Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Silverstone Working On Passively Cooled Intel NUC Enclosure

By - Source: Liliputing | B 17 comments

The advantage of a small enclosure is that it doesn't take much to passively cool it. Rather than having heatsinks inside the enclosure, the enclosure itself can be the heatsink. Many manufacturers have caught on to this, including Silverstone.

Intel's NUC (Next Unit of Computing) is a small form factor computer. It has everything that you would expect from a modern computer, a handful of USB ports, HDMI output and more. It's just a desktop in a much smaller enclosure. Regardless, it still produces heat, and Intel's reference design for the NUC enclusure therefore includes a fan.

Silverstone has decided to exploit the small form factor and do away with the fans entirely. Rather than having heatsinks inside an enclosure, which would still require fans for some internal airflow, Intel's NUC form factor makes it possible to make the entire enclosure into a heatsink. This does away with the need for fans entirely as there will always be some air moving throughout the room, and even if there isn't, the heat won't get trapped in a small space.

Whilst Silverstone's NUC enclosure will be a tad larger than Intel's reference design, it will still be much smaller than the average desktop. Intel's reference design measures at just over 4 inches width and depth, so anything slightly larger than that is still very small by today's standards.

Silverstone's NUC enclosure is still in the prototype phase though, so no information is available on availability or pricing yet.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • 4 Hide
    quas , January 29, 2013 1:59 AM
    Why didn't they do this with notebooks already?
  • -2 Hide
    CaedenV , January 29, 2013 2:01 AM
    very cool!
    I have often wondered about this. My case is a CM690. It is rather large and heavy, and I have wondered a few times that if there was a way to get the heat to the case if it would simply be big enough to cool the system without the need for a fan. It is not like modern CPUs get super hot like they use to. Even with an OC I am only in the mid 70s
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , January 29, 2013 2:04 AM
    quasWhy didn't they do this with notebooks already?

    too thin, and there are often times when the case is on fabric (clothes or blankets) where the housing would not be able to breathe and would cause overheating. Also laptops only have 1 real side to disapate heat. The top is covered by the keybaord and mouse (which would bother users if they got warm), and then the 4 sides are typically too small to have any useful cooling properties. Desktops typically sit on a flat surface, and have 5 exposed sides, so there is more opportunity to disparate heat.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , January 29, 2013 2:42 AM
    quasWhy didn't they do this with notebooks already?


    They actually did. All Mac Airs I've seen practically turn into giant heatsinks once you push them a bit, thanks to a puny fan and to the metal body.
  • 0 Hide
    ddpruitt , January 29, 2013 2:49 AM
    I wonder if it's possible to open the thing up with out ruining the cooling abilities of the case
  • -3 Hide
    killerclick , January 29, 2013 2:56 AM
    There is no point in a desktop unless you can open it and replace/upgrade components. Might as well have an equivalently specced laptop and connect it to external displays and inputs.
  • 1 Hide
    ingtar33 , January 29, 2013 3:19 AM
    this is what the trinity should have been aiming at.
  • -1 Hide
    quas , January 29, 2013 6:19 AM
    CaedenVtoo thin, and there are often times when the case is on fabric (clothes or blankets) where the housing would not be able to breathe and would cause overheating. Also laptops only have 1 real side to disapate heat. The top is covered by the keybaord and mouse (which would bother users if they got warm), and then the 4 sides are typically too small to have any useful cooling properties. Desktops typically sit on a flat surface, and have 5 exposed sides, so there is more opportunity to disparate heat.


    A lot of notebook users have to carry around a cooling pad with them. Since these cooling pads are about as thick as the notebook itself, I don't see why you can't already make notebooks twice as thick by substituting the cooling pad with a heatsink. Furthermore, since newer notebooks (eg.ultrabooks) can be made really thin, this would only mean there would be more space to put in bigger thicker heatsinks.

    If you think about it, being placed on fabric (eg.clothes, blankets, etc) makes a stronger case for a heatsink notebook bottom. If the notebook is placed in such a way that it "would not be able to breathe", how would fans possibly be of any use in dissipating heat?

    Laptops may only have 1 side for heat dissipation, but this NUC device as pictured above is really really small such that the combined 5 surfaces are probably smaller in surface area than that 1 side that laptops have for heat dissipation. To promote efficient heat dissipation, simply have the heatsink have raised fins (just like in the pictured NUC case above) so that the heatsink doesn't stick completely to table/fabric/whatever you place your notebook on.
  • 2 Hide
    danwat1234 , January 29, 2013 8:20 AM
    quasWhy didn't they do this with notebooks already?


    The fully rugged line of Panasonic Toughbooks like the CF-25 , 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31, the chassis is the heatsink, no fan. And I guess the Macbook air like "amk-aka-Phantom" said.

    The disadvantage is that devices with batteries like laptops, the batteries would stay at a hotter temperature if the chassis was the heatsink, than if the heatsink was internal with a fan and plastic around the battery to partially isolate it from thermals like most laptops. Battery lifetime would be reduced. Also, to make the chassis a heatsink, the chassis has to be a good conductor of heat, which usually means heavy.
  • -1 Hide
    K2N hater , January 29, 2013 11:15 AM
    The best solutions of that kind come with heat pipes inside so you can have more heat transfer power/time by connecting the outer plate to CPU/GPU/north bridge directly. If properly done it handles 50W TDP (or even higher) processor + a mid range GPU.

    These solutions allow notebook manufacturers to make highly durable water-proof solutions without much effort but guess they're either waiting for Apple to "innovate" or all projects led to bulky/heavy prototypes.
  • 1 Hide
    Soda-88 , January 29, 2013 11:50 AM
    This will be great for office use.
  • 1 Hide
    COLGeek , January 29, 2013 11:58 AM
    Neat concept for some specialized uses, but probably not terribly useful for most general PC tasks.

    Now, if they would design a hybrid case that used a portion of the case as a passive heatsink and the rest of the case used conventional cooling (like for HDDs, etc), then you could design some lower power/heat/noise workstations and servers...
  • 1 Hide
    antilycus , January 29, 2013 12:39 PM
    This is old news. YOu can buy a micro ITX from amazon for about 75 (w/ powersupply) and run an APU (like my quad core A6, that AMD just threw under the buss when they canned FM1. Be aware most new APU's including the A10 are on FM2). You get an entire full power CPU + GPU (though not the greatest GPU, but still a good one) in the size a little bigger than an external dvd writter. (not the new thin ones). It's awesome for HTPC's and you don't loose poewr in the process. No your HTPC doesn't need a i7
  • 0 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , January 29, 2013 1:14 PM
    They seem to be reusing the same power button design from the SG03-F.
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , January 29, 2013 2:36 PM
    NUC? Seriously, why not Computing Unit Next Technology...
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , January 29, 2013 5:26 PM
    Just don't touch her... She's a hot one!
  • 0 Hide
    Angry Bellic , February 3, 2013 8:14 AM
    Intel NUC? Ohh damn I never got the RAM sticks in it. :(