I’ve just disassembled a retired Roku Premiere model 4620X, also named “Cooper”. I had expected its enclosure to be just a plastic box, but it turned out to have a few points of interest. The most unexpected item was the Roku fabric tag sticking out the side.
It was clearly a piece of branding, and I thought it was pretty clever how Roku could do that by sandwiching a little piece of fabric into the seam of their enclosure. That would be super simple and inexpensive to manufacture. But then I realized… there’s no seam here! The fabric tag is actually coming out of a dedicated slot in the side of the case. This slot, which is perpendicular to the motion of their plastic injection mold, would have added cost to the process.
And since it’s not sandwiched in an existing seam, it’s not held in place by an existing fastener either. This is a separate piece (or multiple pieces?) of plastic dedicated to a Roku name tag, adding to parts cost and assembly complexity. I thought the Roku fabric tag was a cheap thing to throw in there, but no. This required a very deliberate decision in product design. A little web research found that this is actually a registered Roku trademark. I had originally dismissed it as unimportant, I guess this is why I’m not a hotshot product designer.
A metal plate stamped with “6000000235 A1 REV2” is at the bottom. A small cutout on one edge gives extra clearance for the reset button, and four plastic posts help support the main circuit board. The plate itself was fastened to the plastic enclosure by four blobs of melted plastic.
The four blobs of melted plastic were quickly dispatched with a drill, freeing the plate. There was nothing remarkable on the other side. It seemed to have been stamped out of sheet metal. It is not magnetic, so I am going to guess aluminum. At a weight of roughly 10 grams (about one third of an ounce) it is too light to serve as unnecessary weight designers sometimes add to products for the sake of a “premium feel” heft. It does add a bit of support to the structure, but the enclosure did not feel noticeably flimsier with its removal. Perhaps it adds strength along an axis I didn’t test? There is no mechanical contact with the circuit board, so it is not a heat sink. There are no electrical contacts with the circuit board, either, so it is not an antenna. But it might be an anti-antenna serving as RF shielding. Though RF shields usually have a connection to electrical ground on the circuit, which it lacks. What is the purpose of this metal plate? I’m stumped.
The top plate, in contrast, has an obvious purpose as heat sink for the processor. Its shape hints at a casting process, and it is also nonmagnetic so I’m going to guess aluminum here as well. Imprinted from the casting mold are the markings “6000000233 REV 3 ADC 12 B2” and a circular indicator with seven out of twelve positions filled with a dot and “16” in the center. It probably means something to the people running the manufacturing process but not tome.
I usually see heatsinks from the desktop computer world, where they are precision ground to tight tolerances for optimal contact with the processor. This piece looks to have received no post-processing machining after being cast. Instead, a square of squishy thermal pad takes care of filling the ~1mm gap. It would be less thermally conductive than what is used for desktop processors, but probably just fine in this context. Aside from the raised square section to make contact with the processor, there are two circular posts (upper right and lower left in picture) to electrically ground this piece of metal.
A quick visit by the drill freed this plate as well, and this time its structural support was more noticeable. The lid was pretty flexible once it was removed. It is also a beefier piece of metal at 38g, almost quadruple the weight of bottom plate but still not exactly “heavy”. I doubt the weight is the point of the exercise, so the most likely primary purpose is heat sink for the circuit board.