If you’re a hacker (as in hack stuff together)/developer type, then chances are you already know about and likely own a Raspberry Pi. For those that don’t, it’s a seriously cheap, ultra flexible computing platform that just grew up dramatically with it’s 4th edition.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B comes with some seriously impressive specs, here’s the highlights:
- A 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (~3× performance)
- 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM
- Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
- Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
- Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
- VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
- 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
- Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products
The device comes in 3 memory options, starting at 1GB for the entry level price of US$35, while 2GB will set you back US$45. The most expensive (still a bargain) is the 4GB version at US$55.
If you want to get the details on just how much faster the Raspberry Pi 4 is, then they’ve conveniently published benchmarks you can review right here.
Naturally if you want to ship one over to Australia, you’ll pay a little extra for shipping and taxes, but you get the idea, this computer is crazy cheap. It’s also very different than most computers in that it is BYO almost everything. This computer is designed for such a diverse range of applications, that you decide which case it goes in. By the way, old Raspberry Pi cases don’t fit due to some of the modules being moved.
Some other important changes to the architecture of Raspberry Pi 4 are the change to USB-C power. As many of us now have plenty of USB chargers around, this is incredibly convenient and much appreciated.
There’s also no full-sized HDMI connector. At first you may find that annoying, but they made compromise to it 2x mini HDMI connectors, enabling dual-4K display support at 30fps.. amazing from such a cheap computer.
There’s Gigabit Ethernet if your idea requires super-fast network throughput, along with a couple of USB 3.0 ports.
Raspberry Pi 4 Computer Desktop Kit
One of my favourite accessories is the Raspberry Pi 4 Computer Desktop Kit. This includes a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB RAM, a USB keyboard (with hub) and mouse, SD card, USB-C power supply, Micro HDMI cable and a case for your Pi. That really is a one stop shop for a insanely cheap computer. Basically add a monitor and you’re done.
Price and Availability
There are 2 places you can buy from if you’re an enthusiastic Aussie, the first is Core Electronics, or from PiAustralia. In terms of availability, it seems the 1GB model is available now, while the 2 and 4GB variants are on pre-order with an availability from July 1st.
In Australia, the prices are:
1GB – A$59.95
2GB – A$66.95
4GB – A$94.95
About the only negative of having such a powerful piece of hardware is that it still can’t run Windows 10. Given the specs, that’s kind of strange, but it’s confirmed in the FAQ section of the Raspberry Pi Australia site.
So what can you run on it? The answer, Linux. If you don’t want to run the Raspberry Pi Desktop, you can select from installs like Ubuntu, Windows 10 IoT Core and a number of others.
Regardless of the number of uses you can find, perhaps one of the biggest benefits of having such a low-cost computer is that you can give it to kids to learn to program with. A lot of programming is simply software based, but those looking to find more practical applications for programming may look to a hardware/software combination, powered by Raspberry Pi 4.