AMA Raspberry Pi AMA - Ask your questions now!

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Johnny5

Community Manager
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Feb 28, 2016
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Tom's Hardware is proud to announce the upcoming guest in our featured Community Series -- ASK ME ANYTHING.

On Tuesday, June 25th through Thursday, June 27th, Eben Upton, founder and CEO of the Raspberry Pi Organization will join us in a live AMA. Have a question about the new Raspberry Pi 4? Now’s your chance to speak with Raspberry Pi directly. Log into the forums to join the discussion and learn about the latest Raspberry Pi news.

This thread will be unlocked, open and live for 24 hours starting at 12:00pm EDT on Tuesday, June 25th. Questions will be moderated and supervised by Tom's Hardware Community Manager, Joshua Simenhoff, as well as our full team of moderators.

Eben Upton, Founder and CEO of Raspberry Pi
Eben Upton created the Raspberry PI single board computer to help children learn about computer programming and inspire a new generation of engineering talent. He takes direct inspiration from Acorn’s BBC Micro computer, which helped students and hobbyists learn about computers in the 1980s.

If you're hungry for even more details on the Raspberry Pi 4, you can see it in action for yourself. Tom's Hardware editor-in-chief Avram Piltch tested and reviewed the new mini-computer, and he'll be showing readers its new features and capabilities live on YouTube. Join us Wednesday at 3pm to see exactly what the new mini-computer can do.

Raspberry Pi 4 specs
  • SoC: Broadcom BCM2711B0 quad-core A72 (ARMv8-A) 64-bit @ 1.5GHz
  • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore VI
  • Networking: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless LAN
  • RAM: 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • GPIO: 40-pin GPIO header, populated
  • Storage: microSD
  • Ports: 2 × micro-HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm analogue audio-video jack, 2 × USB 2.0, 2 × USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)
  • Dimensions: 88 mm × 58 mm × 19.5 mm, 46 g
Ask Me Anything Rules
  • No tech support questions, as these require in-depth personal follow-up and diagnostics.
  • All Rules of Conduct apply.
  • Keep questions direct and to the point.
  • Avoid opinion bias, as in, "Why are all your products awesome/horrible?"
  • Be respectful of our guests--no insults, no leading questions.
  • Do not post duplicate questions or repost your question multiple times.
  • Not all questions may be answered. Questions may not be answered in the order in which they are received or posted.
  • Only registered users will be able to ask questions, so if you haven’t yet, be sure to register now for your chance to participate!
  • The official representatives will reply periodically, using a recognized and verified account.
  • Please join us on this date to throw your questions into the mix and ask the Dr. Eben Upton what you've always wanted to know!
 
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jpishgar

VP, Global Community
First question in from some of our social users:

"A lot of YouTube Creators use Raspberry Pi in a great many of their projects to do the most outstanding and unusual things imaginable. Do you have any plans to setup an outreach program to work with creators and/or highlight their projects?"
 
Jun 25, 2019
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I just got a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and it is awesome. Just set it up actually to function as a weather station. While I love the 3 I want to know if it's worth getting a 4, seeing its so soon after I got my 3B+?
 

jpishgar

VP, Global Community
Another one -

"Question: How much further does Raspberry Pi 4 bring us closer to a standalone Virtual Reality headset free of cables tethering the user to a fixed position? Have you seen much demand for a marked boost in graphics processing power?"
 

FishermanWharf

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Apr 21, 2016
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I was thinking of setting up one of these with my kid as a project. I want to build a fully functional PC for him to use long term, like a desktop PC that can run Windows and be used for school. Can the Pi 4 deliver the necessary power for that?
 
Jun 25, 2019
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What have been the biggest challenges facing miniaturization? Anything you can share on where you see the tech going?
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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will the raspberry pi begin to support windows 10 full desktop version
I'd love to see this. I'm sure someone will find a way to get something working (as they did with 3B+), but a "proper" implementation with e.g. DirectX acceleration would require extensive work from the Microsoft side.
 
Jun 25, 2019
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This tech could be really helpful in schools to give kids practical knowledge of putting together computers. have you thought about working with schools to create affordable packs that can be sent to institutions where this kind of tech may not be readil available? Maybe partnering up with other organizations and non-profts?
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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First question in from some of our social users:

"A lot of YouTube Creators use Raspberry Pi in a great many of their projects to do the most outstanding and unusual things imaginable. Do you have any plans to setup an outreach program to work with creators and/or highlight their projects?"
That's an interesting idea. We have ad hoc relationships with some creators, but nothing you'd characterise as a "program". Did you have any particular people in mind?
 
Jun 17, 2019
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Will there be any planned official kits for UMPC or mini laptop powered by this new board? There are already quite a number of DIYs and third party kits around for the previous boards.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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I just got a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and it is awesome. Just set it up actually to function as a weather station. While I love the 3 I want to know if it's worth getting a 4, seeing its so soon after I got my 3B+?
I think it depends what you want to do. For physical computing applications like weather stations the earlier products are quite sufficient. Buy a 4 if you want/need the high-performance CPUs, faster USB and dual-4k support.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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Another one -

"Question: How much further does Raspberry Pi 4 bring us closer to a standalone Virtual Reality headset free of cables tethering the user to a fixed position? Have you seen much demand for a marked boost in graphics processing power?"
You could certainly build something like this with a Raspberry Pi 4, depending on how much graphical fidelity you were looking for.

Interestingly, we haven't seen a lot of explicit demand from the community for more OpenGL throughput: requests for upgrades to CPU, IO and video decode were much more common. The uplift we get from VideoCore VI does help with Chromium rendering and desktop composition.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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I was thinking of setting up one of these with my kid as a project. I want to build a fully functional PC for him to use long term, like a desktop PC that can run Windows and be used for school. Can the Pi 4 deliver the necessary power for that?
Yes, it is suitable for use as a general-purpose desktop PC. The caveat is that it runs Linux, not Windows; a lot of schools seem to be using GSuite now, which runs well on Raspberry Pi 4 under Chromium, so this may not be an issue.
 
Jun 25, 2019
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How come you use ARM processors and not an x86 processor like Intel? Why not partner with AMD? Ryzen on Raspberry!
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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What have been the biggest challenges facing miniaturization? Anything you can share on where you see the tech going?
Simply getting the required amount of routing onto a Raspberry Pi-sized 6-layer PCB was a major challenge. Early prototypes were ~3mm longer, but James Adams was able to squeeze it back down (primarily through optimisation of the LPDDR4 SDRAM interface - see how close the SoC and RAM are) for production.

Lots of manufacturability work on those micro-HDMI connectors too. Making sure they don't rip out of the board if you put force on them, and that they are suitable for automatic optical inspection for quality on the line.
 
Jun 25, 2019
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@ebenupton Thanks a lot for taking the time for this AMA! Overal I'm very impressed with how much improvement was crammed into a $35 price point, and happily surprised it launched this early! I would love to know some more behind the design and decision proces, and why which compromises where made.
  1. Was a FinFET process considered and if so what killed it for this iteration (development cost, marginal costs, available IP, etc.)?
  2. This is the first time difference memory tiers of the same Pi are offered, what made you guys decide to go for multiple market levels?
  3. Double 4K monitor support is amazing. What made you decide on the two Micro HDMI connectors instead of one DisplayPort over USB Type-C for example? Could two regular HDMI sockets be stacked on top of each other?
  4. How much is the Pi ecosystem locked in on Broadcom? Will a Amlogic or Realtek chip in the future be possible for example?
  5. The SD-card speed increase is very welcome! Was an eMMC or M.2 slot considered?
  6. I would be very interested in a 'server' variant without the whole display, audio and wireless parts, leaving only the Ethernet and USB. Do you think such an product will be viable in the future?
  7. The current power usage is a lot higher then with previous generations, probably mainly because the way faster out of order CPU cores. Did you guys experiment with heat sinks and metal casings (used as heat sink)?
 
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ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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This tech could be really helpful in schools to give kids practical knowledge of putting together computers. have you thought about working with schools to create affordable packs that can be sent to institutions where this kind of tech may not be readil available? Maybe partnering up with other organizations and non-profts?
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a number of partnerships with organisations that aim to put computers in the hands of schoolchildren, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds. And some of our reseller partners (Canakit for example) have a lot of experience doing kitting for the education sector.

In general, we try to make the bits of the package we control (the board itself, PSUs, cables) as cheap as possible to make these sorts of packages doable.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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Why the 4th iteration did not include a SATA interface?
We felt USB 3.0 was a better choice, given that adapters are cheap and plentiful, and that we're pretty much out of board area (and periphery) for new connectors.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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Will there be any planned official kits for UMPC or mini laptop powered by this new board? There are already quite a number of DIYs and third party kits around for the previous boards.
We don't have plans to do anything official, but as you say there's a lot of third-party activity in this area.
 

ebenupton

Official Forum Representative
Jun 25, 2019
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How come you use ARM processors and not an x86 processor like Intel? Why not partner with AMD? Ryzen on Raspberry!
It's an interesting idea, primarily because it would allow us to run "regular" Windows. But that's less useful than it once was, and the power/price/performance/area advantages of the ARM architecture are pretty convincing.
 
Jun 25, 2019
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the power/price/performance/area advantages of the ARM architecture are pretty convincing.
Could you talk more on this? What is the perfomance increase? I thought x86 was industry standard because it was the most powerful. I am a gamer so Intel and AMD is all i know :p
 
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