Raspberry Pi 4 released

So, the Pi 4 has just been released. It's an immense upgrade over the 3/3+

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM (depending on model)
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)
  • 5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
  • Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

From this link:

The Ethernet controller on the main SoC is connected to an external Broadcom PHY over a dedicated RGMII link, providing full throughput. USB is provided via an external VLI controller, connected over a single PCI Express Gen 2 lane, and providing a total of 4Gbps of bandwidth, shared between the four ports.

All of the bottlenecks that made the 3/3+ a bad idea for router/NAS/etc usage are gone. No more shared LAN/USB bus, no more hamstrung LAN throughput. Lovely.

We now have a completely capable gigabit LAN port out of the box and two USB3 ports that could each use a gigabit LAN USB adapter... That's three ports right off the bat, and we're not even considering a vlan capable switch yet. Plenty of storage thanks to the microSD card and the remaining USB2 ports, plenty of RAM (and we're no longer limited to only 1GB, too). A72 running in AArch64 mode also supports AES acceleration, so it should do OpenVPN/wireguard at high speeds without issues.

I believe this little beast could be a pretty serious router with OpenWRT. I mean, quad A72 @ 1.5GHz puts any IPQ hardware to shame on the brute force aspect of it... it should have no issues with most home connections, neither doing gigabit speeds without any offloading tricks... It could also be a pretty good NAS, too. It's not too power hungry either.

What do you think? Assuming it gets supported in the future as the previous RPIs did, I think this is the perfect upgrade for any of us stuck with puny, weak single core MIPS hardware. Say, Archer C7 and the like. Such devices could now make for great APs while doing all the heavy lifting on the RPI4.

At $35 for the 1GB model, it won't break the bank either.

The only thing that bothers me is the possibility of the SD card getting corrupted due to a power cut/brownout/bad shutdown, but oh well. That's not much of a downside considering the rest...

Back-ordered from newark, will check it out :wink:
Still so far behind GX-424CC on all aspects except for power...
I'm watching this board.. ideal for router build but SO expensive...

First of all you should wait 2-3 weeks for experiences from real people, putting it to real world tests rather than believing the marketing blurb; theoretical and real world figures often do differ.

Yes, this new design finally improves upon the biggest flaws and weaknesses of its predecessors. But it's already apparent that cooling will remain quite an issue, if you want to push it to maximum without the CPU scaling down. There will be many use cases which will considerably profit from these changes, so would using it as a router - but it's still not really an ideal target for these things (single WLAN card, SDIO connected (so not the fastest of the bunch, additional USB WLAN cards are not ideal for AP purposes), single ethernet port (yes, you can add USB cards, but at >20 bucks a pop, it gets expensive pretty soon)). Will it be better than its predecessors, without a doubt - can it compete with ipq806x/ ipq807x, from the processing point of view, yes - from a routing I/O point of view, probably not so much (neither if you'll look at the final cost of all required components, which do add up very quickly).

2 Likes

@slh

It's already been reviewed.


Tom's isn't what it used to be, sure, but it's what we have on launch day. I just cited the maketing blurb because it's easy to read and to point out the performance improvements over the previous generation.

We'll just have to wait for more reviews and real world experiences as you point out.


Of course, as a router the Pi4 won't be as good an overall package as an IPQ8xxx based device can be, neither can it come close to what x86 can do, that's obvious, but the potential is there. As always, when it comes to the value proposition, it depends. There are markets where IPQ based devices (or decent x86 thin clients) are hard to get or are outrageously expensive (my country, Argentina, for example), where otherwise unremarkable hardware like the Archer C7 is readily available... and so are Pis.

In such cases, this little board can do its fair share to help. Leave the wireless part to the AP, let it do the rest. As for the final cost, again, it depends. We now have another possibility to consider going forward, and that's great (for a home setting, that is).

Cooling isn't really a problem. You can always attach a heatsink on the CPU. If more cooling is needed, a little 40mm fan @ 5v (silent) off GPIO pins 4,6 providing airflow is more than enough. You can easily cut a hole in a case...

Pre-release reviews are always a bit fishy, by the mere selection of who's going to be invited for signing the NDA and the time they get for their testing ahead of publishing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming anyone here, nor suspect foul play (especially as there are also coming in early experiences from parties who got their device (quickly) through normal retail channels), but they've been provided with the top-end (4 GB RAM) device and pre-release software shortly(?) before the release and mostly concentrated on synthetic benchmarking, which isn't the whole story. But looking at your links to tomshardware, you'll see figures of up to 114 MBit/s throughput in the 5 GHz band - that is slow for any decent 802.11ac AP (more like what you might get from a 10 year old 802.11n router), even a very quick and dirty test with IPQ40xx is significantly above 300 MBit/s over the (indoor) range (one storey, three internal walls) in iperf on a 5 year old smartphone as client. The 2.4 GHz figure is just about what you might get from an older 802.11n design and things like channel bandwidth, range, (Mu-)MIMO and number of rx/ tx chains aren't even mentioned (and you still only have a single radio/ a single band at the same time). And while you might be able to draw some conclusions (halve the figures) from the USB storage benchmarks for your WAN <--> LAN throughput (before NAT/ firewalling), no one seems to have actually tested this yet. Given that there are no 64 Bit distributions supporting it yet, it's also not clear if AES crypto acceleration is available yet.

Do not get me wrong, this could be (depending on real-world feedback[1] coming in over the next couple of weeks and how my budget for things I don't strictly need turns out) ARM SBC I might consider buying (not as a router though), but if you still need a dedicated AP on top - you might end up cheaper (and faster) with a low-end Atom m-ITX board and your AP/ switch, etc.

Edit: What I'd like to emphasize here is just, give someone (you?) a chance to actually test this new device in a router capacity, before actually recommending it to others. It might very well turn out to be a reasonable option for some use cases - or it might not, only time and real-world testing will tell.

--
[1]:

  • what's up with the cooling, how does reasonable cooling affect the figures?
  • crypto support?
  • what are the results with a pure64 distro?
  • kvm capable (bootloader coming up in HYP mode)?

To put things in perspective, it helps to keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi isn't designed to be a router. It has high computing power (for its size), dual display ports etc., but as far as connectivity is concerned, it's intended to be a client that handles only it's own connection.

It can possibly, however, be a good option for temporary cases such as a travel router for example. So you could have it as a media player at home, and then when you get to travel you just swap the SD card, and viola it becomes a router.

But for a permanent solution, using it as a router would be like having a pie for lunch.

I will buy one after openwrt support completed.