The Raspberry Pi universe has new life with the announcement of Raspberry Pi 5. At this point, you might be asking yourself “Should I wait for a Raspberry Pi 5 or should I buy a Raspberry Pi 4 now?”
In this article, we’re going to go through the specs of both and compare and contrast them.
Some of the most notable features of Raspberry Pi 5 are its blazingly fast CPU and GPU speeds.
Indeed, in comparison with its predecessor, the Pi 5 delivers a 2-3x increase in CPU performance and a huge upgrade in GPU performance. But it also provides a whole new world of peripherals.
Many of these interfacing improvements are due to the new I/O controller chip, designed in-house at Raspberry Pi.
That’s right, for the first time, Raspberry Pi has Raspberry Pi silicon on a flagship product!
It’s a southbridge chip called the RP1.
But before we get into these details, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 5 in a nutshell.
|Raspberry Pi 4||Raspberry Pi 5|
|Processor||Broadcom BCM2711||Broadcom BCM2712|
|CPU||ARM-Cortex A72 (four cores)||ARM-Cortex A76 (four cores)|
|GPU||VideoCore VI 600MHz||VideoCore VII 1GHz|
|SDRAM||LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB)||LPDDR4X-4267 SDRAM (4GB and 8GB SKUs available at launch)|
|SD slot||Micro SD card slot||Micro SD card slot, with support for high-speed SDR104 mode|
|WLAN||2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi||2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)||Bluetooth 5.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)|
|HDMI port||2 Micro HDMI ports (up to 4Kp60)||2 Micro HDMI ports (up to 4Kp60 simultaneously)|
|USB ports||2 USB 2.0 ports & 2 USB 3.0 ports||2 USB 2.0 ports & 2 USB 3.0 ports that support simultaneous 5Gbps operation|
|Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet, with PoE+ support (requires PoE+ HAT)||Gigabit Ethernet, with PoE+ support (requires a new PoE+ HAT)|
|Camera port||2-lane MIPI DSI, 2-line MIPI CSI||2 × 4 lane MIPI camera/display transceivers|
|Power||5V/3A DC (via USB-C connector or GPIO)||5V/5A DC power (PD enabled)|
|Audio jack||4-pole stereo audio and composite video||Nope!|
|RTC||Nope||RTC and RTC battery connector|
|PCIe||Nope||PCIe 2.0 x1 interface for fast peripherals|
What’s the Same?
First of all, they’re both more-or-less the same size.
Beginning with the similarities that jump out above, obviously both computers have 64-bit CPU capabilities. Of course, they both boot from Micro SD cards (remember how Raspberry Pi 1 ran with a standard SD card?)
Both offer 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
They both have two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports.
And, finally, both computers offer Gigabit Ethernet and support Power over Ethernet (PoE) with a PoE+ HAT.
Let’s get into the contrasts – which are many!
The first you’ll have noticed is that Raspberry Pi 4 features the Broadcom BCM2711 processor, while Raspberry Pi 5 uses the BCM2712. Raspberry Pi 5 has a faster CPU with ARM-Cortex A76 cores (2.4GHz).
The Raspberry Pi 5 also comes with the next generation of VideoCore GPU. So while Raspberry Pi 4 has a VideoCore VI GPU at 600MHz, Raspberry Pi 5 has a VideoCore VII GPU at 1GHz.
The GPU difference is huge when you consider that the Pi 4 is 4.4 GFLOPS and the Pi 5 is over 10 GFLOPS.
Raspberry Pi 4 uses LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB), while Raspberry Pi 5 employs LPDDR4X-4267 SDRAM (4GB and 8GB variants are available at launch). A 2GB variant is to follow and then a 1GB variant might appear in the future.
Ports & Peripherals
As I mentioned above, both have a micro SD card slot, but Raspberry Pi 5 supports high-speed SDR104 mode, offering way faster data access to the SD card.
Also, although both feature two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports, Raspberry Pi 5 has USB 3.0 ports that support simultaneous 5Gbps operation.
So while the micro SD card slots and USB ports look the same at first glance, they are far superior on Raspberry Pi 5. Compared to Raspberry Pi 4, the Pi 5 doubles aggregate USB bandwidth and it doubles peak SD card performance.
In the introduction, I stressed the importance of RP1. RP1 is a huge reason for this increase in performance.
The camera serial interface (CSI) and display serial interface (DSI) have a new setup on Raspberry Pi 5 as well. With two 4-lane MIPI interfaces, there is now support any combination of up to two cameras or displays. This means that you can use them for stereoscopic applications!
One important thing to note is that these new connectors are 22-way and not 15-way, like they are on other current camera and display products. That means you’ll need an adapter cable for the new Pi.
Luckily, Raspberry Pi are releasing mini-to-standard adapter cables to go along with the new MIPI connectors.
One difference that you’ll quickly note is that the Raspberry Pi 4 had a 4-pole stereo audio and composite video jack, allowing audio and video connections.
In contrast, the Raspberry Pi 5 lacks an audio jack.
If you want to hook up audio, you’re going to need to use USB or Bluetooth.
A new feature of the Raspberry Pi 5 is an RTC (Real-Time Clock) and an RTC battery connector for precise timekeeping.
An RTC will make it possible for your Raspberry Pi 5 to be useful in remote applications.
Raspberry Pi 4 does not have an RTC or a connector for an RTC battery, of course. This means that you need WiFi for timekeeping.
Raspberry Pi 5 is the first Raspberry Pi that incorporates a PCIe 2.0 x1 interface, providing the capability to connect super fast peripherals.
Raspberry Pi 4 did not have a PCIe interface, although the Compute Module 4 did offer PCIe through an I/O board.
Before Raspberry Pi 5, we’ve only had access to maximum SPI interface speed, so bandwidth has been constrained. With PCIe, you can now add really high-speed hardware internally to a Pi without relying on USB cables.
So now you can also do much more with data transferring between your Pi and other devices (think of all the possibilities, like 4G modems, additional Ethernet ports, SSDs!)
Power & Power Button
Both use a USB-C connector for power.
However, Raspberry Pi 5 requires 5V/5A DC power and supports Power Delivery (PD), as opposed to Raspberry Pi 4’s 5V/3A specifications.
This increase in power is consistent to the increase in performance. Of course, the Pi 5 not only surpasses the Pi 4 in terms of power usage. Because of its architecture, the Pi 5 also uses this power better, which is why it’s so much more performant.
One thing that also stands out is that Raspberry Pi 5 comes with a power button!
Want to See More?
We know how frustrating it is to have to wait. So we wanted to make it possible for you to play around with one as soon as possible.
So we’re setting up a little contest: What’s the craziest thing you can come up with for Raspberry Pi 5?
Provided it doesn’t destroy it, you can send us your ideas and we’ll enact them on ours.
The winning idea will have a long, dedicated article and video before the official release on October 23rd. In the meantime, we will be uploading constant tests and enacting your ideas on our Raspberry Pi 5.
You can also tell us not-so-crazy things that you’d like check out with Raspberry Pi 5 and we can do them for you!
If you have any questions, let us know!
So be sure to send in your ideas – you can either comment below or contact us on the official PiCockpit contact page.
To sum up, Raspberry Pi 5 is more than just an incremental upgrade; it’s a quantum leap in performance.
With a Raspberry Pi 5, you’ll really be able to use it as a desktop computer. You’ll also be able to use it effectively for things that require high data transferring – NAS, SSDs, etc.
If you want to know more about Raspberry Pi 5, check out our article “A First Look at Raspberry Pi 5”.
However, a Raspberry Pi 4 is still a reliable partner. It doesn’t run nearly as hot and is slightly cheaper. For many projects that you’re looking to put together, you can still trust a Pi 4.
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What are the most important differences to you between the Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 5? Leave a comment below!