Zotac PI430AJ Pico mini PC features Airjet solid-state active cooling chips

ZOTAC PI430AJ Pico is the first mini PC equipped with (two) Airjet solid-state active cooling chips introduced at CES 2023, doing without the metal case required by typical fanless systems, and instead relying on a plastic case.

The PI430AJ Pico is powered by a recent 7W Intel Core i3-N300 octa-core Alder Lake-N processor coupled with up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM and an M.2 NVMe SSD up to 1TB capacity. The mini PC is showcased at COMPUTEX 2023 with a transparent cover to showcase the two FRORE Systems Airjet mini PC, but it will eventually be sold with a black plastic enclosure.

ZOTAC Airjet mini PC

ZOTAC PI430AJ Pico preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Core i3-N300 octa-core processor up to 3.8 GHz with 6MB cache, 32EU Intel UHD Graphics Gen 12 @ 1.25 GHz; TDP: 7W
  • System Memory – Up to 16GB LPDDR5
  • Storage – Up to 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, microSD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0 video output up to 4Kp60, DisplayPort
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, digital audio via HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet,  WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.
  • USB – 2x USB 3.2 ports, 1x USB Type-C port
  • Misc – Power button

As a reminder, Frore Systems Airjet Mini and Airjet Pro are active cooling chips that are just 2.8mm thick and quietly suck cool air in from the top of the chip before pushing it out the sides with the aim to replace traditional fan-based solutions. It was initially designed for ultrabooks, but it has now found its way into a mini PC.

ZOTAC has made some ridiculously small and thin fanless mini PC in the past, and they do work, but they are usually configured with thermal limits to keep up with the heat dissipation, and the Airjet cooling chip will enable higher and more stable performance in such small devices while still being virtually quiet. PCWorld got a look at the ZOTAC PI430AJ Pico mini PC, and the presenter can only barely hear the chips when his ear is placed around 15 centimeters from the mini PC

ZOTAC expects to start selling the PI430AJ for $500 in Q4 2023. We don’t have the full specifications for the mini PC, but it looks like there may be a hundred dollars or so premium for integrating the Airjet chips into such a mini PC at this point in time, considering the actively-cooled Beelink EQ12 Pro sells for $349 with a similar Core i3-N305 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 500GB SSD.

Via PCMag

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7 Comments
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Bill
Bill
8 months ago

Shame about the initial pricing but will inevitably become more common and cheaper.

One of those advances seemingly late to the tech development cycle.

I’m sure that beefy GPU’s will be using this cooling soon.

FreekieDeCakie
FreekieDeCakie
8 months ago

Why are you so sure of that?

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 months ago

It seems poised to dominate ultrabooks and mini PCs that are sold at a price premium, and if the costs come down enough, it could become the default cooling option for the majority of all laptops and small form factor PCs. It won’t always be a good replacement for passive cooling, but it might be a superior choice most of the time if it cools far better while handling dust well and creating imperceptible levels of noise. It has to improve a lot to be relevant to “beefy GPUs”. There is no guarantee that it will ever be capable of… Read more »

FreekieDeCakie
FreekieDeCakie
8 months ago

>it might be a superior choice most of the time if it cools far better while handling dust well It won’t cool far better but due to the higher static pressure levels you can put a dust cover on it. (And still have good enough cooling) >There is no guarantee that it will ever be capable of cooling 250-500 Watt GPUs This design can’t scale vertically, only horizontally. So cooling a small-ish energy dense chip isn’t going to be its strong suit. >Most people could be using APUs/SoCs by the mid/late 2030s. Fairly sure most people are already using them… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 months ago

I meant it will cool far better than passive/fanless/heatsink cooling no matter what, but I think it will have less dust problems than fans if the dust cover works well. So all in all it could be a good alternative to passive cooling, with the glaring exception of the cost. We’re going to see further encroachment of APUs everywhere. They are going to be capable of replacing low-end GPUs for 1080p (new AAA games) in the near future. In the far future, APUs/SoCs are theoretically superior to having separate chips that have a lot of latency between them. CPU, GPU,… Read more »

FreekieDeCakie
FreekieDeCakie
8 months ago

> APUs can be made to use a lot of energy, but it should be a lot less than what is typical for a high-end graphics card. I’d imagine at equal performance an individual CPU + individual GPU has a lower power density than a single package, even if system power consumption might be higher. But yea, obviously it’s going to consume less power when it probably doesn’t even have half the performance. “Strix Halo” (The APU I think you’re hinting at) is rumoured to be close to a mobile RTX4070… Knowing how those rumours go it will be 10-20%… Read more »

back2future
back2future
8 months ago

[interesting cooling principle and thinking about replacement parts, maybe not on mini PCs, but more in general]

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