The new Raspberry Pi 4 is out and about. The new model has something folk have been screaming for i.e. 2GB and 4GB RAM options, not only that but BUSTER, the new version of Raspbian which is not only supported but recommended – and it is backward compatible. In my limited experience it is also beautiful. Read the July 9 update after the break… I wrote the original article when the Pi4 first appeared but a lot has happened since then – see also the comments in here.
The Raspberry Pi site states prices (in US dollars) from $35 for the 1GB RAM version, up to $55 for the 4GB version. The new board has both USB2 and USB3 but the original standard HDMI connector has gone in favour of two micro HDMI connectors, great for 4K dual screen action, all good stuff but totally wasted if you’re planning headless operation. We are now looking at a 64-bit 1.5Ghz quad core Cortex A72 (Arm V8). There is now USB-C for power – (3 amps). The new board is supposed to be backward-compatible with previous models and the new operating system version (Buster)certainly is in my very limited experience (I’ve been using Jessie for a long time now). I’m awaiting delivery of the 2GB model of the RPI4 just to get extra RAM without losing the very useful RPI-Clone (and let’s not forget the extra speed). Gigabit Ethernet is of course built-in along with Bluetooth 5.0 and WIFI. I’m assuming that serial port remains as grim as in the past (competitors have up to 4 serial ports) but that’s just an assumption. I’ll soon report on that first hand.
Not sure about HDR yet for the video and we never did get a decent Android + PlayStore running on the Pi3 – my own Pi use case does not involve multimedia as I prefer a decent Android-9-based TV box such as the H96 Max – but that’s just me. If a TV box won’t run ShowBox then I’m not interested. As a home controller however, having tried many different SBCs over recent years, I remain committed to the Raspberry Pi so the Model 4 is likely to get at least one job, probably two or more.
Note that Pi4 quoted UK prices are £34-£54 depending on which memory option you go for. With the upper-end RAM pricing being a tad high I can see lots of life remaining in existing competition, some of which has had 2GB or more RAM for some time.
On June 24, 2019 first thing in the morning, I checked the links from the raspberrypi.org site. In the UK, Pimoroni and Pi Hut showed as £34 for the basic model – in stock, meanwhile in the USA, PiShopUS link was dead, Newark.com had no stock ($35 for the basic model), Chicago Electronic Distributors had no stock ($35 for the basic model), in Spain (and Italy), Kubii wanted 37.95 Euros for the basic model and (in Spain) Tiendatec wanted 38.95 Euros for same.
So there it is, a brand new Raspberry Pi and if TKaiser is right, sequential SD data transfer rates should potentially be twice as fast, up from 25MB/S to 50MB/S with the right SD cards as the Pi4 supports switching to 1.8v apparently. I can’t wait.
grep -rl stretch /etc/apt/ | sudo xargs sed -i 's/stretch/buster/g'
sudo apt update && sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt purge timidity lxmusic gnome-disk-utility deluge-gtk evince wicd wicd-gtk clipit usermode gucharmap gnome-system-tools pavucontrol
I have taken the plunge and upgraded (the least-recommended route apparently) my fully up-to-date RPI 3 installation based on Raspbian Stretch, to Buster (using nothing more than the 3 lines you see above above (as user pi). When I say installation, my setup was/is WAY too involved to simply start from scratch – had the upgrade above not worked, I would have had to stay with Raspbian Stretch. Once again I stand by rpi-clone because using it gave me the confidence to go ahead with this upgrade. and the (massive) set of updates referred to below.
Why is this a big deal? Well, the PI3 here is one of my two home control setups of which some of you are well aware – which include Node-Red and many nodes including my own BigTimer (well, lots of them actually) and many other nodes designed by myself and others (mostly others), NGINX, Maria, SQLITE, MQTT, PHP, Grafana with InfluxDB, Blynk and so much more…. the whole lot had to work for the upgrade to Buster to be practical for me – and guess what – it does work (including audio using Amazon and MPG123), which means there’s a DAMNED good chance the Pi4 will work without a hitch when it arrives.
Excited? You bet.
Update July 09, 2019: As if the last update to Buster wasn’t enough, after 4 days at the coast enjoying Spanish sunshine, this afternoon I ran “sudo apt-get update” and “sudo apt-get upgrade” again to get a MASSIVE set of updates but not before making a backup. with rpi-clone. 100MB extra storage used and MASSIVE upgrading – I’m so glad I’m using a 16GB SD and not an 8GB which by now would be well and truly overflowing.
I’m not sure I’m able to convey the scale of the many, MANY hundreds of package upgrades that just took place automatically – See the snippet. In future I think I may move to 32GB SDs just to give plenty of margin for expansion and wear-levelling. That seems to be the current recommendation. Given the time this last update took, I can see how moving to RPI-4 will be sensible – I sat here for an hour or so watching processing of updates that were not requested as little as a week ago on my Raspberry Pi 3 B+. Unbelievable. Incidentally I left dhcpcd.conf as-is when asked if I wanted to change it. Testing took longer than the installation. You can’t be too careful.
Despite the above, as far as I am able to tell, everything is working, just as it was after the initial upgrade to Buster.
As for the size of this new monster and the number of updates - https://bitbucket.org/snippets/scargill/rAyKaa/first-big-upgrade-july-9-2019-after-buster
To say that I am stunned that this last update/upgrade all worked apparently flawlessly would be an understatement. I’ve checked sound including cached and uncached Amazon AWS (Emily), Node-Red and the UI, MQTT, Blynk, SQlite inc SQLite Admin, Pi-Hole, PiVPN, Grafana, PHPSysInfo, MCEDIT, Maria using phpMyAdmin, I2c using Python… you name it, I’ve checked. AND, I still have nearly 500 MB of RAM free on my Pi3 and I’ve 6GB of 14GB free (it was a 16GB Sandisk Ultra SD)… can’t wait to try the Pi4 at the weekend. I think I’ll order a 32GB Sandisk Ultra SD for good measure.
July 11, 2019: Note that GSMARENA refers to a potential issue with the USB-C power connector on the RPI-4 – be aware of this if using a non-official power lead.
In Spain I found the official RPI4 supply supply available at €8.95 which is not great ….that does not include post but it DOES include VAT. The RPI site has links for suppliers in all supported countries. raspipc.es are more expensive but the postage is lower. Kubii in the Spanish section appear to cover France rather than Spain – I could be wrong.
So, it is starting to look like the real price of a Pi4 1GB is more like €38 + €14 for a power supply plus a heatsink and fan and post? Could be life in the old PI3 B+ yet (with Buster of course). Time will tell. Pi4 Desktop kit comes to €130 or thereabouts – one could buy a mini-PC for much less from China. Kubii in Spain want €48.95 for the 2GB basic Pi4. Add PSU and post and you are looking at €62.43 without case or heatsink. Add case at 5.95 + post and then at a minimum add a heatsink…. British, Italian and French prices will be similar. I do hope RPI are not losing the plot here. As for education, what schools can afford to pay for lots of those kits? None where I live in the UK that’s for sure. On the contrary a little ESP-32 board with display costs what? €14 – add supply – total less than €20. Not as powerful of course but then schools have very little money and anything is better than nothing. ESP8266 (or ESP32) with Arduino online development environment seems like a good educational starting point.
For me, I have most of the needed extras lying around and I’m sure many readers do but that’s because I’m a techy, not an educator.
July 12, 2019: Meanwhile, Mr Shark has written in about potential heat issues with RPi4 and pointed me to hackster.io – here’s a link to the hackster.io page where they suggest a fan and some software to control the fan, (ultimately a quiet Pimoroni fan shim).
July 14. 2029: Be aware that I have upgraded my Raspberry Pi 3 successfully to Buster from Stretch as you see above – NO problems and will soon report on RPI4. HOWEVER, I’ve ALSO tried a completely fresh install of the SCRIPT on Buster, up to now with very little success. I took a virgin PI3, installed BUSTER on it (the full version desktop without the recommended software). No I didn’t use NOOBS.
The SCRIPT (or rather some of its contents) failed miserably). Node-Red worked though SQLITE3 node (surprise surprise) node apparently failed. No Mosquitto MQTT. No Java 8. When I tried my web page that would not come up so I’m assuming the web service is also dead. No Grafana… at this point I don’t yet have solutions so I’m going to stick to upgrading from stretch. If anyone wants the LOG file for the install I can make that available. If anyone has definitive solutions for the failures please do write in..