Why Shadow on a Raspberry Pi 4 would be a complete game-changer
Shadow PC Opinion Raspberry Pi

Why Shadow on a Raspberry Pi 4 would be a complete game-changer


If you have been watching the Shadow News live streams over on the official Shadow Twitch account, you may have heard that they are working on an ARM client for Shadow, more specifically, one for the Raspberry Pi.

This article will discuss why I think an official client release for the Raspberry Pi 4 would be a complete game-changer when it comes to both desktop computing and PC gaming.

What is the Raspberry Pi 4?


If you do not know what the Raspberry Pi 4 is, it is a single-board microcomputer that sports an ARM-based processor. On Raspberry Pi's official website, they mention the Pi 4 as:

Your tiny, dual-display, desktop computer
…and robot brains, smart home hub, media centre, networked AI core, factory controller, and much more

The Raspberry Pi has grown to become one of the best single-board computers for projects, tinkering, and many other things. With the Raspberry Pi 4, it is also a decent desktop computer.

The Raspberry Pi 4 comes in configurations of 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB memory. It includes 2x USB 2.0 slots, 2x USB 3.0 slots, 1x 1GB Ethernet, 2x Micro HDMI display ports, and a USB-C Power Adapter.

The best part is that all configurations cost less than $100. Kits that include cases can run you $150 or less.

Raspberry Pi 4 vs. Shadow Ghost


If you are a fan of Shadow, you probably know of the Shadow Ghost. It is an ARM-based thin-client that allows you to launch directly into your Shadow. It sports an RK3399 processor that sips just 7 watts of power under full load.

Since the Ghost uses Shadow's only known ARM-based client, we can compare the two devices to see how the Raspberry Pi 4 will run Shadow.


As mentioned above, the Shadow Ghost uses a Rockchip RK3399 ARM processor. The RK3399 is a 6-core processor using the big.LITTLE architecture. It utilizes the Dual-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A72 MPCore processor and Quad-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore processor.

The Cortex-A72 is optimized for high powered processing, while the Cortex-A53 is optimized for low-powered tasks.

The Raspberry Pi 4, on the other hand, utilizes a Broadcom BCM2711, Quad-Core Cortex-A72 processor set at 1.5GHz.

The Shadow Ghost's RK3399 processor pulls ahead of the Pi 4 since it is a 6-core processor that utilizes the big.LITTLE design for better optimization and performance.

The Raspberry Pi 4, on the other hand, still has a powerful ARM processor for most computing tasks.


The Shadow Ghost is equipped with 2GB DDR3 of Memory. More than enough to run the Shadow Client.

The Raspberry Pi 4 has three separate configurations for memory. You can purchase one with 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB of DDR4 Memory.

The Raspberry Pi 4 wins here as it utilizes DDR4 memory in higher memory configurations, which will help with other computing tasks outside of Shadow.


The main difference between the two is that the Shadow Ghost can only be used with Shadow. If you end up unsubscribing to Shadow, or if the company ever shuts down, you are essentially left with a $120 paperweight.

The Raspberry Pi 4, on the other hand, has an endless amount of usages. You could install a desktop operating system on it and use it as a desktop. You could use it as a media center, a retro gaming rig, and much more. You could pretty much do whatever you want with it!

Why a Raspberry Pi client for Shadow would be a game-changer

As mentioned in the previous section, the Shadow Ghost can run Shadow utilizing the RK3399 chip and 2GB of DDR3 Memory. The Pi 4, which uses the quad-core Cortex-A72 processor, should have enough processing power to run Shadow.

Knowing that only 2GB of memory is needed, you could essentially create your own Shadow Ghost with the 2GB model of the Raspberry Pi 4, which will run you between $35-50.

With an entry fee of less than the cost of a new video game, you could have a powerful Windows 10 rig ready for use.

With the cost of Graphic's Cards skyrocketing due to shortages, using Shadow with a Raspberry Pi 4 would be significantly cost-effective.

Pricing Examples

Here are some price examples of running Shadow with a Raspberry Pi 4 over multiple different years.

For these examples, I will be basing it off of the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB with an Aluminum Case for better cooling (from CanaKit), for $150. I will also be basing the monthly cost of Shadow off of an Annual Agreement and Electricity costs off of the highest available energy price in the USA ($0.29 per kWh in Hawaii). Usage, for energy costs, will be 16 hours per day, with the Raspberry Pi 4 pulling 5Wh at max load.

Shadow Boost

  • $150 for the Raspberry Pi 4
  • $12 a month for Shadow Boost
  • $0.70 a month for Energy
Year 1 Cost

Total: $302.40

Year 2 Cost

Total: $454.80

Year 3 Cost

Total: $607.20

Year 5 Cost

Total: $912.00

Shadow Ultra

  • $150 for the Raspberry Pi 4
  • $25 a month for Shadow Boost
  • $0.70 a month for Energy
Year 1 Cost

Total: $458.40

Year 2 Cost

Total: $766.80

Year 3 Cost

Total: $1075.20

Year 5 Cost

Total: $1692.00

Shadow Infinite

  • $150 for the Raspberry Pi 4
  • $40 a month for Shadow Boost
  • $0.70 a month for Energy
Year 1 Cost

Total: $638.40

Year 2 Cost

Total: $1126.80

Year 3 Cost

Total: $1615.20

Year 5 Cost

Total: $2592.00

As you can see, the above cost estimates are rather intriguing. This is based on the worst-case scenario in the USA, in which you live in the state with the highest energy costs, and you decided to purchase the 8GB model of the Raspberry Pi 4 with the Aluminum case.

Costs will vary depending on where you live and which model of the Raspberry Pi 4 you purchase.

This is cool and all, but can I use Shadow on my Pi 4 now?

Unfortunately, not yet. In a recent Shadow News, JB, the CTO of Shadow, mentioned that they do have a client working for the Raspberry Pi 4; however, it is currently running slow and can barely hit 60FPS at 1080p.

I do believe we will see a Raspberry Pi 4 client soon. Especially with the ARM-based M1 Macbooks getting a client and the recent support for Chromebooks.

Once information is given on when the ARM-based client of Shadow will be released, you can bet that I will have a new article about it on the same day, as well as an order placed for a new Raspberry Pi 4 for testing!

Closing Statements

Per my other theory/opinion posts, I want you to remember that everything here is just that, my opinion or a theory. I do know that a Shadow Client for the Pi is being developed. I do not know how well it will run on release, let alone which Pi 4 configuration will be required to run it.

These opinions and theories are based on what we know about the Shadow Ghost and how the Ghost's specifications can be used to theorize the ability of the Raspberry Pi 4 to run Shadow.

I am a huge fan of Raspberry Pi and would love to use it as my main desktop PC. However, the fact that I cannot use Shadow on it is the main reason why I have yet to make the switch.

Get the Raspberry Pi 4 on Amazon today!

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