The Raspberry Pi single board computer or SBC was originally designed to be used in education. That purpose formed its features and, most importantly, its price. Seven years later, however, the Raspberry Pi has grown to become one of the most popular and most loved computer by educators, hackers, and makers but it has more or less retained its relatively modest capabilities. The new Raspberry Pi 4 breaks away from the tradition by making a huge jump in hardware but miraculously still manages to keep its base price tag the same since 2012.
The previous Raspberry Pis were admittedly underpowered for other ARM-based devices of their times but that was fine. The SBC wasn’t exactly designed to be a powerful computer but that didn’t stop makers and even other companies for putting it to use in ways the original RPi makers probably didn’t imagine. For the fourth generation, the Foundation is mostly pulling out all the stops.
The Raspberry Pi 4 upgrades almost everything that there’s no one new thing to focus on. There’s a new 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex-A72 CPU that’s noted to be 3x faster than the previous chip. Gigabit Ethernet is now part of the package along with Bluetooth 5.0.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Pi now supports dual monitors thanks to having two micro HDMI ports replacing the single full HDMI. There are now two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports and, just like with phones, the board is now powered via USB-C.
What’s pretty amazing is how the Raspberry Pi manages to mostly retain its compatibility with any and all accessories (except cases) and starts at the same $35 too. That said, for the first time ever, they are now also offering multiple RAM configurations at higher prices, with 2 GB going up to $45 and a whopping 4 GB (high for an SBC) up to $55. The added power and capabilities will definitely make the Raspberry Pi 4 a better fit for some uses cases, including running full Linux desktops.