Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

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danialbi
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Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:51 am

Hi all,
I have an old J1900 MINI-ITX fanless PC, 8GRAM, SSD250, ncube case.
I would like to build a new higher performance system. (home/business office use) My tentative specs:
*FANLESS; 1 liter or more chassis - don't need nano stuff but not full tower
*Budget $500-$600
*Re-use existing SATA SSD
*No OS (plan to use win10 later)
*16G RAM
*Fast 4GHz capable CPU either i3 or i5 (or even Celeron?) - something in the CPUPassmark > 6,000 range
*DC-in jack

I'm currently working at these options (some stuff not yet available - will be soon):
a) NUC 11th i3/i5 (TDP=28W) + Akasa Fanless ($600?)
b) Asrock ibox-1100 i3/i5 (TDP=15W); $Price/availability?
c) mini-itx with socket + i3/i5 10th OR 11th(TDP?) + Akasa m-itx fanless ($?)
d) Any other ideas?

Clearly I would like the fastest/cheapest option I can buy
Thanks in advance for your advice
Alberto

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:01 am

...Forgot one key thing: Fully passive case with NO heatpipes

Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:29 am

I understand, that you would like CPU strongest possible, but thing that restrict you is being able to cool it fanless. With proper choice of components it's possible to build even all-active computer (case fans/CPU cooler/PSU), which will be silent as fanless, but also will be able to handle more heat, so stronger components. By ,,silent" I mean ,,silent", not some ,,super-quiet" - unnoticeable difference, obviously without sticking your ear to computer. Also going with non-fanless parts rather will be cheaper. How about that?

Abula
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by Abula » Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:20 am

i7 1165g is a mobile CPU, 28W TDP but very capable, also comes with intel XE 940 igpu, so all around is a very good CPU, it has started to come on NUCs and small pcs, wait for AKASA to release a passive case for it and you are set.

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Sun Apr 18, 2021 12:56 pm

@japanese:
Thanks, but I really want no moving parts - fanless

@abula:
Thanks for the sugestion; I can probably settle with similar i5-11xxx (budget); but then can you suggest a suitable mobo to go into Akasa (BTW which case?); mini-atx board? CPU soldered of socket?

Japanese Capacitor
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by Japanese Capacitor » Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:00 pm

I assumed, that you don't know, how quiet are nowadays components, because that's why I just don't see any point of fanless builds. But if you just want fanless and are fine with a power of such thing, go for it ;)

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:24 pm

Akasa Newton TN for 11th gen

Akasa also has the Turing 50 case for Asus' PN50 with the AMD 4000U series.

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:27 pm

Thanks
@CA_Steve: I see you suggest the NUC option. Since I have no space constraints, do you believe it will be cheaper than a mini-itx solution? (C)

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:29 am

I have now read the post "The idiocy of Intel's T desktop processors" and I have a few questions on my option "c" (using gen10) that is:
* Akasa Euler TX (supports up to 35W TDP)
* ASUS pro H410T
*INTEL i5-10....

Question is: can I buy a "standard" CPU, example i5-10600 (TDP 65W) and set max 35W (via BIOS? or?)
Or instead do I have to buy specifically a "T" series (i5-10600T, TDP 35W)
Akasa Euler TX spec list compatibilty with only : 10th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors
i5-10600T
i5-10500T
i5-10400T
i3-10300T
i3-10100T

I cannot find the "T" versions on web shops...
Thanks

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:36 am

danialbi wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:27 pm
Thanks
@CA_Steve: I see you suggest the NUC option. Since I have no space constraints, do you believe it will be cheaper than a mini-itx solution? (C)
Cheaper? I don't know. You'd have to price 'em out and see. You don't list what apps you are using or what you aspire to (other than CPUMark of 6000+), but nearly anything will have a great performance uplift over the J1900 and any of the current 15W laptop CPUs should get you there.

So, assuming your needs are met with a 15W CPU, you don't have any expansion plans (don't need multiple SSDs or PCIe slots), and want DCin, the NUC form factor seems to suit.

If you do want to go mITX, and want to go higher TDP on the CPU, consider HDPlex.
....................................................................

Dialing down CPU power: In general, you should be able to go into the BIOS and set max clock frequency, which in effect sets the max power use. However, the cheapest motherboards in the B and H Intel series and AMD A series may or may not provide this functionality - best to look at the manuals.

Since power consumption is proportional to (v^2)*f, and the core voltage steps with frequency, dropping the power use in half doesn't mean you'll have to drop the max freq. in half.

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:50 am

@CA_Steve: Thanks, I agree on "...any of the current 15W laptop CPUs should get you there"
This suggests to me that there has to be a cheaper solution; I hate the idea that I buy a NUC i3 (or i5) with TDP=15W and then I have to spend $100 on Akasa to make it Fanless
My mITX J1900 10W TDP is happily running with a small rectangular heatsink in a plastic ncube case
My ideal solution would be to re-use my old case and just swap with a mITX board with -as you say- a 15W CPU SOLDERED/embedded

The most powerful I have seen around is Asrock J5040-itx (this option would use half of my budget, I am tempted), but still has a Celeron, I wanted something more
Then there's a few industrial mobo around, but difficult to find (example new Asrock IMB-1224 which use i3-1115G4E embedded 15TDP) or Supermicro

In summary: do you know of any 15W TDP totally passive heatsink miniPC or mITX board? DCin feature can be added by using picoPSU

Thanks!
Alberto

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:26 am

Well, you could look at Zotac's Zbox mini-PC offerings. I haven't kept up on their current products. In the past, they relied upon a hunk of metal as the heatsink and a plastic case. Somewhere around the 10W-15W TDP range, a hunk of metal in a plastic case may not thermally cut it and you need heatpipes or some attachment to a metal case for larger heat dissipation. A while back I had (I think) a J1900 in their C series case. Idle temp slowly rose to 50C and settled out. I know they've improved the case, but don't know how well and what TDP CPU you can throw in there for daily use without throttling.

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:49 am

An alternative approach would be to go with the mITX form factor, an open case, and no fans except for the CPU (and if you get a mobo with fan stop feature, then it'd be passive except times of prolonged high load).

Here's the concept:

CPU Intel Core i5-10400 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor $149.99 @ Best Buy
Motherboard ASRock H410M-ITX/ac Mini ITX LGA1200 Motherboard] $126.15 @ MemoryC
Memory Crucial Ballistix 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16 Memory] $87.95 @ Amazon
Case Phanteks EVOLV SHIFT 2 AIR Mini ITX Tower Case $107.98 @ Newegg
PSU SeaSonic FOCUS SGX 500 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular SFX Power Supply $96.98 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $584.05

Plus a large CPU cooler like the Scythe Mugen 5 Rev B $50 @ Amazon

- The case is mostly mesh. Don't bother installing the fans or any of the other mechanical pieces you don't need (gfx card stuff) to improve airflow.
- The PSU fan doesn't kick on until ~30% load, which it'll never see. Or, you could go with pico-PSU and a DC-DC adapter.
- The CPU is 65W. Oddly, the i5 was the lowest priced 10th/11th gen processor on the Intel side via pcpartpicker. You might find cheaper, wherever you are. I see the i3-10100 for $140 at Micro Center..plus mobo bundling options if you happen to live near one.
- mobo:
1) I don't know if this Asrock board has the fan stop feature or not. There seem to be a jump from it's price to $200 for other models available. If it does have fan stop and you set the cpu fan control to have a high start temp as well as long hysteresis (like 10 sec), it won't turn on for those brief moments when there is a high CPU use.
2) It's an H mobo. It may not have the ability to lower CPU top freq. (if you wanted to go that route)
- CPU cooler: Scythe makes decent coolers for the price. The Mugen series is a fairly big hunk of metal, the Ninja is a bit more. I think it has enough mass to absorb the heat without triggering the fans. That said, the min fan speed is 300rpm..so in those rare cases when you need to crank the CPU, it should be inaudible.

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:16 am

@CA_Steve:
Thanks again for your valuable and detailed suggestions

I think in the end I will keep it simple and buy a ZOTAC as you suggested (model ZBOX CI622 nano). It looks a well engineered fanless solution
A bit pricey ($499 on Zotac shop, $399 in pcmag review), but I can live with a i3-10110U (coming from J1900)

One question is if/when ZOTAC will have 11th gen CPU on ZBOX
And you can wander why not getting instead a NUC11-i5 (actually cheaper than Zotac' 10th i3), but we know the answer is: "to get it fanless"
The option NUC11-i5 + Akasa Newton TN remains valid though (my option a)

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:50 am

Of the two, the NUC + Akasa is the better thermal choice, plus a bigger bump in processing power if/when you need it.

danialbi
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by danialbi » Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:00 am

I have now (pre)-ordered a NUC11-i5
Later (when cases available) I will have to move it to Akasa;
I see there are 2 new cases for NUC11th: Newton TN and Plato TN, which one you think will be a better thermal choice? (I have no form factor preference)
At the moment - on paper - I like Plato better
Thanks

Abula
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by Abula » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:56 pm

Nice setup, hope when you get the Akasa, you share with us your temperatures, im very tempted on building the same for my Surveillance camera setup.

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Apr 23, 2021 6:07 am

danialbi wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 9:00 am
I have now (pre)-ordered a NUC11-i5
Later (when cases available) I will have to move it to Akasa;
I see there are 2 new cases for NUC11th: Newton TN and Plato TN, which one you think will be a better thermal choice? (I have no form factor preference)
At the moment - on paper - I like Plato better
Thanks
I haven't seen any side by side comparisons.
- The Plato has fewer fins but they are completely exposed to air. However, there is some distance from the flat plate to the first fins.
- The Newton is all fins, but they are built into the case. It's a toss up. Go with the one that suits your aesthetics.

hmsrolst
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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by hmsrolst » Fri May 21, 2021 6:14 am

I've been using an 8th generation i5 NUC in an Akasa Plato X8 since February 2020, and it's an excellent case for my purposes, primarily a work PC running non-demanding Office programs. Of course, it's totally silent and it keeps everything cool with this kind of work. The case itself is just warm to the touch and the "hottest" component in it, per SpeedFan, is the NVME SSD at 39C. It's only fair to mention that right now, I've used the BIOS to shut down two cores and so far haven't noticed any difference in responsiveness in everyday work. With all cores, the NVME would probably be up about another 5-7 degrees, so still cool.

You mention using your old SSD for a drive. If you can afford it, I'd strongly recommend getting an NVME drive. In this PC I'm using a 500GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus. I upgraded from a 4th generation NUC board in an Akasa Tesla case that I built in 2013, and the difference in responsiveness is dazzling, almost like 15 years ago when I first upgraded from an HDD to an SSD.

In this vein, I recently indulged in a purchase of an 11th generation i3 NUC primarily to see what the gain was from NVME gen3 to gen4. I purchased a WD Black SN850 which seems to be the current fastest. It is amazing, quicker than the Samsung even in everyday use. Although not an "everyday" activity Windows installed in less than 3 minutes. Although I'm sure the Plato TN would work just fine, for variety, and because it looks like a better solution cooling- and space-wise (vertical orientation), I'm waiting for the Turing TN to become available.

Finally, it's great to learn that this SPCR forum is still going. I was a great fan of SPCR for many years. I still have a Mike C. fanless test PC from Logic Supply in my basement that I don't use but also can't bear to recycle. Great to see some of the old names as mods too. I'll aim to visit again.

Howard R.

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Re: Advice for FANLESS fast i3 or i5 PC

Post by CA_Steve » Fri May 21, 2021 7:33 am

Howard, thanks for your info!

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