I want to use a RPi Zero W to drive a display. This will be putting the CPU on-load pretty much 24/7.

Can it handle having load near-continuously? I do have a small metal heat sink on the CPU.

I recall reading that if a Pi approaches critical temperature, it will automatically slow the CPU to accommodate. Is this true?

  • Why not test it and see?
    – CoderMike
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 16:12
  • To avoid damaging a Pi if this ground has already been plowed.
    – Tim Morris
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 16:17
  • You are asking us to guess as you have provided no information to judge by.
    – joan
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 20:36
  • yes it will throttle CPU usage if the temp is over the threshold. Ambient temperature/airflow is going to be the limiting factor on if you need to provide active cooling or not.
    – Chad G
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 23:52
  • In an open space, the Zero will not overheat. A small 10x10mm heatsink and a few holes on either side of an enclosure will also result in never reaching 80C.
    – user2497
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


Yes the pi will indeed slow down and can possibly even shut off when the cpu overheats. Because of this in built thermal throttling functionality you should not be able to damage a pi by running it continuously.

On a side note you do realize that the pi draws a similar amount of power as a cellphone and has a cpu designed by the same company that makes cellphone cpus, and not many phones have heat sinks, let alone ones that are as large as the one you are using. It has been a long time since I have seen a phone user not run their phone 24/7/365.

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