I've been doing some research with the new RPi 3B+, but have been struggling to find much information about effective cooling for overclocking. I have seen some solutions such as

  • Heatsinks (small ones that come with CanaKits or larger custom ones)

  • Active fans

  • Cooling cases

  • Thermal paste

However, what I can't find is much testing showing what combinations of cooling are the most effective. Has anyone tested this?

  • What have you found so far? Have you seen this thread: raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/22928/… Apr 4, 2018 at 15:13
  • 1
    mineral oil hackaday.com/2017/05/15/… or liquid nitrogen geek.com/chips/…
    – Fabian
    Apr 4, 2018 at 20:45
  • 1
    'thermal paste' is not really its own thing, it is used in conjunction with heat-sinks. And the term 'most effective' is very broad and you wont get a true answer. it depends on many factors from ambient temp to what you are actually running on the pi (over clocked at idle isnt going to produce a lot of heat) So the real answer is to use the needed amount of cooling for your situation. This can be be anything from a simple fan to liquid cooling. Liquid cooling may be "more efficient" but is it needed.
    – Chad G
    Apr 4, 2018 at 21:59
  • 3
    I'm pretty sure you can't beat liquid nitrogen when it comes to cooling electronics. Whether you need it on the RPi is another question. Apr 5, 2018 at 9:31
  • 1
    Dmitry's response is a good indication that perhaps you should define "effective?"
    – OyaMist
    Jun 7, 2018 at 16:47

4 Answers 4


Airflow is more important than a heatsink; which is to say that no heatsink will be effective without some airflow - or some way to conduct heat away from the CPU. Also, for whatever airflow you have, the cooling effect can be improved with a better/bigger heatsink. The heatsink draws the heat out, but it takes some airflow to dispose of that heat!

When I researched and considered solutions a few weeks ago, I decided to go with a small aluminum "stick-on" heat sink, and more importantly: removed the cover from my case. Q: Why?

There are some who say no heatsink is necessary, but I find this "luddite logic" faulty. If I wanted a Pi that ran at lower clock speeds/had lesser performance, then I would have stuck with my older unit! OTOH, if you're OK with "throttling", then you can ignore all of this heatsink business. But if you're overclocking, then clearly you're not interested in a "throttled" Pi 3B+.


If your doing serious overclocking you want water cooling or a peltier block. The latter is electrically cooled. Here is wiki on thermal electric https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_effect

  • Water cooling is way better than heat syncs. From what I understand peltier is better still
    – user52264
    Jun 7, 2018 at 20:53

I have a Raspberry Pi 3 B, but I had a problem: the RPi was very slow. I searched lots of tutorials and I discovered that the RPi's processor should be cooled.

I tested some combinations and the best was:

-Heatsinks (3)

-Thermal paste (Put between the zone what you want to refrigerate and the heatsink(s) )

-A fan mounted above the heatsink(s)


The Pi 3 B+ comes with a heatsink already. I am sure you can stick an aftermarket heatsink to this to (possibly) improve the heat dissipation.

Here's a fairly good break down of what you can achieve over the stock heatsink: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxBaEiQHzLU

  • 1
    Does this answer which cooling is most effective? The author of the question seems to be aware of heatsinks, but is wondering which method is most effective at cooling a Pi with a view to overclocking.
    – Aurora0001
    Apr 4, 2018 at 17:39
  • 2
    Mine (RPi 3B+) did not come with a heatsink.
    – Seamus
    May 13, 2018 at 2:22
  • You obviously bought a kit with a Heatsink, not direct from manufacturer.
    – Stese
    Dec 12, 2018 at 12:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.