Calyos and Streacom Join Forces To Rescue Passive, High-Performance Phase-Change Case Project

(Image credit: Calyos)

Back in 2017, the Calyos NSG S0 made quite the impression as a passive chassis with phase-change cooling for high-performance systems, but the project fell flat in 2017, and none of the original orders shipped to the first backers. Now, an update on the Kickstarter page details that Calyos is still working on the project and has partnered with Streacom to produce the chassis. We dug into the situation and learned that, unfortunately, the majority of the original backers, many of which shelled out $479 (or more) and steep prices for shipping, will never receive their case.  

The NSG S0 is a case that's designed to passively cool your system with phase-change technology. The unique design transfers heat from your CPU into the cooling block through piping to two giant heatsinks — one for the CPU and one for the GPU. More details are available in our coverage from 2017.

Of course, the case's design isn't finalized yet. Among the reasons why Calyos has decided to partner up with Streacom is that the company has extensive experience with similar types of products and will assist Calyos with the design and engineering of the NSG S0 to turn it into a real product. 

(Image credit: Calyos)

Once the chassis is finished and enters production, Streacom will also handle the distribution and sales of the NSG S0 to the public. However, until that time, Calyos remains the point of contact. 

In the re-development of the NSG S0, Streacom will handle the design and tooling for the case, while Calyos will supply the heatpipe technology.

Calyos claims that the chassis will be good for cooling high-end hardware, quoting two numbers from simulations: 

(Image credit: Calyos)
  • CPU — 195 W power dissipated @ 35 °C
  • GPU — 420 W power dissipated @ 35 °C

These TDP figures are high enough to contain today's CPUs and GPUs, theoretically cooling even an RTX 3080 graphics card — though the 35 °C numbers make no sense (though they could perhaps refer to thermal dissipation capacity at a given ambient temperature). Five weeks from now, Streacom will receive the first samples to start real-world thermal testing, so we're curious to learn more.

But while it is good news to see that the NSG S0 is back in development in the capable hands of Streacom, the Kickstarter backers still have a bone to pick with Calyos.

Shafting Almost All the Original Backers?

In the update, Calyos explains the following regarding the decision to partner up with Streacom:

"Last but by no means least, Streacom was the only potential partner to really show care regarding how best to handle the Kickstarter Community. From the start of our discussions (in March), Streacom stressed the importance of ensuring the community is taken care of appropriately. Streacom is also the only one that made a concrete offer to the community."

This 'Concrete offer' from Streacom comprises the following:

  • A Kickstarter community version with custom engraving to differentiate it from the standard production unit that will be made by Streacom
  • 20 free units to the community a draw will be organized among the interested backers (this will probably be in the form of a small contest/game)
  • A discounted price to all campaign backers willing to complete the acquisition of the Kickstarter community version (exact details to be shared after prototyping stage the objective being to be close to the cost of the product)

Going by this update and the comments section of the update on Kickstarter, we gather that almost all the original backers that were promised an NSG S0 chassis would not receive their product. That's over 450 individuals who paid a $479 pledge or higher — and often steep shipping costs.

Unsurprisingly, the community is very upset with Calyos, with many backers requesting a refund of their original pledge. The website is down, there is a Facebook group petitioning for refunds, and countless threads on various forums have served as an outlet for frustrated backers. The new Monsterlabo project appears to also have ties to Calyos, which has raised the ire of backers. 

New Calyos CEO is Making the Best of a Bad Situation

In an attempt to get some clarification for the community, I reached out to Streacom and Calyos' new CEO Antoine de Ryckel, who gave the following explanation:

"Indeed, you are right. We will not be supplying the platforms to all backers. Main reason is that much more than the project money has already been consumed in the 2017-2019 period." explained de Ryckel. "When I took over as CEO, the decision was either to stop this KickStarter project or look for a partner and try now to make the best out of it. We went for the second option."

Of course, one cannot fault Calyos' new CEO for his predecessor's failures. It's clear that de Ryckel is trying his best to salvage the project, even if that means that the vast majority of the original Kickstarter backers will not receive their case. 

Simultaneously, one also cannot fault Streacom for not providing cases to all the backers — this debt was never Streacom's to begin with, and Streacom is only Calyos' production partner. If anything, kudos to Streacom for still providing the community with something.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.