Raspberry Pi OS Gets 64-bit Support

The Raspberry Pi lineup of single-board computers has had a few improvements lately with a new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 that ended up being similar in performance to the Raspberry Pi 3. Finally, the Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS (previously called Raspbian), is getting official 64-bit support despite the hardware being capable of 64-bit instructions since 2016’s Raspberry Pi 3.

The post on the official site breaks the update down in a little bit more detail, but as someone who uses Raspberry Pi devices for a ton of odd jobs, it is nice to know they’re finally a little bit more up-to-date and applications will be able to address more than 4 gigs of RAM with this update. I’ve run into a few pieces of software that I want to run on a Raspberry Pi 4 that require a 64-bit ARM operating system, and compatibility workarounds aren’t always available unless you’re willing to spend hours of time recompiling things like this is Slackware in 1998 so this should be a welcome change for anyone else who has run into these corner cases and wants one less barrier to doing all the weird crap you can do with a Raspberry Pi, though it ultimately may not help emulated or native games on the Pi that much.


Raspberry Pi 4 Released Early

Rasberry Pi 4

Last year the Raspberry Pi foundation announced an iteration to their Raspberry Pi 3 platform with a faster processor clockspeed and faster wireless. Here in 2019 there’s a new version of their popular hobbyist computer, the Raspberry Pi 4 has different ports, a faster processor and more memory. A blog post from Eben Upton has more details.

The Pi 4 doesn’t look to be 100% case-compatible with the Pi 3, but you might be able to work around that with a little bit of sanding. The Pi 4 now uses USB-C for power, but still has two Type-A USB 2 ports with the addition of two Type-A USB 3 ports.

Maybe the most important part of this Raspberry Pi 4 is the foundation’s claim of something closer to desktop computing performance. The single HDMI port has been replaced with two micro HDMI ports that the foundation says can support 4K resolutions. For the first time, there are price tiers based on the system’s memory, a 1GB Pi 4 is still $35, and then the 2GB model is $45, and the 4GB top-end model is $55. They’re even bundling their own keyboard & mouse and beginner’s guide with the 4GB Pi 4 for about $120, which doesn’t sound like that great a deal when it has just a 16GB SD card. I’ve seen competing kits with older Pi models around $200, but those more expensive kits also included a screen. The Pi 4 desktop kit leaves finding a 4K screen up to you.

Originally, the Pi Foundation had planned to release the Raspberry Pi 4 next year, but they’ve said the Broadcom ARM chip they use turned out to be ready earlier than expected:

In the past, we’ve indicated 2020 as a likely introduction date for Raspberry Pi 4. We budgeted time for four silicon revisions of BCM2711 (A0, B0, C0, and C1); in comparison, we ship BCM2835C2 (the fifth revision of that design) on Raspberry Pi 1 and Zero.

Fortunately, 2711B0 has turned out to be production-ready, which has taken roughly 9–12 months out of the schedule.