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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  • lmcd - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    And if they wanted the CD they can just set up with an external CD drive, which oftentimes they already have on-hand. Once external CD drive can serve a whole setup team and any of the different industrial pc models. Reply
  • airmantharp - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    I think the USB stick is the better way to go; how would it look for a retailer to ship a system with a CD in the box and no drive to read it? That's the kind of thing the government does :). Reply
  • evilspoons - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Appreciate seeing the reviews of industrial equipment. I use machines similar to this on a regular basis at work (electrical engineer doing industrial automation). The PCs are used to run HMI software for motion controllers, as well as NI's LabView.

    This specific model doesn't meet my needs in a few ways - lack of serial ports and lack of 24 V DC input power, but it's good to be aware of other brands.

    I'm curious how my usual choice would stack up against this. I've used dozens of Advantech UNO-21xx units, mostly the UNO-2172 with a slow-as-hell Celeron M 1.5 GHz CPU, but they've recently released the UNO-2184G that gets you all the way to some sort of second-gen Core i7. Haven't tried one yet though.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    You can always use USB-RS485 or USB-RS232 converters. We've been using converters from EasySynch and they work great. Reply
  • alex_alfanet - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    evilspoons, I found from this company this option PRO-6820, may be it's what you need. it has 12v-28v dc option and 4 serial ports. Reply
  • ddriver - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Hey, maybe it is just me, but when I hear "industrial equipment" I imagine durable, overbuilt, mission critical hardware...

    The thermal performance is unacceptable, and I doubt that hardware will last more than 2 years before frying itself. Certainly not something I would rely on.

    A shame, considering how those rounded radiators really invite the idea for a pair of nice low RPM cylindrical turbine fans that would keep it nice and cool.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Well, I'm not sure anyone has done long-term thermal testing of this hardware quite yet. Additionally, I doubt that the usual scenario will see it running at full load for more than minutes at a time. If it were run full throttle for extended amounts of time, I would expect the PSU to fail first.
    If you run this device 24/7 at full load, you will know this in advance, and have cooling installed inside the cabinet. But clearly, this was not designed for this kind of permanent load. Still, the cooling keeps everything within spec, so if anything goes wrong inside the first two years, you'll be covered by warranty.
    Reply
  • airmantharp - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Based on how quickly it cools down, having any real airflow over it would likely mitigate most cooling concerns, even in the rare instance of a 100% sustained load over time. I think ddriver is over-dramatizing the issue quite a bit; as you (Rick83) say, the PSU would be likely to fail first, and anyone using this system would be aware of the thermal constraints beforehand and would build the rest of the 'system' with that in mind. And that wouldn't be very hard to do. Reply
  • ddriver - Monday, August 19, 2013 - link

    Considering the outside of the case hits 70 degree C and it is even hotter inside, that already puts most of the components outside of their optimal operating temperatures, dramatically increasing the chance of errors or failures. Industrial strength equipment never operates on its limits and mandates significant headroom.

    God forbid this thing gets direct sunlight while under load...
    Reply
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Very interesting. I have a fanless HDPLEX case running an i7-3770T. Running at full load for about 45 mins it tops out at around 92C core temperature (room was 23C). I use it as an HTPC so other than encoding a Bluray it rarely gets stressed to that level. Hdplex have improved the case since I got mine so may well run a few degrees cooler with the new case.

    I believe that the best way to drop core temperature is to remove the IHS, replace the crap intel thermal paste with something decent and refit IHS. I could not be bothered, but worth considering
    Reply

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