The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a new product today. It’s a tiny $5 fan combined with a small heatsink for the Raspberry Pi 4. It works with the official case, below the top cover. That accessory should prevent the Raspberry Pi from overheating.
If you’re not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, it’s a cheap, single-board computer with a lot of connectors that is the size of a deck of cards. You can give it to a kid so they can play around with a terminal, you can use it for your weekend projects as the computing brain and more.
The Raspberry Pi 4 is the most recent Raspberry Pi device in its classic form factor. And it’s a huge performance improvement over the Raspberry Pi 3.
And yet, shortly after its release last year, the community of Raspberry Pi users noticed that the single-board computer tends to get hot. In some cases, it becomes so hot that the device has no choice but to throttle the frequency of the CPU.
That problem is particularly noticeable if you’re using the official case as it prevents proper ventilation. Over the past year, the foundation has released a software update focused on power optimization.
While it solves the issue in some cases, it’s not a magic fix for all situations. Some users tend to use the computing power of the Raspberry Pi for long periods.
There are some third-party cases with a big heatsink. But the Raspberry Pi Foundation didn’t have its own solution for the issue.
According to the foundation, the tiny fan should be enough to prevent throttling. “It draws air in over the USB and Ethernet connectors, passes it over a small finned heatsink attached to the processor, and exhausts it through the SD card slot,” the Raspberry Pi Foundation says.
It’s a cheap stopgap solution, but I hope the Foundation will prioritize heat dissipation for the next iteration of the Raspberry Pi.