Skip to main content

Silverstone Working On Passively Cooled Intel NUC Enclosure

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

  • quas
    Why didn't they do this with notebooks already?
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    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
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    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.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    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.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    I wonder if it's possible to open the thing up with out ruining the cooling abilities of the case
    Reply
  • killerclick
    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.
    Reply
  • ingtar33
    this is what the trinity should have been aiming at.
    Reply
  • quas
    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.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    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.
    Reply
  • K2N hater
    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.
    Reply