On the 28th of May 2020, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the general availability of the 8GB Raspberry Pi 4. With almost a year since the launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, this new variant brings more than just 4GB of additional RAM. In fact, in its current form, an additional 4GB is completely useless, as the Raspberry Pi uses 32-bit architecture, which can only ever address a maximum of 4GB RAM.
It therefore came as no surprise but with a great deal of excitement, that the Raspberry Pi Foundation also released its own 64-bit OS (Operating System) which has now moved to public beta. Built against the Debian arm64 Arch Linux port, the OS provides a much more accessible 64-bit userland. The is big news for two main reasons:
1) RAM capacity can be increased, meaning extra workloads on a more efficient 64-bit architecture.
2) More importantly, particularly for thin client-based applications where RAM requirements are usually quite low, compatibility with ARM64 applications will be enabled,
As far as thin clients go, the difference in performance between a 4GB Raspberry Pi 4 and an 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 is negligible. However, there are growing numbers of applications that need to be installed locally or with a plugin that executes locally in order to work effectively in a thin client environment. It’s most often where local drivers are required and some sort of rendering or encoding needs to take place at OS level. The most topically relevant examples of these would be webcams, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Printers are also much easier to manage when local drivers are available.
We will have the availability of a 64-bit Raspberry Pi thin client very shortly. If you’d like us to let you know when it arrives, add yourself to the shortlist and we’ll ensure you are at the front of the queue when trial software and devices become available.