The best selling compact single board (almost 3 million units distributed all over the globe) evolves once again, showing a new version of itself that allows it to further expand its horizons and satisfy all those users for whom a device’s memory never seems enough. The clues were there, printing errors (or presumed such) had already hinted that sooner or later it would come to us and today, like a bolt from the blue, the expected news arrived via a press release on the official website: Raspberry Pi 4 is finally available in the version with 8GB of RAM.
The BCM2711 chip Broadcom, adopted by the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, thanks to the use of a 64-bit Quad-Core Cortex-A72 ARM and an improved Memory Management Unit compared to the past, manages to manage up to 16GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM. The 8GB version of the Raspberry Pi 4 was therefore a much more than concrete possibility and becomes the new reference point for all developers who need to compile long codes or more simply also for those users who use this compact card for Internet browsing and they don’t want to feel limited in opening new windows.
From a hardware point of view, the changes were not limited to the doubling of available RAM compared to the best performing version previously on the market, but changes were also made regarding the power supply of the board to allow it to manage this memory increase. In practice An SMPS (Switch-Mode Power Supply) located next to USB 2.0 has been removed and another has been placed near the USB type C power connector. Unfortunately, this necessary operation cost a delay of three months due to the interruption of supplies by eastern producers, blocked by COVID-19.
There is no shortage of news also on the software side. Although the Raspberry Pi operating system and attached kernel (despite being 32-bit) were able to safely manage 8GB of RAM through an intelligent process distribution, the company has decided to recompile and distribute a new beta version of the whole package at 64 bit. The reason is easy to say: due to the limitation of the 32 bits, a single process could not in any case have seen more than 3GB of RAM and, while for the processes of a browser this solution could still be fine since each card creates a new one, there are operations whereby a single process necessarily needs to have physical access to all the available RAM, making the 64-bit path the only way.
Lots of good news has come to us from the Raspberry Pi Foundation lately. Just a few days ago we were talking about the possibility of starting the Raspberry Pi 4 via USB following a firmware update and the renewed enthusiasm from the community, now that the effects of the COVID-19 are starting to wane, will certainly lead to the development of new interesting features and the creation of many other accessories (like this fantastic case) dedicated to our favorite all-in-one board.
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