Computex is just around the corner, and when it arrives, we can expect to see scads of wonderful PC hardware. But you don’t have to wait until the start of the show next week. Zotac’s already kicking off the party with the reveal of its latest mini-PC, which is cooled by Frore Systems’ revolutionary AirJet technology.
We first saw this radical solid-state cooling back at CES, which uses vibrating membranes to spread air over a heat spreader. This method cools components without the noise or bulk of a traditional fan. Our second look at AirJet dove more into its possible application in devices like laptops, and Zotac’s mini-PC is a similar idea. Small space, lower wattage CPU—you just don’t get a monitor.
As Zotac was so kind to show us, its PI430AJ mini-PC gets a big lift in performance thanks to AirJet. The previous model was passively cooled, with its thick, finned aluminum chassis only capable of dissipating heat for a two-core Atom processor. But with two mini AirJet modules added to the mix, the PI430AJ takes a leap up to an Alder Lake processor with eight efficiency cores while also shedding weight—and staying very quiet.
The AirJet modules pull in air through side vents and push it across the heat spreader, which is mounted directly to the CPU. The hot air then exhausts out the back. In the video above, we point a thermal imager at the system to see the flow. Without a fan, the only sound you hear is the movement of air if you’re within a few inches of the machine.
This design allows the processor inside the mini-PC to pull more energy—that is, stretch its legs further. Frore Systems demonstrated this in a faceoff between an PI430AJ with its AirJet cooling on and another PI430AJ with its AirJet cooling turned off (i.e., left passively cooled). During a Furmark torture test, the actively cooled unit pulled down 6.9W versus the passively cooled (and thermally throttling) unit’s 2.2W. And the whole time, the actively cooled system stayed at chill 58.6 Celsius. The passively cooled system hit 67.3 Celsius, with its exterior significantly hotter when touched.
Zotac says the PI430AJ will start at a price of $500, with availability in Q4 of 2023. (In the meanwhile, check out our Frore Systems lab tour to see how AirJet is made.) This mini-PC won’t be the only fun thing we’ll see this month, though. Expect to see more incredible hardware when Computex opens next week, including more items incorporating Frore Systems’s impressive new tech. Stay tuned to PCWorld’s YouTube channel for all the latest and greatest PC hardware!