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Placing heatsinks on the Raspberry Pi 4

In this short tutorial we’ll see where to place the heatsinks on the Raspberry Pi 4 B. After completed this tutorial, your Raspberry Pi will be equipped with the necessary heatsinks. In contrast to the previous Raspberry Pi models where a set of heatsinks was just advisable and not always necessary, with the Raspberry Pi 4 B we have a completely different situation. Here the CPU gets really hot under normal load or even at idle. If the board is mounted in a closed enclosure (as the official Raspberry Pi case), the CPU starts to throttle in no time and consequently a loss of performances is inevitable. Placing heatsinks on the CPU will certainly help to dissipate the heat. But if you use a closed case, there is very little chance for the heat to dissipate. Because an effective heat dissipation solution is really critical for the Raspberry Pi 4, beside placing the heatsinks, we advise to use well ventilated cases and / or cases provided with a fan.

What you’ll need for this tutorial

You need a kit which includes the aluminium heatsinks for the Raspberry Pi 4 B:

  • 14 x 14 x 6 mm (for CPU) with 3M conductivity thermal adhesive
  • 9 x 9 x 5 mm (for USB controller) with 3M conductivity thermal adhesive
  • 9 x 9 x 5 mm (for ethernet controller) with 3M conductivity thermal adhesive

If you’re missing a set, don’t hesitate to visit our shop : freva.com/product/heatsink/

Which components are getting hot?

  • the processor is by far the component which really gets hot. A board without case, without heatsinks, running at idle reaches easily a temperature of about 60°C! The CPU temperature increases to more than 80°C with a board in a closed case and a CPU loaded at 25%. Luckily there is a built in sensor that sets the CPU to throttle as soon as 80°C is reached. This behavior affects the performance of the processor of course.
  • the temperature of the USB controller will increase depending on the type and number of connected USB devices.
  • finally there is the Ethernet controller

Remark : The RAM doesn’t add additional heat to the board. It’s useless to put a heatsink on this component.

Placing the heatsinks

Let’s see now where to place the heatsinks … As shown in the figure on the top of this page, it is very easy to place nicely the 3 heatsinks which are already provided with thermal adhesive.  

 

Raspberry Pi heatsink kit If you are looking for a set of heatsinks, have a look at our shop

 

What to do if the heatsinks can’t cool enough your Pi?

Check if your case allows enough heat dissipation. If your case is totally closed, placing heatsinks won’t help a lot as the heat won’t dissipate. So, the first thing to do is to consider a case with enough openings. An open case allows passive heat dissipation from the heatsinks which really makes a big difference.

If you consider buying a new case, visit our shop to discover our 3D-printed case. For most applications a well ventilated case will do the job.

But for some applications with an intensive CPU usage, a fan is really helpful. Check if the fan from our shop fits on your case. And if you want to be on the safe side, consider our 3D-printed case combined with this fan.

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