Skip to navigation

Nofan IcePipe A43-H67 Silent PC review

Verdict

True silence - and we really do mean silence – from a remarkable passively cooled PC. Many will consider the premium well worth paying

Review Date: 16 Jun 2011

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £935 (£1,122 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Many PCs have arrived in the PC Pro Labs claiming to be silent, but despite seeing clever cooling and case modifications, we usually find a pesky fan or two somewhere to spoil the ambience. Not so with this one. Remember the name Nofan: set up by the founder of Zalman, its IcePipe A43-H67 Silent PC does things differently.

For starters, despite a full-fat Core i5-2500K processor it’s completely passively cooled, and the interior is dominated by the most ridiculous heatsink we’ve ever seen. The Nofan CR-100A cooler measures a massive 220mm across, and more closely resembles a hamster wheel than a piece of cooling equipment. Its donut shape houses scores of metal fins designed to dissipate heat from the Sandy Bridge processor.

Nofan IcePipe A43-H67 Silent PC

The chassis has no case fans of its own, instead relying on a meshed front panel to allow air to drift inside. The 400W Nofan power supply is fanless too, instead being built around an aluminium heatsink. There’s understandably no graphics card – silence and gaming don’t tend to mix – with the integrated chip inside the processor taking charge of displays, and there’s no sign of a crunching hard disk, either. Instead, Nofan has installed Windows 7 Home Premium on a 120GB OCZ Vortex 2E SSD, which makes up in silence what it loses in capacity.

The result is startling. We’re used to hearing so-called quiet systems emit at least a low hum, so to put an ear to the side of the Nofan and hear absolutely nothing was something of a strange experience. It’s so quiet you’ll need to rely on the lights on the front to tell when it’s on; even with the side panel removed we could discern only the tiniest hint of the electric whine of the PSU’s capacitors.

Nofan IcePipe A43-H67 Silent PC

That cooler does more than only eliminate noise. The Core i5-2500K idled at 36°C, and under full load from our benchmarks rose to a comfortable 75°C. That’s nowhere near its thermal limit, and lower than we see from many actively cooled processors. Power consumption was also excellent, with an idle power draw for the entire PC of only 33W. Under load, that rose to a mere 124W.

1 2
Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

Can I Hear a Pin Drop?

So quiet you could hear a pin drop? Possibly until you ask the question.... How noticable is the volume change when the Blu Ray drive springs into life? Do love the idea of the PC though, would be great for the living room plugged into the TV, or a general Media Centre tucked out of the way...

By onedarkmoment on 20 Jun 2011

Would be nice with a GPU

Although not totally silent (near on impossible to tell though) I think my own PC is a better bet for someone wanting more performance for gaming. I have a zalman reservator 1+ from a few years back, it confortably cools a Q6600 and ATI 6870 with a max load temp of 55deg. PSU is passively cooled, SSD hard disk, no case fans just a lian-li v1100 which has lots of holes in it anyway. Performance and silence - not very mobile though :)

By cwilliams17 on 20 Jun 2011

Name...

I think it's called 'Nofen' not 'Nofan' - even though it has no fans.

I love the idea of it though: I saw the cooler for sale a while back but was unsure how it would really perform, the answer here seems to be 'excellently'. A pity a more powerful GPU couldn't be put in though, there are passive ones which offer more grunt than integrated graphics - it looks like one might fit, any idea on that?

By Mr_John_T on 20 Jun 2011

Fan or Fen?

Is it just me or does the logo on the front of the case say Nofen rather than Nofan?

By NR5674 on 20 Jun 2011

Nofen or Nofan?

A clarification: while the chassis still says Nofen, it's recently changed its name to Nofan. I assume this will filter its way to the latest batch of cases etc soon!

Cheers,

Mike

By Mikey_Jennings on 20 Jun 2011

Didn't fans appear on...

...386/486 CPU's back in the early 90's??

That thing is a work of art and has no place stuck in a black box. Get that side cover perpexed up or just leave the side case off.

By milesfinch on 20 Jun 2011

@milesfinch

I thought fans appeared with the Pentium. My memory isn't great, but I don't even remember heatsinks on 486s.

By tirons1 on 20 Jun 2011

Mmm...

Judging by the picture, it's Nofan, Noram and Novideocard...

By Lomskij on 20 Jun 2011

@tirons1

There definitely were heatsinks on 486's, and I remember some (*cough* cyrix *cough*) were getting uncomfortably hot.

By Lomskij on 20 Jun 2011

@tirons1

Certainly the earliest Pentium's didn't have fans (the P60/66 which were the first) but I think they may have appeared by the time of the P120 or P133.

The P60/66 - can't remember which I had, featured a black heat sink with about 60 prongs about 2cm high.

By kingct on 20 Jun 2011

Photos flatter

Looking at pics on other sites, this is quite an ugly case. Considering the price, I would think they could build something a little more aesthetic. I will wait and see what the price of teh heatsink is seperately and if it is tempting enough put it in something more soothing on the eye.
Coda: Another site has the 'sink cooling an i7-980X Extreme Edition, stock mind, but it opens interesting possibilities.

By Deadtroopers on 21 Jun 2011

@Deadtroopers

The Nofan heatsink has (according to their & Quiet PC's website) a TDP of 100W. That should make it good for anything up to an i7 2600k at stock speed. The i7-980X has a TDP of 130W, so I'm surprised to see anyone pairing that up with it.

I'd really like to know if a better GPU would fit into the system though, as I've seen passive 6770's from Gigabyte...

By Mr_John_T on 21 Jun 2011

Heck of a price

I'm after something like this to literally velcro to the underside of my desk (out of sight AND silent) but the price premium here is just too much. With even a modest tech knowledge you can build your own mini ITX with similar processors for half this price.

By aitch2000 on 21 Jun 2011

@aitch2000

You COULD build a similarly powerful machine yourself for much less money (cheaper processor over-clocked, cheaper HSF, cheaper case, cheaper PSU, HDD instead of SSD) but there's NO WAY it would be passive and silent like this one - which is kind of the whole point.

I LOVE the idea of this, would be willing to pay a premium for the silence, but would really want a bit more graphical power...

By Mr_John_T on 21 Jun 2011

I'm reminded of Zalman's TNN (Totally No Noise) case from a few years back, although that used the case as a large heatsink and used heatpipes to connect to the CPU (and GPU) rather than an immense CPU heatsink.

By simbr on 24 Jun 2011

hope the RAM is reliable

I wouldn't fancy dismantling that to swap the RAM over if it failed. It looks so easy to bend the fins on that donut. also with air flowing through the case comes dust. even if there are no fans to draw it in it will still get on there. a can of compressed air should come as standard with it ;)

By mr_chips on 25 Jun 2011

@various

Thanks for such a comprehensive review Mike! Just to pick up on a few queries raised in the comments:

Yes, the company was called Nofen because Nofan wasn't available. However, Nofan was later secured so the company will be known as Nofan in the future.

I remember the 486DX2-66 as being one of the last fanless processors. The 33MHz version didn't even have a heatsink! The Pentium 60 ran hot in comparison and had a fan built onto the chip itself. We're going back to 1993 here, so it's only taken 18 years to regain silence!

Where onboard Intel graphics aren't good enough, a video card can easily be added, provided the motherboard has the slot located far enough away from the processor. Obviously a fanless video card would be recommended where possible!

The cooler will be available separately in a couple of months, priced in the region of £140. The "donut" fins are surprisingly robust, and the cooler can be removed relatively easily should a subsequent RAM upgrade be required.

-- Glenn Garrett (Quiet PC.com)

By glenngarrett on 7 Jul 2011

Fan history

You may recall way back in the late 80s Amstrad recalled their PCs because of the need to install a fan to prevent overheating. I think this was circa 1988-9 and was for their 2nd series of PCs. So cooling has been an issue for eons. Back then the minimum was a fan in the power supply, which cooled the whole PC. Amstrad experimented with putting the power supply into the monitor and relying on convection for cooling. Arguably, that didn't work. The difference now is the use of ever larger heatsinks for passive cooling.

By Longfellow on 1 Sep 2011

gunnar-mobimation

There are several devent graphics cards out there that are passively cooled, well at least a few. I have one of these A43 kits being shipped to me now and will look at building an silent office computer with dual display for dev purposes.

By rekordB on 18 Dec 2011

devent.. I mean decent

By rekordB on 18 Dec 2011

Great machine

I got the A43 kit. I installed a Gigabyte motherbord with Core i7 2700K processor. The CPU runs cool most of the time and the machine is dead silent. You can hear a pin drop if the rest of the surroundings is quiet. You get down to the background noise of your own ears. Highly recommended. Pegging all i7 cores with a Linux core build can become too much. Regular use perfectly ok.

By rekordB on 1 Jan 2012

They've been around for ages!!!!

I had a Poweroid work station with Zalman TNN case with no fans, about 8 years ago, (good). Then a Deltatronic with no fans about 5years ago (superb). Last year I got a new Deltatronic with quadro fx 4000 and SSD drive and i7 chip ( best ever). No fans just peace and quite all day long!!!!!!!!!!! The Germans can make anything!!! It's just a big heatsink/radiator.

By VoiceOfDoom on 20 May 2012

They've been around for ages!!!!

I had a Poweroid work station with Zalman TNN case with no fans, about 8 years ago, (good). Then a Deltatronic with no fans about 5years ago (superb). Last year I got a new Deltatronic with quadro fx 4000 and SSD drive and i7 chip ( best ever). No fans just peace and quite all day long!!!!!!!!!!! The Germans can make anything!!! It's just a big heatsink/radiator.

By VoiceOfDoom on 20 May 2012

Discontinued

This too has been discontinued.

By Bughunter on 29 Jun 2013

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.

(optional)

Latest Category Reviews
Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus review

Scan 3XS Evolve NLE HD Plus

Category: Desktop PCs
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £2,000
Chillblast Fusion Dragon review

Chillblast Fusion Dragon

Category: Desktop PCs
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £1,694
Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1 review

Yoyotech Warbird Nightblade 1

Category: Desktop PCs
Rating: 5 out of 6
Price: £950
PC World  Advent DT 3411 review

PC World Advent DT 3411

Category: Desktop PCs
Rating: 3 out of 6
Price: £480
Dell Inspiron 660 review

Dell Inspiron 660

Category: Desktop PCs
Rating: 3 out of 6
Price: £480
Compare reviews: Desktop PCs

advertisement

Latest News Stories Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Features
Latest Real World Computing

advertisement

Sponsored Links
 

 
SEARCH
Loading
WEB ID
SIGN UP

Your email:

Your password:

remember me

advertisement


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010
 
 

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from www.pcpro.co.uk

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at http://www.pcpro.co.uk/registration.

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.