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Active vs Passive Cooling



  • Hey guys!

    I plan on overclocking my RPI 2 for emulationstation to get a little more stability.

    My RPI 2 is inside a custom bar-top arcade cabinet and the environment is warm inside from the LED monitor and power blocks plugged in the power-strip inside the cabinet. It will also run all day.

    Current temperature without overclocking: 55.5c

    • Closed environment (ventilation holes in the back of the cabinet)
    • Pi is uncovered with heatsink on the main chip
    • Running Lr-Mame2003 (and additional emulators)
    • Shaders and overlays
    • After running for 30 min

    I am trying to decide between a Flirc case (passive cooling) or a JBtek Clear Case with fan (active cooling) when running hotter with overclocking settings.

    What do you guys think is necessary and worth getting?

    My concerns:
    JBtek has a loud little fan. Fan is a moving part and could risk breaking or stop working. Have to buy a new fan.
    Flirc is a closed heatsink case and may not do well in a warm environment


  • administrators

    the RPI2 would probably be fine without a fan or heatsink case. I have a rpi2 in a plastic case with no heatsinks and it is overclocked and runs fine.

    the flirc case works quite well - i use this with a RPI3 which run hotter than the rpi2.


  • Global Moderator

    overclocking does not help stability. the opposite, in fact! what specifically do you want to achieve with an overclock

    as long as the temperature doesn't get above 80, there's no need to expand your cooling, but most arcade cabinets will normally have one 'case fan' type thing to circulate air in the interior. there's not much point getting a fancy case/fan on your pi, if it's just sat in a hot box. that's like opening your fridge to cool your house :)



  • @dankcushions

    I was hoping that overclocking would fix any subtle lag issues. This has mostly been noticeable in games that require accuracy.

    Examples:

    • Galaga on Lr-Mame2003 without shaders and overlays plays super smooth. If I turn on the overlay and shaders (CRT effect) there is a subtle lag.
    • Metal Slug 1 on Lr-Mame2003 when two people are playing and there are a bunch of sprites are on the screen there is noticeable lag.
    • Mega Man Zero games on GBA have a lag too and those games need accurate response times to play.

    Would overclocking help with issues like this at all?

    I am only considering a cooling solution because the inside of the cabinet gets pretty warm and may contribute to the pi overheating if I overclock. If I do not overclock the Pi I have no concern for the heat.


  • Global Moderator

    @BrockBoyts said in Active vs Passive Cooling:

    @dankcushions

    I was hoping that overclocking would fix any subtle lag issues. This has mostly been noticeable in games that require accuracy.

    well, overclocking can potentially improve framerates on CPU-bound games, but 'lag' can mean many things. if you mean input lag, well that can potentially just be a problem with the emulator or emulated hardware, or your controller, or your tv, etc. overclocking won't help here.

    Examples:

    • Galaga on Lr-Mame2003 without shaders and overlays plays super smooth. If I turn on the overlay and shaders (CRT effect) there is a subtle lag.

    this sounds like GPU being your bottleneck, or possibly RAM being the bottleneck. you'd need to experiment with overclocking both to resolve this (or perhaps use lr-fba-next and see if that does better with this game)

    • Metal Slug 1 on Lr-Mame2003 when two people are playing and there are a bunch of sprites are on the screen there is noticeable lag.

    this is probably just what the original hardware would do. there are other solutions - see https://retropie.org.uk/forum/topic/2305/metal-slug-slowdowns-rpi3

    • Mega Man Zero games on GBA have a lag too and those games need accurate response times to play.

    no experience with this.

    I am only considering a cooling solution because the inside of the cabinet gets pretty warm and may contribute to the pi overheating if I overclock. If I do not overclock the Pi I have no concern for the heat.

    the pi is pretty good at protecting itself from heat and will let you know when it's temperature throttling via on-screen symbols. IMO if you still want to overclock, just do it and then work out if cooling is required from how it reacts.



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