Rich Stroffolino

Does the Raspberry Pi 5 Lose the Plot?

There’s a new Raspberry Pi out! And it finally adds PCIExpress connectivity, the biggest bottleneck of all the old boards. This will give it much better I/O for storage and Ethernet. It has a more powerful processor and it can do more things, yay! What’s not to like?

Well it now starts at $60, which goes up to $80 for an 8GB version. It’s only a $5 increase from the RPI4, but something about that crosses a threshold. The Raspberry Pi was an awesome device because its cost was almost incidental. You could get a board for a project or a mini PC for peanuts.

Plus if you want to use that new I/O, add an M2 drive, you need an add-on board at extra expense. Also hearing that the RPi5 gets noticeably warm in casual use. Again, a case or heat sink can be had for $5, but it’s another expense.

Now the “affordability” of the Rapsberry Pi line has been an academic point for the last few years. Supply chain woes left them almost always out of stock, with resellers charging a high markup. Luckily this should be resolved with a partnership announced with Sony this summer.

I’m torn on the RPi5. As an upgrade, it offers a wishlist of improvements. It’s not just a spec bump, the I/O additions change what you can do with it. And I didn’t even mention multi 4K display support! But it seems further away from the Pi’s original appeal of a dirt cheap SoC that can decode HD video. I’ll probably still get one.