The new Raspberry Pi 5 is a single-board computer that’s a major upgrade over the Raspberry Pi 4 that launched four years ago in just about every way. But it’s still backward-compatible with many of accessories made for earlier devices.
The new model has an updated processor that should deliver more than twice the performance of the previous-generation. And at launch, there will be two configurations available: a model with 4GB of RAM that sells for $60 and an 8GB version priced at $80. That means the starting model has twice as much RAM as a $35 Raspberry Pi 4. But it also has a significantly higher starting price. The Raspberry Pi 5 will be available for purchase starting in October.
At the heart of new computer is a new Broadcom BCM2712 processor, which is a 16nm chip featuring:
- 4 x ARM Cortex-A76 CPU cores @ 2.4 GHz
- 512KB per-core L2 cache
- 2MB L3 cache
- VideoCore VII graphics with support for dual 4k/60 Hz HDMI displays
The system also uses a a new RPI controller for some I/O, including the USB, Ethernet, MIPI, and GPI functions. High-speed I/O is still handled by the main application processor, which means that the BCM2712 chip still does the heavy lifting for the HDMI, PCI Express, SDRAM, and SD card interfaces.
The RPI1 communicates with the BC2712 via a four-lane PCIe 2.0 16Gb/s connection.
Other chips include a Renesas DA9091 power management IC (PMIC) and the same Infineon CYW43455 wireless chip used in the Raspberry Pi 4, for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, plus a Broadcom BCM54213 Gigabit Ethernet PHY.
The Raspberry Pi 5 also features 32-bit LPDDR4X 4267MT/s memory and features a set of ports that includes:
- 2 x micro HDMI (4K/60Hz)
- 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
- 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet with PoE support
- 1 x USB-C power input
- 1 x microSD card reader
There are also two 4-lane MIPI interfaces that support MIPI-CSI cameras or MIPI-DSI displays, but you’ll need adapter cables to use existing Raspberry Pi or 3rd-party cameras, displays, or other accessories with them. Those cables will be sold for between $1 and $3.
While the Raspberry Pi 5 is the same size as earlier models (85 x 56mm), the layout has changed a little bit. There’s no longer a dedicated composite video port or dedicated analog audio jack. But you can use the HDMI ports for audio and video, use a USB adapter for audio, or connect composite video directly to pads on the bottom left side of the little computer.
According to Raspberry Pi, removing those features freed up space for the new MIPI connectors, and a new FPC connector for single-lane PCIe 2.0 high-speed peripherals.
That opens the door to new types of add-on boards. For example, next year you’ll be able to buy a Raspberry Pi 5 HAT that adds a daughter board to the top of the system that allows you to connect a PCIe NVMe SSD. There will be at least two types of these boards: a large one for M.2 2280 SSDs that basically stack atop of the computer, and a smaller L-shaped connector that lets you attach a M.2 2232 or M.2 2242 SSD in a low-profile design that still lets the whole thing fit inside a Raspberry Pi case.
Speaking of which, other accessories include a new $10 case with an integrated fan, a $5 active cooler with a fan and heat sink, but no case, and a $12 power supply that delivers up to 27W, allowing you to squeeze a little more performance out of the system.
The Raspberry Pi 5 can run just fine using a 15W power adapter, and Raspberry Pi says it actually uses less power and generates less heat than the Raspberry Pi 4 when running under the same load. But the new chip has a higher performance ceiling, using up to 12 watts under heavier loads, while the Raspberry Pi 4 processor topped out at 8 watts.
That means that if you’re using a 15-watt power adapter, the Raspberry Pi 5 will have to cut power from somewhere, and it does it by reducing the USB current to 600 mAh, which may cause performance issues or slower charging for some USB peripherals. If you use the 27W charger, USB current goes up to 1.6A, delivering an extra 5W of downstream power.