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Raspberry Pi 4 2GB jumps to $45 as 1GB model returns from the dead at $35

Oct 20, 2021 — by Eric Brown 297 views

Citing chip shortages, Raspberry Pi announced its first price increase, bumping the RPi 4 with 2GB RAM up to $45. Meanwhile, the discontinued RPi 4 1GB has come back to life at $35.

In the spirit of Halloween, Raspberry Pi Trading has reanimated the 1GB RAM version of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, which it killed off when it dropped the price of the 2GB model from $45 to $35 in Feb. 2020. The company also increased the 2GB price to $45. With the 1GB version returning at its old $35 price, we have essentially turned back the clock to early 2020. (In which case, maybe we could get a second chance on stopping the pandemic.)

In the Raspberry Pi blog post announcing the changes, CEO Eben Upton cited industry-wide supply chain issues for its first price increase in Pi history. The chip shortages, combined with heightened demand, have caused severe shortages of the RPi Zero and the RPi4 2GB .


Upton said the increases are temporary but did not say when the prices were expected to drop again. The company estimates it will produce only about 7 million units in 2021, which is about the same as 2020.

The price boost is bad news for potential Pi customers except for those planning on buying Pi’s for Internet of Things projects rather than as desktop replacements, media players, or signage systems. “Our guidance to industrial and embedded users of Raspberry Pi 3B+ who wish to optimise availability in 2022 is to begin migrating your designs to the 1GB variant of Raspberry Pi 4,” said Upton.

The 1GB model is well suited for many home IoT hacking jobs, and it should be a good match for the new Raspberry Pi LEGO Build HAT. Some embedded-computing customers will find 1GB to be a limitation, but it is less of a burden than for desktop and media customers. Customers who want to move up to the $55 RPi 4 4GB or the $75 8GB model will find limited supplies there, too. We notice, however, that CanaKit has both in stock.

RPi 3 and RPi CM3 prioritized over 3B+

Chip supply shortages are motivating some embedded vendors to prioritize products based on older silicon still sitting in the warehouse. Yet, in the case of the uber-popular Pi, the warehouse is already pretty much empty.

RPi 3B+

Upton reported that due to limited stocks of earlier Pi models based on 40nm silicon, the company was prioritizing the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) and the RPi 3B over the RPi 3B+. His explanation: “Users of Compute Modules will of course have made investments in carrier board designs and inventory. Raspberry Pi 3B has a single-band radio, without a shield can; many industrial users will have made significant investments in compliance testing. In contrast, Raspberry Pi 3B+ uses the same wireless chipset as Raspberry Pi 4, with the same FCC modular certification; we expect this similarity to translate into a lower migration cost.”

We normally save SBC pricing change news for our New Year’s Linux-based SBC catalog. However, when it comes to the Pi, price changes affect the entire industry.

Indeed, there may be an opportunity here for a few vendors who have plenty of SBCs with an RPi 4 like processor and feature set with 2GB RAM. Yet, despite the price increase, Raspberry Pi pricing continues to be highly competitive, just as it was when the first Pi shocked the industry by coming in at $35. Over the years, many other more powerful Pi’s came to beat Raspberry Pi on price, performance, and features, without doing much to slow the Pi’s domination.

Starting with the Raspberry Pi 3, and especially with the RPi 4, the Pi once again became highly competitive. This slight price increase is not likely to do much to diminish the Pi’s progress. As Upton notes, there are signs the chip shortage may be on the way out. Yet, even if the Pi becomes harder to find at the list price, most other low-cost SBC vendors will be in the same boat.

Further information

More information on the price and availability changes for the Raspberry Pi may be found in the Raspberry Pi blog announcement. At publication time, we did not see the RPi 4 1GB model available for sale, but the 2GB model has indeed changed to $45. More information may be found at the Raspberry Pi 4 product page, with links to shopping pages.

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