Intel's Next Unit of Computing is a neat little device. The NUC, as it's called, is basically an ultrabook in a box. It's designed to be a new standard for small-form-factor PCs, and the selection of DIY options is slowly growing. Right now, you can get barebones systems from Intel and Gigabyte that allow you to add your own memory, storage, and wireless card. Intel also sells motherboards separately. One of them, the D53427RKE, is compatible with a new fanless case designed by Taiwanese firm Akasa.
Dubbed the Newton V, the finned aluminum case looks a little like a car audio amplifier. It measures 5.9" x 5.9" x 1.8", which is a bit larger than the NUC. The bulk has been put to good use, though. The chassis acts as a heatsink, cooling the CPU without needing a fan:
The Intel motherboard features a soldered-on Core i5-3427U processor, which is clocked at 1.8GHz with a 2.8GHz Turbo peak. This Ivy-based dually should have plenty of pep, and I'm curious to see if it can maintain that top speed when cooled inside a case like this.
At 2.1 lbs, the Newton V is heavier than one might expect such a small chassis to be... until you remember that it's a heatsink, as well. The VESA-compatible mounting holes should make it easy to hang the case just about anywhere, including on the back of an LCD monitor. And, unlike Intel's current NUC systems, the Newton V offers USB 3.0 connectivity via a front-panel port. No Thunderbolt, though—the associated Intel board doesn't support the high-speed interface.
Akasa also makes a version of the Newton compatible with Intel's DCP847SK and D33217GKE NUC boards. Those models have slower CPUs and lack USB 3.0 connectivity. They don't have Thunderbolt, either.
The Newtons look like interesting options for mini desktops and HTPCs, among other applications. Too bad compatibility is limited to specific motherboard models. I hope Intel works to ensure broader compatibility between motherboards and chassis as its new small-form-factor standard matures. Thanks to FanlessTech for the tip.