Monday, June 23rd 2014

ZOTAC ZBOX CI540 nano Production Flaw Unearthed?

French tech publication 01net noticed something odd about the ZBOX CI540 from ZOTAC it was reviewing. Even for a fan-less compact desktop, its Core i5-4210Y dual-core chip was idling around 80°C. The reviewer then opened it up to find that ZOTAC left the protective plastic film on the thermal pad which conducts heat from the CPU to the body intact. Temperatures dropped with that film peeled. The kicker? Reaching for that thermal pad voids your product warranty.

Even if the ZBOX CI540 is a barebones unit, in which you drop in your own 2.5-inch HDD/SSD and SO-DIMM memory, requiring you to unscrew its body; the storage and memory compartments are located on the reverse side of the motherboard. You're not supposed to unscrew the motherboard to reveal its obverse (front) side, as there's nothing for you to "upgrade" there. The CPU is in the BGA (ball-grid array) package, and hardwired to the motherboard. The screws that let you reveal the front side are capped with warranty seals. We're not sure if it's a one-off bad piece 01net got, or an entire batch hit by one lazy hand on the production line.
Update Jun 24: We received following statement from ZOTAC:
ZOTAC has found the plastic film to be isolated to preproduction units. These preproduction units were only used for press sampling and are not representative of final units shipping to retail. However, the plastic film has very little impact on the cooling capabilities of our passive ZBOX C-series nano chassis since the cooling fins that are responsible for the majority of the heat dissipation duties is below the thermal pad. The thermal pad is only used to transfer heat to the secondary heat dissipation plate integrated into the chassis for added cooling capabilities.

Nevertheless, the temperatures observed while testing under load with the erroneous plastic film still in place is still within the thermal guidelines of Intel's 100°C maximum T Junction and does not cause instability. Temperatures observed by users can vary greatly depending on room temperature and system placement since the ZBOX CI540 nano is passive cooled. We apologize for the error but assure our mass production units are not affected.
Sources: FanlessTech, 01net
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4 Comments on ZOTAC ZBOX CI540 nano Production Flaw Unearthed?

they are too busy rolling this product worldwide :D:D
and their quality control department must be too tired to look before it out from the factory
Posted on Reply
What a shame that zotac doesnt have TWO network ports... endless possibilities
Posted on Reply
ZBOX CI323 Nano Bought it last October (2016) today i got sick of the 80c CPU warning emails i been getting for a week.
I have been using it as a pfsense box on the botom of my rack, so airflow is not ideal. But at the top of the rack the temp is 34c. Not to hot.
So i grabbed the the thing from the botom and it was as hot as my emails said it was. I then found your post.
And Guess what. They should include 'Remove liner' in the manual. so we then will be to blame. Instead now get Overheated Units.
Posted on Reply
Jun 25th, 2022 22:11 EDT change timezone

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