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New Raspberry Pi 4 Released! What will you build with it?

downey profile image Tim Downey ・1 min read

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Today the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the brand new Raspberry Pi 4 which still starts at just $35! The linked announcement post goes into more detail, but some notable upgrades are:

  • Optional 2GB and 4GB RAM configurations
  • Gigabit ethernet that does not share bandwidth with the USB hub
  • Faster 1.5 GHz processor on a new 28nm process
  • Dual monitor support at resolutions up to 4k

I'm particularly jazzed about the optional higher RAM configurations and gigabit ethernet. I'm tempted to swap out some of the worker nodes in my toy Raspberry Pi based Kubernetes cluster cause 1GB just isn't enough to run anything meaningful on top of what the OS and kubelets need to function. Also with that gigabit ethernet I feel like I could actually build a pretty decent NAS now with one of these.

What would you do with a Raspberry Pi 4?

Discussion (8)

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gerardketuma profile image
Gerard Ketuma

PiHole of course

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godsgood33 profile image
Ryan P

I just built and tested a mobile media server with a RPi 3 yesterday and I was able to get 9 devices streaming at the same time. I tend to wonder if I could have gotten more if I had been running an AC router instead of having the Pi run an access point.

I'm thinking this would be a great Kali or other security tool box...though NASA might feel otherwise... ;-)

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ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Clustering probably. I'm particularly interested to see how much this improves SD-card performance, I've never really liked the possibility of using USB for storage with these, but with if the SD-card performance is good enough now, I could throw some 256GB cards in a couple of Pi's and put together a usable 4 node GlusterFS cluster for under 500 USD.

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downey profile image
Tim Downey Author

Are you concerned at all about the longevity of the SD cards? With swap and stuff disabled I trust them enough for the OS itself (since I can just snapshot it periodically and move to a new card), but I'd be worried about storing data I cared about on the cards.

For my Raspi Kubernetes cluster I just use it as a toy and don't event think about running stateful workloads on it.

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ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

Not hugely so, provided it's a good quality card. About 80% of the issues I've had over the years with SD cards being used for Raspberry Pi's have been caused by the Pi itself, but I haven't seen such issues for quite some time. As far as cards actually wearing out, I do regular data verification on pretty much any persistent storage I use, so I catch stuff like that early enough for it to not be an issue about 99% of the time (and Gluster actually makes it pretty easy to rebuild a lost node if you configure it right). On top of that, I'd be using it for a mostly read focused workload, so wearout would probably take longer than it would for most people.

Of course, with USB 3.0 capabilities, that's an alternative option, though I actually trust SD cards a bit more than USB flash drives, and I wouldn't even begin to consider using an external enclosure (too easy to accidentally bump the Pi or the enclosure and cause a USB bus reset, which is not something Linux will usually gracefully recover from if you're actively using the storage space).

Of course, with 4G of RAM and GbE, I might consider getting one or two to use a native ARM virtualization hosts. I do a lot of cross-distro software verification, and a Pi running QEMU at 1.5GHz can probably beat my main virtualization system emulating an equivalent ARM CPU in terms of raw performance.

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MiAn • Edited

For a little while, the CommunityFM (to-air) radio station I was in charge of, ran its entire system with 3 raspberry Pi B2's. They were running our own very-hybridised System D linux. There was a thin client in the studio which acted like a control module for the "real" computer ( another Pi ) at the transmission tower. We weren't sending a microwave feed from studio to tower as most traditional setup, and we had a 'listener' pi doing things like sending telemetry to the tech's residence, and re-booting or switching over in times of power loss. We ran another separate Raspberry Pi A as an off-air logger.
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Needless to say our power costs were slashed to about 30% of original consumption, and then we had air-conditioning costs cut because we weren't cooling excessive equipment in our transmission room. The place was a quiet a a ghost, and I wrote some software for iPad that allowed our presenters to broadcast from < anywhere!! > over IP. The only down-side was that we were always searching for a good studio quality microphone that didn't consume a lot of power when doing outside interviews. Our studio microphone was, however, almost to good, we had to put our clock on the other side of the studio window.

Other people took over and were afraid that we were using $50 computers when we should have been using $$2000 +, but we were broadcast spec through our mondulators etc. Not once ever, even when we loaded it up with 10,000 processes, did it ever crash. Not once. Meanwhile their expensive PC's were always needing attention.

Such is the life of a community or public radio. Do something worthwhile, and they come out of the woodwork to stuff it up in any way they can. I've got the system at my place and can set it up again with the PI 4 and I am pleased the Ethernet bottleneck through USB has been fixed.

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themobiledev profile image
Chris McKay

I'm thinking of building a continuous deployment server for my Android and web development, but that might be overkill for a single developer.

Another alternative is a replacement for my media server. That'll require a lot of hard drive enclosures, but all those USB ports should make it easier.

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larsvonqualen profile image
Lars von Qualen

I'm also tempted to build a cluster of sorts. I'm also thinking NAS is an obvious use case now that we've got proper networking! All in all, it's a pretty awesome upgrade!