Core-based ZBOX Pro

We knew that several Gemini Lake ZBOX Pro were coming but this i3-7100U version was totally unexpected. And unlike its ultra low-power counterparts this Kaby Lake mini PC is available right now for pre-order.

✓ Intel Core i3-7100U
✓ Intel AMT technology
✓ 2 x DDR4-2400 SODIMM slots
✓ 1 x 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps HDD / SSD
✓ 3-in-1 card reader (SD / SDHC / SDXC)
✓ 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
✓ 5 x USB 3.0
✓ 1 x HDMI 2.0
✓ 1 x Displayport 1.2
✓ 2 x Gigabit LAN
✓ WiFi 802.11ac / a / b / g / n
✓ 160 mm x 126.7 mm x 58.7 mm

Source: Simply NUC, ZOTAC Japan


Mystery new product

Prime Computer is teasing a new product scheduled for next week...

Source: Twitter

Passive cooling on a budget

Not everybody can afford a $120 fanless NUC case, and some people are good with their hands. Check out this cool - and most likely very effective - mod over at Audiophile Style.


Quiet PC Silent Phantom PC 2.0

Quiet PC's flagship fanless rig is now available with Thermaltake's Core P3 Tempered Glass Curved Edition. The open frame chassis features an impressive 90° curved panel. The system is fully configurable with Intel's 35W i9-9900T, i7-9700T, i5-9600T, and i3-9100T available just any day now.

Source: Quiet PC


Interview with Noctua's Jakob Dellinger

FanlessTech: Your fanless CPU cooler prototype came as a total surprise to us. It does look amazing. Passively-cooled desktop PCs are a niche market though, what type of customers are you looking for?

Jakob Dellinger: Thanks, glad to hear you like our prototype! This will be a new market for us indeed and honestly, I think for the majority of customers taking a regular forced convection based CPU cooler and letting the fans run at very slow speeds is the better option. For example, if you take an NH-D15 and set the fans to 500rpm, it will be virtually inaudible and you’ll still get very nice cooling performance. However, some customers simply prefer completely fanless systems without moving parts that are completely noiseless and have less issues with dust. Another option is semi-passive setups that have the fans off most of the time and only spin them up for short load spikes.

What price range are you shooting for?

It’s still a bit too early to tell, but we aim to stay below 100 EUR/USD.

Have you tested it horizontally?

From what we saw, convection would work just fine. Yes, it does work nicely in desktop orientation as well but you have to keep in mind that in this case, the motherboard will block natural convection a bit, so having the motherboard vertical is preferable to get the best possible results.

What are the technical challenges of using 1.5mm cooling fins? How a version featuring 1.0mm or 0.5mm fins would perform?

Our regular coolers have 0.4 to 0.5mm thick fins so going to 1.5mm is challenging because we cannot use our regular stamping, folding and interlocking machines in production. Much higher forces are required and this sort of machinery is very expensive. Reducing the thickness of the fins would have a negative impact on performance because we need a certain amount of mass in order to be able to absorb enough thermal energy.

Noctua never used 8mm heat pipes. Any specific reason behind it?

We’ve been experimenting a lot with different diameters, e.g. 7, 8 or even 10mm. The obvious advantage of larger diameters is that the capacity is higher, but there are drawbacks as well. Space is limited at the base of the cooler, so you can only fit a certain number of heatpipes in a way that is thermally efficient. For example, stacking them on top of each other or adding extra heatpipes further out to the sides wouldn’t make much sense because they wouldn’t get much thermal energy. For example, you can fit 7x 6mm but only 5x 8mm on roughly the same space, so while a single 8mm heatpipe has more capacity than a single 6mm one, the total capacity won’t be higher. Another drawback is that with less heatpipes, you can not achieve as even heat distribution across the fins as with a higher number of smaller diameter heatpipes. There’s rarely a free lunch in thermal engineering. All in all, 6mm has proven to be the sweet spot for us.

From our experience, the PC case is as crucial as the fanless CPU cooler. It must feature enough mesh for convection to occur. Would Noctua consider a list of thermally compatible chassis?

Yes, we definitely plan to have a list of recommended cases that are suitable for fanless configurations!

What about your own chassis? Will Noctua ever release a PC case?

Never say never but this isn’t something we have on the roadmap at the moment.

Over the years, Noctua showcased various prototypes that never made it to production. Will Noctua release a fanless CPU cooler in 2020 for sure?

There are still some challenges with manufacturing that we need to sort out so I cannot give any guarantee but it is our goal to have the fanless cooler out on the market next year.

Thank you so much for your time, Jakob. We just can't wait!

Images courtesy of Richard Swinburne


ASRock's iBOX-R1000M is available

ASRock's newly released Ryzen Embedded barebone is now available from $499.95. Powered by the dual-core R1606G (15W TDP) the system features two SO-DIMM slots (up to 32GB), four USB ports, HDMI, two DisplayPorts, two Realtek GbE ports, and some of the most impressive cooling fins we've ever seen in a mini PC.

Source: MITXPC


Absolutely gorgeous


MonsterLabo's case review

Wow. Although it can be tricky to assemble, The First is simply the best performing heat sink case according to our friend Matthew over at Fully Silent PCs.


Fanless deals on Amazon

Streacom FC8 EVO for $156

Akasa Euler S for $100

Akasa Euler T for $171

ASUS H310T Thin mini-ITX for $80

Intel i7-8700T for $329

Arctic Alpine 12 Passive for $13

SilverStone HE02 for $80

ZOTAC ZBOX CI620 for $500

RGEEK aluminum mini-ITX case for $54

Mitac PD10AI Thin mini-ITX motherboard for $200


Fanless CPU cooler prototype

Last year, we pitched the idea of a fanless cooler for 35W processors to cirrus7 and here's the first prototype (well, the third one actually). It's called stratus and performs up to 50% better than Arctic's Alpine 12 Passive. What do you guys think?