Improving thermals of the RockPiX with sandpaper

Hi all.
My RockPiX overheated easily when maxed out for a while(throttling at 75C and temp up to 80C). I suspected there was thermal resistance between the heatsink and the SoC. This because the contact area is bubbled and painted.
So I bought some sandpaper and polished the contact surface, and improved the temperatures hugely.
From needing a fan to being cool fanless.
In this video I show how I done this, and how much difference it made.

This might also work with the heatsink of the RockPi4. I don’t have that one anymore to try.

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Hi NicoD,
What is the song?

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Hi. It’s a song I wrote a few months ago. You can listen and download it here. I worked on it for almost a year until I was happy. And I’m happy with it :slight_smile: Also a friend did the final mix.


I would like to add a comment about the set of the brass spacer that comes with the heat sink kit, they need to ensure better quality, the pcb spacer gives a ~0.1 mm gap between the cpu and the heat-sink. In order to make the heat-sink useful, you need to brush them as well… :wink:

And mainline kernel 5.10 does not throttle at 75ºC, I could reach 83ºC (full speed, 1.68 GHz) without throttling. It is a feature or it is broken…

Fixed the info:
Throttling occurred at 83ºC

I’m happy with it like this. 61C isn’t such a high max temp. It’s 20C better. I’ve not noticed a problem with the spacers.
You can buy them cheap. I’ve got a few boxes with all kinds of spacers. Comes in handy often.

That sounds really great to Nico.
I had already thought something like that when I saw another video of you. So that it would be better to remove the paint on the contact surfaces. I didn’t expect that it would bring about 20 ° C. So you can save yourself a fan and build a noiseless mini-PC without worrying.

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Indeed, no more fans. It was the only SBC I’m using a lot that needed a fan.
Another tip to keep it cooler would be to put screws in the screw holes on the bottom of the heatsink.
This would raise the heatsink a bit and give it space to dissipate its heat, and have a bit more air circulation.
I’ve done that with my NanoPi M4, and makes a big difference. Not at first since the surface it lays on can take up some heat, but it can’t displace it. So after a while its a thermal insulator.
Depends on what surface it is of course. A metal bench would keep it cool I guess, not my wooden bench.

Now using a USB3 HDMI capture device on the RockPiX. With this it still reaches 69C. More power consumption, more heat. I’m glad it isn’t thermal throttling anymore.

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