I have always used the stick-on type of heat sinks that are commonly available for Rpi3. But from my electronics background I would use thermal paste and a very tight physical connection. So my question is in the title: How much difference do the stick-on heat sinks make?

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    Those heat sinks use thermal tape, so they are not 100% decorative. The only way to definitively test this would be before and after, since even two functionally identical units may have measurably different characteristics in this sense. I've never bothered with them on the Pi, but from using them on a similar sized MCU with overheating problems I'd say they make a minimal amount of difference on their own but coupled with a ventilated enclosure and a fast fan, the difference was very significant. Unless you are heavily overclocking, though, that's just a much noisier Pi.
    – goldilocks
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:15
  • Thank you for the quick response. I use them because I had them. Glad to know it is thermal tape. That tape certainly sticks them on tightly.
    – SDsolar
    Sep 16, 2016 at 19:38
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    I also wonder whether the orientation of the heat sink ribs relative to the enclosure ventilation holes makes any difference? Even more so when the Raspberry Pi is mounted sidewards? Oct 21, 2016 at 22:34
  • I just received the new enclosure with the fan. The noise won't bother me. Thank you for the suggestion, @goldilocks
    – SDsolar
    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:13
  • Interestingly, my Rpi3 tells me it cannot be overclocked.
    – SDsolar
    Oct 29, 2016 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


There is a bit of difference between copper and the more usual aluminium but...


  • The general ability of medium quality aluminium to conduct heat - 205-210 W(m K)
  • The thermal tape used is at least as conductive as, or close to, the ali' heatsink
  • The surface area of the (larger) heat sink ~2cmsq

it should be able to offset around 2-3deg. Not a lot but it's better than nothing.

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