Raspberry Pi 400 – The New Personal Keyboard Computer

This is the 1st of its kind of Raspberry Pi single-board computer. The Raspberry Pi 400 is a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B embedded in a mini size Keyboard. And the model we are carrying is a US layout keyboard, with 78 keys. It is the most practical and innovative integration. As for most of the application, we will need a keyboard to access or to navigate the computer, like a laptop ๐Ÿ™‚

Rpi400 Overview Hd 1
Raspberry Pi 400 has similar spec as Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 4GB RAM, yet the processor runs at higher clock speed.

The Revive of Commodore-64?

Of course, there have been similar products back in the 1980s. One of the examples is Commodore-64 launched by Commodore International in 1982. According to Wiki, it has been listed in the Guinness World Records as the highest-selling single computer model of all time. BTW, the Commodore-64 is based on an 8-bit processor with 64KB of RAM, priced at USD595.00.

Raspberry Pi 400 is more than 1000x faster in processing speed and price at near to 8 times cheaper than Commodore-64.

Commodore-64, from Wikipedia

The Perfect Computer for School

This new Raspberry Pi Keyboard Computer is perfect for laboratories, schools, maker labs, and anyone that needs a computer. Who does not need a keyboard when using a computer? Even a Raspberry Pi in headless mode will still need a keyboard for initial configuration, right? Well, this new keyboard computer fits into every application! Generally, the Raspberry Pi board comes with CPU, GPU, RAM, HDMI multimedia port, USB ports, wireless or wired connectivity, microSD card slot, and General Purpose Input/Output Pins. There are millions of Raspberry Pi boards in universities, polytechnics, schools, factories, maker spaces, and even the space station.

Rpi400 System
Overview of Raspberry Pi 400 Keyboard Computer

Raspberry Pi 400 vs 4 Model B

Raspberry Pi 400 vs Raspberry Pi 4 Model B

The Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard computer does not come with CSI (camera interface) nor DSI (Display interface). If you need a camera, you can always get a USB webcam and the display can come from a monitor or TV via micro-HDMI ๐Ÿ™‚

Higher Clock Speed vs Raspberry Pi 4B

Raspberry Pi 400 comes with a similar processor to Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, clocked at a faster speed, 1.8GHz. This is 20% faster than 1.5GHz on Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. After more than a year of the launch of Raspberry Pi 4 Model 4 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB (8GB in May 2020), many have proved it to be at par with an entry-level x86 PC system and many had tried it to replace a desktop computer. It never disappoints any of us! With the faster processor speed, groundbreaking multimedia performance, and connectivity, and RAM of 4GB, you will be blown away with its performance! Now, this powerful single-board computer is embedded in a Keyboard, making it more convenient for everyone.

Pi400 Bcm2711c0 1
2711C0 Processor on Raspberry Pi 400
Rpi 400 Us C1000
First of its kind in Raspberry Pi Product Series – Keyboard Computer

Faster Processor yet Cooler Motherboard

What? Faster clock speed, but cooler? Raspberry Pi 400’s processor (BCM2711C0) is clocked at 1.8GHz (factory default maximum clock speed), but it does not require any additional cooling even though the motherboard is enclosure under the keyboard. We have run a stress test on this new computer for 20 minutes with a full load on every core, the CPU temperature raises from ~35ยบC but stays under 55ยบC. Amazing! The secret recipe of good thermal performance is a cleverly designed aluminum heatsink plate on top of the CPU (underneath the keypads) that ensure Raspberry Pi 400 always stays cool. Check out the Thermal Performance of Raspberry Pi 400 here.

Pi400 1p8ghz Stress
Raspberry Pi 400 under Stressberry for 20 minutes, all 4 cores CPU at 1.8GHz.
Rpi400 Heatsink
A big Aluminum heatsink helps to dissipate the heat generated by the CPU effectively

Built-in Power Button

This function has been on my wishlist for quite some time. And I believe I am not alone. It has been design-in by many enclosures for Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, for example, Argon-One Case and Power HAT Case. It is a convenient feature for beginners, you do not need to click the Raspberry Pi Logo from the operating system and click “Shutdown” to shut down the Raspberry Pi properly. Or need to recycle the power to boot up the Raspberry Pi again. Raspberry Pi 400 Keyboard Computer comes with Power Button integrated. Ready out of the box, no script or firmware update needed, just use it. This power button supports both soft shutdown (a.k.a.: safe shutdown) and hard shutdown (a.k.a.: force shutdown):

  • Simply press and hold the function (Fn) and F10 (power icon) keypads simultaneously:
    • > 3 seconds and release: Raspberry Pi OS will make a safe shutdown. It will close all programs and files, shut down properly, and will not corrupt the microSD or data in the memory storage.
    • > 10 seconds and release. Raspberry Pi 400 will cut the power to the processor and shutdown. This is force shut down and it is only needed if the Operating System hangs and soft shutdown is not applicable.
  • Simply press the F10 (power icon) key to boot up the keyboard computer again. The Raspberry Pi 400 will start to boot up ๐Ÿ™‚ Super easy and convenient.

With this new power button, you will never need to off the power adapter ๐Ÿ™‚

Rpi400 Powerbutton A
Very convenient power button

Push-Push MicroSD Card Slot

All of us love the push-push microSD slot (push-lock and push-release) on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, but it has been replaced with a push-pull microSD slot on Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and 4 Model B. We are hoping to get it back soon. The waiting is over, Raspberry Pi 400 comes with a push-push MicroSD card slot. Easy and secure! No more missing microSD card.

Rpi 400 Microsd Slot
Push-push MicroSD Card Slot

Kensington Lock

To increase the physical security of the Raspberry Pi 400, a Kensington Security Slot (also called a K-Slot or Kensington lock) is integrated too. This feature will be welcomed by the maker lab or school ๐Ÿ™‚

Rpi 400 Kensington
You can lock the Raspberry Pi 400 with Kensington Lock

USB 3.0 Ports and USB Boot Ready

The Raspberry Pi 400 also remains the two USB 3.0 ports that offer speed up to 5Gbps, perfect for connecting fast peripherals like SSDs and flash drives for USB Boot. There is also a USB 2.0 port for connecting less speed-dependent peripherals like mouse or USB to Audio adapter.

USB boot firmware has been released as a stable update by Raspberry Pi Foundation and many love it. Raspberry Pi 400 is USB boot ready out of the box. So you can get faster boot and performance if it boots from SSD or M.2 ๐Ÿ™‚ Try it!

Rpi 400 Usb Port
Two USB 3.0 ports, ready with USB Boot out of the box

Backward Compatible 40-Pin GPIO

Alongside the innovative integration of the motherboard into a keyboard, Raspberry Pi 400 still keeps the backward compatible 40-pin GPIO, it is bought out in horizontal headers instead of vertical. Generally, all-digital making projects that use 40-pin GPIO can be completed with Raspberry Pi 400. However, due to the horizontal orientation, most of the HATs (Hardware Attach on Top) might have difficulty to stack to it. This new Raspberry Pi has the same GPIO as Raspberry Pi 4 Model B.

Rpi 400 Gpio A
Horizontal 40-pin GPIO

Of course, there are many more features that come with the Raspberry Pi 400. So let’s list out the spec and features.

Features and Specs:

  • First of its kind, a Keyboard Computer
  • 6 Keyboard layouts: UK, US, DE, FR, IT, ES
  • Broadcom BCM2711C0, 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 (ARMv8), Quad-core, SoC running @ 1.8GHz
  • LPDDR4-3200 4GB SDRAM
  • Expanded 40-pin GPIO Horizontal Header
  • Storage: MicroSD or USB Drive
  • USB and MicroSD card Boot Ready out of the box
  • A push-push MicroSD card socket
  • Video/Audio Out:
    • 2 x micro HDMI port, supports 1 x 4Kp60, or 2 x 4Kp30
  • NO Audio & Video 3.5mm Jack
  • NO CSI (Camera) and DSI Port
  • Power Requirement, 5V/3.0A via USB type C connector
  • 2 x USB3.0 Port + 1 x USB2.0 Port
  • Gigabit Ethernet, >900 Mbps
  • NO PoE (Power over Ethernet) capability
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz IEEE 802.11.b/g/n/ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 5.0 and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)
  • Built-in PCB Antenna
  • Integrated as Keyboard computer, no extra enclosure/case to protect the motherboard
  • Comes with a big heatsink with very good heat dissipation for the CPU, keeping the whole system cool even under full-load
  • Low-Level Peripherals (via horizontal headers):
    • 27 x GPIO
    • UART
    • I2C bus
    • SPI bus with two chip selects
    • +3.3V
    • +5V
    • Ground
  • Integrated with a Kensington Lock
  • Supports Raspberry Pi OS, and all Raspberry Pi 4 Model B compatible 3rd party Operating System, for example, Ubuntu, Kodi, OSMC
  • Dimensions: 286mm x 122mm ร— 23mm

6 Keyboard Layouts

There are 6 keyboard layouts available: UK, US, DE, FR, IT, ES. Cytron carries a US layout keyboard Raspberry Pi 400 as of now.

Rpi400 Us Layout A
US Layout keyboard

Operating System Compatibility

As far as we have tested, all operating system that works on Raspberry Pi 4 Model B works on the Raspberry Pi 400 too:) of course, Raspberry Pi OS is the official Operating System and it works fine out of the box. Just remember to update it ๐Ÿ™‚ We have also tried Ubuntu 20.10 for Raspberry Pi and it boots up without any issue too.

Rpi400 Ubunto
Ubuntu 20.10 boots up on Raspberry Pi 400, from USB drive

Checking Raspberry Pi Revision

All Raspberry Pi products come with a unique revision code and you can check that by putting this command into the terminal window:

sudo cat /proc/cpuinfo

Pi400 Cpuinfo Label
cpuinfo on Raspberry Pi 400

You can further check the revision code here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/raspberrypi/revision-codes/README.md

Hardware Compatibility

Rpi400 Ports Overview
Most of the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B accessories are compatible

You might have noticed, most of the accessories that you used on the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B board can be utilized for Raspberry Pi 400. The micro-HDMI, microSD card, the OS in the microSD card, USB-C power adapter, Ethernet, USB devices, and even the USB drive (SSD or M.2) is compatible!

Where can I get it?

You can get it from Cytron Marketplace ๐Ÿ™‚

Rpi 400 Us Main

And check out these bundles:

  1. RPi400 Personal Computer Kit with US layout keyboard and US power adapter: https://www.cytron.io/p-kit-rpi400-usย 
  2. RPi400 Personal Computer Kit with UK layout keyboard and UK power adapter: https://www.cytron.io/p-kit-rpi400-uk
  3. RPi400 Wired Mouse Bundle: https://www.cytron.io/p-ck-pi400-m
  4. RPi400 Wireless Mouse Bundle: https://www.cytron.io/p-ck-pi400-wm1
  5. Raspberry Pi 400 (US) Wireless Computer Kit – UK Plug: https://www.cytron.io/p-ck-pi400-wc1-uk
  6. Raspberry Pi 400 (US) Wireless Computer Kit – UK Plug: https://www.cytron.io/p-ck-pi400-wc1-uk
  7. Raspberry Pi 400 (US) Complete Computer Kit – UK Plug: https://www.cytron.io/p-ck-pi400-cc1-uk

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