German start-up Silent Power has announced a high-end PC design that uses a novel copper-based foam for cooling, promising top-tier performance in a silent and compact chassis.
The three-man team - Stefan Klaussner, Michaela Leimberger and Holger Ficht - is looking for €45,000 in crowd funding to bring the Silent Power to life. Based on a small form-factor design, the Silent Power boasts an Intel Core i7-4785T processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 graphics chip, and a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM and 500GB or 1TB solid-state storage. The machine itself uses a novel design that places the CPU and GPU on the top surface of the case, while the motherboard, RAM and storage are located at the bottom.
The reason for this is the Silent Power's innovative cooling system: a stack of copper foam on the top of the system. Designed for fully passive cooling despite the high-end components inside, the metal foam is claimed to offer a 500-fold increase in surface area over traditional fin-based heatsink designs. Combined with the microcirculation of air throughout the foam, the passive cooling system is claimed to be extremely efficient with the outside surface never rising above 50 degrees Celsius in normal use.
The Silent Power has other tricks up its sleeve, too: a sensor at the front of the chassis is said to detect the direction of movement of large objects within two metres. The team suggests it could be used to wake the system from sleep when you approach, or lock it against intrusion when you leave your desk.
There are questions regarding the team's ability to deliver on its promise, however. Although it provides images of a thin layer of copper foam on its official website
, the only images that exist of the system itself are obvious renders. Further, the team is asking for a mere €45,000 to get the design off the ground despite the customised nature of its internals - something that took the far larger Apple a considerable time and a far greater amount of money to achieve in its latest Mac Pro design with its central 'thermal core' cooling system.
Most concerning of all, however, is that the company is managing its crowd-funding campaign itself following its removal from Indiegogo on two separate occasions. Although the team claims that its removal was 'without warning and justification
,' the project would appear to have raised a few red flags and we'd advise caution for anyone considering pledging some cash.
Pre-orders for the Silent Power start at €699 (around £558), with the team promising to refund all pledges minus applicable transaction fees if the €45,000 goal is not reached. Buyers are also given a 60-day return policy, but there's no mention visible on the site of what rights they will have should the team run into production problems with their innovative design.