Most of Intel’s NUC products are small desktop computers. But Intel recently shook things up with the introduction of Intel NUC Compute Element computer-on-a-module solutions that allow you to build your own modular PC for work or play.
These Compute Elements pack a processor, memory, storage, and most other key features onto a module that connects to a computer backplane via a PCIe connection. This allows you to replace the computer core by sliding out one module and replacing it with another – and it also allows you to build your own PC by pairing an Intel Compute Element with a third-party graphics card from AMD or NVIDIA.
Earlier this year we noted that a number of companies were releasing PC cases that are compatible with NUC Compute Elements, including Akasa, a company best known for making fanless cases… but the Akasa Venom QX chassis was the first Akasa case to feature active cooling.
Now Akasa is getting ready to launch a fanless option.
The new Akasa Turing QLX is a 212mm x 150mm x 220mm (8.3″ x 5.9″ x 8.7″) case made from aluminum. It has extruded fins on one side that help dissipate heat, as well as copper and thermal modules and heat pipes inside the case to help keep the computer cool.
Akasa says the case is designed to support processors with up to a 45 watt TDP, including Intel NUC Pro and Extreme Compute Elements. In other words, you can use a compute module with any of the following processors:
- Intel Xeon E-2286M
- Intel Core i9-9980HK
- Intel Core i7-9850H
- Intel Core i7-9750H
- Intel Core i5-9300H
The case also has a second slot that can be used for a graphics card, although Akasa recommends choosing a low-power, fanless one since the system isn’t designed for active cooling and doesn’t have enough passive cooling power for a high-power graphics card that generates a lot of heat.
Or if you’re looking for a solution that actually makes use of all that excess heat, I guess you could look into the KFConsole, a Intel NUC Compute Element-powered PC from Cooler Master and KFC that includes a “chicken chamber” to keep your food warm while you play games.
I think the size of this thing is a compromise that provides no benefit. Its a really large case because they chose to offer space for a GPU. But they’re saying that you need to use a Fanless GPU, because theres no active fans to help cool it. But I don’t think there are any fanless GPUs on the market that would actually contribute to performance.
Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me that there are no consumer-level fanless GPUs on the market currently. My searching suggests that the GTX 1030 was the last fanless model available, and it is probably a lower-end GPU than the integrated Intel GPU found in these CPUs.
So either you build this thing without a GPU, and you have a PC thats almost as large as a Mini-ITX desktop PC, or you build it with redundant low-power GPU that provides no benefit.
The end product here is almost 7 litres in volume. I think I’ll wait to see what kind of fanless cases we see for the new 11th gen standard NUC model. Somehow I think we’ll see solutions around 1.5 litres in volume.
And the kicker is, there are already fanless cases designed to passively cool graphics cards. They’re just kinda big since they’re made for standard motherboards.
But would this case really have been much bigger if they DID include hardware to cool your graphics card properly? They could have conceivably just put a second heat sink and wall of fins on the opposite side, pretty easily. You’d have to take the stock heat sink off the card, but, well, you have to do that for the compute module anyway.
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