The Raspberry Pi 4
Today, the Raspberry Pi 4 B has been released.
What we love:
- USB3 and Gigabit Ethernet
It seems that the new Pi4 now has a full USB3 interface that allows to use the full performance of USB3 and Gigabit Ethernet
- 4k video
Finally the Pi4 can handle 4k video.
- x265 video decoding
As most 4k content is encoded with the newer x265 codec, this totally makes sense.
- USB-C power connector
USB-C connectors are much more robust than the Micro-USB connectors
- More memory
In general, it’s a good thing to have the option to have more RAM. Do you really need it? Most users will still be fine with 1GB RAM, but if you run a lot of software on the system, 4GB could be a good choice. We don’t think that there really is a need for a 2GB version.
What we don’t like:
- 5V/3A power supply
Yes, the Pi4 seems to consume more energy than the Pi3. As many USB power supplies are designed for 2.5A maximum power output, we expect some instabilities with cheaper power supplies.
Why? Adding a robust USB-C power connector, but changing HDMI form the standard and robust HDMI connector to the smaller Micro-HDMI connector isn’t a good choice. That means: special cables and/or adapters.
There might be a few customers that want to use 2 screens, but for the majority of people, one full-size HDMI output would have been a better choice.
- Micro-SD card
Yes, it’s the cheapest way to add storage, but it would have been nice to finally see an option for eMMC flash
Q: Do I still need a HiFiBerry sound card?
A: The Pi4 still uses a PWM sound output similar to previous models. Therefore, don’t expect high quality sound from the onboard sound. A HiFiBerry sound card is still the right choice for optimal sound quality.
Q: Is it compatible with HiFiBerry board x?
A: The Raspberry Pi 4 is compatible with all HiFiBerry boards that are currently available.
Q: Can I just replace my Pi3 with the Pi4?
A: No, existing software needs to be upgraded to support the new CPU. This will at least require an update.
Q: Should I upgrade my Pi2 or Pi3?
A: If you’re using the Pi for music playback, there is no need to upgrade. We still know people using the first Raspberry Pi board that has been released 7 years ago. Music playback doesn’t require a lot of CPU power and/or bandwidth. Therefore, the music playback experience won’t be better with a newer Pi. Even older systems are powerful enough! If you still have a Pi1 or 2, use them. One advantage these systems have is the lower power consumption.
If you want to use it as a video player, it depends. If you want to use 4k video it’s easy: go for the newer Pi4. It supports more modern codecs and 4k video. If all your video and/or TV is just HD, the Pi3 would still be our first choice as we really don’t like the Mini-HDMI connectors of the Pi4
Q: Can I still buy the Pi3?
A: Yes, the Pi3 is still available and will be for a long time. This is important especially for users that have created their own solutions based on the Pi3. Replacing the Pi3 by the Pi4 can be challenging for various reasons: different connectors, different CPU, higher power consumption. Therefore, if your solutions is designed around the Pi3, we do not recommend to change it.
Q: Are existing cases still be compatible?
A: No, they aren’t. While the size of the board and some of the connectors haven’t change, the new Micro-HDMI connectors and the USB-C power connector require new cutouts in the cases and none of the existing cases is compatible. We’re working on new cases for the Pi. The universal case will be available very soon.
Q: Do I need a fan now?
A: While the Raspberry Pi 4 consumes more energy than the Pi3 and runs hotter, it is still designed to work without a fan. In usual use-cases, there is no need for active cooling.
June 24, 2019