Motherboard Features & Thermal Design

The unique nature of the BIS-6922 is evident in the chassis design. While other fanless PCs such as the Aleutia Relia go in for a rectangular design with hard edges and fins to blend in with it, the Habey fanless unit opts for a curved design on either side. The chassis is made to act as a heat sink and the circular metal segments on either side are serrated. This gives more surface area for heat to dissipate compared to the rectangular fins found in other fanless configurations. Habey terms this 'ICE-FIN'. It also delivers a distinctive look to the unit.

The BIS-6922 has no ventilation holes. Even the power button in the front panel is protected by a sealed plastic cap on the rear side of the front panel. This makes the unit almost fully dust-proof. Despite the dust-proof nature, the unit is very easy to take apart. The underside panel is held by only one screw, It provides access to a mini-PCIe and SIM card slot (for 3G / 4G data connectivity).

The ridged top panel can be easily removed to reveal the heat dissipation mechanism. The 2.5" disk drive is mounted on the underside of this top panel. The top panel has a groove on each side which lines up with similar grooves on the sides of the chassis. We have liberal thermal paste applied to copper heat pipes that are placed in the grooves to improve the thermal conductivity between the chassis sides and the top panel.

After disconnecting the SSD wires from the motherboard, it is possible to completely remove the top panel from the main chassis. This enables us to get a better view of the thermal solution and also some interesting motherboard features. These include PCIe / PCI lanes brought out to the edge of the motherboard (which is unfortunately not usable with the BIS-6922's chassis configuration) and an additional mPCIe slot for a Wi-Fi/BT card or mPCIe SSD. An mSATA port is also available. One of the two SODIMM memory modules (Super Talent / DDR3-1333) is also visible (The other one is partially visible after removing the panel on the bottom).

The motherboard is based on the QM77 chipset. This provides various features targeting business, embedded and industrial PC applications including Intel AMT and support for vPro processors amongst other features.

The CPU and PCH are placed on the motherboard in such a way that a single rectangular block of metal covers both of them. The block has two grooves out of which copper heat pipes swathed in thermal paste emerge to make contact with the inner sides of the chassis (one heat pipe to each side). The contact of these heat pipes with the sides is firmed up thanks to another set of smaller metal blocks. Compared to the heat pipes with a liberal number of bends in the Aleutia Relia, the thermal design configuration of the BIS-6922 is very simple and straightforward. Does this design lead to better thermal performance? Before finding that out, let us take a look at the performance numbers and power consumption of the unit.

Introduction Performance Metrics
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  • airmantharp - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    It's too hot? Only if you lock it away. But since it's small and it produces no noise, you could place it somewhere it might get airflow, unlike a larger system.

    But why would a music or movie editor use one of these? How is that representative at all? GigE isn't fast enough for that, there is no TB port, so what, USB3? Really?

    I think you're perspective on this system is poor- this system is designed to be used outside of the living room, which the Mac Pro is not; and the Mac Pro is huge in comparison!
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    My current computer is a MiniITX placed on my desk next to my display. I would place the habey PC on the same place, and there's just no airflow, except I mount a fan on top of it. I also don't think that Ganesh placed this computer inside a small box but ran it on his main desk.

    What person needs a quad core high end system? How is GigE not fast enough? Why should USB3 (5Gbit/s) not be fast enough? And what has all of this to do with TB? And how are Windows people able to do music or video right now? They also don't have TB! And they also can't stuff all hard discs in their case, but need some larger and more secure storage server somewhere else.

    Why do you compare the Mac Pro with this one? I only mentioned it because of its design. The design of this habey is just poor and fails to cool the system. A design similar to the Mac Pro which makes use of a chimney effect would have been much better.

    So this system is to be used outside of the living room, but according to you also not suited for work because it lacks TB and we might tax it too much. So we could use it for terminals which need a quad core CPU (I don't know a single use case), but therefore it's also not suited because it will get too hot because there won't be any air flow either.

    I don't get it, where can we use such a thing?
    Reply
  • Dentons - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    You're right. There is no use-case for this system as configured. None at all.

    Either you need an i7 or you don't. If you need an i7, this product can't cool it adequately, so is a terrible choice.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    I am pretty sure Habey's intent was to provide enough CPU grunt for occasional bursts and not 24x7 loading.

    I am still waiting for someone to link me to a similar product (size / CPU perf.) with better thermal performance.
    Reply
  • Dentons - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    There may not be any similar product able to handle the heat created by a fully utilized i7. That doesn't excuse this product's failings. What it actually suggests is that Habey reached too high.

    It shouldn't be surprising that a fully utilized i7 needs active cooling.
    Reply
  • UpSpin - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    I completely disagree. It's a quad core! If Habey wanted to provide a CPU for occasional bursts used in industrial environments, they would have used a high end dual-core! If one program needs some more processing power it easily gets it. But barely any program scales dynamically across multiple cores, except high end software which won't get used in a terminal but in production environments. And then, this software really taxes the system. You also don't need a quad core for multi-tasking, except you really tax the system (maybe 3 cores) and still want to continue to work with the computer on the fourth core. But again, this Habey system won't support this without exceeding several temperature limits.

    And maybe there are no comparable systems, because such a small case with such a poor 08/15 design just can't dissipate the required heat without active cooling?
    Reply
  • Dentons - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    This is a machine designed to function without fans. If it requires air flow in order to work properly, the design is a failure. This case was probably designed to run with far cooler chips, but since that wasn't tested with those, we just don't know if it works adequately with them.

    Yes, a lot of video production is done on Mac's, but certainly not all. Probably not even half. Windows does still hold nearly 90% of the desktop / laptop market.

    You fail to address the really important question. What is the point of an i7 if it's power can't actually be used? Transcode some video and the temperature of the case will exceed many safety standards and the internal components will be heated to well beyond their rated temps?

    That's acceptable?
    Reply
  • fluxtatic - Saturday, August 17, 2013 - link

    The new Mac Pro isn't passive, and how the hell are industrial users going to use something that looks like a trashcan?

    The Mac Pro is a an honest-to-god workstation with a Xeon (well, it's got a Xeon, at least). This is like comparing Little League to MLB.
    Reply
  • crashtech - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - link

    It's Furmark. I wonder how hot the thing would get in any conceivable real-world app. Probably under half those temps. The takeaway is it passed a torture test. Reply
  • whyso - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Looks like its throttling. I have a 3630qm which gets about 6.3-6.4 in cinebench R11.5. This 3720QM is getting significantly lower than that. Reply

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