The Raspberry Pi foundation has released an official fan for the Raspberry Pi 4. The fan, which will also work with older Pi models, takes power from onboard general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins.
This is far from the first 5v fan that works with the Raspberry Pi, but the first officially released by the Raspberry Pi foundation. It'll fit in an official Pi 4 case and costs just $5.
Raspberry Pis Just Got Cooler
The new product was announced via the Raspberry Pi Blog, on November 30, and is described as a "stocking-filler product to help you squeeze more performance out of your Raspberry Pi 4."
The kit comes with a fan set in a mount compatible with the Raspberry Pi 4 baseboard and cables designed for connecting to the onboard GPIO header pins. The kit also includes a black metal heatsink for further thermal dispersion.
The Raspberry Pi 4 case fan has a recommended retail price of $5 and is available from official resellers in your region, which can be found on the Raspberry Pi store page.
An Official Solution to an Old Problem
All processors generate heat, and when they get too hot, they throttle their output to avoid getting damaged. Desktops PCs have several good options for cooling systems but, embedded hardware generally relies on passive cooling using heatsinks.
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The Pi 4 is no different and initially shipped with no extra cooling, something that caused issues soon after release. The Raspberry Pi community has created many DIY solutions for keeping the Pi cool, ranging from custom heatsinks to repurposing desktop and laptop fans. Some have even used full-scale liquid cooling rigs to create huge, over-engineered, and very entertaining setups.
The new Pi 4 fan shows improvement over the stock cooling the Pi 4 currently has. Compiling the Linux kernel when housed in the official Pi plastic case caused throttling when the processor hit 80 degrees celsius. The new fan, which fits inside the case and uses the GPIO and USB slots for airflow, cuts this issue out altogether even when overclocking up to 1.8GHz.
Raspberry Pi 4: No Longer a Hot Mess
On release, the Raspberry Pi 4 was plagued with heat issues. Users reported boards throttling where even the Pi 3b+, it's predecessor, didn't have any problems. Overheating was only made worse when the Pi was enclosed in a case.
The Raspberry Pi foundation was quick to respond, however, releasing a firmware update to combat some of these issues, solving these problems for most regular users.
The new fan will put a lot of these problems to bed permanently, though there is little information about it yet. Gordon Hollingworth, Chief Product Officer for the Raspberry Pi foundation, will reveal the development process behind the new cooling system on the Raspberry Pi blog on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.
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