Hello, after some time of planning and modding the project of a fanless gaming pc finaly came through. For over five years I have had a HFX classic with an E8500 and HD3870 so I was ready for an upgrade. About a year ago I noticed the Streacom cases and since the pc is part of a stereo setup the cases would fit nicely in with the silver aluminium finish. I decided to wait for the Ivy bridge processors and the new graphic cards from Nvidia. When the i7 3770 came I began ordering parts and the first version was like this:
Case: Streacom FC5
MB: Gigabyte G1 Sniper M3
CPU: Intel i7 3770k
RAM: Corsair 8GB 1600MHz Low Profile
PSU: HFX EF28 (at first: Streacom 150W PicoPSU)
SSD: Intel 520 240GB
I got some trouble with this setup and found out it was the Streacom PSU. The most powerfull PSU for low profile cases I could find was the HFX EF28 and with this the pc worked fine.
When the GTX 670 came I ordered this and another EF28. I wanted to combine two PSU's and see if I could drive a graphic card with two PSU's ment for low profile cases. This was not a success (as expected). The pc booted but when I tried a game it broke down emediately, sometimes just for playing a blueray. I found out the only solution for a pc with graphic card is a ATX PSU. I ordered the Seasonic Platinum 1000W just to be shure to leave out the power troubles and because of the power overkill the fan is still or goes slow.
With the power solved the pc stil wouldn't work properly and sometimes did not boot. When I put the GPU directly in the MB the pc worked fine so the problem seemed to be the riser card (the first riser was a Delock pcie x16 flexible riser). I changed the motherboard for the Asus P8Z77-M to see if this could manage riser cables better, but the pc was stil unstable. Then I ordered a new riser with a molex powerconnector attached. At first this also was unstable. After reading about the difference between Pcie gen2 and gen3 and that it was no visible differnce I changed the settings in the BIOS to Pcie gen2. After this the pc has worked fine.
In this process I also changed the graphic card from GTX 670 (was lucky to get it changed) to the GTX 660ti when this came out. At a time I wondered if the problems was about the graphic card, but it turned out to be the riser. Now when the pc worked properly the cooling system for the GPU was next. I had some training with heatpipes from my old HFX classic pc, so I had thought out how it should be. The bottleneck is actually not the heatpipes but the amount of aluminium and surface of the heatsinks, and this is the weak point of the Streacom FC5 since the case is low profile and small. (Therefore the Streacom FC10 with bigger heatsinks will give better cooling and I believe the FC10 can cool down both the GTX 660ti and GTX 670). I also had to drill some extra holes to better the flow of hot rising air.
I have been reading alot of reviews in SPCR and threads on this forum before and have learned alot from it
So, thank you for all the good information! When I read the thread "100% fanless midrange system-is this possible?" I felt I had to inform you of my project: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=65196
In that thread I give a more detailed description of how the pc works, and I also describe how I think the Streacom FC10 can be built with an internal PSU and better cooling. I am also confident the HFX classic has capacity to cool down the GPX 670.
At that time the pc looked like this:
The VRM cooler on the GTX660ti is made for airflow, so because of the passive case the VRM got very hot. I ordered some more heatpipes from HFX: http://www.hfx.at/at/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=8&Itemid=54
and rebuilt the heatsinksystem together with an Arctic cooling freezer 13 PRO. I also replaced the northbridge cooler with a Zalman NB47J. The pc now contains these parts:
Case: Streacom FC5
MB: Asus P8Z77-M
CPU: Intel i7 3770K
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB 1600MHz
SSD: Intel 520 240GB
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 1000W
BLUERAY: Sony Optiarc BD-5850H
GPU: Evga GTX660ti
RISER: Flexible riser pcie x16 with molex connector
HEATPIPES: HFX heatpipes (6 from PCU, 12 from GPU and 4 from VRM)
EXTRA COOLING: Arctic cooling freezer 13 PRO
The pc now works fine. Under ordinary use like surfing the net or playing blueray, the temp stabilizes around 43 C for the CPU and around 38 C for the GPU. I monitor temp with Real Temp, CPUID and Evga Precision X (not shure if these also measure the VRM). While gaming the temp rises. The CPU holds around 50 C most of the time and sometimes a bit higher but seldom over 80 C. The GPU VRM stil gets hot but it seem to be cooled enough. I can play the car game Grid on full settings for hours and the temp on the GTX660ti stabilizes around 70 C, the load is mostly 50-60% but sometimes up to 80%. Need for speed most wanted can't be played on full settings more than 15 min before the temp passes 97 C, and is then on 100% load and peaks up to 120%. On medium settings the temp passes 97 C after an hour. With the resolution on 1920x1080, high details on and the rest on low and a couple on medium settings, the temp is around 70 C and sometimes between 80 and 90 C (this setting can be played for hours). The load is between 60 and 70 % and sometimes around 90 %. Both games hold 60 fps most of the time. It seems like the cooling system can take away around 80 % load of the GTX 660ti and stabilize under 97 C. When the load passes 90 % the temp soon passes 97 C. The testing is done with the case open.
For more details and also about the Streacom FC10 with GTX 670 you can see the thread also mentioned above: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=65196&start=30
With my father I have also built a HDPlex H3 with i7 3770 that I describe in this thread: http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=65429
I believe the HDPlex H3 has a very good potential. The case only uses one side and is recommended for 65W. HDPlex say new cases without powdercoating on the heatsinks will have 75W TDP. With modding you can use three heatpipes to both sides and with two sides active have a recommended TDP of 2x75W=150W. This will be enough cooling for the upcoming Intel Haswell and AMD Kaveri.
As for future possible upgrade of the Streacom FC5 I consider the Seasonic 520W fanless. I also look forward to the chimney cooler from CompTake and hope they will release that one soon: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/82456/comptake-demonstreert-passieve-koeler-met-holle-pijpen.html
If this can cool down the i7 3770 I could use all the heatsinks on the case to cool down the graphic card and play better settings on games.
I can't play new games on highest settings but since the PC is passively cooled I still think the build has been a success. I feel I have reached my goal of a fanless gaming PC. With this post maybe others can avoid some of the troubleshooting I was through and I also hope to inspire more people to try heatsink cases. Depending on your modding they are not that hard to build, and fairly easy if you follow the standard layout. The price isn't that much higher either if you consider you don't need any fans and cooling tower, and the size can be small because you don't need any airflow. It's very pleasent to have a PC that is totaly quiet, so go for it!