Motherboard Features & Thermal Design

The Intel D54250WYB "Wilson Canyon" Haswell i5 NUC motherboard has been covered extensively in our review of the Intel D54250WYK NUC kit. Logic Supply retains the features of the motherboard, but does away with the heat sink and the fan. Instead, the chassis lid makes contact with the CPU using a liberal amount of thermal paste to aid help dissipate the heat. Unlike the chassis of the Habey BIS-6922, the grooves on the ML320 are neither deep, nor do they have a bigger surface area. Keeping in mind that the TDP of the passively cooled component is under 20W, this is quite acceptable (as long as the system doesn't throttle due to thermal issues).

The gallery above gives an idea of the extensibility of the NUC platform for those who require customization from Logic Supply. While the standard NUC ports of 2x USB 3.0 on the front front, 2x USB 3.0, a mini-HDMI and a mini-DP port as well as a RJ-45 port on the rear remain, there are some interesting aspects to note. First off, the width of the unit is almost double that of the standard NUC. This allows for the rear panel to accommodate explicit antenna jacks for the wireless module. The standard NUC uses the chassis as an antenna, but that is not possible with the passive design.

The wider rear panel also provides support for the placement of a COM port (using one of the internal USB 2.0 headers along with a pin-header adapter  and a RS232 converter) and UPS systems (redundant DC power input jacks). A panel mount 3.5mm audio breakout extension cable can also be used to provide audio capabilities in the rear panel.

Inside the unit, we find that the Core-ML320 takes advantage of the SATA port on the motherboard to support a 2.5" drive placed adjacent to the motherboard in a horizontal manner. This is in contrast to the BRIX S and NUC H-models where the 2.5" SATA drive is placed against the chassis lid on top of the motherboard. Access to the DRAM (SODIMM modules) and the SATA drives / wireless card is achieved by simply taking out the four screws on the rear panel. The mSATA card and WLAN card are stacked on top of each other and have their own heat sink mechanism to prevent the sort of situation which caused overheating problems with the first version of the Intel NUC. The industrial PC credentials of the Core-ML320 are further strengthened by the use of a wide-temperature range Emphase SSD

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  • jcknows0 - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    The chassis itself is a little on the pricey side. Its pretty hard to recommend a $1300 i5 system with less than 100 GB SSD space. I just built my latest NUC for under $300, just doesn't seem worth it for fanless.
  • faiakes - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    For Europeans, there is the very similar Alaska Tesla H. High-tech reviewed it and compared it to the Intel and another custom case here
  • WithoutWeakness - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    The target market for these types of fanless, industrial, SFF machines is not the same target market as Intel's off-the-shelf NUC or Gigabyte's Brix. Fanless boxes like these are meant to be deployed in areas where the machine likely needs to be running 24/7/365 and any downtime is an order of magnitude more costly than the $1300 that the box costs. Overheating due to fan failures, untimely deaths of non-enterprise-grade SSD's (or, god forbid, platter-based hard drives), and other potential issues can be avoided by getting something like this box that is built specifically for the application. For other uses a NUC makes more sense (I bought a NUC to run as a cheap all-purpose media/backup/Mumble server and I love it) but for industrial and enterprise purposes you're far better off getting something like this.
  • BryanC - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Why is it acceptable for a fanless industrial SFF machine like this to have an external power supply? Seems like that significantly complicates installation, especially in tight, cramped areas where this type of machine is attractive. Also, I'd be worried about the reliability of the power supply, it doesn't look like it's engineered to last.
  • WithoutWeakness - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Not a clue. I definitely have to agree that an internal power supply would make the unit far easier to install because you wouldn't have to find a spot to put the brick. My best guess would be that it would make the unit larger and run hotter as the PSU would be unable to vent externally. Apple's Mac Mini is only slightly larger than this and has an internal PSU and 35W CPU but it also has a fan to help keep thermals in check.

    Mac Mini: 7.7" wide, 7.7" deep, 1.4" tall
    Core-ML320: 7.72" wide, 5.17" deep, 1.45" tall
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - link

    Probably because of the optional 6-30VDC input jack. That's flexible enough that you should be able to wire it into the existing power system of whatever machine it's embedded in.
  • evilspoons - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    This is exactly the reason. Every industrial panel I've ever installed a PC in already has a 24 VDC power supply for the rest of the control system.
  • BryanC - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    Thanks, I learned something today! =)
  • BedfordTim - Saturday, May 3, 2014 - link

    I couldn't find the 6-30VDC input jack option on the website, but the NUC motherboard itself does have a 12-24V input. The motherboard manual is inconsistent about input voltages, and Intel haven't been very helpful in clarifying this.
  • Lothsahn - Thursday, May 1, 2014 - link

    One reason is that with the industrial market, they'll actually have a DC line they want to wire the devices into.

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