Rock Pi4 Homeserver cooling requirements

Hi! I’m about to buy a Rock Pi 4 A 4GB and I’d like to know if I will need some kind of heatsink and what heatsink would likely be required for my setup.
The RPi will boot from a MicroSD Card and have two SSDs connected using USB.
It will have a low work load usually as it will be primarily used for hosting my Nextcloud instance (Apache2, PostgreSQL) and an IMAP server to serve my locally stored mails to a few clients.

I wonder if no heatsink, a small passive heatsink that just covers the CPU is sufficient or if I need the official heatsink or a fan.
Any experiences here you could share?

Best,
Segfault

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Hi @segfault_ii,

There is a tradeoff involved. A small heatsink is easy to install, flexible to use and cheap. But it (may) require a fan to be effective. From personal experience, high temperatures b/w 70-85 C are reached without fan.

The big heatsink has much better heat dissipation and does not require a fan. But it is trickier to install correctly and requires some consideration while using. Check some threads here for more info if you decide to go for it.

For small heatsink + fan combo can opt for a quiet 5V fan, possibly with PWM. Or you can make your own PWM controls if you know electronics.

Check this video for various cooling methods and temperatures attained:

A heatsink is not strictly required, but recommended. Without one you will not get the performance advertised. Nowhere near, actually. Also the CPU throttling has to be configured correctly such that the CPU does not overheat and self-destructs (you should check that in any case).

Here someone measured the performance without a heatsink:
https://forum.armbian.com/topic/8719-rock-pi-4/page/2/

A small heatsink is ok, if you don’t mind the fan. In light load you could even switch off the fan an turn it on only when required. If you want a silent system you can use the big heatsink from Radxa.

I use the big heatsink (because I want it quiet) without fan and I was not able to get the temperature above 45°C.

However, chip temperatures of 70-85°C are not “high”. Rockchip recommends a junction temperature of less than 125°C (Yes, you can boil water with it and it will be very happy.) and a max ambiant operating temperature of 80°C.

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