Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 400: Which One Should You Buy?

If you’re in the market for a new single-board computer, you may have wondered what the differences are between the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Raspberry Pi 400.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is a much newer device, released in November 2020. However, the Raspberry Pi Model 4 B was launched in June 2019, more than a year earlier.

However, the release date should not be the only factor in your choice. This is because both SBCs are designed for different purposes and uses as we will discuss later in this post.

Similarities Between the Raspberry Pi 4 and 400

Both computers are designed and produced by the Raspberry Pi foundation. Both circuit boards use the same Broadcom processor, the BCM2711 with the ARM Cortex-A72 CPU and the same graphics card.

They also generally share the same hardware for wireless and wired connectivity and run the same Debian-based operating system by default.

Selecting a suitable Raspberry model for your project can be challenging with the many options available. Our guide to choosing the right Raspberry Pi can help with this.

The main differences between the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Raspberry Pi 400 are crucial when choosing the model to buy.

form factor

The Raspberry Pi 400 is essentially a custom Raspberry Pi 4 board in a keyboard case. This housing provides cooling and convenience, but limits its use because you can’t take the board out to use it in your projects.

However, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B has no such limitations and can be easily integrated into your embedded projects.

The Raspberry Pi 400 harks back to the keyboard computers of the late 1970s and through most of the 1980s. People who had a ZX Spectrum or a Commodore 64 as their first computer will be attracted to this model. Fun fact: The Raspberry Pi 400 was initially referred to as “Project Commodore 64” in internal communications.

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The Pi 400’s form factor isn’t necessarily a drawback, as it means you can use it in projects like a cyberdeck blaster or as a standard, less powerful personal computer.

Hardware Specifications:

The Raspberry Pi 4 has a 64-bit quad-core processor with 1 GB of RAM. Compared to other models, the Pi 4 is much more efficient than its predecessors and has 4K video support. It is also the first Raspberry Pi with Bluetooth 5.0, USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet.

The Pi 400 has similar specs to the Pi 4. However, it lacks a 3.5mm audio jack and the 40-pin GPIO is located on the back of the computer. It also features a built-in heat sink and fewer USB ports than the Pi 4.

The table below compares the hardware specifications for the Raspberry Pi 400 and the Raspberry Pi 4B.

Raspberry Pi 400 Raspberry Pi 4B
Processor Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.8GHz Broadcom BCM2711, Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
Memory 4-GB LPDDR4-3200 1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB or 8 GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM
Connectivity Gigabit Ethernet, 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless The same
Ports 2 × USB 3.0 and 1 × USB 2.0 ports, 2 × micro HDMI ports (supports up to 4K video) 2 × USB 3.0 and 2 × USB 2.0 ports, 2 × micro HDMI ports (supports up to 4k video)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0, BLE Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
Power supply 5V DC via USB connector 5V DC via GPIO header and USB connector
SD card slot Yes Yes
GPIO header Horizontal Standard (backwards compatible)
Power over Ethernet no Enabled (PoE HAT required)
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Raspberry Pi Price Comparison:

With an official retail price of $70, the Raspberry Pi 400 appears more expensive than the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B ($55 for the 4GB RAM model) at first glance. But it’s worth noting that for that price you get a keyboard, a complete case, a built-in heat sink, and a single-board computer. Due to shortages, you will most likely pay at least twice the official price of these devices to get them from third-party resellers on eBay and Amazon.

The complete Raspberry Pi 400 kit offers even more value. For $100 you get a mouse, power supply, micro HDMI to HDMI cable, and an SD card preloaded with Raspberry Pi OS.

Raspberry Pi Performance

The Raspberry Pi 400 has a cooling system that makes it no less than 20% faster than the Pi 4 with a clock speed of 1.8 Ghz. There is a large metal plate attached to the integrated circuit that acts as a heat sink, and the keyboard case has vents for air circulation.

In a stress test conducted by CytronThe Raspberry Pi 400 consistently offered better thermal performance compared to the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, even with a cooling fan, at room temperature.

However, the Raspberry Pi 400 is limited to 4 GB of RAM, while you can get up to 8 GB with the Raspberry Pi 4B.

Target users

The Raspberry Pi 4 is made for the tinkerers, makers and hobbyists that the Raspberry Pi Foundation has always cared for. It’s usable for almost any kind of project you can think of and offers plenty of improvements over the Pi 3.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is also designed to appeal to the same users, but to a much lesser extent. It is suitable for anyone who just wants a computer that works right out of the box, that is, less tech-savvy users looking for a cheap, working computer. This means that certain functionality is not available on the Pi 400, such as the ability to use the Raspberry Pi camera modules.

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Other differences

The Raspberry Pi 400 features an on/off button, the very first of its kind in the Raspberry Pi series. You can use the Fn+F10 keys to turn the Raspberry Pi 400 on and off.

Since last year, the Raspberry Pi 4 has been hard to buy from authorized retailers and that situation still continues until today. You may have to pay a hefty premium to get a Raspberry Pi 4 from third-party resellers. However, there is significantly less demand for the Raspberry Pi 400, so you are more likely to find this model in stock at official retailers.

Which one should you choose?

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is a better choice for hardware hackers because of its credit card size and higher memory capacity. While both offer GPIO access, the Raspberry Pi 400 offers performance improvements over the Pi 4B and a simplified out-of-the-box experience without the need for additional peripherals, making it better suited for those who value ease of use. then customization.

Lower demand and better availability also make the Raspberry Pi 400 seem like a more attractive option. If you just want a Raspberry Pi, and you’re not willing to pay the high prices of the Pi 4, you should definitely go for a Raspberry Pi 400.

In summary, the Raspberry Pi 400 is faster, cheaper, and easier to obtain, but also less flexible than the Raspberry Pi Model 4 B.

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