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Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM - Power user trial

The Raspberry Pi is now available with 8GB of RAM. The cost is higher, costing almost twice as much as the 2GB version, although only about £25 more than the 4GB version. The question is what can you do with 8GB of RAM and do you really need that much?

I've already written about this in my earlier post: New Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM – Use as a desktop PC

The fact that you can now buy a Raspberry Pi computer with 8GB of memory for $75 is a huge achievement. It's something that wasn't possible a few years ago. Whether you need one just yet is up for debate.

Since then I've been listening to feedback from my viewers and those on social media and it seams people would like to see a test for Power Users. So here is a test to launch as many applications as I can to see at what point it would benefit from the extra memory, whether you have a 1GB, 2GB, 4GB or 8GB model.

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Raspberry Pi 4 8GB edition with two screens

Testing Memory Usage of the Raspberry Pi 4 - 8GB

Here's a list of the applications I ran to hit the various memory thresholds. Note that I didn't close any of the applications, so each list is incremental from the previous entry.


Raspberry Pi OS (32 bit)
VNC server
OpenSSH server
Shell with htop
Chromium Web Browser
Gmail Inbox
Facebook home page
Twitter logged in


Chromium Web Browser (also running) Office 365
Office OneNote
YouTube (with PenguinTutor channel loaded and video playing)
BBC website


BlueFish Editor
Mu Editor (IDE)
Pygame Zero game (Compass game)
Another two shells
LibreOffice Writer – with large document
LibreOffice Impress x 2
libreOffice Calc
LibreOffice Base


LibreOffice Draw
GIMP 2 images loaded
OpenShot with large HD video file
KdenLive with HD video file
File manager
VLC with HD video loaded


Blender with demo file
Bitmap to Component Convertor
Greenfoot Java IDE


VNC Viewer
Scratch 2
Sense HAT emulator
Thonny Python IDE
Claws Mail
Bunner Game
File manager
PDF viewer with large PDF file
Code – OSS (headmelted)

Summary for desktop use of Raspberry Pi 4

Based on this testing I still don't think there is a need to have more than 4GB for using a Raspberry Pi as a desktop computer, at the moment. It's possible to exceed the 4GB of the next model down but I had to launch so many applications that it just wasn't realistic.

This may change in future and it can potentially open up new opportunities for the Raspberry Pi. Areas that were previously out-of-bounds for the Raspberry Pi are now becoming possible. Paying an extra $25 for the 8GB version can help future proof your Raspberry Pi.

Non desktop use

Beyond the desktop there are other areas that may make better use of the 8GB of memory on the Raspberry Pi 4. You could perhaps look at using a RAM disk to speed up the Raspberry Pi as well as reducing the amount of writes to the SD card if you have a system that is prone to power loss (eg. a remote monitoring device).

It may also help with running a network server by allowing a large number of server threads or caching database information.

The fact that you can now buy a Raspberry Pi computer with 8GB of memory for $75 is a huge achievement. It's something that wasn't possible a few years ago. Whether you need one just yet is up for debate.

Other suggestions

Do you know of any other cases where 8GB RAM would be useful? If so please leave a comment on the Video reviewing the 8GB RAM Raspberry Pi 4 - Power users!.