There are already many different housings from various providers for the single-board computer Raspberry Pi 4. Since these mostly rely on plastic or aluminum, the company Desalvo Systems causes a sensation with a full copper housing. But this has its price.
Desalvo is asking for an impressive 250 US dollars for the copper version of its Maker Block Case for the Raspberry Pi 4. The same aluminum version costs just a fifth of that at $ 50. For comparison: The Raspberry Pi 4 itself costs only around 37 euros (2 GB RAM) to 75 euros (8 GB RAM).
Copper makes for proud weight
It is well known that copper has better thermal conductivity than aluminum, but it is more expensive and also weighs significantly more. Therefore, the copper case weighs an impressive 785 grams, with the Raspberry Pi 4 installed it is 830 grams. The aluminum version is much lighter at 250 grams (without Pi) and 295 grams (with Pi).
Temperatures better than with aluminum
Regardless of the material, the manufacturer speaks of a high passive cooling performance, which is sufficient even with overclocking. The provider presents its own test reports, according to which a Raspberry Pi 4 (model B) overclocked to 2.1 GHz was barely warmer than 50 ° C after 30 minutes in the Stressberry benchmark. In the same process, the aluminum version got a little warmer but stayed below 60 ° C. Accordingly, the aluminum version is always sufficient for cooling, the copper version is more likely to be viewed as an expensive prestige object. This project page provides clues as to how other housings with or without a fan cool the Raspberry Pi.
Holes like Swiss cheese
Both versions of the Maker Block Case measure 100 mm in length, 75 mm in width and 30 mm in height. If the small feet are mounted, the height increases to 33 mm. Characteristic of the series are the numerous drill holes in the housing, which on the one hand offer many options for assembly in handicraft projects and also provide air supply.
Copper needs to be polished
In addition to the high price and weight, the copper housing has another disadvantage: The manufacturer expressly points out that it can tarnish over time, as it is “99.9%” pure and uncoated copper (quality C110). Even when new, there could be cloudy areas, this is the property of pure copper. Such flaws can be quickly remedied with a copper or brass cleaner.