The big news from the Raspberry Pi Foundation is that the brand-new Raspberry Pi version 5 will be launched during October this year, 2023. This will be the first major update to the flagship device since the Pi V4 was released in 2019.
As with all new Raspberry Pi releases the headline upgrade is more processing power. The 1.8 GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A72 processor of the Raspberry Pi 4 is replaced with a 2.4 GHz quad core Arm Cortex-A76 giving the new board between two and three times more processing power.
The faster processor is teamed with faster DDR4 RAM with either 4 GB or 8 GB on-board depending on which model you choose.
The new board also has a more powerful graphics system using an 800 MHz VideoCore VII GPU that’s connected to the main system on a chip via a PCI Express bus. This maintains the Pi 5’s support for OpenGL 3.1 and Vulcan 1.2.
Apart from these performance improvements one of the main enhancements to the new board is the inclusion of a PCIe 2.0 interface which has been brought out to a ribbon connector on the edge of the board. This will allow you to connect a range of high-speed devices such as NVMe SSD drives although you’ll obviously need some sort of interface board to connect to the ribbon cable. I guess this will also open up the possibility of directly connecting external graphics cards and such like to your Raspberry Pi if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
Other than that the rest of the features are pretty similar to the Pi 4. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, DSI and USB connectors all remain pretty much the same. The built-in headphone and composite video socket has been taken off but I assume there are some header pins that will allow you to access these functions.
One really good addition is a power button. You will no longer need to unplug the power cable to power down the device which has been a missing feature on Raspberry Pi’s since their release.
So if you want to get hold of one of these now is the time to jump onto any of the main retailers websites and place your pre-release order. As with any new Raspberry Pi launch these are likely to go out of stock almost immediately so you don’t get in now you’ll probably have to wait a few months for new stock to come back in.
The pricing I’ve seen online is £59 for the 4 GB model and £79 for 8 GB.
On top of this you going to need a new power supply. The Raspberry Pi 5 can draw up to 5 A so your best bet is to get hold of one of the new 27W USB-C power bricks. These come in at about £12. With this increased current use the new board is going to generate more heat so it is recommended that you add some active cooling. The new Raspberry Pi 5 case has an inbuilt fan so for about £10 you’ll get both the case and cooling system. You can of course by stand-alone fans and team these with passive cooling fins but you’ll need to find a box that this will all fit into. No doubt there will be a wide range of third-party case and cooling solutions coming in the next few weeks.
So all in your looking at just under £100 to get yourself up and running with the brand-new Raspberry Pi.
If you’re the sort of person who likes to have the fastest Raspberry Pi around and you want to find out just how far you can push this board then you’ve probably been waiting for this day for quite some time. Retro gaming is going to be much improved and if you’re doing any processor intensive projects such as AI or image processing then this extra power will be a real boon.
I must admit that when I first saw the announcement I rushed over to my usual Pi retailer and immediately put one in my basket. At that point I did have to take a deep breath and really ask myself if I wanted to invest £100 to upgrade the Raspberry Pi 4 sitting on my desk.
When these machines first launched as the sub- £30 single board computers this decision would be much easier. At this price bracket I do have to say that for my particular use case my existing Raspberry Pi’s are more than adequate. As such I’ve not pre-ordered a Pi 5.
So that’s my take on the latest and greatest Raspberry Pi. Do check out the official release notes so you can get a full rundown of all the specifications and improvements.