Raspberry Pi 4B vs 5 Rundown: How to Choose Your Pi Board

When it comes to simply the best single-board computers for hobbyists and tinkerers, everyone wants a piece of the Pi! But how do you choose the right one for your next project? The new Raspberry Pi 5 and the old faithful Pi 4B boards each have unique properties to offer. If you’re wondering what features have changed on the Pi 5 board and what gems are still hiding in the Pi 4B model, join us in taste-testing them both with a feature rundown in today’s blog.

What are Pi Boards?

Before we can faceplant ourselves into the juicy details, let’s gain some quick perspective on Pi boards and what’s the same in these two models.

Raspberry Pi boards are single-board computers that accomplish the fantastic feat of having the computing power of a small laptop on a single palm-sized board. With this smart platform to work off and a network of open-source resources online, you can engineer your own DIY projects, home-built minicomputers, and smart home devices. A plethora of accessories from touchscreen displays to motion detection cameras are available to enhance your creations. We’re astounded how many ideas become possible with these fantastic boards available to any Maker.

Similarities Between Pi 5 vs Pi 4B

We start our comparison with common ground. The Pi 5 and Pi 4B boards are physically interchangeable in most existing Pi projects! Thanks to the general layouts and dimensions being extremely similar, you might upgrade your Pi 4B project to a Pi 5 with relative ease. The Pi 5 board’s GPIO pins are fully backwards compatible. Just be sure to change your power supply to compensate for the increased processing power of the Pi 5. Both boards also come in various RAM sizes, from 2GB to 8GB. These basic similarities make the Pi board so versatile, able to tuck away inside your projects and awe your friends.

The Raspberry Pi 4B Board

Since Pi development boards are the platforms to springboard your projects, choosing a Pi is often the very first step. You need to know exactly what you’ll get to make an informed decision. Sometimes grabbing the latest version isn’t the best option. These fundamental five features will determine which Pi board to pick for your project. Of course, we’ve also included a complete comparison table below for you.

The Raspberry Pi 4B may be the older of the two in this blog, released in 2019, but it’s been revolutionary in its time for good reason. You might not need the newest specs to make something glorious. The Pi 4B had the most significant changes from earlier models, fuelled powerful projects and substantially handled multi-process applications.

  • Processing Power: The Raspberry Pi 4B still packs a punch with a Cortex A-72 processor, reaching 1.5GHz clock speed without consuming a crazy amount of power.
  • Peripheral Connectivity: Two USB 3.0 & two USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, and BLE 5.0 are just the start. The Pi 4B offers an Ethernet connection and two Micro-HDMI ports, as well as interfaces for cameras and audio. The board is a powerhouse for connecting your peripherals.
  • Power Requirements: A USB-C connector powers the Pi 4B with a 5.1V 3A supply, a small amount for such a powerful computer.
  • Special Features: With its processor came the first major improvement in GPU, allowing for the Pi 4B to handle two 4K displays at once.

The Raspberry Pi 5 Board

As we shift gears to the Raspberry Pi 5 board, let’s keep in mind that this is a new generation, released in 2023, with significant improvements over the Pi 4B. It’s important to ask what might you do with these extra bits and impressive speeds? If this ignites your imagination, then you’ve found your Pi board.

  • Processing Power: The new RP1 chip on the Pi 5 is an extremely powerful Broadcom BCM2712 quad-core Arm Cortex-A76. At 2.4GHz clock speed, the Pi 5 runs three times faster, uses even less power and runs more efficiently than the Pi 4B can dream.
  • Peripheral Connectivity: Interfacing improvements are all around the Pi 5 with largely the same wireless capabilities and ports as the Pi 4B, just better. On top of all that, there is now two 4-lane MIPI camera/display transceivers and PCIe 2.0 for fast peripherals. You can pack even more onto this board than ever before!
  • Power Requirements: To use the full capability of all these peripherals, the Pi 5 needs more power with a 5V 5A supply, also using the USB-C connector.
  • Special Features: After over a decade of community outrage and pleas, we finally have a power button on the Raspberry Pi 5 board. Our hearts skipped a beat at the news, too. Jokes aside, the Pi 5 CPU has an upgraded VideoCore VII GPU. This board can support Dual 4Kp60 HDMI with HDR support.

Comparison Table

We put together a table comparing the Raspberry Pi 4B and Pi 5 boards.

Raspberry Pi 4BRaspberry Pi 5
ProcessorBroadcom BCM2711B0 (Quad-Core Cortex A-72)Broadcom BCM2712 (64-bit quad-core Arm Cortex-A76)
Power Supply5V/3A DC Power Via USB-C5V/5A DC Power Via USB-C with Power Delivery Support
RAM2GB, 4GB, or 8GB options (LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM)4GB or 8GB options (LPDDR4X-4267 SDRAM)
GPUBroadcom VideoCore VIBroadcom VideoCore VII
GPU Support– OpenGL ES 3.1
– Vulkan 1.0
– OpenGL ES 3.1
– Vulkan 1.2
Clock Speed1.5GHz2.4GHz
HDMI2 x Micro HDMI Ports (Up to 4kp60 supported)2 x Micro HDMI Ports (Up to 4kp60 & HDR supported)
MIPI Ports2 x 2-Lane Camera Serial Interface (MIPI CSI)2 x 4-lane MIPI Camera/Display Transceivers
USB– 2 x USB2.0
– 2 x USB3.0
– 2 x USB2.0 (Improved)
– 2 x USB3.0 Supporting Simultaneous 5Gbps Operation
GPIO HeaderRaspberry Pi standard 40-pin headerRaspberry Pi standard 40-pin header
StorageMicro SD CardMicroSD Card Slot with Support For High-Speed SDR104 Mode
Wireless Connectivity– Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
– Bluetooth 5.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
– Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
– Bluetooth 5.0 / Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
EthernetTrue Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps)Gigabit Ethernet with PoE+ Support (requires separate PoE+ HAT)
Peripheral Interface– 4 x UART Serial Buses
– 4 x SPI Buses
– 4 x I2C Buses
PCIe 2.0 x1 Interface for Fast Peripherals (Requires Separate M.2 HAT or Other Adapter)
RTCTime over Internet connectionPowered from an external battery
Power ButtonNot IncludedOn-board power button!!

Grab your Pi and Create

In the debate between Raspberry Pi 5 and the trusty Pi 4B, the choice ultimately boils down to your project’s specific needs. While the Pi 4B is a reliable workhorse with commendable processing power and connectivity options, the Pi 5 naturally emerges victorious in the wake of technical advancement. The Pi 5’s RP1 chip and improved connectivity features open exciting possibilities for resource-intensive applications and advanced projects. However, for those content with the Pi 4B’s capabilities and stability, the Pi 4B is fantastic for everyday tinkering and multi-process applications.

Whichever you choose, both Pi boards epitomize the spirit of innovation and empower Makers worldwide to turn their imaginative ideas into tangible creations. So, grab your Pi and let your creativity run wild!

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