Building a fanless DIY media center PC

x86-powered PCs typically generate a fair amount of heat and are often equipped with fan-based active cooling systems that can be somewhat noisy.

Meanwhile, traditional hard drives (although not SSDs) are equipped with moving parts that click and whir, as do optical disc drives.

Of course, not everyone wants such a noisy system in their living rooms, particularly if they are using the PC as a media center or entertainment hub.

Enter redditor DeFex, who built a silent computer powered by Intel’s 65W Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor.

As Liliputing’s Brad Linder points out, the Ivy Bridge chip is is far from lackluster, and should be more than sufficient to handle media playback and core gaming titles.

As expected, the DIY media center is equipped with a speedy solid state disk (SSD) instead of a noisy, traditional hard drive which obviously generates more heat with its moving parts.

An optical drive is conspicuously absent, which makes sense on quite a number of levels, as physical media is quickly becoming obsolete. Indeed, quite a number of Ultrabooks omit an optical drive, as does Apple’s wildly popular Macbook Air.

In terms of keeping the CPU from overheating, DeFex uses a 10″ x 7″ heatsink which manages to provide an effective cooling solution by pulling excess heat away from the motherboard.

Interestingly, some of the components appear to have been manufactured using a MakerBot 3D printer. The system is still considered a work-in-progress, and kudos to DeFex for his efforts. Personally, I’d like to see XBMC loaded up on the device when work is complete.