narp
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Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 3:49 pm

I'm buying a new case and am wondering if I need a cooling fan and heatsinks. Thanks.

jamesh
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 4:06 pm

Depends on the workload. If really hammering the device, then a heatsink/fan will keep the temperatures below the speed throttling limit and provide faster overall performance. If not really hammering it they won't make much difference.
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narp
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 4:15 pm

jamesh wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 4:06 pm
Depends on the workload. If really hammering the device, then a heatsink/fan will keep the temperatures below the speed throttling limit and provide faster overall performance. If not really hammering it they won't make much difference.
Thank you very much. Do 3 B cases generally work for the 3 B+?

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rpdom
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 5:21 pm

Generally 3B cases will work for a 3B+. The exception is those cases that act as a heatsink and touch the main chip. The chip in the 3B+ is slightly taller than the one in the 3B and a 3B case that acts as a heatsink will damage the Pi as it presses down on the chip.

Some cases come with two different thermal pads, one for the 3B and one for the 3B+. If you go for the metal heatsink style of case, check that it is 3B+ compatible before you buy.

Most cases that don't act as a heatsink will work on either model.

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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 5:56 pm

You don't need a heatsink AND fan. One or the other will do (if you have a fan, you don't need a heatsink).

Thermal management on the 3B+ is much improved over the older 3B model, and for many people the 3B+ will be fine on its own. If you are going to push the system hard or have the system in a warm environment a heatsink or fan might be needed to reduce throttling (the system will slow down to prevent overheating).

Even a quiet, low CFM fan will keep the system cool in a well ventilated case.

If you want to go the passive heatsink route you'll need a large one, and a very well ventilated case. The cheap tiny heatsinks marketed for Pi computers are not very effective (especially since some have double sided tape and not thermal adhesive). The Kintaro heatsink is the best, but it won't fit in most cases without some ingenuity (and even with ingenuity it won't fit in some cases).

Another option, and one I highly recommend, is the 2nd generation Flirc case. The aluminum alloy Flirc case itself acts as a huge heatsink, keeping the Pi 3B or 3B+ cool without the noise or additional power requirements of a fan. Due to clever design, it also doesn't interfere with wireless (WiFi, Bluetooth) like some others on the market. Not that I've noticed anyway, as most of my Pi 3B/3B+ computers are in Flirc cases and connected to my wireless network. The Flirc Gen2 case includes different thermal pads for the 3B and 3B+ models.
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 8:44 pm

rpdom wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 5:21 pm
Generally 3B cases will work for a 3B+. The exception is those cases that act as a heatsink and touch the main chip. The chip in the 3B+ is slightly taller than the one in the 3B and a 3B case that acts as a heatsink will damage the Pi as it presses down on the chip.

Most cases that don't act as a heatsink will work on either model.
Not necessarily, and I have been bitten by this! Cases that are no (or little) more than boxes with screw mounting points for the Pi and holes for connectors and cables will work for both Pi models. However, some cases are designed to 'cradle' the board between the top and bottom halves of the case rather than having it mounted to one half by screws. This type of case has much more internal structure (to hold the board more securely) and is typically suitable only for the Pi model for which it is designed.

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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 10:19 pm

Depends on the ambient temperature in your area, and (of course) your general preference.

Getting a case is a must, to prevent those "unexpected shorts" , as there have been many reported RPis KIA due to this.

In my area, it gets quite hot during summer and I don't want to have my RPi3B+'s temp to go beyond 50C (normally I dont want it to go beyond 45C).
Heat is not good for electronics (unless its designed solely to emit heat). Keeping it cool is good practice.

This RPi3B+ am currently using as my main desktop is in a fan-cooled Armor Case. I've just upgraded it from a laminated acrylic case with fan.
armorcase.jpeg
armorcase.jpeg (11.82 KiB) Viewed 346 times
in my setup, the fan's power is not taken from the GPIO header, as its occupied by an I2S DAC. Fan takes its power from the microUSB port.
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 10:20 pm

Additional pics
Attachments
RPi3B+PanelTemp.jpg
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RPi3B+Desktop.jpg
RPi3B+Desktop.jpg (68.96 KiB) Viewed 344 times
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Re: Do I need heatsinks and a cooling fan for the 3B+? Getting a case...

Wed May 01, 2019 10:37 pm

In answer to the OP's original question, you MUST ensure that any case you are considering does NOT foul the four pins shown in red here:

Image

Some of the earlier plastic 3B cases did foul, and needed a few minutes work with a sharp knife/file to make them 3B+ compatible!!

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