NUC overheating

I thought I’d post this in case it was handy to anyone.

I’ve had a problem with my NUC overheating (in the sense of becoming very hot to the touch, noisy fan on all the time) for a long time now.

Finally, it died. So I resigned myself to replacing the Nuc, hopefully salvaging the drives and RAM.

But before I this, I figured I’d clean it and have close look at it.

I connected it to a monitor and keyboard. I then discovered the SSD had failed - the NUC lived!

So I bought another SSD, together with some extra RAM, a PC tool kit, a can of air, some thermal paste and isopropyl alcohol.

I managed to take the NUC apart, following some online instructions (which was a bit painful but could have been worse) and expose the CPU. There was a reasonable amount of dust, but I had expected more, given how hot it was getting. The existing thermal paste seemed to have completely deteriorated though. So I cleaned it up with the alcohol and a qtip, then re-applied the paste.

I then reassembled, add 16gb of ram (so 24gb total) then disabled turbo boost in the bios and reinstalled rock.

Enormous difference, touch wood! Now running pretty cool - minimal noise. Completely different than the last several years.

So, what was it? Probably original poor application of thermal paste, I guess - together with the dust and perhaps the failing ssd, as well.

Any, touch wood, I seem to have saved myself the cost of a new NUC and learned a few lessons!

This topic does come up occasionally, so thought I’d post this in case it helped anyone.



How old was the NUC?

Just thinking about putting a thermal paste refit date in my diary!

BTW you get best performance from the NUC when both memory sticks match.

I’ve found blowing out the dust on a regular basis helps! I use a small vacuum and my overheating issues have disappeared.


A little over 3 years but it was getting warm within the first few months - which then got progressively worse

Interesting - makes sense. I actually wound up using some faster RAM too, as it was what they had available. Probably not ideal but I thought I’d try it

Thanks - I probably should get one

If you buy another memory board the same as the new one - you’ll get optimal performance.

A lot of people make the mistake of putting too much thermal paste on the cpu.
The performance of the pastes is also quite varied.
Sounds like you got it right.


@GregD thanks. I actually bought 2 sticks, but it’s rated at around 3000, but the Nuc is rated for 2133. So I thought I’d keep the old stick and try 1 of the new.

I did have a quick peek in the BIOS at the RAM settings to see if I could adjust it but decided it was too complex.

From what I could see on google, it seems you can use higher rated memory.

@RodS - I was conscious of this, although I might have got a little lucky. The suggestion was a grain of rice or a pea sized blob (bit of a difference there!). I went somewhere between the two and smoothed off the excess

Faster memory is fine - although it won’t make the machine run faster.

But having matched boards will allow you to get the most from the dual channel memory architecture.

Thanks - I might swap in the other new memory stick then and see how it goes

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Disabling Turbo boost in BIOS, as you have now done, does significantly reduce CPU temperature.

On my fanless NUC 7i7DN NUC, using Euphony s/w, I could add/remove turbo boost on the fly and also monitor CPU temperature. Within seconds of enabling turbo boost, the temperature would start rising by several degrees, irrespective of what was playing.

The two other s/w related things that can increase temperature is when roon is doing a database rebuild (but the rate of that is configurable and this action is transient anyway), and upscaling to high DSD rates (but most DSP has little effect on CPU load).

Hi Gareth, I had that same problem with my NUC as well. It was caused by dust that had gathered inside and blocked the airflow. Getting rid of the dust definitely helps. Since the NUC makes silent noise anyway even without dust inside, I got rid of the original NUC case then and put the board into a fanless enclosure. That one is running for about two years now without any problem 24/7. No more noise disturbing my listening since. PM me if you are interested what I did for the specifics.

I have the same.

But the downside is that if the thermal paste stops working - it’s hard to know because you don’t get a constantly running fan as a warning.

Just wondering whether I should make a reminder to replace the paste in 3 years to be safe…

Check the temps in the bios.

I took the guts of an Asus PN51 mini PC them in an Akasa Turing A50 MKII fanless case. So dust build-up would be almost none. The PC is not running as a ROCK. It run Windows 10 with Roon server, Minim server & BubbleUPNP server. Last time I check, the CPU ran at 34C/93F & the SSD ran at 43.8C/111F, with ambient at 26.7C/80F.
Similar cases are available for specific generations of NUC in almost the same size.

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Thanks everybody. I think the thermal paste on mine was dodgy from the start - so my experience might not be a good guide. But if your NUC starts heating up, it’s evidently worth checking.

Replaced the old stick of RAM - touch wood, seems to be working. Now have a whopping 32gb of RAM - no doubt overkill, but can’t hurt and might help with future proofing!

I notice the recommended specs are now 16gb - pretty sure it was 8gb when I built mine in 2020.


I’ve went from a 8 gb ram i5 dual core MacBook Air to a 16 gb ram quad core i7 Lenovo laptop running Linux for my core.

The difference in performance with Roon is like night and day.

Serving about 6 endpoints and with a library of about 34k tracks RoonServer uses just over 13 gb of ram after awhile of running.

Definitely don’t skimp in the ram department.

I suspect that’s exactly the case, except your experience is a great guide. Nice to read a positive DIY while teach yourself piece :+1:

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