The Raspberry Pi 4, announced June 25th, is officially for sale today. If you’ve purchased your new SBC, chances are you’re now in the market for the accessories that really make a Raspberry Pi powerful. One of the first things to consider is the type of micro SD card you’ll need.
In order to properly function and run an OS, all Raspberry Pis require a micro SD and the RPi 4 is no exception. With the different brands, prices, and storage amounts available, it’s easy to wonder which SD card is the best option for you. Let’s take a look at some of the options that cover different concerns like speed, storage size, and price.
What’s the Largest Storage Size I Can Use in a Raspberry Pi 4?
For the vast majority of projects, sticking to 32GB or below is best. You can use a 64GB SD card, but there’s a catch.
Using a 64GB SD card requires formatting with the exFAT filesystem. According to Raspberry Pi’s official formatting instructions, Raspberry Pi’s bootloader only has support for reading from FAT16 or FAT32 filesystems. Using a 64GB SD card requires you to reformat the card to FAT32 before doing anything else.
Best Fit For General Use
Maybe this is your first time shopping around for an SD card and you just want someone to tell you “this is the one.” Take a look at the SanDisk Ultra 32GB. While not the fastest option on this list, it’s also not the slowest. There’s plenty of storage to install Raspbian Buster (or whatever OS you choose) and have additional space for games or programming environments.
The Fastest Option
In 2019, speed is pretty much expected rather than being considered a luxury. If something takes longer than 10 seconds to load, chances are you won’t wait around.
If your main goal with your RPi 4 centers on gaming or for critical data applications, take a look at the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB. It’s a decent price (around $14 USD) and it can be used for any other project if you decide to try something else. If you’re planning to install and save a large number of games, however, take a look at the next option on our list.
Listen, we know what we said earlier about 64GB and above, but there could come a time where this level of storage and beyond is necessary! If you’re planning to use your RPi 4 as a game console or a desktop computer, chances are you’re up for the extra formatting and need more storage oomph than 32GB can provide.
Samsung’s 64GB EVO Select micro SD card runs at about $12 USD and can provide enough storage for the Really Big Projects.
Maybe the key for you is keeping your project as cheap (ahem, we mean budget-friendly) as possible. There are plenty of options for that as well.
For example, take a look at this 16GB option from Kingston that’ll only set you back about $4 USD. Chances are, a 16GB storage capacity will be plenty for the majority of your projects. Keep in mind, however, that this SD card runs slower than other options.
So What Option Should You Choose?
The short (and unsatisfying) answer is it depends! Think about the types of projects you’re planning, what your budget is, and whether you’re willing to put in extra work for higher storage capacity.
Like food or money, it’s better to have too much than not enough. An SD card with too little storage will run out of space quickly and cause a headache. For the bulk of RPi projects, sticking to 16GB or 32GB will suit you just fine.
Tell us what you think! Do you have a favorite brand you don't see listed here? How many gigabytes of storage do you generally go for? Let us know in the comments.