The Raspberry Pi 5, a new version of a small machine beloved by hobbyists, makers and others who need a computer for their projects, will arrive in October with a faster processor and better connectivity.
Raspberry Pi machines are small — about the size of a credit card, though thicker — and inexpensive, costing $60 for a model with 4GB of memory and $80 for 8GB. Although you can buy one with an optional $10 case, they’re deliberately offered as a bare circuit board studded with electronic components.
That might be intimidating to people used to sleekly packaged laptops and smartphones, but it’s a deliberate choice for the do-it-yourself crowd that likes the Raspberry Pi machines for projects like a remote-controlled Lego car, a laser tripwire, a web programming tutorial machine, an AI-powered mood light that changes colors based on your facial expression, or a cellular automaton simulator based on Conway’s Game of Life. Many such projects rely on the easy connection of displays, cellular modems, speakers or other Raspberry Pi “HATs.” That stands for “hardware attached on top,” by the way. For that, the naked circuit board is an advantage.
The machines aren’t for everybody. But they’re a cheap way to learn about computing technology, which is why you’ll see them in STEM education programs trying to encourage students to get their hands dirty.
The quad-core Arm Broadcom processor that serves as the Raspberry Pi 5’s brain is two to three times faster than the one in the Raspberry Pi 4, the device’s 4-year-old predecessor, according to the foundation that designs the machines. Although the new model requires significantly less power to run a given task, it also has higher peak performance, which means it can consume up to 12 watts of power compared with 8W for the Raspberry Pi 4. That’s one reason the optional Raspberry Pi 5 case includes a cooling fan.
The new model also gets doubled input-output (I/O) performance, thanks to a new processor. It’s the first time that the Raspberry Pi team designed a processor itself. One of its perks is a dedicated PCIe connector that lets you plug in devices like fast NVMe storage devices.
The devices also now can handle two 4K displays running at a refresh rate of 60 frames per second, thanks to two HDMI ports. Also on board are four USB data ports — alas, the old-style rectangular USB-A shape, not the newer USB-C ports that have spread to just about every other corner of the electronics world.
Raspberry Pi devices can run Windows 11, but the more common operating system software is a version of Debian Linux called Raspberry Pi OS.