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Streacom FC8 fanless mITX Build

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Just started my new mITX build in a Streacom FC8 fanless HTPC case. I'll start with a little teaser as I just got started.



Similar to the Origenae M10 but without the display and about 1/2 the cost. Unfortunately the instructions which came with the case are rather brief:



Well I have built a few HTPCs before so it should not be a problem. I haven't progressed much since I am waiting for the APU (A6-3500), memory, BD drive and power supply to arrive but I have mounted the motherboard (Asus F1A75-I Deluxe) and a slaughtered HP IR receiver. The latter found a great home at the front right of the case.



The CPU block is anodized all around, even on the surface that will mount to the processor - not too reassuring but it seems very even so with the right amount of AS5 it should work out.

Also the cooling pipes are moving fairly freely in the blocks attaching them to the case and there seems to be no way of tightening the mounting so I guess some AS5 needs to go in there as well.



Sorry about the iPhone photos, I will update with better and more pics as the build progresses and I find the charger for my EOS.
post #2 of 66
sexy case, it looks like the fins are functional, if so that is awesome
post #3 of 66
What did the case cost and where did you get it?
post #4 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

What did the case cost and where did you get it?

It just became available here (Sweden) - I actually first saw it at perfecthometheater.com but they say they won't have it untlil Christmas.
$176 - that, I'll tell ya, is a grreat deal.

The color is actually much darker - completely black - than the top picture suggests.

Their ultra low profile version looks great too - like an Atech case almost:

post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
Got the CPU, memory and picoPSU installed. Two sticks of 4GB DDR3-1600 - since memory is cheap might as well go with 8 gig. The picoPSU takes up almost no space.





The CPU block is far from the usual mirror polished copper found on most heatsinks. Guess this is an indicator of the low price of the case - remains to be proven how well it works.



No fancy spring loaded screws or anything - just 4 regular screws holding the CPU block by way of nuts on the back of the motherboard. Difficult to know how hard to tighten the screws but fortunately the steel strips flex a bit so the risk of over tightening was lower.

I separated the block and added some Arctic Silver 5 where the heat pipes go and screwed it back together.







Done. No bulky active CPU cooler to take up space, the tiny case becomes quite roomy. The HDD/ODD bracket goes on top of this but with just one SSD and a slim BD drive I should have no problem finding space for the little x1 tuner card I plan to connect to the mPCIe slot.



I was planning to add some Arctic Silver where the heat pipes are held to the case wall, but the 2 blocks which clamp over the pipes are held by screws whose heads are between the cooling fins on the side of the case and I could not get a large enough screwdriver in there to get those screws loose without destroying the heads. Hopefully it will work out anyway.

Only 2 heat pipes came with the case - I would have liked 2 more but they would have come into conflict with the chipset heat sink so it would not have worked anyway. Streacom says they have tested the case with an A8 on the same motherboard as I have with great results so I'll take their word for it.

As soon as I get the power brick for the picoPSU I can power on and test it out. Stay tuned.
post #6 of 66
First reply seems to been eaten by a LOLcat.


Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.


1. Nice looking build.
2. Thinking of doing the same, but with an A8-3800 and a Zotac A75-ITX.
3. Zotac isn't of the same quality, but then again, there's no obstructions whatsoever between the CPU and interior wall of the Streacom.
4. Anodizing the bottom of the heatsink seems wrong to me.
5. Only including 2 of 6 heat pipes seems cheap.
6. If you were interested in adding more pipes, google "enertron inc"


Again, nice looking build. Waiting to see the final completion, and perhaps short term review.
post #7 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

It just became available here (Sweden) - I actually first saw it at perfecthometheater.com but they say they won't have it untlil Christmas.
$176 - that, I'll tell ya, is a grreat deal.

The color is actually much darker - completely black - than the top picture suggests.

Their ultra low profile version looks great too - like an Atech case almost:


Interesting, their HTPC-FC5OD-Black case design and product description is "almost" a copy of mine(www.hd-plex.com). except maybe I should raise my price.

Streacom product description says "Six heatpipe passive fanless heatsink System for LGA775/LGA1156/LGA1155/AM2/AM3 Socket CPU*
*For AM2/AM3 socket use four heatpipes." But from the installation picture, streacom lacks four plastic cup holder which actually make it possible to use 6 heatpipe on the AM2/AM3 socket. If I were them, at least I will emphasize my advantage when copy the product description from others.

post #8 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeeDub View Post

First reply seems to been eaten by a LOLcat.

Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

2. Thinking of doing the same, but with an A8-3800 and a Zotac A75-ITX.
3. Zotac isn't of the same quality, but then again, there's no obstructions whatsoever between the CPU and interior wall of the Streacom.
4. Anodizing the bottom of the heatsink seems wrong to me.
5. Only including 2 of 6 heat pipes seems cheap.

I actually had the Zotac board on order but it was not scheduled to be available until mid-October and it is also more expensive than the Asus. Streacom sent me photos of their build based on the Asus board which confirmed it would fit, and I found out it has a real mPCIe slot so I picked the Asus.

W/ r t the heat pipes I agree they could easily have included more. In my case the positioning of the CPU socket on the Asus board is such that I would only have been able to use one more, for a total of 3, assuming I could bend it so it did not hit the chipset heatsink.

I agree anodizing the bottom of the heat sink is unusual. Remains to be seen if it really matters, though.

Even A-Tech uses just 2 heat pipes, although with a much more sophisticated CPU block:



I guess what I am doing is field testing the product. I will be sure to post the results, still waiting for the power brick so the system is still sitting on a shelf.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lymzy View Post

Interesting, their HTPC-FC5OD-Black case design and product description is "almost" a copy of mine(www.hd-plex.com). except maybe I should raise my price.

Agree, very similar, even down to the CPU block and its mounting hardware. Looking at the exterior, you are both mimicking A-Tech.
post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 
Another detail to plan for is the slim optical drive; the case has the eject button on the left below the slot while the Lite-On slim BD drive I got via eBay has the button centered.

The drive aligns perfectly with the slot in the case, but I will not be able to use the eject button. Even if I could figure out a way to link the case button to the button on the drive, there is no room because the front of the drive sits flush with the case.

No issue for me, I have an eject button programmed into my Harmony remote, but if you plan to get the case and install an ODD, make sure you get one with the eject button on the left.
post #10 of 66
Love the slim cases, not so crazy on the large case with the asymetrical heatsinks and busy front.

But yeah, anodized coupling junction *could* be a mistake by manufacturer, want to seriously make sure the heat is being transferred efficiently.

Here is good article how to go about it.
post #11 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

But yeah, anodized coupling junction *could* be a mistake by manufacturer, want to seriously make sure the heat is being transferred efficiently.

Well, the guy from Streacom suggested to me that it was designed that way, to keep the cost down.

I powered up the system for the first time yesterday and it seems to be running fine without any temperature problems. The BIOS processor temperature indication is most likely out of whack as it indicated an idle temp of 50 C just after power on.

I have been running AIDA64 which is indicating an idle temp of just above 30; after 30 minutes of Blu-ray playback (which is about the highest load this system will ever see) core temp is stable at 36 with a GPU temp of 37. Core load on the A6-3500 during BD playback (in TMT5) is 24%, 18%, and 18%, respectively.

Cooling fins on the outside of the case appear to be at approximately body temperature.

AIDA64 says motherboard temp is 60C which is definitely not true, so I am not sure how reliable these figures are. What would be the best tool to use for monitoring temps on the Llano/A75 platform?
post #12 of 66
Thread Starter 
Okay, I have done some load testing now and here are the results. I think I can conclude now that the case cools pretty well; there are no indications of overheating and temperature is stable even after 30 minutes of running Prime95 at full CPU load.

First, at idle. Notable is that the AMD 10h temp sensor and the "Nuvoton" sensors show completely different readings.



Then, after about 30 minutes of processing a 1080i H.264 live TV stream (by way of DVBlink Network Server) and sending it over the network to a client PC. This represents the majority of usage for this HTPC - TV hub for the house. The CPU temp sensors are still not in agreement.



And finally, after about 30 minutes of running Prime95. Note that the two CPU temperature readings are now just about the same.

Also the indicated mobo temp went DOWN when running Prime95 - which makes no sense so that confirms that reading is out of kilter.

post #13 of 66
Thread Starter 
So I have completed the build, thought I'd post some final images. So far I am extremely happy with the case and I would certainly recommend it to anyone who wants a great looking mITX case that is completely silent.

The exterior does get pretty warm, but I am taking this as proof that the cooling solution with its (only) 2 heat pipes does work. CPU temp does get up to just over 40 degrees C when transcoding 1080i HDTV streams, but it holds very stable at that level and I have seen no signs of heat issues.

I am running it with an SSD, two twin-tuner TV cards and a BD drive powered by a 90W picoPSU with no issues.

miniPCIE WLAN card replaced with a x1 adapter I got from Costronic in Taiwan.



Test run with the x1 DVB-T2 card (BlackGold 3620). Worked great!



The back panel has predrilled holes intended for USB ports above the I/O shield; I enlarged one for the antenna connector for the tuner card.





I fixed the tuner card to the bottom of the disk/ODD bracket using thick double sided tape. The ribbon cable is a PCIe x1 extender that connects the card to the x1 slot adapter.



Photo taken from the left side with the x16 slot still empty. The antenna wire from the -T2 card to the McGyvered connector can be seen on the left. Despite the compact dimensions of the case, there is still room for some air to move around.



Disk/ODD bracket and DVB-S2 card in place. Time to put the lid back on.



Done. It looks really tiny on the shelf...



post #14 of 66
Quick question, but is there space for a HDD along with the slim ODD and 2.5" SSD? The site specs show it as having space for a 3.5" drive, 2.5" drive, and slim ODD, but I'm not sure I see it in your case, at least not clearly, and you don't mention any hard drive.
post #15 of 66
Nice build! A mod for a CI-slot, and it would be perfect
post #16 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post

Quick question, but is there space for a HDD along with the slim ODD and 2.5" SSD? The site specs show it as having space for a 3.5" drive, 2.5" drive, and slim ODD, but I'm not sure I see it in your case, at least not clearly, and you don't mention any hard drive.

Yes, the 3.5" hard drive is mounted under the ODD. If you look at my pic of the bracket flipped over you can see the flanges.
post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

Yes, the 3.5" hard drive is mounted under the ODD. If you look at my pic of the bracket flipped over you can see the flanges.

Okay, I thought that might be a hard drive, but wasn't completely sure since it is pretty well covered up. I'm really into the idea of building a silent htpc, though the idea of a small ssd and only 1 HDD is a bit of a downer, as that really limits storage without some big external thing. However I definitely like the case.
post #18 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post

Okay, I thought that might be a hard drive, but wasn't completely sure since it is pretty well covered up. I'm really into the idea of building a silent htpc, though the idea of a small ssd and only 1 HDD is a bit of a downer, as that really limits storage without some big external thing. However I definitely like the case.

Strictly speaking a HTPC with a 3.5" hard drive in it is not a silent PC. That kind of defeats the whole purpose and negates the increased cost required for the build.
post #19 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post


Okay, I thought that might be a hard drive, but wasn't completely sure since it is pretty well covered up. I'm really into the idea of building a silent htpc, though the idea of a small ssd and only 1 HDD is a bit of a downer, as that really limits storage without some big external thing. However I definitely like the case.

I have no hard drive installed, sorry if I was unclear, I meant there is a SPACE for one on the underside of the bracket. I agree with Assassin, in a case like this a mechanical drive is just a source of unneeded heat and noise. All my storage is on a WHS.
post #20 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nilsga View Post

Nice build! A mod for a CI-slot, and it would be perfect

No need for a CI slot. Use DVBlink TVsource, newcs, acamd and a USB connected smart card reader (Phoenix). Much more reliable and you can use 7MC if you like. Great solution to get encrypted channels into any TV front end.

DVBlink also works with almost any tuner card that has BDA drivers so no need to get those expensive cards which (claim to) work with CI but are flaky at best.
post #21 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Strictly speaking a HTPC with a 3.5" hard drive in it is not a silent PC. That kind of defeats the whole purpose and negates the increased cost required for the build.

True, but HDD's are a necessity for a HTPC, either in the case or somewhere else outside of it, and streaming over wifi doesn't seem to work with HD in most cases, so I assume unless you have a wired connection to a server in another room somehow, I don't see how to get something truly silent. For me an internal HDD will be a necessity in this case for at least a year or two.
post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post

True, but HDD's are a necessity for a HTPC, either in the case or somewhere else outside of it, and streaming over wifi doesn't seem to work with HD in most cases, so I assume unless you have a wired connection to a server in another room somehow, I don't see how to get something truly silent.

There are more options than just that.

And if you can't have just a SSD in your case then you have no business paying the extra $$$ that it costs to get a small passive case. Just get a large case with 2-4 120mm fans and a bunch of hard drives and call it a day. You will come out way ahead.
post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

There are more options than just that.

And if you can't have just a SSD in your case then you have no business paying the extra $$$ that it costs to get a small passive case. Just get a large case with 2-4 120mm fans and a bunch of hard drives and call it a day. You will come out way ahead.

Except I'm planning for the future and would eventually put the hdd in external storage. I'm assuming that mini itx will stay in existence for a long time and hopefully future mobo's will support this case, so I can use it for a long time into the forseeable future. I have now looked into making a super cheap atom based storage server, and it would only cost like $165 or so, plus hard drives and optical drive which I already have. So overall getting this case would come out ahead in the long run, as I wouldn't need to buy a more expensive similar case a few yrs down the road when/if I have money. for $220 regularly when it comes to the USA this case is a steal, and if it goes on sale below $200 I'm definitely grabbing it. Most htpc cases that can fit like 6 hard drives cost $100-$200 anyway, so savings on that are minimal, and they seriously lack the style that the streacom fc8 has.

My only question is how someone with a silent htpc and whs, is connecting to that server. What are the other options other than wifi or a wired connection to a router that you speak of assassin?
post #24 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by politby View Post

No need for a CI slot. Use DVBlink TVsource, newcs, acamd and a USB connected smart card reader (Phoenix). Much more reliable and you can use 7MC if you like. Great solution to get encrypted channels into any TV front end.

DVBlink also works with almost any tuner card that has BDA drivers so no need to get those expensive cards which (claim to) work with CI but are flaky at best.

Unfortunately, for my provider CAM and subscription card is paired, so softcam is not an option...
post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post

Except I'm planning for the future and would eventually put the hdd in external storage. I'm assuming that mini itx will stay in existence for a long time and hopefully future mobo's will support this case, so I can use it for a long time into the forseeable future. I have now looked into making a super cheap atom based storage server, and it would only cost like $165 or so, plus hard drives and optical drive which I already have. So overall getting this case would come out ahead in the long run, as I wouldn't need to buy a more expensive similar case a few yrs down the road when/if I have money. for $220 regularly when it comes to the USA this case is a steal, and if it goes on sale below $200 I'm definitely grabbing it. Most htpc cases that can fit like 6 hard drives cost $100-$200 anyway, so savings on that are minimal, and they seriously lack the style that the streacom fc8 has.

My only question is how someone with a silent htpc and whs, is connecting to that server. What are the other options other than wifi or a wired connection to a router that you speak of assassin?

1. Run CAT5 from above or below to create a wired network.

2. If that's not possible then consider getting something like this: LINK
post #26 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nilsga View Post

Unfortunately, for my provider CAM and subscription card is paired, so softcam is not an option...

Okay. I think you could cut a slot in the back panel, in the same way as I enlarged one of the holes, only you make a slot instead. There is room inside the case for a PCI-card style CI add-on, especially if you do not install a 3.5" HDD.
post #27 of 66
I'm interest in almost exactly the same setup.

What are the feet like? Would it be possible to mount on a wall?

Also I was wondering if you had a video of it booting up. I want to put Windows 7 and want to get an idea of how quick this machine is.
post #28 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatNorth View Post

I'm interest in almost exactly the same setup.

What are the feet like? Would it be possible to mount on a wall?

Also I was wondering if you had a video of it booting up. I want to put Windows 7 and want to get an idea of how quick this machine is.



The feet are standard AV type round with rubber inserts and a gold border. They are glued or taped, not screwed, to the case bottom.

Mounting it to the wall should be easy, just drill through the bottom to create a "key hole" mounting.

Mine boots into 7MC in 30 seconds from power off.
post #29 of 66
Thanks politby. Your setup is awesome.

Well I've been pricing out what I'd ideally like. Its a little beyond what I wanted to spend but I'm tempted:

$222.59 - Streacom Fc8-od-b
$142.83 - ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe
$154.07 - AMD A8-3800
$44.99 - Kingston Technology Hyper X 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
$98.98 - Panasonic UJ240 6x Blu-ray Burner
$109.62 - Hauppauge 1213 WinTV-HVR-2250 PCI-E x1 Dual TV Tuner
$165.23 - OCZ 120 GB Vertex 3 SATA III 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive

$983.30 - Total

A few problems:
- blu-ray player - I found it pretty difficult to track down options. If anyone finds a left eject slim slot blu ray player I'd be interested (it doesn't have to be a burner). In fact if they can confirm the UJ240 drive would work that would be useful
- Its not clear if the "IR receiver and RC260" is included by the ebay seller for the Streacom Fc8 and if not, I need to track one down.
- The AMD A8-3800 is tough to get your hands on but I don't want to compromise on the processing power at this wattage.
- Not sure there aren't more attractive Intel options. I like the AMD fusion because I figure the Radeon Dual Graphics will serve me well if the system is later not up to the Blu-ray 3d needs. I figure I'll be able to swap in a discrete card for the tv tuner.
- I'm tempted to save $110 and just get the Wesena ITX7-2. Currently I have the home theatre, ps3 and NAS whirling their fans so perhaps its not such a big deal.

I'm going to wait a little. I think we'll see some prices come down:
- Intel just brought out there SSD 520 so I figure that will cause some price changes in the SSD market
New from engadget
- It looks like Wesena will start selling the fc8 (model here will be the itx8)
Check this store

We'll see.
post #30 of 66
In case anyone is interest in a similar/noisier "fan" version there's a thread describing Balinus's build of almost the same but using the Wesena itx7-2 on the XBMC forum:
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=115793

Balinus went with an HDD instead of the SDD but even so the boot up is pretty fast as you can see in his youtube video clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlfsC...ature=youtu.be
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