New Raspberry Pi 2 Launched
The Raspberry Pi 2 is out today. What? They only just launched the B+ and A+? I know! But you know tech companies like to spring surprises on us. It’s remarkably similar to the B+ in layout (in fact you might say the B+ was a ‘stepping stone’ towards Pi2) but has some significant upgrades…
So What’s New With The Pi 2?
Actually the video covers it pretty well, but if you prefer to read…
- It’s a quad-core A7 CPU with the same VC4 GPU as the original Pi. It currently runs at 800 MHz (but 900 MHz support is expected soon).
- It has 1 Gb of RAM
- It’s the same form-factor as the Raspberry Pi B+ (launched July 2014).
- It’s fully backward-compatible with previous Raspberry Pis, so whatever you did on previous versions should work with this one.
- Power use. It’s said to take similar power as the old model B. The quad-core processor makes it need a bit more juice than the B+, but the efficient B+ circuitry has been tweaked for the Pi 2. In my testing I could only make it draw 0.42A when hammering all four CPUs at once. But I suppose if you hammered the GPU at the same time you could make it draw as much as a model B.
- Performance. It’s got at least 6 times more processing power than the previous Pis. Depending on how well your application can utilise a quad-core CPU, the performance gain can be much more impressive than this. For example in sorting and rearranging words in a huge text file I’ve had the Pi 2 running at 14 times the work rate of the B+.
- And the cost of all that? It’s the same as before: $35 + shipping and local taxes.
Brand New Broadcom Chip BCM2836RIFBG
The BCM2836 is a brand new chip from Broadcom, who have chosen the Raspberry Pi 2 as the chip’s debut product. It will be available on the open market for those who meet the minimum order requirements (which are quite high).
The memory for the Pi2 is not a ‘package on package’ (PoP) like the BCM2835 was. This brings down assembly cost because PoP assembly is an expensive, high-precision affair. Obviously this has contributed towards keeping the price point the same and delivering more processing power. The 1 Gb RAM chip is now found on the underside of the board.
You get 6-14 times more CPU processing power and twice the RAM for the same price. It’s a drop-in replacement for the B+. It’s a lot better as a general purpose computer because of these upgrades. Activities like web browsing are a much faster and better experience.
I’ll be showing some power and performance testing over the next couple of days, so stay tuned.