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.
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
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Strix Z390-I (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 8700K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H100i Pro RGB (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB CMW32GX4M4C3000C15(buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SanDisk M.2 256GB
- Power Supply: SilverStone SX700-LPT Platinum 700W SFX-L (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST
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.