Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with PCie/NVMe support next year


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In recent interview with Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, we finally had Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 release confirmation, probably in 2021. He shared some details about the upcoming CM4 features, such as single-lane NVMe support.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module, CM4, we will support NVMe to some degree on that,  because of course, it [Raspberry Pi 4] has a PCI Express channel. (…) We have a single lane Gen 2 which is used to supply USB 3.0 on the Raspberry Pi [4]. On the [Compute] Module that would be exposed to the edge connector and we’re likely to support NVMe over that.

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading

First Rasbperry Pi 1B model had it’s analogy in industrial Compute Module 1 after almost 2 years from it’s premiere. Compute Module 2 was probably omitted because the change from RPi1 to RPI2 mainly involved a minor change of the processor (Cortex-A7 900MHz), which was almost immediately replaced with Cortex-A53 1.2GHz in Raspberry Pi 3.

The premiere of Compute Module 3 occured a year after RPI 3 announcement, providing a significant boost of industrial market solutions. Since Raspberry Pi 4 was a great success in 2019, we might see it’s equivalent in industrial series of Raspberry Pi – Compute Module 4. A possible release date of Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 is somewhere inbetween 2020/2021.

Raspberry Pi is gaining recognition in Industry

Almost a year ago, in the beginning of 2019, Raspberry Pi Foundation presented Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+, a successor to previous CM3 version of development board, aimed at businesses and industrial users. The Compute Module uses a standard DDR2 SODIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) form factor. GPIO and other I/O functions are routed through the 200 pins on the board.

Only a few months later, in June 2019, came big premiere of Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, the long-awaited successor of customer RPi3+. With new processor, larger RAM options and PCIe/NVMe support, CM4 might be a black horse of industrial automation in 2021.

It seems a matter of time before the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ will get its own successor, called Compute Module 4, a new milestone of professional embedded IoT module. What might be the specification of this highly expected development board?

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 probable specification

Compute Module 4 specifications probably will look like these:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz will highly plausible replace previous Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC @ 1.2GHz,
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM will become a standard options, instead of fixed 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM,
  • PCIe/NVMe support via single lane
  • Current flash memory (eMMC) options: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB from CM3+ will probably stay the same,
  • weight and factor will stay the same, to provide a possibility to upgrade current IoT applications of CM3 and CM3+

With much higher performance, the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 will, for sure, support Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 expansions with PCIe/NVMe single lane. We might even see wider working temperature range, if Raspberry Pi Foundation decides to make some hardware changes, to follow, for example, ESP32 – used in end-point IoT automation.

Industrial use of Compute Module

With Compute Module 3+ options from Raspberry Pi, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry 500/9500 industrial computers. From now on the ModBerry 500/9500 can be supported with extended eMMC, up to 32GB. Higher memory volume brings new features available for ModBerry series. Upcoming Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 will be fully compatible with TECHBASE’s ModBerry 500/9500 controllers, oferring extended features.

 ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+
ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+

Higher performance of ModBerry 500/9500 with extended eMMC flash memory, up to 32GB , powered by quad-core Cortex A53 processor allows the device to smoothly run Windows 10 IoT Core system, opening up many possibilities for data management, remote control and visualisation.