Hands On with the ML200 Fanless Case

LGX ML200

ML200 Case, Front Panel

I like to think of myself as a descriptive storyteller. I’ll happily deliver up metaphors and analogies for just about anything. Granted, at times I’ve flexed my creative muscle at the expense of scaring the straights: I’ve alluded to the descent to the colony LV-426 in  Aliens to dramatically portray what it was like to fly in the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced. This might not be the most accessible comparison for most. Despite causing employees to occasionally avoid me in the lunch room, I find that being adjective-happy is a worthy trait to have if one of your job requirements is to describe black boxes all day. Is it discreet, mountable, fanless, smooth, rugged or all of the above? The information I provide must paint an accurate and telling picture of what a computer system will be like once you hold it in your hands. This can be exceptionally easy or… well, let’s just say I like a good challenge.

When I’m really excited to talk about something, I have very little restraint—the adjectives abound like worms on wet pavement after a storm. See? I can’t help myself. So, with our new ML200 Fanless Case, which I’m ecstatic about, has me radiating with descriptors; I’m a literary Doctor Manhattan.

What’s neat about this enclosure is how deliberate the design is. It’s like how Howard Roark in the Fountainhead strove for harmony between the environment and his architecture; it’s an entire ecosystem being constructed, not just a stand-alone building. (I promise that is the last analogy.) Okay, so our ecosystem begins with the Intel DN2800MT “Marshalltown” Thin-ITX mainboard. Just a side note: Thin-ITX is Mini-ITX, just thinner. It has the same PCB footprint (170 mm x 170 mm) as a Mini-ITX mainboard, but the overall height of the board is about half that of standard Mini-ITX. Intel is working hard to create a standard form factor for do-it-yourself All-in-One systems (AIOs).

For now, we’re pretty satisfied with the low-profile height of this board, allowing the ML200 enclosure to maintain a slim design of 1.3-inches thick. The dimensions of the case stay as true to the Mini-ITX form factor as possible, adding a few millimeters to the sides and depth to make room for an expansion daughterboard providing 2 USB 2.0 ports and a power button, cabling for two additional RS-232 COM connectors off the front, internal mounting for an automotive power supply, and external mounting for two antennas and a P4 power connector (if you opt for the automotive PSU).

ML200 with DN2800MT Marshalltown

Back Panel of ML200 with Mainboard Installed

The Intel DN2800MT mainboard offers HDMI, VGA, Intel Gb LAN, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 high-current USB 2.0 ports, audio, and a 12-volt DC jack (supports 8~19 V range) off the back panel. Onboard, it has two PCIe Mini Card slots with one being able to support mSATA flash. The mSATA flash shares a lane with one of the board’s SATA connectors, so the most you can have at one time are two SATA devices. That means you can get a cost- and space-effective way to have an mSATA SSD for the OS and a 500GB+ HDD for lots of storage.

LGX ML200 Configured

Interior of ML200 Case with SSD

With the new Cedar Trail platform from Intel, we get dual core processing, native 1080p graphics, HDMI output, and low power consumption—all in a fanless design. So while fanless cases and dual core processors have married before, the passive cooling system for those combos require tall fins or a lot of fins, adding to the height or width of the overall footprint. As you can see in the picture above, the ML200 employs a solid aluminum cooling block with a thermal pad to cool the 1.86 GHz dual core N2800 CPU. This radiates heat to the fins on the top of the case, which are nice and low key. With the cover screwed on, the entire system is totally sealed; there are no additional cooling vents or holes. This is an ideal feature to have in an industrial environment. No fans and no vents mean all the internal components are protected from exposure to dust, dirt, and grime.

The case comes standard with mounting brackets that have bi-directional slots and DIN-rail holes, making it super simple to install your system wherever you need it. There are two antenna punch-outs off the back panel for Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth connectivity.

Because the system is fanless and has been designed to preserve the ultra-thin small footprint, assembling it requires a bit of skill. However, the Assembly Guide available on the product page for download makes it straightforward enough for those who prefer the DIY route. A full system that is built and tested in house is available as the AG150. You can choose memory, storage, wireless, and an operating system, too.

And, if you want to meet the ML200 up close and personal before getting one for yourself, check out the video of yours truly presenting it below. Although I appear to be schooling a classroom of 10-year-old kids (I take presentations quite seriously), I really am just brimming with enthusiasm for this case on the inside.

About Kristina Bond
Kristina Bond was the Marketing Director for Logic Supply from 2007 to 2012. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia with an M.F.A. in photography and a B.F.A in photography and communication from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. While technology and Logic Supply remain close to her heart, she moved on from the company in June 2012 to do marketing for the restaurant industry. To get in touch with Kristina, please contact kristina@kristinadrobny.com.
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5 Responses to Hands On with the ML200 Fanless Case

  1. Tim says:

    I am looking for a case for Intel DN2800MT that supports SSD, or HDD, and mini optical drive.
    Also need cables from board to serial and parallel connectors, these were not supplied with MB also the Mini Optical drive power cable was not supplied.
    Tim

  2. Kristina Bond Kristina Bond says:

    Hi Tim,
    Does the case have to be fanless? If not, the DN2800MT will likely fit in this G-Alantic case; however, we haven’t tested full compatibility. We have some Morex options, too. If you need to get serial and parallel ports off the headers, opting for a case with PCI expansion also is a good idea. You can mount the ports on a PCI bracket. Currently, we don’t have the cables you’ll need for the parallel port. We have a compatible serial port header cable for the board, but it’s a single. For an optical drive, this cable will work: SATAODD2MPwr. But I think the board should come with a cable. Did you buy this board from us? If so, contact tech support and they can find out why you didn’t get shipped one with your order.

    I hope this helps!
    Kristina

  3. Tim O'Rourke says:

    Tnx, I do not need fanless, 1 serial and 1 parallel slots would be a plus.
    Tim

  4. Robert Boerner says:

    Nice looking case. Besides the DIN rail brackets, are there any provisions to mount the system to VESA mounting holes on a monitor?

  5. Kristina Bond Kristina Bond says:

    Hi Robert,
    We currently don’t have a VESA bracket for this case and I don’t believe we’ll be seeing one in the near future. They are handy to have as an option, but unfortunately we don’t see a lot of demand for this so it didn’t make sense to move forward with developing a bracket.
    For projects, we can design a bracket for the case, it depends on how many the customer needs.

    You never know, if we hear a lot of demand for a bracket, you just might see one offered a few months from now–but no guarantees!

    Thanks,
    Kristina

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