What just happened? Are you a big fan of single-board computers? Then here’s some good news: the Raspberry Pi foundation has just released a new, $75 Raspberry Pi 4 model that comes with 8GB of RAM. And to make the most of this memory increase, a 64-bit version of its operating system is being released in early beta form.
Back in June last year, the foundation released the latest version of its incredibly popular Raspberry Pi board—the Raspberry Pi 4. Now, a new Pi 4 board has joined the 2GB and 4GB models, but while the RAM has increased to 8GB, everything else remains the same, barring some power supply components being moved around.
The board features a Broadcom BCM2711 chip, which uses four ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 1.5GHz, along with Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, USB-C for the power brick, and two micro-HDMI ports that support two 4K displays. You also get dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0.
The BCM2711 chip supports up to 16GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM, but “the real barrier to our offering a larger-memory variant was the lack of an 8GB LPDDR4 package,” said Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading and co-founder of The Raspberry Pi Foundation. “These didn’t exist (at least in a form that we could address) in 2019, but happily our partners at Micron stepped up earlier this year with a suitable part.”
The foundation says the extra memory will be useful for compiling large pieces of software, running heavy server loads, or for merely having more browser tabs open at once.
To take full advantage of this extra memory, a 64-bit version of the foundation’s official operating system, Raspbian, has been released in early beta, though it’s now called Raspberry Pi OS.
Upton writes that “power users, who want to be able to map all 8GB into the address space of a single process, need a 64-bit userland,” and while there are options such as Ubuntu and Gentoo available, the Raspberry Pi OS is now available as a 64-bit image in addition to the existing 32-bit image.
For those who don’t need 8GB in their Raspberry Pi 4, the 4GB version is available for $55, and the 2GB model is just $35.