Zotac introduced the Zbox PI430AJ Pico with AirJet Mini PC at Computex 2023, which will go on sale this year for $499. A distinctive feature of the device is the unique AirJet ultrasonic cooling system, which creates a flow of air without a fan.
Computer specifications include a 7W Intel Core i3-N300 processor with eight E-cores, a base frequency of 800MHz and integrated graphics. There’s 8GB of LPDDR5 storage, HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, Gigabit Ethernet, a trio of USB 3.2 with 10Gbps support, and another USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 support. In contrast to the demo version, the production version of the Zbox PI430AJ Pico with AirJet does not have a transparent housing, but a standard black housing.
Most modern computers are equipped with either fan cooling systems or passive heatsinks. It also uses the AirJet ultrasound system. Seshu Madhavapeddy, the head of the company that developed it, Frore, explained that there are membranes in the cooling system that vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency, creating a suction force that pulls air through the dust cover. It is directed into the lower area of the copper heat sink at high speed and exits to the side.
The pressure is ten times higher than that of the fan – 1750 Pa. With AirJet you can build a completely dust-proof PC, and the power of one module is enough to cool other components. Even at 8.75W, the AirJet Pro module would be enough to cool a 15W processor in a Steam Deck – some of the cooling would be done passively, by forcing air through the ultrasonic component.
Unfortunately, a quick switch to AirJet cooling will not be possible – the cooling unit requires a special control circuit that is integrated into the mainboard; A special internal layout is also required to support or adapt to the new cooling concept. According to Frore, the hardest part is getting enough ground contact to get the most out of the AirJet.
Ultrasonic cooling would help make PCs quieter and thinner, freeing up space for a larger battery on a mobile device, and heat pipes and fans could be replaced with multiple AirJet modules. In the current version, one component of the AirJet Mini delivers 4.25 watts of power: a mini PC needs two, a laptop three. In addition, this is the only model in mass production so far. The AirJet Pro, the fan equivalent of a 13-inch MacBook Pro, is also on the way, with larger items to come.
The AirJet Mini model can be used in gaming smartphones, 4K cameras, flash drives and SSDs, video intercoms and smart light bulbs. The first production computer with AirJet was a Zotac model, but Frore said products from other partners will also appear this year.