Unboxing the Raspberry Pi 4 and accessories

in STEMGeeks3 months ago

Finally got a hold of a Raspberry Pi 4. I have a few more coming in but I was lucky enough to get one w/ the case I want to test as well as a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Hat. I paid a premium to order via Amazon and not have shipped from the UK or Canada.

The Pi 4 looks like any other Pi. In fact, I love how they have managed to keep the same form factor with all the updates.

The Pi 4 is a big leap forward bringing some much-needed changes like the improved SD bus, Quad 1.5Ghz CPU, 1GBit Ethernet (not really, but close), 4K Display at 60 FPS, and USB 3.0 ports. It even supports dual monitors if you wanted to do that.

While this all sounds amazing for $35, there are a lot of caveats.

The Raspberry Pi 4 can only feed 4K 60 FPS to one display, so if you want to use dual displays you are limited to 4K 30 FPS. You actually have to modify the boot config if you want to use 4K 60 FPS.

The Quad 1.5GHz CPU is ARM and does not understand the Intel instruction set. ARM CPUs are also tuned to be low power usage so performance is not on par with Intel at equal clock rates. The CPU also can throttle under sustain load without proper cooling although recent Pi 4 firmware helped this quite a bit.

Although the Pi 3+ introduced Gigabyte Ethernet, it was limited to USB 2.0 speeds which resulted in a cap at around 250-300Mbit. The Raspberry Pi 4 greatly improved the SD bus and throughput of the Gigabyte Ethernet and can reach 900Mbit. This is very close to the theoretical maximum of Gigabit Ethernet.

The SD Bus is notoriously slow and is made slower by the fact most SD cards perform really poorly on the Pi. I recommend using the Samsung EVO+ cards exclusively on the Raspberry Pi as they performed significantly better than other cards and performance is already atrocious.

That being said, you can see the Pi 4 outclasses all previous generations in virtually every area.
Charts below are from here

The improvement from even the Pi 3+ is amazing.


I wanted a case that had support for a fan and I found a good GeeekPi bundle that included the case, heatsinks, fan, and power supply.

One thing I wasn't expecting but I was very happy to see is the power supply includes a switch.

The entire bundle was $15.99. I normally wouldn't recommend buying a power supply from a third party but GeeekPi is very reputable and is not shoddy.

SD Card

As I said earlier, I don't recommend anything but the Samsung EVO+ series, a 32GB is only $8-9 on Amazon. They are considerably faster than anything else including the Sandisk Extremes. Random I/O performance can be 20x faster or more than other SD cards. The difference is really huge.


I have plenty of HDMI cables, but with the Raspberry Pi 4 they went with Micro HDMI and I don't have those cables. Instead of buying cables, I got adapters so I can use my existing cables from the media center and just use the adapter into the HDMI cables already run behind my TV and amplifier. They typically run about $4-5 each.

Game Controllers

I am building a couple of RetroPie's for a few friends of mine and I needed some controllers. I ordered two for each and they run around $30 and will run wireless with RetroPie without hassles. These controllers work really well and have good battery life. Most importantly they work without any futzing around.

Power over Ethernet

This is something I haven't really played with the Raspberry Pi and I wish it was just included natively. Being able to plug into Ethernet without having to also run a power supply is awesome. It also has the added benefit of being protected by the UPS that is on my main switch. Unfortunately, most switches are not PoE and you have to spend extra money on that. You are also limited to 2.5A with PoE so that may affect you if you have a lot of devices on the Pi.

I went with an aftermarket PoE Hat that is low profile and may still be able to fit in the case with the heat sinks and fan. I am going to do some testing and will post my results.

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iji3nu.jpgI just my bought a bare RPi 4 2Gb from a the local supplier in in Israel for 185 NIS = US$54 including 17% tax.

I re-used a heatsink from an old motherboard and am setting it up to do a major upgrade on my Ender 3 Pro 3D printer.

Sure you don't want something like this?


I run kode on my pi3 thinking to make this upgrade, I am wondering if it will decode h265 without stuttering the playback?

This might help, I read something about 265 somewhere else too but I didn't pay much attention as everything I have is 264 but I do want to start switching over myself.


How long before pictures of the entire setup?

The setup is just a pi hanging from an Ethernet cable :)

These are unnecessarily expensive in Australia. I have a Pi3 that cost me nearly $90.

Ouch, I remember the Adobe fiasco w/ Australia where it was cheaper to fly to the US and buy Adobe Creative Suite than to buy it in Australia.

Yep, the Australia tax is real. It really hurts the hip pocket as a tech enthusiast.

Doesn't the Pi give the underpowered lightning bolt with only 2.5 Amps? All my 2.5 amp chargers give my pi3 a sad yellow bolt :( I assume, since they made it able to do this that it will work.

2.5A should be plenty unless you have accessories.

It's very likely your power supply isn't truly 2.5A. Most power supplies are overrated and unreliable.

I believe the Pi 4 will run at 1.3A if you have the latest firmware and running at 100% usage. (Source)

TBH, the only 2.5 amp chargers I have are Samsung fast chargers that came with my cell phones. At one time they worked with no lightning bolt, but one update that changed. So maybe there's something in the pi or charger circuitry that prevents it from kicking up to the "fast charging" 2.5A

One less cable going to the pi is always a good thing, I hope the PoE hat works out well for you or your friend. Not sure if that one was for home use or a retro pie

Ok. You might be on to something because there is a known problem with the Pi 4 and third party power supplies. I am not sure if it is completely fixed or not but it was one of the reasons I held off on the Pi 4 initially. That and the heat problems.

I would make sure you are running latest firmware by doing ‘sudo apt full-upgrade’


I hadn't realized I was ahead of you by diving straight into a Pi 4 off the bat! I hope you give me some good ideas for things I can do with mine in your next posts on the subject.

I held off because of the usb and heat problems. They are also price gouged and very hard to get in US early on. I tend to give it some time for new Pi hardware unless I have an immediate project need.

Been really wanted to play with the 4 but Steem/Hive been keeping me busy.

Nothing I do really needs a 4 but it’s a really nice improvement and may allow me to do something I couldn’t do before. For now I want to do a lot of testing.

And you went straight to the 8GB model, if memory serves, while I got the year-old 4GB model.

No, I bought 2GB models. 99% of workloads on a Pi won't need more than 2GB.

I doubt even my use as a desktop replacement will tax the 4GB model much.

Side note: Had to request a replacement touchscreen from Amazon today. There seems to be a whole row of dead pixels. I tried all the usual troubleshooting to no avail.