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I have a Pi 3 B+ that I am using as a portable media server, and it can get quite warm. I need a case for it, and I have been looking at a few, however very few of them have any sort of ventilation. Does this matter? Do you actually need holes in a case to keep the Pi cool?

P.S. One of the ones I have been looking at is this one: ModMyPi Modular RPi 2/3 Case (Blue).

  • The 3B+ has an identical form factor to the previous "plus" models (B+, 2B, 3B -- and note there is no "non B" version of the 2 or 3, i.e., any case suitable for a B+, a Pi 2[anything] and a Pi 3[anything] are fine for a 3B+). So if you have been limiting your search terms that way, don't. – goldilocks Aug 11 '18 at 20:42
  • @goldilocks I have seen a lot of threads online about people needing to cut away at the plastic or part of the Pi because all of them are slightly different and some cases don't fit exactly. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 11 '18 at 20:46
  • Could be. It's hard to understand, though, what such a case was made for. It either fits a B+/2/3, an original model A or B, or a Zero model, or else it fits none of the above. Those cases are all different enough that "cutting away a bit" isn't likely to make them work -- although it might; I accidentally bought a case intended for a model A and had to cut the top out to make it fit a B. My own fault, lesson: Pay close attention to the product page. If you are worried that a case labelled for the 2/3B(+) isn't going to fit, you are either going to have to gamble, or not buy a case. – goldilocks Aug 11 '18 at 20:52
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Ventilation is a good idea if you notice the core temperature getting much above 60-65 °C.

vcgencmd measure_temp

...Will tell you this. Note that throttling will kick in if you get close to the recommended maximum; I think it starts upwards of 80 °C, the maximum being 85. You want to prevent that from happening.

most of the cases I am finding don't have any ventilation at all

On casual inspection that might include the official case, although there are bits you can remove to change that.

However, keep in mind you don't need perforations everywhere. Air is not going to be whistling through. Many cases include slots for the camera and/or CSI display in the top, not to mention the GPIO cutout -- anything which includes the latter should certainly be enough.

Any case which includes a heat sink should by implication also be ventilated enough, and a heat sink is probably worthwhile for a 3B+.

As mentioned in comments, any case suitable for a B+, 2(B -- there's no "2A" or "3A"), or 3(B(+)) should be fine. This currently means almost all of them, except those for Zeros. You might want to look and make sure some unscrupulous party is not trying to dump unsold cases for prior models. The footprint is pretty different, so this is not hard (clue: the old models have separate analog audio and video jacks on the same side as the GPIOs).

A key thing with ventilation is probably apertures in the bottom, underneath the board, through which cool air can enter. Many or most cases at least have mounting holes in the bottom. If there aren't any, drilling a couple of holes is easy and won't affect the appearance or functionality of the case.

So, search your preferred online retailer for "raspberry pi case" -- don't include qualifiers such as "3B+" or "ventilated", because not all search software is created equal.

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I would lean toward providing some ventilation in a case for the RPi 3B+, especially if it will be used as a media server. Heat will not only reduce the life of electronic components such as your CPU/GPU, it may also affect the life and reliability of your SD card. There are a variety of opinions on this question, but I figure it this way: ventilation is cheap insurance.

  • What case would you recommend, because I haven't really be able to find any that have ventilation? I have been looking mainly at the site I linked. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 11 '18 at 19:55
  • While I won't stop Seamus from adding whatever he likes, I will point out that shopping recommendations are explicitly off-topic. If you want to know if and why ventilation might be beneficial, fine, but "Please give me a link to a case I can buy is" is no good; this is an invitation to two misconceptions that are detrimental to the site: 1) We provide free online advertising. 2) Why use a search engine when you can ask someone else to do it for you. – goldilocks Aug 11 '18 at 20:37
  • @goldilocks Asking for a recommendation is not the main question I am asking, so this thread isn't off topic. I fail to see how it is free advertising, and I can't use a search engine as most of the cases I am finding don't have any ventilation at all and I don't know which ones are good. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 11 '18 at 20:45
  • Your question is fine, I was just pointing out there is a thin line so I did not have to be mean in the future ;) Some details about the "thin line" are in the off-topic link above. – goldilocks Aug 11 '18 at 21:03
  • @goldilocks Fair enough, sorry, I didn't mean to seem like I was completely disagreeing with you, I just need to find a case and there aren't really any other decent raspberry pi forums other than this one. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 11 '18 at 21:13
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A very nice case/PSU/heatsinks/fan available from amazon.com.

Also available in the UK from Amazon.

  • I don't think it's available in the UK sadly. I will have a look and see if I can find a similar one. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 12 '18 at 14:25
  • @EthanGascoigne: Yes, it is available in UK – Seamus Aug 13 '18 at 14:17
  • I like some aspects of this case, but: a) it's quite pricey, b) too bad they didn't include a camera mount like the one @Ethan found – Seamus Aug 13 '18 at 14:20
  • @Seamus Thanks, I will have a look at that one if the other one isn't very good. I the one I linked to keep me going for now, I will see how it goes, I will probably end up buying one like the one you linked. – Ethan Gascoigne Aug 13 '18 at 14:24
  • This case looks like a reasonable choice, but don't hold out much hope for enough ventilation to make a difference. It ticks 2 out of 3 of my boxes: 1. is cheap (yes), 2. camera mount provisions (yes), 3. ventilation(not so much). Oh, and BTW, the link we're referring to was your link in your comment to @goldilocks' answer :) – Seamus Aug 13 '18 at 14:32

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