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 Post subject: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm
Posts: 6
Hello,

I'm planning to build a pc using the following components

- ASUS E35M1-I (I have to buy it)
- 5,25" DVD/RW (from an old PC)
- 2,5" SSD (from a laptop that died recently)

I currently own an EPIA EN12000 Fanless that will do while I get the ASUS one...

My problem is that I want to build a fanless pc, or the most fanless possible... in an ideal world there wouldn't be fans :)
I've been looking for cases on the net and forums, and now I'm a bit lost. I don't know what case to choose: Lian li PC-Q07 (but I thin it's not a good idea...) Lian Li V353 (too expensive...), bitfenix survivor (can I disanble fans?), fractal desing mini?... may be I haven't seen the best?

I'm really lost and don't know which one could be better and which PSU would be good also.

Could someone point me a direction, some info or a solution.

Best,


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
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Location: Switzerland
That motherboard is expensive and not very good.

If you're going to use a mITX board, I suggest using a mITX case. Most mITX cases don't take 5.25'' drives so I suggest you dump that.
Especially for small cases, you'll need holes above the hot parts or your load temperatures are going to become very high. A case designed to be used with a fan will not perform well without a fan (and vice-versa).
There are mITX cases such as the Morex T3500 which are designed for fanless operation, come with a fanless power supply and take a slim optical drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:10 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm
Posts: 6
Thanks Hfat,

Wow, I was completely wrong so.
I thought it was a good idea to have a big case so air flow would be better...

Ok, I had a look before to the fanless cases and that was the only one that seemed good for me. (I contacted pcspecialsit to see if they would send me their fanless case without success http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/pc-images/#2397 ).

Considering the Morex T3500 you say and the Lian Li V353, are there any other cases that could go with no fans?
I don't consider a hfx case a solution for me as I want the computer for a Desktop use and not a HTPC.

Talking about the MB, do you think Intel D525 + ION2 is better than the AMD Fusion? I have seen a lot of reviews but some say one is better or the other is better. Is there any other architecture I forget?
In fact, what I'm trying to build is a computer where I can run youtube videos smoothly and where I can go on the web, use thunderbird and use eclipse sometimes (all under GNU/Linux). My last EPIA EN12000 was somehow freezed when running youtube videos and starting Java applications...

best


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1694
Location: Switzerland
If you're in the UK, you might have trouble finding fanless cases at a good price. I recommend you check logicsupply.com. They have a nice selection of cases and ship internationally but the shipping costs will make a case purchased there expensive for you.

edit: there are people selling cases designed for fanless operation on eBay and the ISK-100 (no idea how good it would be for fanless operation in practice) should be available everywhere

jcerdan wrote:
Wow, I was completely wrong so.
I thought it was a good idea to have a big case so air flow would be better...

No, you're right. The bigger the case, the better. But your case needs to be much bigger than a mITX motherboard and be good at transmitting heat from the inside to the outside if it doesn't have enough well-placed holes. Note also that a real tiny case is trouble, even with holes.
If you're OK with a large case (larger than the Q07), I think a regular case could work. Myself, I think it's a shame to put such a small motherboard in a big case when all you need is holes to allow hot air to rise through the case.
You can of course mod a case to allow hot air to rise.

jcerdan wrote:
Talking about the MB, do you think Intel D525 + ION2 is better than the AMD Fusion?

In some ways yes but I wouldn't choose an ION except for light gaming. The 2010 Atoms have efficient GPUs integrated to the CPU.
The Fusion CPU are a bit better than the old Atoms. New Atoms boards should be available in a matter of weeks and could be better choice.
The trouble with Fusion used to be the drivers. Make sure you've got adequate driver support in your distro.

What I meant with my comment above is that there are other Fusion boards such as the Zotac which are better and cheaper than the Asus.

Especially if your distro does not fully support Fusion (will you get Flash video acceleration?) and if you don't want to wait for tests of the new Atoms, you might want to use a mainstream CPU.
If you're OK with large cases, you should be able to get by without fans if you were to put a huge heatsink on the cheapest dual-core Sandy Bridge CPUs and get an efficient board for it. Mobile gear would in principle be more appropriate but there's an availability and cost problem as well as a lack of testing.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:11 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm
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No, I'm not in the UK, that's why they don't want to send me the case... :(
I'm in Andorra (between France and Spain).
There's no problem for all cases normally as I can find resellers in Europe and shipping costs are not so high as I've got family in Spain and France that can receive the items.

ISK-100 is not a solution for me, as I need a CD/DVD-RW.
About the case, I don't care about the size. What's really important for me is that it must be the most silent possible. I was looking for a big silent case, that could run without fans or a smaller, as I've got space on my desktop and so, that's not really important. Furthermor, it will allow me to install another SSD and maid a RAID-1.

About the MB, I will go on with my EPIA EN12000 fanless until I find the best one for office/programming/youtube videos. I will have a look to the AMD Fusion MBs as you say, and will look for future ATOM ones.
I'm memeber of the FSF and so I can't get a Sandy Bridge CPU ( http://www.defectivebydesign.org/node/2165 ) ;) Even if they are good at perormance....

The case is really a problem:
- For big cases I don't really know what's best. I have seen bitfenix survivor and Fractal design Mini. May be there are others...
- For small cases I have found Lian Li Q07 and Lian Li V353, both fanless. For the first I think it's too small, for the 2nd I have read 2 reviews: one saying it's ok (in this site) and one saying it's not a really passive solution... (in a german site)

Do you HFat (or someone else) know of a case (mini-tower or bigger, I don't care) that can hold a mini-itx and has good airflow (holes) ?

best,


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:44 am 
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Location: Switzerland
Sure, there are other cases with top vents.
But choosing one is dicey because in my experience many details affect fanless cooling. Vents which look like they have big enough holes to let air through can end up blocking it at moderate temperatures.
In a big enough case, I think you'll find holes don't necessarily make a big difference. See this test for instance: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=62592
There's a bunch of gamer cases with top vents like smaller NZXT models I think.
But if you can afford a Fractal Design (a good-looking case), if I were you I'd pick a T3500. That one is known to be good at fanless cooling.

If you were to use one of the new fanless Atom boards, based on their official TDP and on a few heatsink pictures I've seen, I'd wager cooling them will be less of a problem than cooling any desktop gear currently available. So picking a case would be less of a gamble.

I'm generally on board with the FSF but I don't understand what the problem is with Sandy Bridge exactly. Like it or not, Intel pretty much owns the x86 space and no major government are making moves against Intel. If Intel wants to push DRM support, all worthwhile x86 chips will soon have it and your only escape over the long run will be to abandon the x86 ship.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:18 am 
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Location: Guatemala
Personally i wouldnt go fully fanless, fans a very low rpm are virtually inaudible, and it does make a big difference even on fanless heatsinks like your fusion board. In my old server, atom 510, it uses a 120mm exhaust fan, still idles around 50C, i would not run it fanless. Check the following review, its not the same as your mobo, as its the deluxe, but the Zotac seems better in both consumption and temps Anantech Fusion E-350 Review: ASUS E35M1-I Deluxe, ECS HDC-I and Zotac FUSION350-A-E.

Image Image

Now on your same mobo, there is also an article, ASUS E35M1-M Pro Review - Anyone For Fusion?

Image Image

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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:40 am 
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Location: Switzerland
Abula wrote:
In my old server, atom 510, it uses a 120mm exhaust fan, still idles around 50C, i would not run it fanless.

I get 33-36C idle CPU temp on my 510s in the summer (less now) without any fans, custom heatsinks or reseating. It's a matter of using the right case. The CPU could handle much higher temps anyway: it's the board you want to keep cool.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:17 am 
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HFAT: Are you using the Morex T3500 case?
Abula: Thanks for the info. I was considering also to have 1 only fan of 120mm. I think I must investigate more...

I think I've been disconnected from hardware evolution too much time, and now I'm a bit lost with all the MB's and the Cases and differents solutions and possibilities.
I've just discovered that some mini-itx MB's have DC input!! http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=53#ION-ITX-T

That would also be a solution with the Morex T3500 that Hfat told me in his first reply. And forgetting about reusing the DVD/RW 5,25" device I have.

I think I must have a deep look at all the cases and MB's, but the fact to have DC Input included in the MB's changes everything for me. I won't have to look for silent PSU's or fanless PSU's...

Thanks a lot for all your answers and advices Hfat and Abula. I'll have a deeper look to all this, try to find reviews and when I make my choice, I'll inform you to see if I'm right or I have forgotten something important.

Best!


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:30 am 
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Location: Switzerland
Yeah, those temps are with T3500 cases and D510MO motherboards. They're just what the hardware reports and I wouldn't be surprised if actual temperatures were a bit different. I don't have an IR thermometer so all I can do to double-check is to touch the parts and see how hot they feel. Note that I've removed outliers (like one board is oddly hotter than others, probably because the heatsink as been inappropriately installed at the factory with too much thermal compound or something).

The T3500 has an integrated PSU and also comes with a brick so you should use a regular mobo with it. They're cheaper. If you get a mobo with DC input (there's even for Sandy Bridge by the way), better get a case which doesn't come with a fanless PSU like the M350 or something.

The ION board you looked at has a decent integrated graphics card. It's nice if you have a use for it but otherwise it just increases the power consumption and therefore the temperatures.

With the upcoming new Atoms, it might be possible to use a cheap case which features a 5.25'' bay like the Apex SPCR reviewed without a fan. But you'd have to dump the PSU and I don't know if any of the new Atom boards will come with a DC input.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm
Posts: 6
Well, it's a very difficult choice.

MB's with DC input are not recommended with a 5,25" optical drive, but with a slim one. The problem is that all cases I have seen come with a PSU. Except for Nexus Psile but I have seen some comments in this forum about overheat, and I'm not sure I could use the SSD 2.5" inside.

It's really difficult to find a case that matches everythinig I want. I thought it would be easier.

I'm beginning to think I'll never find what I'm looking for... or that I'll have to go for a case with fans or buy en embedded fanless system as the last shuttle fanless with ION2.
I really would like to play with an empty case and mount everything as I did with my last PC several years ago... (Silverstone LC06, Epia MB fanless, 3,5" HDD, 5, 25" optical)

Well, I'll keep on searching.

thanks.

Best,


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Location: Germany
Have you considered buying one of the Zotac boxes?

http://www.kitguru.net/desktop-pc/zardo ... -u-review/

would be the top notch. I'll admit, it's not fanless, but pretty close and you could always buy the smaller box and add an usb optical drive.

regards


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:07 pm
Posts: 6
I've been thinking on all this, and I'm going to take a mini-tower case.

Now I'm thinking about 2 choices:

- Antec Solo II
- Fractal Design Arc Mini

Which one do you think is better? I'm looking for comparisons but I can't find any.

I'll first disable all fans on the case I choose, and have a look to ÂșC. I think in thios case the Fractal will be better because of the top grid that will cause better air flow.
And as HFat told me before, I'll look for MB with future atoms, so I won't buy tech 2 years old...

Best,


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2011 6:37 am
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Location: Beckenham, England
I've got a Solo and Fractal Design Mini. If you look at the pic that I posted on the Morex thread just a few threads below this you can just see the top of them slightly towards the bottom of the pic.

The Fractal Design Mini is the best case I have ever bought. Easy to work. I have not got any of the fans switched on.

One point is that I deeply regret using the suspension mounting system for the hard drives in the Solo. Wish i had screwed the drives in. All looks a bit wobbly inside :-)

I am not in a position to say which is better, since they both do a good job, but if I had to choose one for another build it would be Fractal all the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:22 am 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 7:00 am
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Location: Utah
The Morex 6600 and 6610 are cases designed for fanless boards that would let you use your 5.25" DVD drive.
I have a 6610, and I like it. It's quite a bit bigger than the T3500.
http://www.morex.com.tw/products/productdetail.php?fd_id=128
I don't know much about the mini tower cases.


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:38 am 
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Location: Switzerland
Hi Matthew,
Does the PSU fan spin at low loads? Is it loud? Can you replace it with a standard PSU?


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:20 am 
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If you can drop the optical drive, or use a USB one when the need arises, then the M350 is the case for you:

http://www.mini-box.com/M350-enclosure- ... 0W-adapter

That's assuming the power draw is under 60W, which was at least the case for the uATX version of this board:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1167-page5.html


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 Post subject: Re: Which case for a fanless system?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 7:00 am
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Location: Utah
Quote:
Does the PSU fan spin at low loads? Is it loud? Can you replace it with a standard PSU?

Good point HFat. I hadn't thought of that.
The fan in the 6610's power supply always spins. It's reasonably quiet, but I can tell when it's on.
Sorry, I don't own any kind of sound meter. It sounds like maybe 500 or 800 rpm, if I had to guess.
The T3500 definitely wins for being fanless.

I acutally removed the PSU and used it to replace a broken PSU in a friend's machine in a no-name ATX case.
The screws lined up, but the Morex's PSU was about an inch shorter than the one it replaced.
So, I don't know if you could go the other way. Even if it fit, running the cables would be a challenge.

I picked the case for the little bit of extra space, knowing that I'd remove the PSU.
I used one of the Asus boards that you plug a power brick into, and suspended some HDDs in the space where the PSU used to be.

jcerdan, if you pick a board that needs a PSU then the T3500 might be better, because it comes with a fanless power supply.
If you're still thinking that you want something bigger, have you looked at the TJ08-E?
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1215-page1.html


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