The Raspberry Pi 4 is a massive improvement over the Pi 3 in terms of processing power—all while maintaining the $35 price tag that has allowed us all to amass an obscene number of Pis.
In a drastic departure from past Raspberry Pis, the Pi 4 is actually available in three different versions, each featuring a different amount of RAM: 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB. This clever bit of marketing has allowed the Raspberry Pi Foundation to stick to its low price point while providing us with a path to a more powerful Pi.
The Raspberry Pi 4 differs from the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ in several key areas. Among them: a drastically more powerful 64-bit processor, up to 4X more RAM, USB 3.0 ports, a more powerful GPU capable of 4K video output, dual HDMI ports, Bluetooth 5.0, full-throughput gigabit Ethernet, a new USB-C power port, and more.
What's different? Pi 3 vs. Pi 4
|Feature||Pi 3 Model B+ (Predecessor*)||Pi 4 Model B|
|CPU||1.4GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53||1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 (~3X better performance)|
|RAM||1GB||1GB, 2GB, or 4GB|
|USB ports||4x USB 2.0||2X USB 3.0, 2X USB 2.0|
|Ethernet||Gigabit (max. throughput 300 Mbps)||Gigabit (full throughput)|
|Bluetooth||4.2, BLE||5.0, BLE|
|HDMI||Single HDMI||Dual HDMI, with 4K output|
*Technically, the most recent Pi was the Pi 3 Model A+; however, that Pi had lower specs than the Pi 3 Model B+, so our comparison was done against the previously most powerful Pi.
The Pi 4 is built on a 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, providing about 3X the performance of the Pi 3 Model B+'s ARM Cortex-A53 processor.
The Pi 4 is available in either 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB variants, providing up to 4X the RAM of the Pi 3.
USB 3.0 ports
The Pi 4 features two USB 3.0 ports (in addition to two USB 2.0 ports). The 3.0 ports can be identified by their blue color.
Faster, full pass-through Ethernet
The gigabit Ethernet port is no longer limited to 300Mbps -- full pass-through means you have full access to the port's gigabit capabilities.
The Pi 4 uses the blazing-fast Bluetooth 5.0 spec, providing faster data transfer than the Pi 3's 4.2. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is still supported, of course!
The Pi 4 sports dual micro HDMI ports, both supporting 4K video output! Hello, dual Raspberry Pi monitors and 4K video.
USB-C power port
The Pi 3 features a USB-C port connector, meaning you'll need a micro USB to USB-C adapter to use your old AC adapter.
- Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
- 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM (depending on model)
- 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
- Gigabit Ethernet
- 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
- Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)
- 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
- 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
- 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
- 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
- H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
- OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics
- Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
- 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)
- 5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
- Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient
*A good quality 2.5A power supply can be used if downstream USB peripherals consume less than 500mA in total.
For an even deeper dive of the Pi 4 specs, see the Raspberry Pi's writeup.
"Although it's $35, it's $35 deflating dollars." - Eben Upton
In terms of Raspberry Pi 4 price, you'll still only spend $35 for the base (1GB RAM) Pi 4. There are also 2GB and 4GB versions available for $45 and $55, respectively.
|Pi 3 Model B Variants||Price|
This $35 price point has been an integral part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's business model since 2012. However, the team has noted it's gotten harder to move forward without adjusting for inflation.
Here's a quick table to show how much $35 has inflated since 2012. I included a few popular Raspberry Pi models for reference.
Raspberry Pi price deflation over time
|Model||Release date||2019 Price adjusted for inflation|
|Raspberry Pi B||2012||$35.00|
|Raspberry Pi 2B||2015||$36.13|
|Raspberry Pi Zero||2015||$36.13|
|Raspberry Pi 3B||2016||$36.59|
|Raspberry Pi Zero W||2017||$37.37|
|Raspberry Pi 3B+||2018||$38.28|
|Raspberry Pi 4 (1GB)||2019||$39.04|
"The original form factor is a credit card. That’s the original. Our anchor point is the size of a credit card." - Eben Upton
The Raspberry Pi 4 is the same size and form factor as the Pi 2 and 3: 85mm x 56mm x 17mm. However, the changes in ports mean you'll be needing a new case.
The smaller, less expensive Raspberry Pi Zero W has been incredibly successful. Obviously, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has noticed this success and is already planning for future iterations.
Keep an eye out for more updates. The team definitely has new Raspberry Pi Zero upgrades in the works, in addition to upgrades to the Pi Compute Module!
The Raspberry Pi 4 is an improvement on its predecessor in every conceivable way. More processing power, coupled with smarter ports, means an even wider range of Raspberry Pi projects are now possible that use some new unique Pi HATs!
Buy the Pi 4
Ready to buy the Pi 4? You can get yours here!
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