The Raspberry Pi 4 is arguably the most powerful iteration of the popular single-board computer or SBC. The Raspberry Pi Foundation definitely turned it up to 11 with the memory options, ports, and processor, making the tiny computer a more viable desktop alternative. Unlike more established desktops, however, the RPi 4 might have some problem keeping its cool under prolonged heavy loads. For that purpose, the RPi Foundation has, at long last, launched an official fan that easily integrates into the official case for the Raspberry Pi 4.
One might consider this product launch a few years too late now that there are a handful of companies big and small offering tiny fans and heatsinks. Having an official fan, however, has one marketing benefit for the Foundation. They can sell kits and bundles with an official RPi 4 case and buyers won’t have to worry about having to look for a compatible fan to use.
The RPi 4 probably needs a fan more than its predecessors, especially because of what people are using it for. Although the SBC was made with heat dissipation in mind, that is usually for the common case of running tasks in brief spurts on a naked board. Once you throw it inside a case and use it for more complex processes, however, you’ll definitely want some active cooling to keep the CPU from throttling.
The advantage of this official RPi 4 Case Fan can only be appreciated if you’re using an official case already. It simply clips beneath the cover of the case so you won’t have to mod the enclosure just to fit it. Like all other RPi fans, however, you are basically saying goodbye to some of those GPIO pins. Then again, you can’t easily access those pins inside the case anyway.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Case Fan goes for a measly $5, bringing the total combination to $10 if you don’t have the official case yet. More than just finally providing a long-overdue accessory, this case fan, along with the odd but impressive Raspberry Pi 400 computer-in-a-keyboard, shows how the foundation is embracing the image of the RPi 4 as a makeshift desktop computer for really serious work.