HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer) - computers for home theater and media centers. We have not previously covered the components for this particular class of PC on the pages of our site, but it's never too late to start, especially since I now have a great opportunity to correct this omission. This is because the premium-case Streacom F12C Optical came to our office, about which we will talk in this review.
Streacom F12C Optical
Briefly about the company Streacom. It was founded in 2010 by a small group of engineers and designers united by the idea of creating unique beautiful and functional computer cases. The main office of the company is in Holland. Production facilities are in China. The manufacturer specializes in working with aluminum and most products are made from this material, which allows the creation of compact cases for systems with passive cooling. The combination of premium quality and excellent product design allowed Streacom to become a global player in the PC components market.
With regard to the Streacom F12C Optical, which came to us for testing, it is an improved modification of the popular F12C model, which received an option to install an optical drive and two USB 3.0 ports on the front panel.
The main characteristics of Streacom F12C Optical chassis:
Chassis material: premium aluminum (6063), pressed panels, 4 mm
Available color options: silver, black - sand blasting
Support for motherboards: Full ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
Possibility to install drives: maximum 24 x 2.5 "or 12 x 3.5" (with ITX boards), at least 2 x 2.5 "+ 5 x 3.5"
Support for optical drives: 1 x 12.7 mm
Ports on the front panel: 2 x USB 3.0, IR receiver window
Expansion slots: installation of full-size PCI boards 7 x 310 mm
Video cards: maximum length 310 mm, height 130 mm
Cooling: the possibility of installing fans 80, 92, 120 and 140 mm
Maximum CPU cooler height: 135 mm
External dimensions (WxDxH): 440 x 320 x 175 mm (184 mm including the legs)
Internal dimensions (WxDxH): 432 x 310 x 168 mm
Support for power supplies: Full ATX, no length limitation
Streacom F12C Optical comes in a box of thick corrugated cardboard, on top of which a removable cover is pulled out of thick paper. Inside we see the body itself in a tissue bag, tightly packed with foam inserts. Also included are a fairly colorful, well-illustrated instruction for the installation of components in English, a square piece of insulating foam (used when installing the power supply unit) and a package with all the necessary screws, spacers and additional racks for installing the motherboard.
Design, materials, assembly
The first external inspection of the case is puzzling and admiring. Streacom F12C Optical does not look like a computer case at all. Rather, it resembles a component of a Hi-Fi audio system, for example, an amplifier. A computer built on the base of this case would look quite logical in some rack next to other expensive equipment.
We have on the test a silver version of the device and with this appearance the case will surely appeal to fans of the Apple style. It even seemed to me that if a bitten apple had been shown on the front panel, it could easily deceive some unsophisticated users. There are Mac Mini and Mac Pro, and in the Streacom F12C Optical case you could assemble, for example, Mac Midi.
Streacom F12C Optical consists of 6 solid aluminum panels with a thickness of 4 mm, so the design of the case is at the same time light, but stiff and durable. Assembly is ideal - it is impossible to find fault with quality. Also the case is pleasant to the touch. Metal cold hands, and the outer surfaces of the product, processed by sandblasting, create positive tactile sensations. A real premium product - this becomes clear at a glance.
Streacom F12C Optical outside
Go to the layout of the Streacom F12C Optical.
An optical disc slot with a media eject button is located in the middle in the middle. Below - in the middle there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, the power button on the left and the infrared port on the right. These are all elements from the front - the front panel looks minimalistic and stylish.
On the side panels we see 2 square cutouts for the ventilation of the case. The cutouts are closed with plastic grids, which are fixed with overlays with magnetic locks. Due to this design, the grids are easily removed and provide access to the inside for cleaning and maintenance of the housing.
On the back panel there is a cutout for the power supply on the left, then we see a cutout under the back panel of the motherboard and 7 cutouts under the expansion cards with metal plugs. Places for fixing the expansion cards are covered with an aluminum visor, which can be removed from the inside by unscrewing 2 screws.
From above we observe the familiar construction of ventilation openings with grids and magnetic fastening, in total there are 3 rectangular lattices of large size. The top panel of Streacom F12C Optical is removable, it is fixed with 2 screws of original design. Unscrew them with your hands without using a special tool. The top cover provides basic access to the inside of the case for the installation and replacement of system components.
Separately, it is worth noting the bottom panel of the case. There are 4 massive legs in the form of round aluminum "washers" with a rubber sole. Also in the panel, 3 rows of round holes are made for additional ventilation of the case.
Streacom F12C Optical inside - features of component installation
Opening the chassis we first see a cantilever basket on the top for the optical drive. All you need to install the drive is included in the kit - cogs and a piece of rubber tape 3M with an adhesive backing, from which you can cut the pieces to seal the mounting ODD if necessary. In addition, from the bottom to this basket you can screw in addition any 2.5-inch HDD or SSD.
Next, pay attention to the 2 brackets for installing the upper fans. The distance between the brackets can be adjusted by loosening the fixing screws, so fans of any size can be installed here. In addition, you can (and need to) remove the brackets altogether, to make it easier to mount the power supply and the motherboard.
The installation of the PSU should not cause any particular problems. If your specimen has a suction fan - it needs to be deployed in the direction of the ventilation slot on the side wall with a mesh. For additional noise reduction and vibration elimination, a polymer seal, which is included in the delivery, can be laid between the bottom panel of the housing and the power supply unit.
To install the motherboard uses the legs, which are screwed into the bottom panel of the case. The legs for mITX are installed from the factory. For boards of other form factors, it is necessary to screw in the body additional legs that come with the kit. In general, then - you do not expect anything unusual at this stage.
Next comes the most interesting - universal brackets, which are used to install drives and side fans. In a set with the body there are 8 pieces of such brackets. They are interesting in that they can be fastened anywhere along the side walls - for this, a special guide protrusion is provided on the bottom panel inside and then fixed with spring locks. Such an original component fastening design allows you to flexibly adjust the location of the drives - you can place them vertically or horizontally at any height depending on your needs, and you can also use fans of any size. Very original and convenient solution.
A little bit about cable management. Inside the case there are 2 thick cables that come from USB ports. They end with standard connectors that connect to the motherboard. Also from the button with the LED-indicator there is a thin wire with the marked blocks, which are connected to the corresponding pins on the motherboard. Everything is simple, convenient and standard - there should not be any questions in this regard.
The Streacom F12C Optical chassis impresses with its appearance, quality materials and thoughtful design. I especially liked the original solutions used by the manufacturer - removable grids, which make it easy to clean and maintain the cooling system and universal brackets for the installation of drives and coolers. I've always liked modular designs, and Streacom F12C Optical is an excellent example of modularity and flexibility in building a home entertainment PC.
To whom would I recommend this case? Of course, for lovers of stylish devices and enthusiasts who want to assemble a beautiful and compact home PC. First of all, this building is aimed at creating noiseless systems for use as a home theater and media center. However, no one will forbid you to make such a computer for working or gaming - the case capabilities give such an opportunity.