SilverStone, makers of PC cases have made something a little smaller for their latest product. The SST-PI02B is an all aluminium case made for the Raspberry Pi 4. This passively cooled case claims to drop temperatures by around 14 degrees Celsius using two heatsinks, one for the CPU and the other for the RAM. The aluminium case provides additional heat dissipation using a series of fins which maximise the surface area available for cooling.
All of the USB, micro HDMI, Ethernet ports present on the Pi 4 have an appropriate cut out on the case including the GPIO which has a slot on the rear side of the case. This case does not work with Raspberry Pi add on boards, “HATs”, but breakout ribbon cables can be used to provide a connection to the GPIO.
An intriguing addition to this case is a pre-drilled point for a WiFi antenna, which is not included in the box. Why is this intriguing? Well the Raspberry Pi 4 does not have a connection for an external antenna. The antenna on a Raspberry Pi 4 is part of the PCB.
This is a great looking case and if the claimed heat dissipation is correct then we have an excellent candidate for a passively cooled home server build.
How much is the wifi functionality affected?
By the Flirc case? I couldn't say - I'm using wired ethernet on it.
If the heatsinks aren't connected to the case, they're barely helpful. The FLIRC case has it connected (it's just a protruding column of the case material - however no direct cooling for the USB bridge), so I assume it'd be better than this.
Last but not least, we've started with a "no compromise" approach to RPI4 cooling and ended with CooliPi, about 9 degrees better than FLIRC under the same conditions. The problem with WiFi signal haunts all closed, metallic cases. So CooliPi has 3D printed plastic base and the heatsink directly touches all the hungry chips.
Remembers me we should continue our effort to offer it in the U.S. through Crowdsupply....
Also, people would do well to use copper heatsinks with more surface area + a decent thermal compound!
I have installed heatsinks in a DVD player, a game console, and a first-gen Pi. In each case, I just used thermal compound, since the heatsink was sitting level, and it's been fine.
When the stakes are comparatively low and everything is sitting flat, you can get away without a mechanical means of securing the heatsink.
However, I do hope that Pi v5 has a pair of screw holes on opposite corners of the CPU, to support a mechanical restraint. I would prefer to do it "the right way", even if I think I could probably get away with something less.