While it's not quite as hard-to-get as an RTX 3000 series graphics card or a Ryzen 5000 CPU, the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico is so popular that most U.S.-based retailers are currently out of stock, with units selling on eBay at 3x to 4x markups. According to Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton, the Pico has sold more than 200,000 units since its launch on January 21st and there's currently an 800,000 unit backlog.
The demand for Raspberry Pi Pico is so strong that most resellers have restricted the number of Picos per transaction in an effort to ensure fair and equal access to the highly sought-after board. Adafruit, which had some Pico stock but is currently sold out, limits consumers to just three Picos per order and Vilros.com, the only U.S.-based seller we could find with Picos ready to ship (opens in new tab), only allows one per order. Pimoroni, which is based in the U.K and has stock, also limits its customers to three per order.
Aside from Vilros, other U.S.-based e-tailers we checked were out of stock, some with long wait times expected. Seeed Studio estimates a March 17th arrival date for its Picos while Adafruit, Chicago Electronics Distributors and SparkFun had no date listed. Microcenter has the Pico in stock at some of its stores, but only for in-person shoppers.
It's no surprise that the Raspberry Pi Pico is so popular. The $4 microcontrollers is powered by the RP2040, an Arm Cortex M0+ CPU which can run at up to 133 MHz and has a 40 pin GPIO that contains analog inputs, I2C, SPI and UART. Another killer feature is a Programmable IO which can be used to create VGA or DVI circuits and emulate older retro hardware.
Upton told us that he's filling the backlog at a rate of roughly 50K units per week and that shipments come from the UK. Perhaps it's no surprise then, that one retailer which currently has stock is Pimoroni.
In addition to the Pico, there will soon be a slew of other RP2040-powered boards from other manufacturers. Adafruit (opens in new tab), Arduino (opens in new tab), Sparkfun and Pimoroni (opens in new tab) have announced their own spins on the Raspberry Pi Pico, which use different form factors or offer additional features such as Wi-Fi.
If you're looking for a Pico right now, the best place to order from, at publishing time, is Pimoroni, which has a limit of three per customer and also sells units with pre-soldered pins. If you only want one, and live in the U.S., Vilros (opens in new tab) is a good bet.
If you already have a Pico, check out our guide on how to set up and program a Raspberry Pi Pico as well as our Raspberry Pi Pico tutorials, pinout and everything you need to know guide.