I'll post a review separately but of the 30 or so mini-itx cases we've worked with, the Lian Li PC-Q07 is the best. And because the board is vertically mounted it can fit a massive heatsink, allowing us to passively cool a 45W CPU (Quad Core AMD 600e or Dual Core 240e), or even a 65W (hell's bells, we could go with Core i5 even at 73W). There's also a 2.5" SATA drive slot (for SSDs), a 3.5" drive slot with anti-vibration rubber mountings, and either a 5.25" optical drive (for Blu-ray Writer) or an extra 3.5" drive (ideal as a cold swap, fanless, quad core server).
Dimensions, 193mm x 280mm x 208mm (W,H,D).
More pics, videos, and pricing details shortly.
Aleutia is in the process of carving out a real niche as a Fanless PC company, with a range of silent PCs that are not only passively cooled but do not suffer from noisy case fans or unreliable Power Supply fans. This is feasible with low voltage processors like the Intel Atom but we'd really like to offer a serious Dual Core and Quad Core PC for our customers who need that extra horsepower.
AMD have helped by at last releasing a line of updated CPUs with a TDP of just 45W. By comparison, Intel desktop CPUs are 65W and more and both AMD and Intel Quad Cores typically give off 95W of heat. Our H2 features the Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200S (65W) rather than the Q8200 (95W) but it's expensive and 65W is just to much heat to passively cool in a small case (and pretty tough even in a large tower).
The AMD 600e has 4 cores at 2.2GHz and we've found a specialized heatsink that can passively cool it.
We've also found the world's smallest Micro ATX case and we'd love to offer it in this case (as mATX boards are much cheaper and allow for 8GB of RAM and more) but then we have the challenge of finding an mATX PSU without a fan or using a PicoPSU and connecting a 12V 9 Amp brick AC adapter which usually has a fan (and fanless versions are very expensive).
The solution is to mount the 600e and heatsink on a mini-itx board (in this case the Zotac 8200 with Nvidia 8200 IGP) but we need a case with a small footprint and a lot of height. I have looked at about 100 mini-itx cases but so far none fit the bill so we may have to custom make one. Need about 11 cm clearance.
Do any of our readers have a suggestion?
We've already blogged about how great this board is and how much lower the power consumption is but now that we've had a chance to test it. we can confirm that power consumption averages 10 Watts less despite the slightly faster clock speed of the CPU (2 x 1.66GHz versus 2 x 1.6GHz). Best of all it's passively cooled. There's still a fan in the D1 case though we are working on making it completely fanless. Still comes with 4GB of RAM, a DVD-RW drive, and a Samsung F3 hard drive for £299 ex VAT.
We live in exciting times. Broadcom has released the Crystal HD BCM70012 (official link), a Mini PCIe 1080p decoder. Since the Aleutia Fanless T1 PC has a mini PCI express card slot (which we often use for an 802.11n Intel adapter) you can upgrade that low power PC so that it can play back 1080p content without having to resort to the more expensive Nvidia Ion boards we use in the Aleutia H1 Fanless HTPC.
Even better, the BCM70012 is supported by Adobe Flash 10.1 (still in beta), just like the Ion chipset. Flash 10.1 is less processor intensive than 10.0 because it uses the GPU as well. That means that for £25 extra, an Aleutia Fanless T1 can play back YouTube in HD (now 1080p) something that my MacBook cannot do, as well as BBC's iPlayer (720p).
CD and hand shown for scale
Many customers buy the Aleutia T1 to use an always-on server. It supports PXE Network boot and can be configured to automatically Power On after Power Loss. It is also very low power, using only 17 Watts under load. With 500GB and 750GB 2.5" laptop drives now affordable, this makes it ideal as a small, low power network server.
However, the T1 has only 1 network port (10/100/1000) and naturally a lot of projects require two network ports.
We recently solved this for one of our customers by using a PCI Gigabit Network card with full Linux support and mounting it with a riser card in a larger, ventilated case. This has the advantage of offering more air flow. It's not VESA-mountable like the T1 but it can be wall mounted.
Unlike many fanless network servers, the T1 Dual NIC comes with 2GB RAM (OEM customers can have 512MB or 1GB for less) and a decent x86 processor in the Intel Atom N270 at 1.6GHz.
Just before CES kicked off, Intel announced a new Atom mini-itx motherboard, the D510MO. This uses the new Pine Trail platform which combines the memory controller into the DX9 graphics controller, reducing power consumption. Intel has also finally ditched the cheapo fan it used to put over the graphics controller in favour of a large heatsink, allowing the board to be passively cooled. There are also 2 x DIMM slots (like the Asrock 330 Atom board) allowing for 4GB of RAM. The D510 CPU is also a bit faster (2 x 1.66GHz) than the 330 (2 x 1.66GHz).
The power savings are substantial. Anandtech has a great write up with load power consumption on a test system dropping from 44.2 Watts to 25.8 Watts. Idle power consumption also plummets, from 41 to 21.2 Watts.
All this is great news for Aleutia customers as we'll be using it for our D1 starting this week helping us create a PC that is:
- Dual Core
- 4GB of RAM
- Optional SSD
Currently the internal PSU on the D1 uses a fan but we are looking at passively cooled PSUs.
This morning we've just received our first batch of the boards from Intel's biggest UK distributor. To ensure quality (and avoid any grey market issues) we only source components from Tier 1 distributors. This translates to better support for end-users as it is simple (and quick) for us to replace any failed parts.
Will have internal pictures of D1 up soon.