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Raspberry Pi 5 launches with support for PCIe graphics cards

The Raspberry Pi 5 brings with it a big upgrade in performance, thanks to its quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex-A76 processor, and it arrives in October 2023.

Raspberry Pi 5 announced

Raspberry Pi has unveiled the latest iteration of its flagship mini computer range, with the announcement of the Raspberry Pi 5. Including significant upgrades in processor technology and performance and includes a PCIe 2.0 interface that in theory allows you to hook up a desktop graphics card to this littlest of PCs.

It has been four years since the launch of the previous Pi 4, and the Raspberry Pi 5 has taken full advantage of the intervening time to bring some significant upgrades. The microcomputer is now powered by a quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex-A76 processor, locked at 2.4GHz, with 512KB per-core L2 caches, and a 2MB shared L3 cache.

That compares to a much more modest Broadcom BCM2711 chip that while it still housed four cores, its Cortex-A72 architecture is less capable and it runs at a lower 1.8GHz clock speed. The upshot is the Pi 5 is 2-3x faster than the Pi 4, according to Raspberry Pi’s own data.

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While a faster CPU is more than enough to get our interest going, the Raspberry Pi 5 also comes equipped with a powerful Broadcom VideoCore VII GPU. Plus, its memory configurations have taken a big step up, with 4GB 8GB options running LPDDR4X SDRAM at 4,267MT/s. The Pi 4 was also available in up to 8GB (it started at 1GB) but transfer rates are just 3200MT/s.

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As for the PCIe interface, one YouTuber – Jeff Geerling – has already given it a test run, hooking up several top tier graphics card, such as an RTX 3080 Ti. Sadly, it’s not exactly a plug-and-play situation for gaming on the Pi 5, with driver support being troublesome, particularly on AMD’s side, resulting in no meaningful playability as yet. However, Jeff asserts that he’s hopeful better support will come and gaming on Pi 5 with modern graphics will be possible. Even when the system is fully up and running, it will be limited, as there is just one PCIe 2.0 lane, for a maximum of 5GT/s of throughput, though it can be hacked to support PCIe 3.0, which bumps up the bandwidth to 8GT/s.

The Raspberry Pi 5 will launch late October, and will be available in two variants, a 4GB model starting at $60, and an 8GB version for $80. Both versions of the Raspberry Pi 5 are available to pre-order from trusted resellers, a list of which is available on the official Raspberry Pi website.

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