Home > Hardware, mini-ITX cases > New fan-less home for my Atom AT3IONT-I

New fan-less home for my Atom AT3IONT-I

Introduction

Asus AT3IONT-I Heatsink

Asus AT3IONT-I Heatsink

After initially installing my Asus AT3IONT-I in my Lian Li PC-Q07 case, the motherboard had to be moved to a different case, as my Core i3 / gigabte miniITX motherboard also arrived.

I moved the Asus AT3IONT-I in an Antec ISK 310 150 case. It’s a much smaller case than the Lian Li PC-Q07, and I thought it would be interesting to see if it could also run fan-less here.

I initially installed my AT3N7A-I motherboard when I first got the Antec ISK 310 150 case to see if that could in some way run fan-less, but that was a no-go. Temperatures were rising to over 90 degrees fast, and at that point I decided to stop pushing it further. I did have high hopes for the AT3IONT-I though, after my experiences with it in the Lian Li case. So I removed the AT3N7A-I and replaced it with the AT3IONT-I.

Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe in the Antec ISK-310 150
Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe in the Antec ISK-310 150

Removing the PSU

As the Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe comes with it’s own power adapter, and a DC converter on the motherboard itself, there was no need to have the PSU in the case. The only drawback of removing the PSU was that the power LED of the case needs to be powered through a PATA power cable. By removing the PSU, that connector was gone, and the AT3IONT-I Deluxe only has 3 SATA power connectors, so there was no way of hooking up the power LED without a converter.

Antec Tricool case fan

I also reverted the Antec TriCool case fan so that it blows air onto the heatsink, just in case running it fan-less wouldn’t work out. However, it turned out I didn’t really need the case fan so I ended up removing it.

Temperatures

After several hours of 1080p video decoding, the GPU temperatures stabilized at around 74 degrees. Due to the fact that there are no moving parts in the system, it’s a 100% silent system. This goes to show that the AT3IONT-I passive heatsink does its job very well, even in a smaller case than the Lian-Li.

Installing a Sharkoon Silent Eagle 1000

As the Antec Tricool was audible, even when put at its low setting, I decided to replace it with a Sharkoon Silent Eage 1000.

Dimensions (mm) 80 x 80 x 25
Rated voltage 12 V (DC)
Power consumption 1.44 W
Fan speed 1000 rpm
Airflow 11.35 CFM
Noise level 8.9 dB(A)

By using the Sharkoon Silent Eagle as an exhaust fan (replacing the orginal Antec Tricool fan), temperatures dropped to around 52 degrees celcius again after several hours of video decoding. The fan is barely audible. You basically have to put your ear very close to the fan before you’ll be able to hear it. For those who don’t like the Atom/Ion combo reaching over 70 degrees, the Sharkoon makes a great alternative to the Antec fan, at a relatively low cost.

Conclusions

This goes to show that it is possible to have a totally silent HTCP in a relatively small case without too much effort (and cost). The Asus AT3IONT-I passive heatsink without a fan does a great job dissipating the heat from the Atom/Ion.
I don’t have a smaller case available at the moment, but it would be very interesting to see if the board can also be passively cooled in something like the M350 mini ITX enclosure.

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  1. S3@N
    December 31, 2010 at 9:12 am

    I have an almost identical setup but I’ve been looking for a smaller case than the Antec which still has a lot of wasted space and leaves something to be desired in terms of appearances. I recently came across the Wesena ITX7-2 (www.wesena.com) which is not much more than the Antec, appears to be perfectly suited to this board and looks great. Awaiting delivery now…

  2. Glouba
    February 14, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Nice job.

    I built something almost similar, using a Zotac Ion Itx-A MB in a (much cheaper, less fancy) LS 1340 case. Unfortunately this MB was not designed fanless, without the CPU-GPU fan I reached 95°C, so I had to massively underclock… and now (no fan at all, one 3.5″ hard disk, no optic drive) temps go from 70°C on idle to 85°C, which is pretty hot… and the limit of Intel TDP for Atom (85.2, “catastrophic” being 125°C).

    Performance-wise, it’s not as slow as I feared, yet far from any modern desktop (cannot handle heavy MKV files…). Ideal for the web, for office, for constant download, for DLNA server…

    I would be interested in any success using AMD M350 solutions…

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