Raspberry Pi4 – All of a sudden!


Suddenly and without many reports of its existence, the new version of the Raspberry Pi has arrived just before the summer season.

Most online stores are out of stock already as people rush to get their own Raspberry Pi 4. Why? Well, because not only is it the most popular and versatile single-board computer, but now it’s even more powerful than ever.

While the form factor remains almost the same, the hardware has been upgraded with considerable better components.

One of the most important components is RAM. Previous models had a bus with 30-bits to address memory, so only 1 GB of memory could be reached. This has changed and now the architecture supports a lot more RAM then the previous models.

In fact the Pi 4 uses a 35-bit address bus that could possibly support up to 32 GB of RAM.

Wow, that’s massive ;). We are now able to choose the amount of RAM we want with configurations of 1, 2 and 4 GB of RAM which is plenty for such a tiny device! We could even use it for virtualization since the CPU supports it.

Regarding the processor, we have a 4-core CPU at 1.5 GB built with a 28-nanometer process that is around 2x-4x more performance than the previous models, and not to forget that the energy consumption is also be improved.

The graphics have been updated with VideoCore VI (VC6) and is able to decode 4K video content.

Connectivity-wise, things are just as exciting. The device supports 2 displays (via micro-HDMI), has 2 USB 3.0 enabled ports for faster I/O, BT 5.0 and Wi-Fi ac.

Interestingly though, it has dropped the micro-USB port and now it uses USB-C. Just be sure to get a power adapter and don’t forget to buy some micro-HDMI to HDMI cables.

For us developers, it’s great news. We can already use it with Linux distros like Raspbian in which we can run our software / servers or IoT applications. The GPIO port is exactly the same, so developers won’t feel any difference when dealing with external components.

For .NET lovers like us, we can run .NET Core apps using Raspbian and get the benefits of the improved Pi 4.

However, it’s not possible to run Windows 10 ARM64 on it, as in the Pi 3. As you may already know, there is a community-driven initiative that managed to get full Windows 10 running on the Raspberry Pi 3. https://pi64.win/ (I’m part of it). They even have created a very simple application to install it in a few clicks called “WOA Deployer” (https://github.com/WOA-Project/WOA-Deployer-Rpi) (I’m the developer who created it)

Fortunately, there are people already working on this and depending on the availability of the drivers (new components require new drivers), we may see the full Windows 10 running on the Pi 4 soon. This is something that can is very exciting due to the huge improvement in processing power and memory that could render the Pi 4 into a fully-fledged desktop PC.

Let’s see how it goes in the next few months, but this could be a true game changer for the industry, especially if Windows 10 runs smoothly inside it!



Written by: José Manuel Nieto


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