Argon Neo 5 has three parts. A plastic base, two aluminum cooling system pieces, and a case lid. Matte black, scarlet plastic, and white text are 1980s-inspired. This is enhanced by a Porsche-style cooling wave.
Can the Argon Neo 5 cool the turbo-boosted Raspberry Pi 5? Or will the engine overheat and sputter?
Argon Neo 5 Technical Specifications
|Passive cooling fins, 30mm PWM fan, Air intake vents
|Row 0 – Cell 2
|Three-part case, Top and middle space grade aluminum, Plastic base with screw cover for micro SD, Power button with LED lightpipe, Mounting points on base
|Row 1 – Cell 2
|GPIO passthrough, 2 x micro HDMI, USB C, USB, Ethernet, Remove lid for access to full GPIO, UART, RTC, PoE, camera / display connectors and PCIe
|Row 2 – Cell 2
|94 x 70 x 30 mm
The three-part design has a plastic base and two aluminum pieces. The aluminum body and custom “fins” form a wave from the cooling fan (which looks like a black Active Cooler) to the USB ports.
Overclocking the CPU can heat this cooling wave, surprising USB devices. The aluminum case lid slides in with a satisfying “clunk”. It covers the attractive cooling system but can be secured to the case with optional screws.
Easy assembly. They thermally pad the SoC and PMIC and connect the 30mm PWM fan to the Pi 5’s fan header. It gets tricky here. Fan cables must be routed around a channel on the main body.
This connects to the plastic base, but avoid nipping the cable. It took several attempts and some persuasion to get the cable into the channel and away from the plastic base. They did it, so can you. Take your time and place the cable with a blunt plastic tool. Only four screws secure the base; two more secure the lid to the body.
GPIO, camera/display ports, and the new PCIe connector are accessible from the main body, which has a lovely pinout. However, the Neo 5 repeats the EDATEC mistakes. Tight camera/display and PCIe connector access. To safely lever the plastic lock, we need dexterous fingers or a plastic tool.
Widening cutouts is problematic because the “cooling wave” is nearby. That would need to be cut. The case supports NVMe SSD boards. The Pineberry Pi Hat Drive Top works without the case lid. Outside the case, a Pineberry Pi Hat Drive Bottom or Pimoroni’s upcoming NVMe Base will work.
Returning to the Raspberry Pi pinout listing and GPIO is welcome. It provides Broadcom (BCM) pin mapping, the standard supported by all Raspberry Pi documentation. This will help beginners and old-timers who forget the pinout.
HATs can be directly connected to the GPIO, but we recommend using a male header pin extension to keep them away from the cooling fan. However, few HATs support Raspberry Pi 5. The case’s lid hatch allows GPIO breakout cables to replace header extensions. This makes GPIO breakout to a breadboard or external breakout board via ribbon cable easy.
The optional screw cover covers the micro SD card slot, the last port. This protects the card, but since it doesn’t protrude from the case, we don’t see the point.
They started the Raspberry Pi 5 and let it cool for five minutes for their tests. Then ran a five-minute stress test on all cores after an automated script recorded the idle temperature for one minute.
After a one-minute cool down, they recorded the resting temperature. All data was logged to a CSV file for analysis.
Neo 5 has great thermal performance. The CPU registers 34°C at idle and 54.3°C under stress with the case closed. For comparison, EDATEC-Pi5Case-BS reached 36.2°C and 52.7°C. At stock speeds, the Neo 5 excels. At 50°C, the quiet active cooling fan starts.
The idle temperature strangely rose to 36.7°C with the lid off (even after settling). However, the stress test raised it to 54.3°C, matching the closed case.
The Argon Neo 5’s overclocking performance?
Their 4GB test Pi 5 failed to boot at 3 GHz, but they overclocked the CPU to 2.8 GHz, which generated heat. The Pi 5 reached 36.2°C with the lid on and 59.3°C under stress. Several degrees hotter than stock speeds, but well below CPU thermal throttle point. Again strangely below the case closed temperature, the CPU idled at 35.1°C with the lid off. The CPU reached 57.6°C under stress, 2°C cooler than with the lid closed.
Overall, the Argon Neo 5 cools your Raspberry Pi 5. Though not aluminum like the EDATEC case, it works well and simplifies port access.
Before testing the Argon Neo 5, we tested two EDATEC cases and found that one affected Raspberry Pi 5 Wi-Fi performance. After benchmarking with iperf on a Windows 10 PC connected via Ethernet, they connected three Raspberry Pi 5s via Wi-Fi 5 to a downstairs router.
After the EDATEC results, tested the Neo 5’s Wi-Fi performance and found 79.7 Mbits per second with the case closed. This is much higher than EDATEC’s 51.2 Mbit/s. It reached 75.7 Mbits/s with the case open. Unfortunately, this was 4 Mbits per second slower than with the case closed. We can call this an anomaly given external factors that can affect radio transmissions.
Ethernet is best for maximum bandwidth! However, not everyone has or wants Ethernet cables throughout their home.
The Argon Neo 5 is a basic Raspberry Pi 5 case. It works great, looks good, and exposes the GPIO. Camera/display and PCIe ports are problematic, but they can be fixed.
The wave heatsinks and active cooler cooling system looks good and keeps the Pi 5 cool even when overclocked! This could be one of the best Raspberry Pi cases.