APU1C heat



  • Finally got around in toying a bit with my new APU1C… and it heats up. (already read that here on the forum, but now I experienced it ::)) The more appropriate term would be warms (because I can still touch it), but enough that it goes beyond my comfort zone. And that was with little to no load. Most people know that heat is not good for electronic components... unless they are mill-spec, you want to avoid heat.

    That being said, I have some ideas for trying to tame the heating up while keeping the quiet & passive specifications.

    1. I'm going to fip it upside down, and move the rubber feet accordingly. That way the board suffers less as the heat spreader is on top.
    2. Depending on what the above brings, I'm considering to add a heat sink on top of the case, so the case can dissipate better.

    For all the smart people here on the forum, I'm open for suggestions on this topic ;)



  • I use longer feet on mine, to allow for more convection.
    These spacers are about 1.8cm long (roughly 0.70in for the non-metrics).
    I plan to screw on rubber feet at some point, however slippage isn't really an issue right now.

    [Admin EDIT: Removed links to images. Hosting site has NSFW ads]



  • I mentioned the heat situation to Netgate. Hopefully they are looking into designing a better case. Mine is very toasty. I might have to look into a CPU downclock util addon for 2.2 after it ships….


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Slap a bunch of these guys on there in a fashionable pattern. I'd be curious how much it helps.

    Personally, I have cold feet, and I could use a good foot warmer, so… kill two birds with one stone.
    /kidding
    //Not kidding about the Jetway NF48, now that put out heat



  • @Applied:

    I use longer feet on mine, to allow for more convection.
    These spacers are about 1.8cm long (roughly 0.70in for the non-metrics).
    I plan to screw on rubber feet at some point, however slippage isn't really an issue right now.

    Get a different image host.  That one has some really NSFW adverts.  I'd suggest imgur.com.



  • @Jason:

    Get a different image host.  That one has some really NSFW adverts.  I'd suggest imgur.com.

    Yes, please don't link to shady places along those lines. Just attach the images to your post here, no need for any image hosting at all.



  • In feedback: Since I flipped it yesterday, I have the impression it runs cooler. (case is less hot)
    Looking around now for self adhesive heat sinks (ebay), going add that as well.

    Next challenge: get the temperature showing in the system information. (better way to see results)
    I've seen some screenshots on the forum it's working under 2.2, does anyone know if it can work in 2.1.2 ?


  • Netgate Administrator

    What colour case do you have? Paint it (or a section of it) matt black for better radiation.  :)

    Steve



  • It's a black one, picked that color just for that reason.  ;)
    Ordered those cheap heatsinks as suggested by Jimp in meantime, but might take some time before they get here (china stuff comes by boat ;D)

    So that gives me some time to properly document results. I was hoping to get the temperate from the cores into the gui, but I'm not making any progress here (doubting the current driver is capable).

    So next best thing is an external temperature probe I guess? Or boot from usb with 2.2 image. hmm….



  • Sorry for posting the image links - didn't mean to link to anything shady.
    Nor was I really aware of it - I often just mentally "block out" any adverts, so didn't really notice.

    :-[

    "funny" thing is that I did have to select "safe for work" (as opposed to "adult") for the actual images that I uploaded.

    [quote author=Jason Litka link=topic=76218.msg415909#msg415909 date=1398971851]
    I'd suggest imgur.com.
    I'd much prefer one without having to register - but will look into them.



  • @Applied:

    @Jason:

    I'd suggest imgur.com.

    I'd much prefer one without having to register - but will look into them.

    imgur.com doesn't require registration.  You could also directly attach the images here on the forums using the "Attachments and other options" link while replying.



  • next step: perforating the case to allow (or attempt to allow) air-flow.
    I drilled some of holes in the case: 28 on the outlines of the top of the case (previously bottom, a little tricky as the board was still mounted), 32 on the bottom of the case (16 in the center, 16 under cpu).

    It doesn't seem to give much difference on the area surrounding the cpu, that's still round +-39,5°C surface temperature of the case. The jury is still out for the rest of the board. (out of inspiration anyway)

    Need to find me some higher adhesive feets now…

    Oh, and I have a new name for this router. "The ugly one..."  ;D

    --edit: spelling--





  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    @bennyc:

    Need to find me some higher adhesive feets now…

    Why? Use an adhesive heat sink, put a little rubber foot on the part that will touch the table/shelf/surface. Two in one. :-)



  • Hi Jimp,

    yes, I did order adhesive heat-sinks… but I flipped the enclosure upside down so the cpu, southbridge & heat-spreader are now facing up. So will the heat-sinks once they are mounted, and putting feet on top of them won't help much I'm afraid ;D

    I temporary raised the enclosure with blocks (duplo, don't tell my kids ;)) and I'm overall satisfied with the result.

    FWIW: Temperature of the case remains stable between 35°C (outside) and 40°C (center of heat-spreader).


  • Netgate Administrator

    How does that compare with the original temperatures?

    I'd guess that….
    @bennyc:

    I can still touch it, but enough that it goes beyond my comfort zone.

    …. is around 50ᴼC.

    Steve



  • No comparable data on that yet. I didn't take temperature readings on the case before these mods. (my bad ::))
    I do remember this: when in bios, and I was doing memory test on the APU the core(s) temp was +-59,x°C (live counter in the bios). There is no other temperature sensor on the board to my knowledge, so difficult to say how hot the mainboard actually gets.
    Also don't know if it would have reached 50°C, that seems rather high to me. Best comparison would be when someone else with a black case (~similar conductivity) does an ir temperature reading of both sides of the enclosures temperature during normal conditions. (environmental temperature here is 20°C)

    2nd problem is that my alix refused duty while testing the APU & is thus on the bench for repair. So the APU is in production use now. And, I have found no (easy) way yet to get the temperature from the cores in the gui (besides running 2.2).

    I think that measuring the core's temperature should be a good indication for results, and lowering it is my goal. I'm expecting no miracles here, but every degree counts  8)

    As soon as I get this alix back up & running, the saga continues…


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    @bennyc:

    I temporary raised the enclosure with blocks (duplo, don't tell my kids ;)) and I'm overall satisfied with the result.

    That's what I meant – use more tall heat sinks as "feet" in place of the Lego bricks. :-)



  • Yeah my APU1C runs pretty hot also… lying down on my desk it hovers around 58c, standing up on it's side it's closer to 53 - 54c... haven't tried upside down yet but I will do later.

    This is with a black case, the msata 16GB SSD installed, as well as a MC8775V 3G module that I haven't gotten around to playing with (since ppp isn't working via the WebGui in 2.2 yet).

    I've also enabled powerd, so the CPU does drop down to 125Mhz when not doing very much.

    [2.2-ALPHA][admin@pfSense]/var/etc(33): sysctl dev.cpu.0
    dev.cpu.0.%desc: ACPI CPU
    dev.cpu.0.%driver: cpu
    dev.cpu.0.%location: handle=_PR_.C000
    dev.cpu.0.%pnpinfo: _HID=none _UID=0
    dev.cpu.0.%parent: acpi0
    dev.cpu.0.freq: 1000
    dev.cpu.0.freq_levels: 1000/-1 875/-1 750/-1 625/-1 500/-1 375/-1 250/-1 125/-1
    dev.cpu.0.cx_supported: C1/1/0 C2/2/100
    dev.cpu.0.cx_lowest: C1
    dev.cpu.0.cx_usage: 100.00% 0.00% last 439us
    dev.cpu.0.temperature: 53.3C

    [2.2-ALPHA][admin@pfSense]/var/etc(34): uname -a
    FreeBSD pfSense 10.0-STABLE FreeBSD 10.0-STABLE #16 e852cd6(HEAD)-dirty: Thu May  1 22:16:16 CDT 2014    root@builder-10.0-b3-amd64:/usr/obj.amd64/usr/pfSensesrc/src/sys/pfSense_SMP.10  amd64

    I'm wondering if I could replace the head pads with something more conductive, or perhaps cut a hole in the bottom of the case and attach a better heatsink… or maybe the value is being read wrong and it's much lower than that... who knows.

    $0.02


  • Netgate Administrator

    The case itself is aluminium so there would be little point it cutting a hole in it as long the CPU/APU is in good contact with it. Attaching a large heatsink to the outside of the case nearest the APU and mounting it vertically (such that the heatsink fins are vertical) is likely to make the largest difference IMHO.

    Steve



  • moving air across the case is likely to help more



  • Yeah maybe.

    I don't normally use thermal pads, i've always had better luck with high quality thermal paste personally. If I cut a hole in the side i'd get rid of the 2x thermal pads, and have one big heatsink with a thin layer of good paste… not sure how i'd stick the sucker on, i'd prefer not to use thermal apoxy heh :)

    Just throwing around ideas at this stage :)


  • Netgate Administrator

    @gonzopancho:

    moving air across the case is likely to help more

    Yes, I should have said; while remaining a passive cooling solution.

    @drclaw I've never been a fan of those thermal pads either. Every laptop with a toasted graphics chip I've looked in seemed to be using one. I've replaced a few with copper shims before but you have to get the thickness and placement perfect.

    Steve



  • Now my Alix is back in use, got to 2.2 through usb boot. And surprise-surprise: we have a working thermal sensor  8)
    Seems my cpu is hoovering round 51-52°C, and that is without added heatsinks (not arrived yet…. patience is a virtue)
    This is without much load (almost none), and PowerD not activated. It tends to go up rather fast when asking actions from the system (packages, configuration changes in the gui, ...) but equally drops pretty fast. (good thing, means the heat gets dissipated ;))
    I activated PowerD for testing (as quoted by drclaw), but doesn't seem to make much difference when there's not much going on (seems logic)
    I'll report back when those chinese heatsinks are mounted.....

    ps: enjoying the 103% disk usage here !  (I always love it when a system gives me more than it should ;D)