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 Post subject: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:42 pm 
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I find the idea of a fanless nettop quite attractive.
Btw, i guess this may have also disvantages, like reduced lifespan of the components and higher risk of failures.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:32 pm 
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SPCR's informed opinion is that mainstream gear tends to fail early without any fans.

I haven't seen any evidence that gear designed to be run without fans also suffers from this. Nettop gear is cheap anyway and should become cheaper very soon.

Over the last 6 years or so, I've seen remarkably few failures of desktop components during use other than drives and PSUs.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:11 am 
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Fanless is difficult. You have to be very careful and make sure the stuff doesn't overheat. A simple way to do that is to go with low performance hardware (like the Atom for example).
But if you add just one quiet fan you can build a quite powerful system (with similar power consumption at idle, compared to the Atom). So imo fanless is great and has its place, but for most applications not ideal today.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:37 am 
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Thanks for your suggestions!
So the general best choice is to have a fan.
Eventually it can be turned completely off with SpeedFan if external and internal temps aren't too high.
But with heavy system load it's better to leave the fan running, otherwise all modern CPUs will get too hot, right?

EDIT: the XS35 nettop series by Shuttle are completely fanless:
Quote:
As an additional benefit, fanless cases rarely gather dust on the inside and stay cleaner than others. So it's not only quiet and low in energy use, but also dust-free and virtually maintenance free

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:22 am 
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Personally I've never had any big problems with dust and I usually don't use fan filters. A quiet fan don't stuff that much dust into a system. Also, dust can collect on a fanless heatsink as well, making it less efficient. And with no fan the temperature is often much higher to begin with. I'm actually more concerned with dust in a fanless system.

The XS35 is Atom based and should be fanless. I have an Atom system as well, fanless.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:29 am 
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In a fanless system, you can usually easily blow out dust. A fan can also fail or become noisy over time. The main disadvantage in my opinion as far as low-power processors like Atoms are concerned is that the fanless option makes for heavier, larger PCs.

You can build yourself something similar (if less sleek) to the XS35 for less money.
More importantly, the basic XS35 is nearly 2 years old and laptops with the new Atoms are already shipping. Shops have also started listing the new mITX boards a couple of weeks ago so my guess is that they'll become available soon. They have more features and should run less hot without a fan.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:42 am 
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According to this AIDA64 test the XS35GT (fanless) reaches the same temp of the Asus EeeBox EB1501 (with a fan @ 25dBA on heavy load).
The test setup is not exactly the same, but they are very close indeed!
So, since the temperature is the same i would prefer the Shuttle fanless nettop.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:58 am 
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Naturally. :) Atoms should be fanless.

The issue is what the system will be used for. I once contemplated a small, fanless, power efficient system just for surfing the net, checking mail etc. But then Sandy Bridge came and the difference in power draw at idle dropped. When I talk about a quiet fan I mean a 120mm at 500RPM or similar. HDD, coil whine, buzzing TFT is often noisier than that.
But there's little reason for going with a Sandy Bridge system if a cheaper Atom system will do the job just as well, and also be smaller and fanless.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:42 am 
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Can you suggest me other pre-built fanless nettops with similar specs to the XS35GTV2?

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:02 am 
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Others have to help you with that I think. Pre-built is not my thing so I have very little insights. Or look at what's important to you - design, noise, performance, price etc and when you find a suitable system get back to us here at the forum and we will comment on it.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:22 am 
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I prefer a pre-built system 'cause i haven't much experience in assembling those little nettops, i fear of doing something wrong.

The most important thing for me is the noise/price ratio.
Performance-wise my only requirement is a GPU capable of hardware HD video decoding.

side question:
what do you think about putting a phase-changing colling pad around the case to increase heat dissipation of a fanless system?

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:16 am 
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silentbobbo wrote:
The most important thing for me is the noise/price ratio.
Performance-wise my only requirement is a GPU capable of hardware HD video decoding.

Perhaps a WDTV Live? :) Or if you need x86, perhaps an AMD system (Fusion).

silentbobbo wrote:
what do you think about putting a phase-changing colling pad around the case to increase heat dissipation of a fanless system?

The case is in most cases quite cool, so it would help very little.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:00 am 
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Low-power systems do not consume enough electricity to make a whole case hot.
If a part of a case is hot, it's because hot air flows through it and you don't want to block it!

silentbobbo wrote:
Performance-wise my only requirement is a GPU capable of hardware HD video decoding.

What do you mean exactly? Some GPUs can decode more things than others.
There's also the matter of drivers so you should mention what software you want to use. Fusion is not only relatively expensive and hot, drivers used to be a problem (maybe that was fixed).


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:26 am 
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The NVIDIA ION seems an adequate GPU for both 1080p video decoding (VP4) and moderate 2D gaming.
I would like an x86 CPU, so i can run most programs i'm used to for browsing internet, etc.

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Last edited by silentbobbo on Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:33 am 
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Yes but it wastes power and increases temperatures. If you really need it, fine. But if you can do without, it'd be better. The old CPU in the XS35 has an integrated GPU that can handle some 1080p ( http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1010-page4.html ) and the current generation is reportedly much improved.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:37 am 
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I've read that when both GPUs are present the system can switch @ runtime from one GPU to another according to system load (and instantly power off the unused one).

Thank you for pointing me to that review btw, i thought that the Atom wasn't capable of any 1080p video playback without GPU acceleration, so i might reconsider the XS35V2 (quite cheaper than the XS35GT).
Eventually, if i'm not satisfied with the performances, could i install a discrete mini-PCIe video card later?

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 11:56 am 
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You mean a mPCIe decoder? Maybe. Does it even have a mPCIe slot? What about software support? And would that be cost effective?
If you were to build your own (it's fairly easy), you could upgrade the cheap and outdated board to whatever new tech you want and keep the case and drive anytime. With mainstream gear, it wouldn't be so cheap to throw away the board, CPU and RAM but in this case it would only cost you around $80 US (less if you resell or reuse instead of throwing away). But if you're not in a hurry and are thinking about building, I would wait for the new boards instead of buying old tech.

I don't think you can power off the ION GPU but maybe I've missed something.

An older XS35 may be preferable to the V2 (hotter CPU) but that's a detail.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:50 pm 
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HFat wrote:
You mean a mPCIe decoder? Maybe. Does it even have a mPCIe slot? What about software support? And would that be cost effective?

No, i was thinking about a real video card, although they seem difficult to find.
ION2 was expected to be released also in this form, but it hasn't happened yet.

HFat wrote:
If you were to build your own (it's fairly easy), you could upgrade the cheap and outdated board to whatever new tech you want and keep the case and drive anytime. With mainstream gear, it wouldn't be so cheap to throw away the board, CPU and RAM but in this case it would only cost you around $80 US (less if you resell or reuse instead of throwing away). But if you're not in a hurry and are thinking about building, I would wait for the new boards instead of buying old tech.

What new are expected from these mITX boards?

HFat wrote:
I don't think you can power off the ION GPU but maybe I've missed something.

The name is Nvidia Optimus tecnology.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:26 am 
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I thought Optimus was not supported on this hardware. It's not a laptop and the video card is requried for digital video output. But maybe it can be made to work. If Shuttle advertises it then it should work.

silentbobbo wrote:
What new are expected from these mITX boards?

High-res digital video output without a video card and an integrated GPU that decodes mode videos at the price of the models which didn't have that. And generally more features and performance for less electricity (and therefore less heat).
But drivers could be an issue depending on the software you want to use. That remains to be seen.
People have posted pictures and quick tests but no serious reviews.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:39 am 
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HFat wrote:
I thought Optimus was not supported on this hardware. It's not a laptop and the video card is requried for digital video output. But maybe it can be made to work. If Shuttle advertises it then it should work.

Yep, it's using the 8-cores version of ION.

HFat wrote:
High-res digital video output without a video card and an integrated GPU that decodes mode videos at the price of the models which didn't have that. And generally more features and performance for less electricity (and therefore less heat).
But drivers could be an issue depending on the software you want to use. That remains to be seen.
People have posted pictures and quick tests but no serious reviews.

Ok, now is AMD Fusion vs Intel Cedar Trail platforms.
Still there are no prebuilt systems with these gears.
So now i just have to consider price-wise building my own system with new gears vs getting an older prebuild system.
For starting, do you know where i could find a fanless case (European online shops)?

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 8:01 am 
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silentbobbo wrote:
So now i just have to consider price-wise building my own system with new gears vs getting an older prebuild system.
For starting, do you know where i could find a fanless case (European online shops)?

The first results on a quick Google were:
www.itx-warehouse.co.uk
www.mini-tft.de
www.logicsupply.de
I'm sure there are many others. Prices might be better with cottage importers selling on eBay though.

The last one was a surprise. It sends gear for review to SPCR and is popular here. But you used to have to order from the US: http://www.logicsupply.de/news/new-site-store/
I don't know if they have anywhere near the same choice of parts in Europe.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:40 am 
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I've tried various setups on those websites, but the prices are higher than this prebuilt Shuttle XS35V2 i've found on Amazon.it.

Back in-topic, i think that fanless systems aren't very popular for the following reasons:
- most people don't care about having a fanless system as long as the fan is reasonably quiet;
- fanless systems are harder to manufacture and pricey, so there is little mainstream production of them.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:03 am 
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For low-power systems, fanless is probably cheaper actually.
The problem is the looks: with a fan, you computer can be thinner and sleeker. Vents are required for fanless systems and I suppose they look strange to most people. Certainly the smooth case surfaces you can get if you use a fan are sleek.

You're probably looking at the wrong parts. To do the same thing as that Shuttle, you only need two parts:
-a case (some cheap ones might do but the best I know costs 80 euros in one of these shops which is more expensive than it should be so you may be able to get it cheaper elsewhere)
-a D525MW board (which costs about 65 euros in the same shop)
So it's less expensive than the Amazon's Shuttle even with the most expensive case and even if you don't shop around for the lowest prices. But that's not really the point of building yourself: the point that is you get to choose the motherboard you use (I wouldn't want that one) and you can upgrade it later while keeping the case.


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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:03 am 
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Ok, i get your point, the Shuttle case is not reusable.

I've found the Coolermaster TC-100 in an Italian shop, price-wise doesn't change much, considering you have to add an heatpipe and the power adapter.

Btw, do you think i will get lower temperatures with the Coolermaster case?
I think that having more free space inside the case will ease the buildup of hot air (not a good thing).
On the other side, inside the Shuttle the components are very tight to the case (see the pics in this review), so i think it will dissipate heat better.

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 Post subject: Re: fans, with or [without] you?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:44 am 
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I think I understand why you're confused now. You should read some other threads and some reviews related to low-power systems.
See for instance: http://www.silentpcreview.com/intel-d510m0

The TC-100 type of case is for more powerful CPUs. Manufacturers may try to sell one to you for use low-power systems but that's ridiculous. You would indeed get a build more expensive than an equivalent Shuttle.

With an Atom board, you typically want a case without heatpipes (you don't need them) and you typically want a small case.
Manufacturers usually provide power supplies for small cases because there's not enough to fit your own in there. There are exceptions like the M350 case you need to use with a pico or a board with DC input. The M350 is cheap enough that you can afford one or the other while keeping the total cost reasonable.


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