The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s latest single-board computer has the same $35 starting price as every Raspberry Pi Model B device launched since 2012. But the new Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is a big upgrade over the Pi 3 which was released three years ago.
It has a more powerful processor, a USB Type-C port for charging, two micro HDMI ports for connecting up to two 4K displays, and support for USB 3.0.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is available today, and the starting price is still just $35. But for the first time Raspberry Pi will offer three different configurations — the entry-level model gets you a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 1GB of RAM, but you can also buy a 2GB model for $45 or a 4GB version for $55.
Here are some of the key features for the Raspberry Pi 4:
- Broadcom BCM2711 processor (1.5 GHz quad-core Arm Cortex-A72 CPU)
- VideoCore 6 GPU
- 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of RAM
- microSD card reader for storage
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x USB Type-C port (for power)
- 2 x micro HDMI 2.0 ports
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 3.5mm audio jack
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 40-pin connector
Raspberry Pi says the little computer should be able to drive two 4K displays at 30Hz or a single 4K display at 60 Hz with support for H.265 4K/60 video decoding.
While the Raspberry Pi 3 also has Gigabit Ethernet, it was only able to hit speeds up to 300 Mbps due to the computer’s USB 2.0 bridge. Now that the Raspberry Pi 4 supports USB 3.0 you should be see true Gigabit Ethernet speeds.
Other upgrades include the move from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5.0, the move from a 1.4 GHz Arm Cortex-A53 processor to a 1.5 GHz Cortex-Z72 chip with a new GPU, and dual micro HDMI ports instead of a single full-sized port.
That last change will make it easier to connect multiple displays… but it also means that despite the new Raspberry Pi having the same physical dimensions as its predecessors, it has a new layout (the Ethernet and USB ports have also moved), so cases built for older versions of the 85.6mm x 56.5mm computer won’t accommodate the new model.
There’s a new 2-part case priced at $5, but I suspect we’ll see plenty of other third-party and/or DIY versions soon.
But HATs and other accessories that make use of the 40-pin expansion header should work with the Raspberry Pi 4.
The folks at TechRepublic have published a review of the Raspberry Pi 4 running a pre-release version of the Raspbian operating system that’s been updated to support the new hardware. For the most part, the new model seems like a major upgrade, and it’s undoubtedly the fastest Raspberry Pi to date.
While this might be the first version of a Raspberry Pi that’s arguably fast enough to use as a real desktop computer, note that the $35 – $55 price tag doesn’t include everything you need to get started. You’ll also want a microSD card for storage, a power supply, and other accessories (such as a mouse, keyboard, and display).
Want to get most of those things in one kit? The new Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Computer Kit sells for $120 and includes a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 4GB of RAM, a keyboard, mouse, and power supply, a case, two micro HDMI to HDMI cables, and a 16GB microSD card loaded with software plus a user guide.
There are other single-board computers that can outperform it on benchmarks. But Raspberry Pi devices tend to have a few key advantages. There’s a huge developer and user community, which makes it easy to find resources and support for these little computers. And the Raspberry Pi Foundations says it’ll offer official support for the Raspberry Pi 4 at least until January, 2026.