Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

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tbessie
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Location: San Francisco, CA

Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by tbessie » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi folks...

I'm looking into fanless systems to use for audio and video streaming around my house. Currently, I have a full-on HTPC under my TV, running Windows 7 x64, chock full of storage and great audio and video cards. The issue is, 1) it uses lots of power, 2) I have to remember to turn it on if I want to use it for streaming, 3) I've been getting lots of BSODs on it (most likely due to a faulty memory stick that I've since removed, but I'm still getting BSODs sometimes). I'd like a "Turn it on and leave it running forever" fanless system that I'd probably put Linux on.

The most interesting prebuilt systems I've seen out there were:
  • Gigabyte BRIX IOT
  • Zotac CI549 nano
  • Zotac CI660 nano
Unfortunately, the I can't find the BRIX IOT for sale ANYWHERE, even though it's supposed to be available; and the Zotac CI660, though announced long ago, still hasn't been released.

I'm thinking of getting a CI549 for now, and hope it works for what I want.

Has anyone out there got a good idea of what might best suit my needs? I'm having a hard time finding any good fanless options out there, except the ones mentioned above.

- Tim

CA_Steve
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Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:39 am

Here's my 2015 mini-review of the earlier CI320 with a 7.5W TDP Atom CPU. If all you want to do is push stored audio and video, the C series Nano should work great...and you won't need the horsepower of the CPU in the CI549 model. If you plan to use it for any transcoding or other high CPU process work, the thermal performance is a bit on the weak side.

tbessie
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:07 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by tbessie » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:30 am

CA_Steve wrote:Here's my 2015 mini-review of the earlier CI320 with a 7.5W TDP Atom CPU. If all you want to do is push stored audio and video, the C series Nano should work great...and you won't need the horsepower of the CPU in the CI549 model. If you plan to use it for any transcoding or other high CPU process work, the thermal performance is a bit on the weak side.
Thanks for the info! I was thinking I *might* use it for some transcoding processes, though not too often. I have my main HTPC and desktop machines for that if I need to.

Do you think they might have changed the design at all to have better thermal performance for the CI549? I noticed they've made the case a lot bigger for the 8th generation Intel models they've announced, supposedly to be better about thermal performance. I wish they would say when they're actually going to be released, though.

- Tim

CA_Steve
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Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:06 am

tbessie wrote:Do you think they might have changed the design at all to have better thermal performance for the CI549?

- Tim
Anything is possible...can't really say without one in front of me or seeing a review. Here's the thing - it's still in a small plastic case. No place for the heatsink to transfer the heat to other than by radiation...

Akasa had some nice metal cases for NUC motherboards. I haven't looked at the newer stuff. Here's their site. Maybe something like the Newton S7D.

tbessie
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:07 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by tbessie » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:39 pm

CA_Steve wrote:Anything is possible...can't really say without one in front of me or seeing a review. Here's the thing - it's still in a small plastic case. No place for the heatsink to transfer the heat to other than by radiation...

Akasa had some nice metal cases for NUC motherboards. I haven't looked at the newer stuff. Here's their site. Maybe something like the Newton S7D.
Thanks for the recommendation! I posted about this on reddit, and folks there also recommended those cases; they look good and seem like they'd work well.

Funny thing, I was searching around for someone who is selling the new 8th-gen Intel NUCs, but all of Intel's recommended resellers didn't carry them, except for Mouser Electronics. Looks like they have a horrible reputation, so I'm not so sure I'd want to go with them...

- Tim

CA_Steve
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Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:41 am

If you wanted to move up to mITX, and higher power CPUs, HDPlex makes some awesome cases. Downside will be ~15-20W idle instead of 5-7W.

tbessie
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Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by tbessie » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:27 pm

CA_Steve wrote:If you wanted to move up to mITX, and higher power CPUs, HDPlex makes some awesome cases. Downside will be ~15-20W idle instead of 5-7W.
Also an option, and good in that it's not proprietary. I may look into those later as well, since I have some experience building quiet PCs (thanks to this site, in fact).

- Tim

CA_Steve
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Re: Want to get tiny fanless system for streaming

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:00 am

tbessie wrote:Do you think they might have changed the design at all to have better thermal performance for the CI549? I noticed they've made the case a lot bigger for the 8th generation Intel models they've announced, supposedly to be better about thermal performance. I wish they would say when they're actually going to be released, though.
They did change the design...instead of a simple hunk of metal on top of the CPU, there's a finned heat sink that surrounds the mobo. Image
Found this @ Tech Report.

Now, we just need to find some reviews :)

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