Four USB ports, it seems, are not enough for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts. Hot on the heels of last week’s news of a Compute Module carrier board with eight Type-A sockets comes the DeskPi Lite, reported by Liliputing, a Raspberry Pi 4 B case which raises the USB count to six, and adds non-slip rubber feet too.
There's slightly more to it than that, of course. The case and its custom PCB also break out the Pi’s pair of micro-HDMI ports as full-size outputs, and make sure everything from the GPIO to the camera and ethernet port is accessible from the outside. GPIO access is via a side mounted breakout, which would see HATs point skyward unless used with a breakout board. Inside the case and there is active cooling, with a programmable fan as well as a heat sink which covers the SoC, RAM and PCIe chip. An often omitted feature, a useful on/off switch is added to the front of the case.
The extra USB 2.0 ports are front-mounted, making it easy to plug in a flash drive or USB Bitcoin miner, and there's also a pair of LEDs to display power and disk write status. The front USB ports need to be enabled in Raspberry Pi OS before they’ll work, and there are instructions about how to edit the config.txt file on the DeskPi website, and to control the fan speed on GitHub.
The case would make a nice set-top box for media applications (a rival to the impressive Argon ONE M.2 perhaps) and, as CNX-Software notes, the fan speed control and USB ports can be installed via a script in just about every compatible OS except Windows. This means a nice-looking RetroPie box with USB ports on the front for controllers isn’t out of the question.
The Lite isn’t the only Pi case from DeskPi, with the larger DeskPi Pro providing space for a 2.5 inch SSD while also sporting front-mounted USB ports and an ICE tower cooler that should keep the Pi’s Arm chip chilled even when overclocked.
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Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.
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