Raspberry Pi 4 vs. cm4: Which Computer Solution is Better?

Choosing between the two popular Raspberry Pi options, Raspberry Pi vs. CM4, may be challenging. These two solutions are similar at first glance but have differences that require in-depth analysis.

We’ll walk you through some of the differences and similarities so that you make an informed decision. 

Table of Contents

The Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi is a low-cost little computer device that connects to a TV or a computer monitor such that you can use the standard mouse or keyboard to explore computing.

It features dedicated memory, a graphic driver, an operating system, and a processor, just like your PC.

Since its establishment, Raspberry Pi has been upgrading each time it launches a new model. Now we are in the fifth iteration; Raspberry Pi 4.

This new invention has a faster processor, more RAM, dual HDMI ports, USB 3 ports, and faster onboard ethernet than a regular Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi 4 vs cm4: A man working on Raspberry Pi

A man working on Raspberry Pi

What is the Raspberry Pi Compute Module?

Compute module is a product of Raspberry Pi with a more responsive form factor, making it ideal for industrial use.

Compute Module 4 (CM4) is the most recent system on module products discovered by Raspberry Pi Ltd. The developers have managed to squeeze the power of Raspberry Pi 4 into a smaller package.

Ideally, it guarantees users the power of the Raspberry Pi but in a more compact form factor making it more useful in embedded systems.

Raspberry Pi 4 vs cm4:  CM4 top view

CM4 top view

Raspberry Pi 4 vs CM4: The Main Differences

Raspberry Pi 4 and CM4 may appear similar computers in different form factors at first glance.

But you notice the differences when you dig deep into their specs, prices, memory, and target users. 

Raspberry Pi 4 vs. Compute Module 4: Specs Compared

SpecsRaspberry Pi 4Raspberry CM4
StoragemicroSD card slotmicroSD card slot and 8, 16, 32GB eMMC flash
Power5V DC (minimum 3A) via USB-C or GPIO header; Power over Ethernet (using PoE HAT)5V, 12V, or 7.5V to 26V via Berg or barrel connector
Port2 × USB 3.0, 2 × USB 2.0, 2 × micro-HDMI 2.01 × USB 2.0, 2 × HDMI 2.0
Radio ModuleNo radio moduleA radio module is present
GPIO PinoutRaspberry Pi standard 40-pin GPIO headerOnly new IO boards feature GPIO breakout; No GPIO Pinouts on older IO boards
Connector200-pin SODIMM2 x 100-pin mezzanine connectors
PCIeNo PCIePCI Express 2.0 interface

Compute Module 4 vs. Raspberry pi 4: Price Compared.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 tends to cost more than Raspberry Pi 4.

A simple 1GB Ram Raspberry MC4 (no WiFi or onboard storage) costs around $25, $5 more than a similar RAM from Raspberry Pi. 

However, the cost of CM4 widely varies across the 32 variants. The cheapest is the simple CM4 Lite with 1GB RAM. However, CM4 with 8GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage, and WiFi can cost up to $90. 

But remember, Raspberry CM4 is nothing without a carrier board. The official board is the IO board. Well, the board is available separately at around $35. 

Raspberry Pi 4 vs. Compute Module 4: Application

The table in the spec comparison shows that most Raspberry Pi specs are more basic than CM4. You can find a simple Raspberry Pi 4 with a keyboard, mouse, and microSD card.

That is why we recommend it to tinkerers and hobbyists. 

Industrial users are the main target for Raspberry CM 4. That doesn’t mean Raspberry CM4 is not easy to operate.

Some small businesses and home users can benefit from it. However, hobbyists may find it a bit complicated due to additional components. 


Raspberry CM4 has built-in eMMC storage, so you don’t need a microSD card. For Raspberry Pi 4, you will need a microSD card for operating system installation since it lacks integrated storage. 


These two versions of Raspberry Pi models are similar in many ways. Generally, these two computer solutions are similar in their core specs. Both boards have the following:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Arm Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz (Quad-core)
  • 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, or 8 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
  • Broadcom VideoCore VI
  • WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0 

How to Use Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

CM4, like other Raspberry before it, requires a carrier board. The board offers the connection you need to work on the CM4 if you want to develop a project around CM4, Compute Module IO Board Which is the official carrier board for this solution. 

How you will use it will vary slightly depending on whether you have Lite or a module with eMMC.

For instance, once you connect the CM4 to the connector, you will insert a micro SD card and boot if you have a Lite. If you have modular with eMMC, you flash it using a tool provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

In terms of operation, CM4 behaves just the same way as Raspberry Pi4. The new IO features a GPIO breakout that enables you to use HATs and add-on boards. Earlier Compute Module IO Board enabled access to GPIO pins from the Broadcom SoC

CM4 vs. Raspberry Pi 4: Which is the Best for You

Raspberry Pi 4 and CM4 target different users. The former is ideal for hobbyists or home users, while the latter targets industrial users of usages that lean more towards embedded systems.

However, there can still be an overlap between users. Hobbyt may prefer using CM4, and industrial users who prefer using Raspberry Pi 4 can do that. What you have to put into consideration are your project’s specific needs and requirements.