In the beginning of April, Snazzy Labs built a Power Mac Cube G4 inspired computer and held a giveaway for a it . It features a unique fanless case with the processor being completely cooled by the case itself, effectively acting like a giant heatsink. It is also able to run Mac OS X Sierra without much hassle due to the parts selected (check out tonymacx86 for Mac OS compatibility). Here's the video, in case you didn't see it:
I entered the giveaway of the computer, thinking not much of it. I really didn't imagine winning because hey, who has really won a giveaway on YouTube? After a month later, having almost completely forgotten about it, I got an email from Quinn saying I won the giveaway. He also announced it via a YouTube video here . I was extremely suprised and grateful to have won this awesome looking PC.
This PC that Quinn put together is a really solid build all together. The specs of the machine are:
- CPU: Intel i7 6700k CPU
- MB: ASUS Z170i PRO GAMING Motherboard
- RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4 RAM
- SSD: Crucial MX300 525GB SSD
- Case: Streacom DB4 Aluminum PC Chassis
- PSU: Streacom ZeroFlex 240W Passive PSU
- Cooling: Streacom CPU Heat Pipe Extension Kit
- Full PCPartPicker List
Now, it isn't a gaming orientated build having no dedicated GPU. However, that is fine for my use case as I mostly do more CPU intensive workloads such as Handbrake encoding and video editing. It definitely isn't "purposely underpowered" according to this YouTube comment.
The i7 6700k is an incredible processor, featuring 4 cores and 8 threads. It'll easily tackle any game (if using a dedicated GPU of course) and do video editing or encoding. Having 16GB of RAM is the gold standard nowadays, as 8GB is just becoming too small to handle multitasking. The motherboard is interesting as it features a ton of really cool features like USB 3.1 and M.2 packed into a tiny package. It also supports up to 32GB RAM via 2 16GB sticks, which is great for a no compromise style build thanks to newer DDR4. The SSD is a good size, not too small, but not too expensive. At 525GB it'll easily hold an OS and programs. A large amount of space on the computer isn't a big concern to me however as all my media ends up on my NAS anyways.
The real highlight is the gorgeous Streamcom DB4 Fanless case with it being completely fanless. With the CPU being cooled passively by the case, it provides a completely fanless and therefore silent design. Suprisingly, it cools the 6700k pretty well considering there is no active cooling. Plus the case looks incredibly neat with its unique aluminium design. The case fits a FLEX ATX power supply, so you won't be able to fit massive 500w units in here. However only having a CPU with no dedicated GPU with a small 240w FLEX PSU is completely fine. It's even fanless, due in part to the 93%(!) efficiency, so no noise whatsever from this (or the rest of the PC for that matter).
The only downside to this case is the I/O placement. To maintain the sleek and modern design, all the I/O is located at the bottom. This makes plugging anything into the system, from flash drives to display cables, a complete hassle. You have to tilt the entire system just to plug something in. In addition to that, the clearance below the system is tiny. Less then 2 inches of clearance, so large flash drives won't fit unless the system is on its side. It is recommended that you at least buy a USB hub if you plan on actively unplugging and plugging devices in.
Using this computer is a real treat. The i7 6700k is an insane powerhouse and with 16GB of RAM it provides a great experience for multitasking or video rendering. The MX300 SSD makes the computer incredibly snappy and quick to boot up. It is just so weird to have this much power and have no fan noise at all. I didn't even realize it was on at first, I had to double check that my cables were all in.
Performance wise, the system is fantastic. No hitches in any of my testing, although the system did get a tad warm. Heres some numbers:
- 837 cb
User Benchmark - View Full Benchmark Results
- Gaming: 17%
- Desktop: 69%
- Workstation: 50%
Geekbench CPU Benchmark - View Full Benchmark Results
- Single-Core Score: 5137
- Multi-Core Score: 17249
Geekbench Compute Benchmark - View Full Benchmark Results
- OpenCL Score: 20801
- Overall: 1440
- CPU: 978
- RAM: 258
- GPU: 140
- SSD: 64
Crystal Disk Mark
- Seq Read: 532MB/s
- Seq Write: 510MB/s
Unigine Heaven (Extreme Preset, 1080P)
- FPS: 5.3
- Score: 133
- Min FPS: 3.8
- Max FPS: 10.8
- Idle: 40-45C
- Full Load: 85-90C
- Side Panel: 46C
- Idle (off): 1W
- Idle: 20-30W
- Full Load: 105-110W
As you can see, thanks to the 6700k the system performed fantastic. It matches other similar 6700k PCs without GPUs. It did get a little toasty under load, but it is still within Intel's safe range, which is fine by me. The side panel did get a bit hot though, I measured 46c with my temperature IR gun. Power consumption was also great, as there is no power hungry GPU to power inside here. The SSD performed about the same as most SATA SSDs do, giving consistent and fast speeds. There really isn't anything to complain about the performance of this machine.
Pricewise, if you were to buy this entire computer yourself today it would be roughly $1300. Of course it isn't the best "bang for your buck", especially since the case and power supply account for most of the cost. However, if you like design and functionality of the case it is definitely worth the money. As Quinn said in his initial video of this computer, you can build a cheaper PC by swapping the case and power supply for more budget options such as the Cooler Master Elite 130 and any decent power supply (and even put in a GPU if you wanted to game).
Another option if you like the small form factor of ITX, but don't care about noise too much, and do not need any PCIe expansion is going with the Asrock Desk Mini 110 which is an even smaller PC that uses an STX board and can fit a i7 6700k (or any other LGA1151 socket CPU) as well (but note it uses SO-DIMM DDR4 AM). It also supports running Mac OS just like this sytem does.
I was extremely grateful to win this build, and it definitely did not disappoint. This a killer build with great performance due to the i7 6700k and 16GB of DDR4. The case is really the main highlight though, with its unique aluminium paneled design which passively cools the CPU. It does get a bit toasty under load, but for being fanless, it is fantastic. Of course, if you were to build a machine like this you'd need to decide if you wanted this awesome, yet a bit pricey, case. Either way, if you were to buy it with the case or not, the rest of the build is up to the task for any non-GPU intensive workloads.
Make sure you subscribe to Snazzy Labs on YouTube , because his content is fantastic, and who knows, he might hold another giveaway some day! (or not, I don't know...).