Some thoughts on the Raspberry Pi 5

You might already have heard about the upcoming Raspberry Pi 5:

More power, the option to add an SSD and the option for a real power switch – sounds great! However, this all comes at a price – even more than one.

One is the price of the board itself which is higher than the price of the existing Pi3 and Pi4. The Pi5 starts at US$60 recommended retail price, the 8GB version is priced at US$80. In the past we have seen retail prices higher than the recommended pricing, this will probably also happen here.

The other issue is more critical in our opinion: active cooling. The Raspberry Pi foundation writes: “Raspberry Pi 5 has been designed to handle typical client workloads, uncased, with no active cooling. Users who wish to use the board uncased under continuous heavy load, without throttling, have the option of adding a $5 Active Cooler”. This means, even without any case around the Pi, the new Pi5 won’t run on full speed on full load without a fan. With a case around, the situation becomes even more problematic.  The good news is the integrated thermal management of the Pi worked well already on previous Pis. Therefore, we expect no problems also with the Pi5. However, it will probably often throttle its speed when sitting in a closed case without active cooling. In our opinion, that’s not a good choice for a music player. For most music player applications, the older Pi3 and Pi4 models are the better choice in our opinion: Lower power consumption, no active cooling, cheaper price.

Do the HiFiBerry sound cards work with the Pi5? We don’t know yet, but we expect no major issues. We’ll start testing in the next days and we’ll have this information ready before you can buy the Pi5. Stay tuned!

September 28, 2023

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