Raspberry Pi 5 launched… for pre-orders

I was up at an ungodly hour this morning when I noticed a tweet from Unexpected Maker showing a screengrab of a mailing received from Element 14/Avnet which showed some details of the brand new Raspberry Pi 5. Despite promising that the Pi 5 would not appear in 2023 (and here), we are today seeing a new product launch.

Against my better judgement, I decided What the heck and showered and dressed at 4.45am and began typing. I decided, however, with respect for any embargo (that I’m no longer under, but hey, it’s a “nice” thing to do, isn’t it?) that I wouldn’t publish until everyone else does.

Pre-ordering a Pi 5

That’s right, you can pre-order, rather than buy for immediate despatch.

You can do this at authorised re-sellers. My favourites: Pimoroni | The Pi Hut.

What’s on the Pi 5?

Better pic from Pimoroni! šŸ™‚

I will add more details as we go through the day. The expected flurry of high-profile YouTubers and Bloggers will do their announcements and flashy videos! For now, we can see from the screengrab that the Pi 5 has on-board:

  • A BCM2712 CPU @ 2.4GHz (compared to the Raspberry Pi 4’s BCM2711 @ 1.8GHz).
  • 2.4 GHz and 5GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 5/BLE (the same as the Pi 4).
  • PCIe 2.0 interface for peripherals (The CM4 had this, but the Pi 4 did not expose it).
  • On-board On/Off power button. (My goodness, the Angels are singing).
  • Real-Time Clock (RTC). (Those Angels are now harmonising).
  • In-house designed I/O silicon. (I’m going to assume that’s what the Pi-branded chip on the top-right is).
  • A choice of 4GB and 8GB of RAM at launch.

The launch video from Raspberry Pi is available below:

The product page at Raspberry Pi is here.

The product brief PDF is available here.

Tom’s Hardware coverage is here.

Benchmarks over at Phoronix give an inkling as to a great speed improvement on the Pi 5.

Review/launch video from Kevin McAleer:

Working out more

I haven’t been privy to the new release – I’ve long since been disposed of in terms of usefulness (read into that what you will, or buy be a pint sometime!) – but I can look at a screengrab and make some educated guesses. Let’s see what else we can see on the image, and what we can guess based on that list.

  • The new CPU is under that mahoosive heatsink and runs faster. Which leads me to suspect that the board runs at a high temperature. You’ll almost certainly need a fan and to not touch the thing under load.
  • The new CPU runs significantly faster than the Pi 4 – this beast will be faster, probably quite a bit faster.
  • There’ll be PoE (power over ethernet) pins – probably those four pins bottom right.
  • The same form-factor, or at least size, has been kept to. However, the Ethernet and USB ports have been swapped aroundĀ again and we’re back to the Pi 3 configuration. I expect case manufacturers will be delighted!
  • The same microHDMI ports are on the board as the Pi 4. This will be because of space, and will no doubt frustrate a lot of people. Fortunately, we have microHDMI to full-sized HDMI cables nowadays.
  • With a lot of image sharpening, IĀ think the PCIe is where the old DSI slot was, on the left in the middle.
  • …where it sits next to the new on-off switch. (stops, listens, yup, the Angels are still singing).
  • The board is still powered by USB-C, which is good, but I suspect you may need new power supplies to cope with increased power requirements. Unless they’ve future proofed the official ones.
  • There are two new ports next to the Gigabit ethernet port. Now, I don’t suppose they have disposed with the DSI/CSI ports on the Pi 4 – that would lose them the highly-lucrative display and security camera/photography market – these look like a new cabling standard for cameras and displays. Perhaps, they are agnostic in terms of what you can connect to them and you’ll be able to run two cameras or two extra screens off of the Pi 5? We’ll circle back to that when more detail emerges.
  • That in-house designed I/O silicon is interesting. I believe that they were expecting to move to a new power requirement for the CPU at some point (it’s to do with nodes, but don’t ask me to explain it) so perhaps they need the GPIO to run separately to the CPU. That would require an extra chip, which is indeed what we see. I’m surprised that they haven’t moved to the RP2040 for that, but perhaps the new I/O chip is a simpler affair and it brings the cost/complexity down?
  • The same 40-pin GPIO header is kept – thank goodness. We’ll see how many add-on boards are affected by the new PoE pin placement. I do remember when the Pi 4 added the PoE pins that there were some problems with the location.
  • The board is on pre-order. This is the first time since the initial launch of the Pi that pre-orders have been “a thing”. That means that Raspberry Pi Ltd is no longer afraid that they’ll wreck their own market until actual launch/availability. That tells us something, too.
  • The board will initially be available in 4GB and 8GB RAM configurations. This board will be more expensive than the Pi 4, or at least there won’t be a $35 level to begin with. That’s just a guess, but does lead me onto the next question…

Who is it aimed at?

Those who follow me on Twitter/X will know that I was none too happy with the way Raspberry Pi handled the chip shortage and cut right back on general availability in favour of industrial and commercial customers – myself and the rest of the community combined, of course – I was definitely not alone. Most of my frustration was with communication from the company. Their answer to “I need a Pi!” seemed to always be “You can’t have one. Try the Pico.” The Pico isn’t a computer, of course, so that always rankled. I could say more on their communication strategy, but I won’t as I just don’t have the energy!

Now that supply of the Pi 4 and, to some extent, the Pi Zero 2 W has been more-or-less sorted, now is a great time to release this new product. But who is it aimed at? Well, I would say it is not aimed at the community/hobbyist/education market at all. I would say that it is aimed at industry. That would fit in with their overall strategy and also the features on the board (such as PCIe and those new DSI/CSI ports which involve buying new hardware to match) are definitely for the cash-rich. The on-off button and the RTC also point to specific uses of the board that would have been requested. It’s taken (whistles) over 10 years for them to appear, and they will add to the cost of the board so someone who buys 1000s of the products has probably asked for both feautres. (Again, conjecture, but it fits).

Why a pre-launch?

As I mentioned above, this is the first time we’ve got wind of a new product before it becomes available since the very first Raspberry Pi was launched back in 2012. This is a shift from the hush-hush launch day we normally expect. There could be a few reasons for this, but I suspect they’re just trying out the strategy, and also managing the initial manufacturing numbers. When the board will actually be available is uncertain at the moment. The other reason why it’s a pre-launch could be (and this is conjecture) because the software isn’t ready yet – this has been a perenial problem of late, so it could just be that the OS isn’t ready for launch yet. I’m hoping it will be by the time the boards are available and that the recent-ish problems and delays with, say, the camera software stack on the main Pi and Bluetooth on the Pico won’t be a problem going forward, but who can tell?

The board will be available in October, andĀ I see from the official page on Raspberry Pi that Raspberry Pi OS Bookworm (based on the new Debian version) isn’t ready yet but will be for mid-October.

A balance of boards

It’s interesting, this launch. If you assume for a moment that they’re not going to abandon all of their current product lines, it makes an awful lot of sense. You’ve got this big, beefy (but presumably more expensive) board at the top (targeted at industry, probably), the Pi 4 next (which is certainly capable) and the mass-market Pi 400 together for end consumers/hobbyists, then the Pi 3A+ which is a bit unloved as it sits awkwardly “in the middle” in terms of usefulness, then the Pi Zero 2 W (which I still maintain is a terrific board for robotics and other hobby projects where you need a full computer), then the Pi Zero W (which is starting to look a bit old-hat) and then the Pico series. The Pico series is great for if you want a few sensors in a small form factor with low power requirements in a neat package.

Aside: Speaking of robotics, Pi Wars 2024 applications are still open until Sunday, 1st October at 8pm (UK time)!

Anyway, it’s a good balanced “range” of products.


I still maintain they’ve lost sight of their original mission (which was about education and improving the stock of software and hardware engineers at Cambridge University before the mission broadened to take in computing-for-all) and that they’ve leaned so far into industry/commerce that it’s difficult to see them maintaining any kind of hobbyist community.

But does that really matter?

Those who would move on have moved on. Those of us still interested in the Pi (of whatever sort) are still interested, though perhaps not as passionately as we used to be. It’s still a good tool, and there’s a range of those tools available now (see above). The idea that the Pi is aimed at “Computing for everybody” is, I think, good marketing, but it doesn’t translate into a balanced market. Industry/commerce is where most of their market is, and Raspberry Pi Ltd is a profit-aimed company (now, at least), so why shouldn’t they release a product that caters more to the wishes of industry and commerce rather than the kitchen-table tinkerer?

Good luck to them, as always.

2 comments for “Raspberry Pi 5 launched… for pre-orders

  1. Mike thanks for taking the time to post this, your views very well encapsulate my own feelings on how things with with Raspberry Pi have progressed in recent years – Animal Farm springs to mind.

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