Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 launches with PCIe support

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched what it describes as its "most powerful" system-on-module (SoM) aimed at industrial applications, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4).

Improving on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, which was announced back in 2017, the CM4 is based on the same specifications as the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. It packs the same 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit Broadcom BCM2711 CPU, at least 1GB RAM, dual HDMI interfaces that support resolutions up to 4K, optional eMMC storage, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Unlike the six-month-old Raspberry Pi 4, however, the CM4 also comes with PCIe 2.0 support, ditching the USB 3.0 interface in order to enable users to connect PCIe devices.

It also features two high-density perpendicular connectors for power and I/O, as opposed to the JEDEC DDR2 SODIMM standard used on previous Compute Modules, which "significantly reduces" the overall footprint of the CM4.

The Raspberry Pi CM4 launches alongside two accessories – the Compute Module 4 I/O (CM4IO) Board and the Compute Module 4 Antenna Kit.

The former provides a ready-made development platform that lets users utilise the full interfacing capabilities of the CM4. Priced at $35 (£27), the CM4IO features two full-size HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD socket, and a real-time clock with battery backup.

The Compute Module 4 Antenna Kit is aimed at those who would benefit from an external antenna, such as those putting the CM4 in a metal case. The Kit comprises a whip antenna with a bulkhead screw fixture and U.FL connector to attach to the socket on the module.

Commenting on the launch, Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton said: "Over half of the seven million Raspberry Pi units we sell each year go into industrial and commercial applications, from digital signage to thin clients to process automation.

"Many of these applications use the familiar single-board Raspberry Pi, but for users who want a more compact or custom form factor, or on-board eMMC storage, Compute Module products provide a simple way to move from a Raspberry Pi-based prototype to volume production."

There are 32 variants of the Raspberry Pi CM4, ranging from $25 (£19) for a Lite version with no onboard storage and 1GB of RAM, to $90 (£70) for 32GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and Wi-Fi support.

Carly Page

Carly Page is a freelance technology journalist, editor and copywriter specialising in cyber security, B2B, and consumer technology. She has more than a decade of experience in the industry and has written for a range of publications including Forbes, IT Pro, the Metro, TechRadar, TechCrunch, TES, and WIRED, as well as offering copywriting and consultancy services. 

Prior to entering the weird and wonderful world of freelance journalism, Carly served as editor of tech tabloid The INQUIRER from 2012 and 2019. She is also a graduate of the University of Lincoln, where she earned a degree in journalism.

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