Review Raspberry Pi 4 – Lots of Potential to Come

hey everybody its la inside bin and we’re taking a look today at the new raspberry pi 4 this is the latest iteration of a very affordable single board computer the start at $35 and this new version is a lot more powerful than the old versions of the device but there are some changes to it as well now one of the things that the Raspberry Pi relies on are a lot of open source projects to deliver a lot of the extended functionality of the device and a lot of those projects related to gaming and home theater and video playback are not yet fully baked on the new hardware so in this video we’re going to be looking at the Raspberry Pi as a general computing device in other words what can you do that you might do on a more expensive computer on this very inexpensive one and then later as some of these open source projects catch up with the hardware we’ll come back and show you some of the other things that you can do with it we often spend a lot of time with the Raspberry Pi here on the channel so it’s very eager to get in this new one to check it out the opening price point on this one is still $35 but there are now two other options that cost a little more that gives you a little more RAM and I’ll go over all of those things here in just a second but I do want

to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all the opinions are about – here are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this new device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware there’s a lot of changes on this one compared to prior iterations of the PI the first big change is the processor it’s got a Broadcom BCM 2711 this has for a seventy two cores built in running at 1.5 gigahertz and this results in a pretty big performance boost that you’ll see when we start messing around with the raspbian operating system now the one that I went with here has 4 gigabytes of RAM and this is the most expensive Pi in the mix right now so this one costs $55 if you want to spend 35 bucks for the entry-level version you get the same exact hardware you’re going to see here with just one gig of ram versus the 4 in this one and my advice on this is that if you are doing a lot of des top computer kinds of activities or plan to use it as a gaming device and you’ll probably want to put more RAM in it but if you’re doing a lot of light coding and doing a lot of command line stuff you might be fine with the gigabyte version because that’s what most of the PI’s were running prior to this new version of the device so figure out what you’re gonna do I think if you do plan to use this hardware to its fullest you’ll probably want to spend the extra twenty bucks for the additional memory I think that will make a difference and there’s also a two gigabyte version for $45 that

might be the sweet spot for some and that one will be again the same hardware just with two gigs of RAM but for me I think it was better to go with the four you’ll probably get the most out of it that way now the layout of this board might look similar to the prior iterations of the PI but it is very different you’ll see that they swap the position of the Ethernet and the USB we have a very different way to connect video up to the device now so there’s been a lot of big changes on this one that will make it incompatible with existing Raspberry Pi cases and this is going to be a problem I think for a lot of folks because every case that you see on Amazon or anywhere else for that matter is likely going to be incompatible with this device unless it specifically fits the Raspberry Pi 4 because there are again some big changes to how you plug things into it so in addition to swapping around the USB ports here in the Ethernet you have some faster USB options so now you’ve got two USB 3.0 slots here that run faster than these two USB 2.0 slots here so I would suggest putting your keyboard and mouse over here and your faster device is there the ethernet is very much improved it’s now Gigabit Ethernet and it’s got enough of a bus speed to support that so a little earlier I ran an iperf benchmark on my local network here with the Ethernet and we were getting full gigabit performance out of it we were not getting that out of the prior version of the PI so if you are planning to do some more network intensive stuff like file sharing you might be able to do pretty well at this maybe having it run as a little mini network attached storage server it won’t be as robust as one that you would buy out of the box but it might be good enough for a single user or maybe a couple of users because you do have that faster io throughput along with the faster Ethernet now they also change the video display options because now this supports two displays they can be running at 4k as well but you have to go with a much smaller connector so they’re now using micro HDMI

connectors here which are not always the most popular from what I’ve been reading but they’re not that expensive you can find adapters on Amazon or get full cables now these will both support 4k however this one here will support 60 frames per second if you check off a few configuration options inside of the raspbian operating system the second port here will also do 4k but only at 30 frames per second and we were able to earlier run this as a dual display device I had two 4k monitors attached one was that 60 Hertz the other at 30 and we were able to move windows back and forth like you would on a much more expensive desktop or laptop PC so it really does work with two independent 4k displays these are often used in some of those displays you might see at a retailer so many times they have a one display going out to the retail display and another one running in the back office to control what goes on that second display and now it’s all built in which was really cool to see now the other big change here is how power gets delivered to this device now prior versions of the PI relied on your standard USB power here and this didn’t deliver all that much power and oftentimes you were getting this little lightning bolt icon displaying on screen to let you know you’re not supplying enough power to the device this one now supports USB C power as you can see here and that will get rid of a lot of those power issues that we were dealing with before it was actually a lot of fun to use this one because I wasn’t struggling to find the right power adapter to go with whatever a project that was working on the only downside though is that they did not design this circuit properly so a lot of higher-end USBC power adapters like the one that maybe came with your other computer may not work on here because they omitted a circuit that works with some of the smarter cables too then an over-voltage or an over amperage of power going into the board it’s nothing really to worry about it just means that you have to probably get a second power supply for this that you know will work with it and my advice would be to go with

one of the ones that the PI Foundation recommends I believe they actually sell a power supply to go with this or you can buy one of those bundles online to make sure you get a compatible power supply I have a bunch of these kicking around the office and I did find one that works but if you do try to plug in your laptop’s power to this and it doesn’t work it’s because of that circuit issue now it also supports power over ethernet but you do have to get an adapter for that so it’s possible to actually just plug in an ethernet cable and have all the power get to the device over that and that feature was introduced on the last iteration of the PI and continues with this one it supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Wi-Fi is AC it supports the five gigahertz band Wi-Fi performance I found to be pretty much identical to the prior version so we’re not seeing a huge bump in Wi-Fi performance like we are on the Ethernet but still it’s a very good performing Wi-Fi device and it’s nice to have that built in without any real issues and getting it configured now you boot the operating system off of a microSD card here and this is the one area where I think we’re going to start seeing some perceived bottlenecks because it’d be nice to see it maybe faster storage option for the OS itself but it’s not a big deal at the moment what you can do with this of course is put different operating systems on different cards and you can very easily switch them out and boot up something different with the PI it’s what I do with mine so I have one on my other PI that has the retro PI game emulation suite and then if I want to use it as a desktop I pop in my card that has raspbian installed it’s really convenient and it’s a lot of fun too for kids because if they are learning computers and getting into UNIX and

everything they might want to try different distributions of the Linux operating systems that are available for the board or maybe they have different projects that they want to do it’s just so convenient to be able to easily swap things out here with just an SD card and try something new and different now these pins up here are called GPIO pins this has been on the Raspberry Pi before in even going back to the very first one and what’s cool about these pins is that they’re addressable through software so kids can code up things that communicate with the outside world and there’s just really no limit to all the different things you can do with a Raspberry Pi these are so well supported out there that there is just a multitude of really great learning opportunities for kids and adults alike for that matter to really start to learn coding and how to interact with the outside world with you our code as well so there’s just we could go on for months ahead and all the different things you can do with it and there are YouTube channels dedicated to that purpose as well and you do have the option for displaying camera add-ons and all the other things that we saw with prior iterations of the Raspberry Pi so that is the overall hardware and the changes what we’re gonna do now is boot up the raspbian operating system and show you how it works as a computer so here we are on the desktop of the raspbian

operating system this is a Linux based OS that is what the foundation behind the Raspberry Pi puts together there are other distributions you can also install on your PI and what’s nice about this is that when you install it you’ve got a lot of things just ready to go so you have a full office suite for example so I can load up a word processor here from LibreOffice and it’s going to be a little slower perhaps than your usual desktop or a laptop computer but once everything is up and running it does seem to work pretty nicely here and this is really a lot faster than the prior iterations of the Raspberry Pi especially some of the earlier versions of it you’ve got a full spreadsheet here available to you as well and as you can see once you get one of the modules open here everything else kind of springs to life pretty quickly from there and you can do all sorts of computer things with this and just use this as your desktop computer it really seems to work quite nicely there they also have a version of the Chrome web browser this is the open source chromium that we’ll load up and I was very impressed by how much faster chromium is working on this new device now they have an ad blocker built in by default you block origin and they also have something called h.264 of which is used to speed up some of the video playback but you can see here as we’re browsing the web connected via ethernet this is a nice experience it’s certainly a lot quicker than the prior PI was everything is springing up very quickly here and it’s really a kind of a no compromise approach here to browsing the web even video playback here we’ll load up NASA TV springs to life relatively quickly and you’ve got live streams that you can watch and everything else really good stuff here let’s take a look at some of the things we typically look at with YouTube now so here we are on my youtube channel with a 1080p 60 video this is the one that we often look at when we’re reviewing a computer on this channel and we’re

dropping a bunch of frames on this as this video plays back at this resolution and framerate so we’re not quite all there yet for YouTube performance I know a lot of people were asking about that so this was one area where the PI 4 fell a little short and I think this might just be due to optimization because the core of this device is something that we see on a lot of TV boxes that we know can do YouTube better than this and it might just be a matter of time before the operating system gets caught up there when you are using the h.264 if I plug in here which comes installed by default that is not improving things much and it doesn’t work all that great with it off either I also tested out some 4k video when I had it connected to my 4k TV that also had some issues playing back smoothly especially at 60 frames per second so this is not quite all that optimized yet on the YouTube side of things and if you were planning to buy one of these as kind of a YouTube watching device this is probably not the way to go just yet but I do think the hardware is capable of doing better so we’ll have to keep an eye on that I also want to talk about overall screen resolutions so right now in this video we’re running at 1080p as we look at the device here and the reason why I went with 1080p vs.

4k is that there ask me an operating system at least at the time I’m recording this video doesn’t seem to support resolution scaling and what that means is that when you are at 4k everything can look very tiny unless you scale up the pixels so that things don’t look as small and actually on the mac and windows things can look really nice and sharp when you’re able to use that scaling option to make everything more legible unfortunately here when you’re at 4k everything is super tiny so they do have some work to do in that department as well but I think if you are running things at 1080p your desktop will be fine it’ll look nice and I would suggest running YouTube videos at 720p for now and on the browser bench org speedometer test we got a score of 30 point zero two on version 1.0 of that test that is a nice improvement over what we saw on the pi3 B+ which came in at a score of 15 and that test measures how well the computer and the browser can process JavaScript and other things that you encounter on the web and this is a huge improvement in that benchmark score and we also saw that improvement just browsing the NASA website so there are things that we’re going to see some pretty substantial performance increases on I think running those office applications is one example another is basic web browsing but there still seems to be some work that has to get done on some of the more multimedia rich activities that are out there one thing that does run very nicely on here though is the Raspberry Pi version of Minecraft and what’s cool about this one is that it is very much a coding focused activity so of course you can play minecraft like you might on other devices it may not be as robust as the Windows version but it still has a lot of cool

features in there but what I can also do is address minecraft programmatically so what I’ve done here is coded up a little script that’s going to drop a lot of blocks into my world here when I execute it with Python so we’re going to do that real quick here and you can see them dropping in right now a big block of bricks here getting dropped in and using the games physics to place it with the proper gravity here and if I wanted to make a thicker block of bricks for example I can go back to my code and maybe bring this to 30 let’s see what this does to the little computer here well click Save and then re-execute and you can see now we’ve got a much bigger block dropping in here and again I was able to do this all programmatically and what I love about this example of some of the coding things you can do with the PI is that this is a great way just to see how variables work and how you can script a lot of cool things and then see just a visual result of that code which is what we have here it’s really neat and a really fun way to introduce kids to more higher and programming perhaps than some of the basics but the basics are on here too so this is called scratch and you’ve probably seen this before you can run this on Windows machines of course but it’s just kind of neat to have something on a little cheap device like this that is ready to go right when you install the operating system and here I just did a really quick thing to have our little cat here move 85 steps in its little measurement there and say hello for two seconds every time I hit the spacebar so pretty cool and you can do a lot

with this as well to kind of learn how programs work and there’s a lot of things to guide the kids through that but that is just the tip of the iceberg here there’s just a ton of different ways that you can code on the Raspberry Pi and as we’ve seen in Prior videos there is just a ton of cool stuff that you can learn about Linux and Unix and all the other things that developers use every day to craft the things that we use on the web and elsewhere every day now a lot of people like to use the Raspberry Pi as an emulation device to run games from other systems like the PSP which I’m running right now and it seems to be off to a good start here the performance is decent things seem to be working pretty nicely right now I’m using something called Locka which basically allows you to boot up your Raspberry Pi to retroarch which is a way to get a lot of different emulators installed in one package but this is still in kind of the beta phase there’s not an official final distribution yet so I think we’re going to see more things happen here on the emulation front in the next couple of weeks which is why we’re going to hold off going into more detail but I am seeing some really good performance here out of the PSP we also had a nice improvement on the Nintendo 64 as well and I think as developers spend a little more time with this new hardware I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of great stuff coming out of this you can check out ETA Prime’s Channel I just got frozen up there a little bit you can check out ETA primes channel which I’ll link to in the video description he’s been covering a lot of these developments

and you can see where a lot of the popular emulators currently are there are some folks actually starting to get GameCube emulation working via the dolphin emulator on this but it’s still not quite fast enough to be playable in many cases and I’m also going to suggest that you strongly consider getting some cooling for the Raspberry Pi hopefully we’ll start seeing some cases that integrate fans in the near future but you could also get a little heat sink or something to put on that processor to cool it off because it is using more power now with that USBC connector it’s definitely running a little hotter so I think cooling will now be something to consider when you are buying a PI and using it to its highest potential like game emulation now in the home theater side there’s still some things that are getting ironed out at the moment I did download Libre yet to see what we could do with it I was able to watch an HEV C 4k movie and it was able to decode that in hardware however it doesn’t yet support HDR out of that HDMI port apparently will support that in the near future and also lossless audio was not getting passed through so there’s some things that they got to work on there again we’ll come back and revisit everything when we see some more development on that front but overall it’s a really nice improvement on the Raspberry Pi I think it caught a lot of folks off-guard which is why we’re not seeing everything working on it just yet but where they’re at right now seems to be in a very good place and this architecture will likely be the architecture for the next year or two or maybe even longer so I do think we’re going to see a lot of performance improvements from what you saw

today as they continue developing things here I think if you have a PI 3 or B or 3 B+ which is the newest one you’re probably ok for now I wouldn’t rush out and get this right away I think though in a few months it’s definitely going to be a must-have upgrade over the prior versions once all the projects catch up with it if you don’t own a PI this is definitely the one to pick up and again I would suggest getting the 4 gigabyte version that’ll give you some room to grow it doesn’t cost all that much more and I think it’s probably worth going the direction of having more ram versus less but you can still do a lot with the $35 machine which has exactly the same hardware as what you saw here just with less RAM so we’ve got a lot of cool stuff on the way on this one I think and we will of course always do more content on the Raspberry Pi because there is so much you can do with it let me know some of the things you would like to see in upcoming videos down in the comment section below and until next time this is Lance Ivan thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters the four guys with quarters podcasts Chris Allegretto Tom Albrecht Mike Talbert Brian Parker in Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to land TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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