6 things about Raspberry Pi 2 you need to know

The effort of millions of makers has been compressed into a new development platform – the Raspberry Pi 2.

Two weeks ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released on the market the new Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (on sale at $43.79), and in the spirit of informing readers, I wrote an article about the changes and the new specifications.

Honestly, I expected more changes from the new Pi 2.

But even with improvements only for processor and memory, the fruit-named single board computer makes the headlines in the international daily newspapers like BBC, New York Times or Wall Street Journal.

The technology gives us the power to build things at home with our hands. But who gives power to the technology itself? In the Raspberry Pi case, the power comes from about 15 people that play various roles in hardware, education, administration, and outreach. Yes, only 15 people manage the Raspberry Pi boards to not expire from the makers hub.

The world of Raspberry Pi is made of numbers, and now in the world are approximately 4.5 million of Raspberry Pi boards.

Robots are exploring Mars, a mammoth particle smasher is probing nature’s fundamental bits and pieces in Switzerland, and all the makers and hackers realize the full potential of the new Raspberry Pi 2.

Yes, this is the world we live. A world without limits and with terabytes of data.

In 2012, the first Raspberry Pi arrived on the DIY scene and gave us the power to build things. Since then, the ultra-tiny and affordable minicomputer has been bumped up with more RAM, more ports, but remains with the same single-core 700 MHz ARMv6 processor. Thankfully to the new upgrade, the new Raspberry Pi 2 is several steps ahead of its predecessors.

1. The performance of Pi

I’m obsessed with the performance of Pi, and I’m looking at everything that is related to this. In the specifications of Pi 2 Model B, some users see the apocalypse while others utopia.

According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the 900 MHz processor with four cores should provide six times more power than the B.

The truth is that in the benchmark test with an ODROID-U2 and Raspberry Pi B, the Pi 2 were overclocked at 1 GHz and is one and a half times slower than the U2 (it has a 1.7GHz processor) and almost ten times faster than B. But if you’re looking for extreme speed, you can overclock the Pi 2 processor to run at 1.1 GHz.

The RAM memory has been doubled and with a full gigabyte of memory, the Pi 2 can actually serve as a desktop computer.

2. The operating systems and the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

OK, so maybe you aren’t a big fan of any Linux operating system, and you prefer to work with Windows.

With a little effort, the Pi Foundation replaces the old processor with a new one based on ARMv7 architecture. The new processor can run a large variety of operating systems including the new version of the popular Linux distribution – the Ubuntu Core. The Ubuntu Core is an operating system that will run on robots, drones, smart devices and home hubs.

A big surprise for the new Pi 2 is the availability of the Windows 10. Microsoft changes its vision for makers, and after an intense effort, releases a free version of Windows 10 fully compatible to Raspberry Pi 2.

And because the Pi is like a new trip inside the robotics community, I have to mention that it has support for new applications like using Robot OS (ROS).

3. Compatibility

I’m excited to see that the new Raspberry Pi 2 is compatible with accessories, sensors, modules, shields and many more devices from older Raspberry Pi. This extended compatibility is necessary for the DIY culture because anyone can reuse the old components in old projects and with old tutorials.

If you’re too optimistic about the compatibility, you have to know that some software should be updated to work with the new Raspberry Pi 2.

4. How to power the Raspberry Pi 2

One of the most exciting updates of the Model B+ was its fancy new power supply. The Pi 2 keeps the tradition, which means that you can use the same power supply as B+: micro USB, battery, and solar power.

5. Only half open-source

When I heard for the first time open-source and Raspberry Pi, I was a little shaken. But now I have come back at the same point with the same hope. Only the software from the graphical side of things is open-source, the hardware is not open-source.

6. Emulation on Raspberry Pi 2

The existence of Raspberry Pi 2 is changing the emulation of classical computers and games consoles.

Yes, the Pi 2 is the best platform to emulate the classic computer for those who want to take a trip in the 1980s, or for anyone who wants to emulate at full speed the fifth-generation consoles (from approximately 1993 to 2001) also known as the 3D era.

Emulation on Raspberry Pi 2
Introducing the Raspberry Pi 2, and a new resource
Raspberry Pi 2 VS old model B Kodi – Speed Comparison (XBMC) OpenElec 5.0.1
Raspberry Pi 2 Model B Unboxing Video
More Raspberry Pi 2 Benchmarking
Windows 10 and Ubuntu prepare for IoT battle on Raspberry Pi 2

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