Streacom FC9 HTPC Case Review
Up Close: Exterior
Resplendent in its deliberately slightly rough to the touch sand blast finish the FC9 is also a sod to photograph. At one point the Autofocus was having that much trouble locking on we were thinking Streacom had accidentally stumbled across a stealth technology. Imaging issues aside the first impression of the case is one of total quality. Although made of Aluminium the FC9 weights in at a tad under 5KG. No surprise then that the sides are 9mm thick and the front 4mm thick.
The sides of the case give us a hint as to the means by which the FC9 dissipates it's heat. These fins aren't just for show, they not only look cool, they help keep things cool. Parallel lines of small square holes in the roof also aid to ventilation.
The front fascia is plain and uncluttered, just as we like to to see in HTPC set ups. On the left a single power button illuminates a small blue LED when power is on (very helpful as there is no noise to indicate). Over to the right there's an aperture for a slot loading optical drive and a window for an IR receiver (not supplied). The optical drive has a centrally mounted eject button and by means of some clever jiggery pokery and the application of various thicknesses of rubber pads the button is able to activate drives with the hardware eject button on either the left or right hand side.
Each side of the case has 20 Aluminium cooling fins which are integral to the chassis and as such cannot be removed. the holes along the sides not only provide additional ventiallation, but as we shall see when we get to the build also act as mounting points for the heat pipe clamps. Two USB2 forts can be found hiding between two of the fins., keeping them from ruining the sleek lines of the case front.
Round the back there's the usual rear I/O cut out, but no fan mounts what-so-ever. We don't mean this as a criticism in the slightest, it's nice to see that having taken the time and effort to produce a silent system, Streacom aren't about to give you the option of ruining all their hard work by strapping a noisy fan to their beloved case. Over to the right there are 3 low profile PCI slots and aside from grooved ventilation holes the only other feature is the small hole by which means the power cable enters the case.
The underside of the case is almost as clean and simple as the rest of the exterior. A rubber shod foot sits at each corner of the case with additional ventilation holes further aiding heat dissipation. Strange that Streacom chose not to put any under the CPU area. Every little helps as they say.