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.

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  • prophet001 - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Something that will behind installed in other machines and used industrially should be tested at temperatures more extreme than 74 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • azjeep - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Agreed...I am in Tucson, Arizona. This would be great for our shipping clerk but he works indoor but with a large rollup door right next to his office. In the summer his office easily exceeds 90 degrees.
  • Lord 666 - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Is your business a sweat shop?
  • Samus - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Exactly, this will be inside a kiosk. And considering how fast it cools off, by the time it is powered off and removed from the kiosk it'll be stable enough to manage. That's the remarkable part.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    That is an artificial test case meant to determine how hot the case would become. I hardly expect average consumers to fully load both CPU and GPU 24x7.

    By the way, what other fanless mITX configuration is there with such a powerful CPU?
  • UpSpin - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Why should you buy such a powerful CPU if you won't use it. I can imagine, that maybe some movie/music editor would like a fanless dead silent system. Whenever he renders the scene, all four cores will get loaded. The GPU is just a IGP, which won't add that much to the overall temperature. So it's just too hot!
    You also have to keep in mind that inside it will be equivalently hot, causing a reduce life of the used parts.
    The design is just poor. They would have needed something like the new Mac Pro, which, in my opinion, is the best design for a passive system, because it works like a chimney and causes air flow both inside and out.
  • Dentons - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Agreed. What's the point of having an i7 if it can't be used without subjecting the user to burn hazards and sending the components to an early death? If the outside of the case reaches 155 F, how hot does the RAM get? The SSD? The interior heat was probably well above the recommended tolerance of those and other components.

    It's not like there aren't use cases for quiet, dust resistant, but powerful machines. A video producer could certainly use a perfectly quiet machine and would definitely run the CPU at full throttle for hours on end. A site architect or movie crew might also find such a combination more beneficial than an i7 laptop.

    Most industrial users would probably find a Celeron, Pentium, or i3 more than adequate. This may be a fine case with those lesser chips, but since it wasn't tested, we just don't know. The i7 clearly seems a bit much for their product. They should probably have delivered a more typical customer build for testing, instead of trying to push the envelope with Intel's latest, greatest.
  • airmantharp - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    Actually, Haswell seems more suited for this product- but Ivy is cheap (for now). The system can hold it's own without external help, and provides the perfect balance of performance for it's size and passive cooling. With even a little ventilation, it'd be perfect for running at full load, and few would really stress it that much.

    Still, I do like the idea of using lesser SKU's; but that's not what this design is for.
  • xrror - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    7th sentence into the article. "So, it is not surprising that Ivy Bridge-based industrial computers are seeing a strong presence in the market only now after long-term validation by the manufacturers."

  • jabber - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    In reality how many people really need a i7 full stop?

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