This morning the Raspberry Pi Foundation took the wraps off of their next generation hobbyist project computer, the Raspberry Pi 4. The eagerly anticipated update to the Raspberry Pi lineup – which is actually arriving a bit ahead of schedule due to some good fortunes in SoC development – offers a significant upgrade to the family thanks to its new 28nm Broadcom SoC, which among other things incorporates a more powerful quad Arm Cortex-A72 CPU cluster. The single-board computer is available now, and like its predecessors, prices start at $35.

Long a favorite for tinkers, makers, and anyone else looking for a project board or a simple computer, the Raspberry Pi family has been around since 2012. Its last full update was in 2016, when the Foundation released the Raspberry Pi 3. In the intervening three years the technology landscape has changed a fair bit, and so has the underlying hardware of the Pi. While still based on Broadcom SoCs, the new Pi incorporates Broadcom’s BCM2711, a 28nm SoC with a quad Cortex-A72 setup along with the company’s VideoCore VI GPU. While the GPU remains nothing to write home about – the Raspberry Pi Foundation prioritizes an open GPU first and foremost – the CPU upgrade is far more interesting. This update replaces the old Cortex-A53 CPU cores with cores from Arm’s much faster high-performance line of out-of-order execution cores. As a result, even with a clockspeed of just 1.5GHz, the Pi 4 is a good deal faster than the Pi 3, not to mention faster than even some mid-range smartphones.

Raspberry Pi
  Raspberry Pi 4
SoC Broadcom BCM2711

4x Cortex-A72
@ 1.5GHz

VideoCore VI
@ 500Mhz
DRAM 1/2/4GB LPDDR4
Storage microSD
Networking 1x Gigabit Ethernet
802.11ac
BT 5.0
USB 2x USB-A 3.0
2x USB-A 2.0
Video Output 2x HDMI 2.0 Type-D
GPIO 17 Pins
Power USB-C (Suggested: 15W, 5.1V/3A)
Dimensions 85.6mm x 56.5mm x 17mm
Price 1GB: $35
2GB: $45
4GB: $55

I/O has also received a much-needed upgrade for the latest Pi. The new SoC brings with it USB 3 support, giving the platform access to SuperSpeed USB data rates for the first time. HDMI support has been similarly bumped to 2.0 (meaning 4K output support), and fittingly, the board can now decode H.264 and H.265 video (another first) at resolutions up to 4K. Networking performance has been upgraded as well with the addition of a full-speed Gigabit Ethernet port, and joining the 802.11ac radio is support for Bluetooth 5.0.

All told, the Foundation is selling 3 different versions of the Raspberry Pi 4, depending on the memory configuration. The $35 model comes with 1GB of LPDDR4, while 2GB and 4GB models are available for $45 and $55 respectively. Which in the case of the latter two models is a significant shot in the arm for the board, as now they have two to four times the memory to play with.

Meanwhile, our sister site Tom’s Hardware already has an early review out, confirming much of what you’d expect from the Raspberry Pi 4 based on the specifications. CPU, memory, and storage performance are all greatly improved over past models, though power consumption has gone up a bit in the process.

Source: Raspberry Pi Foundation

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  • mode_13h - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    They could put eMMC in the $55 version. Certainly, some competing devices have it, in that price range.

    At $46, the ODROID-C2 takes the approach of putting eMMC on a pluggable module. To see what difference it makes, check out their benchmarks:

    https://www.hardkernel.com/shop/odroid-c2/
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    The PINE H64 rev B has an eMMC module slot at only $36. Reply
  • voicequal - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    USB 3.0 attached solid state storage on the Pi 4 should outperform eMMC. This test shows speeds of ~350MB/s:

    https://medium.com/@ghalfacree/benchmarking-the-ra...
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - link

    ^^^ Reply
  • voicequal - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    "...GPU performance are still the worst in this class of device"

    Depends on what you are doing. Pi 4 probably can't hold a match to the Jetson Nano ($100) in OpenGL or Vulkan, but VideoCore's native dispmanx API is pretty powerful and much simpler for bare metal 2D composition, scaling, and layering. That is probably why the Pi is so popular for retro gaming. The faster CPU on the Pi 4 vs Nano doesn't hurt either.

    I get the sense that the GPU SW support isn't fully baked yet. I assume Broadcom is holding to its VideoCore IP for cost reasons, but maintaining OpenGL and (future?) Vulkan drivers can't be cheap either, and it's hard to see them approaching the maturity of NVIDIA.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    It's not a driver/software maturity thing, ultimately. This is a low-budget 28 nm SoC. They probably burned most of the die area on the A72 cores and didn't have enough room left to significantly enlarge the GPU. That's my guess, anyhow. Reply
  • voicequal - Monday, June 24, 2019 - link

    This review reports that the GPU drivers are now open source. If that is the case, then GPU performance will likely improve over time....could be months though.

    https://blog.hackster.io/meet-the-new-raspberry-pi...
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - link

    Yeah, but I'm concerned the theoretical performance is still quite low.

    The driver isn't exactly new. Phoronix has been reporting on the VideoCore V driver for almost 2 years.

    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=search&...

    And the VC6 driver for over 1 year: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=search&...

    And they merged into the V3D driver, not long after that: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&a...

    So, it's not as if it's totally immature software. Presumably, it leveraged quite a bit of the open source VC4 code, as well.
    Reply
  • nevcairiel - Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - link

    More likely years. OpenGL performance with the open-source drivers for VideoCore is horrid, and the proprietary driver requires a horrid proprietary API to be used instead of supporting standard EGL/GLES interfaces. Reply
  • voicequal - Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - link

    I can confirm that EGL & OpenGL ES 2.0 do work on VideoCore 4 with the proprietary driver. You just have to get a native element using this method:

    https://benosteen.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/using-o...
    Reply

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