Friday, February 17, 2023

Cooling Solutions for the Raspberry Pi 4: Optimizing Performance and Temperature

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a powerful single-board computer, boasting a 1.5GHz Quad core Cortex-A72 processor that makes it the best-performing Raspberry Pi to date. However, with great power comes the great responsibility of managing its temperature.

During intensive applications, the Raspberry Pi 4 may get quite hot, with the CPU throttling at around 80 degrees to protect itself. To optimize the board's performance, it's best to keep its temperature as low as possible. Therefore, we conducted some stress tests to evaluate the performance of our new XL heatsinks with and without a fan case.

In the first test, we ran the Raspberry Pi 4 with no cooling solution. It reached a maximum temperature of 82 degrees, beyond the throttling threshold, and its CPU frequency dropped to 1GHz. This test indicated that a cooling solution is necessary when pushing the Raspberry Pi 4 to its limits.

In the second test, we tested a large heatsink alone to see if it could keep the Raspberry Pi 4 below the throttling temperature. The result was a maximum temperature of 75 degrees, indicating that silent cooling without throttling is possible with a large heatsink.

For the third test, we used the Raspberry Pi 4 Case (with Cooling Fan) (v2.0) in an exhaust configuration with and without our large heatsinks. The fan was connected to the board's 5V line and maintained a constant speed. The maximum temperature was 61 degrees, dropping to 56 degrees with the addition of the large heatsink. The quieter fan reduced the CPU temperature by 21 degrees when exhausting heat, and the large heatsink helped reduce it by an additional 5 degrees. Overall, this combination proved to be cool and quiet.

In the fourth test, we flipped the fan around to an intake configuration, sucking air into the case and directly onto the CPU. This test resulted in a maximum temperature of 57 degrees, dropping to 51 degrees with the addition of our monstrous heatsink. Simply flipping the fan over helped reduce the temperature by an extra 4 degrees.

In conclusion, these tests highlight the importance of having a cooling solution for the Raspberry Pi 4, especially during intensive use. With a large heatsink and a fan case in either an exhaust or intake configuration, the Raspberry Pi 4 can maintain optimal performance with low temperature and minimal noise.


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