Active Cooling System

pi-top [4]’s Active Cooling System keeps your pi-top [4] cool no matter what load you throw at it. And bonus, it allows you to run at a faster clock speed than the standard 1.5Ghz.

All computer hardware generates heat, and the Raspberry Pi 4 is no exception. So when we were designing pi-top [4] we did a lot of experimentation and testing with passive and active cooling systems. After working through several designs we finally came up with what we believe is the best way of keeping your pi-top [4] cool as a cucumber. 

Raspberry Pi 4 Cooling Chassis

The design we have, took several iterations to get right, and consists of an aluminium cooling chassis that surrounds the RPi 4, paired with a powerful centrifugal cooling fan. The aluminium cooling chassis extracts and distributes the heat across a large surface area due to the high heat conductivity of aluminium.

The airflow generated by the powerful centrifugal cooling fan then draws air across these surfaces through dedicated air channels carefully designed into the enclosure that also provide secondary cooling to pi-top [4]’s innards, the air is then exhausted through vents in the side of the case.

A secondary function of the aluminium cooling chassis is that it results in a modular Raspberry Pi sub-assembly that not only protects the Pi’s sensitive parts during assembly into pi-top [4], but can actually be used standalone outside of the pi-top [4] as a small, durable, actively cooled metal enclosure!

 


Item

Specification

Heat Sink

Aluminium finned heat sink for Raspberry Pi 4 SoC

Fan

Integrated 0.9 Watt centrifugal cooling fan (30 x 30 x 7 mm)
Airflow rate: 1.5 CFM
Static pressure: 92 Pa
Raspberry Pi CPU temperature at 100% 4-core CPU load:

Inside pi-top [4]: 64 °C Standalone RPi: 85 °C with thermal throttling of CPU due to max temperature of Pi being 85 °C

 

Overclocking

The pi-top [4] runs on a powerful Raspberry Pi 4, and while that board is super powerful, it's possible to make it even faster by overclocking it.  You should know that overclocking produces more heat which means that pi-top's active cooling system has to work harder, which in turn means more fan noise.  As long as you're happy with that, you can find out how to do it and see benchmark scores by reading this Tom's hardware article.