Using the Raspberry Pi 4 as a Desktop Computer

Image credit: Michael Henzler / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to build your own desktop Pi 4… as I live in the USA I’ve included links are for suppliers that ship from there and take payment in US Dollars. If you’re in the UK/EU, Pimoroni will have most of this stuff. If you need all of the components, it’s probably going to be cheaper to buy either the official complete desktop kit or the Pi 400 that I mentioned earlier. I already had everything except the case, so I stuck with the build my own route.

  • USB keyboard.

Hardware Build

The case comes in kit form, and is straightforward to assemble — it even comes with a small screwdriver which is the only tool you need.

Pi 4 desktop case parts.
Raspberry Pi 4 with the case’s port extender fitted.
Raspberry Pi 4 with port extender mounted in the case.
Arrangement of ports and power button.
Access to GPIO ports via removable magnetic cover.

Operating System Setup

There’s nothing special to do here, just flash an operating system image onto your micro SD card and insert the card into to the Pi. The Argon case exposes the card slot underneath, making it easy to change cards as needed:

Easy access to the Micro SD card.

Power Button and Fan Management Software

Once you’re up and running with Raspberry Pi OS, it’s time to install Argon’s software that manages the fan and power button. Installation is really simple — a single curl command downloads the software and installs it. The default fan settings start with it running at 10% when the temperature hits 55 Celsius, stepping it up to 100% at 65 Celsius. I didn’t feel the need to change these, but several alternatives are available:

Fan configuration software.

Wrap Up

Here’s my Pi 4 in its new case, up and running as a desktop:

Raspberry Pi 4 desktop up and running!

Software Professional, builder of things with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

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