While many companies have taken a run at making a better single-board computer, the Raspberry Pi family of devices reigns supreme among enthusiastic SBC hobbyists. Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the successor to its successful Raspberry Pi 3 line: the Raspberry Pi 4. This new model packs some big performance boosts and plenty of other new features onto a tiny motherboard.
The Pi 4 boasts a Broadcom BC2711 SoC, which includes four ARM Cortex A72 cores running at a maximum speed of 1.5 GHz. Those Cortex A72 cores feature much-improved single-core performance over the A53 cores found in the previous-fastest Pi, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. The Pi 4 can come with one, two, or four gigabytes of LPDDR4 memory, where the previous models topped out at just one gig. The BC2711 also brings 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity, as well as hardware decoding for 60 fps H.265 streams at 4K.
The chipset isn’t the only thing that’s changing, however. The Raspberry Pi 4 now includes connections for a pair of 4K displays over HDMI 2.0 using dual Micro HDMI ports. Two of the four USB ports have been upgraded to the 3.0, while the other two maintain USB 2.0 connectivity. A USB Type-C connector accepts 5-volt, 2.5 amp AC adapters, and buyers who want to cut the AC cord entirely can use Power over Ethernet. The Pi4 still includes the same 40-pin GPIO header, bootable MicroSD slot, and 3.5-mm analog audio connections, but its Ethernet jack has been bumped up to Gigabit speed.
Much of what made the Pi series builders’ go-to choice for a single-board computer is its software support. Just like all Raspberry Pi models before it, the Pi 4 gets its software support from NOOBS, the Foundation’s OS management software. NOOBS supports Windows 10 IoT and many flavors of Linux, including Raspbian. No doubt emulation projects like RetroPie and Lakka will pick up on the new hardware soon, too.
Despite all this new hardware, the entry price for the Raspberry Pi 4 remains the same. $35 gets you the base model with one gig of memory, $45 bumps memory up to two gigabytes, and $55 gets you all the way to four gigs of RAM. In North America, Canakit lists these babies as being in stock at the list price for bare boards or in a kit that includes an AC adapter for around $15 more.