The Raspberry Pi 3's Quad-Core CPU Can Hit 100C Under Load

Each major version of the Raspberry Pi has managed to double the core count, with the Pi 3 sporting the quad-core BCM2837. More transistors, more speed and unsurprisingly, more heat. In fact, according to online reports, the chip in the latest Pi can hit 100°C when maxed out. But is that workload realistic?

Over on Reddit, user "ghalfacree" took the above thermal shot of the Raspberry Pi 3 with its CPU running at 100 per cent. He goes on to suggest that all Pi 3 owners should invest in a heatsink, to make sure the blighter doesn't melt.

The above setup -- in addition to being adorable -- reportedly dropped temperatures by almost 40 per cent.

ZDNet's Nick Heath decided to hit up Pi co-creator Eben Upton about the discovery, with Upton of the opinion that this sort of usage is on the extreme end of extreme. Would the average Pi 3 user hit these temps?

"In everyday use I would say 'never'," [Upton] said.

Further on in the article Upton does concede that the ever-improving hardware of the Pi means the company would have to consider thermals more seriously going forward:

"It's the difference between Raspberry Pi 1, with a relatively small amount of processing power, and Raspberry Pi 3 with 10x that amount of processing power. As we get towards laptop levels of performance we have to apply the same sort of techniques you apply for managing the thermals [in a laptop]."

So, the final verdict? Don't benchmark the soul out of your Pi 3 and you should be alright.

[Reddit, via ZDNet]

Top image: By Gareth Halfacree, licensed under Creative Commons.



    On Make these claims have been disputed. Some Pi 3's under the exact same benchmark only go up to 60 degrees, others top out at 80. So while it can happen it seems to be very unlikely. Besides, if the problem is a big deal, small heat sinks suited for the Pi 3 can be taken out of old components or bought for incredibly small amounts of money (sub $2)

    Great article, but I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'dropped temperatures by almost 40%'. 40 °C isn't twice as hot as 20 °C.

    Using an IR-camera in this way is not accurate at all!
    The real temperature could be 60*C while the camera show 95.
    The chip is black so it emit more heat energy.
    To do this correctly you fist have to calibrate the camera agains a surface of the same kind, and find the absorption/emission coefficient of the surface.

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