Compatibility With Raspberry Pi Cases?

I’m looking to make a mini media/game streaming box and I’d like it to fit in the official Raspberry Pi 3 case. I’ve been trying to decide between using the Asus Tinker Board and the Rock Pi 4. I was wondering how well the Rock Pi 4 will fit in current Raspberry Pi 3 cases? I have two concerns with using the case though. The Rock Pi 4 has a USB-C connector while the Raspberry Pi 3 case is meant for a microUSB connector. Would a USB-C connector fit in a micro USB slot in the case? And also, I noticed the SoC is underneath the board meaning any kind of heatsink most likely won’t be able to be used. So in that case, if I have to do that, would it be alright if I used the Rock Pi 4 without a heatsink? What kind of throttling should I expect as in how bad of a performance hit would I be looking at?

EDIT: Also just noticed the Rock Pi 4 has a PCIe connector on the bottom. I’m not sure how much extra space there is at the bottom of the RPi case, doesn’t look like much so I’m not sure if the Rock Pi 4 would be able to fit in that either.

You can’t use the RPi case with the RockPi4.
The RockPi needs cooling to be useable. When closed in a case there is no way of getting the heat out.

I’d advice to just buy the RockPi4 with the big heatsink and make a case for it that fits on top. The Tinker Board isn’t a good buy. It costs way too much for what it is, and the software is buggy as hell.
The RockPi4 is one of, if not the best in software support. It is very fast and has amazing I/O. It’s 64-bit vs 32-bit of the Tinker Board. It has NVMe and USB3.

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What would happen if I did try to use it without a heatsink though? I read some other posts on this forum and some people seem to believe it’ll run ok without a heatsink but that it’ll just throttle performance to some extent.

I would love to get the Rock Pi 4 but I have to use the pre-existing Raspberry Pi 3 case I have because it’s a special custom case that I had made for the project I’m working on and therefore I need a board that can fit inside.

That depends on what task you are using it for. And if the heat can dissipate in some way.
A CPU demanding task will throttle it a lot even when the CPU is free. But when it would be closed in a plastic case it would throttle so much that it becomes unusable.
Certainly for gaming this would impact performance a lot.
It might fit. Other than the CPU all other components are in the same place as the RPi3B.
But when heat can’t escape you might even destroy the board.

Use a raspberry pi 3b/3b+ in a RPi3B case. Even the RPi4 doesn’t fit it.

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I’m mainly using it for media/game streaming through Android apps like GeForce Now or Xbox Game Streaming. Perhaps a little bit of Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube as well. I don’t plan on running any games natively on it, just strictly streaming.

Unfortunately the RPi 3B+ isn’t powerful enough to handle any of those apps though that’s probably moreso because Android isn’t officially supported and there’s no support for GPU hardware decoding. Do you think the Rock Pi 4 will run ok for that use case? Or perhaps the Tinker Board with Android might be stable enough for that use case as well?

You will need heatsink. Android heat up this board ALOT. And before you buy this board, check how does Netflix perform with rk3399 chips, so you will not become unsatisfied with board

I may just have to take a risk then and run it without the heatsink. There’s not much info out there about how well streaming apps will run on it nor what the performance will be like. My only alternative would be another board with the CPU on top but that just leaves the Asus Tinker Board or the ODROID C2 then as the only other options at this point. I just hope there’s enough space at the bottom of the case to fit the PCIe slot on the Rock Pi 4 as well.

I would also like to see an inexpensive small rockpi4 case. Like those raspberry pi cases, but of course for use together with the rockpi4 heatsink. The cases availabel are all a lot bigger it seems.

No worries right now for my first rockpi4 because those would live inside larger cases, but when i wanted to replace raspis working as TV STBs, simply attached to the back of a TV set with velcro take, thats when i need a case to affix the rockpi4 to and which i can velcro to the tv.

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To be completely fair - you don’t need case, since heatdink covers everything, and in extra case - you can use raspberry case, just cutout bottom side

The typical RPI cases have a bottom part that covers at least 50% of the sides. In case of the rockpi one would need a top part that covers more than 100% of the sides. And that would have spacers through which one could put long enough screws to get through the rockpi into the heatsink.

Wish i had learned to do 3D designs for 3D printer … oh well, one of these days i’ll get into it, when the pain is big enough ;-))