Raspberry Pi 3, the latest SBC board from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, was presented in 2016. It has been over a year since, which for many has sparked interest in a new SBC board model, a model that updates to the current one. What many have called Raspberry Pi 4.
The Raspberry Pi founders have been clear and blunt: There will be no Raspberry Pi 4 at the moment. However, this does not mean that we cannot think or seek the components that the future Raspberry Pi 4 should have or that it should be taken into account for the next version.
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Measurements and sizes
The measurements of this SBC board are more and more important and if I have seen during the last months that they have released reduced versions of Raspberry Pi, the 4th version should not neglect this feature. The model Raspberry Pi 3 has these measures 85 x 56 x 17 millimeters, very acceptable measures (and as proof of this we have the numerous projects that exist with this plate) but it can still be reduced further.
Projects like Raspberry Pi Slim indicate that the ethernet port and USB ports “thicken” the board a lot, and can be removed to further reduce board measurements. Possibly Raspberry Pi 4 should follow these steps and remove items like ethernet port or replace the USB ports with microusb or usb-c ports. Trying to have the measurements of the Raspberry Pi Zero and Zero W boards would be an ideal design, that is, reaching 65 x 30 mm without penalizing other functions such as power or communications.
Talking about chipsets or rather future chipsets for Raspberry Pi 4 is very daring, but we can talk about power. Raspberry Pi 3 has a 1,2 Ghz Quadcore SoC, a powerful chip but somewhat obsolete when compared to the power of certain mobile devices. Therefore, I think Raspberry Pi 4 should have at least one chipset with eight cores. And without a doubt, separate the GPU from the CPU on the board. This will mean more power for the board and by extension being able to perform tasks such as rendering images or simply offering better resolution on screens.
This element is the most important and we also recognize that it is the most delicate. That is why I think that the Raspberry Pi Foundation will change the chipset in Raspberry Pi 4, since the tests are slow and almost mandatory, thus justifying the delay of the new version.
The latest versions of the Raspberry Pi have slightly addressed the issue of storage. Although the main storage is still through a microsd port, it is true that the possibility of using the USB ports as storage units has been included. Many rival Raspberry Pi boards have including eMMC memory modules, a type of memory faster and more efficient than pendrives. Possibly, Raspberry Pi 4 should have a module of this type where it can install kernel software or it can be used as swap memory.
But the most delicate and important point in this regard is the ram memory or rather how much ram memory it should have. Raspberry Pi 3 has 1 Gb of RAM, an amount that speeds up the tasks of the raspberry board quite a bit. But a little more would be better. Thus, in a future Raspberry Pi 4, having 2 Gb of ram would not only be important Rather, it could make the Raspberry Pi even more widely used, eventually replacing the desktop computer for many users.
The subject of communications is very important for boards like Raspberry Pi. During the last versions, this topic has not changed much, the most innovative being the inclusion of a Wi-Fi and bluetooth module. Raspberry Pi 4 should consider some communications and think whether to expand the type of communications or not. I personally believe that the ethernet port should be removed from the board. This port is very useful but it also affects the size of the board, being able to be replaced by the Wi-Fi module, a very mature technology that is widespread throughout the world. In addition, there are adapters from this port to the usb port, so having a USB port, we can have an ethernet port, if we really need this port or we cannot have the Wifi module working.
The bluetooth module has been a great relief for many users, but version 4 of this board could well expand the number of wireless technologies, including NFC technology, a very interesting technology for IoT projects. Having NFC inside the Raspberry Pi board could be interesting to pair devices and expand the Raspberry Pi functions, such as connecting with speakers, a smartv, etc ... Elements that can currently be connected to Raspberry Pi, but NFC makes it even easier to connect and configure these devices.
The star element of the Raspberry Pi has always been the GPIO port, among other things because of the hundreds of new functions and applications that this port adds to the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi 4 could try this item and expand the GPIO port with more pins and therefore to be able to offer more functions, functions supported if the chipset used was really more powerful.
As we have commented on the ethernet port, the USB ports could also be changed and replaced by microusb ports or directly by USB-C ports, ports with a higher transfer and with a smaller size than the traditional USB port. This change not only allows the Raspberry Pi to "slim down" but also gives more power to the board, supporting higher transfer speeds than the traditional USB port.
The energetic aspect is the aspect in which it is clear that the Raspberry Pi should change for the next board model. Two aspects stand out in this regard: the power button and power management that allows the use of batteries or an input with more power than a microusb port. Two aspects that Raspberry Pi 4 should have.
That is, to include an on and off button, something that many and many users demand and ask for for their Raspberry Pi board. The use of a specific connector for power would also be important to include. Although there is no problem of confusion, it is true that the microusb port offers little power and this means that sometimes we cannot use all the power of the Raspberry Pi due to lack of power.
Software is a very important aspect, perhaps the most important, because without software it is of little use to have the most powerful Raspberry Pi model. While it is true that Raspberry Pi is not lacking in software, yes it should have friendlier environments for novice users. Thus, perhaps the Foundation's next step should be the inclusion of assistants to help newbies to configure aspects of the board or how it works. Being Raspberry Pi 4 an ideal board for both expert users and novice users.
We have talked a lot about the elements that Raspberry Pi 4 should have as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the board, but at this point I will give my ideal configuration for Raspberry Pi 4.
The new plate it should have a separate GPU, a power button, remove the ethernet port and replace the usb ports with microusb ports. The 2 Gb of ram memory would be fine although possibly this would make the model very expensive and would be counterproductive. At least this configuration is what I consider important and essential for the next version. And you What do you think the Raspberry Pi 4 should have?