A Raspberry Pi 4 with 16GB? It’s been done, but there’s a big catch

An intrepid hardware tinkerer has managed to upgrade the Raspberry Pi 4 computer board to sport a hefty 16GB of RAM – in a manner of speaking.

This comes from YouTuber MadEDoctor, who boosted the system memory attached to an entry-level Raspberry Pi 4 from 1GB to the mentioned 16GB, as shown in a video just uploaded to their channel. The upgrade was carried out using a hot air rework station and some very careful soldering.

As Tom’s Hardware, which flagged this up, notes, previously MadEDoctor upgraded the Pi 4 to 8GB, but wanted to go further and double up on that memory configuration.

However, there’s a considerable caveat here. The good news is that with the 16GB installed, the Raspberry Pi 4 turned on and the boot screen showed that the 16GB upgrade registered.

The bad news is that when booting Raspberry Pi OS (the official distro), the device fell over and got stuck on a black screen (unlike the previous 8GB upgrade which was a complete success).

MadEDoctor could boot RISC OS, but that only showed 4GB of RAM present, not 16GB.

Analysis: Stay tuned for the follow up…

MadEDoctor sounds confident that they’ll be able to get the Pi 4 going with 16GB eventually, stating that there will be a follow up video “for sure”.

The hardware expert released this clip for now, stating that this was because it’ll probably take “some time to figure out the solution” to this issue. So, don’t expect anything to happen imminently, and we aren’t given any clues as to what the problem might be.

Although MadEDoctor appears to be looking into whether Raspberry Pi OS doesn’t know how to deal with a 16GB configuration, and possible ways around that, at least going by the comments on the YouTube video.

Ultimately, this is more of a fun exercise in what can be done – or what should be possible soon, we should say – rather than anything practical, though it’s possible some folks might have niche use cases of the Pi where the device would benefit from having a lot more memory.

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