I've looked at a few computer cases since I started with this here website. Indeed, it was just last week that I looked at a case from Corsair that turned out to be rather impressive.
But what about those who want to build a really small computer? There are people out there who don't want a big rectangle sitting around taking up space. Perhaps they want to build an HTPC or a carputer, and don't want to have something so big that it needs wheels attached to it and towed by the car.
That's where the mini ITX form factor comes in. This is a form factor that is almost ridiculously small, based around motherboards I can palm like a CD. Streacom comes to us today with the FC8, a case that is designed specifically for these wee mainboards.
I was given the choice of reviewing any of Streacom's products, but I decided to go with this one specifically. Why? Because this model has built in passive CPU cooling for use with a CPU designed for 65 watts, TDP, that's why. I've reviewed a lot of fanless power supplies, and now I want to look at a fanless case as well. Rather, a case that can be kept fanless, that is. I guess you can still rip all the fans out of any case, but for the most part it's probably not the best idea.
Now, I do not have any actual mini ITX boards with which to build a rig with this case, so I will do the best I can with this review.
Here we see the box unpacked, and the case itself wrapped in a white cloth. Let me just get this unwrapped now so you can get a look at it.
Ah yes, matte black. I do like the streamlined look this case bears, as well as the minimal appearance of the stuff on the front panel. All we see are a power button, an optical drive slot, two USB ports, a card reader, and a little window for the optional IR receiver.
Nice to see the ventilation openings up top there. With no fans in the case, providing convective cooling becomes a priority. Honestly though, I wonder if this case really needs more ventilation holes than it has.
From this angle, we can clearly see the large passive CPU heatsink that forms the entire right side panel for the unit. No, you're not dreaming... there is no space for a power supply. That's because you buy a picoPSU and external power brick to use this case with. Otherwise, it is simply too small to fit even a small power supply inside of.
Here's a better look at the front panel. I have to admit, I do like the way the black brushed aluminum looks so far. Very classy.
If you look deep inside the fins of the heatsink, you find two of the screws for the top panel as well as the screws for attaching the heatpipes. Or, in my case, most of the screws. I had a screw missing from one of the heatpipe blocks.
Looking at the back panel, we see the hole on the upper left where the picoPSU's power jack goes. Also present is a single expansion slot for low profile PCI card.
An up close look at the retention bracket for that low profile slot.
This is the side panel that isn't a heatsink. It and the top panel is a one piece affair, and I have to say this really looks well put together.
Before we go to the next page, here's a table with the specs of this case shamelessly copied from Streacom's site:
All aluminum, 3.5mm thick body
Silver / Black – Brushed finish
Hard Drive Bays
1 x 2.5" + 1 x 3.5"
Optical Drive Bays
1 x Slim slot loading drive, left side eject button
2 x USB, 1 x SD Card Reader
1 x Low Profile Expansion Card
Passive Heatpipe Solution – Recommended CPU Thermal Design Power: 65W
240 x 250 x 100mm (W x D x H)
PicoPSU & AC Adapter (not Included)
MCE Compatible IR Receiver & Remote (not Included)
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