The new Raspberry Pi 4 is here and they are slowly moving from microcenters and Amazon distribution sites to desktops and workbenches around the world. Before you pull out a fancy new USB-C cable and connect these pis, you should know what you're getting into. The latest Raspberry Pi is amazingly fast. Not only that, but thanks to the new System on Chip, it is now a viable platform for a cheap homebrew NAS, a streaming server, or anything else that requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth. This is the Pi of the future.
The Raspberry Pi 4 has a BCM2711B0 system-on-chip, a quad-core Cortex-A72 processor with a clock speed of up to 1.5 GHz and up to 4 GB of RAM (with indications of impending 8 GB) Execution). The Pi's previous incarnation, the Model 3 B +, used a BCM2837B0 SoC, a 1
Pi 4 is a completely different piece of hardware
The standard for benchmarking a Raspberry Pi and other single-board computers is Roy Longbottom's Raspberry Pi benchmarks. Yes, you have to compile it. When we released the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B +, we were able to ignore many of these benchmarks because the memory chip and GPU were identical to the Raspberry Pi 2. There would simply be no significant difference apart from the clock rate, which was not very significant at first. This time it is different. The Pi 4 brings a completely new SoC, a new GPU, new RAM and everything new. The question is, is that important? These tests compare the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B + with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B +.
The LINPACK test simply solves linear equations and is a good enough test of raw CPU performance. The test is available in two variants: single and double accuracy. The huge increase in Linpack benchmarks is directly attributable to the change in the SoC. The Raspberry Pi 3 contained a cortex-A53 with four cores, the "efficient" core of the family. The Cortex-A72 found in the Raspberry Pi 4 has a larger cache and the Linpack measurement is partly a measure of the cache size.
The results show a significant gain over the Raspberry Pi 3. This is, however, it's just a test of how fast a computer can multiply, and there's a lot more in terms of speed System flows. For example, memory bandwidth.
The Pi has a 32-bit memory bus for years, though it does not really matter because you can only get a Raspberry Pi 3 with 1GB of RAM. Years ago, the RAM was soldered directly to the SoC, which meant that the production of this model was stopped when the production of this RAM chip was discontinued. RAM has always been the limiting factor for the Pi. This has changed with the Pi 4. We now have a SoC with more data and address lines going to RAM. Oh, and we now have more than 1GB of RAM. How does it work?
The Pi 4 has a significant increase in memory bandwidth, but that buries the LED. You can now get a Pi with 4GB of RAM, and the 8GB version has been unofficially announced in official datasheets. If I guess, we can expect the 8GB version in about a year. As for the memory bandwidth? Who cares – we now have four times as much RAM.
Network performance far surpasses Pi 3 in cable and wireless.
Since 2012, there has been a problem with the architecture of the Raspberry Pi, especially the popular model B: the USB ports and the Ethernet all depend on a single USB hub. From the first Raspberry Pi Model B to the last month's Raspberry Pi 3 Model B +, the USB ports and Ethernet port were controlled via a LAN7500 chip. This chip turns a single USB connection (on SoC) into a few USB ports and an Ethernet controller. While this is a large part of adding ports to a system on a chip, there is a bandwidth limitation: everything must be done over a USB 2.0 connection, so the maximum combined throughput is 480 Mbps. Gigabit Ethernet was impossible, no matter what in the datasheet of the LAN7500, and any use of the USB connections would affect the bandwidth of the Ethernet.
The good news is that the new SoC in the Raspberry Pi 4 has an Ethernet controller:
The Ethernet connection is occupied by all accounts. This was a test to ping, download and upload speedtest.net. I'm lucky enough to have fast (and cheap) fiber, and in any case, the Raspberry Pi 4 shuts down the bits as fast as my router allows. However, the Raspberry Pi 3 is hampered by the USB to Ethernet controller. The Raspberry Pi 4 is now a competent 4K streaming box, and not just because this is the Raspberry Pi that supports 4K HDMI.
But what about WiFi? The Raspberry 3B + has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on board, thanks to a CYW43455, the Cypress chipset hidden under the pretty RF shield with the Raspberry Pi logo. The Raspberry Pi 4 loses the embossed HF socket, but is the performance better than that of the 3B +?
The wireless in the Raspberry Pi 4 is better. While wired connections are getting better, the Raspberry Pi 4 easily pulls 85 Mbps from the router through the room. The Raspberry Pi 3 could only handle between 20 and 30 Mbps in the same environment.
Conclusion: Reactive Fast as a Daily Driver
The Raspberry Pi was originally developed as a small, inexpensive Linux educational computer. If you were to give a child a computer, they would learn STEM or something in that sense. However, computer education is mainly an osmosis education. You can not tell someone how to code. You can not teach someone how to use a spreadsheet. You need practical time. So far, the Raspberry Pi platform has lagged behind traditional desktops, laptops and Chromebooks in terms of performance and speed. This reduces the impact of the Pi on education.
Now the Raspberry Pi is on par with every desktop experience. If the Raspberry Pi 3 is a capable computer that slides under your workbench when you need a quick look-up, the Raspberry Pi 4 is a capable everyday driver. You could very well use a Raspberry Pi 4 as the main computer. It's fast enough, there's plenty of memory, networking is great, and it can do anything you want with the same responsiveness as a $ 1000 desktop.