Case ReviewsFLIRC

FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 Case

The FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 case looks nearly identical to all the previous versions for earlier Raspberry Pis, with visual changes limited to the position of the ethernet port, and support for the new power button introduced on the Raspberry Pi 5.

Design

The first FLIRC product was a USB receiver designed to provide IR remote control for media player PCs, the design aesthetic of the FLIRC Gen 2 USB IR receiver and the Pi cases are the same.

The FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 case has a very clean and simple appearance with soft black plastic covers top and bottom, and a body made from a semi-matt finished aluminium between.

The micro SD Card is accessible when assembled, and next to the SD card is a power button and light pipe to allow the status LED to be seen clearly. It feels well made and there aren’t any sharp edges to be found.

FLIRC USB Gen2 IR receiver

Cooling

The aluminium case passively cools the Raspberry Pi 5 within, with a heat spreader reaching down from the top of the case to interface with the SoC. The black plastic base lacks any ventilation holes, though there is a slot opening on the side of the GPIO header and a small gap between the base and the aluminium walls that will allow for some minimal airflow. This case is not compatible with any additional active cooling.

Peripheral Accessibility

This case isn’t designed for those who want to utilise the array of peripherals that can be connected to the Raspberry Pi 5. With only limited access to the GPIO pins available. All but the smallest HATs won’t be compatible either, as the heat spreader would likely get in the way.

40pin GPIO4pin POEFanCam/Disp 0Cam/Disp 1UARTRTCPCIe
✔️1

1 A slot in the base of the case allows for wires or a ribbon cable to be used with the 40 Pin GPIO header. This would require disassembly to reach.

Thermal Testing

Testing is performed using my fork of stressberry to run all core stress tests and plot the graphs. The Pi is configured with:

  • OS: Raspberry Pi OS (64-bit) release 2023-12-05 with Desktop. All updates applied as of 21 Dec 2023
  • Kernel: Linux rpi5 6.1.0-rpi7-rpi-2712 #1 SMP PREEMPT Debian 1:6.1.63-1+rpt1 (2023-11-24) aarch64 GNU/Linux
  • Bootloader: Wed 6 Dec 18:29:25 UTC 2023 (1701887365)
  • OS configuration:
    • WiFi Enabled
    • SSH Enabled
    • System is configured to boot to the console
    • Samba, Stress, Stressberry
    • Python: 3.11.2
  • Stressberry test configuration:
    • Wait for the temperature to reach a steady state, measured through no changes of SoC temperature for 1 minute.
    • 5 minutes idle at the start and end of the test.
    • Stress on all 4 cores concurrently for 30 minutes

Results

Testing was performed in various configurations, including a bare Raspberry Pi 5 sitting on my desk (legend: RPI5).

The additional thermal mass of the FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 case helps reduce the rate at which the temperature of the SoC rises, helping to avoid thermal throttling at the start of the test. However, the Argon NEO 5 case (with the fan disconnected) achieves slightly lower idle temperatures and throttles later in the test. This is likely down to the increased thermal mass of the NEO 5 case, as the FLIRC aluminium part weighs 65g, whereas the NEO 5 metal part weighs 110g (and 100g with the fan removed).

In addition, the black plastic top cover of the FLIRC case insulates the top surface from natural air currents. Removing the top cover lowers idle temperatures slightly and improves the time before thermal throttling occurs in the test.

Conclusion

The FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 case isn’t suited to those who want to use the expansion capabilities of the Raspberry Pi 5. However, as a simple and elegant case which might be on display next to a TV/HiFi, it would fit in more discretely than some brightly coloured cases. The passive cooling works well, though can be overwhelmed by the sustained loads of the stress test. The Argon NEO 5 offers more flexibility in terms of peripheral support and with the fan connected can completely avoid thermal throttling concerns. The FLIRC Raspberry Pi 5 case is currently priced at £14, compared to £18 for the Argon Neo 5, so there is a small price premium for the NEO 5.

Product Links

Amazon links are affiliate links which help support the site, where possible I’ve used links which should take you to the product in the Amazon store in your region. Links to other suppliers are included for your convenience.

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