A new Raspberry Pi has officially been unveiled. The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B sports a more powerful processor based on ARM Cortex-A72 cores, is available with 1GB, 2GB or 4GB of memory, gains a pair of USB 3.0 ports and now has twin HDMI outputs capable of driving 4K displays.
Available immediately, the latest Pi offers increases in processor speed, multimedia performance, memory, and connectivity even when compared to the previous model, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ launched in March 2018.
In fact, Raspberry Pi chief executive Eben Upton said that “it’s basically a regular PC now” with approximately 3x the performance of a Raspberry Pi 3, the ability to decode 4k video, and drive two displays simultaneously.
Upton added that he thought a major new use case for the Pi 4 would be as a mini desktop system, thanks to features such as the increased power and the twin display ports. However, it retains the standard 40-pin GPIO header, and so can easily be used for all the other things the Raspberry Pi has been put to, such as robotics and process control.
The SoC on the Pi 4 is a Broadcom BCM2711 clocked at 1.5GHz. This is just 100MHz faster than last year’s Pi 3, but these are now the high performance Cortex-A72 cores in place of the mid-range Cortex-A53 cores.
Pi enthusiasts have been crying out for more memory, and so the Pi 4 will be available in three versions, with 1GB, 2GB or 4GB of LPDDR4, in a separate chip next to the SoC.
Upton said that Raspberry Pi has “somewhere over 100k units of stock available on launch day, split between the three SKUs. We’ve prioritised 2GB for starters, but will adjust that over time”.
Another change is that two of the four USB ports on the Pi 4 are now the higher speed USB 3.0 alongside two USB 2.0 ports, which should deliver a benefit for applications using USB storage devices.
In place of the standard HDMI connector that has been present on all the full-size Pi models from the start, the latest Pi now has two micro connectors that enable it to drive 4K displays at 60 frames per second. The DSI display connector and CSI camera are still present, as is the composite video jack socket.
For connectivity, the Pi keeps the Gigabit Ethernet introduced last year on the Pi 3 Model B+, in addition to the dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 5.0.
Other changes are that the recommended power supply is now 5V at 3A, and the power socket on the Pi 4 is now a USB-C type instead of a micro USB. This means that existing Pi power supplies will not work, and nor will most phone chargers, although those used with older versions of the Pi will not supply the necessary current anyway.
Fortunately, Raspberry Pi is also offering a new power supply unit that is designed to deliver exactly the right current (see picture, right).
For the operating system, Raspberry Pi states that an 8GB microSD card is still sufficient, but there is little price difference now between these and larger capacities such as 16GB or 32GB.
The pricing for the Pi 4 is as follows; 1GB $35, 2GB $45, 4GB $55. Using currency conversion rates at the time of writing, the base price works out to about £27.60 and means the Pi is effectively the same cost as the original that came out in 2012, but now roughly 40x faster and available with up to 16x the memory.
The image in the middle of this article shows the contents of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Desktop Kit. This includes everything you need to get up and running, except a monitor. Buyers get the Pi, keyboard, mouse, PSU, display cables, case, microSD card with operating system and a Beginner’s Guide booklet. It will be on sale at the official Raspberry PI shop in Cambridge from launch at £105 inc VAT.
Raspberry Pi Trading said that the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B will remain in production until at least January 2026.