SSD are mounted on a hinged tray over the front of the motherboard. The heatsink on the left side of the photo does all the work, and the path of the heatpipes between CPU and heatsink is somewhat convoluted. There's a transitional heat transfer block between the four lower C-shaped heatpipes to a second set of four heatpipes which extend to the heatsink. This looks like a less than ideal setup, and that transition point adds a point of potential heat loss. It looks like it was done so the heatpipes could clear the tallish heatsinks on that side of the motherboard.

When asked about the odd double-decker arrangement of the heatpipes, Peter Nickol of EPCN explained that it's actually more efficient than the single CPU heatblock Streacom offers. The heatblock for the double-decker system uses direct-touch heatpipes, with the copper pipes making direct contact with the CPU. Streacom's single CPU heatblock encases the heatpipes in aluminum; this leads in a small but measurable decrease in cooling. A single copper heatblock would probably perform better, but for now EPCN prefers the double-decker heatpipe setup as it provided better performance.


Fairly tidy interior with an odd double-decker heatpipe arrangement.


With the drive tray pivoted up, a picoPSU power supply can be seen, along with a big Zalman "fan" style heatsink for the board chipset. That Zalman heatsink will prevent many add-in slot cards from being used, as they must be no longer than the PCIe slot itself, which is rare.


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