Never too late to go fanless

"I have the NUC85iBEH model (2018). It has been a faithful performer, but it could heat a small house under heavy load, and the fan noise was starting to bother me. The design of the NUC made it impossible to get to the fan without removing the entire motherboard, so I saw the Akasa Plato X8 as an opportunity to permanently resolve my heat and fan issues by eliminating the fan altogether. You remove the motherboard from the original case, and place it in the Plato X8.

First of all, the pictures of the Akasa should tell you that your resulting case is going to take up significantly more space in your rack or cabinet. You are replacing the small NUC case with a hunk of aluminum that is a giant heat sink which will absorb and spread the heat from your CPU to obviate the need for a fan and the noise that comes with it.

In my eyes, this hefty aluminum hunk of heat sink is beautiful, and it absolutely works. All of the front and rear jacks on your original NUC case are duplicated. In fact, the rear panel has two extra openings for Wifi antennas, which are not included with the case. And the wifi antennas which would work with this case are the kind that use two of the vertical black sticks which have wires that plug into the Wifi card on your computer. The original NUC case uses wires that run along the inside of the box. That arrangement does not work with the replacement solid aluminium Plato X8. The aluminum case would block the wifi signal from a wire antenna inside the enclosure. The antenna kits are readily available on Amazon. For my NUC85iBEH, the wifi card required an antenna array with MHF4 connections. Connecting and disconnecting the tiny antenna leads was the most challenging part of the assembly.

For all the rest of the connections, the Plato X8 kit supplied the cables to connect to the motherboard. The instructions are not verbose and use diagrams to describe the various parts and how to install them. When you get the motherboard out of the original case, You have to remove the thermal compound underneath the CPU and wipe the exposed area with alcohol gently to fully clean it. You use the supplied thermal compound to fully coat the bottom of the CPU which touches an aluminum block underneath it in the new case. Once you have screwed the motherboard down, connect the cables, and you are ready to power up. I was slow and cautious, and it took me about an hour to remove the motherboard from the original case, clean the CPU contact points, screw the motherboard down, and connect all the cables.

With my NUC85iBEH, I lost none of the controls or connections on the front and back panels of the original case. My original case did have a micro SD card slot on the side of the case, so that is lost with the new case, but it is the only feature lost for me. That did not bother me, as I had never used it.

When I pressed the front button to boot up, the computer booted up in total silence. There is no fan noise, ever. I have had the computer on for two solid days, and the top of the alumimum case is a little warm - nothing more. Using the CAM software to monitor CPU temperature after running for two days, I show a temperature of 37 degrees Celcius. Of course, this computer is used as an HTPC to listen to music and watch videos, so it is really never fully taxed in my usage. Nonetheless, the fan used to come on all the time, and was distracting in a small room. And if I ever waited too long to clean the fan, the computer could get hot enough to occasionally have a thermal shutdown. Now there is no more fan to clean, and the motherboard assembly is in a fully enclosed case which should make it invulnerable to dust.

I have attached a picture of the finished case in operation as well as my old NUC case and fan in its disassembled state. I did not take a picture of the motherboard installed in either case, but now that the project is finished, I did not want to open the new case back up."

Source: Amazon