Raspberry Pi is one of the most widely used SBC (Single Board Computer). It is relatively cheap, and it enables the user to perform a wide range of DIY Raspberry projects as well as use it in various production environments as a backend server.
While the Raspberry Pi is usually perfectly capable of doing bursty workloads, sometimes, during heavy workloads, the built in SoC (CPU/GPU) may slow down to keep the temperature of the device in control. This is called thermal throttling. This will usually only occur when the Raspberry Pi’s SoC goes more than 80 degrees, but this thermal throttling can significantly reduce the performance of the Raspberry Pi.
The Raspberry Pi case with fan is aimed at solving exactly that for the user. Not only does it protect the Raspberry Pi board from external exposure with a case, but it also has a built-in fan to blow out the heat generated by the Pi board. This significantly reduces the operating temperature of the Raspberry Pi and will reduce the chances of thermal throttling significantly.
Instructions on how to Assemble the case, test workloads, and the results of the temperature difference between the Raspberry Pi with and without a case are down below.
Assembling the Raspberry Pi case and Fan
The assembly of the case is straightforward.
- Take the bottom of the case and place the Raspberry Pi. Make sure the ports are aligned with the port openings.
- Take the included side vent and snap it into place on the side of the Raspberry Pi opposite to the ports.
- Screw in the fan to the top case (with the smaller included screws) and mount the top of the case to the Raspberry Pi.
- Connect the fan positive and negative terminals to pin number 4 and 6 of the Raspberry Pi respectively, 5V and GND.
- Fasten the top case by securing it with the included longer screws on the bottom of the case.
- Once the assembly is done, power on the Raspberry Pi and you should hear the fan spin.
The graphs below were obtained by running a CPU stress test on the Raspberry Pi for 30 minutes. This test was to simulate a heavy workload and to check the temperature and the CPU frequency of the Raspberry Pi with the fan and without the fan.
The blue graph indicates the Raspberry Pi with the cooling and the red indicates the Pi without cooling. As seen above, the thermal difference is massive when the Raspberry Pi is cooled with a small fan. And as a result, the CPU frequency of the Raspberry Pi remains at a stable 1.5 GHz, whereas the Raspberry Pi without any cooling constantly thermal throttles to 1.0 GHz, thereby leaving a lot of potential performance on the table.
The cooling can further be improved by adding a small heatsink to the Raspberry Pi CPU. The heatsink will help spread the heat onto a larger surface area thereby increasing the efficiency at which the Raspberry Pi cools down.
Check out our video below for better understanding of the installation process and the usage of the Raspberry Pi case with a fan.