How To Keep Your Raspberry Pi 4 Cool

How To Keep Your Raspberry Pi 4 Cool

The Raspberry Pi 4 packs a mighty punch – the 1.5GHz Quad core Cortex-A72 is the best performing Raspberry Pi to date, but with great power comes great responsibility temperature.

If you’re using your Raspberry Pi 4 for intensive applications, you may find that it gets a little toasty at times. Whilst the board is smart enough to realise this and adjust itself to compensate (throttling the CPU at around 80 degrees), we’d rather help it chill out and squeeze as much performance out of it as we can.

We thought it would be interesting to run some stress tests to see how well our new colourful XL heatsinks work with the Raspberry Pi 4 – with and without our fan case.

Test 1: No cooling solution

For our first test we went naked – no case, heatink or fan. It’s sitting on our bare wood desk with nothing else added. This is how the board is sold – so let’s see how it got on:

Result: Maximum temperature: 82 degrees
Verdict: 82 degrees is past the throttling threshold. We saw our CPU frequency drop to 1GHz during this test. A cooling solution is definitely required when pushing the Raspberry Pi 4 like this.

Raspberry Pi with no cooling solution 

Test 2: Large Heatsink only

We wanted to see if a (XL) heatsink alone could keep our Raspberry Pi out of the throttling zone (80 degrees) during the stress test. Silent fanless cooling under these conditions isn’t going to produce the best results, however if we can keep things under 80 degrees then we’ve got a viable option.

Result: Maximum temperature: 75 degrees
Verdict: Yes – silent cooling without throttling is possible!

Raspberry Pi with heatsink

Test 3: Raspberry Pi 4 Case (With Cooling Fan) (v2.0) – Exhaust configuration

The case product page shows an ‘exhaust’ setup for this fan i.e. pulling air out of the case rather than pushing it in, however it’s up to the user to choose which way to mount it.

  • For this test we’re using an exhaust configuration.
  • The fan is connected to the board’s 5V line so maintains a constant speed
  • We tested with and without our large heatsinks.

Result: Maximum temperature: 61 degrees
With heatsink: Maximum temperature: 56 degrees
Verdict: The quieter fan reduces the CPU temperature by an impressive 21 degrees when exhausting heat, and our large heatsink helps reduce it by an additional 5 degrees. A cool and quiet combo!

Test 4: Raspberry Pi 4 Case (With Cooling Fan) (v2.0) – Intake configuration

This is the same as test 3 however we’ve flipped the fan around to the intake configuration, sucking air into the case and straight on to the hot CPU.

Result: Maximum temperature: 57 degrees
With heatsink: Maximum temperature: 51 degrees
Verdict: Just flipping the fan over helped reduce temperature by an extra 4 degrees! The addition of our monstrous heatsink drops readings by another 6 degrees, bringing everything down to a frosty 51 degrees!
Raspberry Pi Cooling Fan Case V2

Summary of Results

Temperature Reading Chart

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