For years, the Raspberry Pi has been the premier single-board computer for hobbyists. These devices cost as little as $5 and include all the core components of a computer, but there are also more powerful versions. The latest Raspberry Pi 4 has a new model with 8GB of RAM. Combined with its quad-core ARM chip and ample I/O options, the latest Raspberry Pi 4 can take on even more tasks that would have required a PC in the past. It even has a new 64-bit OS to leverage all that RAM.
The Raspberry Pi 4 launched last year in 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB RAM configurations. The rest of the hardware was a solid improvement over past versions with a pair of HDMI outputs, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, and a quad-core Cortex-A72 ARM chip clocked at 1.5GHz. There’s even a USB-C port for power. Although, the first board revision had a flaw that prevented many USB cables from supplying power.
There was no 8GB RAM option at launch because there was no 8GB LPDDR4 chip compatible with the circuit board. It took a little work to accommodate the additional RAM on the Raspberry Pi 4. Designers had to remove the old switch-mode power supply from the right side of the board (near the USB-A ports), adding a higher capacity switcher next to the USB-C port on the left.
The official Raspberry Pi Linux build also needed some work. Until now, Debian-based Raspbian OS only came in 32-bit. 32-bit systems can only address about 4GB of RAM, so the 8GB module would go to waste. There are third-party operating systems that will see all that RAM, but the official Raspbian is now available as a 64-bit image. The Raspberry Pi foundation notes this is still an “early beta,” though.
The 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 is available now at various retailers for $75, which is $20 more than the 4GB edition. That extra RAM could be a real boon to several popular Raspberry Pi projects. For example, a media server like Plex or Kodi should be more responsive on the new 8GB version. The same goes for running a Minecraft server, which is bundled with Raspbian. The Raspberry Pi is all about creativity, and you can get more creative with 8GB of RAM than 4GB.
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