Things to consider when selecting a case for the Raspberry Pi 3

There are many cases available on the internet and we want to highly the ups and downs of different types of cases.

General Tips

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ will use between 5W and 10W at full load. Case with fan is highly recommended if you are using it for anything other than the lightest scenarios. It only takes approximately 3 seconds of full load for the CPU to start thermal throttling if you do not use a fan.
  • Always remove MicroSD card before installing and removing Raspberry Pi boards from cases. If you don't, you will most likely damage the card slot or the MicroSD card. If you damage the MicroSD card, it will short circuit internally, get really hot, and possibly damage the board and pose a fire hazard.

Stacked Acrylic Case

  • Configurable, different colors and patterns by using different color acylic for the layers
  • Easy to mod, add fans and holes by cutting or drilling the acrylic layers
  • Good cooling, easy to cut a hole and add a fan if one doesn't exist, Pi's need this
  • Fragile, acrylic layers are guaranteed to break on any impact
  • Non-flush cutouts, precise cutouts for side connectors is not possible with stacked layers so easy for dust and small objects to get inside the case
  • No protection, because acrylic cracks easily, the stress of impact is transferred directly to the board

Stamped/CNC Aluminum Case

  • Great protection, aluminum cases can handle a beating
  • Aesthetic, whether bare metal or anodized, aluminum metal look is great especially with color finish
  • High temperature resistance: aluminum has a higher melting point before deformation
  • Disrupts wireless, full and partial aluminum cases acts like Faraday's cages and will block a significant portion of RF signals in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi and Bluetooth, unless you are planning to use ethernet, aluminum cases are not recommended since it hinders significant board functionality
  • Potential short circuit, aluminum is a conductive material and improper installation or damage to the case can result in short-circuit and fire risk that will damage the board and accessories

ABS Case

  • Cheap, ABS cases are the most cost effective cases in terms of material
  • Variety, they come in all shapes, colors, and sizes with different features
  • Durable, you can drop them and they will absorb most of the impact while protecting your board
  • No generic problem, design is important

Polycarbonate Case

  • Basically an ABS case but better but less chemical resistance than ABS
  • More durable: polycarbonate is among the strongest plastics and provides among the best protection
  • No generic problem, design is important
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