Skip navigation
> RoadTest Reviews

RoadTest the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (2GB) - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: RoadTest the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (2GB)
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?:

  • Detailed Review:

    Unboxing + Quick Specs

    Good old unboxing shots for the new raspberry Pi 4 B. What a gorgeous piece of engineering.

    Link to the setup of the operating system NOOBS.

    Specification

    Raspberry Pi 4 B

    Raspberry Pi 3 B+

    Release Date

    24th of June 2019

    14th of March 2018

    CPU

    1.5GHz Quad Core Broadcom BCM2711B0

    1.4GHz, Quad Core Broadcom BCM2837B0 

    RAM

    1, 2 or 4GB DDR4

    1GB DDR2

    Video Out

    dual micro HDMI ports

    single HDMI port

    Max resolution

    4K 60 Hz + 1080p or 2x 4K 30 Hz

    1080p 60 Hz

    USB Ports

    2x USB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0

    4x USB 2.0

    Wired Networking

    Gigabit Ethernet

    330 Mbps Ethernet

    Wireless

    802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0

    802.11ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1

    Charging Port

    USB Type-C

    micro USB

    Power Requirement

    3A, 5V

    2.5A, 5V

     

    Benchmark / Short tests

     

    Website Benchmarks

    After 3+ months form the release of the new Raspberry Pi 4B, there are a tone of benchmarks on the Internet so I have decided to skip this part of the road test.

    Please find the link below to see how much the Raspberry Pi evolved from one generation to another.

    https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/raspberry-pi-4-specs-benchmarks/

    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/raspberry-pi-4-b,6193.html

     

    Data Throughput

    Due to the nature of the projects I have decided to do with the RPi4B, I have decide to do my own benchmarks on the network that I am having at home (see figure below) so I can better understand how it would perform.

    To test the network speeds between the devices I have them using iPerf. Four (4) tests were performed for this part.

    Firstly, to test that the software is behaving correctly I have tested a wired Gigabit connection between two PCs connected through a switch (Netgear GS110TP).

    Secondly, I have tested a wired connection between the raspberry pi (3B+) and a PC in the same manner as before and obtained the well know 300 Mbps (because the network card is an input to the USB hub which acts as a bottle neck).

    This confirmed that the setup is working properly.

    Thirdly, I have tested the 2.4GHz WiFi connectivity between the RPi4B and a PC, and obtained about 30 Mbps (the distance between the RPi and access point (BT combo) was about 3m line of sight) which is lower than other benchmarks on the Internet, this is due to my network not the Raspberry Pi. This is happening because I am leaving in a dense populated area, that is heavily congested on every channel and there are a lot of wireless networks. Also I have a lot of other wireless devices (15+) connected  to the network.

    This was not a problem for me because I was intending to use it wired not wireless anyway.

    This part of the experimented just proved that if your project is wireless dependent and require minimum data throughput, the datasheets are not everything and the environment in which your project will be living will have an impact on the bandwidth.

    Finally, I have tested the wired connection between the RPi4B and a PC, this was the one that was of more interest for my projects. The results were significantly better than the WiFi or previous RPi model test obtaining the Gigabit speed. This speed was expected based on the improved design of the network card.

     

    Scenario

    Bandwidth

    PC to PC Wired connection

    914 Mbps

    RPi3B to PC Wired connection

    307 Mbps

    RPi4B to PC 2.4GHz Wireless connection

    28.8 Mbps

    RPi4B to PC Wired connection

    911 Mbps

                     

     

    Thermals

    To measure the software temperature the following command was used: “ vcgencmd measure_temp ”. To measure the IR temperature a generic IR thermometer gun was used.

    The ambient temperature was around 20’C. 

    Heatsink used Pimoroni Aluminium Heatsink Case for Raspberry Pi 4 – Gold.

     

    For testing the thermals of the RPi 4B, I have created five (5) scenarios.

    1. Raspberry Pi without heatsink and only powered via USB C and with Ethernet connected.
    2. Raspberry Pi without heatsink and powered via USB C, Ethernet, mouse and keyboard connected and a 1080p video output.
    3. Raspberry Pi with heatsink and only powered via USB C and with Ethernet connected.
    4. Raspberry Pi with heatsink and powered via USB C, Ethernet, mouse and keyboard connected and a 1080p video output.
    5. Raspberry Pi with heatsink and powered via USB C, Ethernet, mouse and keyboard connected and a 1080p and a 4k video outputs.

    The results were as expecte, by attaching a mouse and keyboard and having video output/outputs the Raspberry Pi is the idle/stress temperatures are getting higher.

    It was observed that without using a heatsink the RPi4B is thermal throttling.

    Bottom line, RPi4 requires passive or active cooling.

     

    Scenario

    Time

    Status

    Software Temp (‘C)

    IR measured Temp (‘C)

     

     

     

     

    1

    15 minutes

    Idle

    53

    51

    1 minutes

    Stressed

    67

    57

    2 minutes

    Stressed

    69

    59

    3 minutes

    Stressed

    71

    60

    5 minutes

    Stressed

    74

    63

    10 minutes

    Stressed – Thermal Throttle

    81

    67

     

     

    2

    15 minutes

    Idle

    58

    54

    1 minutes

    Stressed

    74

    62

    2 minutes

    Stressed

    78

    63

    3 minutes

    Stressed

    80

    65

    5 minutes

    Stressed – Thermal Throttle

    82

    67

     

     

    3

    15 minutes

    Idle

    39

    34

    1 minutes

    Stressed

    46

    36

    2 minutes

    Stressed

    48

    39

    5 minutes

    Stressed

    53

    42

    15 minutes

    Stressed

    60

    50

     

     

    4

    15 minutes

    Idle

    45

    40

    1 minutes

    Stressed

    53

    43

    3 minutes

    Stressed

    55

    45

    15 minutes

    Stressed

    61

    50

    30 minutes

    Stressed

    65

    55

     

     

    5

    15 minutes

    Idle

    52

    45

    1 minutes

    Stressed

    60

    47

    3 minutes

    Stressed

    61

    50

    5 minutes

    Stressed

    63

    50

    15 minutes

    Stressed

    66

    53

    30 minutes

    Stressed

    72

    58

     

    Stability With PoE Hat

    Previously, when the first version of PoE hat was released, there was a problem with the Raspberry Pi ofshutting down when the USB power drawn would go above a certain current drawn. The Raspberry Pi Foundation solved that issue for the by releasing a second version  that eliminated that problem.

    Due to the increase of power requirements of the RPi4B I wanted to test the stability of the PoE hat by testing it with different USB devices (keyboard, mouse, USB stick, USB webcam).

    I have not experienced any issues by using the PoE hat v2 with the new RPi 4B.

    Projects

     

    Raspberry Pi as a PC (one week experiment)

    The first experiment that came to my mind when I first saw the new RPi was to try to use it as a computer, especially because it has 2 HDMI video outputs and USB 3.0.

    So I have challenged myself to replace my PC with this credit card size computer for a week.

    First of all, the way I am using my computer is usually for about 3 h a day after I am coming from work. The main usages are:

    • internet browsing
    • online and offline media consumption (videos, photos, music)
    • document editing
    • programming python
    • cloud implementation (web base or terminal)
    • tinkering with networking equipment that require a serial connection or Ethernet to a PC/network.

    I am not the most heavy user in the world so Raspberry Pi4 looked like a viable option for me to try this experiment. My setup is keyboard (no RGB), mouse (no RGB), a 1080p monitor and a 4k monitor and headsets.

    After testing it for a week I would say it was a very good experience. If you thinking of creating a secondary PC or having a back-up setup, RPi4B is an incredible option when considering the price.

    I would personally opt for the 4GB RAM option if I would buy the RPi for the purpose of running it as a standalone computer just to have the extra juice.

    For people that are heavy multitaskers or like to have a tone of tabs open (8-15) in the browser i definitely go for the 4GB RAM, but the 2GB was good enough for this experiment.

    The perfect setup for the new RPi4B would be to use it in a workshop to quickly browse something, take notes etc. or as a back-up computer or a first computer for a kid.

    PS: If you intend to use it as every day computer, you need cooling.

    PPS: The road test for the RPi4 was written by using the RPi4. So yeah, not bad.

    PiVPN server

    The second project that I have tried was one of my main interests when testing this product was to use it as a VPN server.

    First of all, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and in simple terms is a way to create an encrypted tunnel between you private network (in my case my home network) and a public network (in my case the mobile carrier network – Giffgaff).

    By creating an encrypted tunnel between the two networks, will allow exchange of sensitive date between the two networks. Also, it will let access the devices in the private network by using the local IP address without the need of port forwarding the individual IP address in the router settings of each device.

    My use of the VPN is to be able to connect to my LAN in order to access my media files stored on my computer if I am not at home.

    For this project I have used PiVPN literally “Simplest OpenVPN setup and configuration, designed for Raspberry Pi”.

    Before installing PiVPN. I have create an account on NoIP so I can create a Dynamic Domain Name Server (DDNS). This helps by mapping my dynamic external IP address provided by my ISP for my network with a easy to remember name like “myhomenetwork.ddns.net”. The service is free for 3 hostnames and the hosts name needs to be confirmed every 30 day by clicking a link that is received via email.

    After creating the DDNS, account details needs to be configured in your router DDNS rules, also the IP address of the Pi and the port number (PiVPN default port number 1194) needs to be forwarded in the router's settings.

    To install the PiVPN it just type in terminal “ curl -L https://install.pivpn.io | bash ” and follow the steps. When the step in the installation asks for a public IP address or a DNS entry, select DNS entry and type in the entry that you chose, in this case “myhomenetwork.ddns.net”.

    After finishing installing the next thing I have done was to create two client profiles one for my mobile and one for my laptop. For more details on how to setup the PiVPN please use this link or this link.

     

    Printer Server

    Finally, I wanted to make my Samsung Xpress M2026 printer available on the network by make the RPi4 as a printer server using CUPS.

    It took me a while to find the right driver for my printer, but please find it attached if you will require to install the same printer, also please find the link to other drivers for Samsung printers if yours is not in the default list of CUPS.

     

    Final Thoughts

    After testing the Raspberry Pi 4B, I was very impressed with the boost in performance from the previous model.

    Based on the tests I have done, the 2GB model hold well, but if I were to do this again I would go for the 4GB model, especially if I would want to use it as a PC.

    Very pleased with the performance, but I would strongly recommend to install a heatsink or a fan.

    I am currently using it as an VPN server and print server and I will let it run like that, as I found it very useful to be able to tunnel it to your home network from anywhere in the world and if I want to print remotely.

    The good part is the latest RPi is so powerful that while the VPN and Print server are running, I can connect it to a monitor and write a report or watch a video.

    Very impressed with the capabilities of this £45 computer.

     

    Keep up the good work Raspberry Pi Foundation, looking forward to what are you bringing next.

    Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to test and review the amazing product.

     


Comments

Also Enrolling

Enrollment Closes: Aug 13 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Sep 15 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Sep 8 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 21 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 28 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 25 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 18 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 18 
Enroll
Enrollment Closes: Aug 17 
Enroll