$20 ICE Tower CPU Cooling Fan Targets Raspberry Pi 4

The Raspberry Pi 4 is much more powerful than its predecessors, but with great power comes a lot of heat, and it may affect the performance of your board under leaod. We’ve already seen that fitting a heatsink to Raspberry Pi 4 does help, and provided it’s sized appropriately, should help you board work at its full potential in most circumstances.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is also working on improved firmware to lower temperature and power consumption of their latest single board computer, but if you want to make sure your board stays cool at all times: ICE Tower CPU cooling fan will certainly do the trick.

Raspberry Pi 4 Cooling FanIt’s fitted to a Raspberry Pi 3 board in the photo above, but Seeed Studio reports it’s compatible with Raspberry Pi 4, and can reduce the temperature of the Raspberry Pi from 80°C to 40°C.

It’s actually compatible with all recent Raspberry Pi boards as it’s placed on the four RPi mounting holes, and powered by the 5V from the 40-pin GPIO header.

Raspberry Pi 4 Large HeatsinkMost people won’t actually need this, but they may want it, as it looks pretty cool (pun intended), and does not cost that much with Seeed Studio taking pre-orders for $19.90 plus shipping..Delivery is scheduled for July 19.

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55 Replies to “$20 ICE Tower CPU Cooling Fan Targets Raspberry Pi 4”

  1. It would have made a funny 1st of April, but at this point it simply underlines how pathetic the thermal management on this device is :-/
    I mean, for a board designed to run bare on a desk, to support I/O extensions, or to hang behind a display, there are not that many really usable options in the end considering the amount of cooling required to use it fully.

    1. I’m waiting a few weeks until the first review of the Flirc Raspberry Pi 4 Case will be available. In the past the Flirc cases performed rather poorly compared to other full Aluminium enclosures which most probably was related to a crappy thermal pad supplied.

    2. I doubt it really needs a big cooler like this. This seems to be an existing GPU sized radiator block with a CNC’d bracket to make it fit.

      1. It doesn’t, I have a cooler on it that’s a bit taller than the pins & covers most of the board but fits in a case. When benchmarking I managed to peak it at 48c

      2. I think that’s exactly what it is, but cpu not gpu. I have something similar on my i7. I’m not a thermal expert but I was also under the impression that these giant heats inks work well because it draws heat in the path of the existing case fan…

    1. I’m deeply surprised that thermal concerns are considered concerned trolling at those forums..

        1. Ohhh, so he’s the source of that ‘eMMC less reliable than SDs’ gem.. Peaches.

          ps: for the record, my original comment was sarcasm.

        2. Nope, personal experience. SD cards have wear leveling, EMMC generally doesn’t, so if using them for the same thing, the EMMC will fail first. depends on the FS.

          That’s not my experience. For some applications, SD cards are also not ideal due to the potential of getting dislodged due to vibrations.

          1. He clearly confuses raw NAND with eMMC. At another location he claims SD card and eMMC would be totally incompatible and it would require huge software and hardware efforts to bring eMMC to an RPi (while at the same time they have Compute Modules with eMMC already).

            All of this is just an illustration what happens when you consider every criticism being ‘trolling’. You start to live in an own small world that’s different from reality.

          2. While that’s true, not all eMMC boards have builtin soldered eMMC. For example, the Odroid eMMC connector easily becomes loose. It might even be worse than a tight SD card slot. Ideally you’d want to provide soldered eMMC and a SD card slot for those who want removable storage. That’s just impossible to provide on a $25 board.

          3. Ideally, people would try and educate themselves rather than posting nonsense. Alas.

      1. Criticizing the board doesn’t really improve the team spirit of the community. If you don’t want high power CPU, there’s RPi 1-3 for you or even the CM. Everyone can’t handle the hottest new gear.

        1. I thought ‘hottest new gear’ was generally a metaphor, not a literal property of the device?

        2. > Criticizing the board doesn’t really improve the team spirit of the community.

          What? We are talking about an RPi Trading product right? No community involvement whatsoever when designing the product. This is not Olimex or Pine64 where development happens in the open and community feedback results in quick hardware adoptions prior to product launch.

          > If you don’t want high power CPU

          Yes, this lame and false excuse can be read over at the RPi forum also all the time. But the RPi 4’s thermal problems are not related to the CPU cores at all. It’s quite the opposite and the die shrink to 28nm results in the CPU cores being a bit more powerful while not consuming that much energy than the A53 at 40nm before. It’s as easy as comparing idle and ‘full load’ consumption numbers of RPi 3B+ and 4.

          The heat is generated somewhere else: there’s a bunch of highspeed PHYs (PCIe attached USB), an internal GbE MAC, the new and more powerful 3D/GPU block and video engine and the little heat emitter next to the SoC: https://miro.medium.com/max/1400/1*KedwLPE9eXoeuwdciZpE0Q.png

          The PMIC seems to be responsible for a few °C as well. At least when I let my RPi 4 power something via the USB ports the SoC temperature is reported slightly higher than without.

    1. That’s because they only have a photo with Raspberry Pi 3 for now. But that’s compatible.

  2. The rpi foundation is just thinking about those poor children that don’t have heating at home.
    This is nothing to do with putting an unsuitable chip on a small board because the people that buy your boards aren’t kids messing around with i2c/spi widgets and gpio…

    1. “The rpi foundation is just thinking about those poor children that don’t have heating at home.”

      Poor children in the far North (Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Lapland, Siberia etc) or Far South (Tierra del Fuego) but obviously not those poor children in the tropics.

      History teaches us that if you cannot stand the heat from the raspberry pi, you must leave the kitchen immediately.

      Perhaps in closing one should mention the article by Camillo Addis,
      “Smart Air Conditioner with Raspberry Pi— An Adventure”
      which involves a Raspberry Pi, a temperature sensor, and an IR remote controlled air conditioning unit.

      1. Lucky, I’m not using USB3 peripherals. Mainly use these SBC for web server, or low-res (max FHD) kodi box. Have tried RPi 3B (under perform), XU4 (good, but has moving part, the fan), XU4Q (quite hot, ~60 celcius).

  3. The poster on YouTube of a RPI 4 in a fish tank full of mineral oil and a fan, is much cooler.

  4. The Raspberry Pi SBC’s are the undisputed industry standard in low cost SBCs. In fact they pretty much created this market segment and made it what it is today. The Raspberry Pi 4 maybe ‘too hot to handle’ figuratively, literally or even metaphysically. It doesn’t matter. It will sell like “hot cakes” for years to come. Two years from now the raspberry Pi 4 will still be selling millions while the RK3399 based SBCs will be relegated to the dustbin of SBC history. The S922 based SBCs will become less popular because in 6 months Amlogic will release the S932 and those that gravitate to AMLogic SOCs will obviously gravitate to it the newer one.

    Y’all are just jealous of the success of the Raspberry Pi 4 boards. Which is fine, go have fun with your amazing flawless Banana Pis and Nano Pis. While they are pretty decent they’ll never be able to match the combination of easy of use, accessibility, and performance that the Raspberry PI SBCs offer.

    Besides find me a Cortex A72 SOC/SBC that doesn’t need some sort of heat sink and / or fan to prevent throttling. I think all things considered the RPI 4 exhibits the best performance/least throttling when compared with other cortex A72 based SBCs without a heat sink.

    1. >Y’all are just jealous of the success of the Raspberry Pi 4 boards.

      Oh no I’m so sad one company I don’t own (outright, shares or otherwise) (might) be selling more stuff that some other company I don’t own. Oh noes. Whatever will I do… maybe I can just buy all sorts of different boards because I don’t have some weird quasi-religious boner for this brand or the other.

    2. @halherta

      I have zero BananPis and a single, freshly-ordered NaonPi M4*, which I acquired only after a thorough research of its thermal performance. I’m rather selective about my SBC as they get pushed to their thermal limits, and most devices out there just don’t make the cut. RPi stopped meeting my criteria back around r3. This is just the EE side, though, sw-wise RPi stopped meeting my criteria by the time raspbian had settled firmly in armv6 land, and Eben elaborated how they saw no point in moving forward. By that time it was clear the one advantage the Foundation had — raspbian, came at the cost of indefinite architectural stagnation. Been there, done that, don’t need to repeat historical mistakes.

      * You got me there. Anecdotally, I ordered mine as a reaction to the RPi4 debacle.

    3. > Y’all are just jealous of the success of the Raspberry Pi 4 boards.

      Really really fun. Just let us know, you’re still at school and while waiting for your parents to drive you home, you’re playing with your nice new present that they made to you after you had good scores ?

      Every single day tends to confirm even more that people are not selective to SBC, it’s RPi which is selective to its users. RPi fundation was probably created by aliens wanting to progressively pick the most naive and least relevant individuals to turn them into meat without affecting the rest of our species 🙂 Please do continue, you’re saving others from being eaten 🙂

      1. I’ve bought SBCs with all sorts of SOCs; allwinner’s, amlogic, Atmel, Rockchip, TI and many more. I’m experienced enough with Linux to compile a custom kernel on my own, generate a root filesystem and create a custom image from scratch if I want to. I’m currently playing with the MT7688 devices (Onion Omega 2+ and Linkit Smart MT7688) and openWrt as well as Raspberry Pis. So I’m no RPi foundation fanboy. Having said that my experience with SBCs in general has been this:

        – Setup the Raspberry Pi
        – Apply it to a particular use case
        – It works well but I find the performance to be underwhelming or the Rpi is missing feature X
        – Consider buying another SBC with another SOC (Say Allwinner, AMLogic, Rockchip e.t.c), that on paper should be faster or have this feature X.
        – Buy the board only to find it almost impossible to setup, or missing drivers, or it runs slower than RPi even though hardware spec is better.
        – I revert to using the RPi

        So after years to buying well over 50 SBCs from different manufacturers I learned a lesson: Stop wasting all of my money on different ARM based SBCs with sub-optimal software support and stick with the Raspberry Pi. They may not be the most performant or have all the best features e.t.c. but they’ll have the best software and support. Also with the plethora of tutorials (written and video) and books out there you really can’t go wrong.

        Now you can criticize me all you want and disagree with what I’m saying. You can claim that I’m a school boy who just wants to play minecraft or do a little python ( I may very well be that). But there’s a reason why many (admittedly not all, but many do this) SBC manufacturers use the ‘Pi’ postfix when naming their SBCs (e.g. NanoPi, BananaPi, RockPi) and many use the Raspberry Pi form factor. It’s because they want to capitalize on the name, popularity and fame of the Raspberry Pi. The very fact that they do this proves that at the end of the day, the Raspberry Pi is the most versatile SBC to have.

        Just saying

        1. Regarding software support, I’d say :
          – some vendors, like HardKernel do provide regular updates and care a lot about having a fairly complete support of their hardware ;
          – other vendors do indeed provide a kernel once and rely on a generic distro, so in practice you get a good software support for all userland and kernel depends on the vendor ;
          – a number of such boards are fully (and sometimes better) supported by alternate images like Armbian which also come with an up-to-date kernel

          Now regarding features and performance, well, given that these broadcom processors seems to have been designed for usage in other environments (video?) they tend not to care about power consumption and heat production, making the last few boards from this vendor practically unusable with the recommended power supplies and the default cooling. Also in the environments they were designed for, it’s obvious that crypto is not needed, resulting in it still missing after several generations, making these boards very slow at running some pretty valid use cases for such devices (NAS, VPN gateways, mining, …). Not to mention that the device still runs on outdated 32 bits mode.

          This article enlightened this fairly well: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/more-efficient-mining-raspberry-pi-julien-delorme/

          In short: the RPi 3B+ was 6 times faster than stock 32 bits once switched to 64-bit on this use case, and for the same price, a nanopi-fire3 is 3 times faster than the this (thus 18 times faster than the stock RPi-3B+). There comes a point where suitability of the device to certain tasks has to be seriously considered before blindly going to it thinking it will “surely be good enough”.
          I’m not saying this matches most people’s use case of course, but it’s among the use cases you find on the net despite being terribly inefficient. Such users don’t even seem to know they’re doing it wrong. Just like those using the 3B+ as a NAS when the USB3 and “gigabit” ethernet share the same USB hub resulting in even worse performance and reliability than if done on the first RPi…

          So yes they created a de-facto standard and a suffix by which “Pi” almost means “small form factor single board computer”. But they do know their community is made of lots of fanboys who easily replace more expensive salespeople and they have no incentive to address limitations and issues that only non-fanboys complain about. That’s up to their competitors to do that and to propose way better designs taking notes of their community’s advices.

        2. Your comment might make some sense if it wasn’t for the fact that I can go and pull torvalds/master and compile a kernel were everything (or very close) works for the beaglebones and for a lot of sunxi boards, slap debian armhf on top with debootstrap and have basically everything that the pi offers aside from maybe some hand holding with device tree overlays.

          We can see from the above links to the rpi forum that their community and support is superficial. If you talk about a very real issue you get accused of concern trolling and told to like it or lump it? I don’t know about you but I think I actually prefer buying boards from random Chinese companies and expecting zero support from the outset instead of being led down the garden path with all of the talk of the rpi’s great community only to find out that when there are very real problems they’ll act like assholes. Seriously, someone over at the foundation should really tell jamesh to shut up before he makes an even bigger fool out of himself.

          If you just want to write some python and play minecraft why even bother with SBCs? Any junk shop laptop that’s core 2 or better will run a modern linux distro with everything except maybe wifi working out of the box.

        3. Getting kicked off from a RPI forum is alarmingly easy.

          This whole thing is just a regular business for money; the education angle is their mainly to get tax exemption in the UK. Most sales are not at all to schools.

          This Pi 4 would have been great IF it would have run at ~ 45 C idle, but it doesn’t at all. The fact that they didn’t even consider a heatsink etc. from the get go show that they have lost the board design plot here.

  5. So I either cool the board or put hats on it but can’t do both. This won’t even fit in a Pi box. Worthless. Looks like putting a coo!ing tower on a house.

    1. > cable problems

      It’s not ‘cable problems’ but the missing 2nd CC resistor in the USB-C circuitry. Only a new board revision can fix this flaw.

      The ‘official position’ on this is scary as usual: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=243875&p=1487155#p1487426 (develop product, do very limited testing, launch the product, be surprised that it doesn’t work as expected, start to buy testing gear after product launch. Same sh*t show as with their crippled GbE implementation on the RPi 3B+ or the PoE HAT)

      1. I cannot see how they did any pre launch testing, people had these 6 months prior to launch, and no one highlight heat issues?

        1. Very likely they don’t care if testers are fanboys… You know, the type of people who reboot the crashed raspi every morning at the office just to pretend it works great even in a professional environment.

      2. I don’t see the problem. Just buy a power supply that works with the RPI4. Every SBC has its quirks. If I remember correctly the ODroid-C2 was running at a lower clock speed than advertised for months. All Winner SBCs with SATA connections were running slower than molasses until a very recent update to their drivers.

        Let’s not pretend that other SBC’s don’t have such problems. This is basically a nothing burger.

        1. The first (and last) nanopi that I purchased several years back had a WiFi chip that would fail intermittently. The fix was to desolder a 0402 resistor and solder another one in its place. That was when I decided to never buy a nanopi ever again. Never had such a problem with my RPIs.

        2. > Every SBC has its quirks

          This was precisely the point. You mentioned that in your experience RPi had none of the issues of other boards, some of us were saying that RPi has had a lot of problems as well, and recurring ones by the way (power supply, thermal management, memory performance), many of which could have been addressed by a more open design phase. The difference is that most other vendors are much more willing to listen to their customers’ suggestions to improve their designs, and some even adjust the designs after distributing a few beta batches to some testers. With RPi, everything is developed as secretly as if it was the next iphone and suddenly “tada, clap you hands, here’s the new model, it’s better, period”. For Odroid & Olimex boards, the specs are discussed on the forums. With NanoPi, you can simply have discussions by email. A number of these board makers also follow discussion rooms like this one to learn from their or other’s mistakes, and to consider good suggestions, such as placing the CPU at the bottom which has become the norm for some.

          Yes, there are some humble vendors willing to learn from other people.

          1. > For Odroid & Olimex boards, the specs are discussed on the forums

            When has this happened with ODROIDs (not talking about fixing stuff like C1 –> C1+)?

          2. I agree that It would be nice if the RPI foundation had a more open design phase, but to me it is not a deal breaker. And while the Raspberry Pi SBCs might have their quirks, they rarely exhibit serious hardware faults for false advertising about performance / speed. They almost always have an absolutely reliable and easy to use OS image available for download. It maybe non-optimal due to being 32-bits but it can do everything that I’d want with minimal to zero fuss. I’ve bought many SBCs in my time, the Raspberry PI offered the best user experience.

            I feel that most people in the comments section have little to no objectivity on this matter and are biased towards SBCs with AmLogic, AllWinner, Rockchip SOCs and against RPIs because they have a vested interest in promoting and getting the readers of this site to buy SBCs with SOCs from AmLogic, AllWinner, Rockchip instead of RPis.

          3. Huh, no. No particular interest in these vendors. I might even have been the first one to report the fake frequency on Amlogice S905. Just sticking to facts and specs for a given price. I’ve built build farms and network servers, and it just turns out that every single time no RPi could be used for the task and that some RPi fanboys asked in circles “but why the hell are you not using a raspi for this, it’s the best board for this task” (which was totally wrong). Right now my network stuff is made from Marvell chips since the other ones tend to suck on I/O, and the compute stuff (build farms) preferably on Rockchip as they pack a nice amount of performance in a small price and some vendors (FriendlyArm in this case, with the NanoPi NEO4 or M4) deal with thermal management in a very elegant and efficient way. I might try Amlogic again with S905X3 since an A53 at 2 GHz could be quite good for a build farm (especially when price and cooling matter, since memory performance impacts the time more than raw IPC). And I more or less gave up on AllWinner, probably more due to the generally poor quality of everything around boards involving these cheap chips, though it could still make sense for entry level stuff.

            And despite all this I still bought an RPi4 to test it because I do think that with 4xA72 and real Gbps there are options to get something out of it, though as usual it will come with significant difficulties. It’s just that it’s low in my todo list and I haven’t booted it yet.

          4. If you even mention one of the other SBCs on the PRi forum you get derailed fast to “off topic” by some bullies and next fully blocked to comment.
            I came there to see about our school computer lab set up but was not allowed to compare or contrast hard/software. I found out that their education forum was an after though that barely gets traction, because they focus on sales to adult enthusiasts and businesses that build on top of their board.
            I discovered where this “Foundation” ( UK Registered Charity 1129409) has its vested interests: $$$$$$$$.

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