Airtop3 frequently asked questions

Customization questions

Can I order just the case to put another motherboard inside?

Unfortunately not.

If you take a close look at the Airtop3 motherboard, you will notice several non-standard design features. For example:

  • RAM slots are on the opposite side of the motherboard. This is to allow RAM upgrade without breaking the thermal coupling of CPU to chassis.
  • No PCIe x16 slot. Instead there is a special connector to a rigid flex.
  • Special connector for disk cartridge.

There are other fanless cases on the market for standard motherboards, but supporting a standard motherboard usually involves some compromises on thermal performance and convenience.

Can I put RTX 2080 / Radeon / another graphics card in Airtop3?

Unfortunately not.

There is adaptation for graphics cards to be passively cooled inside Airtop3. It involves the following steps

  • Verifying that the thermal and power envelope of the card allows it to work reliably in Airtop3
  • Designing a custom copper heat-plate specific for the graphics card and PCIe bracket
  • Reworking the graphics card during production (removing fans and heatsink, soldering power cable)

Unfortunately these steps are not in the scope of installation by end users. Compulab is doing its best to offer the best graphics card that can fit in Airtop3.

Can I upgrade the CPU?

No point in trying that for the following reasons:

  • It is nearly impossible to get the same thermal performance achieved in factory assembly. In some cases we use a special TIM (not available off-the-shelf) and rework the CPU thermal interface. Unfortunately we cannot make this process public.
  • It voids warranty and is not supported by Compulab. The risk of damaging something in the process is real.
  • You will need to take apart the whole computer for that and put it back together. It is difficult and not documented.

Will Airtop3 work in summer?

Yes.

Airtop3 can function at over 70ºC ambient.

When ambient temperature rises 10ºC the temperature of internal components and housing will also rise about 10ºC (actually slightly less, due to increased contribution of radiation).

If CPU or GPU temperature approaches their thermal limit (around 90ºC), each will scale back its frequency and voltage to reduce power. Airtop3 should not crash or shut down as a result of high ambient temperature.

What about humidity?

High humidity actually improves the thermal performance of Airtop3, because the heat capacity of humid air is higher than that of dry air so convection is more effective.

Which operating systems
work on Airtop3?

Windows

Compulab provides full support for Windows 10 Pro.

Windows Server 2016 / 2019 are tested and working.

Windows 7 and older are not supported.

Linux

Compulab provides full support for Linux Mint 19.1 and later.

Most other distros just work (Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS etc.).

Hypervisors and virtual machines

Most Hypervisors just work.

 

Note: it is advised to install and validate an unsupported operating system on an evaluation unit before deployment.

Does Airtop3 include a power supply?

Yes, depending on power consumption of the model, Airtop3 may ship with one or two power supplies.

In case Airtop3 shipped with two power supplies please note the following:

  • In case only one power supply is connected, Airtop3 may suddenly shut down or reboot under load. However both Airtop3 and the power supply have protection circuits, so no permanent damage will occur.
  •  It is OK to power up Airtop3 with only one PSU connected and connect the other PSU while Airtop3 is running.
  • You may connect or disconnect each of the power supplies when Airtop3 is running, as long as power draw (as indicated on I3M) is below 200W. This will not disrupt operation.
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