The advent of CPUs with low TDPs (but having enough power to handle HTPC duties) has resulted in passive HTPCs becoming more and more popular. Streacom (started in 2010) designs and manufactures a range of products including active and passive cooled chassis for HTPC and general usage, home theater amplifiers, servers, HTPC accessories and embedded entertainment solutions. In addition, they also offer OEM/ODM services. In fact, Aleutia uses products from Streacom in some of their lineups.

Streacom's current HTPC chassis lineup includes the following models:

  1. FC5 WS Fanless Chassis (June 2011)
  2. F1C Chassis (June 2011)
  3. FC8 Fanless Chassis (July 2011)
  4. F7C Chassis (August 2011)
  5. FC5 OD Fanless Chassis (September 2011)

The passive nature of most of the above models (coupled with the targeting of the HTPC market) resulted in the fact that ATX-sized motherboards couldn't be supported. Last week, Streacom announced two passive chassis models, the FC9 and FC10. Both the models are fully aluminium and available in silver or black color. Streacom's website also lists a set of compatible Streacom-branded power supplies (Nano160, Nano200, Nano200XT and StreaFlex 250), details of which are yet to be fully made public. Streacom has internally tested processors with TDP of up to 120W, but strongly suggests that end users limit themselves to 95W TDP processors for builds involving the FC9 and FC10.

FC9 Fanless Chassis

Streacom FC9 Passive Chassis Specifications
Motherboard Form Factors Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX
Drive Bays Optical 1x 5.25" (slim-line, slot-loading optical drive required)
Internal 2x 3.5", 1x 2.5"
Cooling Fully Passive Heat Pipe Direct Touch Solution
Expansion Slots 3x Low Profile
I/O Ports Motherboard Dependent
Weight 4.9 kg
Dimensions 348 x 289 x 100mm (W x D x H)
Price MSRP $279 / 249 Euros

FC10 Fanless Chassis

Streacom FC10 Passive Chassis Specifications
Motherboard Form Factors Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and Full ATX
Drive Bays Optical 1x 5.25" (slim-line, slot-loading optical drive required)
Internal 2x 3.5", 3x 2.5"
Cooling Fully Passive Heat Pipe Direct Touch Solution
Expansion Slots 2 x Full Height Expansion Slots (riser card required)
I/O Ports Motherboard Dependent / 2 x USB 3.0 on the side
Weight 5.4 kg
Dimensions 435 x 319 x 100mm (W x D x H)
Price MSRP $349 / 299 Euros

Readers can look forward to more coverage of passive HTPC hardware components. Feel free to comment about what other components you would use for a fully passive HTPC build.

Source: Streacom

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  • Spivonious - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    It's very clean, but $250 seems a bit steep for a case that doesn't even have a built-in IR receiver and forces you to use a slot-loading drive (i.e. a more expensive one).

    My Antec Micro Fusion 350 may get a little loud at times (three case fans + power supply fan) but it blends well with my other HT gear, and gives me a useable LCD screen and IR receiver. It also comes with a power supply and cost me less than half of what the MSRP is for the cheapest of these offerings by Streacom.
  • mepenete - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I dig that setup as well, but I'm curious what usefulness the LCD screen is for you? I've been intrigued by it before but never could find a reason to use it.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    To tell the truth, with the rising support for HDMI / CEC, IR remotes have almost become unnecessary in any modern HTPC build / setup. With the Pulse-Eight USB CEC adapter, it has been ages since I used the IR MCE remote supplied with my HTPC (as I end up using the TV remote more often for controlling the HTPC).

    By the way, Streacom website indicates support for IR receiver, it is just that it is not bundled (I think they have the remote / receiver combo as a separate piece).
  • Odeen - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Pulse-Eight USB CEC adapter won't turn on your computer from off or hibernate. Most computers support wake up by USB, but not power on by USB.

    On the other hand, iMon IR receivers (which is what Antec integrates into their cases, and rebadges as accessories) connect to your ATX PSU directly, and run off the +5 VSB rail. Thus, you can use them to turn your computer on remotely.

    Just something to consider. :)
  • erikstarcher - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I have the iMon system in a Thermaltake case. I find that the only use for it is to make it look like a piece of AV equip. My remote is so bad (the one I have is almost 5 years old so they may make them better by now, but they look like the same unit) that I had to replace both the receiver and remote with a Microsoft OEM one that works great. Also, the info displayed on the VFD is too small to read from 10 feet that it is useless. Looks good, but I would not spend money on one in the future. BTW, I don't turn mine off because it is also a DVR system for the whole house so the power on feature (that only works with the iMon remote) is of no use to me either.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Agreed :) It has been a long time since I switched off my HTPC.. At the max., I put it in sleep mode.

    However, there is another option if you are in a household with smartphones / tablets. There is bound to be a wake-on-LAN app to enable turning on the machine over the network.. But, yes, integrating that with the rest of the remote control is probably not there yet.

    Also, for the OP.. Streacom indicated that they could have shaved $100 off the price if they had used an ordinary aluminium chassis instead of extruded aluminium. [ Just wanted to present both sides of the story, and in the end, it is for the readers to decide :) ]
  • Mugur - Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - link

    XBMC Android app has WOL. XBMC also allows Sleep, Power Off etc...
  • somedude1234 - Monday, May 28, 2012 - link

    A Consumer IR (CIR) capable system can also turn on or off the system via the IR remote control. It isn't available on very many motherboards, but the excellent Intel Media Series all seem to have it. I have the DH67CF (m-ITX) and it works great. The more recent 77 series boards (such as the m-ITX DH77DF) also have the CIR feature.

    The motherboard comes with a CIR header and you have to purchase a CIR capable receiver separately. These aren't very common either, but I found mine here:

    With a fast SSD for the OS, it's about 7 seconds from pressing the power button on the remote to the XBMC screen.
  • jwilliams4200 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    One entire side seems to have underutilized the heat dissipation fins. They should design it with the option for an internal PSU mounted against the unused side there. I much prefer to have a nice secure, three-prong cord coming into the computer with no external power brick, than to have a prone-to-slip-out loose cable connected to an external power brick.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I asked Streacom about this, and they indicated that in their tests, up to 120W TDP processors had no problems getting cooled with just latching on to one side of the chassis. Once we get one in hand, it will be easier to see how effective this is.

    They have also not provided details of the various PSUs compatible with the FC9 and FC10. We will know more about them at Computex, I believe.

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