The Raspberry Pi Foundation has introduced a new version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module designed for embedded applications.

Priced at $25 and up, the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 has the same processor and memory options as last year’s Raspberry Pi 4, but in a smaller package that lakes full-sized ports, but which includes optional support for onboard eMMC storage.

While its big sibling is a general purpose computer designed for use in classrooms, homes, businesses, or just about any other application, the Compute Module is aimed at developers who are looking for a compact solution that can serve as the brains of anything from a DIY digital camera to a commercial digital signage system.

And this year’s Raspberry Pi 4 is the most capable Compute Module to date. It’s also the smallest.

While earlier models were about the size of a stick of DDR2 laptop memory and used the same interface, the Compute Module 4 have two high-density connectors that allows for I/O in a smaller package: the tiny computer board measures just 55mm x 40mm (2.2″ x 1.6″).

If you need full-sized ports, you can connect to an optional IO Board that gives you a Gigabit Ethernet jack, dual full-sized HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card reader, PCIe Gen 2 x1 connector, and 40-pin GPIO connector.

Or you could use adapter boards from third-party companies like Gumstix.

Here are the key specs for the new Compute Module 4:

Processor1.5 GHz Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 processor
GraphicsVideoCore VI
RAM1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4-3200
Storage(Optional) 8GB, 16GB, 32GB eMMC
Wireless(Optional) WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
EthernetGigabit Ethernet support
Video I/O2 x HDMI interfaces (up to 4K)
2 x MIPI DSI display interfaces
2 x MIPI CSI-2 camera interfaces
GPIO28 pins
PCIePCI Express 2.0 interface
Price$25 – $90

There are a lot of options that go into determining the price, but in a nutshell what you get for $25 is a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Lite featuring 1GB of RAM, no onboard storage, and no support for wireless.

A top-of-the-line 8GB RAM, 32GB storage, WiFi & Bluetooth model will set you back $90.

And you want a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, and wireless support, that will set you back $40 – basically those upgrades (double the RAM, add storage, and add WiFi and Bluetooth) costs $5 each

You can find a complete breakdown of hte pricing near the end of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module product brief.

via Raspberry Pi and CNX-Software

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4 replies on “Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is smaller, faster, and more capable”

  1. Very disappointing that this ends physical compatibility with the earlier CMs. I’m sure there were technical reasons they had to move away from the SODIMM-style connector but it’s still a let down that you can’t directly upgrade CM0 and CM3 devices to the CM4.

    1. I’m thinking that it’s the pcie 2.0 compatibility which motivated the change. I’m waiting for the official 64bit OS and vulkan software updates.

    2. The reason for the change was that the interface need to support many more things. Things that have many more pins than the 200-pin SO-DIMM could support. The RPi4 has two HDMI connectors, USB 3.0, PCIe, and the normal GPIO header, among several other pins here and there. The SO-DIMM connector can’t support all of that.

      In addition to that, I’m assuming that part of the reason was that the connector isn’t appropriate for the types of high-speed data lines that some of those things need. EMI and EFI emissions are an issue with USB 3.0, and only certain connectors are appropriate.

      I think it was a great decision from a PCB design standpoint. I designed a laptop motherboard a while ago to use the RPi3 compute-module. Among several complaints I had with it, the biggest one was that it was far too difficult to mount a cooling-solution on the SOC. I wanted to mount it face-down on the aluminum chassis, but the SO-DIMM connector isn’t meant to support pressure like that.

      I might revisit this idea with the Rpi4 CM, but I think the integration of PCIe would make the prototyping a bit more involving than I can manage at the moment.

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