Kloss KL-I915B SFF barebones PC

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The wisdom behind the double-decker design becomes much clearer after opening the system up. As soon as the exterior cover is removed, the entire surface of the motherboard is visible ¬ó no airflow impeding drive cage or power supply here! Airflow enters through the side vents and the top blowhole, is drawn across the passively cooled north- and southbridges, and then exhausted via a 70 x 15 mm fan at the rear of the case.

Airflow across the motherboard is quite unrestricted.

Fresh air for the CPU is provided through the top blowhole. A short duct ensures that warm air is not recirculated inside the case.

The black box on the right is a blower that serves as an exhaust fan.

The power supply is the only major source of heat in the lower chamber. The hard drive will likely require a small amount of airflow to keep cool, but its location beside the air intake should ensure that it remains cool even when the power supply is heavily loaded. In contrast with the open top chamber, the bottom chamber will be tightly packed once drives are installed. The only space for airflow is behind the optical drive, where air is drawn in over the hard drive.

Airflow for the lower chamber is generated with the small (and potentially noisy) 40 mm fan that doubles as the exhaust for the power supply. This suggests that the airflow through the bottom chamber will be minimal. Fortunately, the only heat-critical component is the power supply that contains the fan.

The hard drive sits at the bottom rear of the case, while the optical drive is flush with the roof of the lower chamber.

The power supply is tucked into one of the rear corners, and takes up the full height of the lower chamber.

Separating the system into two chambers may be a very good idea from a cooling standpoint, but it presents the challenge of seamlessly integrating the two sections into a cohesive system. This means cable management is critical. Both power and data cables must be long enough to reach properly, but should not impede airflow.

The layout of the motherboard is a big factor in cable clutter, and, for the most part, Trigem has done a good job of minimizing the cable lengths required. The location of the power header on the motherboard is an excellent example of the close integration between the chassis and the motherboard: The header is close enough to the power supply that the cable need only be four inches long! Because all of the drives are in the bottom chamber, most systems will not require routing power cables from the power supply to the upper chamber. A powerful video card is probably the only reason that power would be needed in the upper chamber, but most people are unlikely to use this configuration.

The power header is perfectly located on the bottom of the motherboard, right next to the power supply.

The SATA and IDE headers are also well located along the side of the motherboard above the drive chamber. For ease of installation, the included cables are longer than absolutely necessary, but the extra slack is unlikely to seriously affect airflow.

IDE and SATA headers are also well located.

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