Shuttle XPC SB81P: Loaded 775 BTX

Complete|Mobile Systems
Viewing page 5 of 7 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next


Shuttle's ICE (Integrated Cooling Engine) Module has been around for several years. The basic idea is to use heatpipes to transfer the heat from the CPU directly to the a vent opening, where it can be exhausted without allowing the heat to remain in the case. This is particularly useful in a small system that heats up quickly if airflow is not properly engineered.

The exhaust end of the CPU duct.

Installing or removing the ICE Module is quite an involved process. First, the drive cage must be removed to allow access to the Module itself. Then, the plastic shroud that guides the intake airflow must be removed. Finally, the module itself is detached from the motherboard by unscrewing four large screws.

The fan hinges open to reveal a thin heatpipe-based heatsink.

A plastic shroud is used to direct fresh air to the intake fan.

Most of the voltage regulation components on the motherboard power are located under this shroud. This major source of heat should also be well cooled.

The ICE relies solely on heatpipes to transfer heat away from the CPU; there are no heatsink fins attached directly to the CPU socket.

The exhaust fan is located about four centimeters above the bottom of the case and does not align exactly with the intake fan.

Airflow for the CPU is achieved using a push-pull fan configuration that Shuttle claims can produce 50 CFM across the heatsink. A thin 70 x 10mm fan is used for intake, while the exhaust fan is a more standard 80mm model. Both fans use the 4-pin PWM headers that that Intel recommends.

Part of the reason for using two fans to cool the CPU appears to be that the duct isn't fully sealed; about half of the area of the heatsink is exposed to the ambient air in the interior of the case. The intake fan appears to be necessary to ensure that the most of the air pulled through the heatsink comes from the duct rather than the ambient air inside the case.

The heatsink uses a copper base to improve thermal transfer efficiency.

The ICE Module includes the heatsink, the intake fan, and a metal shroud that extends the duct across the CPU. It's quite large and is carefully and tightly tucked into the corner of the case. Removing it requires a gentle touch, but it's a fairly straightforward procedure.

The base of the heatsink is made of copper, and is smooth enough that lapping is not likely to make any difference. Four aluminum heatpipes transfer heat to a thin stack of aluminum fins. The total area of the fins is modest compared to aftermarket performance heatsinks.

The heatsink is secured to the motherboard with four large screws that are spring-loaded to ensure the correct tension between the CPU and the heatsink. The unusually large heads offset the somewhat awkward position of the two screws between the front of the case and the heatsink.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

Complete|Mobile Systems - Article Index
Help support this site, buy the Shuttle XPC SB81P from one of our affiliate retailers!