Computers

A powerful desktop PC that's completely silent? CompuLab's Airtop uses natural airflow to make it so

A powerful desktop PC that's c...
The Airtop desktop PC can be fitted with an Intel Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics solutions
The Airtop desktop PC can be fitted with an Intel Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics solutions
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The design sits the CPU and GPU on opposite sides of the case, cooling each via a dual layer patent-pending flat heat pipes array, topped with a panel of 14 air tubes
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The design sits the CPU and GPU on opposite sides of the case, cooling each via a dual layer patent-pending flat heat pipes array, topped with a panel of 14 air tubes
The little machine, which measures just 30 cm (11.8 in) tall and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is sold a choice of an Intel Xeon E3 or Core i7-5775C
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The little machine, which measures just 30 cm (11.8 in) tall and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is sold a choice of an Intel Xeon E3 or Core i7-5775C
The Airtop desktop PC can be fitted with an Intel Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics solutions
3/3
The Airtop desktop PC can be fitted with an Intel Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics solutions

When you hear that a machine is fanless, you'll probably also assume that it's not extremely powerful, likely relying on mobile-focused components that don't pack much of a punch compared to high-end desktop gear. CompuLab's latest desktop PC, the Airtop, challenges that preconception, offering 200W of completely silent passive cooling, allowing for powerful CPUs and full-size graphics cards.

Israel's CompuLab has come out with a number of fanless computers in the past, including the tiny and affordable, Linux-powered MintBox Mini. The company's newest effort, the Airtop, focuses on providing high performance for both normal and server use, while maintain an entirely silent cooling set up.

The little machine, which measures 30 cm (11.8 in) tall and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is sold with a choice of an Intel Xeon E3 or Core i7-5775C processors. Users can also take their pick of some capable dedicated graphics options, including an Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 or a more professional user-focused Quardro M4000. If you're not interested in those cards, you can substitute in a different full-height single slot GPU. The machine supports up to 32 GB of RAM and up to four HDD or SSD drives.

The little machine, which measures just 30 cm (11.8 in) tall and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is sold a choice of an Intel Xeon E3 or Core i7-5775C
The little machine, which measures just 30 cm (11.8 in) tall and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is sold a choice of an Intel Xeon E3 or Core i7-5775C

Those specs aren't bad at all, but what's much more impressive is that the system that keeps all of that hardware cool doesn't contain a single moving part. The design sits the CPU and GPU on opposite sides of the case, cooling each via a dual layer patent-pending flat heat pipes array, topped with a panel of 14 air tubes. Air is naturally drawn in through the base of the tubes, rising as it heats and exiting at the top of the case, all completely silently.

Connectivity is also impressive, with two GigaBit Ethernet ports, six USB ports and two HDMI-outs on the back of the case. There's also a DisplayPort included, and the system has built-in 802.11ac WiFi.

As you might have guessed, the Airtop doesn't come cheap, starting at US$1,128 for a DIY version of the machine that comes without a CPU installed. All the Airtop PCs ship without an operating system, but CompuLab says Windows 7/8/10, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Linux Mint are all supported. The systems are expected to ship in Q1 2016.

Source: CompuLab

6 comments
EyeMars
Interesting form factor. That said, high-performance fanless has existed for a long time for those willing to build it; I'm writing this on my NoFan fanless desktop for instance, built in 2014. Intel i7-4790S, SSD drives, fanless PSU, not a sound to be heard, and the build cost me less than CAD$900.
NickHeidl
Seriously, 200 watt based machine for anything but graphic intensive use, at what price?
Timelord
Over $1100 with no CPU, memory or storage and it's already considered obsolete by many people. It's stuck with LGA 1150 and can't handle Skylake or Kaby Lake. DDR3 instead of DDR4 RAM. Motherboard isn't upgradeable. Can only handle 2.5" drives. Choice of graphics cards is limited since most cards need two slots. Most also draw far more than 200 watts, which is all this system provides, and feature one and often two or three cooling fans, which defeats the purpose of this silent, fanless system. No SLI or Crossfire capability. I can't imagine many serious gamers would be willing to make these tradeoffs, especially since they generally have surround sound systems pumping out nonstop game audio so lack of fan noise isn't an advantage.
christopher
Noise isn't the only problem with fans. Anyone near the sea will know that they ingest salt, which cakes and rusts everything, then the 1st humid day you get, turns into brine which drips/sprays onto whatever gravity or airflow puts in it's way, whereupon it chews through your stuff.
Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
If I want to pay premium bucks for cooling, I'll just stick to my custom water-cooled pc for overclocking, silence and low temperatures.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Was hoping this would lay flat, under the TV.