Intel 5th and 6th Generation CPU / Motherboard Suggestions

I’m looking to build a fanless passively cooled music PC with something like the Streacom FC5 case. Any suggestions for CPU/mobos? Are the 5th generation Intel CPUs worth waiting for? I like the look of the low TDP.

I’m not going to make a specific recommendation because I don’t keep up with that world nearly close enough–but–there’s one thing worth mentioning about the Intel CPU release process.

Intel CPU generations alternate between:

  • A generation that increases complexity, feature set, capabilities, etc
  • A generation that reduces heat, power requirements, and transistor size, while making minor improvements/bugfixes.

More on this here.

Sometimes these lines blur, but of the recent generations, Haswell and Sandy Bridge were “feature” releases and Ivy Bridge was basically just a 22nm version of Sandy Bridge that cut the power requirements in half. Broadwell, the next release, should be a 14nm shrink of Haswell.

For a fanless audio box, the “mature” generations seem like a win. Personally, I would wait.

FWIW, Intel’s process is known as “Tick-Tock”

I’m planning to build a HTPC and was wondering on people’s thoughts about the new 5th (Broadwell) and 6th (Skylake) generation processors. I will likely be using a Streacom FC5 Evo fanless case with CPU heatsink.

I am not sure about the different iterations of these processors, though would be looking for something with a relatively low power consumption (TDP).

In the future I might try and run emulation software (Hyperspin) on this machine, to saving having to buy a separate PC, though it will be primarily used and optimised for audio.

Any thoughts or suggestions welcomed.

Budget, software application/OS, and placement are considerations. What else do you want to run on the device aside from Roon? Do you need it to be super quiet? Will this PC be on all the time and what is you max power consumption target? Do you need a proper video card or will an embedded one do? Those are the kinds of things I would consider so I can decide between a NUC application vs. a more full-blown PC.

Thanks Frans. Budget not a major issue but not looking to spend megabucks. OS would be Windows - not sure about version yet. Placement would be in listening room (on hifi rack) so must be completely silent. I already have the Streacom FC5 Evo case which has passive cooling via heatsink and pipes.

Could be on all the time, or I turn it off. I have a linear PSU (HDPLEX) which is 100W I think, so that must be able to power the whole rig. I don’t need a proper video card - especially if I used 5th or 6th gen CPUs with the improved graphics capability.

Thanks again.