Enthusiast creates custom SFF case around Noctua's passive NH-P1 cooling system

A PC enthusiast in China has built a custom PC case specifically to fit Noctua's important passive cooler NH-P1, with little room for more. With a self-imposed design restriction of using a Mini-ITX platform, ChipHell's FreshCool constructed a custom box that measures only 30 x 20 x 20 cm (LWH), or about 12 x 8 x 8 inches. The result, detected by FanlessTech, is a pleasingly compact passive system. It also looks very much like a modern manufacturing case, with contemporary decorative elements such as a side window, generous ventilation, and a front with vertical bars. Perhaps it was inspired by Fractal North.

What kind of thermal load will this passive PC system have to deal with? The main source of heat for the system will be the Intel Core i7-12700, which is of course attached to the Noctua NH-P1. FreshCool says that while the processor is limited to 65 W, in testing it never strayed beyond the 50-degree Celsius range. A 100 W limit meant that the CPU would be running at mid-70 temperatures. Finally, the translation is not very good, but it seems that if the power limit is completely unlocked (140 W), the 12700 will start accelerating with the load after 90 seconds. We have no information on the tests performed, ambient temperatures, etc.

In search of a truly fanless system, FreshCool chose to install a Seasonic PX450. It's a fully modular 450 W power supply and offers 80 Plus Platinum efficiency with an attractive 12-year warranty. Other key building components include a Maxsun H610 ITX motherboard, 32 GB of RAM (Kingston 2x16 GB), and an WD Blue SN570 M.2 SSD.

In other forum comments and replies on ChipHell, FreshCool joked with other users about the case resembling a kitchen appliance. The PC expert also revealed that they had already considered using a SilverStone Sugo 16, which was comparable in size but designed for active cooling. FreshCool did not use the Sugo after determining that "its ventilation efficiency is not good" for creating a passive system. However, for builders wanting a discrete GPU, Sugo can accommodate cards up to 275 mm in length and 147 mm in width.

This custom case obviously won't be winning any gaming performance awards, as it has nothing better than the built-in Intel UHD Graphics 770. That's enough to stream video or maybe play Minecraft, but it's well below slower dedicated solutions we've tested in our GPU benchmarks. Of course, few graphics cards these days offer fanless solutions, which would defeat the purpose of this build.

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