While 3D printing blasted open the doors for creatives to bring their designs to life, the Raspberry Pi can be credited for empowering not just makers and modders but also a younger generation of budding engineers and scientists by giving them access to a cheap, small yet powerful computer. The single-board computer or SBC has become the basis for many electronics projects and DIY solutions, ranging from smart home security systems to out-of-this-world “cyberdeck” computers. The Raspberry Pi 5, the latest and so far most powerful model available, does have certain performance limits, but you can overclock its processor to really squeeze out all that you can, at the expense of overheating the board, of course. The tiny computer will then need some cooling system, but this particular kit tries to take lessons learned from desktop PCs and apply them in an effective but honestly comical manner.
Water cooling is a well-known solution used in desktop computers to prevent the system from overheating while keeping the processor operating at maximum efficiency. Of course, water doesn’t actually touch the sensitive electronics but draws heat away instead. Cool water travels toward the hotter areas while the heated water travels away from the hot spots and gets cooled by something like a fan. Given the space required to safely and effectively implement it, it’s no surprise that this system is usually only found on large desktop towers.
Compared to those gargantuan computers, the Raspberry Pi only has a fraction of the power but it can still be pushed to the limit by overclocking its CPU. The most common solutions in the market are small heat sinks and tiny fans that provide passive and active cooling, respectively, but some might feel that those just aren’t enough. For really power-hungry setups, this water cooling kit made especially for the Raspberry Pi 5 will probably suffice, if not actually excessive.
The Water Cooling Kit is easily more than five times the size of the small board computer, composed of a water tank and a large fan that cools down the hot water. This contraption is connected to a Raspberry Pi via two silicone hoses, one for hot water and another for cool water, with a radiator sitting on top of the Raspberry Pi’s processor. This kit supposedly halves the temperature of an overclocked Raspberry Pi 5 down to a toasty 37C, depending on the load.
But, yes, you will have to sacrifice a lot to have such a water-cooled Raspberry Pi, starting with the $120 price tag. While the kit can work with multiple Raspberry Pi boards to maximize the cooling efficiency, you’ll have to buy the extra hoses and radiators to make that work. You also definitely lose the Raspberry Pi’s biggest benefit, its small form factor that allows it to be used in almost any project imaginable. Then again, some of those projects do require pushing the small computer to its limit, at which point you might need something over-the-top like this.