Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4: This new, stripped-down Pi 4 comes in 32 variants

Available now from $25, the Compute Module 4 packs the same technical guts as the Raspberry Pi 4, albeit in a more compact form-factor.

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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 offers a 'step change' over its predecessor, according to the company.

Image: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has launched a new version of its system-on-module board aimed at industrial and commercial applications.

The Compute Module 4 is built on the same 64-bit quad-core Broadcom system-on-chip as the Raspberry Pi 4, launched in June 2019. This means it features the same 'PC-like' specifications that made the Pi 4 such a smash hit when it launched 16 months ago, including a 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU, Bluetooth 5.0, dual 4K monitor support and up to 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM.

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The Compute Module 4 is available in a variety of RAM, flash and wireless connectivity options – a staggering 32 variants overall. Prices range from $25 for the 1GM RAM, 'Lite', no wireless option, to the $90 module packing 8GB RAM, 32GB flash storage and wireless connectivity.

Raspberry Pi's co-creator, Eben Upton, confirmed that the four variants with 1GB RAM and no wireless will retain the same price points ($25, $30, $35, and $40) as their Compute Module 3+ equivalents.

Upton called the new board "Our best Compute Module yet," adding that it is the first Raspberry Pi product designed by senior principle hardware engineer, Dominic Plunkett, who joined the company just under a year ago.

"Our Compute Module 4 delivers a step change in performance over its predecessors: faster CPU cores, better multimedia, more interfacing capabilities, and, for the first time, a choice of RAM densities and a wireless connectivity option," said Upton.

Raspberry Pi traditionally follows each flagship Pi model with a Compute Module based on the same application processor. According to Upton, more than half of the seven million Raspberry Pi units the company sells each year go into industrial and commercial applications, which often require a more compact form-factor, or the benefit of on-board eMMC storage.

To that end, the Compute Module 4 introduces a new, more compressed board design that reduces the overall footprint of the module, making it ideal for applications like digital signage, thin clients and process automation. Where previous modules adopted the JEDEC DDR2 SODIMM mechanical standard, which featured I/O signals on an edge connector, I/O signals on the new board are provided via two high-density perpendicular connectors, one for power and low-speed interfaces, and another for high-speed interfaces.

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To help users get started with the new Compute Module, Raspberry Pi has also launched an updated IO Board that offers a ready-made development platform for building custom designs.

Available for $35, this offers standard connectors for the all of Compute Module's interfaces, including two full-sized HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot, Gigabit Ethernet port, PCI Express socket and a MicroSD card slot.

"In addition to serving as a development platform and reference design, we expect the IO board to be a finished product in its own right," said Upton.

"If you require a Raspberry Pi that supports a wider range of input voltages, has all its major connectors in a single plane, or allows you to attach your own PCI Express devices, then Compute Module 4 with the IO Board does what you need."

A new antenna kit is also available for the Compute Module 4 for an as-yet-unspecified price.

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