Moving the Raspberry Pi Cluster to a Raspberry Pi 4B 4GB

Today I am talking about moving the Raspberry Pi Cluster primary node to a Raspberry Pi 4B 4GB model. I also discuss the improvements that the Raspberry Pi 4B has made over previous generations.

Why move to a Raspberry Pi 4B

Generally running the cluster does not require a large amount of compute capability. However having more processing power available will increase the amount of services the primary node can run.

In addition, in comparison to the earlier models the cluster currently uses, the Raspberry Pi 4B has wireless and bluetooth included as standard. This allows it to interface more easily with the network and other devices.

The increase in RAM will also be useful for running more programs at once on the Pi.

Specifications of the 4B model

There are currently four variants of the Raspberry Pi 4B (one of these has been discontinued). These only difference in these is the amount of RAM installed.

ReleasedJune 2019 (May 2020 for 8GB variant)
CPUARM Cortex-A72
No. Cores4
CPU Speed1.5GHz
RAM1GB / 2GB / 4GB / 8GB
GPUBroadcom VideoCore VI @ 500 MHz

The 1GB model was phased out when the 8GB model was introduced. However it is still possible to purchase these from back-stock.

Useful Improvements made over earlier models

One of the big improvements over previous models is the GPU and two micro-HDMI ports on the board. This means that the Raspberry Pi 4B can now support two 4K displays and makes it ideal for displaying data.

In addition the CPU has been improved from the 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 to the 1.5GHz Cortex-A72 which gives a bit more power to the Raspberry Pi.

This does however mean that the Raspberry Pi may require more power. There have been reported issues with low quality power supplies not being able to power the Pi properly. It is recommended to buy an official Raspberry Pi power supply to ensure you are able to provide enough current for the Pi.

The ability to purchase a Raspberry Pi with increased RAM also means you are able to run more at once. This reduces the need to swap memory which should increase the speed that the Raspberry Pi can run at.

The two USB3 ports allow you to connect the Raspberry Pi to external devices requiring more power and bandwidth to operate. This is also paired with a “true” Gigabit ethernet allows the Raspberry Pi to work as a more standard desktop computer.

This Raspberry Pi is another good step forward for the Raspberry Pi and provides various useful features over the Raspberry Pi 3.

Plans for the cluster

With the new master I am planning to first move the primary node infrastructure onto this node.

Once that is done, I will be reviewing all code, upgrading it to Python 3, and continuing the work on it.

The first “big” project planned with the cluster is to allow control from the primary web interface and storing temporal data in InfluxDB.

The full Raspberry Pi cluster code is available on Github, any comments or questions can be raised there as issues or posted below.

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