Home Assistant OS 5: Full Support for Raspberry Pi 4 with 8 GB RAM

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A Raspberry Pi sitting on a table

The recent launch of Home Assistant OS 5 marks a significant milestone, as it introduces full support for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 8 GB RAM. This update allows users to deploy a more stable and powerful smart home setup, eliminating the need for unstable workarounds previously necessary for this device.


Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (8 GB): The Optimal Smart Home Server

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B has quickly become a top choice for tech enthusiasts due to its powerful SoC, advanced networking capabilities, and versatile memory options, maxing out at an impressive 8 GB of RAM. Previously, users of this model had to rely on less stable solutions due to a lack of official support in the stable Home Assistant OS builds. Now, with official support, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (8 GB) is established as the premier choice for running Home Assistant and its various add-ons, such as AdGuard Home and Pi-hole and Music Assistant.

Compared to its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (RPi 4) offers dramatic improvements that significantly boost smart home capabilities. The RPi 4 is equipped with a more powerful and efficient CPU that manages multiple tasks simultaneously with greater speed and less lag, crucial for a seamless smart home experience. A key enhancement in the RPi 4 is the independent separation of network and USB data buses. This design change addresses the bottleneck experienced in the RPi 3, where combined buses could hinder data transfer speeds during intense operations. These upgrades not only represent a substantial leap forward but also mark the RPi 4 as a transformative solution for those looking to enhance their Home Assistant installations.

Achieving Official Support: A Technical Overview

Although the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (8 GB) was released over six months ago, gaining official support took some time. Initial releases were delayed due to issues with the Home Assistant OS’s bootloader, U-Boot. The situation improved with the development release of Home Assistant OS 5, which updated U-Boot to version 2020.07. This allowed for the installation of the 64-bit version on the 8 GB model, though it was initially not considered stable. With the final stable release of Home Assistant OS 5, another update to U-Boot, version 2020.10, and the adoption of Linux Kernel 5.4 ensured full compatibility and stability for the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B (8 GB).

Embracing the 64-bit Era and Expanding Raspberry Pi Options

After comprehensive testing, developers of Home Assistant OS 5 now confidently endorse the 64-bit versions for all Raspberry Pi 4 Model B configurations. It is important to note, though, that GPIO support remains exclusive to the 32-bit version at this time. This update also extends compatibility to two new Raspberry Pi models: the Compute Module 4, tailored for consumer electronics, and the Raspberry Pi 400, which integrates a keyboard into its design as a mini desktop PC.

The broadening of device support is a positive step; however, it's anticipated that the Compute Module 4 and Raspberry Pi 400 may find limited traction within the community. The Compute Module 4, with its intricate 200-pin DDR2 SO-DIMM interface, and the headless operation required by Home Assistant OS suggest that the Raspberry Pi 400's built-in keyboard may not justify its cost for most users focused on typical home automation tasks.

Close-up image of a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, showcasing its green circuit board with multiple chips, including RAM, a SoC (System on Chip), and other integrated circuits. The board features the Raspberry Pi logo and is marked with various regulatory compliance symbols like FCC and CE.
A side view of the Raspberry Pi 400, featuring an integrated keyboard in a white and pink casing. The visible side includes various ports such as GPIO, micro HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and a Gigabit Ethernet port, all neatly arranged along the back edge of the keyboard.

Expanding Your Choices: Additional Supported Hardware

The introduction of Home Assistant OS Release 5 expands the ecosystem beyond Raspberry Pi, including support for hardware from other manufacturers. Users now have the option to install Home Assistant OS on the ASUS Tinker Board and Tinker Board S, which provide robust performance with quad-core CPUs and options for microSD or eMMC storage. Additionally, the ODROID-C4 emerges as a powerful alternative, offering superior storage solutions and performance metrics that surpass those of the Raspberry Pi 4, making it an excellent choice for more demanding applications.

A portrait photo oif Liam Alexander Colman, the author, creator, and owner of Home Assistant Guide wearing a suit.

About Liam Alexander Colman

is an experienced Home Assistant user who has been utilizing the platform for a variety of projects over an extended period. His journey began with a Raspberry Pi, which quickly grew to three Raspberry Pis and eventually a full-fledged server. Liam's current operating system of choice is Unraid, with Home Assistant comfortably running in a Docker container.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of Home Assistant, Liam has an impressive setup, consisting of various Zigbee devices, and seamless integrations with existing products such as his Android TV box. For those interested in learning more about Liam's experience with Home Assistant, he shares his insights on how he first started using the platform and his subsequent journey.

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