The Raspberry Pi was first released in 2012. The fifth generation, Raspberry Pi 5, is expected to appear in 2023, four years after the Raspberry Pi 4.
But what is the point of the Raspberry Pi 5? What can this SBC (single-board computer) deliver that previous models and competitors haven’t already featured?
There have been various Raspberry Pi 5 rumors doing the rounds. We’re going to keep things grounded and less fanciful.
What Is the Raspberry Pi 5?
At this stage, we don’t know exactly what the Raspberry Pi 5 computer will be, beyond a successor to the Raspberry Pi 4.
As such, the Raspberry Pi 5 should be an upgrade on the Pi 4, and presumably feature improved performance.
Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi CEO and founder, has shared that a new board is planned. Speaking to Micro Center, he stated there would be “some sort of increase in processing power on the device.”
When Will the Raspberry Pi 5 Be Released?
This is a little trickier to predict. Throughout 2022 rumors suggested a Raspberry Pi 5 was imminent. As of November 2022, no new Raspberry Pi has been released.
Looking back at previous Raspberry Pi releases (encompassing everything from model A and B devices to Zero and Compute Modules) they tend to appear in the first half of the year. While some have been released in the final quarter, this doesn’t seem likely on this occasion.
The Raspberry Pi 5 release date is expected to occur at some point in Q1 or Q2 2023. If it is in keeping with earlier releases, the Raspberry Pi 5 will appear with little warning.
But, will you want one? What advantages will the Raspberry Pi 5 have over earlier revisions? We don’t yet know what hardware the Raspberry 5 will have, but we know enough about previous versions, competitor boards, and the state of the SBC market to be able to make some educated guests.
Below, we list the ways the Raspberry Pi 5 will improve on the Raspberry Pi 4.
1. Give It a Faster Processor
Most importantly, the Raspberry Pi 5 will almost certainly have a fast processor.
For example, the Raspberry Pi 2 launched with a quad-core Cortex-A7 900MHz (later a Cortex-A53), the Pi 3 had a quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.2GHz (upgraded to 1.4GHz with the Pi 3 B+), and the Raspberry Pi 4 boasted a quad-core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz (later releases supported 1.8GHz).
We don’t want to get carried away, but the potential for the Raspberry Pi 5 to be the first 2GHz model (or octa-core… or both!) is obvious.
2. The Raspberry Pi 5 Should Have More RAM
Increasing the power of the CPU is not enough. It will be a big surprise if the Raspberry Pi 5 does not a RAM upgrade. We expect this will either be more physical RAM, a faster class of RAM, or both.
When the Raspberry Pi 2 was released, this was the first model with 1GB of RAM, a standard feature through the Raspberry Pi 3. With the Raspberry Pi 4 release, four options were available: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB, although the 1GB version was soon withdrawn.
It seems likely that the Raspberry Pi 5 will launch with an 8GB model. This might even be the baseline, depending on how many board variants are released (more on that below).
3. Improved USB Type-C Connectivity
Raspberry Pi 4 boards rely on USB Type-C for power only. With the increasing use of USB Type-C, a data port in this standard be expected. This has several advantages, not least removing one or two of the USB-A ports and potentially delivering a more slimline Raspberry Pi 5 than we’ve been expecting.
4. Quicker, Slimmer Ethernet Support
Related to the USB matter is Ethernet. Positioned alongside the USB ports on all Raspberry Pi B-format boards, Ethernet ports are as bulky as USB. But take a look at any laptop with built-in Ethernet and you will see a slimline approach.
Modern Ethernet ports open up to “grab” onto the Ethernet cable. Combine that with improved data throughput (anything above the Raspberry Pi 4’s Gigabit Ethernet would be an upgrade) and the Raspberry Pi 5 could offer faster networking and a slimmer form factor.
5. Better Wireless for the Raspberry Pi 5
When it comes to wireless networking, the Raspberry Pi has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth available.
Following the addition of 802.11 b/g/n/ac (Wi-Fi 5)dual-band 2.4/5GHz wireless networking on the Raspberry Pi 3 and its successor, the Raspberry Pi 5 has a few options. Most likely would be a step-up to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) or Wi-Fi 6E.
Similarly, the Raspberry Pi 4 introduced Bluetooth 5.0, but developments in that field would make one of the revisions suitable. Bluetooth 5.2 in particular appears to have some uses for the Raspberry Pi, such as Bluetooth LE Audio.
6. eMMC Storage Option
An acronym for embedded MultiMediaCard, eMMC storage is increasingly popular in budget laptops, tablets, and even dashcams.
With the Raspberry Pi already supporting SD cards and almost any USB storage media available, eMMC support seems logical. With on board eMMC storage, the microSD card could be downgraded as the primary boot media.
EMMC storage is low-power and is available in 32GB and 64GB sizes (as well as various larger options). While only supporting half duplex data transfer (i.e., it cannot read and write simultaneously) eMMC is ideal for booting Linux.
7. Better Raspberry Pi Availability
Hardware upgrades aside, there is one thing the Raspberry Pi 5 really needs to be: available!
Supply chain issues and post-pandemic recovery have conspired to choke availability of the Raspberry Pi 4. The same is also true of the Compute Module 4. But how can the Raspberry Pi 5 be more readily available?
One option might be to revert to the single board dynamic of the earlier Raspberry Pis. Prior to the Pi 4, each model launched with a standard RAM configuration. Events prevented this being the success it could have been, so it makes sense to return to a single device. Don’t forget, there is also likely a Raspberry Pi 500 to accommodate (as well as the Pi Zero 2 W).
8. Give the Raspberry Pi 5 a Power Button
We’ll finish with a less likely improvement. In 10 years of Raspberry Pis, only one shipped with a power button. While that computer (the Raspberry Pi 400) may get its own upgrade, it’s unlikely that a Raspberry Pi 5 will have a power button.
Of course, options exist for adding a power button to a Raspberry Pi if it is required. As new features go, a power button is a “nice to have” rather than an “upgrade this.”
But still… 10 years!
The Raspberry Pi 5 Will Be the Ultimate SBC
With all of the above taken into consideration, it’s fair to expect the Raspberry Pi 5 to be popular. Key upgrades to the SoC (CPU, RAM, and GPU) will result in a device suited to ever-better computing tasks. It should conceivably handle everything from standard desktop tasks to improved emulation and media streaming.
When the Raspberry Pi 5 is released in 2023 it will have been four years since the Raspberry Pi 4. No single-board computer has taken its place during that time, which suggests the Raspberry Pi 5 is the one everyone is waiting for.