Four USB ports, it seems, are not enough for Raspberry Pi (opens in new tab) enthusiasts. Hot on the heels of last week’s news (opens in new tab) of a Compute Module (opens in new tab) carrier board with eight Type-A sockets comes the DeskPi Lite (opens in new tab), reported by Liliputing (opens in new tab), a Raspberry Pi 4 B (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) before they’ll work, and there are instructions about how to edit the config.txt file on the DeskPi (opens in new tab) website, and to control the fan speed on GitHub (opens in new tab).
The case would make a nice set-top box for media applications (a rival to the impressive Argon ONE M.2 (opens in new tab) perhaps) and, as CNX-Software (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.