Should I upgrade my Raspberry Pi?

Since the release of the new Raspberry Pi 4B+, we receive a lot of questions from users about compatibility of existing boards. Short answer: All currently available HiFiBerry boards are compatible with the Pi4B+.

So, should you upgrade? There is one major use case for the Pi 4 – 4k video. If you want to play back 4k video, you need to upgrade! However, many users use the Raspberry Pi only for music playback. Even a board like the Pi Zero is powerful enough for practically any music playback application. A Pi4 might boot a bit faster, but often the system runs in background the whole time. And this is where another thing gets interesting: power consumption.

Each generation of the Raspberry Pi got more powerful than the previous one. Unfortunately also power consumption increased with each generation. Even if you don’t care about the money that operation of the Pi costs (depending on where you live, it should still not be a huge amount in most cases), higher power consumption also increases heat.

So, let’s have a look at the current consumption of a some generations of the Raspberry Pi. We ran tests with idle systems and full load (using the tool “stress”). In many use cases, the average power consumption will be cloder to the idle mode than to full load.

Systemidleidle with Ethernetstress -c 4stress -c 4 (15 min)
Pi 2B0.22A0.24A0.42A0.42A
Pi 3B0.25A0.28A0.44A0.45A
Pi 4B0.55A0.62A1.09A1.04A

There are slight differences between the 1GB, 2GB and 4GB versions of the Pi4. However, they are very small. While A Raspberry Pi 3B (not the later 3B+) might not be the fastest system, it consumes only half of the energy of the Pi 4.
Therefore, for music playback, we still recommend the older Pi 2/3 models as they will not only save a bit of energy, they will also generate much less heat!

July 15, 2019

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