Linux in The News 3-28-22
Last Updated on March 28, 2022 by KC7NYR
Raspberry Pi 4 in Short Supply, Being Scalped at 400% Markup (Updated)
Some resellers are charging four times the list price. Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton has responded to our questions and we have included Upton’s responses in the updated story.
With sales now exceeding 45 million units in its first decade, you’d be forgiven if you thought that the Raspberry Pi was immune to the global chip shortage. Sadly this isn’t the case as most major retailers in the U.S. and UK are out of stock of Raspberry Pi 4 models, with third-party Amazon sellers and eBay scalpers marking the boards up as much as 400 percent.
In a recent episode of The Pi Cast, Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton revealed that demand was far exceeding what the organization could supply.
The resellers which offer a pre-order, such as Farnell are showing exceptionally long lead times. At the time of writing the UK arm of Farnell states there is a 372 day lead time on 2,4 and 8GB models of Raspberry Pi 4. The wait is even worse for US customers, with no stock expected until April 17, 2023.
We put the long lead times to Upton and his response was “I’m not sure that algorithmically computed lead times on websites make a lot of sense at the moment.” Upton goes on to illustrate the point by highlighting that some STM32 microcontroller parts are listing lead times up to 2027. Upton goes on to say that the “best advice I can give is to speak to your reseller” and to understand lead times and how often they are receiving new stock.
With supply dwindling to a trickle, it is inevitable that prices will increase and scalpers will meet the need of the desperate. A quick search of eBay sees pages of Raspberry Pi 4s selling for well over its list price. We spotted a 1GB Raspberry Pi 4 at a “Buy It Now price” of $105, $70 more than the list. Another seller offered new Raspberry Pi 4 2,4 and 8GB models at a respective $140, $170 and an eye-watering $210.
When will this all end? Upton believes that “it’ll finish when the global semi-conductor shortage finishes and trying to predict that moment is making fools of us all”
One Raspberry Pi that has only been lightly impacted by the shortage is the Raspberry Pi 400. This keyboard centric Raspberry Pi 4 4GB is an exceptional piece of kit, but the change in form factor breaks direct compatibility with HATs, though it is easily mitigated with a breakout board. At most e-tailers, a Raspberry Pi 400 goes for around $100, but Micro Center has it for just $69.
For now we have to ride out this rollercoaster of supply and demand.