I don't have any pink panthers, or wolves, but Domo likes it... so he volunteered for the picture.
I needed to upgrade my home server but have a couple of problems in that regard. I previously had two servers, both fairly standard builds - older hardware in mini tower cases with loud fans and poor scalability. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of having a conditioned closet for datacomm duties - so they sit in the guest bedroom at the moment. While that is functional, it leads to other problems - that is the fact that I live in the desert, and I have a cat for whom "off limits" is considered code for "my favorite places". If I don't clean the fan filters every week or two, then I run into airflow issues and soon heat issues from that - making for an administration headache I just don't need at home - I have a job for that.
A passive design was required. I've done a few passive builds in the past, but the problem with most is the maximum dissipation capability is always measured in double digits... usually no more than 50W or so. So laptop components or NUCs or SBCs like a raspberry Pi have been the go to solution - but I would need multiples of those... which then becomes a different kind of administration headache. After some investigation, I found an enterprising individual in China who is working on creating solutions to this problem - and I knew I had to build my server in one of his cases. I was even more convinced after reading a review at Anandtech and seeing the monster build he sent to Linus of LTT (which is definitely beefier than what I'm building).
The Turemetal UP10 is not a cheap case by any means (it runs between $700-$1000 depending on options, shipped to US). It is also not a quick solution, with my lead time being about 7 weeks - including discussions with Mical Wong about configuration, etc. It's also about the farthest thing from lightweight... about 25lbs (before adding any hardware). This is definitely not a "my first build" kind of chassis... but it is very well made, and an amazing performer as well. As a bit of a bonus, he often live streams his assembly of cases, and notified me of when the marathon run which included my case would be up on YouTube.
To give you an idea of how huge the box I received actually is, here is a pic of the UP10 still in it's foam clamshell removed from the box:
Grabbed one of my co-worker's soda cans for size - no, I don't drink that stuff.
I went back and forth a bit on the hardware side, initially wanting to go with a 12 or 16 core AMD setup, but because of the pandemic and a few other issues in the pipeline - availability was just garbage. Luckily Intel had just released their "new" line of 10th gen parts, and since everyone wants AMD stuff... it was in plentiful supply. One of the big requirements I had was Thunderbolt 3... because I knew I wouldn't have internal space for storage. Presently I have a NAS with about 40TB of storage space so that's not an issue - but it's also slow(ish) being on a 1Gb connection - so I wanted the ability to add fast storage, 10Gb networking, etc. without the need to get into the case itself. AMD may do more cores easily, but their TB3 implementations leave much to be desired until you're into the very top end Threadripper parts.
So the final hardware configuration of my server is the following:
Intel Core i7 10700 8-core CPU
ASUS Pro WS W480-ACE motherboard
64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM (4X16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX
1TB nvme SSD - Samsung 970Pro
evga GeForce GTX1650 Super GPU
Corsair SF450 PSU
Intel 1Gb NIC - for second management port access
At the same time I picked up another board for my workstation at work... and then bench tested everything prior to putting it in the UP10. If you are doing a build like this... testing everything before you start voiding warranties and getting thermal compound all over everything is a necessity.
Once all the hardware checked out OK... it was time to start building. The UP10 is made up of six (yep SIX) aluminum slab heatsinks all tied together by massive heatpipes. I mean that they are physically the largest I've ever worked with - definitely larger than any "normal" passive case uses. They run around the outside and have a selection bent appropriately to connect to the heatsinks on the GPU and CPU on the left and right sides respectively. Additionally, there are straight sections to promote more thorough transfer of heat from each half in the 3 pairs located in the sides and front of the case. You need to add a ton of thermal compound to help this transfer so a large clean area and some non-powdered latex gloves will be your friend here.
Removing the factory heatsink on the 1650 was no problem at all, nor was fitting the provided sinks for it and the CPU. It took a bit of work to get all the pipes seated properly (remember you're moving around 30lbs now) but everything was simple enough after a test fit. Goop it all up and start tightening everything down little by little to eliminate binds and maximize contact area...
Some heatsinks were provided to assist with the RAM on the GPU... but this particular card was not without some form factor issues in this regard... can you spot the problem? After getting everything else together it was time for the PSU cabling to get some love... definitely not my best work... but certainly good enough for something that doesn't have a window and will be sitting in a rack for it's life.
Since there really isn't a good way of fully loading a system like this using a hypervisor (OK, there is... but I can't be bothered to go through all that) - I threw Windows 10 on it and ran some benchmarks, played some games - and did some of both at once.
It isn't without limitations (naturally) but even with artificially loading both the GPU and CPU 100% with power virus utilities (furmark and Prime95) nothing overheated in a 60 minute run. Considering it will be operating at about 30% load on the CPU only most of it's life, that's the hardest pull it will ever have to survive. Testing was done with almost no airflow in the environment - and none at all directly on the case... and the side heatsinks were all extremely hot... but touchable at the least (~45C average).
Subjectively it sounds like... nothing at all. I did notice a tiny bit of coil whine when the GPU was under full load running Furmark... but since the GPU is literally only included for passing to a VM for Roon UI rendering duties... that won't be an issue. Other than a nice inrush click when switching it on... you need the LED on the front to even tell that anything has happened at all. Perfect silence and nearly impervious to cat hair! Easily running 4 VMs with room to spare for spinning up a few more whenever I need to... with loads of expansion potential down the road. It's hard to imagine needing anything more - and although expensive in a general sense... getting this much power, durability, and silence for just over $2K total... it's a heck of a deal in my book!
For the "business end" if anyone is interested: