The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 that's available for $75 along with a beta of an official 64-bit operating system it's calling 'Raspberry Pi OS' instead of Raspbian.
The new SKU means fans of the Raspberry Pi can buy the 2GB Pi 4 for $35, the 4GB Pi 4 for $55, or the 8GB Pi 4 for $75.
Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading and co-founder of The Raspberry Pi Foundation, says when the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B launched a year ago, the foundation had an 8GB variant in mind.
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Even the Raspberry Pi beginner's guide had a reference to an 8GB variant, while the Pi 4's Broadcom BCM2711 chip supports up to 16GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM.
"The real barrier to our offering a larger-memory variant was the lack of an 8GB LPDDR4 package," said Upton. "These didn't exist (at least in a form that we could address) in 2019, but happily our partners at Micron stepped up earlier this year with a suitable part."
"If you're a power user, intending to compile and link large pieces of software or run heavy server workloads, or you simply want to be able to have even more browser tabs open at once, this is definitely the Raspberry Pi for you," he said.
In April, Upton revealed that lockdowns during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic had caused a spike in Raspberry Pi sales as people sought cheap home working and learning computer tools.
However, COVID-19 also caused a three-month delay for the 8GB Pi 4 because it disrupted the supply of inductors from the Far East, according to Upton.
Raspberry Pi engineers needed to redesign the layout of the 8GB Pi 4 board so that it could supply the higher peak currents required by the new memory package.
The redesign included moving power-supply components and removing a switch-mode power supply from the right-hand side of the board next to the USB 2.0 sockets. The engineers also added a new switcher next to the USB-C power connector.
The foundation has decided to rename its official OS from Raspbian to just 'Raspberry Pi OS'. The change is aimed to make it easier for new users to find the recommended OS for Raspberry Pi. And the Raspberry Pi OS is now also available as a 64-bit image in addition the existing 32-bit image.
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Upton says the 64-bit image is for power users who want to map all 8GB into the address space of a single process. It's currently in beta and misses several key features, but once ready it will provide a 64-bit alternative to 64-bit versions of Ubuntu and Gentoo.
The 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS can only be installed on Pi 3 and Pi 4 devices because they're 64-bit boards. The 64-bit OS beta can be download from the Raspberry Pi forum announcement.
"We think the new name will help more people feel confident in using our computers and our software," said Upton.