Selecting a Raspberry Pi Model

Posted on Jun 5, 2023

“Raspberry Pi” by Mike is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

When it comes to running OpenCPN, Raspberry Pi models offer varying levels of suitability based on their specifications. Here is a comparison of the Raspberry Pi 4B and Raspberry Pi 3B in terms of their specifications and suitability for running OpenCPN:

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B:

  • CPU: Quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit at 1.5 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM
  • GPU: VideoCore VI
  • Ports: 2 × USB 3.0, 2 × USB 2.0, 2 × micro-HDMI ports, 1 × Ethernet port
  • MicroSD card slot for storage
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the recommended choice for running OpenCPN. Its quad-core CPU, ample RAM options, USB 3.0 ports, and improved performance compared to previous models make it well-suited for handling the demands of OpenCPN. It offers smoother navigation, faster rendering of charts, and overall better performance.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B:

  • CPU: Quad-core Cortex-A53 (ARM v8) 64-bit at 1.4 GHz
  • GPU: VideoCore IV
  • Ports: 4 × USB 2.0, 1 × Ethernet port, 1 × HDMI port
  • MicroSD card slot for storage
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is also suitable for running OpenCPN, but it may experience slightly inferior performance compared to the Raspberry Pi 4. The quad-core CPU and 1GB RAM should handle basic usage, but more resource-intensive tasks and complex chartplotting operations might be slower compared to the Pi 4.

It’s important to note that Raspberry Pi 1 and Raspberry Pi Zero models are not compatible with OpenCPN. The Raspberry Pi 2 models should theoretically be capable of running OpenCPN, but will likely be most suitable for very light for older versions of the program.

As of 2023, supply chain issues have limited the availability of the Raspberry Pi 4. An alternative option is to consider the Orange Pi board, which is both cheaper and easier to source. The Orange Pi comes in various models, and the suitability for running OpenCPN depends on the specific model chosen. It is advisable to explore the Orange Pi’s specifications, compatibility, and community support before considering it as an alternative to the Raspberry Pi models.

More information on running OpenCPN on the Orange Pi can be found on the OpenCPN Wiki.