Overheating - Zbox CI323 nano



  • I'd like to share some information to you guys if you're having heat issues with your ci323 nano

    The heat in Australia is crazy currently, especially for fanless systems which are also in a server rack without exhaust fans.

    I got in touch with Zotac regarding the thickness of thermal pads used between the cpu and heatsink.

    Their response was "doesn't matter we use whatever is available at the time"

    Usually thermal pads are 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 2mm

    The temperature with the original thermal pad was worrying me in mid 60's with system idling in adaptive - adaptive state and even minimum.

    So i removed the original light blue coloured thermal pad and replaced it with EK 0.5 first then 1mm rated at 3-5 wm/k

    I honestly could not tell the difference between performance of 0.5  and 1mm.

    Now i was seeing temperatures hitting mid to high 50's with EK thermal pads frequently, still an improvement but i wasn't happy yet.

    So i remembered Zotac telling me the pad thickness doesn't matter. That was a dead give away to me i could just use good quality thermal paste since the heatsink-cpu touch it other if according to Z pad thickness doesn't matter.

    I removed EK thermal pads, cleaned the die & heatsink and applied a blob of Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut on the cpu die.  Booted up pfSense, played with it a while. Startup temperatures on CPU cores i was seeing were from high 30's to barely going over 42. Much much better..

    Anyway.. as the system was still powering on i noticed so did the CPU temp. I honestly could not figure out what the problem was until i opened it up again and could berely touch the 850 evo. It was blazing hot and it did not transfer the heat to it's heatsink well. I'm assuming due to thermal pad quality being factory applied or it wasn't the right thickness..

    So whatever little left EK 1mm pads i had left i used and put on top of SSD, removed the old pad supplied by Z and booted the box.

    SSD temperature was down to 39c at boot and low 40's with system running.

    Because the ci323 is such a small system with everything crammed together, heating coming from SSD was effecting other parts of the system since it wasn't being transfered to the heatsink.

    Anyway i hope this will help anyone who is having ci323 heat issues or any other similar box/build.  I wasn't during the winter in Australia but summer is a different story.

    I will be ordering higher quality thermal pads in future and play around with it. Will let you know results and what works best for those interested.



  • @IggyB:

    Their response was "doesn't matter we use whatever is available at the time"

    WTF? :o



  • @tirsojrp:

    @IggyB:

    Their response was "doesn't matter we use whatever is available at the time"

    WTF? :o

    yep lol that's what i got in email haha


  • Banned

    Sounds like good reason to avoid any of their products in future.



  • I looked at this unit but the Realtek NICs left me cold.


  • Banned

    @KOM:

    the Realtek NICs left me cold.

    You probably have better thermal pads than Zotac  ;D :D



  • @KOM:

    I looked at this unit but the Realtek NICs left me cold.

    Honestly the unit is not bad but not perfect either due to realtek nics

    I managed to resolve random "stall" issues by compiling realtek driver in freebsd 10.3 and migrating it over to pfsense

    Other then that my WAN is only 11mbit and can't push the box to it's max. Perfect for Aussie internet haha

    I do wish i went for atom x8 core with intel nics


  • Netgate Administrator

    @doktornotor:

    @KOM:

    the Realtek NICs left me cold.

    You probably have better thermal pads than Zotac  ;D :D

    Ouch!  ;D

    But yeah in general thermal pads are terrible compared to paste and the thicker they are the worse. Manufacturers use them because they are easy to fit and the tolerances are huge.

    Ideally you want both surfaces mirror smooth and the absolute minimum amount of thermal paste. It should serve only to fill the gaps where the heatsink is not touching.

    Steve


  • Banned

    Yeah, I cannot stand the chewing gum either. One particularly bad "thermal" pad on a GPU made me virtually rip off the chip from the board when trying to remove the heatsink. Ugh. Was virtually like concrete.

    :( >:( >:(



  • Hi,

    got my Zotac CI323 a couple of days ago. In general I am satisfied with that box, beacuse it´s cheap and as always this have some disadvantage but in general I think for this purpose its good.
    I mean you are not going to make use of such kind of device if you need to have 20+ users make use of it (imho).

    But to get back to the topic….. Why you are using a SSD at all? I installed pfsense on a 16GB Class 10 SD Card an let it boot from there. Temperature on my device is 28°C even when pulling 4k Video from YT (100Mbit down / 6Mbit up)

    But just to mention I am using pfsense at home, so no business involved.

    Maybe its worth a try, just back up your configuration, install pfsense on SD card, restore it lets see what happens.....

    kind regards,
    Astronach


  • Banned

    @astronach:

    Temperature on my device is 28°C even when pulling 4k Video from YT (100Mbit down / 6Mbit up)

    The keyword here being "Australia". When it's ~40°C outside and stick the thing into a rack without fans, it sure like hell won't be 28°C.

    @astronach:

    Why you are using a SSD at all? I installed pfsense on a 16GB Class 10 SD Card

    Not serious, are you? This shit dies in 6 months max. You'd need industrial grade SLC SD cards (~200+ USD) to get anywhere near the most shitty SSD out there.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Yeah, if you're running from flash you should use Nano (<2.4) or, since there is no Nano in 2.4+, at the very least move /var and /tmp into RAM using the options in Advanced > MIsc.

    Steve



  • put a laptop cooler below and plug it into the usb slot on the back.



  • @IggyB:

    I'd like to share some information to you guys if you're having heat issues with your ci323 nano

    The heat in Australia is crazy currently…

    Fellow Australian; where abouts did you purchase the ci323? I am deciding between a CI323 or Qotom 150s/p N3150; however I could not find the CI locally? Great info on the heat issues; it greats pretty warm in SA and ave had heat issues with cheap modem/routers.