This Raspberry Pi 4 B It has been on the market for more than two years. During this period, we have seen many new related models on the shelves, including 8GB Raspberry Pi 4, A Computing module 4 with Raspberry Pi 400, It is basically the Pi 4 inside the keyboard. However, there is still no Raspberry Pi 4A to replace Raspberry Pi 3A+.
However, according to raspberry pie The company’s CEO and founder Eben Upton has a lot of ideas about 4 Model A (aka 4A), and if it weren’t for the ongoing chip shortage, it might even have built one. Upton joined the latest episode of our Pi-centric weekly podcast, techy’s hardware: Pi Cast And provided us with some clues about what Raspberry Pi 4 A can include and exclude, as well as the price point he hopes to achieve.
For the first three generations of Raspberry Pi, there are two models, B and A. The more popular Raspberry Pi Type B device has a full set of four USB ports and the largest amount of RAM. Unit A is slightly smaller, with fewer ports and functions, and lower cost. For example, the Raspberry Pi 3A+ costs $25 and has only one USB port and 512MB of RAM, while the $35 Raspberry Pi 3B+ has 1GB of RAM, four USB ports, and Ethernet. Regardless of price, some users prefer 3A+’s smaller form factor and lower power consumption.
“I think if we don’t put all the chips we make into (Model) B, we might consider this.” When we asked about the future of the A series, Upton said. He later explained that if it were not for the shortage of chips, we might have seen 4A, and reiterated “I think if we didn’t put all the chips we made into (model) B, we might consider this.”
Upton also talked about the trade-offs he and his team must make in order to reach the $25 target price while providing an experience similar to the $35 Raspberry Pi 4 B.
“If you can’t sell it for $25, then a $30 product doesn’t make much sense. You really have to open the $10 gap,” he said, noting that the sales of model A are not as good as model B — hundreds of thousands And millions of units-if the reduced circuit boards are not much cheaper, then these numbers will be worse.
But what features of the Raspberry Pi 4 A can be cut from the bill of materials (BOM) to keep costs down? USB 3 may be on the top of the cutting board.
Upton explained: “You have to give up USB 3, yes, in order to reduce costs. You really can’t afford a PCI Express to USB 3 bridge.” The problematic PCI Express to USB 3 is VL805 USB 3.0 controller It provides all the USB 3 ports for Pi 4.After removing the chip, the speed of Raspberry Pi 4A may be reduced to USB 2.0, which may be through the previous model LAN9512 / LAN9514 Combine USB 2.0 and Ethernet chips.
The BCM2711 SoC of Raspberry Pi 4 has a PCI Express channel, which has been disconnected for computing module 4 and can be used with 1x PCIe card through the official IO board. Can this be integrated into 4A? Upton is not sure if this feature will work for 4A. “It (4A) looks like 3A+ or 1A+, but it has some kind of PCI Express connector,” he asked rhetorically. He also pointed out that using HDMI ports on the two micro HDMI ports on a full-size model B can save money and space.
The idea of Raspberry Pi 4A was “implemented” in 2020/2021, but sales of other products such as Raspberry Pi 4 have been at historical highs. As Upton reiterated, “Every chip we have this year is used to build Raspberry Pi 4, Pi 400 and Compute Module 4. Robbing it is irresponsible.”
However, if the chip shortage eases in 2022, we would not be surprised to see the possibility of Raspberry Pi 4A and Pi 4B maintaining the same CPU, but offering less RAM, USB 2.0 and onboard PCIe ports.
Another product that may be launched in 2022 is an updated version of the official Raspberry Pi, a 7-inch touch screen. The current model has been on the market for 6 or 7 years and reached its maximum value at a fairly low resolution of 800 x 480. Upton said it should be updated.
When asked about the potential Raspberry Pi 5, Upton said that his organization is not currently developing one, but is giving priority to improving Raspberry Pi 4 through software updates. He pointed out that when the Raspberry Pi 5 appears, it may update its specifications, such as a faster processor, with more than 8GB of RAM, faster USB connections, more powerful Wi-Fi and 2.5 Gb Ethernet.
You can broadcast a new episode of techy’s points Pi Cast live every Tuesday at 7:30pm UK time / 2:30pm US Eastern time YouTube or Facebook. You can also find all of our The first few episodes on YouTube.