Public Service Announcement

In addition to writing Linux drivers, I’ve done quite a bit of work with hardware in my time, including a variety of tuner products. I realize that those devices in general do run a bit warm, but this is largely just a byproduct of the nature of how tuners work.

This ambitious user though felt the need to add a heatsink to his HVR-950q.

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As the author of the HVR-950q Linux driver, let me assure you that this was not necessary, and not an indication that there is anything wrong with the hardware. In other words, kids, don’t try this at home…

On the technical end, people have noticed this more often with USB tuners than PCI/PCIe tuners. There are some pretty simple explanations for this:

  • PCI boards are inside your PC and you’re typically not handling them (unlike USB tuners that are outside your PC and you may be plugging/unplugging them regularly).
  • The PCI boards are much larger, causing the heat to be spread out over more area. In fact, the PCB itself can act as a heatsink. With USB devices everything is jammed together in as small a package as possible
  • The PCI boards aren’t in a enclosure that can hold in heat. They are ventilated by open air and the fans inside the PC

This concludes today’s public service announcement.

One thought on “Public Service Announcement

  1. Aside from no hard data on any apparent benefit (the chip was probably operating within its rated temperature range), the modder has now created a personnel safety hazard for himself and those near the device in operation.

    He’ll need to add one of these:

    [edit: link removed upon request from]

    unless the device never really got that hot in the first place, in which case the modification was unnecessary.

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