Raspberry Pi 4 Desktop: Upgrades and Updates

By Jim Shimabukuro

The more time I spend with the Raspberry Pi 4, the more I’m convinced that it could stand in for a desktop for many uses. For light users and perhaps for schools and colleges, the savings would be astronomical. I decided to add a small monitor to make the unit less cumbersome and more portable. School and college faculty, techs, and administrators ought to look into this tiny computer as a possible replacement or substitute for expensive desktops for class or lab use. Experiment with it. Can it cover the functions that are needed?

Added a lightweight, portable 1920×1080 HDMI monitor1 and some updates.

Tweaks abound. Enthusiasts and pros are sharing, via YouTube, new and exciting updates and upgrades. Here are a few that I completed in the last hour:

A. Raised the CPU speed to 512 MHz2

  1. Click Raspberry Pi 4 logo on left corner of the top menu bar.
  2. Click Preferences.
  3. Click Raspberry Pi Configuration.
  4. In the Configuration window, click the Performance tab and use the up-down arrow keys to raise (or lower) the speed. Click OK. Reboot to activate the new setting.

B. Updated/Upgraded the Raspbian OS (operating system)2. One of the improvements is a cooler running temperature.

  1. Click Terminal icon on left corner of the top menu bar.
  2. At the prompt, type: sudo apt-get update
  3. Next, when prompted, type: sudo apt-get upgrade

C. Added a CPU Temperature Gauge3 on the far right corner of the top menu bar.

  1. Right click an empty spot on the top menu bar.
  2. In the drop-down menu, click Add/Remove Panel Items.
  3. In the new window, click Add in the right sidebar.
  4. Select CPU Temperature Monitor.
  5. Click Add to finish up.

D. Added a photo editing app, Gimp 42

  1. Click Terminal icon on left corner of the top menu bar.
  2. At the prompt, type: sudo apt-get install gimp

See related posts:
Raspberry Pi 4 Is the Future of Desktop Computers (8/2/19)
A Palm-sized Desktop Computer for $35 – Raspberry Pi 4 (7/24/19)

1 SunFounder Raspberry Pi Display 13.3 Inch IPS Portable 2 HDMI Monitor 1920×1080 (Amazon $125.99 USD).
2 ETA Prime, “Getting Started With The Raspberry Pi 4 – Use It As A Linux PC,” YouTube, 5 July 2019.
3 leepspvideo, “Live Temperature monitor Raspberry Pi 4 Raspbian Overclocked 2.0Ghz,” YouTube, 29 July 2019.

4 Responses

  1. Wonderful! BTW, I have been using GIMP for years. While it is a bit quirky, it does it all once you have the hang of it. Toss out Photoshop. Who needs it?

    • Thanks for the tip, Harry! I’ve never used it, but will begin experimenting. As much as possible, we — educators, students — need to get away from costly name-brand hard- and software. Raspberry Pi is a step in that direction, as well as the Raspbian OS and apps such as Gimp. If we don’t, then we inadvertently become endorsers/salespersons for these corporations.

      • The good news is that GIMP has an active user community to answer all of your questions. Many “how do I” sorts of questions do not have intuitive answers, but GIMP is hugely powerful.

        Other tools that I use may have a very modest one-time cost. I use Inkscape for SVG. I have been using Movavi for video editing because Quicktime Pro is not being maintained these days by Apple. They would like you to buy more expensive tools. Movavi is not free but also not expensive. Audacity is my audio editor. Others will undoubtedly have different requirements than I do. Much of my work is done on Unix (CentOS) with a terminal app (and many simultaneous windows). Lots of coding! Our systems are designed with GWT these days for the client and Java for the server.

        I use Thunderbird for email and Chrome for browsing.

        • Harry, please consider writing an article (or series) about these apps! I have a feeling a lot of us would be interested in hearing more! I’ll be exploring some of these. My most used free/cheap apps are ShortKeys (boilerplate/text-replacement), Total Recall (audio recording), Foobar2000 (music player), and TinyTake (screen recorder). My most used Windows app is Notepad, which is part of the OS package. I use it throughout the day for different tasks. For many tasks dealing with images, I often use Windows’ Paint, also part of the OS package.

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