I have been wanting to build a desktop for a long long time. For some reason I kept putting it off, till my 7 year old laptop that I used for playing music started showing signs of aging. I don't know why I waited these many years to build a desktop. But my mind is made that, if I have to replace my home desktop with another one, I am building my own and not buying a pre-built one. I am hoping that this "audiogon system" would be helpful for others who want to build their own "audio server". Building a desktop is very easy now-a-days with all the Youtube videos and Google search available to you. The only difference is that a "fanless" desktop does not have all the bells-whistles like a full scale server that people build for gaming. So while the build is much simpler, you may not know anyone personally who has built one. At least the friends/family members that I reached out to, had not built a fanless desktop.

I should give credit to user "WGH" (Wayne) on Audiocircle who's post inspired to build this server:

Wayne answered a few questions and I had and then it was 3 days of Googling around to find out all I needed to know about building a "fanless" desktop. His recommendation on Streacom was something that got me interested. I did reach out to Streacom about the case and the chip that I would be using. A friend did confirm about the HD Plex PSU that would suffice my needs for the applications I was going to use for this desktop. But rest of the components were all my choice and I am glad it did work out. I am listing my components below so that you know what exactly goes into building a "fanless" desktop.

1.  Intel i7-12700 CPU
2.  Streacom FC10 Alpha case
3.  HT4 Thermal Riser
4.  Asus Prime Z690M-Plus D4 motherboard
5.  Corsair Vengeance LPX 4 X 8GB RAM sticks
6.  Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe X 2 500GB drives - 1 for OS and 1 for applications
7.  Samsung 860 EVO SSD 1TB drive for audio files
8.  HDPLEX 400W HiFi DC-ATX & adapter plate for mounting the DC power in port from HDPlex to the case
9 . Dell Genuine 330W AC Adapter Charger LA330PM160
10. Kryonaut 5.5gm and Noctua NT-H1 10g thermal paste
11. LINKUP 30cm PSU PC Power Extension 1x 24P (20+4) Motherboard ATX
12. Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) Desktop Kit, AX200
13. USB Drive for Windows 11 image
14. Windows 11 PRO key

The build is 90% similar to the FC9 build shown in the video below:

I have broken down the build tasks on different levels of difficulty during the build. The scale I used is 1 to 10.

Easy (Level 1-3):
1. Installing CPU on motherboard
2. Installing RAM on motherboard
3. Installing the 2 NVMe drives
4. Attaching rear plate of the motherboard i/o devices to the case
5. Securing motherboard to the case
6. Install wi-fi card on the motherboard
7. Mounting the power supply to the case
8. Installing the power port to case
9. Connecting wires from power supply to different connectors on the motherboard, including the LINKUP 30cm cable extension

Medium (Level 4):
1. Securing the HT4 to the motherboard via screws
2. Installing the BODY of the HT4 Thermal riser on top of the CPU after applying thermal paste
3. BIOS setup to "ignore" fan and set Short and Long TDP to 65W

Difficult (Level 6):
The biggest challenge is putting on the 4 heat pipes on top of the HT4 thermal riser and sticking them to the inside wall of the case and securing them by the plates that hold them against the body of the case. I had to redo this install after I did it alone initially. My 16 year old helped me the second time and it went pretty smooth. I am not a professional like the one in the video. Hence I would recommend 2 people just for this one task. If you are used to building PCs, then you may not find this difficult. This step comes between Steps 5 and 6 in the "Easy" steps above and also after Step 2 of the "Medium" step.

Once the build is complete, you connect the desktop to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Also insert the Windows 11 media USB into one of the rear USB ports
When you fire up the desktop for the first time, the BIOS will show an error for Fan. Simply go into the BIOS and set it to "Ignore" fans.
At this point you should also set the Long power setting for CPU to 65W instead of 180W because that is the max wattage the FC10 can handle.
Now save the BIOS and exit.
At this point the Windows installation will start. Since this is a powerful build, the installation took between 15-20 minutes for the initial setup to complete. Yes, it was super fast compared to the hours it took when I reinstalled Windows 10 on the old laptop 2 years ago. I did a wireless configuration on the initial setup.
Next get the latest Windows update that patches the system for security issues.
After this update ONLY the relevant drivers (BIOS, Chip, etc) either independently OR through the Windows "additional/optional driver update". Skip the fancy Asus utilities or other drivers that you would normally install on a home/gaming desktop. This is a audio server and you need the least possible software on it. If the keyboard, mouse and monitor is working fine, you are good to go. In my case it was Foobar200 with it's components (including Eole theme), desktop utility for Monkey Mote remote for iPad and Fidelizer 8.9.

At this point your build and install is complete. If you did a wireless install but want to use only ethernet, then shutdown the machine and uninstall the wi-fi card and store if for future. You can now introduce the new server into your audio system through whichever way you want to stream your music - USB, optical out, ethernet, etc. This is where the PRO version of Windows comes handy. You can use a iPad/Android tablet/laptop/home desktop to remote login to the server and control it as if you were using a monitor/keyboard/mouse attached to it. This is the headless configuration and I am happy with the way it works. On the tablets you will have to download the "Remote Desktop" app from Microsoft to achieve this.

I am using the DSD Processor component in Foobar2000 and convert FLAC, Radio Paradise Streams to 512 DSD. The core temp on my build has not exceeded 60 degree Celsius in the past few days that the system has been up and continously running. I have even invoked Spotify, Amazon Music, Edge browser, Media player at the same time and core temp indicates the CPU to remain at less than 60 C. Check out the screen shots for the loads that I am seeing on my build.

I love this new build!

Alternatively you can get your fanless desktop built for you via the link below:

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    Comments 4

    Showing all comments by milpai.

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    Thank You @scar972. It was fun project too and I am pretty happy with the results.


    Why does USB 3.0 not sound as good as USB 2.0? I would think that the higher speeds of USB 3.0 would make for a good listening experience. But that was not the case. So switched back to USB 2.0. So far so good.



    1. Ease of music presentation - the music goes deep into the rear walls
    2. Tremendous tight bass
    3. Cavernous images
    4. Speakers disappear even more - lean to one side and look for the speaker - music does not seem to come from the speakers
    5. Can hear details that were missed before
    6. Clear clean presentation - can move dial from 9 o'clock position to more than 10 o'clock position without ear strain or feeling as if the music is too loud. Did not realize this hash was present till the old laptop was replaced with the new server

    1. Simply cannot get enough of listening sessions