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Raspberry Pi 4 Review: New Gold Standard for Single-Board Computing

The Raspberry Pi has long been the gold standard for inexpensive single-board computing, driving everything from robots to smart home devices to digital kiosks. The long-awaited Raspberry Pi 4 takes Pi to another level, with performance that is good enough to use in a terminal as a desktop PC, as well as the ability to exhibit 4K video at 60 Hz or power dual monitors.

For the same $ 35 start price as previous models, you get two to four times faster speeds, USB 3 support and true Gigabit Ethernet. Perhaps more importantly, there is a $ 45 Raspberry Pi 4 with 2 GB of RAM and a $ 55 unit of 4 GB, four times more than any previous Pi has had. Makers and hobbyists would like to add Raspberry Pi 4 to their arsenals, and tech enthusiasts who have never used a Pi now have even more reasons to buy one.

<img class = "lazy" data-src = "https://img.purch.com/raspberry-pi-4-006-jpg/w/711/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9NL0EvODQzMjAyL29yaWdpbmFsL1Jhc3BiZXJyeS1QaS00LTAwNi5qcGc=" big-src = "https: / /img.purch.com/raspberry-pi-4-006-jpg/o/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhLmJlc3RvZm1pY3JvLmNvbS9NL0EvODQzMjAyL29yaWdpbmFsL1Jhc3BiZXJyeS1QaS00LTAwNi5qcGc= "alt =" Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. (Credit: Tom's Hardware) Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. (Credit: Tom's Hardware) Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. (Credit: Tom's Hardware)

We were given the opportunity to quickly access the Raspberry Pi 4 B, the full name of the first Pi 4 model, and be able to test a table with the full 4 GB of RAM. is a full-fledged mini-computer full of potential, and we particularly appreciate the possibilities of inference, especially object and sound detection.

Backward Compatibility

It is important to note that an important Raspberry Pi software is not yet works on launch 4. To run Pi 4 you need to download a brand new building of Raspbian OS, Race pbian Buster. And everything is not in Buster yet. We found several Python libraries or other necessary packages that were not compatible with the new operating system.

With this writing you can also not install Retropie, the very popular game emulator software, in Buster (believe us we spent hours trying), and You also cannot use an existing Retropie image. Undoubtedly, developers will make changes in the coming days and weeks, but if you read this at the launch and need to build a slot machine in the near future, you may want to get an older model. Third party Raspberry Pi operating systems will also need some changes to work with the new hardware. For example, we could not start Windows 10 on Arm, which we have with Pi 3B +.

Key Differences

The table below shows a key-specific comparison between the Raspberry Pi 4 B, the first one single Pi 4 model and the Raspberry Pi 3B +, the fastest version of Pi 3.

Spec Raspberry Pi 4 B Hindu Pi 3 B +
CPU 1.5 GHz, Quad-Core Broadcom BCM2711B0 (Cortex A-72) 1.4 GHz, Quad Core Broadcom BCM2837B0 (Cortex A-53 )
GPU 400MHz VideoCore IV 500MHz VideoCore VI
Video Output Dual Micro HDMI Ports Single HDMI port
Max. Resolution 4K 60 Hz + 1080p or 2x 4K 30 Hz 2560 x 1600
USB ports 2x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0 4x USB 2.0
Wired network Gigabit Ethernet 330 Mbps Ethernet
Wireless 802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0 [19659025] 802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1
Charging port USB Type C Micro USB
Power Requirements 3A, 5V 2.5A, 5V
2.5A, 5V
] Size 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.76 inch (88 x 58 x 19.5 mm) 3.2 x 2.2 x 0.76 inches (82 x 56 x 19.5 mm)
Weight 0, 1 pounds (46 grams) 0.11 pounds (50 grams)

The most important new features are the faster processor and GPU, more and faster RAM, the addition of USB 3 ports, dual micro HDMI ports instead of a single HDMI connection and support for 4K output. The higher bus speed that enables USB 3 support also allows the built-in Ethernet port to support true Gigabit connections (125 MBps), with the last gene models having a theoretical maximum of only 41 MBps. The MicroSD card slot is also twice as fast and offers a theoretical maximum of 50 MBps versus 25 MBps on 3B +.

As the new SoC needs more power, the Raspberry Pi 4B transfers over USB Type-C instead of micro USB. It also requires a power supply that can deliver at least 3 power supplies and 5 volts, though you might be able to get away at 2.5 amps if you don't attach many peripherals to the USB ports. USB-C connectors are reversible, making them much easier for children (and adults) to connect.


At 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.76 inches (88 x 58 x 19.5 mm) And 0.1 pounds (46 grams), Pi 4 is thin enough to fit in the pocket and easy enough to carry anywhere. The board is durable enough to survive probably rolling around in your bag, but we recommend keeping it in something protective, mostly to protect the tabs. However, during the test I have always used the board just on my desk, and I carried it back and forth between work and home many times just by putting it in a cardboard box without padding or static bag.

Unfortunately, if you want a case, you can't use one designed for any previous Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi 3 B / 3 B + has almost the same dimensions, but the port layout has changed just enough to make Pi 4 B incompatible. Where previous Pis had a single full-size HDMI port, the dual micro-HDMI jacks on the Pi 4 protrude, so don't stop the holes on something designed for Pi 3 B.

Raspberry Pi 4 covers more than just the basics when it comes to ports. The right side has four USB Type-A connections, two of which are USB 3.0. There is also a full size Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connections there. The bottom edge has a 3.5mm audio jack, two micro HDMI ports and the USB Type-C charging port. On the left side you will find the microSD card reader. And on the top surface of the table, you'll see tape connectors for the camera's serial interface (CSI) and Display Serial Interface (DSI) that provide dedicated connections to the Raspberry Pi's own camera and monitor (or compatible accessory). Of course, you can also connect a camera to a USB port, and there are a few more common ways, including micro HDMI ports, for output to a monitor.


The Raspberry Pi 4 has similar designs and dimensions to its predecessors, but it is a brand new platform powered by a new processor, the Broadcom BCM2711B0. Since the first Pi in 2012, all Pis have used 40nm SoCs, but this new chip is based on a 28nm process, and instead of the older Cortex-A53 micro architecture, it uses Cortex-A72. The BCM2711B0 in the Raspberry Pi 4 has four cores and is clocked at 1.5 GHz, which at first blush does not work much faster than the quad core, 1.4 GHz BCM2837B0 in Raspberry Pi 3B +.

But the Cortex A72 has 15-instruction pipeline depth, compared to only 8 on the older model, and it also gives out-of-order execution so it is not waiting for output from one process to start on another. So even at the same clock speed (and the BCM2711B0 is based on a smaller process node), Cortex-A72 processors will be significantly faster and use more power than their A53 powered ancestors.

For example, on the Linpack benchmark, which measures the total calculation strength, Pi 4 absolutely pushed Pi 3 B + in all three tests. On the important single-precision (SP) test, Pi scored 4 925 compared to 3 B +'s 224 mark, a 413 percent boost.
On the Sysbench CPU test, Pi was 4B able to perform 394 events per Second relative to 263 for Pi 3 B +. That is a difference of 50 percent.

RAM is also rather faster, moving from 1GB of DDR2 RAM operating on Pi 3B + to up to 4GB of DDR4 RAM. In addition to the increased bandwidth, there is more memory that is much, especially for web surfing.

Pi's RAM returned read and write speeds of 4,130 and 4,427, respectively Mbps. That's 51 percent and 54 percent better than 3 B +.

Both CPU and RAM are implicated when doing file compression . When zipping a file in multithreaded mode, Pi 4 B is 37 percent faster than its predecessor, but it is much stronger in single thread and darkens 3 B + by 60 percent.

New GPU, faster graphics performance

The GPU also gets a good boost. It moves from a Broadcom VideoCore IV running at a 400 MHz core rate to a VideoCore VI set at 500 MHz. The new architecture makes it possible to publish to a screen with up to 4K resolution at a speed of 60 fps or to support dual monitors up to 4K 30 Hz.

We wish we could have tried some of the more resource-intensive emulators in Retropie in time for this review, there was no Pi 4 compatible version at launch. OpenArena Benchmark, which measures budget in a game that is a clone of the Quake III Arena, ran. ]

At 720p resolution, Pi 4 was the only Raspberry Pi that could deliver smooth image speeds. Yes, you can play on Pi 3, 3 A + or 3 B +, but all three provide prices between 27 and 28 fps compared to 41.4 fps on Pi 4.

Storage performance

No matter how fast your The processor, RAM and GPU are, if your storage is slow, everyday tasks like opening apps and files will be laggy. Like all Raspberry Pis, 4's primary storage device is its microSD card reader, which is convenient but somewhat limited. According to Pi Foundation, 4 B has a transfer rate of 50 MBps, which is twice as fast as the 3 B + reader. There is no known limitation on capacity.

Our benchmarks performed with a Samsung EVO Plus microSD XC Class 10 card , show less impressive prices than the theoretical maximum amounts. Pi 4 B returned sequential read / write speeds of 45.7 and 27.7 MBps, while 3 B + trailers at 22.8 and 17.5 MBps. Remember that the card is rated at 100 MBps read and 60 MBps printer.

If you have a fast USB flash drive or an external SSD, you can get much better inventory value out of Pi 4 B. Pi 4 B is the first with USB 3 ports that has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 625 MBps.

With a Mushkin 120GB external SSD connected to one of USB 3 ports, managed Pi 4B impressive reading and writing speeds of 363 and 323 MBps, respectively. It's almost ten times faster than the 3 B +'s 33 and 34 MBps brands.

Fast USB 3 ports are about more than just storage. You can use other high-bandwidth peripherals such as Google's Coral USB Accelerator, which helps with artificial intelligence tasks.

Networking Performance

The Raspberry Pi 4 has the same 802.11ac Wi-Fi as its direct predecessor, but it throws in Bluetooth 5.0 support, an improvement over Bluetooth 4 on previous models. More importantly, the Ethernet port now has more bandwidth, allowing for a full gigabit of throughput, with previous models only achieving about 330 megabits.

When testing obtained PI 4 B & # 39; s Ethernet port 943 Mbps, which blows away the other Raspberry Pis. In fact, Pi 4 B has a throughput test of 943 Mbps (close to 1000 Mbps maximum). It's almost five times as many as Pi 3B +, which only got 237 Mbps.

Both the old and new Raspberry Pi have 802.11ac Wi-Fi that can run on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands. So we didn't expect to see much difference in performance here. However, 5 GHz throughputs are noticeably higher for Pi 4, which returns a rate of 114 Mbps, compared to 97 Mbps on Pi 3 B +, a decent 18 percent improvement.

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