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Raspberry Pi 4 Review

Raspberry Pi 4 Review

Raspberry Pi Foundation announced its new Raspberry Pi 4 in June 2019.

As you know, Raspberry Pi came out as a simple mini computer designed to teach and endear children to coding. However, it has become a very versatile and popular device which can be used for many different purposes, especially for hobbyists.

Before the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, I have discussed the anticipated features of this mini computer in my previous article. This mini computer is now available and I will share my review of Pi 4 in this article.

Raspberry Pi 4 Specifications

The main features of the Pi 4 are as follows:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz Processor
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Full Capacity Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 Ports and 2 USB 2.0 Ports
  • Standard 40 Pin GPIO Fully Compatible with Older Models
  • 2 × Micro-HDMI Port With 4Kp60 Support
  • 2 Way MIPI DSI Display Port
  • 2 Way MIPI CSI Camera Port
  • 4-Pole Stereo Audio and Composite Video Port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 Support
  • Micro-SD Card Slot
  • 5V DC via USB Type-C Connector
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Raspberry Pi 4 Components

Let’s now look at these components in more detail.

Processor and Memory

Raspberry Pi 4 is powered by Cortex-A72 architecture. Featuring a quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz, the Pi 4 can decode H.265 in hardware. Of course, the high processing power comes with high temperature, and during my tests I found that if you are using Pi 4 in a box, the Pi 4 CPU temperature is around 60-65 degrees celcius. If you have a CPU-intensive application, the CPU can reach up to 90 degrees celcius. That’s why we’ll see fan-cooled Pi cases more often in near future.

Previous Raspberry Pi models have been available with 512 MB or 1 GB RAM for years, which can be a problem for some applications. The Raspberry Pi 4 now comes with three different memory options: 1, 2 and 4 GB. In addition, LPDDR4 technology has now been introduced.

Raspberry Pi 4 Enhanced with Broadcom 2711 SoC

Display

Another part that has renewed in Pi 4 is the video outputs. The new Pi now has two Micro HDMI outputs, which are located on the old models HDMI port. You can use the Pi 4 as a powerful media device by connecting it to a television or monitor, with 4K 60 FPS dual video output capacity from both ports. In addition, you can do quite good visual applications such as digital signage and kiosk. For good display performance, increase the amount of GPU memory from the default value of 64MB to 512 MB by using raspi-config.

Raspberry Pi 4 Has 2 Micro HDMI ports

Network Connections and USB

The IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ ac wireless network interface, which is introduced with the Raspberry Pi 3, is also available on the Pi 4 with a full-capacity Gigabit Ethernet port that communicates directly to SoC. Raspberry Pi 4 has now two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports with Bluetooth 5.0 BLE support.

Power Specifications

As you can imagine, the power requirement of more powerful Pi 4 has increased. Assuming you’ll use a dual HDMI port with the USB components, you’ll need to use at least a 3A charger with the new Pi. If the USB peripherals consume less than 500mA in total, a good quality 5V 2.5A power supply can also be used.

Unlike previous models, the new Pi 4 has a USB Type-C port which is used for power input, but there are some problems due to a design error related to this port. Very roughly speaking, if you use high quality Type-C cables with a chip, the power adapter assumes Pi 4 as an audio device and refuses to give more power. You can solve this problem by using a low-quality Type-C cable. A very detailed article about the Type-C problem can be found here.

Comparison with Raspberry Pi 3 Models

When we compare Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with Pi 3 Model B+ which was introduced last year, we see that there are significant differences between them. The most important of these is the amount of CPU and RAM as you can imagine. With the Broadcom 2711 SoC, the new Pi 4 proves to be a highly performance computer with a nearly three times increase in performance compared to the Pi 3, and with three different RAM options which are 1, 2 and 4GB. Another important innovation is two Micro HDMI ports with 4K support. So now you have more options for your visual projects.

Pi 3 vs. Pi 4

The following table details the main differences between the Pi 3 and Pi 4 models:

Raspberry Pi 3 BRaspberry Pi 3 B+Raspberry Pi 4 B
CPUBroadcom BCM2837A1(B0) Quad-core Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC@ 1.2GHzBroadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.4GHzBroadcom 2711 Quad-core Cortex A72 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
RAM1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM1-2-4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Network & Connections2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN
Bluetooth 4.1, BLE
4 x USB 2.0 Ports
2.4 and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN
Bluetooth 4.2, BLE
4 x USB 2.0 Ports
Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0 (300Mbps)
2.4 and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN
Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
2x USB 2.0 + 2x USB 3.0 Ports
Gigabit Ethernet
Video & Audio1 x Full Size HDMI
1 X MIPI DSI Display Port
1 X MIPI CSI Camera Port
4 Pole 3.5mm Audio + Composite Video Port
1 x Full Size HDMI
1 X MIPI DSI Display Port
1 X MIPI CSI Camera Port
4 Pole 3.5mm Audio + Composite Video Port
2 x Micro HDMI, 4K
1 X MIPI DSI Display Port
1 X MIPI CSI Camera Port
4 Pole 3.5mm Audio + Composite Video Port
MultimediaH.264, MPEG-4 Decode (1080p30)
H.264 Encode (1080p30)
OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0
H.264, MPEG-4 Decode (1080p30)
H.264 Encode (1080p30)
OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0
H.265 Decode (4kp60)
H.264 Decode (1080p60)
H.264 Encode (1080p30)
OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0, 3.0
PowerMicro USB – 5V /2.5A DC Micro USB – 5V /2.5A DC
CPoE
USB Type-C 5V/3A DC
PoE

Because of the updated power input, HDMI and USB ports, the case design has changed. So if you’re going to use it with a box, you’ll need an up-to-date Pi 4 compatible box.

Raspberry Pi 4 Price

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has continued the fixed price policy tradition in this model too. It is possible to buy the starter version(1GB) for $ 35. Pricing for different RAM options can be found in the table below:

Amount of RAMPrice
1 GB$35
2 GB$45
4 GB$55

According to its website, Raspberry Pi 4 will remain in production until at least January 2026. So, like other Raspberry Pi’s, it seems to be a long-term computer as it’s predecessors.