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Raspberry pi 4 vs 3 – Which is the Best Single-Board Computer Option?

Raspberry Pi is a cost-effective Broadcom-based, credit card-sized, and single-port computer. They’re often applicable when powering home automation hubs, media servers, electronic projects, robotics, video game consoles, or Christmas lights. Over time, Raspberry Pi has evolved through four generations. The earlier models included Raspberry Pi 1, 2, and 3 Model B and B+. Later on, an improved version, Raspberry Pi 4, came to be. It has a faster system compared to the previous models. And so, today, we’ll be comparing the Raspberry Pi 4 VS 3 through the specifications, RAM, power, and connectivity, among others. 

Model Overview

Raspberry Pi 4 and 3 have features like;

  • A 40-pin GPIO header,
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities,
  • USB ports,
  • Display ports,
  • Ethernet ports,
  • RAM, and 
  • ARM processors. 

Despite having almost similar features, the two single-board computers differ in display capabilities, connectivity, and performance, as we’ll see. For example, Pi 4 has a faster working WLAN 802.11ac when compared to Pi 3. 

RJ45 and USB ports of Raspberry Pi 4 board

(RJ45 and USB ports of Raspberry Pi 4 board)

Raspberry pi 4 vs 3:Specifications

The specifications of Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 are in the table below; 

Raspberry pi 4 vs 3:CPU, RAM, and Graphics

Raspberry Pi 4 is, by far, a favorable choice compared to Raspberry Pi 3 in terms of RAM and CPU. 

The Raspberry Pi 3: RAM and CPU

  • It supports 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM. 
  • It also supports Broadcom BCM2837B0, Quad-core Cortex-A53 (ARMV8) 64-bit SoC at 1.4GHz. 

Raspberry Pi 4: RAM and CPU

  • Depending on the model, it can support 4GB, 2GB, or 1GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM. 
  • It reinforces Broadcom BCM2711, Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARMV8) 64-bit SoC at 1.5GHz. 

Raspberry pi 4 vs 3:Connectivity and Ports

Connectivity and port features for Raspberry Pi 3

  • Have a 4-pole composite video and stereo audio port.
  • Then, it has a 2-incorporated lane MIPI CSI camera port section and a 2-lane MIPI DSI display port.
15-pin MIPI camera interface CSI

(15-pin MIPI camera interface CSI)

  • Also, it has 4× USB ports and gigabit ethernet over USB 2.0, with the maximum output being 300Mbps. 
  • It has a 40-pin GPIO header which is the Raspberry Pi standard.
  • Lastly, there’s a Bluetooth 4.0, BLE, and 5GHz and 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN. 

Connectivity and port features for Raspberry Pi 4

  • First, it has a 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port and a 2-lane MIPI DSI display port. 
  • It also has a Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, and a 5GHz and 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11a wireless LAN.
  • Thirdly, it comprises 2 × USB 2.0 ports and 2 × USB-3.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. 
  • It has 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port and a standard 40-pin GPIO header. 

Raspberry pi 4 vs 3:Display connectivity

Display for Raspberry Pi 3

  • 1 × Full-size HDMI port (ranges to around 1080p). 

Display for Raspberry Pi 4

  • H.264 (1080p30 encode, 1080p60 decode), H.265 (4kp60 decode).
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (about 4kp60 supported). 

Raspberry pi 4 vs 3:Power

The points below outline the power specifications of Raspberry Pi-3 and -4, a common one that has a separate PoE. 

Power specifications for Raspberry Pi 4

  • Support Power over Ethernet (PoE) even though it’ll need a discrete PoE HAT. 
  • Then, it has a new 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*) despite having more power consumption rates. 
standard USB type-C plugs

(standard USB type-C plugs) 

  • It also has 5V DC through GPIO header (minimum 3*). 

Note;

Use a good-quality 2.5A power supply if the power consumption of less than 500mA by the downstream USB peripherals. 

Power specification for Raspberry Pi 3 

  • First, it supports PoE (Power over Ethernet).
  • Secondly, it has a 5V/2.5A micro-USB connector. 

Which Raspberry Pi should I buy?

Ideally, both Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry 4 models are excellent choices. It is because you can teach yourself programming and electronics on both gadgets. 

However, when you want to construct a low-cost-media player or experiment with codes and electronics, Raspberry Pi-3 is the best. What’s more, it is cheap. 

Contrarily, you can use Raspberry Pi 4 for better internet support, higher levels of RAM, and a faster processor. Additionally, it can support complex software like Scratch 3 and has an improved retro game emulation. The mentioned features also render it a versatile desktop computer. 

Raspberry Pi 4 model-B

(Raspberry Pi 4 model-B)

The only downside of Raspberry Pi 4 is the heat issue due to faster processing speed. Consequently, that’ll force you to purchase a separate integrated heatsink that requires an additional cost. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing between a Raspberry Pi 4 and 3 can be challenging if you aren’t familiar with the differences. Technically, both serve distinct projects as per your requirements. For more information, contact Wellpcb for detailed guidance. 

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Hommer Zhao
Hi, I am Hommer, the founder of WellPCB. So far, we have more than 4,000 customers worldwide. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I really appreciate any help you can provide.

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