Streacom FC8 Fanless Case Review
By Gabriel Torres on March 13, 2012


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

The Streacom FC8 Fanless is a unique all-aluminum, small form factor/HTPC case compatible with Mini-ITX motherboards, designed for quiet computing. It comes with a passive cooling system that cools down the CPU by connecting it to the chassis using two heatpipes. Let’s take a look at it.

The FC8 Fanless is very tiny, at 3.9 x 9.4 x 9.8 inches (100 x 240 x 250 mm). Because of that, it needs an external power supply. Basically, you will need to buy an AC adapter similar to the ones used by laptops and a picoPSU, which converts the voltage offered by the AC adapter into the voltages and connectors required by the motherboard and other components.

This case is available in two color choices: black or silver. We are taking a look at the black version.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 1: Streacom FC8 Fanless case

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 2: Streacom FC8 Fanless case

As you can see, the right side of the case has a huge radiator, which is part of the CPU passive cooling system.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 3: Radiator on the right panel

The Front, Bottom, and Rear Panels

Because of its reduced size, the Streacom FC8 Fanless case supports only slim optical drives. Its front panel has two USB 2.0 ports and an SD memory card reader. The case also has a dark purple window for an optional infrared receptor to the right of the memory card reader. This way, you can add support for a remote control, which is a great idea. However, we think that for the price, this case should have come with this interface installed.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 4: Front panel

At the bottom panel, the case comes with feet similar to the ones used by home theater equipment, correctly matching the intended usage of the product.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 5: Bottom panel

The rear panel of the reviewed case is plain, with only a cutout for the motherboard rear panel. It has one low-profile (a.k.a. half-height) expansion slot.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 6: Rear panel

Inside the Streacom FC8 Fanless

In order to open the FC8 Fanless, you need to remove two screws located on the bottom panel and two screws located on the right side panel. The case consists of two U-shaped aluminum sheets, one with the bottom, rear, and front panels, and another with the left, top, and right panels. The interior is very clean, and all you will see is the disk drive tray. As already explained, this case is compatible only with Mini-ITX motherboards.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 7: Overall look

The disk drive tray supports the installation of a slim optical drive (i.e., originally developed for laptops), one 3.5” hard drive, and one 2.5” storage device. The devices must be installed using regular screws, and the 3.5” bay has rubber washers in order to absorb vibration, which reduces noise.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 8: The disk drive tray

The Passive Cooling Solution

The highlight of the Streacom FC8 Fanless is its passive cooling solution for the CPU. As we’ve already shown, this solution has a radiator on the case’s right panel. The case has two heatpipes (six mm in diameter each) that are used to connect the CPU thermal block to this radiator. In order to be compatible with the highest number of CPUs and motherboards possible, the radiator offers three height options for installing the heatpipes, and three different positions for installing the heatpipes on the CPU cooling block.

According to the manufacturer, this system can cool down processors with a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of up to 65 W.

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 9: The heatpipes

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 10: The CPU cooling block

Streacom FC8 Fanless case
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Figure 11: Installation hardware

Main Specifications

The main specifications for the Streacom FC8 Fanless case include:

Conclusions

The Streacom FC8 Fanless is one of the most innovative computer cases we’ve seen in a long time. It seems like a great option for users who are paranoid about noise and want the smallest possible computer to be connected to their home theater systems. The major drawback of this case is obviously its price. However, when we  put into perspective the construction material (thick aluminum), the fact that you won’t need a CPU cooler, that the case is targeted to a very specific market segment, and that it is targeted to users looking for exclusivity, the price may not be a problem after all. (In addition, the official distributor in the U.S. is offering a 15% discount over the suggested price.)

Strong Points

Weak Points

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Streacom-FC8-Fanless-Case-Review/1507


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