Up Close with the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

Released at the end of June 2019, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is a significant improvement in terms of hardware. Labelled the ‘Ultimate’ Raspberry Pi, this new generation offers true desktop computing power.

There’s a lot to like about the Raspberry Pi 4: Up to 4GB of on-board memory, a faster quad-core CPU, support for dual 4K displays via a pair of micro-HDMI ports, and more. Let’s take a look at the Pi 4 and see what its got under-the-hood.

1 – Memory

The RPi4 now comes with a choice of memory: 1GB, 2GB, or a 4GB model. The more memory means you’re able to have more applications open, without degrading the overall performance of the Pi.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Main

2 – USB 3.0

The inclusion of a couple of USB 3.0 ports is an excellent choice. The faster data bandwidth of USB 3.0 will, for example, enable the Pi to read and write that data, both to and from an external drive, far quicker than ever before.

3 – Dual Display

In a shock move the team behind the Pi 4 decided to include a pair of micro-HDMI ports. This means you’re able to connect two monitors for dual-screen displays.

4 – Improved Processing

The 1.5GHz, 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, is the driving force behind the Pi 4’s improved performance. Thanks to this CPU, you’re able to enjoy faster apps and content.

5 – Improved GPU

With a VideoCore 6 GPU, the Pi 4 is capable of 4K resolutions at 60FPS (Frames per Second), and thanks to some tweaks to the video codes in both Raspbian and the version of VLC packaged with Raspbian, the Pi 4 is now a pretty decent media device.

6 – Connectivity

Now with Bluetooth 5.0, alongside 802.11 b/g/n/ac wireless, and a gigabit Ethernet port, the Pi 4 is certainly well connected.

Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Pricing

Since the Raspberry Pi 4 now offers three different versions within the new model, it stands to reason that the pricing for it has changed slightly. The 1GB memory version of the Pi 4 is priced at around £34, depending on where you shop. The 2GB memory version is on sale for around £44, while the top-end, 4GB memory version will set you back in the region of £54. Together with the cost of the Pi itself, you will also need to factor in one or two micro-HDMI cables (depending on whether you want to connect one or two monitors), each costing roughly £5-plus.

Pi 4 Spec Sheet

  • 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (ARM v8, BCM2837)
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB RAM (LPDDR4)
  • On-board wireless LAN – dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac
  • On-board Bluetooth 5.0, low-energy (BLE)
  • 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • Power-over-Ethernet  (requires the Raspberry Pi POE HAT)
  • 40-pin GPIO header
  • 2× micro-HDMI ports (up to 4Kp60 supported)
  • H.265 (4Kp60 decode)
  • H.264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES, 3.0 graphics
  • DSI display port, CSI camera port
  • Combined 3.5mm analogue audio and composite video jack
  • Micro-SD card slot
  • USB-C power
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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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