The popularity of Mini-ITX systems is growing rapidly thanks to the flexibility offered in their compact designs. From business applications as VoIP gateways and internet firewalls, to personal use as in-car computers and HTPCs (home theater personal computers), the small size, low power consumption, and feature rich motherboards make them quite attractive. One aspect that can detract from any system is noise, namely from cooling fans, and being able to eliminate such noise from a Mini-ITX system would greatly increase the overall appeal.
Logic Supply is one of the premier sources of Mini-ITX items, and in fact the whole business revolves around systems and components for this form factor. The business started in 2002, and has continued to provide the latest and greatest in Mini-ITX items for the business side of things (generally the embedded applications market), as well as for the variety of applications for home users.
One of the newest products on the virtual shelves of Logic Supply adds that extra appeal of silence to Mini-ITX systems by eliminating the need for fans on the processor or anywhere on the case. The Serener GS-L01 Fanless Mini-ITX Case utilizes heatpipe technology and large aluminum fins on the exterior of the case to passively cool the entire system, making it an appealing choice for home, commercial, or industrial applications.
The GS-L01 is available in the USA exclusively through Logic Supply, and the sharp style and promise of silence should attract a bit of attention. This review will focus on all aspects of the GS-L01, with extra attention paid to the thermal performance, to ensure that silence does not come at the expense of safe operating temperatures.
Specifications (from the Logic Supply site):
• Dimensions: 8.7” W x 12.1” D x 2.1” H
• Chassis: Steel and Extruded Aluminum front panel
• Color: Black
• Front Access: 2 USB (V2 0), Firewire and Audio ports
• Weight: 3.2kgs / 7 lbs
• AC Adapter: 120W External
• DC-DC Power: 90W Internal
• Motherboard Support: VIA EPIA M10000, ML8000, MII12000, SP13000
• Hard Drive: 1 x 2.5” Notebook Drive Bay
• Optical Drive: 1 x Slimline CD/DVD Drive Bay
• Operating Environment: Max. 36°C / 97°F room temperature
The key items to consider from this list are that the 90W power supply is included, and that the number of compatible motherboards is somewhat limited. The VIA EPIA M10000, ML8000, MII12000, SP13000 may be some of the more popular Mini-ITX boards out there, but due to the board layouts, some of the newer (and much older) boards just won't work. As we go through the review, the physical features that limit the compatibility will become more obvious.
The Serener GS-L01 is sold in the useful box shown below. The various sides show different views of some of the case's features, and the integrated handle makes it easy to carry around.
With the box opened, it is clear that the case is well protected. Accessories are stored in a separate cardboard box, while the case itself is wrapped in a foam sheet and suspended in a fairly substantial foam frame. Shipped from Logic Supply inside another cardboard box, there was little chance for the case to be damaged, and it made it in perfect condition.
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