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A beginner’s guide to fanless tech

A beginner’s guide to fanless tech

Wondering what fanless tech is all about? You are not alone. A lot of our clients come to us with little to no knowledge or experience with fanless technology and we often spend time explaining the benefits.

What is fanless technology?

Fanless technology is a system that functions without a fan. For systems such as slim PC’s, the cooling is usually housed within the unit itself.

How does it work?

In normal PC’s the system is cooled using a fan. This is a little different with fanless units. The heat dissipates from the chassis through passive cooling. Passive cooling happens naturally but is facilitated by our computers case. The case is specifically designed to draw heat out. For example, in our rugged range, the heat leaves through an aluminium chassis.

In the CFD simulation below, you can see how the heat dissipates from the motherboard, away from the unit’s components.

What are the benefits?

Fans are the biggest failure point in regular computers. By eliminating the fans, you lower the chance of a failure. This makes fanless PC’s incredibly more reliable than your average solution.

As well as this, there is little to no noise produced by the unit which makes fanless technology a quieter revolution – bringing tranquillity to many users.

Photo by VASANTH on Unsplash

With no moving parts and no external debris limiting or causing problems in the unit, businesses can count on fanless solutions more than they can any other system. The added benefit is that they can be used in environments you might not be able to use other solutions in. For example, if you wanted to use a computer in a carpenter’s workshop, the constant dust and debris from the style of work would be drawn into a fanned solution. Without a fan on the system, the computers important components is completely protected and cooled. This means it can last for longer in this environment with little to no maintenance.

(via Tranquil PC)

Moreover, fanless units are generally smaller and more compact which increases the versatility of their application. 

Are there any drawbacks?

There is often a criticism that fanless PC’s can be lower performance, however there are solutions around this problem. Heat pipes and cooling elements can be added to improve the performance of the some of the smallest PC’s. Take the case of our Ultra Slim NUC. Copper cooling elements were added to ensure heat dissipation and fanless(ness) was still maintained.

(Tranquil PC’s Ultra Slim NUC)

When it comes to fanless PC’s you do not want a reduction in quality. In some situations, fanless computers can be low quality. This is when we move away from talking about what fanless means and instead discuss what ‘rugged’ means.

‘Rugged’ is a term used in the fanless technology market for products that are durable and can withstand not just maintaining their fanless elements, but other environmental changes such as exposure to elements, movement, shocks, and vibrations.

The difference then comes down to how the chassis is made. Without getting too technical, some fanless PC’s use an assembly tactic with their components. The heat grill is usually a separate extruded component. This has many drawbacks as it means less efficient heat dissipation and the addition of other cooling solutions to compensate.

How Tranquil PC can combat these drawbacks?

Tranquil PC offers up to this problem by offering a truly rugged product. Raw aluminium billets are used to mill one complete chassis. This means remarkable heat dissipation and more reliability as well as better opportunities for processing power.

(A raw aluminium billet at the Tranquil PC factory)

The fanless technology market is undoubtedly growing. Got a burning question about the technologies that hasn’t been covered in this blog post? Get in touch with us!

21st May 2020 Louis Glazzard

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Tranquil PC is a trading name of 2CRSi UK LTD, 2 Queensmead Place, Trafford Park, Manchester, M17 1PH, UK, Company Reg No: 04750746