Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review

Streacom's DA2 Mini-ITX computer case is under the spotlight today. Is it one to consider? Let's see.

@punx223
Published Thu, Oct 17 2019 12:53 PM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: Streacom (ST-DA2S)

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com
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Streacom is not one of the first names that come to mind when we think of a chassis. Admittedly that's probably true for many of you reading this as it's a much smaller brand. However, their size should not turn you away from considering them as they have introduced some unique chassis over their short time in the realm. Streacom was created in 2010, and to see the special care Streacom takes to cater to the minimalist and SFF community is like very few others in the industry.

The Case we are looking at today is the Streacom DA2 or DA2S as it is silver in color, but we will get to the naming on this later. As previously stated, Streacom goes out of its way to cater to the SFF and HTPC community with some unique designs breaking that mold on occasion. The DA2 we are looking at today checks in at 17.5L, which is relatively compact for supporting up to a full-size GPU. The distinctly apple-esque styling means that the DA2 is a dream for those looking for the sleek, smooth metallic styling.

The DA2 is a unique animal as it is fully modular in the sense that every mounting bracket slides in extruded aluminum rails. This allows full flexibility in how you choose to build your system. The only portion which cannot, or should I say, 'should not' be moved for obvious reasons is the motherboard mounting. The motherboard mounting itself is also brackets like the others. These brackets can indeed be moved, but being the fact that the motherboard I/O cutout and expansion slots are not relocatable. This means if you do move the motherboard mounting, you will be moving it right back and aligning it correctly. Unless you have a specific mod in mind, in which case all bets are off from a review standpoint.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 55 | TweakTown.com

The part number for our exact chassis is ST-DA2S, which signifies the silver color. The other option is black, which would be ST-DA2B, so at least streacom made their part numbers easy to dissect. The measurements of the chassis are 340mm depth, 286mm tall, and 180mm wide. As I stated before, the chassis is small, and as you will see in the following pages, it can be a beauty or a beast, and in some cases, both at the same time.

Motherboard fitment for the DA2 is Mini-ITX only. The DA2 can support a pretty sizeable configuration of devices depending on how you orient the internals of the chassis. Fro drive fitment, you can fit up to three 3.5" drives or up to six 2.5" drives based on bracket support and other installed components. PSU fitment, much to my surprise, can fit up to an ATX PSU, but you would be better served with an SFX/SFX-L supply. The reason for this is that the larger ATX supply will require you limit your GPU to 220mm.

Cooling fitment is up to 145mm for a tower air cooler or up to 240, and 280mm radiators can be fitted with the included brackets, although that can get a bit cramped as you will see when we build with our test bench setup for testing. Fan fitment is scant by default with a single 92mm location adjacent to the motherboard I/O and expansion slots. The other fan fitments will be via internal brackets and only available depending upon the placement of different devices that will be installed.

The brackets are fully adjustable so that you can move them for various fan sizes from 40mm up to 180mm. The brackets for fan fitment being fully adjustable gives you the ultimate level of customization. Be prepared as we found that with a full-size GPU and 240mm AIO in place, we did not have anywhere we could fit an extra fan. We also did not have any 92mm fans on hand to help push air outward. In a scenario, as we had, you can expect that your AIO may work double duty pushing air around in the chassis and hopefully out.

The Streacom DA2 is NOT cheap coming in at Newegg at $259.99, and other less common smaller retailers online showed it for prices ranging from $220 - $259. As we saw here, so we will base our analysis on a place we know and can get the chassis if we wanted it. When considering the $259 price tag, the DA2 is going to be a tougher sell than most as it's a complex chassis with a premium price tag. Competitors we could find were the Antec Striker, who has a much larger chassis but far more fitment as well. The Streacom DA2 is unique in its own right as it falls into the specialized niche like the Dan case offerings and others of the sort.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications

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Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$414.99$215.06$201.85
* Prices last scanned on 9/21/2020 at 7:15 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 01 | TweakTown.com

The packaging for the DA2 was like a Russian nesting doll with the brown outer box having cutouts so you can see the actual product box inside.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Removing the outer box, you can now see the main black packaging. I was impressed to see that Streacom went through the trouble of resizing the outer boxes logo in order to not show the larger white logo on the main black packaging through the brown cutouts.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Both of the thin sides of the packaging have the same appearance, so I will show one here. The box is solid black with only an identification sticker for inventory purposes.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The other large side of the packaging shows the same black slate appearance but a smaller Streacom logo in place here.

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The DA2 comes well shielded from travel with a cloth bag holding the chassis. The end caps are a softer polystyrene material which tends to crush a bit more and deform itself in impacts to avoid passing damage to the chassis.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 07 | TweakTown.com

The front of the DA2 is minimalist as it comes. As you can see here, the front is a solid aluminum panel with only a power button and a Type-C port.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 08 | TweakTown.com

The top of the DA2 is a wrap-around of the same aluminum panel that makes up the front as the entire chassis carries this design aesthetic around its outer plane. You can see that inside of the outer metal panel there is a gap and this can help with airflow as it has mesh on both ends, we will look at that later in the review as well.

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Here we get a close up look at the front I/O, which is the definition of minimalist. If you look closely, you can see that the recessed black power button has a tiny dot in the middle, which serves as a power LED. It is subtle but carries the theme I think this chassis is trying to deliver. There is also a Type-C port found here, and it uses an internal 20-pin USB 3.1 Gen 1 header. This, of course, means you will be limited to Gen 1 speeds unless you pick up an adapter cable to hook up the 20-pin to your 3.2 Gen 2 connector on your motherboard.

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The main component side panel is where you start to see the apple-esque look I referred to before. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like this looks a lot like the older mac pro towers only minimized. These perforated panels you see here pull off and are held on with friction of the rubber pads that are on each edge of the panel.

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Here we have the rear I/O side of the DA2, and you can see once again it is quite scant. The rear fan mount supports a 92mm fan and the motherboard I/O is standard opening like you would expect. The power cord connection is a telltale sign that the PSU is located internally. This means you will want to pay special attention to ensuring the PSU is switched on before getting everything buttoned up. The aluminum chunk you see above the expansion slots is the retention mechanism for expansion cards; we will dig into that shortly.

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The panel on the cable management side is an almost exact mirror of the opposing side. They use the same panel design so the panels can be installed in either orientation. It is also worth noting that Streacom will be releasing a tempered glass panel that can be installed on the DA2. If going air cooling, the glass panel may be a viable option.

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The bottom of the DA2 is more solid aluminum wrapped around the perimeter. Two large rubber feet strips keep the DA2 from sliding around a desk or even worse scratching the desk or table surface it rests on.

Inside the Streacom DA2

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First up in the tear down will be the expansion slot covers, as you can see the top lug removed with a single screw from the interior. Be sure to loosen the screws at the bottom of the lug so that the covers can be removed.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Here you see the DA2 now with both side panels removed. This is the first sign that this is NOT a beginner's chassis as you have to do a bit of planning on component positioning to ensure everything fits as expected.

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By default the fan mounting bracket is located at the bottom edge toward the front. These are universal brackets and can be used for a variety of configurations depending on needs. If you would like to see all of the available options for installation and configuration Streacom covers it well in their user guide and product introduction.

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Looking at the top of the DA2, we see the ventilation mesh and shiny plastic liner, as I mentioned previously. These ventilation areas are found at the top and bottom sections of the DA2. The DA2 is especially the outer shell with aluminum extrusions placed for framing. These filtered areas work to close up and make the extruded aluminum frame feel like a closed up case. Otherwise, it would be more of an open-air case if these were removed.

The bracketing we see here while it is configured for PSU and/or drive mounting depending on the configuration. It is more of the horizontal brackets as we observed at the bottom, but these ones come with the mounting plates pre-mounted to them. Streacom even uses a removable zip tie to zip the cabling to this bracketry to ensure it helps guide you in the right direction.

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At the bottom of the chassis, we can now see the same ventilation we mentioned up top. Without any fans installed, this will only help with a passive airflow and with exhausting of radiant heat.

Inside the Streacom DA2 Continued

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Here we removed the top-mounted horizontal tray to give you a better view of what we were talking about. The brackets which secure into the extrusions are the same as the one we mentioned as a fan mount previously, but this one comes with the previously mentioned HDD/PSU mounting trays in place. The tabs you see sticking up vertically are for cable ties to zip tie the main PSU cable into place and avoid it backing out. If using a full-size ATX PSU, this mount would not allow much for drive mounting. But with the ability to move and adjust brackets, you could indeed make something work for your needs. This is why I suggested that if you build in the DA2, opt for an SFX or SFX-L PSU, so you guarantee some space for mounting drives on this bracket.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Here we see our SilverStone 700W SFX-L PSU installed on the bracket. As you can see, the opposing side bracket can be used for drive or SSD mounting if you need that. However, our build uses M.2 only, so that is not necessary. If installing an ATX PSU, the PSU would rotate 90 degrees. The side you see the SFX PSU installed within would be where the power cable inserts, similar to the SFX unit.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 21 | TweakTown.com

Here we have the opposing side, you can see first off, we opt for a modular PSU with shorter cables since the DA2 does not have much usable space for hiding or tucking away excess cabling. Here you can also see that the opposing plate is wide open for drive mounting. It may seem tight, but you can fit six 2.5" drives or three 3.5" drives.

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There are only very few cables for the I/O being a minimalist case.

Here they are from left to right:

  • Power button and LED header
  • 20-pin connector for the Type-C port

Case Build & Finished Product

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We started the build by removing all but the motherboard brackets. Then we inserted our power cable and mounted the PSU brackets into the extrusion.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 23 | TweakTown.com

Next up, we mounted the motherboard. Be sure to install the I/O shield as this case gets cramped quickly, and you do not want to disassemble to add the I/O shield. Here you can see that with just the PSU and motherboard in place; space is already filling up quickly.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 25 | TweakTown.com

As I was installing brackets and planning the build-out, I figured I should show a shot of the hardware used to attach the brackets to the aluminum extrusions. You will notice its simply a square nut that slots into a runner in the extrusion and a screw threads into it.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 26 | TweakTown.com

Here is the aluminum extrusion frame with the nut and screw we just showed in place. As you can see, there are a few notches in each extrusion where you can insert or remove the screw/nut combos. This allows you to adjust placement; however, you need it.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 27 | TweakTown.com

With the screws for the universal vertical brackets in place, we install the GPU next. We also cable the GPU at this point along with everything else except the AIO cabling and fans. This will be much harder to adjust once the AIO is installed, as you will see soon.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 28 | TweakTown.com

Here are the previously mentioned vertical brackets, and as you can likely tell, they are quite a bit longer than the horizontal ones. The horizontal units only need to span the 180mm approximate width, while these vertical brackets must span from the bottom to top extrusion.

Case Build & Finished Product Continued

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Before mounting the pump head to the CPU, we mounted the 240mm radiator to the universal vertical brackets. Then we could adjust as needed to find the optimal fitment within the confines of the DA2 with the other components installed.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 30 | TweakTown.com

Usually, I would adjust the radiator to the left a bit more so the airflow from the fans will also blow directly on the motherboard to help cool the passive bits. This time I had to move it a bit right as space was tight enough that touting the tubing was tough. The tubing is the harder plastic-type like some AIO's have, and so it had to be re-routed upwards near the PSU then down to the pump head.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 32 | TweakTown.com

We fed the PSU some power, and it came to life on the first press with no issues, which is always a welcome result. You can see the motherboard RGB reflecting through the back panel, which does shine outwardly if you are planning to build in this and be aware or use the BIOS or software to disable lights or adjust to your preference.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 33 | TweakTown.com

Buttoned the panels up and ensured I had the filter on the side with the AIO to stop as much dust as possible from entering the case and AIO fans. One thing you instantly notice is that with all of it buttoned up, it looks the same as it did when we first unboxed it, clean and simple. You would have no idea we actually had a full hardcore gaming rig ready to run in this tiny enclosure.

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Here we see the system powered on, and as you can see, the only indication anything is happening is the tiny pinhole illumination offered by the power button. That little white dot is the power LED, and while the camera may make it look almost invisible, it is easy to see but not overly bright or glaring.

Final Thoughts

When I first received the DA2 and observed its minuscule size, I knew I had some work ahead of me. I have huge hands, so building in it is troublesome, but with everything removable, it really helped make it much more enjoyable than it would have been had this had a solid frame and motherboard tray.

The thermal testing was about what you would expect for a tiny box with a ton of hardware in it. The measured ambient in our controlled case testing environment was measured at 22.1C - 22.4C with a RH of 51% for the duration of the testing. The CPU showed a Delta over ambient of 62C, which is about 14C hotter than the H200i we reviewed recently with the same CPU cooler. Of course that chassis is much larger and has fans to introduce airflow and exhaust. The GPU we saw a delta of 59.6C, which is not horrible as FE RTX cards tend to find their temp target and hang out there when under load, adjusting clock frequency as needed to stay within constraints.

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis Review 34 | TweakTown.com

Now to what we liked about the Streacom DA2. There is a lot to like about a super-compact case like this; first would be footprint or space it takes up. The previous should actually be listed as lack of space it takes up. The styling is undeniably sleek and clean looking. For a minimalist setup, this is hard to beat. The ability to build the DA2 with brackets that move virtually anywhere you need them to is another major plus. The sheer number of configurations Streacom shows in their user guide is fantastic, and all are possible as long as your component sizes match what they assume.

Now to what we didn't like. First, the DA2 is not in any way a case I would recommend for anyone who does not have a vast experience in PC building. The DA2 is very focused on being small, which means there's not a considerable amount of cooling air space. Unless you build a specific way, you can expect temps will be quite a bit higher. The mind-boggling amount of orientations is a credit to the DA2 but also in some ways a detriment. The DA2, I think, is a much better air cooling case than it is with an AIO. I think a proper air cooler with a fan to intake air from below and maybe even a 92mm fan out back to exhaust would make for a much more capable setup. My advice to Streacom would be to focus something like the DA2 toward users with quiet Noctua based CPU cooling. Leave that open air space with the help of installed fans to get the warm air out.

At $259, even at $210, the DA2 would be a hard sell for me. The case does what it should but the lack of air space, and while it does fit the AIO, it does not do a great job cooling it with the fans running inwards or outwards. (We got better temps with the fans blowing into the radiator rather than inside the chassis pushing air out. There are tons of Mini-ITX cases, but when you get to the extremely compact like the DA2, there are not that many that you can get retail or easily.

Dan Case being the first that comes to mind, and the A4-SFX has a similar price point depending on where you look. The A4-SFX also has the GPU on the opposing side, leaving more room for things to work. I am surprised to say this, but the Dan case being almost 10L junior to the DA2 makes it an almost better option for someone looking for an extremely compact rig. That being said, it's not all bad for the DA2. I think with a properly configured air-cooled solution, the DA2 could be an excellent chassis, but still not an easy one for most to sort out the build process.

Streacom was ambitious with the DA2, but the thermals were higher than we would expect, and the AIO fitment while present and functional did not net the type of results we would expect from a $220 - $250 chassis.

Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications

Buy at Amazon

Performance

75%

Quality

100%

Features

85%

Value

80%

Overall

85%

The Bottom Line

The Streacom DA2 has some of the best build quality and materials used in a chassis that I have seen in quite some time. The performance with an AIO is not stellar, but the DA2 will likely make a great air cooled mini beast.

TweakTown award
85%

Streacom DA2 Mini-ITX Chassis

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$414.99$215.06$201.85
* Prices last scanned on 9/21/2020 at 7:15 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Shannon started his PC journey around the age of six in 1989. Now till present day, he has established himself in the overclocking world, spending many years pushing the limits of hardware on LN2. Shannon has worked with design and R&D on various components, including PC systems and chassis, to optimize the layout and performance for enthusiasts.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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