I wasn't lucky enough to win an RPi4 in the Win a Raspberry Pi 4 in Celebration of Our 10th Birthday! contest and I didn't have time for a roadtest, so I decided to wait until the 4GB versions became widely available.  I started seeing a lot of them on Amazon, so I bought one along with an Smraza case which came with a 3A USB-C power supply and a fan and heat sinks.  I just got it on Monday.  I downloaded and flashed a 32GB uSD card with Raspbian Buster and got everything assembled.  The case is one of those funky ones with a bunch of sandwiched layers.  The fit is good and I'm sure it will be fine as long as I don't take it apart a lot.  I'm running the fan at slow speed (3.3V) and it's absolutely silent.  The only issue I had with assembly was that metal screws and nuts were being used to mount the internal fan and I'd hate to short out my Pi with a loose nut, so I used plastic nuts instead.

 

Software Setup

I downloaded the latest version (4.19) of Raspbian Buster with desktop and recommended software and it was quite a bit larger than Stretch.  The zip file was 2.26GB and the uncompressed image file was 5.99GB.  I used Win32DiskImager to write the image to the uSD card.  Attached an HDMI monitor using a uHDMI to HDMI adapter and hooked up a USB keyboard and mouse.  The first boot seemed slow but I guess I'm used to seeing all the boot information scrolling by on the monitor.  For this version of the OS the default is to suppress displaying that information.  Configuration went quickly because the new Pi is much more responsive.  Set up the localisation info, changed the password, enabled SSH and VNC, and set up the WiFi connection.  Then I changed the hostname in the /etc/hostname and /etc/hosts files and edited the /etc/dhcpcd.conf file to set up a static IP address.

 

RPi4 in Smraza case:

RPi4 in Smraza case

 

VNC display:

RPi4 via VNC

SSH via Putty:

 

Verify Hardware Configuration

So here's where I was in for a little surprise.  I have to admit that I don't normally do this step but because it was a new toy, I figured that I would check the OS version, the processor version and number of cores, the SOC type, memory and disk (SD card) sizes.

 

Here is what I was verifying:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM
  • 32GB SD (disk) size

I was expecting that the processor cores might report incorrectly as ARMv7 because it is using a 32 bit OS, but I was surprised that the Hardware (SoC) reported as BCM2835 instead of BCM2711.  Apparently this is a well known issue and I never checked it before.

At least checking the model does verify it is an RPi4.

 

The memory and disk checks reported as I expected.

 

Next step is to verify the cooling performance.  I checked the CPU temperature rise after running the stress-ng stress test for 10 minutes.

  • Ambient temperature: 25C
  • Idle Temperature: 44C
  • Stress test temperature: 74C

 

It seems with the slow fan speed that the temperatures are well below where the frequency throttling would occur (80-85C).  If I needed to run the fan at high speed I had considered trying a PWM controlled fan like the one used on the Jetson-Nano.  Unfortunately that's a 40mm fan and the case fan is a 30mm fan.  I'd probably 3D print a custom case like fmilburn if I wanted to use the PWM fan.

 

So, I'm off to a good start.  I plan to use the RPi4 as a workstation that I can use with my other development boards.  I've loaded the Linux version of the Arduino IDE and I just need to get it configured for my MKR WAN and ESP boards.

 

I'll be checking all the roadtest reviews to see what others are implementing.