Raspberry PI debuts Model 4

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Raspberry PI debuts Model 4
The Raspberry Pi Model 4

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced a new model of its flagship single board computer.

The new Model 4 boasts a quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 64-bit processor that can hit 1.5GHz and is said to run “up to three times faster than its predecessor.”

There’s now a second HDMI port that can handle two monitors at 4K resolution. USB’s been upgraded to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 delivers faster transfer and can hit 5 Gbps.

But the big change is in the graphics stack, which now uses the Mesa V3D driver developed by Eric Anholt at Broadcom. The new code means the Pi gains OpenGL-accelerated web browsing and desktop composition, plus the ability to run 3D applications in a window under X.

Importantly to the Foundation’s goals, it also almost-halves the closed-source code in the machine.

Micro-USB has been dismissed as the source of power: that job’s been given to USB-C, which the Pi Foundation points out “…supports an extra 500mA of current, ensuring we have a full 1.2A for downstream USB devices, even under heavy CPU load.”

The Pi’s Ethernet port can now reach 1 Gbps while WiFi now has dual-band wireless capabilities on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

The new model comes in three variants with one, two and four gigabytes of RAM respectively. The base model costs US$35, with each step up in RAM adding $10 to the price.

Australian Pi reseller Core Electronics lists the new machines at AU$59.95, $66.95 and $94.95.

Core also has the $219 desktop kit that bundles a 4GB Pi Model 4 with keyboard, mouse, case, power supply, twin HDMI cables and a 32GB microSD card with a cut of the Raspbian OS based on Debian 10 Buster. As that OS is rather easier on the eye, the Foundation is cheekily suggesting that the Model 4 could serve as a desktop computer.

And why not? There’s plenty of power in the new machine. And if it’s not used as a desktop, the new machine will also do fine driving digital signage thanks to the extra HDMI port. The existence of an optional power-over-ethernet module means it’s also able to run in places other computers can’t go.

Your correspondent is currently using a Pi to recover data from an old disk and shunt it into a cloud storage locker. It’s stayed up for a month, drives a hefty monitor without complaint and shows no signs of flagging. With extra performance, memory and a friendlier OS, there’s no reason the Pi won’t find ever more uses!

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