There are many Raspberry Pi cases on the market, and it’s not always easy to know how they differ from each other and which one you should choose.
Today I want to share with you my opinion about Argonne NEO. I’ve been using it for a month now, so I can give you a detailed review.
The Argon NEO is an aluminum enclosure for the Raspberry Pi 4 that is designed for passive cooling. Nice built-in features like the sliding lid and direct access to the GPIO pins and camera connector.
I will first give you an overview of this product, and then I will go into the details of the tests I conducted. Finally, I will give you my recommendation by comparing it to other cases I have tested.
Argonne NEO Review
Let’s start by giving you more details about the case.
As mentioned in the introduction, the Argon NEO is an aluminum enclosure for the Raspberry Pi. At first glance, it looks like the Flirk case I tested a few weeks ago.
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If you look closely, you’ll see a slot on the side. Sliding lid on!
Why? Because the board’s connectors (GPIO, camera, display) are easily accessible.
This is a good thing, because in too many cases it is impossible to reach them without unscrewing them.
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Two magnets keep the case firmly in place. It should not slip when you touch or wear it.
Moreover, this case is typical for this type of product. It looks good, seems reasonably stable and installs easily (more on that later).
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The NEO Argon enclosure is quite cheap compared to other enclosures in the same category. It can be found on Amazon for about $15 at the time of this writing. Again, it’s in the same price range as the Flirc Case, which seems to be its direct competitor. Price comparison for the Crimson Pi 4 case.
I ordered mine from their website to test it out. The service was good, but the delivery took a long time (about 3 weeks). So if you’re not in Asia, it’s probably best to order from Amazon.
Theory of refrigeration
Like other competing aluminum enclosures, the Argon NEO is a huge heat sink.
Included are heating pads that you can place on your CPU and RAM. The aluminum piece you install on top of the Raspberry Pi will do the trick. alt=width=800 height=400 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447631_906_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />
We’ll see the results later, but on paper there’s nothing new.
I think there are different versions, or maybe it has been updated over time. Anyway, I’ve seen slightly different images and colors on different sites. Even Amazon has different colors in the pictures.
I tested the gray one and some pages have the navy blue one. Also, the GPIO pin display is a little different than mine.
I don’t see much difference, but check the parts before you buy.
Argon NEO comes in a small package, almost the size of a suitcase.
You’ll find everything you need:
- Housing (obvious)
- Heating pad
- 6 screws (you only need 4, so 2 extra screws are in my package).
- User Manual
- 4 rubber feet to stabilise the case on your desk
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In my case I don’t have a fan, you can buy one separately if you want to try it. As you will see in the following paragraphs, this is probably not necessary except in extreme applications.
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Well, the design of the housing is a personal opinion, but I like it. I may prefer the aluminum and black of the Flirc case, but it is much better than most of my other cases. In addition to the optics, the functions of the Argon NEO are also convincing.
First of all, I like the magnetic top, which can be easily removed for example. B. to access the GPIO pins. And it’s not just about access, as with my main passive box, the contact numbers are written on the box, making it very user friendly: alt=width=379 height=500 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447633_916_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />
There’s no problem plugging in the hat. Some even allow you to close the case with a cap inside:
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I’m less convinced about the camera bump at the top. This is a good idea if you don’t have a camera mount. But it’s very hard to give it the right direction, and I expected better.
It only works for the official camera module, it does not hold very well, and the tape could be better controlled :
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I will probably continue to use my brace, but know it can work if you have nothing else, but don’t expect too much from it.
One last good point to finish this part : it’s an aluminum case, and we can still control the LED of the Raspberry Pi : alt=width=800 height=345 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447638_824_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />.
That’s another thing that’s missing from the Flirk case, for example. And while I’m comparing, the SD card slot is actually easier to use (you don’t have to turn the case over to insert the SD card ^^).
As usual on this site, I tested the cooling system during a 2 minute stress test. As you can see in the results, the aluminum housing does its job very well:
It did not get warmer than 45°C at 100% CPU load for 2 minutes.
I also did a 15 minute test to see how it compared. The temperature never exceeds 58°C at 100% CPU load on 4 cores for 15 minutes: alt=width=799 height=381 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447639_635_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />.
It seems safe enough for normal use, even without a fan.
Reminder: The Raspberry Pi’s operating system starts to slow down at temperatures above 85°C, not before. This gives you a good amount of leeway, even if you occasionally need 100% CPU usage.
The box does not seem to overheat (at least with normal use). Even at the end of my test, you can touch it without a problem.
My infrared thermometer read 36.5°C at the top (98°F). I don’t know if this is accurate, but it can’t be far off.
Since I don’t have a fan, I can’t compare the two solutions. But from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t seem useful except maybe for extreme use. I’m also not sure how efficient the fan is, since there’s an aluminum heat sink between the fan and the CPU and no exhaust holes at the top (unless you leave the top open).
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tested it.
With an aluminum casing, it’s still worth considering if you want to use a Wi-Fi connection on your Raspberry Pi. I rarely use it, but I tested it for you to see how it works.
In my last test, z. B. With the Flirc Case, I noticed a sharp drop in Wi-Fi signal and internet speed. So I’m curious to see how the Argonne NEO case turns out.
Let’s check with Wavemon first: alt=width=800 height=356 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447640_321_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />
Communication quality, signal strength and rx/tx speed are excellent. In fact, I have similar values with no company. This does not seem to be a problem in this case.
Let’s run the SpeedTest to be sure: alt=width=469 height=119 data-ezsrc=http://server.digimetriq.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/1615447641_405_Honest-Review-After-1-Month-Usage–.jpg-.jpg data-ez= />
Same goes for me. 50 Mbps in wifi is pretty good for my connection and my wifi network.
In short, nothing to worry about. If you need Wi-Fi connectivity and have to choose between the Flirc Case and the Argon NEO, think again: Get the Argon case.
short and sweet
Before I conclude this review, here’s my take on this NEO Argon case.
Pros and cons
|The magnetic zipper is shiny.||The camera mount only works for the official camera, and it might be more stable.|
|Easy access to GPIO pins, camera and display port.||I have a rectangular thermal plate instead of two squares. I don’t know what to do with it (cut it up).|
|Efficient enough to cool down the Raspberry Pi 4.||I have my doubts about the fan version (but I haven’t tested it).|
|Plenty of room to put the hat in the case.|
|Mounting the camera on top is a good idea.|
Argon Forty NEO – Advantages and disadvantages
Is this for you?
Overall, I really like this case, and I can’t think of anyone it doesn’t fit.
Whether you use it for a desktop computer, a mini server or for GPIO pin use, it will be perfect.
This case may not be suitable for those who use it in extreme conditions. For example, if you want my cryptographer to be with your Crimson Pi all day. First of all: Good luck! Second, you probably need a better cooling system. Like any passive solution, it probably won’t be able to keep your CPU below 80°C for 24 hours at 100%.
If you are unsure about this model or want to consider other solutions first, here are some options for you:
- I’ve often compared the Argon NEO to the Flirc Case, so you can check out the Flirc Case review here if you want more information.
- If a passive cooling system is not enough for you, the only solution I have right now is to upgrade to an ICE tower. I looked here, but I don’t know if there’s a reason for it.
- If you have a bigger budget and plan to use the SSD all the time with the Pi, another model from the same brand is worth considering: the Argon ONE. There is room in the case for an M2 SSD, so that’s the end of your external hard drive :).
If you have anything to add to this review, have any questions, or would like another review, please let me know in the comments below. I will do everything in my power to help you.
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