Posted on October 06, 2019
Full Comparison Chart
||512 MB DDR2
I have collected a few Raspberry Pi's in my time, and with the release of the latest version, 4B, I have been truly impressed with its abilities. As you can see from the table able, there are some obvious differences between each version, but I want to cover my experience across the versions.
I started out back in 2004 pre-ordering the RPi1B from RS Components, and there was really no ETA, but I knew it would be coming someday. The Raspberry Pi was developed to provide a development system at a really low cost to schools and was a huge hit, and then quickly become popular with hobbyist and developers such as myself. So, it took a while to fill all the orders and catch up with pre-orders. I got an email in 2012 saying that I was in the next batch of pre-orders that was going to be filled. I was stoked. I had ordered through two places thinking I could get one earlier but I ended up getting them both around the same time.
I remember getting started with the 1B was a bit difficult for setting a serial port for debugging and coding. I played around with the Python and the multimedia home system mainly but moved to trying out the Retro Pie once I found an article about it. Basically, with a RPi1B (at the time) you could create a Nintendo, Sega, Atari, and many more consoles on one device and play all the games you grew up with. That was appealed to me greatly for many reasons; however, the results were less than I expected.
Much like anything else, the newer versions made getting started easier and the Rpi was more powerful. After such an interest in the Retro Pie, I ended up going with the Retro Pie for my 3B+ and didn't really get much further than that project because it was such a hit. Bringing retro gaming to the house was a great hit with both the lady and myself. I have since purchased a book that helps with a handful of other projects using the 3B+ but I needed to get another one because I wasn't about to take down my Retro Pie so it has been unchanged until 2019.
The 4B came out July 2019, and I finally got my hands on one by the end of September. The 4GB version was back ordered and that was the one I wanted to start out with. The Retro Pie project doesn't have an official version available for the 4B yet, but I'm sure it will be out soon. I did, however, get my hands on a version that works with the 4B from SBCGaming; I found the link from an article that electromaker made. The article has an old IMG that didn't work as the article stated, but once I found the creators site, I found the Beta 5 version that I am running now. I can play all the games that the 3B+ couldn't play and obviously the games it did just better. I had wanted to create a arcade cabinet that ran a Rpi, and I found the version of Pi Im going to use. The improvement from the 3B+ to the 4B is really understated by a saying it's an upgrade; the sound and video looks epic in comparison. There is a whole host of games I can play now, that the 3B+ just couldn't pull off, like Gran Turismo, Ehrgeiz, and Wu Tang. Playing the PS games took me back to the countless hours spending playing them with great satisfaction. The 3B+ wasn't able to create the video and sound to my liking before, but the 4B was able to do it all. I tested N64 Mario Cart, and the lady and I will have the battle night we wanted to have in the near future.
As gaming consoles go, I have had the PS1, PS2, and PS3. I have lost my PS1 and PS2 over the years, and I have looked into getting them back into the fold; I found that it should take about $150 + games. At that point I can leave the RPi4 for Mame (arcade version) games in the stand-up cabinet. Either way, the RPi4 is where it's at if you want to create a retro game console or gaming cabinet.
Since I'm using the RPi4 for my Retro Pie now, I can get back to creating the projects I wanted to for the 3B+. I will create a dedicated page for my RPi projects. My 1B still needs a project fitting for its ability but that is TBA.