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RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:35 pm
by thexeno
Hi,

I was looking around for an heatsink for the RaspberryPi 4, and I found something "bulky" like this: https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/rasp ... 4-heatsink

Would be maningful to have instead just a fan, maybe SMBus controlled, to smoothly working only when needed? I wonder if exist something, like a rig to mount when I need to use 4K60p or the like. Because I think is cool to see the SoC package naked :D , specially when a heatsink is not always needed. Not that I see other reasons, unless application dependent.

Does exist something like that, or the reason why I don't find it is because no one would use it?

Cheers,

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm
by itsmedoofer

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:13 pm
by SimUK
Pimoroni's Bilge Tank on Monday morning on YouTube seemed to highly suggest the Fan Shim was the way to go, compared with the heatsink which helps for a bit, but ultimately can only do so much.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:22 pm
by itsmedoofer
I ordered one and a heatsink, will see whats better when I'm setup

I'm planning to setup a NAS/NextCloud/VPN server with my 4, when I've got everything on I'll see what load I'm getting and make the choice then. I would think the heatskink will suffice to be honest, save the fan for a desktop.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:32 pm
by jamesh
I used a PoE HAT with fan and it kept the Pi4 very cool indeed. 50-55. Without, a good 15-25 higher depending on load. This is with no case.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:37 pm
by itsmedoofer
A small 30mm fan made a big difference for me, a HS is fitted but its a really cheap "pants" one.

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/view ... 1#p1481281

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:53 pm
by thexeno
itsmedoofer wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm
Something like this ?

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/fan-shim
Very much so!
That is not SMBus am I right? Because you can read the fan speed or do other sh*t by using only one I2C bus and on address.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:06 pm
by itsmedoofer
thexeno wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:53 pm
itsmedoofer wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm
Something like this ?

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/fan-shim
Very much so!
That is not SMBus am I right? Because you can read the fan speed or do other sh*t by using only one I2C bus and on address.
I would imagine it's I2C, to be honest I've not looked yet, my box of goodies is waiting for me at home.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:52 pm
by andrum99
thexeno wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:53 pm
itsmedoofer wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm
Something like this ?

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/fan-shim
Very much so!
That is not SMBus am I right? Because you can read the fan speed or do other sh*t by using only one I2C bus and on address.
There is no SMBus on the Pi. Although SMBus is of course just a very specific implementation of I2C.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:33 am
by thexeno
andrum99 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:52 pm
thexeno wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:53 pm
itsmedoofer wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:11 pm
Something like this ?

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/fan-shim
Very much so!
That is not SMBus am I right? Because you can read the fan speed or do other sh*t by using only one I2C bus and on address.
There is no SMBus on the Pi. Although SMBus is of course just a very specific implementation of I2C.
But the common things at least supported in software are there. Because the SMBus package in Python is out there for the Pi.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:49 am
by jahboater
jamesh wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:32 pm
I used a PoE HAT with fan and it kept the Pi4 very cool indeed. 50-55. Without, a good 15-25 higher depending on load. This is with no case.
With no case, I am not convinced the Pi4 needs any extra cooling at all (in the UK at least).
While it idles at around 50C which seems a lot, it happily runs really large jobs, maxing out all four cores for long periods, without reaching throttling. I could only get it to throttle with a silly artificial stress test.
I upped the clock to 1.6GHz and it remains stable without throttling.
I am surprised (and pleased!).

That's assuming "vcgencmd get_throttled" is reporting correctly.

The Pi4 is mounted on edge in free air.

Like the 3B+, it has considerable thermal inertia, but the Pi4 is much faster so that larger jobs will complete before the temp rises much.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:02 am
by fanoush
jahboater wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:49 am
With no case, I am not convinced the Pi4 needs any extra cooling at all (in the UK at least).
Even better is to get aluminum case - it is both big heatsink and case. Especially with the 3B+ model the heat goes to the board itself so it is nicely transferred to the case (unlike with older 3B model where this is not so efficient). There are cheap ones for Pi3 on ebay (like this one) however they will need redesign for Pi4.

I have one and it gets nicely warm so it works. Some may partly block wifi signal, this one has more parts so the part near wifi can be left out.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:06 am
by jahboater
fanoush wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:02 am
I have one and it gets nicely warm so it works. Some may partly block wifi signal, this one has more parts so the part near wifi can be left out.
Yes.
The Pi4 has true GiGe ethernet, so I don't use the WiFi!

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:24 am
by fanoush
jahboater wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:06 am
so I don't use the WiFi!
Indeed. With 3B+ I use as a desktop I moved to wired ethernet too as I have it near. Also I play streamed games over Steam Link occasionally and the wireless in Pi3 has some performance issues documented here - it works fine but slows down every few (5, 10?) minutes killing frame rate => game over.

Anyway what I wanted to say is that the question should not be "heatsink or fan" because the correct answer may be "neither, get aluminium case".

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:03 am
by Imperf3kt
An aluminium case will be of no use unless it is thermally linked to the SOC, i.e. As a heatsink, so the topic title still applies.

Personally, I think a more appropriate title would be active or passive cooling, since a fan is most often used in addition to a heatsink.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:27 am
by procount
A fan always wins in my view.

In order to cool the CPU, you need to move the heat it generates away as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Adding a heatsink with good thermal contact with the CPU will allow the heat to transfer quickly into the heatsink. But there will come a point at which even the thermal capacity of the heat sink becomes saturated, at which point it will stop being as effective, the CPU will heat up and start throttling. The heat sink provides a greater surface area from which the heat can radiate/convect, so this does help, but essentially, it is just delaying the time until throttling occurs.
For light use, this increased passive cooling may be sufficient, especially if the CPU is mostly idle but is occasionally used for bursts of activity.
Of course, making the heatsink bigger extends the time further and allows the cooling to be more effective due to the larger surface area. So using a whole case as a heatsink is a good idea. In many cases (sic) this increased cooling may be sufficient.

For heavier or more sustained use, a more active cooling system like a fan is more advantageous, as it can wick away the heat quite quickly. I tend to find active cooling from a fan is always more effective than a heatsink, but of course it is more costly and uses more power. It may also need to be connected to the GPIO for power/control which may get in the way of other HATs.

For maximum cooling, a heatsink and a fan together is very effective.

So like most things in life it is a compromise and depends on your use case.

My favourite case is the Argon One on my 3B+ as this uses the whole case as a heatsink (with thermal conductivity to the CPU) and includes a fan that adjusts its speed according to the CPU temperature, so it minimises any power and noise. I hope they will make one for the 4B too.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:28 am
by fanoush
Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:03 am
An aluminium case will be of no use unless it is thermally linked to the SOC
Which is the case with 3B+ as understand it (unlike 3B) and possibly also Pi4 (sea also this and linked blogs). They explained it somewhere that the SOC is upside down in 3B+ and heat goes into board ground plane, metal connectors (USB, ethernet,..) and thus also the case. So the case may be much better than isolated heatsink on top of CPU.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:42 am
by procount
The metal can around the 3B+ and 4B CPU is a pretty good thermal conductor. You just need different thicknesses of thermal tape to account for the different heights for the processor to contact the case (In the ArgonOne case for the 3B/3B+ anyway, I assume similar for FLIRC).

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:23 pm
by jahboater
procount wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:27 am
The heat sink provides a greater surface area from which the heat can radiate/convect, so this does help, but essentially, it is just delaying the time until throttling occurs.
If the increased heat loss due to convection from the greater surface area (fins) is more than the heat being generated, then it is enough and throttling will not occur.
And that is quite easy to achieve for an ARM based chip.
That is, unless its in an enclosed case with no ventilation, or perhaps in a very hot country.
In the UK, placing a Pi board on edge in free air is often enough, and that seems to be adequate for the Pi4.
Something like this is perhaps an overkill, but your Pi will not throttle ...
https://www.kintaro.co/products/kintaro-custom-heatsink
I have used Pi's heavily for years and never needed a fan. They are noisy!
Yes I agree fans are very effective for obvious reasons, but I don't see the need.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:33 pm
by echmain
I have a few of these for my Pis:

https://amzn.com/B01LXSMY1N/

It provides lots of air flow and the fan is very quiet. I didn't bother with the heat sinks.

I started up my Pi4 for the first time today. The board was mostly at idle, desktop & Chromium were running for about 30 minutes but not really doing anything.

The temp hovered between 38C and 40C.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:50 pm
by itsmedoofer
Hi,

Been playing tonight...

PiBow case.... 21C ambient....

At idle no fan or heatsink 60C

Fanshim, no neatsink, software not installed, 40C, the Pi felt noticeably cooler especially the usb ports...

Hope this helps....

I

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:40 pm
by Montala
procount wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:27 am
My favourite case is the Argon One on my 3B+ as this uses the whole case as a heatsink (with thermal conductivity to the CPU) and includes a fan that adjusts its speed according to the CPU temperature, so it minimises any power and noise. I hope they will make one for the 4B too.
They actually announced (on Facebook) today that they are doing just that, and are already accepting advance orders... at a reduced price of course!

Needless to say, I have one on order already! :)

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:46 pm
by springtide
I've seen these for the older models, but looks like this is now for a 4

EBay Item: 254277995339
pi_sink.jpg
pi_sink.jpg (71.75 KiB) Viewed 13207 times
Has anyone owned one or the version for the older versions?

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:12 pm
by jahboater
springtide wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:46 pm
I've seen these for the older models, but looks like this is now for a 4

EBay Item: 254277995339
The photo shows a Pi3, not a Pi4 - the Ethernet socket is on the wrong side.

Re: RaspberryPi 4: heatsink or fan

Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:29 pm
by springtide
jahboater wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:12 pm
springtide wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 3:46 pm
I've seen these for the older models, but looks like this is now for a 4

EBay Item: 254277995339
The photo shows a Pi3, not a Pi4 - the Ethernet socket is on the wrong side.
Well spotted! I've ordered one so will let you know. The description says it's for a 4

------------------------------
Description:
1. Aluminum Material, Ultra-thin design, Smooth and straight, Great touching feeling
2. Open design can make sure our CNC case will not effect Wifi signal

Specification:
Product name: Radiator Protection Case
Color: Black
Material: Aluminum Alloy
Compatible with:For Raspberry Pi 4
Size:About 87*56*25mm

Package included:
1 x Radiator Protection Case
1 x L-shaped Wrench
4 x Assembly Screw
4 x Thermal Pad
------------------------------