Monthly Archives: September 2019

Notes on the Raspberry Pi 4

I’ve used Raspberry Pis since the early days, for a variety of things including graphing my electricity usage at home, running status displays at work, and sitting in the comms cabinet at church to monitor the network.

Recently, with my work hat on, I got my hands on a couple of Pi 4s. Naturally, I went for the top end option with 4GB of RAM, though the price is noticeably higher for that variant.

My impressions so far:

  • You can’t do a quick upgrade by dropping in the micro SD card from an older model – it will lack the relevant firmware. It’s possible that this has never actually worked and I’ve just been lucky enough to have written my cards for older Pis with newer software…
  • The unofficial cases I got because of a stock shortage are good, except that it’s impossible to get the microSD card out without damaging it (unless you have a pair of tweezers. I don’t, and I’m two micro SD cards down and quite cross with myself…)
  • The switch to USB-C for power makes good sense. Don’t forget you can buy “tips” which convert micro USB to USB-C, if you want to keep using old adapters (as long as they provide the right voltage).
  • The switch to micro HDMI is extremely tedious, because you’ll almost certainly have to buy cables/adapters rather than having them lying around. After a string of different standards on laptops over the years, I’m getting quite bored of the movement in this area.
  • I don’t have two 4K displays, but it can definitely drive one
  • If you’re running NOOBs, be sure to plug into the display connector closest to the power. You’ll just get the rainbow screen on the other one.
  • Built-in WiFi is worth having
  • It gets hot, which is part of the reason I went for metal cases and stick-on heatsinks for the chips

All in all, it’s evolution, and mostly in a positive way.