A robust metal case with a hidden GPIO port. By Gareth Halfacree
The Argon One case for Raspberry Pi
It’s the weight of the Argon One (£23 / $25) that first surprises. Whereas most Raspberry Pi cases are made out of plastic, the bulk of the Argon One is solid aluminium – and it’s immediately noticeable, even before it’s taken out of the box.
Inside the hefty shell is a board which connects to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO header, giving it a smart power button – found at the rear of the case – which comes with software to allow the Pi to be safely shut down with a single press. There’s also a fan, and a daughterboard which snaps into a Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+ to shift its HDMI and analogue audio-visual (AV) ports to the rear.
Assembly is quick and easy: click the daughterboard home, add a bundled thermal pad to the Pi’s processor, slide everything onto the GPIO header, then screw it home before adding the plastic base.
Using the large aluminium case as a heatsink makes a real difference to temperatures: an uncased Pi 3B+ quickly reaches 65°C running a CPU-heavy benchmark, but peaks at 40.8°C in the Argon One. Sadly, the fan makes little difference, but it can be turned off in the bundled software.
There’s only one real flaw in the Argon One: it draws too much power, causing the Pi to flash the ‘undervoltage’ lightning symbol and throttle its performance. It’s a flaw that can only be fixed by purchasing Argon Forty’s recommended power supply at an extra £11 / $12.50.
The Argon One is attractive, and hiding the GPIO header under a magnetic cover is clever. You should factor in the cost of the recommended power supply. The poor fan performance is the only real issue.
See also: The 10 best Raspberry Pi cases