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TonyMac32

Official Asus Tinker Board Case

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Thanks to ASUS, I got my hands on one of these after seeing what appeared to be a giant heat sink fin integrated into the top of the case.  This case may be of interest to non-Tinker owners as well, it is not designed like the equivalent Pi cases with a fixed aluminum stud touching the SoC.  Instead it has a small aluminum block that has an adhesive side, and a thermal pad side, and is clamped down onto the processor by putting the two halves together.  This allows some freedom on the location of the SoC relative to the lid.

 

First off, same nice packaging the Tinker owners are familiar with:

CaseBox.thumb.jpg.a26dfa97a660419cebe032889f144198.jpg                          Case.thumb.jpg.0f2ff397d272bff4d21daca6c5d18485.jpg

 

The case itself is quite heavy, and a nice color/texture, although the finish is most likely not 100% on this one, as it's pre-production

 

The reason for the weight becomes immediately obvious when pulling the two halves apart:

SideViewExtrusion.thumb.jpg.6ec51f300a4278ac681668c30ebac5fe.jpgBottomStamping.thumb.jpg.355cdfcc328e9d047e61a0730a628b22.jpg

All I can say about this is, if the thermal pad/adhesive aluminum block fit properly, there is a lot of thermal mass here, and I'm perfectly alright with ASUS calling this fanless.  The extrusion is very thick, over 8mm in places.  Now for the bottom, a comparatively much thinner stamped part, the embossing does it's work to strengthen the base adequately.

 

Something important to notice in this picture:  The Tinker sits on aluminum studs, and does not bolt down.  The heat sink block holds it in place.  I have been told that the two additional holes you see here to the left side of the base are for a VESA mount adapter:

https://www.asus.com/Destkop-Accessories/VivoPC_VESA_Mounting_Kit/

 

I can't verify (no hardware), but the holes are 85mm apart and threaded.

 

Board fits nicely:

WithBoard.thumb.jpg.430e8c3be22b6bf2eb6d41d01f2f6f6b.jpg                                  withBlock.thumb.jpg.23b265bc3431156650c4459b32ae4e14.jpg

 

Now, putting it together only involves 1 thumb screw once you've gotten the aluminum block bit sorted out (a little bit of a balancing act, but not really a problem.  This would be my only feedback where I think a different option would have been better:  The thumbscrew is located at a position so as to be on center with the SoC.  This makes sure the whole stack is making contact, but it also creates a pivot point which rattles when you move the case around.  Not a problem for 90% of people, to be honest.  In my humble opinion, 2 thumb screws, one to each side, making it a bit more rigid once assembled.  Oh, I also pulled out some rubber feet and put them on it, none were provided in the box, and I like the grippy feet.

 

Thumbscrew.thumb.jpg.76472e9e3596d933d54ac0e06105e31e.jpgPanel.thumb.jpg.7dd35796e82c7ecc9c10655173a0d6ef.jpg

 

 

 

My unofficial testing shows the case very easily outperforming the tiny heat sink thermally, so in that respect it wins.  Aesthetically it is a very nice looking product, of course I'd say that should be expected.  I'll follow with something a bit more empirical later on.

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7 hours ago, TonyMac32 said:

In my humble opinion, 2 thumb screws, one to each side, making it a bit more rigid once assembled.

Thank you for the pictures.

A picture of the ground plate is missing where one see the thread of the thumb screw, took me a bit to imagine where and how. Same for the thumb screw with thread, whether it reaches inside the housing.

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Cool... 

 

I agree - they should include the little case booties...

 

It's a lot of thermal mass - and we all know that tinker can throw a lot of heat in a heartbeat when it fully engages a task or two...

 

@tkaiser on his review of the FriendlyARM M4 noted challenges there... sooner or later the heat has to go somewhere.

 

Quote

This would be my only feedback where I think a different option would have been better:  The thumbscrew is located at a position so as to be on center with the SoC.  This makes sure the whole stack is making contact, but it also creates a pivot point which rattles when you move the case around. 

 

Smaller screws for the thumbs maybe?

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3 hours ago, sfx2000 said:

Smaller screws for the thumbs maybe?

 

Ah, well, the screw isn't hitting anything, everything is clear and no dangers of any interference.  The point is, there is only a set of slots on the HDMI side of the case that hinge together, and that single thumb screw actually holding it together.  There's no risk of it coming apart, but more or less it means the case can rattle around a bit, and the SoC to thermal block is dependent on that being tight/stable.  having 2 screws instead of one would reduce the rattling and avoid disturbing the contact between the SoC and the aluminum block.

 

As for the heat, I will address that in my follow-up:  Yes, it eventually does get to the point of throttling, but if you're going with fanless it's assumed you're not 100% all day long

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Another Tinker "case", this time one geared toward the developer who needs to access pins/jumpers: http://electricgraveyard.com/index.php/2019/03/07/asus-tinker-open-case-diy-kit/

 

Instead of flooding the forum with 100000 pictures, leave it over there.   The TL;DR is that it has a much nicer cooler included than the board gets initially, and the base itself is a nice stamping.

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3 hours ago, TonyMac32 said:

Another Tinker "case"

I simply got a "case"  for $ 2.- from AliExpress as it fits in every RPi case.

 

Now the only missing thing on the ATB is a proper Power Connector. By the way, did you post your 'Power HAT' on Github/lab ?

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I would guess using the chiptenna it suffers significantly.  That would be why there is a hole on the same side as the SD card to mount an external antenna and use the connector on the RTL8723BS

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