Best Raspberry Pi 4 projects

By Lucy Hattersley. Posted

Raspberry Pi 4 is very powerful, and extremely fast. Here are some projects you could upgrade with Raspberry Pi 4

Whenever a new Raspberry Pi model comes out, we end up dreaming about what we can do with it. Raspberry Pi 4 is no different, especially with all the extra power it has! Here are some excellent Raspberry Pi projects that would be made so much better with a Raspberry Pi 4.

Want to see just how good Raspberry Pi 4 is? Check out our full specs and benchmark breakdowns in issue 83 of The MagPi.

Raspberry Pi 4 Retro Games Console

Emulation station. Early tests have shown far better emulation of fifth-generation video game consoles with Raspberry Pi 4. The RetroPie team are hard at work on a version of their excellent retro gaming OS for Raspberry Pi 4, which will make emulation on Raspbian Buster much easier. Watch this space! Picade remains a great option for building a tabletop arcade at home.

 Blade Buster running on a Raspberry Pi

File Server

A lot of folks already have a Raspberry Pi file server in their homes. Their size and low power footprint make them perfect for the task. The only issue with them has been networking and storage bottlenecks, due to USB 2.0 and 100MB Ethernet. Now, with super-speed USB 3.0 ports and proper Gigabit Ethernet, Raspberry Pi 4 will give any file server a big speed boost.

See: Set up Samba on Raspberry Pi 4 and Apache web server: Build a local HTML server with a Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi 4 Pi-hole: Ad-blocking

We hear about people using Pi-hole all the time, especially with the amount of malicious and suspicious ads that exist on the internet these days. This blocks these ads before they even get to your computer – and with improved networking speeds, Raspberry Pi 4 makes this even better.

 Pi-Hole is used to block all adverts on your home network

Raspberry Pi 4 Robots: Powered-up automatons

There are many pros in using a Raspberry Pi 4 as your robot’s brain: the faster processing speeds and improved network connection makes for better control, whether by a remote or code. However, it does eat a bit more power than previous Raspberry Pi models, so consider what your needs are.


Build a low-cost Raspberry Pi robot: the components you'll need

PiBug 2WD Robot

Pi Wars: How to win the Olympics of Raspberry Pi robotics

 A Raspberry Pi robot

Desktop Replacement: Ditch Windows and Mac

Raspberry Pi 4’s extra power means it can adequately act as a desktop replacement. Especially with the two micro-HDMI ports for dual displays. We’ll be doing a proper test of this in issue 85, so look out for it!

Raspberry Pi Desktop PC: the Raspberry Pi PC challenge

 Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop Kit

Wireless Bridge: Share some internet

At an older hotel that only provides internet via an Ethernet cable? Fancy being a bit more secure on an open network? Using a Raspberry Pi 4 as a wireless bridge means you’ll get a much faster internet and general network connection in this case.

Machine Learning: 4GB of artificial intelligence

More power and better network speeds mean you’ll have a much better time using something like OpenCV for computer vision, or connecting with any number of online APIs to do some image or voice recognition.

Google releases Coral; AIY kits available in UK, EU

Control a motor with the AIY projects Voice HAT

 Google Coral USB Accelerator

Supercomputer Cluster: Parallel computing

Beowulf clusters made with Raspberry Pi are pretty cool for big maths problems and other number-crunching tasks. With about three to four times more raw processing power in Raspberry Pi 4 than Raspberry Pi 3B+, you’ll be able to pull off some amazing calculations.

BitScope: 3000-core Raspberry Pi cluster computer

Benchmarking a Raspberry Pi cluster

ClusterHAT review

 The Octapi Project

Media PC: Raspberry Pi 4 on telly

Putting Kodi on a Raspberry Pi is a time-honoured tradition, whether it’s via LibreELEC, OSMC, or another dedicated media OS. It’s already pretty great, so how can Raspberry Pi 4 make it better? 4K H.265 hardware decoding is how. This means 10-bit videos will play properly, and 4K video is possible. Even if you don’t have anything like that to play, the better networking is sure to help.

Media Player Projects in The MagPi 66

Video Player: build a Raspberry Pi HTPC media centre

 LibreElec running on Raspberry Pi

Laptop Pi: Portable Raspberry Pi power

If Raspberry Pi 4 can be a desktop replacement, it can also be a laptop replacement. Custom Raspberry Pi laptop builds can be a bit tricky, but as Raspberry Pi 4 has largely the same design as previous Raspberry Pi models, you should be able to easily replace older ones.

Build a laptop with Raspberry Pi

The best Raspberry Pi laptop kits

Build your own laptop in The MagPi #74

 Raspberry Pi Laptop Kit


From The MagPi store