The Raspberry Pi 5 is now available ... if you pre-ordered

Will there be tinkering under the Christmas tree?

The Raspberry Pi 5 has started shipping, but with pre-orders likely to snap up the first batch, will the faithful have a merry or miserable Christmas?

According to Pi supremo Eben Upton, "Priority Boarding" orders are starting to head out this week and are expected to be complete by the end of next. Approved resellers are also due to get their initial stock of 4GB and 8GB Pi 5s, meaning pre-orders should start appearing shortly.

Production at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Wales, where the devices are assembled, has been going better than expected, meaning that more hardware should be hitting the channel to fulfill backorders.

Upton told us: "We are continuing to increase our production rate, with the aim of fulfilling all backorders, and getting Raspberry Pi in stock at all our Approved Resellers, by the end of the year – by then we expect you to be able to just buy one straight off the shelf."

The words are of little comfort to users who did not click the pre-order button as soon as the Pi 5 was announced. The Pi Hut, for example, is listing "early 2024" as the estimated shipping date for pre-orders placed in recent weeks, while stock checkers such as rpilocator are painting a bleak picture for fans eager to get their hands on the device before Christmas.

When the Pi 5 was announced, Upton told The Register that there would be 100,000 units available at launch, but it appears these were rapidly snapped up. Other units, such as the Pi 4, appear readily available but are a poor substitute for someone with their heart set on the latest model.

Regarding the current situation, Upton told The Register that the plan is to ramp up 50,000 units per week, "but it's definitely worth getting an order in for Christmas now." Conversely, the PSU and Active Cooler are unlikely to present too much of a availability challenge.

Alternatively, consumers could always take a chance on Raspberry Pi's Cambridge outlet. Upton said the team would be doing their best to keep the store in stock.

So if you're hoping for Pi 5 in time for the Christmas break, there is still hope. Otherwise, all that might be lurking under the festive fir tree will be a sad little note with the words "IOU 1 Pi 5" on it.

The Pi 5 isn't as cheap as its predecessors, but if you hit the pre-order button in time, has yours turned up yet? Comment below to let us know how it's going. Or not, as the case may be. ®

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