June 3, 2020 report
Raspberry unveils new 8GB Pi 4 and 64-bit OS
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has finally released the 8GB version of the Pi 4.
The Pi 4 was released a year ago with options for 1GB, 2GB or 4GB RAM and the new version is nearly identical in structure. The one key change is the repositioning of power supply components in order to accommodate higher RAM demands.
In making the long-awaited announcement of the upgrade, Pi officials gave a nod to its premature reference to the 8GB capacity in the Pi 4 instruction manual released last June.
"While we launched with 1GB, 2GB and 4GB variants, even at that point we had our eye on the possibility of an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4," the Raspberry Pi blog reported last week. "We were so enthusiastic about the idea that the non-existent product made its way into both the Beginner's Guide and the compliance leaflet."
The Raspberry Pi 4's BCM2711 chip was built to handle up to 16GB of RAM, but the requisite LPDDR4 SDRAM package that cold handle memory beyond 4GB was not available at the 2019 launch. Micron has since constructed the required part.
Raspberry required several months to redesign the board, removing a switch-mode power supply from the right side of the board and installing a new switcher next to the USB-C power connector. Further delays were caused by interruptions to the distribution of inductors from the Far East due to COVID-19.
The 8GB Pi 4 is on sale now for $75.
Also released last week is a beta of its own 64-bit operating system image so users can take full advantage of the expanded memory. The operating system, which sports a new name, Raspberry Pi OS, contains the same set of applications found on the 32-bit version. Users who prefer non-beta operating systems can use Ubuntu and Gentoo for 64-bit functionality.
The Pi 4 sports a quad-core Cortex-A72 1.5GHz ARM chip, two HDMI outputs, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports and gigabit Ethernet.
The Raspberry Foundation said the additional memory will prove valuable for do-it-yourselfers demanding more power for larger projects.
"If you're a power user, intending to compile and link large pieces of software or run heavy server workloads, or you simply want to be able to have even more browser tabs open at once," the Raspberry blog said, "this is definitely the Raspberry Pi for you."
Early last month, Raspberry launched an interchangeable camera system featuring a 12.3 mega-pixel Sony back-illuminated sensor camera board. The board is $50, a 10-megapixel C-mount lens is an additional $50.
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