$115,048
pledged of $300,000pledged of $300,000 goal
74
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, March 25 2018 8:51 PM UTC +00:00
$115,048
pledged of $300,000pledged of $300,000 goal
74
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, March 25 2018 8:51 PM UTC +00:00

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

15aeb4d68d6aa7331a61b2d1c81369ef h264 base.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

Background

A gaming PC is the single most important device of a gamer. The hardware and software technologies of gaming keep improving at a dramatic rate, but the design of the computer itself hardly does. For some reason, the majority of gaming computers in 2018 are still bulky and noisy.

From time to time an attempt is made to design a gaming PC that is small and quiet. Unfortunately the first thing these designs sacrifice is usability - these PCs are notoriously hard to service and often next-to-impossible to upgrade. 

Many would consider the holy grail of gaming PC to have the following properties:

  • Uncompromising performance
  • Silent
  • Small
  • Easy to upgrade

These are exactly the design goals Compulab set for Airtop2 Inferno.
Note: As for reliability, that design goal goes without saying. All Compulab PCs ship with 5 year warranty, and Airtop2 Inferno is no exception.

What is Airtop2 Inferno?

Inferno is a compact, high-performance gaming PC with silent cooling.

High-performance means Core-i7 7700K (91W) + desktop GeForce GTX 1080 (180W). Both working at full performance, they are not underclocked, in fact both are unlocked. Inferno also has up to 64 GB RAM and 2x NVMe.

Silent cooling means 0dB - not "quiet, specially designed fans". There are simply no fans at all in Inferno, no CPU and GPU fans, no case fans and no PSU fan. There is no water cooling either. The graphics card has its fans removed. Both CPU and graphics card are cooled by Natural Airflow.

 

Inferno CPU (right) & GPU (left) cooling
Inferno CPU (right) & GPU (left) cooling

 

 About Natural Airflow technology  

Compulab is a pioneer in fanless computing and has been designing and making miniature fanless PCs for 12 years, mostly for industrial use (where fanless PCs are widely recognized as more reliable). 
In 2013 Compulab started researching how to cool a high-performance PC without fans, which resulted in Natural Airflow technology - an effective method for harnessing the stack effect to generate sufficient airflow for cooling a 200W small-form-factor PC. That's the principle behind Airtop (a field proven product shipping for 2 years) and Airtop2 on which Inferno is based. 

Natural Airflow illustration
Natural Airflow illustration

To watch a video about Natural Airflow click here

Natural Airflow is very scalable. This allows extending the cooling capacity from Airtop2's 200W to the 300W+ required for cooling GeForce GTX 1080 + Core i7 7700K in Airtop2 Inferno.

Airtop2 Inferno in the press

Technical details

Highlights:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K (Quad-core 4.2 GHz – 4.5 GHz, 91W)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 1080 8 GB (Base clock: 1620 MHz)
  • RAM: Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 (4x UDIMM)
  • Storage: 6 storage devices: 2x NVMe + 4x SATA SSD / HDD  
  • 9x USB (2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0)  
  • Front and rear audio  
  • Dual Gbit Ethernet + optional WiFi and 4G modem
  • Integrated OLED display (I3M) for showing real-time temperatures, power, system load and system information.

(See complete specifications below)

 

Inferno features
Inferno features

 

Inferno dimensions
Inferno dimensions

 

 

Inferno block diagram
Inferno block diagram

 

Inferno specifications
Inferno specifications

 

Benchmarks

Benchmarking was conducted on Inferno's motherboard with final CPU and graphics card. See gallery for a picture of the test system. The only difference from final Inferno is that the hardware was spread on a table with active cooling and not installed into the final housing (that will go to production only after this campaign succeeds).

Test system:

  • Airtop2/Inferno motherboard
  • CPU: Core-i7 7700K (4.2 GHz)
  • Graphics: Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini (1620 MHz)
  • RAM: 4x 16 GB DDR4 2400 (64 GB total)
  • Storage: NVMe 960 EVO 256 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 64 bit (10.0.15063)

See more details here

3DMark 11 on Inferno. score: 20463
3DMark 11 on Inferno. score: 20463

 

Fire Strike V1.1 on Inferno. Score: 16847
Fire Strike V1.1 on Inferno. Score: 16847

 

Sky Diver v1.0 on Inferno. Score: 36710
Sky Diver v1.0 on Inferno. Score: 36710

 

Time Spy v1.0 on Inferno. Score: 6776
Time Spy v1.0 on Inferno. Score: 6776

 

Unigine Heaven 4.0 on Inferno. Score: 2785
Unigine Heaven 4.0 on Inferno. Score: 2785

 

Upgrading Inferno

Installing RAM and storage

Installing / upgrading RAM and storage is extremely simple in Inferno thanks to the tool-free clamshell opening. 

Inferno and Airtop2 share identical inside structure. This video demonstrates installation of RAM and disks in Airtop2. The procedure is identical in Inferno.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Upgrading graphics card

Upgrading graphics card
Upgrading graphics card

When new and better graphics cards become available Compulab will adapt to Inferno the best compatible one and will offer it as an upgrade kit where graphics card is already installed on the replaceable door. Upgrading should take no more than 5 minutes: 

  • Turn-off Inferno
  • Open clamshell door
  • Disconnect PCIe adapter and power cable
  • Unscrew hinge
  • Pull-out the door with attached graphics card
  • Repeat steps in reverse with the new door+graphics card

Notes:

  • In order for a graphics card to be supported by Inferno it has to be 17 cm (mini-ITX) or shorter.
  • Compulab validates certain graphics cards and does the adaptation to Inferno. This is an involving process that cannot be accomplished by the user.

Upgrading motherboard

Compulab may be offering in the future a motherboard with a new CPU.
In that case the new motherboard will be offered as a kit.

Please note that replacing the motherboard is a more involving process which is not recommended for users who do not have previous experience in assembling a PC (including attaching a heatsink to the CPU).

------------------------------

Rewards

Inferno half life

A barenone system with CPU but no graphics-card. The owner has to add the RAM, storage and operating system to achieve a functional system.

What is it good for? Anything but immediate gaming. Namely:

1. Silent high performance home-theater PC.
As Ganesh T S from Anandtech points out:
"I spent a lot of time in the last few months of 2017 attempting to figure out a good configuration for a high-end home theater PC (a market that the Inferno targets) : https://www.anandtech.com/print/12171/a-budget-home-theater-pc-setup-4k-hdr-uhd-bluray-and-more
I came to the conclusion that the integrated graphics is more capable when it comes to 4K home-theater tasks - for example, UltraHD Blu-ray playback (with attached USB Blu-ray drive) is possible only when the Kaby Lake integrated graphics is used to drive the display."

2. A next generation gaming PC.
Wait for the next generation graphics card and buy it once available.

3. A silent home-PC for non-gamers.
Plenty of performance, plenty of storage, small footprint, silent, 3 displays.
Think writing code / documents / high performance compiling etc.

4. A PC for audio.
Silent. high-performance, plenty of storage, digital audio ports, available PCIe x16 slot.

Skeletal Inferno  

A barenone system with CPU and graphics-card.
The owner has to add the RAM, storage and operating system to achieve a functional system.  

RAM and storage are expensive in 2018.
With Skeletal you can reuse RAM and disks you already have, buy them elsewhere piece by piece or wait for Black Friday to make a major upgrade.
Inferno makes a convenient barebone system for the following reasons:
- Very easy installation of RAM and storage (see video above)
- Built-in diagnostics:
The most frustrating step in installation is when you plug in everything, turn on the computer and it does not start. Normally that leaves you guessing what's wrong, but Inferno has the following indicator LEDs:
- Detecting RAM --> detected
- BIOS passed POST --> booting
- Display detected on integrated HDMI port
- Display detected on one of the integrated DP ports
This makes troubleshooting much easier.  

Demonic Inferno  

Demonic is a ready to use high-performance Inferno.
It has the same CPU and graphics like all other models.
Demonic would provide the same frame-rate as more expensive models and will score the same in most gaming benchmarks.  

You can add RAM and storage any time to promote Demonic to Diabolic or better.  

Diabolic Inferno  

Some gamers want more, better and faster (or so we heard).
Diabolic tries to address that by adding:  

- Samsung 960 EVO NVMe (extremely fast, shortens loading time)  
- Double the RAM to 32 GB
- Double the storage 2x 1 TB (possible to configure in RAID)
- Adding 802.11AC WiFi + BT (Intel 8260AC, Skeletal and Demonic owners can order the WiFi separately)
Diabolic can be upgraded further (RAM, storage, 2nd NVMe...) 

Doomsday Machine 

 We just put there everything Inferno can take.
 We guess every yacht needs one.

fit-statUSB

fit-statUSB
fit-statUSB

fit-statUSB is a smart RGB LED with a micro-controller that implements a simple serial-over-USB protocol. It allows running an application on the host to set the LED color and brightness according to host's state.

fit-statUSB in AIrtop2
fit-statUSB in AIrtop2

In Inferno it is useful for running a daemon that polls the CPU temperature and sets the color of the LED accordingly.

Compulab will provide such a daemon for Windows and Linux.

Development status and plans

Technically, Airtop2 Inferno is an enhanced variation of Airtop2 which is a shipping product. Furthermore, Inferno is booting, running stable and was benchmarked with the 7700K CPU and GTX 1080 graphics card. 
The thermal design, industrial design and validation of the new parts with the manufacturer have all been completed successfully. 

This means there is no pending research and development to carry out, only execution of manufacturing the exterior air-tubes, stress testing and tuning. 

 In parallel Compulab intends to design a new FACE Module for Inferno adding dual USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps). This FACE Module is straightforward to design and will not delay the roll-out of Inferno.

Why Kickstarter?  

Airtop2 Inferno is unique by being small, fanless and high performance, but it is far from being the lowest-cost gaming PC on the market. 
We are certain that we can manufacture Airtop2 Inferno and that it will work well, but we can do it only if there is interest in the product, and we believe Kickstarter is the right place to find that out.

Milestones on the road to Inferno

 About the Inferno creators team

 

 

Risks and challenges

We are doing our best to help you back the project with confidence. This is our return and refund policy:

1. Before the project is funded you can cancel your pledge directly with Kickstarter.
2. After the project is funded, if you do not want the product anymore you can contact Compulab fit-iot sales sales@fit-iot.com and inform us that you decided to cancel. Compulab will refund in full (except for Kickstarter fee).
3. If Compulab fails to deliver Inferno due to Compulab fault or force majeure, Compulab will refund in full (except for Kickstarter fee).
4. After Inferno ships, if you are not satisfied with it for any reason you can return it within 30 days. Unless Inferno is damaged, Compulab will refund it in full (except for Kickstarter fee, shipping expenses, storage devices and operating system license).
5. Later you have 5 year warranty on the product.

There are technical and logistic risks that a backer should consider.

Technical risks:

- Airtop2 Inferno might not function (negligible risk):
Inferno is based on Airtop2 motherboard that has been tested extensively and is in production. The motherboard, PSU and BIOS has been tested and benchmarked using Inferno-designated CPU and graphics card. The risk that a functional error will be discovered at this stage is minimal.

- Airtop2 Inferno might be thermally unbalanced (minimal risk):
Airtop1 & Airtop2 are 200W+ Natural Airflow PCs. They are perfectly balanced thermally. This has been proven by extensive testing at Compulab (incl. operating Airtop2 at 94°C ambient under load) and by numerous independent reviews.
Inferno has the exact same hardware design like Airtop2 but power is extended to 300W+. To address the extra power, Inferno doubles Natural Aiflow air-tubes on each side. Our thermal analysis and simulations show that it should actually run cooler than Airtop2.
In the unlikely case that the thermal analysis of Compulab for Inferno proves inaccurate, Compulab will do the needed modifications in the housing to ensure Inferno works reliably under full load.

- USB 3.1 might require an additional revision (small risk):
A new FACE Module with ASMedia USB 3.1 controller is being designed for Inferno. This is the only new electronics board being designed.
In case the first revision does not work as intended, Compulab will revise the design. This might incur some delay on Inferno availability. In that case backers can wait until the revision is ready or receive Inferno earlier with USB 3.0

Logistic risks:

- A critical component may become unavailable (small risk):
Some components - in particular graphics cards - may become unavailable without prior notice. If that happens Compulab will do every effort to qualify an alternative component with identical or better performance. If this proves impossible, backers will have the option to either receive a refund or opt for the best component available.

- Delivery might be delayed due to production allocation constraints (small risk):
Compulab manufactures its product in-house to ensure best possible quality control. Airtop2 Inferno production is labor intensive. In case that Compulab's production capacity is maxed-out at the relevant time frame, production rate of Inferno might be reduced and supplies might be delayed until production capacity is resumed. A backer that does not receive Inferno by the promised due date has the right to cancel the order for a full refund.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Keep me posted

    If you find Inferno intriguing, want to keep track of its development and on the way show support to the concept, then we will keep you posted whenever we develop something new related to Inferno.

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    CPU/GPU temperature LED indicator

    fit-statUSB (developed by Compulab) is a fingernail-size programmable RGB LED that plugs into a USB port. It is useful for providing real-time indication by color of CPU/GPU temperature in Inferno, but can be used in any other PC and many non-PC devices.

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    Pledge $1,599 or more About $1,599

    Inferno half life early bird

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K but WITHOUT discrete graphics card (which can be purchased later from Compulab).
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Pledge $1,699 or more About $1,699

    Inferno half life

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K but WITHOUT discrete graphics card (which can be purchased later from Compulab).
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Pledge $2,232 or more About $2,232

    Skeletal early bird

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Skeletal early bird #2

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Skeletal Inferno limited time offer

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Pledge $2,399 or more About $2,399

    Skeletal Inferno limited time offer #2

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Pledge $2,480 or more About $2,480

    Skeletal Inferno

    Barebone Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    RAM, storage and operating system are not included.

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    Demonic early bird

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    16 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 8 GB)
    1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional

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    Demonic early bird #2

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    16 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 8 GB)
    1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional

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    Pledge $3,170 or more About $3,170

    Demonic Inferno

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    16 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 8 GB)
    1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional

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    Diabolic early bird

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    32 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 16 GB)
    256 GB NVMe Samsung 960 EVO
    2x 1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional
    WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Intel 8260AC)

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    Pledge $3,811 or more About $3,811

    Diabolic early bird #2

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    32 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 16 GB)
    256 GB NVMe Samsung 960 EVO
    2x 1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional
    WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Intel 8260AC)

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    Pledge $3,961 or more About $3,961

    Diabolic Inferno

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    32 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (2x 16 GB)
    256 GB NVMe Samsung 960 EVO
    2x 1 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional
    WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Intel 8260AC)

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    Doomsday machine

    Inferno with Core-i7 7700K and GTX 1080.
    64 GB RAM DDR4 2400 (4x 16 GB)
    2x 1 TB NVMe Samsung 960 EVO
    4x 2 TB SSD
    Windows 10 Professional
    WiFi 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Intel 8260AC)

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Funding period

- (30 days)