Hardware

Raspberry Pi 4 launched

A few months after Pi Day, and a few days before 2Pi Day!1

A new version of the Raspberry Pi has been announced, at the customary price point of US$35 – which has been translated to a very similar value in pounds sterling, with both Pimoroni and The Pi Hut selling it for £34.00.

However, in a new move with this version, there is also the option of paying a little more for, well, a little more. At £34.00 you get a version with 1GB RAM, but for another tenner you can have a 2GB version, and another tenner still will get you a 4GB version.

Extra memory options aside, one of the main changes in the new model is the use of a Cortex A72 processor (1.5GHz quad-core2 Broadcom BCM2711B0). By contrast, the Pi 3 B+ sports a Cortex A53 (a 1.4GHz quad-core2 Broadcom BCM2837B0).

On the connectivity front, like the 3 B+ it has gigabit ethernet – but this time it’s on-board unlike the 3 B+ on which it was over USB, which limited it to around 300Mbps – and two of the four USB ports are now USB 3.0. As well as dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking as before, it also now benefits from Bluetooth 5.0, while the 3 B+ had 4.1.

There are now two micro-HDMI ports (type D), allowing two monitors to be connected compared to one standard HDMI port (type A) on previous full size Pi boards (i.e. A and B/B+ models). This means the new Pi is capable of driving two monitors, subject to the necessary support being available in the OS. With that support in place, using those two ports it can drive two displays at up to 4K resolution at 30Hz.

But what about RISC OS?

The Cortex-A72 processor is an ARMv8-A device with AArch32 support (alongside AArch64) – that means it has an ARMv7 compatible instruction set, so it is capable of running RISC OS. However, that doesn’t mean the current version of RISC OS for the Pi will run on it out of the box – it won’t, but according to Ben Avison (who, incidentally, is credited on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s blog post about the new board), work is underway

!ReadMe

  1. 14th March is considered Pi Day, because if you write either funny Overpuddlian dates (mm-dd-yyyy), or ISO 8601 dates (yyyy-mm-dd), ignore the year and squint a bit, 3-14 is a bit like 3.14, or Pi to two digits. 2Pi is twice that – 6.28 – and 28th June in either of those formats, with the year ignored and a bit of squinting, is 6-28. So they should have released it on Friday. Just saying.
  2. Note, of course, that RISC OS currently only uses a single core – although some initial work has been done in this area.