Unboxing the Raspberry Pi 4

The Raspberry Pi 4 delivers impressive performance gains over its predecessors, and the Starter Kit makes it easy to get it up and running quickly.
168 readers like this
168 readers like this
Raspberry Pi 4 board, posterized filter

Anderson Silva, modified by Opensource.com

When the Raspberry Pi 4 was announced at the end of June, I wasted no time. I ordered two Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits the same day from CanaKit. The 1GB RAM version was available right away, but the 4GB version wouldn't ship until July 19th. Since I wanted to try both, I ordered them to be shipped together.

CanaKit's Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit and official accessories

Here's what I found when I unboxed my Raspberry Pi 4.

Power supply

The Raspberry Pi 4 uses a USB-C connector for its power supply. Even though USB-C cables are very common now, your Pi 4 may not like your USB-C cable (at least with these first editions of the Raspberry Pi 4). So, unless you know exactly what you are doing, I recommend ordering the Starter Kit, which comes with an official Raspberry Pi charger. In case you would rather try whatever you have on hand, the device's input reads 100-240V ~ 50/60Hz 0.5A, and the output says 5.1V --- 3.0A.

Raspberry Pi USB-C charger

Keyboard and mouse

The official keyboard and mouse are sold separately from the Starter Kit, and at $25 total, they aren't really cheap, given you're paying only $35 to $55 for a proper computer. But the Raspberry Pi logo is printed on this keyboard (instead of the Windows logo), and there is something compelling about having an appropriate appearance. The keyboard is also a USB hub, so it allows you to plug in even more devices. I plugged in my YubiKey security key, and it works very nicely. I would classify the keyboard and mouse as a "nice to have" versus a "must-have." Your regular keyboard and mouse should work fine.

Official Raspberry Pi keyboard (with YubiKey plugged in) and mouse.

Raspberry Pi logo on the keyboard

Micro-HDMI cable

Something that may have caught some folks by surprise is that, unlike the Raspberry Pi Zero that comes with a Mini-HDMI port, the Raspberry Pi 4 comes with a Micro-HDMI. They are not the same thing! So, even though you may have a suitable USB-C cable/power adaptor, mouse, and keyboard on hand, there is a pretty good chance you will need a Micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable (or an adapter) to plug your new Raspberry Pi into a display.

The case

Cases for the Raspberry Pi have been around for years and are probably one of the very first "official" peripherals the Raspberry Pi Foundation sold. Some people like them; others don't. I think putting a Pi in a case makes it easier to carry it around and avoid static electricity and bent pins.

On the other hand, keeping your Pi covered can overheat the board. This CanaKit Starter Kit also comes with heatsink for the processor, which might help, as the newer Pis are already known for running pretty hot.

Raspberry Pi 4 case

Raspbian and NOOBS

The other item that comes with the Starter Kit is a microSD card with the correct version of the NOOBS operating system for the Raspberry Pi 4 pre-installed. (I got version 3.1.1, released June 24, 2019). If you're using a Raspberry Pi for the first time and are not sure where to start, this could save you a lot of time. The microSD card in the Starter Kit is 32GB.

After you insert the microSD card and connect all the cables, just start up the Pi, boot into NOOBS, pick the Raspbian distribution, and wait while it installs.

Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB of RAM

I noticed a couple of improvements while installing the latest Raspbian. (Forgive me if they've been around for a while—I haven't done a fresh install on a Pi since the 3 came out.) One is that Raspbian will ask you to set up a password for your account at first boot after installation, and the other is that it will run a software update (assuming you have network connectivity). These are great improvements to help keep your Raspberry Pi a little more secure. I would love to see the option to encrypt the microSD card at installation … maybe someday?

Running Raspbian updates at first boot

Raspberry Pi 4 setup

It runs very smoothly!

Wrapping up

Although CanaKit isn't the only authorized Raspberry Pi retailer in the US, I found its Starter Kit to provide great value for the price.

So far, I am very impressed with the performance gains in the Raspberry Pi 4. I'm planning to try spending an entire workday using it as my only computer, and I'll write a follow-up article soon about how far I can go. Stay tuned!

What to read next

Raspberry Pi 4 is here!

A new version of the $35 computer features a 1.5GHz Arm chip and support for dual-HDMI 4K displays, Gigabit Ethernet, and much more.

He was introduced to Linux by his uncle back in 1996. In the early 2000s Anderson transitioned from being a developer to a system administrator/release engineer. He joined Red Hat as an IT Release Engineer in 2007.

5 Comments

I might be interested when they come out with at least 8GB of ram, 16GB would be better. Oh, and a way to install an M.2 SSD

Once you add the cost for those parts, and a suitable cooling solution, is there still an advantage to using a Pi instead of a small Linux PC (say, an Intel NUC)?

In reply to by Nonya (not verified)

Nonya you can also search around and find one of those *pi or fruit varients that have more ports, ram, and storage options.

Anderson nice little unboxing ... I see you had 1 screen there, did you get to try running the dual hdmi? I'm interested to know how well the pi 4 performs with 2 displays ... probably I should just try that myself!

Thanks for the article, you give very good advice. Cool that there is a popularization of such seemingly outdated but creative products. I read this afternoon on another site also a cool post on the topic, https://writeabout.tech/programming/raspberry-pi-2/, I think it will be useful.
 

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