Compulab Airtop: The strong, silent type of desktop computer

airtop-isometry-cutout-300pxI can’t really explain it, but fanless, small form-factor computers have always held a lot of appeal. Over the years I’ve twice selected SFF models as my desktop. Compulab, and Israeli company, has consistently offered very interesting SFF platforms, including the Fit-PC and Intense PC Series.

I bought an original Fit-PC simply because it was interesting and relatively affordable. However, novel as it was, Fit-PC was destined for industrial and signage applications. With hardware common to a netbook it simply didn’t have the grunt to be more than a plaything. While the Intense PC models were more powerful, they were also considerably more expensive than a traditional SFF desktop. I admired them from afar.

This week Compulab noted that they are beginning to produce their newest model, the Airtop-PC. It looks like their most innovative design yet.

Here are the basic specs:

  • Intel Xeon or Core-i7 @3.3GHz
  • Up to 32GB DDR3
  • 4x SATA 2.5″ HDDs + mSATA / M.2
  • NVIDIA Quadro M4000 GPU
  • 4x DisplayPort up to 4096×2160
  • 19V supply, 10-200W
  • WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.0
  • Up-to 6x GbE
  • USB3.0 x4 + USB2.0 x6
  • RS232 x3 and Audio I/O
  • FACE Modules expansion
  • Passive zero-fans cooling
  • 100 x 300 x 255 mm

That’s a very nice compliment of I/O, CPU and storage potential. I especially like that they have both embedded and discrete graphics options. They even offer a model intended for gaming. I’m not a gamer, but systems built for gaming tend to be good for media production as well. I have no idea about price, but clearly this could be my next desktop PC!

I’ve been wondering if it makes more sense to move to a three monitor rig or a single, large 4K monitor. My current desktop can only handle dual displays. This little Airtop PC could handle four! Even four @ 4K!!

Airtop-trio-600px

The company has recently posted some promotional videos that are very interesting. The first shows the mechanical design of the chassis.

The second video explains the their thermal design, which includes a unique convection heat-pipe approach to cool both the CPU and GPU.

It’ll be a month or more before these become available. I hope that they’re well-priced. I could see myself replacing my >3 year old HP desktop with something that’s smaller, quieter and more capable. Oh, so shiny!

  • mjgraves

    Argh! While I certainly admire the device for it’s innovative design…it’s in the $1800 range for the i7 version.