The Raspberry Pi 4 is updated, and now exceeds the 4GB limit imposed in the previous versions of the Model B of this SBC. You can now purchase the Rasbperry Pi 4 Model B 8GB for about $75. This is a very impressive main memory figure that will allow you to run more processes faster.
Almost a year after Raspberry Pi 4 was launched, the intense work of its developers is once again yielding results to satisfy the most demanding users. The Pi 4 has already been a success, with nearly 3 million units sold, in its 1GB, 2GB and 4GB versions. I am sure that this new SBC with 8 GB will contribute to the further growth of this figure.
Work has focused on minimizing idle states and improving power consumption with workloads, as well as starting to work with the powerful Vulkan graphical API, PXE network boot mode, as well as bug fixes, etc. Now they are excited about the release of this other 8GB version of RAM for the enthusiasts who are not content with what was already there.
Because the BCM2711 chip has not reached its limit, it can address up to 16 GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM. Therefore, there is no physical barrier not to add more than 4GB of memory. The problem was that there was no memory chip of that size and characteristics for SBC so far.
But the Raspberry Pi Foundation has worked with its Micron technology partner to take that step and make the higher capacity chip a reality. The end result is this new Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 8GB, which in other words remains the same as the previous one.
This is quite promising news, since 8GB for an SBC is a very considerable amount. If we look at how the computer industry has evolved with perspective, we see that in the past these amounts in large computers were almost unattainable, and that now they can be put on a single chip on such a small and low-power board.
What Bill Gates supposedly thought (apocryphal quote), about 640 KB of memory should be enough for anyone has become very outdated. The 8GB represents 13,000 times more than that and will not be enough in the near future or depending on which applications.
Other new features of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8 GB
If you think that RAM memory is the only thing that has changed in this new Raspberry Pi, you are wrong. It’s true that many features remain the same, but not all…
The increased capacity of the RAM needs a new package, as well as new components for the power supply on the board (switch, inductors, …), something that has taken months of work and redesign, and something that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has not helped exactly …
And the 64-bit?
As you know, the official operating system images that are used by default in Raspberry Pi 4 still use 32-bit, with LPAE extensions for the kernel, allowing to address more memory like the native 64-bit ones. This allows this large 8GB of memory to be shared, with the limit that a single process could not use more than 3GB. For many users, this is not good at all, especially for heavy processes like Chrome/Chromium when using a lot of open windows simultaneously.
For those users who want to use the full 8GB space of a single process, then they need to ‘stretch’ the 64-bit. For them there are already very interesting options like Ubuntu or Gentoo.
But to give you even more joy, you should know that the Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a Beta of its image for native 64-bit operating systems. So you can use them with this renewed Rasbperry Pi 4 and get all the power you need. These new images have a new name: Raspberry Pi OS. We will have to be very attentive to this new development…
So, from now on, forget the name of Raspbian, which referred to its Debian base. However, the new Raspberry Pi OS is still based on the ARM version of Debian. Nothing has changed, but they have wanted to give it this other name.
Where to buy the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB
You can purchase your SBC Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB board now from the foundation’s official store. It will soon be extended to other stores. The options you have to acquire your board go through:
- Enter the official store.
- Choose the model you want and your country.
- Make your purchase for $75 (note that with the Covid-19 there could be delays).
If you prefer, and you don’t need 8GB, you can buy other versions with less memory capacity for a cheaper price. For example: