back to article Out of beta and ready for data: 64-bit Raspberry Pi OS is here

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has officially released the 64-bit version of the Linux-based OS Formerly Known As Raspbian. A year and nine months after the beta was announced, the 64-bit version of the Raspberry Pi OS is ready for download. If you're still rocking an older Pi, be aware that the first few models had 32-bit-only …

  1. 45RPM Silver badge

    I’ve been running a 64bit Raspbian (CLI only version) on my 8GB Raspberry Pi 4 for several months now - with no trouble at all. It works very well but…

    I think that the number one thing that the Pi needs is more compute. For cheap disposability, the Zero and 3 have got you covered. I’d like to see a more expensive, fast, Pi - perhaps even at the £100 price point.

    But perhaps I’m a bit Pi obsessed. I love ‘em!

    1. trevorde Silver badge

      I'd just settle for being able to buy one

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Ditto, and I'd go as far as saying that I'd even settle for a reply to "notify me when back in stock". In the interim, I'm not fecking interested in buying a bucket of Pico.

      2. Adam JC

        In the UK they're readily available from the usual sources on a 2-3 day lead time. We use them as SBC's for 3CX in plentiful numbers and haven't had any issues:

        1. mothra

          Are you sure? The link you've posted shows 4GB versions available from £177 each (!) and none available in 8GB for me.

      3. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: I'd just settle for being able to buy one

        Still running 2x 32bit model B 500mb ram with useful workloads.

    2. MikeTheHill

      FreeBSD13/aarch64 runs on them too!

      Yeah, I have stable results running a couple of FreeBSD13/aarch64 pi4b servers. I just use the Raspberry PI Imager app to burn the iso, and Bob's your Uncle.

      Mainly running network monitoring and DNS, so pretty light-weight stuff, but perfect for a bit of systemic diversity on low wattage h/w.

      I also use them as a cross-platform check that code compiles and runs in different environments. If my applications compile and run on an Intel Debian and a 64bit Arm FreeBSD, I feel pretty confident that I've covered most system dependencies. Important for me as I mainly work in the cli/server space.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: FreeBSD13/aarch64 runs on them too!

        I was workiing with FBSD 12 (64-bit) on a RPi 3B a while back, while it was pre-release. All of the 3 support has been 64-bit as far as I can tell.

        I think one of the main reasons Raspbian/RPi OS had not gone 64-bit before now is due to WiringPi (which will not work in 64-bit as far as I am aware, 'word of god' from its creator on IRC even).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FreeBSD13/aarch64 runs on them too!

        Curious: are you using serial console, or video+keyboard?

        I still occasionally think we should get some kind of small ARM to run FreeBSD for various network services, but most of the SBC which are reputed fit for that purpose seem to be a bit fiddly for console access, particularly serial console (which is the cheap-per-port out-of-band-management scheme we use today).

        I like the ARM SBC price, small form factor, light power consumption etc. and the growing stability of the OSes we care about (FreeBSD in particular, Debian et al) on ARM (aarch64) is becoming more compelling.

        But when doing upgrades or servicing something in weeds, we prefer console access over blind reboots if at all possible. Still, the other pros are starting to balance out the cons for the ARM SBC's....

    3. thames Silver badge

      I benchmarked the RPi3 and RPi4 in both 32 and 64 bit modes, and just switching to 64 bit made each significantly faster. How much faster depends on what features your application exercises though. You do get a significant speed up just by going to 64 bits however.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Applications are often still 32bit single core builds , Worth checking and rebuilding from source. But then I live in the 'what fucking idiot would run that on a PI world'.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          RPi 3 and 4 are more ;powerful than an old Toshiba laptop that I occasionally use from time to time (has an older Linux kernel on it that supports the older hardlware)

          (We used to get by just fine with 1Ghz and less than 512M of RAM)

          I guess it depends on what you're trying to do...

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            I used to get by with 133MHz and an unimaginably massive 16MB RAM

            Well, sort of anyway. Windows 95 wasn’t particularly stable. Red Hat 4 looked interesting, but not really usable as a daily driver. Linux saw a lot of progress in the following 2 years.

        2. elaar

          A PI world where it boots and runs from SSD is no different to any other PC. A Pi4 doing Pihole/DHCP/CUPS/DLNA/web server is perfect and with the increase in the cost of electricity it's awesome, it seems to average about 4watts. Compare that to the ASA firewall above it which is about 30w (time to get rid of that).

      2. codejunky Silver badge


        "I benchmarked the RPi3 and RPi4 in both 32 and 64 bit modes,"

        You dont happen to have the results for how much faster the Pi3 is do you? I may be tempted to upgrade at the weekend

        1. thames Silver badge

          Re: @thames

          I was in the middle of writing a reply about that I didn't keep the benchmarks when I recalled a place that I hadn't looked and found some. On average, with the same Raspberry Pi3 and just swapping the SD card between 32 bit Raspbian and 64 bit Ubuntu, and running the same benchmarks I get an average performance increase of 25 per cent with 64 bit.

          These are with numerically intensive benchmarks running in tight loops, with two sets written in both Python and C. The C version is of course much faster than the Python version, but both show a similar speed up with respect to their 32 and 64 bit versions.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: @thames


            Fantastic thanks. I run some long and slow python scripts so sounds like it will be worth it.

  2. Dave559 Silver badge

    The OS Formerly Known As Raspbian

    I just wish they hadn't stupidly renamed it.

    Raspbian was a good name for SEO, unique, and therefore good for finding relevant and useful search results easily.

    Even as a quoted search term, too many search engines try to show you results that they 'think' you meant, and all three words are not exactly uncommon. And, with the new name, lots of users refer to it for short as "RPi OS" or "RPiOS" or "Pi OS" (and possibly even "PiOS", although Pios were a completely different bunch of techies), making it harder to find the information you need when trying to search for solutions to problems, etc. Not really one of their better thought-through decisions, sadly.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: The OS Formerly Known As Raspbian

      There should have renamed it Rasputin

      Raspberry + computing || 70s disco novelty

      1. Francis Boyle

        And attract the attention of Vlad's goons

        No thanks!

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: And attract the attention of Vlad's goons

          Oh those Russians!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The OS Formerly Known As Raspbian

        Old Rasputin - one of the only beers I wasn't able to finish. Somewhat like drinking shoe polish liquified with kerosene.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The OS Formerly Known As Raspbian

      "Not really one of their better thought-through decisions, sadly."

      On the other hand, their prime target audience is newbies, so having a 32 and 64-bit OS with the same name could cause issues there. Albeit not quite as bad Windows not making the differences clear between ARM-based Windows Surface tablets and x86-based Windows Surface tablets :-)

  3. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    A silly idea from a silly person...

    What if I gave an RPi4 32Gb of RAM, a 240Gb SSD, and wanted to use it as a dayly driver for running a screen reader, an email client, a browser with a couple (zillion) tabs, a file explorer, and a notepad style program as the base load?

    Would it handle it with aplomb, or would it crawl along so slowly as to make tectonic shift look FTL in comparison? Could it be done, but more importantly, should it be done, and if so, would it make me happy or cause me to Do Bad Things(TM) in frustration?

    I know it's a silly idea, I'm a git for even asking, but then I'm stuck on Windows so that goes without saying. =-)p

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      The user with a zillion tabs is a problem for any platform or hardware short of Linus' kernel development workstation! :o

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        >The user with a zillion tabs is a problem

        New Firefox feature = on startup it loads the internet

    2. thames Silver badge

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      I used my RPi4 with 8GB of RAM as a regular desktop PC for a couple of days about a year ago when my PC died and I needed something to fill in as a backup while waiting for the computer parts store to open after the weekend during lockdown so I could fix it.

      Fortunately I had made an SD card specifically for this eventuality just a couple of weeks before when the Pi arrived, and I had 64 bit Ubuntu ready to use.

      My impression of it was that it was fine for regular web browsing, email, and the like. With full screen Youtube video in Firefox on a large monitor it was marginally adequate.

      Using a different GUI other than Gnome / Ubuntu will do nothing of significance in terms of addressing the performance issues, it's almost entirely a matter of the GPU and video driver speed when running full screen and that isn't a function of the desktop GUI.

      A faster GPU or better video driver would address pretty much everything of concern in this regards. Something that I didn't try was downloading the video and playing it using a desktop player (e.g. MPV Media Player) rather than watching it in Firefox.

      The case I am using with my RPi4 has a small CPU fan, and that probably makes a difference to the performance as well as the RPI4 will throttle back on heavy load if you don't have a fan.

      I was using a conventional hard drive with my PC at the time and one thing that I noticed was how significantly faster the RPi4 with Ubuntu booted as compared to the PC with Ubuntu from a conventional hard drive. I now have an SSD in my PC, so that's less of an issue.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        "The case I am using with my RPi4 has a small CPU fan, and that probably makes a difference to the performance as well as the RPI4 will throttle back on heavy load if you don't have a fan."

        Not true at all. I have five Raspberry Pi 4B's and none of them have a fan and none of them throttle back on heavy load. One thing that they all do is run BOINC 100% of the time on all four cores. Some of them are even overclocked and still they don't ever throttle.

        They are all passively cooled. For a case I use the "Geekworm Raspberry Pi 4 Armor Case" and then use a silicon thermal conductive pad. I then also use a metal DIN rail mount for the Pi. So there is a lot of passive cooling.

        Mind you that they also reside in an attic and in the summer, the outside temp is over 100, the attic has never been over 114. They still haven't throttled when running non-overclocked. if I run them over-clocked then they do throttle.

        So a fan isn't necessary if you have the right case.

        1. RichardBarrell

          Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

          fwiw in benchmarks I've run, the pi 3 runs about 30% slower after it's gotten hot. before it warms up it runs noticeably faster. tested with passive cooling with a little heatsink added on. I think it took about 5s to get hot under full load, but this was a while ago so memory is hazy.

          this is a good feature, goes as fast as possible on bursty workloads but doesn't catch fire on sustained ones. :)

      2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        If I could get this idea beyond the mere conceptual phase, I'd not require the video output to be anything beyond basic. Being blind means I have no need for a GUI of any kind.

        The part that would be required would be the audio subsystem & the computer's ability to run a screen reader. I need the thing to talk to me so I can interact with it, so no audio+SR means I can't use it at all.

        If the 8Gb would be enough to do the trick well, then maybe I'll start hunting for a current, local linux user group to join for help.

        *Hands you a pint*


        1. CuChulainn Silver badge

          Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

          How did it go with that Verbalise clock, SS?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

          Done it on a 1GB Pi with ease, so the extra RAM is just for your applications. Grab Orca from the repositories, make sure that you create a dummy display if you don't intend to connect a real one (most desktop environments will not cope if they don't think there's a screen to paint to), while you're at it optionally switch the default desktop to the one you like, and you're good to go.

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      What if I gave an RPi4 32Gb of RAM, a 240Gb SSD, and wanted to use it as a dayly driver

      The flaw in this scenario is that you can't give a Pi 32GB of RAM. Currently they come with 1, 2, 4 and 8GB - if you can find them at all - and it's soldered-on.

      (Cheeky aside - of course if you did mean 32 gigabits, then yes, you can buy a Pi with 4 gigabytes)

      On a more serious note, I think for most general tasks a Pi 4 would be acceptable, particularly with 4GB or 8GB RAM and some kind of cooling solution. My boys used a Pi 3 with 1GB RAM for general homework tasks (OpenOffice), web browsing and some light YouTube watching for a couple of years, though they did have access to a "proper" computer as well (files on a NAS so could be accessed from either). 1GB did make the browser "page out" quite a lot (not literally paging as there's next to no RAM cache and default installs come with (IIRC) a 100MB swap file on the slow SD card), meaning parts of pages had to be reloaded if you switched tabs or scrolled, and OpenOffice did struggle a bit if they tried to create presentations with lots of photographs or large graphics, but for essays, simple presentations, email and browsing for example BBC News or The Register it was just fine.

      Trying to take the question seriously, so apologies if it was meant in jest, but just in case not, it's also worth bearing in mind that the only way to attach external storage (that is, other than the SD card it boots from) to a Pi is through USB, and while the Pi 4 has USB3 it's never going to be lightning fast.

      As for a screen reader - not my field. If you are paying for a commercial solution that only runs on Windows, then I'm afraid the Pi doesn't do Windows either.

      Interesting thoughts though.


      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        People have managed to get Windows "running" on the Pi.

        When I say "running", I mean crawling very slowly, and it certainly isn't a pleasant experience, but you can get some screenshots from it.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

          >it certainly isn't a pleasant experience

          So, pretty much faithful to Windows on x86, then?

      2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        Semi serious, semi joking. I really want off my current Win7Pro64 machine (Intel NUC, 4th gen I3 @ 1.8GHz, 16Gb RAM, 240Gb SSD) & on to something newer, faster, & less annoying.

        I've got another Intel NUC (8th gen I5 @ 2GHz, 32Gb RAM, & 512Gb NVMe SSD) with Win10Pro factory installed to try & get used to the Win10 interface, but it's driving me crazy. I use a USB stick formatted to be bootable, give it a LiveCD/DVD ISO of various talking Linux distros (Adrienne, A.Coconut, Vinux, etc), and try to run them on it to try them out, but something invariably sets a wall in my path to stop me.

        *Frustrated & anguished howl*

        If an RPi4 with 8Gb & an internal SSD can be used comfortably & reasonably as a dayly driver, I'd start hunting for a local, current LUG through which to gain the help I need to get such a system running.

        *Hands you a pint*


    4. thames Silver badge

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      Standard Ubuntu Desktop has a screen reader built in, but I haven't tried it on a Raspberry Pi. You just turn it on or off in "settings", or enable through a keyboard combination.

      I just played with it on my PC (running Ubuntu 20.04) and it works, although I don't know how to make use of it effectively. The voice doesn't appeal to me, but then I don't use screen readers, I'm not used to it, and I don't know if there is a way to change it.

      I will emphasize that I am talking about standard Ubuntu Desktop, I don't know if it exists or works in any of the third party flavours.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

        That is Orca, the most common GUI screenreader for Linux. It doesn't come preinstalled on many distros, but it's nearly always in the repos. And you can change the voice to something less robotic if you want. It works very well on the Pi.

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      For most things an RPi4 is as fast a fairly modern notebook. It has lots of cores so can handle lots of processes with aplomb. But you won't find one with 32 GB RAM.

    6. BlokeInTejas

      Re: A silly idea from a silly person...

      The correct answer to your question is- spend the 100 bucks and see for yourself

      Now, you can't actually do that right now because of limited supply, but it's still the right answer because only you know how many zillion tabs you want and what the speed of an elk falling through molasses should be.

  4. msobkow Silver badge

    I installed Ubuntu on an 8GB Pi 4, but I can't remember if I was able to find my preferred desktop installer, Mate. I might have had to bog it down with a full Gnome stack. :(

    The key thing I was after was the easy installs and maintenance for OpenJDK 17 that Ubuntu brings. That is all I use the beast for; kiosk apps. :)

    1. Lon24 Silver badge

      For those addicted to KDE ...

      Trying to get KDE running on RPi Ubuntu was a nightmare. So I went back to the beta RPi OS 64 bit Lite. It's now almost indistinguishable from its desktop mate running Kubuntu on an amd64 PC. Brilliant, here's a very simple howto:

      Install PI OS Lite

      sudo su

      apt update && apt full-upgrade

      apt install xserver-org

      apt install kde-plasma-desktop


      apt install HPlip if you use HP scanners or printers

      apt install plasma-nm

      Libreoffice requires libreoffice-gtk3 to be installed unless you want to recall a Win ME experience

      Tuning it to look like Kubuntu included

      Settings - Startup/Advanced/auto-login/ Theme/Look/Breeze Dark & Theme/Desktop/Breeze Dark/ colour/Breeze/ App Style/Theme/Breeze

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: For those addicted to KDE ...

        Some of us like the LXDE experience (lubuntu)

        It runs pretty well in low spec environments

  5. MJB7

    Re: I just wish they hadn't renamed it.

    They didn't have a choice. Raspbian never belonged to the RasPi foundation, and they wanted to tweak it (a lot). The original distro owner wasn't happy with them distributing something that _wasn't_ Raspbian _as_ Raspbian - so they changed the name.

    (I will leave it to IP lawyers to decide whether they _legally_ had a choice. Even if it would have been legal to keep the name, it would have been a dick move.)

    1. Dave559 Silver badge

      Re: I just wish they hadn't renamed it.

      Thanks, I didn't know that background.

      They should still have given careful thought and realised that something short, unique, and easily searchable would have been a better choice of new name, however.

      That hardly anyone ever spells out "Raspberry Pi" in full on the forums, etc, should have been a big clue (often referred to as Pi or RPi), as it's human nature to keep things short or abbreviate them if too wordy. Something like "RaspOS" or "RPiOS" would maybe have been a better choice…

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: I just wish they hadn't renamed it.

        We gave the rename a hell of a lot of thought. But it's not easy find a suitable name, so we ended up with Raspberry Pi OS. Or PiOS for short. Does exactly what it says on the tin.

        And by we, I mean Raspberry Pi Ltd, not the Foundation.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I just wish they hadn't renamed it.

      Raspberry Pi Foundation are the educational part of the organisation. I'm not sure they are involved at all.

  6. TheRealRoland
    Thumb Up

    Running a Pi4 w 8GB of RAM, and an SSD, using NextPVR, a SiliconDust tuner and ClearQAM cable TV signal. Happy camper, since that allows me to use the little box as a PVR without any issues. Downside is that it's so easy to record everything, so that very quickly you'd need to empty out the SSD, and move to a slower 8TB external drive :-)

    Building up my personal classic movie collection this way is easy though :-)

    I may just start tinkering with the 64 bit version, if it's a slow week of movies.

  7. werdsmith Silver badge

    On the last day of January I finished the reworking of all my Pis, new SD card images with BullsEye and reinstalled and reconfigured all applications.

    Start again!

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Just opened a drawer and found the first Pi with RiscOS installed.

    So wandered over to to see if there was a new RiscOS (its really fast!!) and found a new version of that but also found the Pi Zero 2 W will run the new 64 bit Raspbian!


  9. msobkow Silver badge

    Just started the switch over from Ubuntu Mate 20.04 tonight. It'll take a couple of days - lots of tools to install and configure.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022