Calyos is getting closer to shipping its NSG-SO PC case later this summer, or so we were told during Computex in Taipei this week. Although this case will come with a high price tag, it’s certainly intriguing because of its use of phase change cooling, an old-school technique with a couple of new tricks.
The chassis is essentially a heat sink, with phase change cooling for the CPU and GPU. The cooler uses a capillary pump to send a few grams of pentafluoropropane through the loop. It becomes vapor from the heat source, and once it passes through the radiator it returns to its liquid form and back to the pump. There are no mechanical or moving parts and no fans, and even the PSU (coming from Seasonic) is fanless. The system also deploys a rigid aluminum foam to help dissipate heat.
NSG-S0 weighs approximately 22 kg, which includes the chassis, cooling, and the tempered glass. Its dimensions are 537 x 495 x 276mm.
Our French colleagues tested a prototype of this case back in September 2016 with some impressive cooling numbers. At the time the prototype could handle about 400W of waste heat performance, which was enough accommodate a Core i7-5820K and a GTX 1080 graphics card. The company claims that it can now handle 450W, giving it the range to accommodate a GTX 1080Ti graphics card. The company also claims that with ample space for fans, the case will also support more advanced overclocking.
Calyos is working with Watermod on the manufacturing aspect of NSG-SO, and the companies are working on things like cable management, support for two graphics cards in SLI, and the ability to make a closed chassis.
If the prototype performance is any indicator, the NSG-SO is pretty compelling. Tom’s Hardware France explored temperatures in a series of benchmarks, including Unigine Valley, an OCCT CPU test at a slight overclock, and much more. The CPU temperatures maintained impressive temperatures -- typically in the mid-50s (degrees Celsius) -- while the GPU was usually in the mid-to-upper 60s (degrees Celsius). Only in our knee-bucking CPU test did we see the processor reach 85°C. In that test, the GPU reached 83°C.
Orders will first go out to Kickstarter backers (who paid starting at roughly $550), and future new orders will cost around $675.
22 kg is quite a heavy case. Right up there with the price.
Last year, there was a review on here of a full system that was completely fanless. Based on the comments, lot of people don't seem to appreciate the difference between a quiet system vs. a fully fanless one. For those applications truly requiring silence (or for computing in very dusty environments), there's no substitute for fanless. For the rest of us, a PC that's merely quiet is far more cost-effective and carries fewer other compromises.
When discussing silent PCs, I think there few situations in which fanless is truly superior within the same price class. Heck, I've seen a lot of slim systems that are fanless but rely on airflow via convection. They are still vulnerable to dust. A "sealed" fanless system would not have to worry about dust, but are less flexible. At idle a good quiet fan like a PWM Noctua with the low noise adapter is pretty darn silent. Meanwhile it can still spin up due to a sustained load or ambient temp changes. Convection increases airflow too, but not as much.
I think a lot of people appreciate fanless systems more than you think. After all, most people have smartphones. For mobile devices it's definitely a big plus. Even for PCs, I for one appreciate them from a technical standpoint. But at least with relatively powerful PCs I can't think of many cases where silent/near-silent fans wouldn't be as good or better, especially within a certain price and form factor. In a dusty environment I'd either want a sealed system (obviously with some compromises) or just have dust filters that are simple to service along with positive air pressure - necessitating fans.
That's what I'm talking about. Sure, if you just want a quiet PC, use quiet fans, water cooling, etc. But there are some situations where silence is worth the cost & compromises.
I have dust filters on all but one of my PCs with fans, and I have a well-ventilated, fanless machine built around a 10 W Apollo Lake board. I'll probably give it an annual air blast, but I won't have to open it to do so.
I don't consider myself to live in a dusty environment, but I had to clean the heatsink of my old P4 a couple times per year, or it'd overheat. That was my last machine of triple-digit TDPs with no dust filters. I've never had to clean out the machines with dust filters - just the filters. Their insides look completely clean.
As for focusing on idle, that's pretty normal. Simple tasks have your fan speeds at idle. Pretty much anything a similarly priced affordable fanless system can handle well, a near-silent fan equipped system will handle at idle speeds... nearly silently. For me they only generally spin up when I game, in which case the game audio drowns it out. But that's not a good scenario for a fanless rig for different reasons... mainly cost. I can't justify a chassis with integrated powerful phase change cooler, nor a watercooled system with external passive (and massive) radiator. But I certainly appreciate them for what they are. :D
I agree that filters are a must for systems with fans. I probably only need to clean mine yearly though. But again, in dusty environments (warehouses - so much dust) I wouldn't consider convection fanless superior when you're up against filtered fan-cooled systems, as long as the filters are easy to service. Knock the dust off and you're done. Positive airflow is preferred as it keeps it from sucking dust via gaps pretty effectively. Either go that route or sealed fanless that doesn't rely on internal airflow at all. Then you just dust the exterior every once in a while. ;)