The Raspberry Pi Foundation, maker of the eponymous barebones computer, has announced the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. The new platform offers fans more choices to play with higher-memory, low-cost computing.
The new generation of tiny Raspberry Pi computers marks a departure from the standardized Raspberry Pi Model B that spawned a galaxy of boards that deviate from its singular option of 1GB of RAM.
That changes today with the arrival of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. Three years in the making, it comes with up to 4GB memory, USB 3.0, dual-screen 4K display support, and a faster and newer CPU and GPU.
It's the first time the Raspberry Pi has been offered in different SKUs or 'stock keeping units', which means more choice at different price tiers.
The non-profit is aiming to offer fans higher memory options at a reasonable price, while maintaining its original premise of low-cost, basic computing.
"That's pretty keen pricing," said Upton. "We want to do larger memory SKUs, and today you can't do larger memory SKUs at $35. We love the $35 price point, but we also want to have more memory, the only way to do it today is to have SKUs."
While the Raspberry Pi – sans a screen and keyboard – doesn't look like a real PC, it still is one. Whether it could actually replace a PC is another question, but Upton insists that the Raspberry Pi 4 can do the job and he intends to use it as the basis for a computer to replace an ancient AMD-powered PC he built for his folks.
"This is a PC. It's a realization of the vision that this thing is a PC. You could surf the web on it, run office applications, open a lot of tabs in Chromium, because, as you know, it's the 'open a lot of tabs' is probably where the existing one falls down. This feels subjectively more PC like, in terms of the performance," said Upton.
The other essential PC feature of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is dual-screen and 4K support.
"We're a PC and PCs have dual display outputs. If you don't have dual display output, you're not a PC right?"
Upton said most users' complaints revolved around "non-multimedia I/O all going through a USB 2.0 link, lack of 4K support, a lack of SKUs with more memory."
The system on chip is a Broadcom BCM2711 with a 1.5GHz quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 processor. It supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless connectivity, and features two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports.
Upton said Windows 10 support for Raspberry Pi is still up in the air, noting that "on some level, Windows is less interesting than it might have been five years ago" because the browser is essentially becoming the operating system and the device works just fine with Chromium, the browser that Microsoft is using as the base for its cross-platform Edge browser.
According to Upton, the foundation has now sold 25 million Raspberry Pi devices, generating a "£28.5m [$36m] dividend to the foundation", a lot of which has gone to charity.
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Specs
System-on-a-chip: Broadcom BCM2711
Processor: Quad-core 1.5GHz Arm Cortex-A72 based processor
Memory: 1/2/4GB LPDDR4 RAM
Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 5.0
Video and sound: 2 x micro-HDMI ports supporting 4K@60Hz displays via HDMI 2.0, MIPI DSI display port, MIPI CSI camera port, 4-pole stereo output and composite video port